Archives for October, 2006

Robinson on Dawkins

Pulitzer Prize winning novelist Marilynne Robinson wrote this lengthy review of The God Delusion for Harpers Magazine. She was unimpressed. The review weighs in at 4599 words, but you’ll find yourself almost a thousand words in before hitting anything substantive about Dawkins’ book. Prior to that it’s just a lot of snideness about how seriously…

Krauss on Dawkins

Physicist Lawrence Krauss wrote Nature‘s review of The God Delusion. The review itself is mixed: strong praise for parts of the book, exasperated criticism for others. But the following two paragraphs are what caught my eye: Dawkins the preacher is less seductive. And make no mistake: this book is, for the most part, a well-referenced…

Dawkins Week at EvolutionBlog!

The reviews of Richard Dawkins’ The God Delusion are coming in, and they are mostly negative. That was predictable. Everyone knows, after all, that Dawkins is just one of those fanatical, frothing at the mouth atheists, who doesn’t understand that religion is a beautiful and complex thing, despite the excesses of many of its practitioners.…

Kinsley on Foley

My cute little house looked a lot better before my meager possessions were strewn aimlessly across every flat surface. It didn’t help that this was an unusually busy week at work. I did, however, manage to catch this spot-on essay from Michael Kinsley, at Slate. He writes: Here in Washington, we’re all competing to see…

Moving Day and a Math Conference

There’s a big pile of bloggable items sitting on my desk, but they will have to wait. I will be moving in to my new house tomorrow! Very exciting. We are also hosting an undergraduate mathematics research conference here at JMU this weekend, and I am organizing one of the sessions. Which is my way…

Cline vs. Woit

As an amusing follow-up to Friday’s post, have a look at this lengthy op-ed from McGill University physicist Jim Cline, in The Ottawa Citizen. Here’s an excerpt: Why is it that string theory has become such a favoured paradigm? Have theoretical physicists deluded themselves? Have they been pressured by social forces to blind themselves to…

Greene on String Theory

As several other SB’ers have already noted, physicist Brian Greene offers this defense of string theory in today’s New York Times. He concludes: I have worked on string theory for more than 20 years because I believe it provides the most powerful framework for constructing the long-sought unified theory. Nonetheless, should an inconsistency be found,…

Navier-Stokes Still Open

On October 2, Nature published this news brief about a claim of a solution to the Navier-Stokes equations: A buzz is building that one of mathematics’ greatest unsolved problems may have fallen. Blogs and online discussion groups are spreading news of a paper posted to an online preprint server on 26 September. This paper, authored…

An amusing item from CNN: Kids who are turned off by math often say they don’t enjoy it, they aren’t good at it and they see little point in it. Who knew that could be a formula for success? The nations with the best scores have the least happy, least confident math students, says a…

The Legion of Doom

Check out this photograph. It’s Bush meeting with a truly odious collection of sycophants and lickspittles: Sean Hannity, Michael Medved, Neal Boortz, Laura Ingraham, and Michael Gallagher. Gallagher is the only one of the bunch with whom I’m unfamiliar, but his inclusion in this photograph tells me everything I need to know about him. It’s…

Kuo on Hardball

David Kuo, author of the new book Tempting Faith: An Inside Story of Political Seduction, appeared on the MSNBC show Hardball last night. It was a strange interview. I’ve not yet read Kuo’s book, but his main point seems to be that the Bush administration simply uses evangelical voters as a ready source of votes,…

This is Addicitive…

Just move the little horsey to all of the unpainted squares. But don’t be too impressed if you clear the early levels with little difficulty. It gets hard in a hurry. So far I haven’t managed to get past level 11. My wrist is too sore right now to try again!

Dembski on Groupthink

It’s a been a while since I checked in with Dembski and Co. over at Uncommon Descent. But this entry caught my eye. In it, Dembski reproduces eight criteria indicative of groupthink. He writes, “Read the following and ask yourself which side in the ID vs. Darwinism debate exhibits the groupthink syndrome:” So what the…

Evolution vs. Lit Crit. (Part Two)

We continue now with our discussion of Brian Boyd’s article, “Getting it All Wrong,” from the Autumn 2006 issue of The American Scholar. Click here for Part One. We have already seen Boyd’s characterization of modern literary criticism as resting on two pillars: Anti-foundationalism and difference. The former refers to the lack of a secure…

House!

In other news, I closed on my first house today. Very cool!