Saturday, 28 March 2015

Estranged Notions: 9 Things Salon.com Gets Wrong About Jesus

Today's post:

9 Things Salon.com Gets Wrong About Jesus

Valerie Tarico is a psychologist by trade, and has written some useful articles from that perspective (one of which is linked from the References page), but has written some other articles for Alternet (some recently picked up by Salon) which are fairly weak as far as factual accuracy goes. Sorenson rips into one here, and the only real surprise is that even on such an easy target his criticism is pretty poor.

Friday, 20 March 2015

Estranged Notions: Marin Mersenne: A Priest at the Heart of the Scientific Revolution

Today's post is another “Look! Catholic dude does science!” article:

Marin Mersenne: A Priest at the Heart of the Scientific Revolution

Of course one can't help noticing things like this:

Furthermore, he “established that the intensity of sound, like that of light, is inversely proportional to the distance from its source.”

This quote is cited to the Complete Dictionary of Scientific Biography, which does indeed have those words, but of course anyone who knows even the first thing about either sound or light knows that it is incorrect. Consulting the original source—Mersenne's Harmonicorum libri XII, book 2, proposition 39—seems to show that Mersenne did indeed have it as the inverse square, not the inverse, assuming I'm correctly construing his Latin in spite of the rather dubious assistance of Google Translate; he states that a quadrupling of the intensity of the source would double the distance at which the sound could be heard.

Score Mersenne 1, biographers and theologians 0.

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Estranged Notions: How Modern Art Led Me to God

Yesterday's post:

How Modern Art Led Me to God

I'd have said that this was the usual lame attempt to argue from objective aesthetics to God, except that I've never yet seen Fulwiler produce anything resembling an argument and this post is no exception. Her style is just to handwave and emote at you vaguely rather than make any attempt at substance.

Thursday, 12 March 2015

The Terry Pratchett Memorial Thread

Sir Terry Pratchett OBE, world-famous author of the Discworld series and other fantasy and science-fiction works, is reported to have died today aged 66 from complications of early-onset Alzheimer's disease.

Estranged Notions: Dressgate: Is Perception Reality?

Today's post:

Dressgate: Is Perception Reality?

Fascinatingly, Becklo manages to botch the issue in a whole bunch of separate ways, even though it is really quite simple: the word “colour” is being used to refer to a whole cluster of related but non-identical concepts.