The Body and Buggy Software

Christian of The Thinking Grounds has posted a new installment in his series on defining the body.  His focus this go-round is on debunking the idea that the body can be simply defined as that which is obedient to our will.  He goes through a couple of examples of bodies that are subject to limited control but are still accepted as ours, including bodies stricken by paralysis, conjoined twins and two-headed snakes, or involuntary physical motions.I'm still deciding whether I actually dis … [Read more...]

Fast and Loose with Family Facts

First Things has started a new online feature I enjoy called "Family Facts." The series is described as "an occasional series of data presentations about family and religious practice and analysis of their role in maintaining civil society."  Given how much I love data and data visualization, I'm delighted.I'm not so delighted with the most recent installment on who children live with.  Here's the chart:See that note on the side, where it says "Figures for 1961 to 1967 have been i … [Read more...]


I've been travelling, so you'll have to wait until this afternoon for meaty new content, but, I had to share one quick thing.  While away, I went trawling through a going-out-of-business Borders, trying to find some quality, discounted books.  I didn't really succeed, in large part because terrible paranormal romances seem to have taken over all the shelf space.  (Where are E. Nesbit and Edward Eager?)  It's terrible to see the spawn of Twilight have taken over the YA section, but this is truly … [Read more...]

Living on a Prayer

I really want to reply to Alex Knapp, especially since he's already found the time to respond to Rust Belt Philosophy's critique of both me and Knapp, but I've been trying to prep for three exams, and two presentations all occurring in the space of two and a half day, so not so much on my end.I'm still not up to doing a big post on consequentialism, so I thought I'd share a little of my coursework to tide you over.  My epidemiology methods class read a well-known paper from 1999 called "A … [Read more...]

Bonus Reading!

My 7 Quick Takes today was all about football and concussions, but if you're not all tuckered out yet, there's another good article in the sports section of The New York Times.  Alan Schwartz looks at the different concussion policies implemented by the Packers and the Steelers, so that's a possible way to choose who to root for on Saturday, (that is, if you aren't using the also-popular guide of voting for the team with fewer incidents of sexual assault).In non-football news, Elisabeth … [Read more...]

This is NOT How Evolution Works

But it's a good primer in some of the most common mistakes from people who are semi-literate in the relevant sciences, so I'm going to go through the problems from a recent post ("Less Mature by Age") by Robin Hanson at Overcoming Bias.The Background Data:Hanson found an article from the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology that suggested that, although there is an overall positive correlation between age and psychosocial maturity, this trend reverses during the teenage years. … [Read more...]

Secret Santas on Christmas Day

I was going to post Tim Minchin's "White Wine in the Sun" for Christmas but I was a little abashed after reading No Forbidden Questions prediction that the song would show up on every atheist blog today.  It is a lovely song about a secular holiday, so feel free to click the link above or watch the video on any other atheist blog.But, as a bonus, I'll link you to a video at the New York Times that tells a heartwarming story of a couple that mysteriously recieved hundreds of letters addressed … [Read more...]