First Reformed: The toxic mess of syncretism

There’s a lot to process in Paul Schrader’s latest film, “First Reformed.” The first half of the film sets up as a powerful, even brilliant, study of spiritual desolation and the cross-currents of modern idolatry and traditional religion. Continue Reading...

The numbers game: Has the middle class made any economic progress?

In the Age of Information, we face an overwhelming barrage of high-minded studies and reports that claim to offer the final word on this or that. As it relates to matters of economic policy, we are pressed to lend ever increasing amounts of trust to the power of statistical analysis and the reliability of research from a variety of academics and economic planners and soothsayers. Continue Reading...

Human machines & the nature of man

On Tuesday, Newsweek published an article relating how the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) allocated $65 million to develop brain implants “to link human brains with computers.” Neuro-technology has been a priority of the U.S. Continue Reading...

R.I.P. Hans Rosling: 4 memorable talks by the Swedish statistician

This week, we received the sad news that Professor Hans Rosling has passed away due to pancreatic cancer. A brilliant statistician and mesmerizing public speaker, Rosling was widely known for his dazzling data visualizations and compelling lectures on health, poverty, population, religion, inequality, and economic growth. Continue Reading...

Beware the post-election narratives

In his best-selling book The Black Swan, probabilist Nassim Nicholas Taleb warns against the need for easy narratives to explain the unexpected. Given how unexpected the result of this Tuesday’s election was, it is worth taking some time to review what Taleb calls “the narrative fallacy.” According to Taleb, The narrative fallacy addresses our limited ability to look at sequences of facts without weaving an explanation into them, or, equivalently, forcing a logical link, an arrow of relationship, upon them. Continue Reading...

Mars needs religion!

… Or does religion need Mars? So argues social commentator James Poulos at Foreign Affairs: What’s clear is that Earth no longer invites us to contemplate, much less renew, our deepest spiritual needs. Continue Reading...

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