Scientists’ Belief in a Personal God Probed

Scientists' Belief in a Personal God Probed

A survey was sent out to 1,000 scientists by a professor of psychology at Bryn Mawr in 1917, asking whether they believed in a personal god. Dividing them into those of “greater” and “lesser” eminence. (The division into “lesser” and “greater” scientists, or really any classification of people in general whether by occupation or other category, would surely not withstand peer-reviewed scrutiny today.) About 45.5 to 50.1 percent of the “lesser” scientists declared belief in a personal god, while a notably lower 27.7 to 35.7 percent of the “greater” scientists did. When it came to a belief in personal immortality in the afterlife, 52.8 to 66.5 percent of the “lesser” scientists declared belief, compared to a quite lower 35.2 to 38.8 percent of the “greater” scientists.

Today, those numbers remain remarkably stable, if a bit down. A July 2006 survey from Pew Research Center found that 33 percent of scientists believe in God, although that’s far less than the 83 percent of the general U.S. population. Moreover, 41 percent of scientists actively didn’t believe in God, compared to just 4 percent of the U.S. population. Secularization rates among the American public have ticked up in the past decade since that survey, but they still unquestionably represent a minority of the public at large.

Scientists’ Belief in a Personal God Probed: Interesting Results of a Study Made of Selected Groups
— Their Views on the Question of Personal Immortality Also Studied
 (PDF)

From Sunday, January 14, 1917

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January 16th, 2017 at 12:18 pm

Posted in Religion,Science

“U.S. Dry Within Ten Years”

'U.S. Dry Within Ten Years'

When this article was published in January 1917, 23 of the then-48 states banned liquor. That included four states adopting such a measure two months prior on Election Day alone: Michigan, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Montana. It was clear which way momentum was swinging. But the idea that the U.S. would be dry within the decade was underestimating just how much momentum was swinging, as the 18th Amendment was was passed a mere two years after this article in January 1919, with the amendment taking effect in January 1920.

However, it became the only constitutional amendment ever repealed 13 years later in December 1933. Now Americans are free to consume alcohol once again, as will be proven — for better or for worse — on Super Bowl Sunday in a few weeks… and more imminently on Inauguration Day Friday.

“U.S. Dry Within Ten Years”: So Say Prohibitionists After Webb-Kenyon Decision – Liquor Dealers Say It Will React in Their Favor (PDF)

From Sunday, January 14, 1917

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January 15th, 2017 at 7:16 pm

Prophesies Bigger ‘Tanks’ – By H.G. Wells

prophesies-bigger-tanks-by-h-g-wells

Famed novelist — and one of the only writers of the time who’s still read today — H.G. Wells penned this piece for NYT Sunday Magazine in 1917. The legendary science fiction author and futurist, who wrote such classic novels as The Time Machine in 1895 and The War of the Worlds in 1898, in this piece projects the future development of tanks, which were one of the main military innovations at the time:

“It is impossible to restrain a note of sharp urgency from what one has to say about these developments. The “tank,” which at present weighs under twenty tons, will develop steadily into a tremendous instrument of warfare, driven by engines of scores of thousands of horse power, tracking on a track scores of hundreds of yards wide, and weighing hundreds or thousands of tons. Nothing but a world agreement not to do so can prevent this logical development of the land ironclad idea. Such a structure will make wheel-ruts scores of feet deep; it will plow up, devastate and destroy the country it passes over altogether.”

Tanks did improve. Though they weighed less than 20 tons at the time, the 1944 German tank Panzer VIII Maus remains the heaviest tank ever built at 207 tons. And most American tanks today have around 1,500 horsepower, which qualifies for Wells’ prediction of “thousands of horse power.” But one single tank, even the most powerful ones currently in exist, is not enough to destroy a country it passes over altogether.

Prophesies Bigger “Tanks”: Novelist Who Foretold the Caterpillar Forts Believes More Terrible Land Battleships Are Sure to Come (PDF)

From January 7, 1917

 

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January 5th, 2017 at 7:26 am

Posted in Fiction,War

Popular Catchwords Are a National Menace

popular-catchwords-are-a-national-menace

Back in 1916, Mary Watts lamented what she saw as the pervasive influence of New York City dictating the thoughts of those in Cincinnati suburb Walnut Hills and elsewhere:

“These people who think they are thinking,” she said, “do not make up their own phrases or originate their own ideas. They think in catchwords.”

“What are some of these catchwords?” The Times man asked.

