Monthly Archives: March 2020

John Allen Paulos, A MATHEMATICIAN READS THE NEWSPAPER (1995)

John Allen Paulos, A Mathematician Reads the Newspaper. Basic Books, 1995. Author’s Conclusion: Always be smart. Seldom be certain. Journalists should ask, in addition to Who, Where, What, etc., How Many? And How Likely? And no matter how detailed the … Continue reading

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Links and Comments: Socialism, Conspiracy Theories, Religion, Rationality, Liberalism, William Barr, Republicans

First, a David Brooks column from back in December: I Was Once a Socialist. Then I Saw How It Worked. I was a socialist in college. I read magazines like The Nation and old issues of The New Masses. I … Continue reading

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John Allen Paulos, IRRELIGION (2008)

John Allen Paulos, Irreligion: A Mathematician Explains Why the Arguments for God Just Don’t Add Up.  Farrar, Straus and Giroux/Hill and Wang, 2008. John Allen Paulos is a professor of mathematics who’s become, over the past three decades, well-known as … Continue reading

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My Religious Upbringing, Such As It Was

My upbringing was not especially religious; my parents attended church, and took their kids to Sunday school, but more out of social habit and propriety, was my impression, rather than from any deep-seated faith. My parents both grew up in … Continue reading

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Sam Harris, THE END OF FAITH (2004)

Sam Harris, The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason. Norton, 2004. In the 2000s, in the aftermath of 9/11, several well-known intellectuals wrote books examining the bases and legitimacy of religion in general. Four of them—Sam … Continue reading

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Daniel Gilbert, STUMBLING ON HAPPINESS (2006)

The author is a Harvard psychologist, recently familiar for several TV commercials he’s done for Prudential, which typically depict him in a public park doing surveys of groups of people. (https://www.ispot.tv/topic/expert/k7f/daniel-gilbert). This seems to be the only book the author … Continue reading

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Hans Rosling: FACTFULNESS (2018)

This is a book that explores why most people are wrong on key facts about the world, thinking it worse than it is, e.g. concerning poverty, life expectancy, etc. In a sense it’s a modern-day counterpart to Steven Pinker’s THE … Continue reading

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