From the year 2011

nuclear power and rational choice
in Politics, Science

Recent events in Japan should NOT change anybody’s position on nuclear power. It is worth taking a moment to learn about how risks are calculated and how to make rational decisions, to understand why this is the case. In economics, and decision theory in general, a choice is a rational one to make if the […]

more, not less
in Politics

Liberals are saying that the hearings about “scary radical Muslims” should be stopped. They are wrong. Instead, they should be supporting those hearings… and calling for hearings on “scary radical Christians” as well. The answer to prejudice and stupidity is always more conversation, not less. If you don’t like the point of view that some […]

the homeless man and you
in Personal Stuff, Politics

I talked to a frightened mammal today. His tail was between his legs. Maybe it was you. I saw him before he approached me, actually. Hovering nervously next to the building where they sell the lottery tickets and 5-hour energy shots. The drab overcoat and week’s worth of scruff weren’t as telling as his body-language. […]

the argument from efficiency
in Politics

When someone tells you that unions, regulations and taxes are “inefficient” and “bad for business”, you should remember what they are really telling you: having a middle class is a waste of resources. Every conservative in the public eye has latched on to the same argument for how to run government: business efficiency. Do what […]

lying with statistics 101
in Politics, Science

Nothing could be more basic or obvious than telling someone: “star-bellied sneetches get paid more than plain-bellied sneetches.” Everyone knows what that means. It means that on average, if you’re a star-bellied sneetch, then you are doing better. It means that you have an advantage. It could mean that you are being paid more than […]

news or education?
in Culture, Science

CNN passed up a great opportunity to get people to think. It passed up a chance to educate people. But I guess that isn’t what news is for. CNN believes that its job is to present a snapshot of society. Society does something, and CNN reports it. Society thinks something, and CNN reports it. It […]

the will of the people
in Politics, Science

What percentage of a population has to feel a certain way for it to be “the will of the people”? Half? Maybe two thirds, just to be safe? How can you tell what the bulk of a population feels? We read that as much as 1% of the population of Egypt (by generous estimates) is […]

Taxes, Fees, and Candy Bars
in Politics

I’d like to present three arguments for why taxes are an illusion, government spending is a psychological problem not an economic one, and the money on your paycheck was never yours to begin with. Argument 1:You walk into a candy store with a dollar in your pocket. You walk down the aisle to find a […]

The right to not be hollered at
in Politics

The recent denial of entry to the United Kingdom Pastor for Terry Jones provides a perfect opportunity to discuss—again—what we mean when we talk about “rights.” It also highlights a deep underlying irony (some would say: hypocrisy) in the conservative movement in the United States. Let’s start by mentioning the thing about which liberals and […]

Why do liberals hate science?
in Politics, Science

Liberals criticize conservatives for being anti-science. But some liberals are just as anti-science… people just don’t call it that. And that has to change. I would like you to take a look at a recent article called “Is it Food?” It’s cute, it’s meant to be funny, and it’s well-meaning. It presents a humorous little […]

Conservative Strategy
in Politics

“The liberals are destroying America. If we don’t do something to stop them, everything this country stands for will be gone. They are passing unconstitutional laws. They hate the constitution. You love the constitution. That means they hate you. We have to stop them. We need to be armed and dangerous. We need to take […]

Judas: saint of secular humanists
in Philosophy, Religion

I would like to make the case for the sainthood of Judas. Specifically: Judas as the patron saint of secular humanists. His suicide was not out of regret, but rather was the ultimate protestation of the secular humanist faith. I’m certainly not the first person to think of Judas as the voice of the secular, […]