Theology nerds (who are also generally nerds) come to Toronto!

I had a great time last year at Doxacon DC, a day of talks, revelry, and occasional cosplay for people who are deeply interested in both Christianity and fantasy/science fiction. So I'm thrilled to tell you that I'll be the keynote speaker this fall for Doxacon Toronto (and that my now-fiancé, then-husband will be giving a talk on "Authority and the Marvel Cinematic Universe" there, too).I'll be speaking on Chesterton, Lewis and Card on Worldbuilding and Our Tolerance of MysteryI'll be … [Read more...]

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...]

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...]

Christian Pop Is Oh So Peppy

Over at my day job, I've done an analysis of contemporary Christian music and traditional shape-note hymns. I took a look at the last five years of Billboard’s year-end top 50 Christian songs1 to see whether Christian pop is unrelentingly cheerful. I looked at pairs of concepts across the entire collection of lyrics2 (life and death, grace and sin, etc.)3 and calculated the ratio of positive to negative words. For every pair I checked, positive words were far more common than negative o … [Read more...]

Running the Stats on Shakespeare!

Shakespeare's 400th death day comes up this weekend, so I've done some analysis for FiveThirtyEight on which of his plays wind up taught outside English class (and offered a few recommendations of my own): Psychology students most often encounter Shakespeare’s great madmen: King Lear and Hamlet. Perhaps they’re the ones to blame for the more sexualized stagings of Hamlet’s confrontation with his mother. Oedipal productions of the play are such a trope that, in Jasper Fforde’s modern lit-nerd com … [Read more...]

I’m Speaking in NYC on Fights and Statistics

I have two speaking gigs coming up in New York City, if you're in town or have friends who are interested in arguments, statistics or both!  Theology on Tap: "Fighting in Good Faith" April 11, 7:30p121 W 45th St, New York, NY 10036How to avoid "agreeing to disagree" while still engaging with curiosity and love.  World Communications Day: "Counting Catholics: A Guide to Telling the Truth With Statistics" May 11, 2:10p333 Adams Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201Making … [Read more...]