January 2017 Archives
January 2, 2017
California goes Swedish on child prostitution
California has decided to try the famed "Swedish solution" to prostitution--specifically, child prostitution.
The idea of the "Swedish solution" is that if you decriminalize the selling of sex by individuals while retaining criminal penalties for purchasing sex and for trafficking and pimping, and while offering lots of "support services" for those who don't want to be prostitutes, you will magically make prostitution disappear. Really. Google it and you'll see the paeans of praise to the Swedish solution. Color me skeptical about these reports from Sweden, and color me even more skeptical about the probability that decriminalizing children's selling sex will lower the incidence of child prostitution in California. Color me very, very skeptical.
January 9, 2017
Classifications of undesigned coincidences
In preparation for a project I hope to work on in probability theory, I have prepared a partial taxonomy of undesigned coincidences. In the nature of the case, this is not going to be a rigorous taxonomy such as a set of mutually exclusive and jointly exhaustive categories, for two reasons. First, there are fuzzy edges to what we include in the overall category of "undesigned coincidences." Second, sometimes it is somewhat arbitrary whether one includes a coincidence in one category or another, depending (for example) on whether one regards something as an "event" or a "detail," what counts as "the same event," and so forth.
Nonetheless, I think that a classification is useful. For one thing, it's useful for geeky types who have never heard of an undesigned coincidence and aren't satisfied with concrete examples. Some people work better mentally with general descriptions, or at least find them useful in addition to concrete examples.
A classification like this can help someone who has been introduced to the argument with examples only from one category to appreciate other kinds of undesigned coincidences as well.
Another useful thing about classifying undesigned coincidences is that it can draw our attention to what is usually most confirmed by a particular type of coincidence. For epistemological purposes, we want to be thinking about what is confirmed and how much it is confirmed when we use an argument.
"When the Rome Hits Your Eye, That's Amoris"
[To be sung to the tune of Dean Martin's "That's amore."]
Those who have been paying attention to the shenanigans in the upper ranks of the Catholic Church know that there is a bit of a brawl brewing – or being played out in slow motion perhaps – following on Pope Francis’s release of Amoris Laetitia. What’s it all about? And what’s a Catholic to do about it all? This post is mainly to answer questions at least related to the latter – what’s is a Catholic to do in a situation like this. But I will touch on other questions.
First, the bare bones of events:
The Church held a synod on the family, in two parts. First part was in 2014, and it did not go quite the way the Pope wanted.
The second part was in October 2015, where the people the Pope put in charge of running it eventually elicited the required 2/3 majority approval for documents speaking their mind, more or less. These, too, were in some ways short of what the Pope hoped for.
In April 2016, the Pope issued the Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia (hencefore, just “AL”) to the Church and the world based somewhat loosely on what the Synod said.
January 15, 2017
Come Unto Me, and I Will Give You Rest
I have a new devotional post up at my personal blog on Jesus' words, "Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."
Feel free to comment in either location.