Declare, if thou hast understanding

by Henry Farrell on August 3, 2005

“Cosma Shalizi”: on intelligent design.

bq. The thing is, this leads to bad science, and, if an unbeliever can say so, bad religion. The stakes are more serious here than with silly “devotionals with mathematical content”, but the issues are not that different. Doing what you must know is shoddy science, in the hope that it will provide cover for propagating the gospel, shows a poor opinion of your fellow creatures, of the gospel, and of God. Of your fellow creatures, because you are resorting to trickery, rather than honest persuasion or the example of your own life, to win converts. Of the gospel, because you do not trust its ability to change lives and win souls. Last and worst, of God, because you are perverting what you believe to be the divine gift of intelligence, and refusing to learn about the Creator from the creation. And for what? To protect your opinion about what measure you think it fitting for God to employ.

bq. One of the greatest passages in the Bible is when “the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind”:

bq. Where was thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding. Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it? Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof; when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?

bq. Creationism is a way of responding to this profound challenge by saying “I know! I know! You did it _just like I woulda!_”

Gorgeous George, how are ya, part 2

by Daniel on August 3, 2005

With the inevitable Barthesian logic of a good wrestling show, Gorgeous George Galloway has made suckers of us all. After bringing a smile to the stoniest of faces when he took apart Norm Coleman and gang, he’s gone on a tour of Al-Jazeera territory, with some frankly unforgivable rhetoric (I’ve watched the footage and can confirm that in this specific instance, the translation is accurate). I have always known that Georgeous Gorge was going to end up being an embarrassment to the antiwar movement and here you go.

Update: Nice try, though I sincerely doubt anyone will be fooled.

[click to continue…]

Conditional probability watch

by Chris Bertram on August 3, 2005

“Eve Garrard at Normblog”: :

bq. The statistics suggest that the chances of a Muslim man being killed by the police are considerably less than the chances of a Muslim man being killed by suicide bombers, given that the latter make no effort to avoid killing Muslims. So assuming that these policies do indeed prevent some successful bombing attempts, then people who reject them in favour of ones which don’t impinge more on Muslims than on others are actually prioritizing policies which will save fewer Muslim lives over ones which will save more Muslim lives.

I suppose the conclusion might be true …. and I don’t suppose we actually have any statistics that would allow us to estimate the chance of a Muslim _man_ being killed by the police. There are about 1.3 million male Muslims in the country, and Garrard takes the chances of any person from the whole population being killed by being a suicide bomber as relevant to their chances of being killed in that way: 1 in a million? Is their prospect of being killed by police marksmen more remote than that? Anyway, “statistics suggest” that they are surely safer either than men carrying table legs in a suspicious manner in a public place or Brazilian electricians boarding tube trains.