Archives for March, 2011

Via the Monkey Cage, a study which used an interesting survey technique to assess just how wingnutty the teabaggers really are. They did a survey focusing on issues involving race and politics, especially in states where Tea Party candidates did well last November, and along the way managed to tease out some important differences between…

What is religion?

In the course of talking about other things, Jason Rosenhouse raises a tricky issue: Fundamentalists are rightly excoriated for pretending that theirs is the only acceptable form of religion. But it is hardly an improvement when academics suggest that real religion is high-minded and metaphorical and intellectually deep, with the more commonplace version being a…

The vermin only teaze and pinch Their foes superior by an inch. So, naturalists observe, a flea Has smaller fleas that on him prey; And these have smaller still to bite ‘em, And so proceed ad infinitum. Jonathan Swift, “On Poetry: A Rhapsody” There’s so much to love about this story from Nature News. While…

Point, Coyne-terpoint

Jerry Coyne then: Rules for life: If two friends tell you the same thing about yourself, it’s probably true. Jerry Coyne now: thinks the several friends saying the same thing about him must be wrong: more Gnu Atheist-bashing from fellow atheists… inspired by Michael Ruse’s rants equating Gnus with Tea Partiers… Jacques Berlinerbrau at the…

Exactly the same

Shorter Longer PZ Myers: Why are we bombing Libya?: I don’t see any difference between Barack Obama responded to a request by the Arab League, endorsed by the United Nations, to establish a no-fly zone with a clear end-game and limited engagement which will prevent Gadhafi from murdering his people and allow a legitimate popular…

In my twitter feed, I commented briefly on the election results in Egypt. The vote was on a package of constitutional reforms. As I understand it, more liberal Egyptians opposed the amendments because they wanted more wholesale reform of the constitution. But the amendments passed overwhelmingly. I noted: 18.5 million votes were cast in #egypt,…

The problem of evil has become a topic of discussion again. I don’t think I’ve blogged about theodicy in any depth since 2006, so I guess it’s time to take it up again. In brief, the problem of evil is classically posed as a question of why evil should exist in the world if there…

Mike the Mad Biologist weighs in on a debate Brad Delong has been curating, about the status of economics as a science. Noting that examples from biology are being introduced as comparisons for economics, Mike writes: It really does matter: if economists are going to use biology as a model for their discipline, we need…

Kevin Drum reports on an essay by James Heckman that would be depressing if it weren’t predictable. The basic idea is expressed in this graph: Drum summarizes: The chart shows achievement test scores for children of mothers with different levels of education. Children of college graduates score about one standard deviation above the mean by…

Theda Skocpol says it’s Time for National Greatness Liberalism: America needs a National Greatness Liberalism — a brawny brand of politics that makes a tough-minded argument about what it will take from our government and democratic politics to regain our national economic strength and rebuild a broad, secure, and innovative middle class. Our national military…