Monthly Archives: January 2012

Post-morbid effects of retro-active intercessory prayer

Does it help to pray for seriously ill patients? The results of well-designed clinical trials of intercessory prayer generally say no. But a not-so-recent study published by the British Medical Journal (22 December, 2001) brought a new twist to the … Continue reading

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“Just say no”: Does chastity work?

The recent amazing discovery that teens like sex has led to campaigns promoting chastity among high school students. Advocates for this crusade condemn the promotion of condom use, claiming that avoidance of sex is the only way to prevent unwanted … Continue reading

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We are not Stephen King

“But don’t you make money off your publications?” Academics — university professors like me — get the question all the time. Those outside the ivory tower assume that when we publish a paper, we get royalties. They couldn’t be more … Continue reading

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Dead People I Would Invite for Dinner

History is replete with boors. Consider, for example, Alexander the (so-called) Great, Oliver Cromwell and Mao Zedong. Sit down with one of those and you’d get such an earful self-aggrandizement (Alex), theology (Oliver) or ideology (Mao) that you’d be comatose … Continue reading

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Quote of the Week: 10 January, 2012

Philosophy begins where religion ends, just as by analogy chemistry begins where alchemy runs out and astronomy takes the place of astrology. Christopher Hitchens, God Is Not Great

Posted in Atheism and Religion, Religion | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Do you believe in evolution?

The author and aphorist G.K. Chesterton once wrote “When people stop believing in God they don’t believe in nothing, they believe in anything.” Did you like that? If so, beware. It’s a human failing to mistake glibness for insight, and … Continue reading

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Which countries are research giants?

On its news website, the journal Nature recently published a graphic illustrating scientific research activity around the world as measured by the number of papers published from January to October 2011. Nature obligingly arranged the data by country. A glance … Continue reading

Posted in Research, Statistics | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment