Dissecting the Catholic Vote for FiveThirtyEight

Over at FiveThirtyEight, I'm taking a close look at a recent Pew survey of religious voters. More mass-going Catholics are planning to vote for Clinton than planned to support Obama four years ago, but it's not because Clinton won them over: Catholics who attend Mass weekly have increased their support for the Democratic nominee by 22 percentage points relative to 2012. They support Hillary Clinton at about the same rate as fallen-away Catholics; even though among white, non-Hispanic Catholics, … [Read more...]

My Good Catch Catches Them All

I've gone to Poland to speak at World Youth Day, so, in the meantime, I've got a few good posts from my fiancé to recommend. He's been alternately playing Pokemon Go and writing about the way its reenchanting the city for players.Even though I'm not playing, I'm still enjoying all the people I run into, and the fact that, unprompted, they'll tell me if there's a really cool Pokemon nearby, so I don't miss it.Alexi wrote about the way that looking at their phones prompts players to look … [Read more...]

Starving Laypeople of Devotion in Church

I just wrapped up (and really enjoyed) Eamon Duffy's The Stripping of the Altars: Traditional Religion in England, 1400-1580. One of the themes that jumped out at me were the ways laypeople were pushed aside during the English Reformation. Although Protestant reformers were ostensibly giving power to the ordinary people of the parish (though translations of the Mass and other reforms), by attacking traditional devotions, they cut parishioners off from the kinds of worship they had known and the … [Read more...]

Rational Faith: More working hypothesis than logical proof

Editors' Note: This article is part of the Patheos Public Square on Faith and Reason. Read other perspectives here.This month, Patheos asked bloggers to contribute to a Public Square symposium on the question “Is Faith Rational, Irrational, or Arational?" Since I used to work teaching Bayesian statistics for the Center for Applied Rationality and I'm now a statistician for FiveThirtyEight, I'm coming down firmly on the "Rational" side of this trilemma.But "rational" may not mean what you … [Read more...]

Why I’m a Statistician and Why I’m a Catholic

I got to do interviews with two great radio programs in the last few weeks. First up, I spoke to Matt King of Say That (past of his work for Mission: USA, an inner city mission in Chicago). We spoke about my coverage of sappy Christian hymns and how and why I work as a statistician.Say That, Ep 222 (I'm on at minute 37) I also got to talk with Patrick Coffin of Catholic Answers Focus about my conversion and my experience learning to pray as a beginner Catholic (from my … [Read more...]

Aunt Alberta And Being Right (but the boring way)

I've been rereading the Narnia series (in publication order) with a group of friends, and when we read The Voyage of the Dawn Treader last week, I was struck by how the transformation of the boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb (who almost deserved it!) is summarized in the final words of the book. Back in our own world everyone soon started saying how Eustace had improved, and how "You'd never know him for the same boy": everyone except Aunt Alberta, who said he had become very commonplace and t … [Read more...]

The Tony-Winning Guide To Temptation And Grace

Last Sunday, Lin-Manuel Miranda's Hamilton won 11 well-deserved Tony Awards, and, last week, I wrote an appreciation of the show for Aleteia. In keeping with Miranda's style, it's a mashup: the grace-filled story of Hamilton's adultery and the way he is forgiven paired with St. Therese of Liseux's advice for withstanding temptation. The choice he refused to acknowledge as a choice kept rippling out, leaving no part of his life undamaged. If Hamilton was tempted to despair at his own weakness b … [Read more...]


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