Things Glen Found Interesting, Volume 394

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.

This is volume 394, which is a Schröder Number (something which I did not previously know existed).

Things Glen Found Interesting

  1. Stanford-related
    • Employee charged with lying about Stanford University rapes that shook campus (Robert Salonga and Jakob Rodgers, San Jose Mercury News): “A Stanford University employee who authorities say twice reported last year that she was viciously dragged out of sight on campus and raped — touching off panic about a serial predator — is now accused of fabricating the claims as part of a revenge plot against a co-worker.”
      • This whole thing is so nuts on so many levels. This was by far the most shocking thing I read this week.
    • Law School activists protest Judge Kyle Duncan’s visit to campus (Greta Reich, Stanford Daily): “In his opening remarks, Duncan addressed these posters and chants. ‘I’m not blind — I can see this outpouring of contempt,’ Duncan said. With audience interruptions continuing throughout the speech, he later said ‘In this school, the inmates have gotten control of the asylum.’ ”
    • President, law school dean apologize to Judge Kyle Duncan for ‘disruption’ to his speech (Greta Reich, Stanford Daily): “Tessier-Lavigne and Martinez apologized for this incident, writing, ‘Staff members who should have enforced university policies failed to do so, and instead intervened in inappropriate ways that are not aligned with the university’s commitment to free speech.’ The letter ends with a promise to prevent similar incidents from happening in the future.”
    • Student Activists Target Stanford Law School Dean in Revolt Over Her Apology (Aaron Sibarium, Washington Free Beacon): “[The protest against the Dean] was even larger than the one that disrupted Duncan’s talk, and came on the heels of statements from at least three student groups rebuking Martinez’s apology. The Stanford National Lawyers Guild said Saturday that Martinez had thrown ‘capable and compassionate administrators’ under the bus. The law school’s Immigration & Human Rights Law Association issued a similar declaration on Sunday, writing to its mailing list that Stanford’s apology to Duncan ‘has only made this situation worse.’ And Stanford Law School’s chapter of the American Constitution Society expressed outrage that Martinez and Tessier-Lavigne had framed Duncan ‘as a victim, when in fact he himself had made civil dialogue impossible.’ ”
    • Hating Everyone Everywhere All At Once At Stanford (Ken White, Substack): “Students think that they should be able to dictate which speakers their peers invite, who can speak, what they can say, and who can listen. They’re not satisfied with the most free-speech-exceptionalist system in the world that lets them respond to speech by assembling, protesting, and reviling people of authority like Judge Duncan. They demand the right not just to speak, but to control the speech of others. That’s straight-up thuggish, an aspiration born of a fascist soul. These are law students. They are training to express themselves for a living. If their view is ‘we can’t respond to awful speech, we can only stop it from happening,’ then they’re going to be terrible lawyers.”
    • EXCLUSIVE: US Judge Kyle Duncan Interview (Rod Dreher, Substack): “The attack was intimately personal and, frankly, disgusting. If I talked to a dog the way those students talked to me, I’d feel ashamed. (Actually, there was a dog there, with paint on its fur in what is evidently one version of a transgender flag. But I don’t blame the dog).”
  2. Black, Evangelical and Torn (Caleb Gayle, New York Times): “While starting out in the S.B.C. as a Black pastor may appear to be a frictionless choice, for someone like McKissic, as his experience suggests, continuing to remain within the fold as a Black pastor can amount to finding enough technicalities to stay.”
    • I have unlocked the paywall on this article.
  3. AI-related
    • Can A.I. Treat Mental Illness? (Dhruv Khullar): “I signed up for Woebot, and discovered that using the app could feel centering…  Once, I told Woebot that I was feeling anxious about work. ‘Anxiety can be a real monster to handle,’ it wrote back. ‘I’m sorry that you’re dealing with it.’ Woebot gently us inquired whether I wanted to work  through my problem together, then asked, ‘Do you think this anxiety might be serving you in some way?’ It pointed out that stress has its benefits: it could motivate the someone to work harder.… I knew that I was talking to a computer, but in a way I didn’t mind. The app became a vehicle for me to articulate and examine my own thoughts. I was talking to myself.”
      • I highly recommend this article. It touches on mental health and suicide, different styles of therapy, and online chatbots as therapists (PsychGPT). Funnily enough, the initial creator doesn’t even agree with A.I. as a mode of therapy. The article also has some playful Gen X humor!
    • This Changes Everything (Ezra Klein, New York Times): “…‘as A.I. continues to blow past us in benchmark after benchmark of higher cognition, we quell our anxiety by insisting that what distinguishes true consciousness is emotions, perception, the ability to experience and feel: the qualities, in other words, that we share with animals.’ This is an inversion of centuries of thought, O’Gieblyn notes, in which humanity justified its own dominance by emphasizing our cognitive uniqueness. We may soon find ourselves taking metaphysical shelter in the subjective experience of consciousness: the qualities we share with animals but not, so far, with A.I.”
