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.
360 is, of course, the number of degrees in a circle. It’s also due north on a compass.
Things Glen Found Interesting
- The God Gap Helps Explain a ‘Seismic Shift’ in American Politics (David French, Substack): “Countless political and cultural issues don’t have a clear ‘Christian’ policy solution, yet when a party’s members perceive it to be the party of American Christianity, then the platform is wrongly infused with religious fervor, even on issues (like tax rates, gun policy, environmental policy, foreign policy, and countless others) where the correct religious answer is far from clear.”
- The excerpt is not the main point, which is also good. Highly recommended.
- I’m a Scam Prevention Expert, and I Got Scammed (Natasha Lupinia, personal website): “This scam went against everything I thought I knew about social engineering attacks. The caller was professional, knowledgeable, patient, and easy to understand (connection issues notwithstanding). He had so much information about me already that, even knowing how easy it is to find sensitive information about people, I was inclined to take him at face value…”
- Recommended by an alumnus.
- A cluster of links which touch on common college scenarios:
- Bombshell alcohol study funded by Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation finds only risks, zero benefits for young adults (Chloe Taylor, Fortune): “Researchers said that for people aged between 15 and 39, the recommended amount of alcohol that could be consumed before risking their health was ‘a little more than one-tenth of a standard drink.’ They defined a standard drink as 3.4 fluid ounces of red wine or 12 fluid ounces of beer.”
- When We Consent, We Shouldn’t Feel Terrible After, Right? (Emma Camp, New York Times): “Consent education takes already anxious, inexperienced young people, and gives them a simplistic, binary way of understanding sex. It’s no surprise then that many of us have absorbed the message that sex is a straightforward transaction with little room for complicated feelings — and that we’re confused when we experience the inevitable complications that sexual intimacy brings.”
- A critique of university messaging around sex. It doesn’t say all I would like, but it accurately identifies problems with the current system.
- First base is hooking up, second base is talking, third base is going on a date and fourth base is dating (Rob Henderson, Substack): “In terms of attractiveness, the bottom 80% of men are competing for the bottom 22% of women and the top 78% of women are competing for the top 20% of men.”
- Fascinating throughout.
- Pronouns: Progressivism’s Preposterous Plight (Farhana K, Traversing Tradition): “Without the ability to define a woman as female, for example, encroachment into women’s only spaces will become commonplace. There is no way for the state to protect the needs and wants of women, because nothing is essential to being a woman and no definitive feature of women that require such protections, because a woman is anyone who defines themselves as one. Yet for the Muslim woman who abides by the shar’i commands to veil from unrelated men and minimize physical contact, increasingly deconstructive attitudes to gender will pose a clash that few policymakers and members of the public have had the strength to accommodate.”
- Interesting to see a Muslim perspective.
- The Great Fiction of AI (Josh Dzieza, The Verge): “…it might not be such a bad thing to have to apply a Turing test to everything I read, particularly in the more commercialized marketing-driven corners of the internet where AI text is most often deployed. The questions it made me ask were the sorts of questions I should be asking anyway: is this supported by facts, internally consistent, and original, or is it coasting on pleasant-sounding language and rehashing conventional wisdom?; how much human writing meets that standard?; how often am I reading with enough attention to notice? If this is the epistemic crisis AI-generated text is going to bring, maybe it’s a healthy one.”
- I found this one super interesting and somewhat amazing.
- The Hypocrisy of Elites (Erik Torenberg, Substack): “…we see this everywhere: elites promote body positivity — the idea that being overweight is healthy — while being most obsessed with maintaining perfect health. Elites promote sexual independence and polyamory, yet themselves are most likely to be monogamous in stable long-term relationships. Elites complain about overpopulation and carbon footprint, but they’re the ones having the most kids and inflicting the largest carbon footprint.”
- The Fall of History as a Major–and as a Part of the Humanities (Tanner Greer, personal blog): “American culture has lost faith in history as a vehicle for understanding the human experience. Our high culture questions the very concept of shared human experience. It is hard for history—or any of the humanities—to flourish in a world that does not put much stock in the human. By adopting intersectional ideology as their own, the professional humanists have confirmed that they do not believe in the promise of their own discipline. And if they do not believe in it…. why should any 18 year old student?” This is an extraordinarily insightful essay.
- 33 Problems With Media in One Chart (Nick Routley, Visual Capitalist): recommended by an alumnus. I now know what astroturfing is.
Less Serious Things Which Also Interested/Amused Glen
- Turing Test (But A Jape)
- These people lost their dog and when it returned later in the day it was wearing a ribbon it won at a dog show (Not The Bee) — sometimes a dog has dreams, you know? Read the actual story — it’s less funny than the headline but connects the dots.
- Netflix Loses 1 Million Subscribers, Leaving 10 Million People Wondering Why Their Netflix Login Doesn’t Work Anymore (Babylon Bee)
- ‘Bees are really highly intelligent’: the insect IQ tests causing a buzz among scientists (Donna Ferguson, The Guardian): “He thinks bees have emotions, can plan and imagine things, and can recognise themselves as unique entities distinct from other bees.… He began to realise some individual bees were more curious and confident than others. ‘You also find the odd ‘genius bee’ that does something better than all the other individuals of a colony, or indeed all the other bees we’ve tested.” Speculative but quite interesting.
Things Glen Found Interesting A While Ago
Every week I’ll highlight an older link still worth your consideration. This week we have The Dishonesty of the Abortion Debate (Caitlin Flanagan, The Atlantic): “The argument for abortion, if made honestly, requires many words: It must evoke the recent past, the dire consequences to women of making a very simple medical procedure illegal. The argument against it doesn’t take even a single word. The argument against it is a picture…. The truth is that the best argument on each side is a damn good one, and until you acknowledge that fact, you aren’t speaking or even thinking honestly about the issue. You certainly aren’t going to convince anybody. Only the truth has the power to move.” First shared in volume 227. I know I shared this recently in light of the Dobbs decision, and it is definitely worth sharing again.
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.