7 Quick Takes (2/18/11)


Earlier this week, I used an essay I had written about shame to talk about some of the ways that Christian metaphysics seem to match my ethics (part of a series of posts inspired by Chesterton).  I’m going to respond to a few of the questions on the most recent post, but it seems like interest/confusion is petering out.  If you have a question on those topics I haven’t answered, pleas comment this weekend, so I get the chance to respond.


Ok, so this is just totally bizarre.  There exists a paper in the academic journal Economics of Governance, which has the following abstract:

“This paper tries to explain the Catholic dogma of papal infallibility as a rational choice that virtually forecloses future doctrinal change and thereby triggers the adoption of more loyal behavior by church members. The paper employs a model of a dynamic game with incomplete information, called the Reform game, and shows that under some conditions, closing the game and credibly pre-committing to a single strategy through the dogma may be a superior choice for the Church. Then it is shown that the model fits well the historical circumstances of the enactment of the dogma. Finally, an analogy of the dogma with the scriptural literalism of fundamentalist religious groups is suggested.”

I have no words.


Actually, what it reminds me of is the time I read a game theory-based paper for my Civil War and Terrorism class in which the author (an economist) explained that suicide bombers could not exist because suicide bombing was an irrational choice for a utility maximizer.

When people misuse the tools of my discipline (political science) it upsets me alot.


No, not a typo.  Hyperbole and a Half (linked in my miscellaneous blogroll at right) introduced me to this gentle beast that is better than you at everything.  So maybe now you’ll understand why I like these craft projects alot.


Let me add, in defense of my discipline, that game theoretic analyses can be extremely useful.  It’s just a matter of determining an appropriate application.  Like this:

P.S. The series I’m returning to, if it turns out that Chesterton is played out, is my defense of covenant marriage.  Should be good prep for the debate the Yale Political Union will probably have later this semester on no-fault divorce.


I haven’t blogged about it yet, but I’ve been reading through the Bible as part of the project Bruce organized over at The King and I.  A bunch of people from different religious backgrounds are all reading through the King James Bible in a year, and he sets up comment threads for the daily block of chapters.  It’s a lot more interesting than looking through on my own, but is still a little baffling.  If you’re interested, or you’d like to be a data resource for atheists like me, check it out.


Or, if the challenge sounds interesting, but you just don’t have time to commit to reading the Bible,  might I suggest the Brick Testament?

No Logos, just legos.
[Seven Quick Takes is a blog carnival run by Jen of Conversion Diary]
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  • 2 – "Catholic dogma… rational choice"Basic fail. Heck, I am going to use the Net Present Value of heaven [infinity] in order to show that the 10% tithe is the bargain of the millennium.3 – "suicide bombing was an irrational choice for a utility maximizer"Actually, suicide bombing is a perfectly rational choice. The irrationality is in the setting of their expectations. They expect an eternity in paradise with all the utility that goes along with it, so it is perfectly rational to blow themselves up.5 – I wrote a small piece on MAD (which could do with an editor or re-writing…) http://thelogicalrant.blogspot.com/2008/08/why-mad-was-mad.html

  • 2- laugh laugh laugh laugh laugh7- I like the legos! (and the logos!)Happy Friday, Leah!