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.

The Script

Among those who argue that science and religion are compatible, there is a standard script that goes like this: In the late nineteenth century, John William Draper and Andrew Dickson White published, respectively, History of the Conflict Between Science and Religion and A History of the Warfare of Science With Theology in Christendom. In doing…

Coyne and Moran On Teaching ID

Jerry Coyne liked yesterday’s post about teaching ID. I do just want to clarify one point, though. Coyne writes: Jason has a good point. And that point is that although it’s illegal (as well as dereliction of duty) to teach intelligent design creationism in public schools and universities, it is okay to criticize it, for…

Sunday Chess Problem

After our recent excursions into the wacky world of selfmates, it’s time to get back to saner fare. This week’s problem was composed by Milan Vukcevich, who is a strong contender for greatest problem composer ever. This problem calls for Mate in Three: Recall that when we write down chess moves, we label the vertical…

This one requires some set-up. Eric Hedin is an assistant professor of physics at Ball State University. Last year, he was accused of teaching intelligent design, and of making disparaging remarks about non-Christian religions, in a science seminar that he was teaching. Some students complained, and the situation came to the attention of Jerry Coyne.…

Sunday Chess Problem

Last week I introduced the idea of Allumwandlung, abbreviated AUW. This refers to a problem in which all four pawn promotions, to queen, rook, bishop and knight, appear in some way. The problem I showed last week was a crystal clear illustration of the theme, and deservedly won second place in the annual selfmate tourney…

Now Available!

Check it out! “ My new book Four Lives: A Celebration of Raymond Smullyan has just been released by Dover Publications. Don’t know who Raymond Smullyan is? Well, buy the book and find out! Or you can read his Wikipedia page. Smullyan is best known for his many books of logic puzzles, but he has…

The Big Carroll vs. Craig Debate

We just had our second straight snow day around here (in a winter that has already had a lot of snow days). That did provide me with some unexpected free time, which I used to watch the big debate between Sean Carroll and William Lane Craig. All two and a quarter hours of it! Click…

Sunday Chess Problem

Throughout this series I have endeavored to bring to your attention some of the major themes that problem composers use. So far, though, there is one big one that has not been featured. I am referring to Allumwandlung, typically abbreviated AUW. This is a German word that translates loosely as “All conversion.” To chess composers…

Hatchet Jobs

The book review I discussed in Wednesday’s post is an example of a “hatchet job.” This is a literary form in which the goal is not merely to criticize an opponent’s work, but to show that it is utterly worthless. Hatchet jobs are often marked by large amounts of snark and snideness, often at the…

Ye Olde Problem of Evil

I sometimes write about the relationship of the problem of evil to evolution. Darwinian natural selection is a rather unpleasant business, you see, making you wonder why a loving God would employ it as his method of creation. My experience with anti-evolutionists has been that this is a point of special concern for them. Virtually…

Desperately Seeking Scientism

Upon surveying the American landscape these days, it’s hard to believe that an over-reliance on science is something we need to worry about. That hasn’t stopped some in the humanities from manufacturing the entirely fictitious threat of “scientism.” It’s a hard term to pin down, since it is seldom defined the same way twice, but…

Saletan vs. Myers on Nye vs. Ham

It’s time to get caught up on a few things. The Nye/Ham debate attracted reams of commentary, some of it sensible, some not so much. Two of the sillier entries came from William Saletan over at Slate He’s very worked up about Bill Nye’s claim that creationism poses a threat to our scientific future. Saletan…

Sunday Chess Problem

Regular blogging will resume next week, once I have finished digging out from the pile of work that didn’t get done during my recent travels. But since Sunday Chess Problem waits for nobody, I’ve picked out a tasty little morsel for you. One of my favorite motifs in chess is that of a fortress draw.…

A Review of Questioning Darwin

I’ve had a chance now to watch Questioning Darwin. Twice. Short review: I liked it quite a bit. Now for the long review. I’m obviously a bit partial, since this film represents my television debut! I was one of the talking heads interviewed in the film, and it was a thrill to be in the…

Questioning Darwin

Blogging is likely to be light for the next week or so. I’m gearing up for some traveling, starting at the end of the week. On Thursday I’ll leave for Chicago, to participate in the annual AAAS Conference. Over the weekend I will be in Parsippany, New Jersey to participate in the annual chess extravaganza…