Carroll to Caltech

by Kieran Healy on April 6, 2006

Sean Carroll is “moving to Caltech”: as a Senior Research Associate. Congratulations to him. I was out at Caltech a couple of years ago. I gave a talk on weak first order deconfinement transitions in (2+1)-dimensional SU(5) Yang-Mills theory. No of course I didn’t. I was in Pasadena because my significantly smarter other was at a conference, and I wandered over there. Looking to get oriented, I found a map of the campus. The buildings were numbered and there were two keys: an alphabetical index and a functional index. Obviously the engineers are in charge here, I thought.

Right-wing bias in my classroom.

by Harry on April 6, 2006

I teasingly announced in my class on political policy and education reform that next week I shall be defending NCLB; “Brighouse defends Bush” was what I promised them. I told my family the same at the dinner table, and confronted the following rebuke by my 9 year old: “But dad, you’re not supposed to use your teaching to persuade your students about politics. That’s bias”. This was, I thought, a bit rich from someone who slavishly adopts her teacher’s views, and criticizes me every time I use the word “Indian” for what she regards as “using stereotypes”. But I agree with her basic point. So why is it ok for me to defend NCLB in class?

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Darwin Fish

by Henry on April 6, 2006

“Teresa Nielsen Hayden”: in comments on _Making Light_

Won’t change their minds [creationists] . They’ll say it’s a fake.

So maybe that means they won’t have to deal with it; but they’re just begging to have their kids suffer a catastrophic loss of faith when they discover that it’s demonstrably not a fake. You can only go so far in inculcating denial. Beyond that, the person has to want to deny the evidence.

bq. Or that it was put there by God to test our Faith.

God Almighty is infinite truth and light, but the God we deal with here on earth is lying to us? Doesn’t that make them some unpleasant variety of Gnostic?

Also, could they please explain what other apparently solid data is eligible to be dismissed in that fashion? Yes? And how they can tell the difference? One step past that point in any direction, they’ll fall into _”some parts of creation are More Real than others”_ : a muddy, fetid philosophical swamp that breeds errors by the swarm.

_”What do we know, and how do we know that we know it?”_ : There’s a reason it’s a classic.

bq. Or worse, it was put there by the Foul Deceiver to undermine said Faith.

Ooooookay, so Satan is a creative force, and had a hand in the creation of the world? That can’t be anything but Manichaeanism: a recurrent Christian heresy, explicitly rejected as doctrine by all the major denominations.

There’s your real problem with Creationism: it’s incompatible with Christianity.

Update: as Teresa points out in comments, I should make it clear that she’s responding to an earlier comment by “Serge”:

Precocious 5 yr olds?

by Harry on April 6, 2006

I’ve been doing some research trying to find out the sizes of schools in different countries (I want to know the average size and the median size of schools — anyone know this for the US, UK, and a couple of other randomly chosen countries? Tell me below). Anyway, in the course of this I have found this document at the DFES site. Unless I am reading it wrong (which I must be, surely) it says that in 2004-5 there were sixty 5 year old children attending secondary schools in England and Wales, fifty 6 year olds, and 110 seven year olds (see table 2b on p. 9). “Secondary” includes schools “deemed middle” so the numbers of 8 year olds and above are less startling, but it is very odd, no? Can anyone explain this? Or am I going to be reduced to asking my dad?