“Well,” she replied, “‘the relation of capital and labor’ is one. And ‘the child in the house’ is another. And then there is that very popular catchword ‘social consciousness.’ But out here in the Middle West we aren’t so much bothered with social consciousness as you are in the East.”

“Now and then we make desperate attempts to be Eastern and cosmopolitan, and all the rest of it. We try hard to get up a bohemian atmosphere among our writers and painters — we try to do this even out here, in Cincinnati. But we haven’t enough writers to form a separate class.”

There was a time when New York City had a great influence on the rest of the country, despite a 2016 election cycle where the candidate New York City voted for at a greater margin than in almost any other location got crushed and there was something of a public revolt against the media and journalism industries headquartered out of Manhattan.

Popular Catchwords Are a National Menace: Mary S. Watts Laments “Social Consciousness,” Deliberate Bohemianism, and Influence of New York on Rest of Country (PDF)

From January 7, 1917

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January 4th, 2017 at 7:26 am

Posted in Life,Literature

Military Training Would Make Us a New Race

military-training-would-make-us-a-new-race

Johns Hopkins University professor Dr. Hugh H. Young did not appear to legitimately believes that more military training would literally turn us into a new species, but he did advocate mandatory military training as some other countries such as Switzerland did. He writes:

“If our American boys could have such physical training under scientific supervision, what a different race we would produce. Minor defects and diseases would be discovered early and cured, thus removing the deformities or foci of infection which lead to the host of diseases and physical impairments which make us a sub-standard neurotic nation, with the highest middle-aged mortality.”

If only Dr. Young knew what the American obesity rate would swell to 100 years later.

Military Training Would Make Us a New Race: Noted Medical Authority Says It Would Lift Us From a Sub-Standard Neurotic Nation to One of Highest Type of Manhood (PDF)

From January 7, 1917

 

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January 3rd, 2017 at 7:26 am

Posted in Science,War

‘America Faces Its Most Momentous Year’

 

america-faces-its-most-momentous-year

At the close of 1916, George MacAdam predicted that 1917 would be the most important year in American history. Although historians differ on precisely what was the most important year in American history, virtually nobody selects 1917. Among the most common selections are: 1776 when the Declaration of Independence was signed, 1789 when the Constitution and Bill of Rights were were ratified, 1861 when the Civil War started, 1865 when the Civil War ended and the slaves were freed despite Lincoln getting assassinated, 1941 when Pearl Harbor was Attacked and the U.S. entered World War II, 1945 when World War II ended and the U.S. became the first and only country to deploy nuclear weapons, 1968 when a bunch of crazy stuff happened, 1991 when the Soviet Union collapsed and the U.S. became the world’s one true superpower, and 2001 when the September 11 attacks occurred.

“America Faces Its Most Momentous Year”: President of Princeton University Says Crisis of the Present Day Is Greater Than That of the Revolution or the Civil War (PDF)

From December 31, 1916

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January 2nd, 2017 at 2:26 pm

Posted in Politics,War

Porto Ricans to Have a New Constitution

porto-ricans-to-have-a-new-constitution

In 1916, “Porto” Rico — apparently not yet spelled as “Puerto Rico” — began its current political status, in which its residents are U.S. citizens but Puerto Rico is not itself a state. If it were, Puerto Rico would rank as the 30th-largest state by population, between Connecticut and Iowa. Its complicated relationship with the U.S. government continues to this day, as I wrote about in my 2015 article for Huffington Post Politics: Could The Federal Government Remove The Governor Of Puerto Rico?

Porto Ricans to Have a New Constitution: Organic Act Pending in Senate Will Make Islanders Citizens of United States and Give Them larger Measure of Home Rule (PDF)

From December 24, 1916

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December 22nd, 2016 at 7:12 am

Posted in Development,Politics

Birth Rate Declining Among College Men

birth-rate-declining-among-college-men

Even today, the gap between fertility rates between those with and without college degrees is statistically significant. The big difference between now and then is that the “college-educated” constitutes women as well, with women starting in 2015 attaining more college degrees than men.

Birth Rate Declining Among College Men: Statistics for Harvard and Yale Show Steady Decrease in Number of Graduates’ Children and More Childless Marriages (PDF)

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December 15th, 2016 at 7:12 am

Immigration After War Will Break All Records

immigration-after-war-will-break-all-records

Did the immigrant population spike after World War I ended, as this Harvard professor predicted? The answer is: it went up slightly. As the below graphic from the Center for Immigration Studies shows, U.S. immigrants living in the U.S. went up slightly from the 1900-10 decade to the 1910-20 decade in pure numbers, from 13.5 million immigrants to 13.9 million, then up again to 14.2 million in from 1920-30. However, the percentage of immigrants as a percentage of the U.S population actually declined during that time, from 14.7 percent in 1910 to 13.2 percent in 1920 to 11.6 percent in 1930.

