Sunday Chess Problem

This past week has mostly been devoted to working on my magnum opus about mathematical anti-evolutionism. That has meant lots of frustrating hours staring at the computer trying to make words appear, coupled with many more annoying hours wading through poorly written creationist pseudomath. But miracles do happen, since I actually finished a first draft…

Sunday Chess Problem

This week we have very clever helpmate from Russian composer Viktor Chepizhny, that was published in the November 2014 issue of The Problemist magazine. The diagram below calls for helpmate in two. There are two solutions: Recall that in a helpmate black moves first and cooperates with white to contrive a position in which black…

What Does it Mean To Teach ID?

Lee McIntyre has a good article in The Chronicle of Higher Education. He is discussing the wholesale assault on truth in our culture: To see how we treat the concept of truth these days, one might think we just don’t care anymore. Politicians pronounce that global warming is a hoax. An alarming number of middle-class…

The Cambrian Explosion

After publishing Among the Creationists back in 2011, I started to lose interest in the evolution/creationism issue. I felt like I said what I wanted to say (at least to the handful of people who read the book) and that it was time to move on to other things. Besides, ten years on ID does…

Sunday Chess Problem

For the past two weeks we have looked at calm, sane direct mate problems. Good stuff, but it’s time to mix it up a little. So this week we return to the crazy world of fairy chess. We shall consider a relatively new fairy condition called “Take and Make,” which has taken the problem world…

After writing yesterday’s post, I found I was still muttering about Michael Ruse’s paper. So I thought to myself, why should I just rant here at the blog? How about I get down to business and write a proper journal article about it? Mentally I started doing just that. To my surprise, I found the…

Philosopher Michael Ruse has an article in the current issue of the academic journal Zygon. It is called, “Why I Am an Accommodationist and Proud Of It.” In it, he proposes to defend the notion that science and religion are simply independent of one another, and therefore cannot really be in conflict. The article is…

Coyne in DC

Jerry Coyne is is on tour for his new book Fact Versus Faith: Why Science and Religion Are Incompatible. That title’s a little vague. What do you suppose the book’s about? It turns out that he was making a stop in Washington DC. Since that’s not so far from my digs in Harrisonburg, I decided…

Sunday Chess Problem

I’m a little pressed for time today, so for this week’s chess problem I’ve selected one of those old-fashioned efforts whose only point is a shocking key move. The following position was composed by Sam Loyd in 1868 and calls for mate in two: Of course, white’s force is so overwhelming that were this a…

John Nash Has Died

In less happy news, there is this: John Forbes Nash Jr., a mathematical genius whose struggle with schizophrenia was chronicled in the 2001 movie “A Beautiful Mind,” has died along with his wife in a car crash on the New Jersey Turnpike. He was 86. Nash and Alicia Nash, 82, of Princeton Township, were killed…

Good News From Ireland

A large majority of voters have approved gay marriage: Ireland’s citizens have voted in a landslide to legalize gay marriage, electoral officials announced Saturday–a stunningly lopsided result that illustrates what Catholic leaders and rights activists alike called a “social revolution.” Friday’s referendum saw 62.1 percent of Irish voters say “yes” to changing the nation’s constitution…

Sunday Chess Problem

This week we have a straightforward direct mate problem for you. It was composed by Raffi Rupin in 1961, and calls for mate in four: A quick look at the diagram shows that white has three potential mates that almost work: Ra3, Nc5, Ra7. Currently, though, none of these work. The rook on b3 is…

Philosopher Graham Oppy, whose book Arguing About Gods is well worth reading, has written an interesting survey of work by atheist philosophers over the last sixty years. Here’s a taste: The last sixty years have been a very fertile period for academic atheist philosopher critiques of theistic arguments. Among large-scale works that have attempted to…

Sunday Chess Problem

I have been shamefully derelict in my Sunday Chess Problem responsibilities. But that ends now! To get us back into the swing of things, I have selected one of my own. The following diagram calls for selfmate in five: This was published in the June 1992 issue of the British Chess Magazine. It later received…

My Oven Has Died

It’s been very hectic around here recently. In addition to the usual end of semester craziness, there’s been one thing after another to fill my time. The book I’ve been editing forever had a major deadline last Monday, which pretty well killed that weekend. This past weekend was occupied by the MAA section meeting in…