Digital Dharma

The Middle Path, One Day At A Time


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Dalai Lama Opens New Center at MIT – News – Mozilla Firefox

Hundreds gathered at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as the Dalai Lama, speaking from the seated, cross-legged position of a sage, officially opened MIT’s Dalai Lama Center for Ethics and Transformative Values.

via Dalai Lama Opens New Center at MIT – News – Mozilla Firefox.


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Obama, Catholics and the Notre Dame Commencement

Pew Forum: Obama, Catholics and the Notre Dame Commencement

Most Catholics who have heard about the issue support the University of Notre Dame’s decision to invite President Barack Obama to speak and receive an honorary degree at its May 17 commencement, even though he supports abortion rights and embryonic stem cell research. But a new poll conducted by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life also finds a deep division on this issue


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Time to acknowledge science’s debt to Islam? – science-in-society – 25 February 2009 – New Scientist

While the Islamic world was enjoying astronomy, philosophy and medicine, those in Europe could not tell the hours of the day, thought the Earth was flat, and saw disease as punishment from God, says Jonathan Lyons in The House of Wisdom. That changed after the Crusades, set in motion by Pope Urban II at the end of the 11th century, which resulted in a spectacular growth in trade and communication between east and west. Knowledge that had taken centuries to build was unleashed on an unsuspecting Europe.

via Time to acknowledge science’s debt to Islam? – science-in-society – 25 February 2009 – New Scientist.


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Gay parents rights: Gay parents rights issue divides U.S., not families — chicagotribune.com

…away from the polarizing rhetoric of a campaign, what do researchers know about people like Fakhrid-Deen? Do the children fare better or worse than those with heterosexual parents? Are they, as social conservatives assert, more apt to experience harmful effects and confusion about their sexuality?

At least 4 million U.S. children have one or both parents who identify themselves as homosexual, said Gary Gates of the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law, but long-term studies are still limited.

Sociologists Judith Stacey and Timothy Biblarz published an analysis in 2001 in the American Sociological Review of 21 studies of children raised by homosexual parents and found that, overall, they were no more likely to suffer from psychological problems than kids raised in conventional homes.

“There was a very strong consensus that kids turned out about the same,” Stacey said.

via Gay parents rights: Gay parents rights issue divides U.S., not families — chicagotribune.com.


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Buddhism allure fading for young Tibetans

…after centuries in which monasteries offered a chance of education and relief from the tough life of a peasant farmer on the Himalayan plateau, they now compete for youngsters who grew up with television, schools, the Internet and other job options. …

via Buddhism allure fading for young Tibetans – Express India.


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On ‘Darwin Day,’ many Americans begged to differ | csmonitor.com

Two centuries after the famed naturalist’s birth, more than 40 percent of Americans believe human beings were created by God in their present form, according to recent polls from Gallup and the Pew Research Center – a view impossible to reconcile with evolution propelled by natural selection.

Such creationist beliefs lack scientific merit, educators say, and in classrooms evolution reigns supreme. Opponents have tried an array of challenges over the decades, and the latest tactic recently scored its first major victory. It’s a tack that is changing the way the cultural battle over evolution is fought.

http://www.csmonitor.com/2009/0212/p01s03-ussc.html


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The ‘Evidence for Belief’

The ‘Evidence for Belief’: An Interview with Francis Collins

If you see God as the creator of the universe – in all of its amazing complexity, diversity and awesome beauty – then science, which is, of course, a means of exploring nature, also becomes a means of exploring God’s creative abilities. And so, for me, as a scientist who is also a religious believer, research activities that look like science can also be thought of as opportunities to worship.


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The Land of Wolves

Elena’s Motorcyle Ride through Chernobyl

Nuclear Dolly

Nuclear Dolly

Elena’s father is a nuclear scientist, and so she is able to get permission to travel in what she calls The Land of Wolves. Her avocation seems to be the recording of the disastrous results of the USSR’s various follies. This entire site, along with her other sites, deserves serious attention and prolonged contemplation.

KIDDofSPEED – GHOST TOWN – Chernobyl Pictures


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Darwin and Evolution in Japan

The resistance to Darwin’s ideas on evolution by natural selection expressed by some in the West — both 150 years ago and even now — is well known…. But how did Darwin go down in Japan, as it started trading and interacting with Western powers?

Lacking Christianity, there wasn’t the religious opposition and controversy in Japan that scandalized people in Victorian England (and still hinders understanding of evolution).

Instead, a society based on Shinto and Buddhism apparently easily accepted Darwin. Some historians have also said that because Japanese people share their country with a nonhuman primate — the Japanese macaque — it made it easier for them to understand and accept evolution. …  The Japan Times Online


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In the Basement of the Ivory Tower — Professor X

I work part-time in the evenings as an adjunct instructor of English. I teach two courses, Introduction to College Writing (English 101) and Introduction to College Literature (English 102), at a small private college and at a community college. The campuses are physically lovely—quiet havens of ornate stonework and columns, Gothic Revival archways, sweeping quads, and tidy Victorian scalloping. Students chat or examine their cell phones or study languidly under spreading trees. Balls click faintly against bats on the athletic fields.

Inside the arts and humanities building, my students and I discuss Shakespeare, Dubliners, poetic rhythms, and Edward Said. We might seem, at first glance, to be enacting some sort of college idyll. We could be at Harvard. But this is not Harvard, and our classes are no idyll. Beneath the surface of this serene and scholarly mise-en-scène roil waters of frustration and bad feeling, for these colleges teem with students who are in over their heads…..

In the Basement of the Ivory Tower – The Atlantic (June 2008)


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Virgin Islands Diocese, Schools Suffer From Madoff Scam

IBJ.com – Indianapolis Business Journal – USVI diocese loses $2 million in Madoff scheme

Wish I believed in hell.  Madoff could go there and clear burning Bushes.

Roman Catholic schools in the U.S. Virgin Islands will have to turn away parents seeking financial aid for their children because of losses in a multibillion-dollar Ponzi scheme, church officials said Wednesday.

The Diocese of St. Thomas lost nearly $2 million on investments made with disgraced Wall Street financier Bernard Madoff, most of which represented endowment funds for youngsters at two Catholic elementary schools in St. Croix, the poorest of the U.S. Virgin Islands.