The 2010 percentage was 12.9 percent. That was originally estimated by the Center for Immigration Studies to reach a near-high of 14.3 percent in 2020 and a new high of 15.8 percent in 2030. It will be interesting to see what effect a President Trump will have on those projections. On the one hand, he could curtail immigration, for example Syrian refugees. On the other hand, if the economy expands due to lower income and corporate taxes, perhaps more people from other countries would want to come here for the economic opportunities, the true “American dream” Trump promises to resuscitate.

Image result for immigration by year 1900

Immigration After War Will Break All Records: Prof. Foerster of Harvard Expects More than a Million a Year and Thinks United States Should Adopt Restrictive Measures (PDF)

From December 17, 1916

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December 13th, 2016 at 7:12 am

George C. Boldt’s Life a Continuous Romance

george-c-boldts-life-a-continuous-romance

Ah, the days when “the most famous hotel man in the world” didn’t inherit the business from his father, but achieved his status through grit and determination after starting in the kitchen.

George C. Boldt’s Life a Continuous Romance: Reminiscences of Waldorf-Astoria’s Proprietor, Who Rose from the Kitchen to be the Most Famous Hotel Man in the World (PDF)

From December 10, 1916

 

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December 7th, 2016 at 10:34 pm

Posted in Business,Life

Compulsory Insurance Help to Medical Science

compulsory-insurance-help-to-medical-science

Should we have universal health insurance? The American public in 2016 is divided but leans towards yes, with a Gallup poll in May finding that 56 percent support a federally funded healthcare system for all. Vermont was about to become the first state to implement that policy on a statewide level, but their governor (a Democrat, no less) scrapped Vermont’s plan over its exorbitant costs.

The same issue was being debated back in 1916. In this piece, the anonymous author advocates for universal health insurance:

“Health insurance would give new impetus to the most important work of medical science — the prevention of disease. We all know that it is cheaper to be well than to be sick, and we would gladly pay to prevent disease from attacking us and those dear to us. But when the illness of a man we never heard of costs us an extra penny, we are a little more keen than pure humanity or disinterested science can make us to have that man made well and kept well.”

Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton would agree. President-Elect Donald Trump’s newly-announced Secretary of Health and Human Services, Tom Price, would not.

Compulsory Insurance Help to Medical Science: It Would, the Writer Says, Give New Impetus to That Most Important Work in Medicine, the Prevention of Disease (PDF)

From December 3, 1916

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Written by Jesse

December 1st, 2016 at 2:14 pm

Posted in Debate,Politics,Science

Wilson’s Triumph Greater Than Fully Realized

wilsons-triumph-greater-than-fully-realized

The map showing which states voted for which candidate in 1916 is almost indecipherable, given the black-and-white newspapers of the time. Today we are so used to red states representing Republicans and blue states representing Democrats, even though that color scheme only truly began in 2000.

Another huge difference is this sentence, mentioning that the list of states in the sidebar was ranked by election result, “with rock-ribbed Republican Vermont at the top and ends with the most intensely Democratic South Carolina at the bottom.”

But one similarity is in the subheadline, which notes that “Progressives Decided the Election.” Indeed they likely did in 2016 as well, albeit through their combination of votes for Green Party candidate Jill Stein or complete abstention from voting this time, the one-two combination of which probably prevented Hillary Clinton from securing an Electoral College victory in addition to her popular vote win.

Wilson’s Triumph Greater Than Fully Realized: Extent of Total Shift Toward Wilson Was the Largest, with One Exception, Since 1876 — Progressives Decided the Election (PDF)

From November 26, 1916

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November 30th, 2016 at 2:14 pm

Posted in Politics

Farm Vote Shows Breaking of Old Party Lines

farm-vote-shows-breaking-of-old-party-lines

The 1916 election delivered reelection for incumbent President Woodrow Wilson, and this analysis article says that result was in no small part because of “the farm vote.” Of course, farms and agriculture employed a much larger share of the U.S. population at the time, comprising about 31 percent of the labor force compared to just 2 percent today.

So what is the modern-day equivalent of the 1916 “farm vote”? In terms of their demographics — mostly Caucasian, mostly non college education, mostly poor to middle income — the modern-day equivalent of the 1916 “farm vote” is probably the “white working class” which helped propel Donald Trump to victory earlier this month. In the Agri-Pulse Farm and Ranch Poll conducted mere days before the 2016 election, modern-day farmers and ranchers supported Trump 55 percent, compared to only 18 percent for Hillary Clinton.

