Friday the 13th

  1. Dan Brown strikes (out) again
  2. Handmaids Tale-tinted glasses
  3. The terrible irony of the 2016 election


[I]t is impossible simply to describe “the way things are” without first making the significant choice of what language to speak in. The language of physics can be extremely useful in talking about the world, but it can never address everything that needs to be said about human life. Equations can elegantly explain how an airplane stays in the air, but they cannot convey the awe someone feels when flying above the clouds …

I’m a scientist, but I also study and live by the Hebrew Bible. To me, the idea that physics could prove that the God of Abraham is not the creator and ruler of the world reflects a serious misunderstanding—of both the scientific method and the function of the biblical text.

Science is an approach to common experience. It addresses what is objectively measurable by inventing models that summarize the world’s partial predictability. In contrast, the biblical God tells Moses at the burning bush: “I will be what I will be.” He is addressing the uncertainty the future brings for all. No prediction can ever fully answer the question of what will happen next ….

(Jeremy England, Dan Brown Can’t Cite Me to Disprove God)


Linda Greenhouse:

Saudi women are gaining the right to drive. American women are losing the right to employer-provided birth control.

Talk about “first-world problems”!

The article, I should say, is not as stupid as that opening paragraph, and I’ll venture a guess that the choir to whom she’s preaching, with its Handmaids Tale-tinted glasses, won’t see the stupidity at all. But it does — how shall I say it? — elide how we got an employer contraceptive mandate in the first place.


[T]he terrible irony of the 2016 campaign was that Donald Trump was the only one of the 17 GOP primary candidates who could have gone on to win the presidency. Only he had the uniqueness, the outside-the-box-ness to win. At the same time Mr. Trump was probably the only one of the 17 who would not be able to govern, for reasons of temperament, political inexperience and essential nature. It just wouldn’t work. The challenge for Republicans was to make legislative progress within that context.

(Peggy Noonan)

* * * * *

“Liberal education is concerned with the souls of men, and therefore has little or no use for machines … [it] consists in learning to listen to still and small voices and therefore in becoming deaf to loudspeakers.” (Leo Strauss)

There is no epistemological Switzerland. (Via Mars Hill Audio Journal Volume 134)

Some succinct standing advice on recurring themes.

One thought on “Friday the 13th

  1. That employers provide health insurance at all is an oddity, we know why it happened, and the reasons no longer exist. Either let individuals pay for their own (well-regulated) health insurance, choosing the options they want, or have everybody covered by at least a basic health-care plan, possibly with extra-cost options.

    Do Brits complain that their taxes are helping to pay for contraceptives? Do British men complain that their taxes are helping to pay for maternity services they won’t need? Do British women complain about their taxes helping to pay for prostate-cancer treatments they won’t need? None of these, as far as I am aware.

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