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 419, a twin prime number (paired with 421).
Things Glen Found Interesting
- I Left Out the Full Truth to Get My Climate Change Paper Published (Patrick T Brown, The Free Press): “In theory, scientific research should prize curiosity, dispassionate objectivity, and a commitment to uncovering the truth. Surely those are the qualities that editors of scientific journals should value. In reality, though, the biases of the editors (and the reviewers they call upon to evaluate submissions) exert a major influence on the collective output of entire fields. They select what gets published from a large pool of entries, and in doing so, they also shape how research is conducted more broadly. Savvy researchers tailor their studies to maximize the likelihood that their work is accepted. I know this because I am one of them.”
- The author did his PhD at Duke and his postdoc at Stanford.
- He’s responded online to some criticisms of his article at https://twitter.com/PatrickTBrown31/status/1699800150942839082 and https://twitter.com/PatrickTBrown31/status/1699846065871061231
- Read this as an indictment of some weaknesses of academia generally rather than fixating on the specific topic being used as an illustration.
- Texting With AI Jesus (Casey Chalk, First Things): “Text With Jesus represents the age-old human vice of pride. Through our creativity and brilliance, we seek to ascend to God’s level, to be like him, and even to dictate terms to the divine. Or rather, the app is a diabolical inversion of this: Instead of being transformed into God’s image, we aim to make him into our own.”
- Baptized Bronze Age Pervert (Brian Mattson, Substack): “So-called ‘Christian Nationalism’ is a renaissance of 19th century ‘blood and soil’ nationalism with some ‘Christiany’ language sprinkled on top.… They are baptizing the language, ethos, and ethics of a Nietzschean pagan—a literal antichrist. An awful lot of ‘Christian Nationalism’ sounds to me like Baptized Bronze Age Pervert. Perverse, is right.”
- Who Has The Best Food? (Zvi Mowshowitz, Substack): “It is a fun question going around the internet this past week, so here we go. In particular, people focused on the question of France vs. America. As one would expect, those on the French side think those on the American side are crazy, it is insulting to even consider this a question. Those on the American side like food.… What I love most about American food, and eating in America in general, is that it is the opposite of the French mistake of trying to impress you or waste your time. American food wants you to be happy, it wants to give you the experience you want and not hold back, it values your time and it does not much care how it looks doing it.”
- Burning Man is a capitalist lie (Mary Harrington, UnHerd): “Sometimes described as an experiment in ‘radical self-sufficiency’, Burning Man is perhaps more accurately an experiment in creating a radical post-scarcity society by having done all your shopping ahead of time.”
- How to actually win back trust in news. (Isaac Saul, Tangle): “Now, there are a few things worth noting here. One is that a reporter who is liberal is not definitively a biased liberal reporter. There are fair journalists and there are hacks. I know a lot of journalists with liberal political beliefs who are harder on Democrats precisely because they care about fairness and about how Democrats act. I know a lot of liberal journalists whose politics you’d never spot by reading their reporting.… This, in some ways, actually creates an unexpected imbalance in the media: Conservative journalists and pundits, sensing that they are the minority in the space, are far more reluctant to criticize ‘their side.’ Liberal journalists and pundits, understanding that they can ‘stick out’ or earn credit by being hard on both sides, are more willing to do so. It’s complicated. Just because The New York Times is overwhelmingly made up of people who probably vote for Democrats doesn’t mean that it’s always going to play nice with Democratic politicians. My favorite example to cite is that it was The New York Times that broke the ‘Hillary emails’ story, which effectively ruined her political career.”
- Recommended by an alumnus.
- The Misogyny Myth (John Tierney, City Journal): “Gender disparities generally matter only if they work against women. In computing its Global Gender Gap, the much-quoted annual report, the World Economic Forum has explicitly ignored male disadvantages: if men fare worse on a particular dimension, a country still gets a perfect score for equality on that measure. Prodded by the federal Title IX law banning sexual discrimination in schools, educators have concentrated on eliminating disparities in athletics but not in other extracurricular programs, which mostly skew female. The fact that there are now three female college students for every two males is of no concern to the White House Gender Policy Council. Its ‘National Strategy on Gender Equity and Equality’ doesn’t even mention boys’ struggles in school, instead focusing exclusively on new ways to help female students get further ahead.”
- Long, worth the read especially if you’re unfamiliar with the arguments that modern society is structured to advantage women over men.
- Related: How Then Should Men Live? (Mike Cosper, Christianity Today): “The new social script for women is at once purposeful and libertarian. Girls can do anything, as the slogan goes, including—if they want—pursuing a traditional model of marriage and family. Meanwhile, Reeves says, men have yet to find our new social script. The old role of breadwinner, protector, and spiritual head of the household isn’t merely viewed as quaint; it’s often seen as paternalistic or worse.”
- I also believe this to be related: Secularization Begins at Home (Lyman Stone, The Institute For Family Studies): “By now, it should be clear that childhood, including before age 13, is the key battleground for religious formation, not adulthood. By the time a child goes to college, much of the religious question has already been settled.… For parents to keep their kids in the faith, they must recapture their influence. Shield children from schooling environments that relegate faith to a second-class topic, deny access to unsupervised online communities and pornography, and have daily, parent-led activities centered on family solidarity around shared faith. Families that do these things still have extremely high rates of successful religious transmission, but families who trust that children will ‘pick it up along the way’ fail to transmit their religious beliefs, and suddenly find to their great surprise that their 20-something children categorically reject their faith.”
Less Serious Things Which Also Interested/Amused Glen
- Contrived (SMBC)
- Broadcasters react to star QB’s unusual protest (FIRE, YouTube): two amusing minutes.
- Dear Cal, Stanford and SMU: The ACC Makes No Sense, but Welcome! (Michael Rosenberg, Sports Illustrated): “Friends, distinguished guests and students of all GPAs, we are proud to announce the addition of Stanford, Cal and SMU to the ACC, which shall be known, henceforth, as the Arbitrary Conglomerate of Colleges.”
- My Presidential Platform (Scott Alexander, Astral Codex Ten): “Jim Justice is the current governor of West Virginia. If he were on the Supreme Court, people would have to address him as Justice Justice. I believe that we as a nation can and should make this happen.”
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). 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.