Yet another reason to read statistics cautiously and skeptically.
- What Percentage of Philosophers Believe in God? What percentage of philosophers are theists? How many of them believe in free will? More importantly: how many of them think zombies are actually possible? Finally, a study has provided an answer to all these questions, and more.
- The Power of “I Don’t Know”: To admit to ignorance, uncertainty or ambivalence is to cede your place on the masthead, your slot on the program, and allow all the coveted eyeballs to turn instead to the next hack who’s more than happy to sell them all the answers.
- Why Bad Writing is Almost Always Mistaken for Good Writing: Bad writing is naturally mistaken for good writing. That’s because unlike good writing, bad writing hoards attention. Bad writing brags of the writer’s knowledge, skill, and creativity. Bad writers mistake obtuseness for creativity, and essential clarity for “profundity”.
- What Physics Can and Can’t Say About God: It can lead us to a conception of how the universe potentially came into being, but it’s never going to say anything about what is important to most Christians about their faith and about their relationship with God, which is they want to know about how at the end of time they will, as it were, be united with God as a thinking, emoting, moral being. On that subject physics really cannot offer us any insight.
- Vitriol infests Warren family grief: A shocking number are taking this moment of media attention to lash out at Warren on the digital tom-toms. The attacks are aimed at him personally and at his Christian message. (See also Rick Warren’s Horrific Tragedy & The Sickening Response of Some “Christians.”)
- Why Playing Outdoors Makes Children Smarter: It is through unstructured, open-ended creative play that children learn the ways of the world. While playing outside, children explore with all their senses, they witness new life, they create imaginary worlds and they negotiate with each other to create a playful environment.
- Snap Judgments: Our Societal Obsession With Taking Pictures: The danger of using photos as markers is that images appeal to our vanity. We become quickly obsessed with accumulating experiences, capturing them in photos, and publicly displaying our photos as trophies. If we aren’t careful, our Facebook pages and blogs can become trophy cases of our own accomplishments.
- Why Mentoring Matters: To be clear, I am not opposed to programs. Well-designed and well-implemented programs can be an effective step in disciplemaking. My concern is that programmatic discipleship built solely around small groups and directed studies misses the most obvious New Testament means of disciplemaking: one-to-one mentoring.
These were our top five posts for the month of March. I’ve decided to include only one post from The Big Bible Bash tournament. Otherwise, they would have comprised almost the whole list. Instead, we have an infograpic, the tournament announcement, and several posts related to seminary and/or the Th.M. program. All in all, it was an interesting month.
Check out these great 60-second introductions to classic intellectual puzzles/questions like Zeno’s Paradox, Schrödinger’s Cat, and Hilbert’s Infinite Hotel.
Sixteen more books have fallen in The Big Bible Bash. And only sixteen remain. Two of our 2-seeds are out, and one of the Gospels has now been eliminated. The tournament has begun to favor NT books, with only 6 OT books remaining. But that includes heavy hitters like Genesis, Isaiah, and Psalms. So this round of voting should prove very interesting. (Update: Voting is now closed.)
All of the number 1 seeds cruised to relatively easy victories in the Round of 32, winning with an average of 90.5% of the vote in their races. But it was a tough day for the 2-seeds. (2) Mark fell to ( 7) Philippians (41.3% vs. 58.7%); and (2) Proverbs fell to (7) Revelation (32.6% to 67.4%). Even (2) Matthew struggled for a while against (7) Exodus, before winning with 61.6%.
The first round of voting is over, so we’re on to the Round of 32 in The Big Bible Bash. And, as expected, the first round favored the top seeds. Indeed, somewhat surprisingly, the higher seeds won every single contest. Even the close races between the 8 and 9 seeds ended up in a victory for the 8 seeds.
As you may know, we’re giving away almost $500 worth of commentaries and other great books from Zondervan, IVP, Baker, Eerdmans, and Crossway. All you have to do to participate in the giveaway is cast your vote for your favorite books of the Bible. If you missed out on the earlier rounds, no worries. You can still vote in the later rounds and be eligible for the giveaway. So cast your vote now! (Update: Voting is now closed.)
Although it’s time to put the first round behind us, we can take a few moments to reflect on the most interesting developments from the first round. Here’s the updated tournament bracket. But, if you’re just interested in the highlights, here you go!
One of the most famous martyrs in church history, Polycarp was burned at the stake around A.D. 155 for refusing to reject the Christian faith. According to the story, though, the Romans were a tad surprised when the fire didn’t hurt him at all. So the executioner had to stab him instead.
In addition to his martyrdom, Polycarp is best known as one of he last people to have direct contact with the apostles. Several early authors report that Polycarp was a disciple of John the Apostle in his youth. Combined with his long life–he was approximately 86 when he died–Polycarp thus served as an important point of connection between the New Testament church and the church of the second century.
In honor of Polycarp’s life and faithful death, here is the prayer that he his reported to have prayed right before his death.
If you want to get up to speed on all the Oscar Best Picture Winners before tomorrow night’s award ceremony, here you go!