Visualizing 7% investment risk

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A continuing theme in this blog is how the human brain is constantly evaluating probability and risk, and “acting” accordingly in controlling our bodies. Yet, most humans have a hard time visualizing what “risk” actually looks like. Even if we have a handle on the mathematics of probability, we can still have a hard time “seeing” it. Below is the… Read more »

If it’s not illegal…

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One of the great logic errors in ethical discussions is committed by people who shrug off a moral question by saying, “If it is not illegal, then it must be okay to do.” We see a lot of this thinking even among supposedly-conservative defenders of the current leadership in America. The corollary to that error tends to come from religious fundamentalists,… Read more »

Doing stupid stuff with the economy

President Obama’s foreign policy doctrine was famously characterized as “Don’t do stupid s— (stuff).” I won’t weigh in here on the current president’s foreign policy, but I can assert that his economic policy has clearly veered into “stupid stuff” territory. I spent the better part of twenty years in the academic publishing business attending far too many meetings of professors… Read more »

Making the exception

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“Every rule has an exception, including this one.” (Anonymous) There is an old joke among tax accountants that there is really only one rule in the entire Internal Revenue Service Code: “Everything is taxable unless we say it isn’t.” The rest of the thousands of pages of code and revenue rulings consists of detailed exceptions to that one rule. That… Read more »

“God language,” fundamentalism and Trump

My take on the link between Christian fundamentalism and Donald Trump is different from both many of his most avid supporters as well his strongest opponents. In short, just like I think we do in discussing Islamic-attributed terror, we give too much credit to “religion” and not enough to “God language” itself, apart from religion. Humans need to communicate. Our… Read more »

Book review: “The Human Instinct” by Kenneth Miller

I have long had a habit of looking in used bookstores for copies of a 1999 book by biologist and best-selling textbook author Kenneth Miller entitled Finding Darwin’s God: A Scientist’s Search for Common Ground Between God and Evolution, which I then give to friends. Miller’s book is one of the few scientifically-competent books about evolution that is written with the sensitive… Read more »

Divine command ethics

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God said to Abraham, “Kill me a son.” Abe say, “Man you must be puttin’ me on. God say, “No.” Abe say, “What?” God say, “You can do what you want Abe, but The next time you see me comin’ you’d better run.” – Bob Dylan, “Highway 61 Revisited” The Genesis story of Abraham being commanded by God to sacrifice… Read more »

Seeing past Vern Buchanan’s nose

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My Florida congressman, Vern Buchanan, sends out these inane email surveys almost every week, which always ask one question in a way that screams, “Answer this way!” A recent one, for instance, was designed to get constituents to say that congressional salaries are too high. Which is really rich, because Vern Buchanan is, uh, really rich. As one of the… Read more »