Archives for November, 2006

Blame the Iraqis

Here’s Bill O’Reilly expressing the latest bit of wisdom from the American Right: The problem in Iraq is not American. The problem is the Iraqis themselves. They’re not fighting for their freedom in a way that puts the bad keys on the defensive. There is only so much the USA can do. If the Iraqi…

Kramnik vs. Deep Fritz

Vladimir Kramnik will receive a lengthy section in any book devoted to history’s greatest chess players. He’s been a top grandmaster for close to twnety years. He defeated the seemingly invincible Gary Kasparov in a straight-up match. He has successfully defended his title twice, both times coming from behind. So try to imagine the sting…

Moran on Miller

That last post notwithstanding, I do think Larry Moran deserves criticism for one thing. He has been very unfair to Ken Milller. For example, in this post Moran writes: The Neville Chamberlain Atheists object when Behe talks about intelligent design but mum’s the word when Ken Miller talks about how God tweaks mutations to get…

Moran, Myers, Brayton and Hayes

Okay, I’m back. Did I miss anything? Other than the giant kerfuffle between Larry Moran and P.Z. Myers on the one hand and Ed Brayton and Pat Hayes et al, on the other, that is. Things started with this post, from Moran, on the subject of a recent lecture by philosopher Robert Pennock at UCSD.…

Brief Blog Break

I will be travelling for the next ten days or so. First up is the big Math Symposium at Western Kentucky University, this Friday. I will be delivering two scintallating, edge-of-your seats barn-burners, both aimed at undergraduates. One will be on primes in arithmetic progressions, the other will be on using Bayes’ Theorem to illustrate…

Agnosticism, Follow-Up

John Wilkins has offered this reply to my criticism of his earlier essay on the subject of agnosticism. Well worth reading, even though I sitll think he’s wrong. He seems to think that in order to be justified in asserting “X does not exist” you must be able to prove that X, indeed, does not…

Wilkins on Dawkins

For the final installment of my Dawkins series, let’s have a look at what my SciBling, John Wilkins has to say. In this post, Wilkins takes issue with Dawkins’ discussion of agnosticism. Dawkins believes that agnosticism is unjustified fence-sitting. Wilkins thinks Dawkins is wrong. I’m with Dawkins. Let’s have a look at the details. Wilkins…

Spider-Man 3

I’m not in the mood for a long blog entry today, so allow me simply to echo Orac’s thoughts on the debut of the trailer for Spider-Man 3. It does, indeed, appear that it will rock. The feature villain this time around is Sandman. I always liked him in the comic books. As I recall,…

Nagel on Dawkins

Philosopher Thomas Nagel reviewed Dawkins’ book for The New Republic. Sadly, the review does not seem to be freely available online. Nagel begins with the standard talking points about Dawkins working outside his field of expertise and about how contemptuous he is of religion. After a few hundred words of this, he gets down to…

Advice to the Dems

One of the main themes coming from the punditocracy in the wake of yesterday’s election is that the Democrats are making a mistake if they think anyone likes them. This was strictly an anti-Bish result, apparently. If Demcrats start following those lunatic lefty impulses they’re prone too, they’ll quickly find the country rebelling against them.…

Short Takes on the Election

Some initial reactions to the election results: Last night’s Democratic landslide is complete, 100%, unambiguous good news. P.Z. manages to see the cloud rather than the silver lining. Not me. Even the fact that I was grading papers during much of yesterday evening could not get the smile off my face. Hillary Clinton won with…

Robocalls

From TAPPED: Our own Alec Oveis, who sadly left the Prospect few months ago, calls in from Connecticut, where he’s volunteering on behalf of Chris Murphy (one of Tom’s “Dropkick Murphys” positioned to defeat GOP incumbents this year). He reports that voter fury over robocalls is amazing and palpable at the polling site he’s near.…

Perfect Numbers

I’ll return to my Dawkins series later in the week. But after all our exertions recently trying to resolve the mysteries of the universe, I find myself in the mood for a straight math post. So, inspired by some comments from this post, let’s talk about perfect numbers. A number is said to be perfect…

New CSICOP Column

My new essay for CISCOP’s Creation and ID Watch site is now up. This time: Who Designed the Designer? There’s a reason it’s a classic!

The Kerry Flap

Speaking of grotesque misrepresentations of people’s words, a few thoughts about the Kerry flap. Here is what Kerry said to students at Pasadena City College: You know, education, if you make the most of it, you study hard, you do your homework and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well. If…