Things Glen Found Interesting, Volume 115

On Fridays I share articles/resources about broad cultural, societal and theological issues. Be sure to see the explanation and disclaimers at the bottom. I welcome your suggestions. If you read something fascinating please pass it my way.

Things Glen Found Interesting

  1. The Most Shortsighted Attack on Free Speech in Modern U.S. History (Conor Friedersdorf, The Atlantic): “Under a legal regime where hate speech was not considered free speech, Trump and Sessions could likely punish words used by members of Antifa and Black Lives Matter. Do you think he’d police their speech more or less vigorously than white supremacists?”
  2. Everyone’s Suspicious of Atheists — Even Other Atheists (Thomas MacMillan, NY Mag): “According to a new study published last week in Nature, people all over the world connect immorality with atheism. In fact, the moral prejudice against atheists is so strong that it holds even in countries like the Netherlands, where most people aren’t religious. Even atheists themselves, according to the study, are inclined to see nonbelievers as more wicked than the faithful.” The Nature paper is Global evidence of extreme intuitive moral prejudice against atheists.
  3. I Won’t Make Jesus Bow Down to Xi Jinping (Derek Lam, New York Times): “Of Hong Kong’s six major religions, five are already firmly under the control of the Chinese Communist Party. Judging by recent events, the party is very close to completing its mission of bringing Christianity under its thumb.”
  4. The Drive For Perfect Children Gets A Little Scary (Tyler Cowen, Bloomberg View): “If you could directly alter your kids’ genetic profile, what would you want? It’s hard to know how the social debate would turn out after years of back and forth, but I was dismayed to read one recent research paper by psychologists Rachel M. Latham and Sophie von Stumm. The descriptive title of that work, based on survey evidence, is ‘Mothers want extraversion over conscientiousness or intelligence for their children.’ Upon reflection, maybe that isn’t so surprising, because parents presumably want children who are fun to spend time with.”
  5. Mathematical mystery of ancient Babylonian clay tablet solved ( “Plimpton 322 predates Hipparchus by more than 1000 years,” says Dr Wildberger. “It opens up new possibilities not just for modern mathematics research, but also for mathematics education. With Plimpton 322 we see a simpler, more accurate trigonometry that has clear advantages over our own.” The academic paper is Plimpton 322 is Babylonian exact sexagesimal trigonometry (Historia Mathematica). Another reminder that our ancestors were pretty clever.
  6. Robert E. Lee opposed Confederate monuments (Lisa Desjardins, PBS NewsHour):  “But while he was alive, Lee stressed his belief that the country should move past the war. He swore allegiance to the Union and publicly decried southern separatism, whether militant or symbolic.”
  7. This Is How Sexism Works in Silicon Valley  My lawsuit failed. Others won’t. (Ellan Pao, The Cut): “Before suing, I’d consulted other women who had sued big, powerful companies over harassment and discrimination, and they all gave me pretty much the same advice: ‘Don’t do it.’ One woman told me, ‘It’s a complete mismatch of resources. They don’t fight fair. Even if you win, it will destroy your reputation.’”
  8. James Kennedy Ministries Sues SPLC over Hate Map (Kate Shellnut, Christianity Today): see also Politico’s June article Has a Civil Rights Stalwart Lost Its Way? (short answer: yes, yes it has)

Things Glen Found Amusing

Things Glen Found Interesting A While Ago

Every week I’ll highlight an older link still worth your consideration. This week we have No Food Is Healthy. Not Even Kale. (Michael Ruhlman, Washington Post). People can be healthy. Food can be nutritious. This is a wonderful essay about how we misuse language to our detriment. If you’re surprised I included this, I believe that our culture has a quasi-religious relationship to health and to food, and I also believe that the use of language is profoundly moral and that our culture is a linguistic mess (to which I know of no finer guide than The Underground Grammarian). (first shared in volume 33)

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. 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.

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