Death of Religion Predicted by Demographers Torturing Statistics

Because what's the use of a blog that brings together Christians and atheists if it doesn't take time to snark on bad science reporting/bad study methodology?  I like geeking out about this, but if it's not your cup of tea, never fear: the next post in queue covers the ex-gay lecture I mentioned I was attending on Friday.UPDATE: Thanks to Darksmiles for pointing out an error in this post.  I misread the scale of some of the graphs in this paper, since the study listed them as "percentages" i … [Read more...]

Drinking Death Upon Yourself

Patrick had an interesting observation on the comment thread of my post on jump discontinuities in identity (whether induced by prayer or otherwise): As for discontinuity of identity while asleep... I suffer that every night, and I suspect everyone else does too. I can't remember the moment of falling asleep. There is a period of time between laying down in bed and actually falling asleep that I experience every night, but which I am incapable of remembering. Likewise I have dreams but only … [Read more...]

Happy Pi Day!

I like the suggestion from the Dinosaur Comic below, and, may I suggest, if you'd like to celebrate twice a year, that you look into Mole Day?I am a tremendous fan, and dressed up as a knight errant serving mathematics for some Halloween in high school. All that's really needed for a knight's costume is a tunic, tights, a belt, and a sword. Sadly, I can't find any photos of my math sword, which had two steel rulers for a blade and a protractor for the crossguard.Teenaged me wishes you a … [Read more...]

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...]