Farm Vote Shows Breaking of Old Party Lines: West, Having Tasted Power, Will Hold It, Says Political Observer – Next President from West of Missouri River (PDF)

From November 26, 1916.

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November 29th, 2016 at 11:29 pm

Posted in Politics

The Hyphen Vote Was Practically a Myth

From November 19, 1916

the-hyphen-vote-was-practically-a-myth

The fear (for some) in 1916 was the rise of German-Americans as a voting block, and other immigrant groups who were known as the “hyphens” after the hyphens between their original nationality and the word “Americans.” The 2016 election was no different, as it was expected that everyone from Mexican-Americans to Asian-Americans might reach record high levels of turnout. The Hispanic population did make up about 11 percent of the electorate, up from 10 percent in 2012 and 9 percent in 2008, but even that 11 percent was less than many analysts expected given their surging population.

The Hyphen Vote Was Practically a Myth: With the Possible Exception of Oregon, the German-American Vote Was Not an Election Factor Anywhere in the United States (PDF)

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November 17th, 2016 at 4:30 pm

Posted in Politics

How Close Votes Influenced World Events

From November 19, 1916

how-close-votes-influenced-world-events

In the words of Homer Simpson after he didn’t cast a ballot in an election where the side he wanted lost by one vote: “Sure, like it would have mattered.”

This article details several times that elections or ballot measures came down to one vote, and the consequential results that followed. It’s hard to know how many of these are fully true, but some of them are rather startling. Take this one, which was certainly never taught in any history class I ever attended:

“Henry Clay cast the deciding vote in the Constitutional Convention which admitted Kentucky to the Union as a slave State. If Kentucky had entered the Union as a free State is is hardly doubtful that Missouri would have done the same, and it is conceivable that there might have been no Missouri Compromise, and perhaps even no civil war.”

How Close Votes Influenced World Events: The Sequels to Many Issues Which Were Decided by Single Votes – Are Our Methods of Consulting Public Opinion Faulty? (PDF)

 

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Written by Jesse

November 16th, 2016 at 4:24 pm

Posted in Politics

Barrie, Saddened by the War, Writes Little Now

From November 12, 1916

barrie-saddened-by-the-war-writes-little-now

Barrie, Saddened by the War, Writes Little Now: Famous Author of ‘Peter Pan’ Is More Shy and Elusive Than Ever Since the Struggle Began — Supports a Hospital in France (PDF)

I’ve had a long and complicated relationship with Peter Pan as a novel. I first read it in elementary school and found it magical, in fact it was one of my favorite books. I read it for the second time the week that I turned 18 and became an adult, at least in the eyes of the law. I still loved it but took a different lesson from the ending. (Spoiler alert for the next sentence or two.) Wendy, John, and Michael all go back to London from Neverland, bringing the Lost Boys with them, so that all the main child characters eventually grow up, but Peter himself remains forever a boy on the island. Instead of just a light fun harmless story as I found it in elementary school, I now saw the lesson as “Become an adult, but keep a little bit of childlike joy and wonder within yourself.”

The third time I read it was in 2014, shortly after the NBC live musical version aired. I was now fully an adult — a young adult maybe, but still an adult, no question about it. I came to dislike what I now perceived as the lesson, namely “Childhood is good, therefore adulthood is bad.” I agree that childhood is good, but that doesn’t mean the opposite of childhood is therefore bad. I had become an adult and loved many aspects of it — no more curfew, for one thing! I found the film Boyhood, released that same year, to be a much better and more meaningful fictional encapsulation of from the transition from childhood to adulthood.

But there’s still no denying that J.M. Barrie remains one of the few writers from the early 1900s who is still regularly read, thanks largely to Peter Pan. World War I hit the man extremely hard. Already shy and a little odd to begin with — as can be seen through Johnny Depp’s brilliant Oscar-nominated portrayal in the film Finding Neverland — Barrie’s godson George Llewelyn Davies was killed in action in 1915. George was one of the main inspirations for the Lost Boys characters, and his first name was used as the name of Wendy’s father in Barrie’s book and play.

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November 12th, 2016 at 4:53 pm

Posted in Literature,War

Viscount Kaneko Sounds Note of Warning

From November 12, 1916

viscount-kaneko-sounds-note-of-warning

Viscount Kaneko Sounds Note of Warning: He Fears That the Good Feeling Between Japan and America Is Losing Strength Because of the Vital Race Question (PDF)

In 1916, there was a worry that positive relations between the U.S. and Japan could be fraying. 35 years later, Japan attacked Pearl Harbor.

