Commentaries

If you're a regular listener to NPR news programs, you're probably familiar with the occasional brief commentary during the morning or evening news programs by experts in various fields; people providing insight into public affairs, observations on the arts, and thoughts on how we live. This page contains transcripts and/or audio recordings of local commentaries that have aired on WYSU.


Jim Abbott

Published: Sep 13, 2012
Commentator: Tom Shipka
Transcript:

In September 1967 in Detroit, Mike Abbott and Kathy Adams, recent high school graduates, welcomed Jim, their first child, into the world. Their marriage, fifteen days later, was subdued because Jim was born without a right hand. (1) With the help of their parents, Mike and Kathy overcame their doubts about their ability to raise a child with a handicap and helped Jim cope with challenges galore – putting on his clothes, tying his shoes, (2) blending in with peers, coping with jokes and insults, and opting for perseverance over self-pity. (3)

Read more and listen

Free Will

Published: Jul 19, 2012
Commentator: Tom Shipka
Transcript:

As I collapse into my recliner to watch a network newscast, I recall the ones available, and then, without coercion, I consciously select the one I want. In other words, my choice is free. Or is it? Let's see if an experiment will tell us. Suppose that Sue, a scientist, instructs me to look at pictures on a screen and to press a button with my right or left hand within five seconds after a sailboat appears. Suppose, further, that while I'm doing this, Sue uses a neuroimaging device to track the activity in the prefrontal cortex of my brain.

Read more and listen

Abundance

Published: Jun 28, 2012
Commentator: Tom Shipka
Transcript:

People who gush with hope and optimism about the future are few and far between. One of them is Peter Diamandis, a fifty-one year old aerospace engineer and medical doctor, who gives us an upbeat assessment in his book, Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think.

Read more and listen

Bertrand Russell, Prophet

Published: Mar 8, 2012
Commentator: Tom Shipka
Transcript:

In 1929 Bertrand Russell published a book entitled Marriage and Morals (1) which brought an outcry from traditional moralists. What did he say which infuriated so many? Here are nine of his key points.

Read more and listen

John Dewey on Religion

Published: Feb 16, 2012
Commentator: Tom Shipka
Transcript:

The year was 1934. In his new book, A Common Faith, (1) John Dewey assured his readers that traditional religion was drifting into oblivion and that it would soon be a matter of interest only to history buffs. Given Dewey's stature, this assessment deserved attention.

Read more

Michael Shermer, Skeptic

Published: Jan 19, 2012
Commentator: Tom Shipka
Transcript:

Michael Shermer is a psychologist, historian of science, columnist for Scientific American, and public intellectual. (1) His most recent book is entitled The Believing Brain: From Ghosts and Gods to Politics and Conspiracies – How We Construct Beliefs and Reinforce Them as Truths. (2) It draws from extensive research over the past thirty years.

Read more and listen

Marriage in America

Published: Jul 28, 2011
Commentator: Tom Shipka
Transcript:

When Marriage Disappears is the title of a recent study on the status of marriage in America. (1) According to the study, marriage is "stable" in only one segment of our society - the highly-educated - which comprises about 30% of the population. (p. ix) (2) In the rest of society, marriage is on life support - the divorce rate is high, the number of unwed mothers continues to grow, cohabitation has skyrocketed, fewer children live with both of their parents, and satisfaction with marriage is declining. (p. 14) Let's focus on each.

Read more and listen

Rob Bell

Published: Jul 14, 2011
Commentator: Tom Shipka
Transcript:

Rob Bell is a charismatic 40-year old pastor of the Mars Hill Bible Church in Grandville, Michigan, which attracts over 10,000 people for Sunday services, and which "emphasizes discussion rather than dogmatic teaching." (1) Although Bell was well-known in religious circles before the publication this year of his latest book, (2) Love Wins, this book has catapulted him into a pastoral rock star. (3) His celebrity was sealed when Time magazine did a cover story on him in the April 25th issue this year.

Read more and listen

The Class of '61

Published: Jul 4, 2011
Commentator: Tom Shipka
Transcript:

On a recent weekend, the Ursuline High School Class of 1961 gathered at a reunion to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of our graduation. During four events – a social Friday night, a tour of the school Saturday afternoon, a banquet Saturday night, and a brunch Sunday - we got reacquainted with one another, we reminisced, and, of course, we gauged the impact of the years on one another. If I had to pick one word to characterize the weekend, it would be change.

Read more and listen

James Haught

Published: Apr 20, 2011
Commentator: Tom Shipka
Transcript:

In a new book entitled Fading Faith – The Rise of the Secular Age, (1)James A. Haught proposes that there is a significant decline in religion in the developed nations. (2) In France, for instance, less than 7% of adults attend church regularly. In Denmark and Sweden the figure drops to 5%. Across Europe only 15% of adults attend church. In England, the percentage of children attending Sunday School dropped from 50% in 1900 to 4% in 2000.

Read more and listen

Pages

Subscribe to Commentaries