Things Glen Found Interesting, Volume 34

Here are some things I found interesting this week. See the bottom for context.

  1. On The Viability of Conspiratorial Beliefs (David Robert Grimes, PLOS One): Oxford physicist Grimes came up with an equation that shows how likely a conspiracy will be to succeed under ideal conditions. Of particular interest is the chart on the bottom of page 11, showing that a conspiracy with more than 502 people has a 95% likelihood of exposure after just 25 years. Reading that puts 1 Corinthians 15:3–6 in a new light: “For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep.” Please note that there are all kinds of assumptions in the paper that are subject to challenge… but if one of your friends brings this study up you should mention this passage to them. 🙂
  2. Certitude And Seeking The Truth (Peter Wehner, Commentary). Recommended by an alumnus (the recommendation was actually for a blog post excerpting this article, but I thought the whole thing was worth reading — it aligns nicely with my disclaimer at the bottom).
  3. My Major, Myself: (Olga Khazan, The Atlantic). What does your major reveal (probabilistically) about your personality?
  4. Why Humans Find It Hard To Do Away With Religion (John Gray, The New Statesman): Gray is himself an atheist. My favorite line: “The inveterate human inclination to religion is, in effect, the atheist problem of evil.” This isn’t quite right but it is amusing.
  5. People Can Be Convinced They Committed A Non-Existant Crime In Just Three Hours (Bec Crew, Science Alert). Disturbing. This is a summary of the findings of an academic paper: Constructing Rich False Memories of Committing Crime (Shaw & Porter, Psychological Science).
  6. How Religion Is Shaping the 2016 Presidential Race (Pew Research). If politics is your thing, this article will be interesting.
  7. Are Academics Disproportionately Gay? (Colleen Flaherty, Inside Higher Education). The tl;dr version is yes.

Why Do You Send This Email?

In the time of King David, the tribe of Issachar produced shrewd warriors “who understood the times and knew what Israel should do” (1 Chron 12:32). In a similar way, we need to become wise people whose faith interacts with the world.

To that end, on Fridays I’ve been sharing articles/resources I have found helpful recently in thinking about broader cultural, societal and theological issues (be sure to see the disclaimer at the bottom). I pray this email gives you greater insight, so that you may continue the tradition of Issachar.


Chi Alpha is not a partisan organization. To paraphrase another minister: we are not about the donkey’s agenda and we are not about the elephant’s agenda — we are about the Lamb’s agenda. Having said that, I read widely (in part because I believe we should aspire to pass the ideological Turing test and in part because I do not believe I can fairly say “I agree” or “I disagree” until I can say “I understand”) and may at times share articles that have a strong partisan bias simply because I find the article stimulating. The upshot: you should not assume I agree with everything an author says in an article I mention, much less things the author has said in other articles (although if I strongly disagree with something in the article I’ll usually mention it).

Also, remember that I’m not reporting news — I’m giving you a selection of things I found interesting. There’s a lot happening in the world that’s not making an appearance here because I haven’t found stimulating articles written about it.

Past emails are archived at

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