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    Neuroscience Fiction in the New Yorker Paid Member

    Since Alissa Quart's "neuro-critical" Times op-ed, which we covered on the blog last week, The New Yorker has followed suit. On The New Yorker's News Desk blog, Gary Marcus reports on the recent history of the preponderence of neuroscientific explanations in the mainstream media despite several setbacks within the field and a number of overlooked books which seriously undermine neuroscience's most sensational claims. This brief history extends up to the publication of Quart's op-ed last week, which Marcus announces as the entry of these concerns into the mainstream. More »
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    "Neuroscience: Under Attack" in the New York Times Paid Member

    If you get the Sunday Times you probably saw Alissa Quart's clever op-ed on the backlash against the perfunctory extrapolations and sweeping claims made by popular neuroscience. The danger of false positives in neuroimaging has been brought to the attention of the public eye over the last several years (remember those neuroscientists that imaged brain activity in a dead salmon?). Quart's piece, however, doesn't just lay blame on shoddy science and premature conclusions drawn by neuroscientists, it also examines the culture that allows neuroscientific explanations to supplant other viable interpretations of experience. More »
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    The Truth about Truth Paid Member

    One of the most urgent tasks for contemporary practitioners of any spiritual tradition, including Buddhism, is to learn how to take traditional stories seriously without taking them literally. Religious texts employ symbol, metaphor, and allegory to weave narratives that reveal truths about meaning, value, and purpose in human affairs. Although traditions tend to see their stories as historically accurate, the value of these stories does not depend on whether or not they are literally true. But in the modern period, we have come to take science and instrumental reason as the only reliable means and the model for ascertaining truth. For many, this means that they must choose between rejecting the narratives of religious tradition (atheism) or embracing one narrative literally (fundamentalism). More »
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    Understanding Nichiren Buddhism Paid Member

    While Tricycle is a nonsectarian and independent publication, most of our content reflects a perspective of what might be called meditation-oriented Buddhism. Most of our readers and contributors know Buddhism primarily in terms of the meditation traditions of Zen, Vipassana, or Vajrayana as they have been presented to a Western audience. Indeed, it is probably not an exaggeration to say that, for many of our readers, approaches to Buddhism, such as Nichiren, that are not based on a practice of quiet, focused sitting meditation are, other than in name, scarcely recognizable as Buddhist at all. More »
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    Never Before and Always Paid Member

    The current issue of Tricycle features an interview with author, entrepreneur, and activist Paul Hawken that explores the increase in civil-society activism that has occurred internationally in the past year. As a follow-up to the interview, Paul wrote this guest blog post, which looks at the deep and concrete implications of financial issues that often appear to non-specialists as impenetrably abstract. The interview, "Upsurge: How Paul Hawken Anticipated Occupy Wall Street and the Rise of Leaderless Movements," can be found here.   More »
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    Practice for Young American Buddhists Paid Member

    This is part three of a three-part guest blog series by Charles Prebish, Emeritus Professor of Religious Studies at Pennsylvania State University and Utah State University. In the current issue of Tricycle, Prebish is interviewed by Linda Heuman (read "Pursuing an American Buddhism" here), but they had so many topics to cover in such a short time that there were many items Prebish would have liked to discuss more fully. Last week we featured "Scholar-Practitioners in American Buddhism." Join the discussion of this blog post, and the two others, on the interview page. More »