blueollie

Penalty on Abdullah wasn’t about Muslim prayer (the NFL did make a mistake of interpretation though)

Here, Husain Abdullah got a 15 yard unsportsmanlike penalty. Why? The knee slide was interpreted as, well a knee slide celebration:

kneeslide1kneeslide2

instead of merely getting into a position to pray. Yes, American football players have done this before.

This is a knee slide in soccer:

This was not intentional “Muslim prayers are not ok, Christian prayers are” type of thing.

Of course, people LOVE the good old self-righteous outrage. But it helps to actually know what you are talking about.

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September 30, 2014 Posted by | football, NFL, religion, social/political | | Leave a comment

Unwelcome political news….

Workout notes
Cool, overcast and so I took an easy effort 8.1 mile run on a hilly course (Cornstalk)
corn81567climb

Time: ghastly 1:29:29, but I kept the effort easy AND I am still not over my cold totally nor have I recovered from this weekend’s festivities. And I did enjoy the slow run: 10:18, 34:11 (44:29), 34:25, 10:34.

Unwelcome
The Senate forecasts are coming in; bad news. It sure looks as if the GOP are strong favorites to retake the Senate (say, 70 percent probability).

September 30, 2014 Posted by | 2014 midterm, politics, politics/social, running | | Leave a comment

Being smart enough to know that you are dumb….

There is some truth here, though it isn’t just intelligence. There is ignorance too: the more you know about a subject, the more aware you are as to the vast amount of stuff that you don’t know and probably never will.

September 30, 2014 Posted by | social/political | | Leave a comment

Some education/academia articles

Paul Krugman: reviews a book called Seven Bad Ideas by Jeff Madrick. The idea:

In “Seven Bad Ideas: How Mainstream Economists Have Damaged America and the World,” Jeff Madrick — a contributing editor at Harper’s Magazine and a frequent writer on matters economic — argues that the professional failures since 2008 didn’t come out of the blue but were rooted in decades of intellectual malfeasance.

As a practicing and, I’d claim, mainstream economist myself, I’m tempted to quibble. How “mainstream,” really, are the bad ideas he attacks? How much of the problem is bad economic ideas per se as opposed to economists who have proved all too ready to drop their own models — in effect, reject their own ideas — when their models conflict with their political leanings? And was it the ideas of economists or the prejudices of politicians that led to so much bad policy? […]

Such quibbles aside, “Seven Bad Ideas” tells us an important and broadly accurate story about what went wrong. Economists presented as reality an idealized vision of free markets, dressed up in fancy math that gave it a false appearance of rigor. As a result, the world was unprepared when markets went bad. Economic ideas, declared John Maynard Keynes, are “dangerous for good or evil.” And in recent years, sad to say, evil has had the upper hand.

Speaking of ideas: are we becoming afraid to make our students uncomfortable? I know what I read in the media, but I am not sure as to how accurate it is.

Note: I am not saying that students should be taught “all points of view”; some ideas have been shown to be crackpot (e. g. creationism). They shouldn’t be taught as if they are viable ideas.

Now speaking of science and religion Biologist David Barash had an article in the New York Times about the talk he has with his classes at a public university:

And that’s where The Talk comes in. It’s irresponsible to teach biology without evolution, and yet many students worry about reconciling their beliefs with evolutionary science. Just as many Americans don’t grasp the fact that evolution is not merely a “theory,” but the underpinning of all biological science, a substantial minority of my students are troubled to discover that their beliefs conflict with the course material.

Until recently, I had pretty much ignored such discomfort, assuming that it was their problem, not mine. Teaching biology without evolution would be like teaching chemistry without molecules, or physics without mass and energy. But instead of students’ growing more comfortable with the tension between evolution and religion over time, the opposite seems to have happened. Thus, The Talk.

There are a few ways to talk about evolution and religion, I begin. [..]

I CONCLUDE The Talk by saying that, although they don’t have to discard their religion in order to inform themselves about biology (or even to pass my course), if they insist on retaining and respecting both, they will have to undertake some challenging mental gymnastic routines. And while I respect their beliefs, the entire point of The Talk is to make clear that, at least for this biologist, it is no longer acceptable for science to be the one doing those routines, as Professor Gould and noma have insisted we do.

I recommend reading the entire article. I especially like Biology Professor Jerry Coyne’s critique of it:

As I mentioned two posts ago, David Barash, a biologist at the University of Washington who works on animal behavior and evolution, has a post in today’s New York Times, “God, Darwin, and my college biology class.” It’s basically an argument for the incompatibility of science and religion, and I like it a lot, not the least because I agree with him 100%.

But there’s one thing about his piece that bothers me: Barash’s article is about how he tells his animal behavior class that science and religion are incompatible. In other words, he’s making theological arguments at a public university. […]

But in fact, and this is my beef (a small one, like a filet mignon): Barash may not be accommodating science with religion, but he’s still discussing their relationship, and his view of their incompatibility—in a science class. I wouldn’t do that, especially in a public university. One could even make the argument that he’s skirting the First Amendment here, mixing government (a state university) and religion. After all, if Eric Hedin can’t tell his students in a Ball State University science class that biology and cosmology are compatible with belief in God, why is it okay to say that they’re incompatible with God?

I share Professor Coyne’s trepidation here.

September 30, 2014 Posted by | economics, education, evolution, religion, science | , | Leave a comment