Jason Rosenhouse received his PhD in mathematics from Dartmouth College in 2000. He subsequently spent three years as a post-doc at Kansas State University. Currently he is Associate Professor of Mathematics at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, VA. This blog is about science, religion, math, politics and chess, roughly in that order.

A Few More Words About Morality

You really must check in on the big morality discussion over at Uncommon Descent. Barry Arrington has done another post on the subject. It’s just more snarling and buffoonery, but I do suggest browsing the comments. RDFish, the “idiot” who caused Arrington’s latest fit of apoplexy, has shown extraordinary patience and lucidity in responding point…

I occasionally check in with the pro-ID blog Uncommon Descent, on the off chance they may have said something interesting. Sadly, the blog has mostly fallen on hard times. Nowadays it’s mostly just post after post whose only point is to demean and insult people, or to proffer absurd misunderstandings of thermodynamics. Sometimes, though, they…

The Dramatic Conclusion of POTW

I have now posted the final POTW for the semester. That’s right! After this, there will no more POTWs until September. So go have a look, and tell me what you think.

Sunday Chess Problem

Okay, I’m back from Tennessee. The talk went pretty well, and the conference was a lot of fun. So let’s celebrate with another installment of Sunday Chess Problem! Our last entry featured a series mover. It seemed to be well-received, and they happen to be fairly easy to blog. So let’s try another one! The…

To Tennessee!

I’ll be heading off to Knoxville, Tennessee on Friday afternoon. Saturday morning I will be giving the big keynote talk at an undergraduate research conference at the University of Tennessee. Do you think maybe I’ll be talking about the Monty Hall problem? I think maybe I will! So, if you’re going to be in the…

On Bad Writing

One of the many problems with the essay discussed in yesterday’s post is that it was poorly written. Finnis and George seemed to go out of their way to be as unclear as possible, frequently choosing tortured, ambiguous phrasings when clearer options were readily at hand. This is something of an occupational hazard among academics,…

Penultimate POTW!

Okay folks. The ninth Problem of the Week has now been posted. Only one more after this, so enjoy them while they last. I’ve also posted an “official” solution to Problem Eight, so feel free to have a look at that as well.

It’s been complete bedlam at my house lately. I made one of my periodical forays into cultural Judaism this past weekend by hosting a Passover seder. My parents, my brother and sister-in-law and their two kids (ages eight and ten) and some friends, eleven in all, packed into my small house. It was a lot…

POTW 8

Sorry, I just realized I never got around to posting the link to the new Problem of the Week. I’ve generally been impressed with the comments that have been left on previous POTWs, so hopefully folks will find this one interesting as well. I think it’s a little bit easier than the last two, but…

Sunday Chess Problem

I had originally picked out another Circe problem for your enjoyment this week. However, this particular problem was in the genre of “series” movers, and it occurred to me that I had never shown you one of those before. I didn’t want your first one to be the rather complex affair I had selected. So,…

The Vacuity of “Natural Law”

In this recent essay at The New York Times, philosopher Gary Gutting argues that the Catholic Church should reconsider its ban on gay sex and its opposition to gay marriage, for explicitly Catholic reasons. He is especially critical of “natural law” arguments against homosexuality. It’s mostly a sensible essay, I think, but it is not…

John Urschel Does Math

My main line of research is in algebraic graph theory. In particular I am interested in the eigenvalue spectra of Laplacians on graphs. Those don’t often get mentioned over at HuffPo, so I raised an eyebrow when I saw this: A mathematician by the name of John Urschel recently published a complex paper in the…

New Problem Of the Week

As you might have noticed, Sunday Chess Problem had the week off. If you really need to get your fix, though, you can have a look at this web page I made for my chess problems. You’ll recognize a few of them from the Sunday Chess Problem series. I did, however, manage to get the…

Secondlawapalooza has broken out over at Uncommon Descent, with a series of posts trying one more time to convince the thinking world that either evolution or abiogenesis violates the second law of thermodynamics. They are unmoved by the fact that the violation exists only in their minds. One recent post, by Eric Anderson, is entitled,…

Problem Of the Week Returns!

School has started up again, and so has Problem Of the Week! Problem six has now been posted. As I’ve mentioned, in the second half of the semester the problems get a bit harder. But have a go at it anyway, and feel free to leave solutions in the comments.