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. That’s especially true this week: I skipped last week because of Thanksgiving, and I still feel behind on my reading.
This is volume 430, a sphenic number. That means it is the product of three primes, namely 2 · 5 · 43.
Things Glen Found Interesting
- Stanford neuroscientist Andrew Huberman recently mentioned that he believes in God. Here’s a 13 minute video of him explaining why (YouTube) or you can just watch this two minute excerpt which contains the essence of his point (Twitter).
- For the record, I’ve never met Huberman and do not know what his specific religious beliefs are. I just find it interesting that a prominent public intellectual affiliated with Stanford is a believer.
- This Is Not the Way to Help Depressed Teenagers (Darbe Saxbe, New York Times): “[Programs designed to help young people instead] made their mental-health problems worse. Understanding why these efforts backfired can shed light on how society can — and can’t — help teenagers who are suffering from depression and anxiety.… Teenagers, who are still developing their identities, are especially prone to take psychological labels to heart. Instead of ‘I am nervous about X,’ a teenager might say, ‘I can’t do X because I have anxiety’ — a reframing that research shows undermines resilience by encouraging people to view everyday challenges as insurmountable.”
- The author is a psychology prof at USC.
- Religion isn’t sexually repressive. Just read the data. (Stephen Cranney, Deseret News): “…contrary to widely held belief, religious people report better sex lives, and married religious couples have more frequent and better sex than others (non-married religious people, intuitively, have less sex). These results were supported by one study that found religious British people reported more satisfying sex lives. A separate BYU study, published by Psychology of Religion and Spirituality, found similar results for married couples in the U.S. while another found that highly religious people had higher sexual ‘passion’ than more moderately religious people (nonreligious people also reflected higher ‘passion’ levels).”
- This sentence made me chuckle: “It may well be that the most sexually active campuses in the U.S. aren’t the famous party schools, but rather the more religiously conservative schools with more married students.”
- The author is a sociologist and a demographer with appointments at Baylor’s Institute for the Study of Religion and at the Catholic University of America
- Solomon Friedman is on a mission to save Pornhub (Andrew Duffy, Ottowa Citzen): “Solomon Friedman is not someone readily defined: He’s a defence lawyer and an organ donor; a firearms advocate and an ordained rabbi; an investor, philanthropist, and pornography magnate. If the 37-year-old father of three is not the most interesting man in Ottawa, then the licensed pilot and part-time law professor is certainly one of the busiest.”
- This is actually insane.
- Why I No Longer Support the Death Penalty (Matthew T. Martens, Crossway): “8,790 people have been sentenced to death in the United States since 1973. One hundred and eighty-four of those men and women were exonerated as of the end of 2022.11 They were innocent of the crimes of which they were convicted and sentenced to die. In other words, we know that at least 2 percent of people sentenced to death since 1973 were wrongly condemned. Even if we have identified all of those wrongly convicted and the error rate is ‘only’ 2 percent, that is an error rate higher than I am willing to tolerate.… I am unwilling to wager another man’s life. I would not wager my own under those conditions.”
- The author has recently written a book about a Christian perspective on criminal justice. He is a defender of the death penalty as a concept yet opposed to it as practiced in America today.
- TikTok parent company used AI to optimize Linux kernel, boosting performance and efficiency (Matthew Connatser, Tom’s Hardware): “The general gist of the presentation: ByteDance used AI to make the Linux kernel (the core of the operating system) much more efficient and performant across all kinds of hardware.… AI optimizations were able to reduce memory usage by 30% — and that was using existing Linux tools, just more efficiently. Network latency was also improved by up to 12% with AI that has prior knowledge (which wouldn’t be hard to obtain on a computer used regularly).”
- On Culture War, Doug Wilson, and the Moscow Mood (Kevin DeYoung, personal blog): “My concerns are not so much with one or two conclusions that Christians may reach if Wilson becomes their intellectual mentor. My bigger concern is with the long-term spiritual effects of admiring and imitating the Moscow mood. For the mood that attracts people to Moscow is too often incompatible with Christian virtue, inconsiderate of other Christians, and ultimately inconsistent with the stated aims of Wilson’s Christendom project.”
- Broadly correct, although I think DeYoung overstates his case a few times. Wilson does present the gospel more than DeYoung acknowledges and that is one of his appeals. Still, as I said, broadly correct.
Less Serious Things Which Also Interested/Amused Glen
- Something weird happens when you keep squeezing (Vox): eleven fascinating minutes about the physics of immense pressure. This is a really well-done video.
- Gold (SMBC) — a stunningly obvious point that never occurred to me as kid watching similar commercials
- Satan Announces Early Retirement Thanks To TikTok (Babylon Bee): “Attendees at the press conference gasped and cried out, although sources claim it is unclear if they were upset that the devil would be retiring or if it was because they were being burned in an eternal fire that could not be quenched.”
- Baptist Pastor Gives Disclaimer That Any Lyric About Lifting Up Your Hands Is Strictly A Metaphor (Babylon Bee)
- Entropy (SMBC)
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.