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November 11th, 2016 at 4:52 pm

Posted in Politics,War

How Europe Views Wilson and the Election

From November 5, 1916

how-europe-views-wilson-and-the-election

How Europe Views Wilson and the Election: Pleasant A. Stovall, Our Minister in Switzerland, Replies to Mr. Hughes and Describes Why People Abroad Favor Wilson (PDF)

Most people in Europe in 1916 were supporting the Democratic nominee for president. The more things change, the more they stayed the same. This summer, Pew Research Center found that 77 percent of Europeans expressed confidence in Barack Obama, 59 percent for Hillary Clinton, but only 9 percent did for Donald Trump:

Europeans express confidence in Obama and Clinton, but not Trump

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November 4th, 2016 at 3:30 pm

Posted in Politics

U.S. Leads in Financial Power

From November 5, 1916

u-s-leads-in-financial-power

U.S. Leads in Financial Power: To Say That Our Prosperity Rests on War Orders Is Indefensible, Declares Secretary of the Treasury (PDF)

Secretary of the Treasury William G. McAdoo — who later served as a U.S. senator from California in the 1930s — in 1916 penned this essay arguing that the U.S. had the strongest economy in the world. At the time, the U.S. was just emerging into contention for that title, and by a few years subsequently — and certainly by a few decades subsequently — there was no debate on the subject.

Interestingly, one of the facts that McAdoo uses to argue his case was that the U.S. possessed about $2.63 billion of gold at the time, or about one-third of the world’s gold. That would prove to be a significantly less important metric once Franklin Delano Roosevelt took the country off the gold standard in 1933.

This 1916 excerpt about that year’s presidential election, written by the Democratic Secretary of the Treasury, also contains some eerie parallels with Donald Trump and the 2008 financial crash and recession that began under George W. Bush’s administration:

Mr. Hughes [the Republican nominee] warns us that our prosperity is merely “temporary.” How does he know that it is? How can he foretell the future? The very assertion discredits him, because he assumes a power of infallible prophecy which belongs to God alone. He is a candidate for the Presidency, the prize for which some men in this country have been willing to sell their veracity and their souls. Mr. Hughes has no convincing issue. He has advanced no reason that appeals to the judgment of his fellow-citizens for turning President Wilson out and putting Mr. Hughes in. What must he do, therefore, to make an impression?

His one hope is to excite the fears of the American people and make them believe that he is the only man who can save them. Mr. Hughes cannot guarantee the prosperity or the future of the country. Neither can the Republican Party. The Roosevelt panic of 1907, the worst in our history, is conclusive proof of Republican incompetence.

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November 3rd, 2016 at 3:28 pm

Posted in Business

‘Movies’ and ‘War Game’ as Aids to Our Navy

From November 5, 1916

movies-and-war-game-as-aids-to-our-navy

‘Movies’ and ‘War Game’ as Aids to Our Navy: Rear Admiral Bradley A. Fiske Advocates Combining Former with Famed Kriegspiel to Develop American Naval Strategists (PDF)

Unlike any other century-old article that I’ve come across when running this website, this 1916 piece started off as though the writer figured it might be read a century subsequently:

“Historians of tomorrow may award the honor of having developed great American naval strategists to the “movies.” That sounds improbable now, but the improbability will be materially lessened if the shapers of our naval policies adopt suggestions contained in “The Navy as a Fighting Machine,” a new book by Rear Admiral Bradley A. Fiske…

Not ships, nor guns, nor men, but strategy is the prime requisite for successful naval warfare. Strategy must be worked out in peace times, long before the outbreak of war, in order to insure victory. The best way to develop naval strategists in peace times is through intense cultivation of the “Kriegspiel,” the famous “war game” played much in the manner of chess by German army officers ever since the days of von Moltke, and introduced a few years ago among the officers of the Germany Navy by Kaiser Wilhelm II. A good way to carry the method a step ahead is to “film” the various moves in a given “Kriegspiel” problem and project them on a screen, in order that they may be more easily understood by audiences composed of American naval officers.

Does anybody currently serving in the military know if this suggestion was ever adopted en masse by the U.S. military? I’d certainly never heard of it before. I just covered a talk given by Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus at the National Press Club a few weeks ago — clearly I should have asked him then.

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November 2nd, 2016 at 3:25 pm