Word of Mouth
1:55 pm
Wed May 14, 2014

5.14.14: The Internet Is Not Killing Religion, Years As Celebrities, And Female Viagra

Credit Unknown, via Wikimedia Commons

Over the past 25 years, the percentage of people with no religious affiliation has more than doubled, at the same time, the internet has been widely embraced. Coincidence? Today on Word of Mouth: does the internet spell the fall of religion? Or is it more of a correlation than a cause? Plus, we peruse the new release section of the bookstore and notice a trend, Catastrophe 1914, 1914: History in an Hour, 1914: Fight the Good Fight. A look into the downside of treating years as celebrities.

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The Internet is Not Killing Religion

Since 1990 the percentage of people with no religious affiliation has more than doubled. That includes about 6% of the U.S. population who identify as atheists and agnostics, and nearly 33 million people who say they have no particular religious affiliation. While trying to explain this decline in religiosity, researchers have found one interesting correlation, the rise of the internet. So, does the internet spell the fall of religion? Or is it more of a  correlation than a cause?

Joining us is Jared Keller, director of programming at PolicyMic, his article, “No, The Internet is not Killing Religion in America,” was published in Pacific Standard Magazine.

The Celebrity Year

The great man theory may be getting bumped off its historical pedestal. The doorstop biography is so last year. A visit to your local bookstore will convince you that the great year theory is selling now and 1914 is in. On the front display tables: Max Hastings’ “Catastrophe: Europe Goes to War 1914”, Christopher Clark’s “The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914” Mark Bostridge’s “The Fateful Year: England 1914”, and a number of other titles.

Joining us is Simon Reid-Henry is Reader in Geography at Queen Mary, University of London and the author of "The Cuban Cure". He’s concerned that by focusing on a single year, the new crop of “Anno-Histories” may miss the larger historical context. 

Herland

Now on to the year 1915, and the publication of Herland, a novel written by an American feminist and social reformer, Charlotte Perkins Gilman. The book laid out a utopian image of the world: without conflict, hatred, or men. Herland is made up entirely of women.

While aspirational in tone, the novel reveals a darker side of American society in 1915.  The following story is from Backstory with the American History Guys.

Female Viagra

Last fall, the FDA denied Sprout Pharmaceuticals the right to market Flibanserin, a drug for treating low sexual desire in women. The response from women’s groups was swift: several female academics, members of Congress, and the National Organization for Women charged that given the array of drugs available for male sexual dysfunction, the Fed’s refusal to market a drug for diminished drive in women signaled, as one critic put it, “blatant, medieval sexism.” So, was it sexism? Or as the FDA says, an ineffective drug with the potential for harm? Joining us is former Senate investigator and current fellow at the Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University, Paul Thacker.

The Rule of Threes

Three blind mice. The Three Musketeers. Sex, drugs, and rock and roll. Things that come in threes just feel right. But is three the magic number?  And can it be scientifically proven? Blake Cooper set out to find out why threes are so common, so relatable, and so powerful.

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