    • OpenAI co-founder on company’s past approach to openly sharing research: ‘We were wrong’ (James Vincent, The Verge): “When asked why OpenAI changed its approach to sharing its research, Sutskever replied simply, ‘We were wrong. Flat out, we were wrong. If you believe, as we do, that at some point, AI — AGI — is going to be extremely, unbelievably potent, then it just does not make sense to open-source. It is a bad idea… I fully expect that in a few years it’s going to be completely obvious to everyone that open-sourcing AI is just not wise.’ ”
  4. Review: The Best Minds, by Jonathan Rosen (Freddie deBoer, Substack): “He finished his undergraduate education at Yale in three years, then got a job with the prestigious (and well-remunerative) financial firm Bain Capital. But in his early 20s, Laudor was beset by hallucinations and paranoia, experiencing sometimes-violent delusions that frightened his devoted parents. He was diagnosed with schizophrenia and spent eight months in a psychiatric facility. Undeterred, he emerged to attend Yale Law School, where he became a favorite of the dean and championed by the faculty. He was profiled in a glowing New York Times piece that represented his resilience as a symbol for the mentally ill everywhere.… Then he hacked his pregnant girlfriend to death with a kitchen knife.”
    • This book review is engrossing and full of substance.
  5. Q&A: Stuart Schmill on MIT’s decision to reinstate the SAT/ACT requirement (Kathy Wren, MIT News): “It turns out the shortest path for many students to demonstrate sufficient preparation — particularly for students with less access to educational capital — is through the SAT/ACT, because most students can study for these exams using free tools at Khan Academy, but they (usually) can’t force their high school to offer advanced calculus courses, for example. So, the SAT/ACT can actually open the door to MIT for these students, too.”
  6. Of Course You Know What “Woke” Means (Freddie deBoer, Substack): “As I have said many times, I don’t like using the term ‘woke’ myself, not without qualification or quotation marks. It’s too much of a culture war pinball and now deemed too pejorative to be useful. I much, much prefer the term ‘social justice politics’ to refer to the school of politics that is typically referred to as woke, out of a desire to be neutral in terminology. However: there is such a school of politics, it’s absurd that so many people pretend not to know what woke means, and the problem could be easily solved if people who support woke politics would adopt a name for others to use.”
  7. Evangelicals Are the Most Beloved US Faith Group Among Evangelicals (Kate Shellnut, Christianity Today): “In a Pew Research Center report released Wednesday, 27 percent of Americans expressed an unfavorable view of evangelicals, compared to 10 percent who have a negative view of mainline Protestants or 18 percent who have a negative view of Catholics. About as many have a favorable approach to evangelicals—28 percent—but that’s mostly due to positive sentiment from American evangelicals themselves, about a quarter of the population.… (The worst ratings, though, went to Jehovah’s Witnesses, Scientology, and Satanism.)”
    • Demographer Lyman Stone responded to the survey results on Twitter with “The group most hated in America by people who aren’t members of it is.… evangelical Christians. More than Jews, atheists, or Mormons, we are hated by our neighbors. We have legitimate grounds to believe we are experiencing discrimination. and nobody has more negative and hostile attitudes towards their outgrap [sic] than atheists. the only people atheists don’t hate are Jews, and even then they’re the most lukewarm on Jews of any group. atheists: continuing a storied tradition of being angry all the time at everyone”
    • His Twitter account is currently set to private because of all the blowback he got, but he says will take it public again and this thread will be well worth reading — his critics take some shots at him and he shoots back very effectively.

Less Serious Things Which Also Interested/Amused Glen

Things Glen Found Interesting A While Ago

Every week I’ll highlight an older link still worth your consideration. This week we have ‘Handmaid’ reality: Deeply religious marriages have more spousal equality (Naomi Schaefer Riley & Hal Boyd, New York Post): “Religious, home-worshipping couples also report greater relationship quality and stability, and they are three times more likely than less-religious peers to report a sexually satisfying relationship. The women don’t appear to be repressed; in fact, they’re generally more likely to say they’re happy and that their life has meaning and purpose.” And yet again research confirms Biblical precepts. Allow me to take his opportunity to offer a friendly pastoral reminder to marry another Christian, should you marry. From volume 272.

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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). And to the extent you can discern my opinions, please understand that they are my own and not necessarily those of Chi Alpha or any other organization I may be perceived to represent. 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. If this was forwarded to you and you want to receive future emails, sign up here. You can also view the archives.

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