Archive for December, 2021

December 24, 2021

Merry Christmas and a happy new year

by Neil Rickert

I’m posting a bit early this week, so as to be in time for Christmas. And I’m already late, because Christmas day is under way in some parts of the world (Australia, New Zealand and some Pacific islands).

Best wishes to all.

December 20, 2021

Mathematics and science

by Neil Rickert

In his blog post today:

thonyc gives some interesting history on the use of mathematics in science. I found this quite interesting, and it corrects some of my own misunderstandings. Popular books which touch on the history of mathematics tend to gloss over much of the detail.

We tend to see the use of mathematics in science as relatively sudden. But thonyc’s account shows that it was actually more gradual. In a way, that makes a lot of sense and is perhaps what we should have expected.

The experimental method

Discussions of the scientific method usually emphasize the idea of experimental testing. That’s how I was introduced to science in elementary school. Many internet discussions of science emphasize the experimental method. This can be a way of distinguishing between science and religious creationism, because the so-called scientific creationists do not use the kind of experimental testing that we see in science.

In reality, though, experimental testing is not limited to science. A good cook tests her concoctions. A tennis player tests his strokes. Experimental testing is ubiquitous in life, and is better thought of as part of pragmatism. Even a religious creationist tests his ideas by seeing how his intended audience responds to his stories.

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December 13, 2021

Two trials

by Neil Rickert

I don’t normally comment on trials, though I did in a recent post. And now I’ll comment again on another two somewhat high profile cases. These are the case of Josh Duggar and the case of Jussie Smollett.


The Duggar family is known for their roles in the TV reality show “19 kids and counting”. That TV show came to an abrupt end, when it was found out that Josh Duggar had been molesting his younger sisters. And then, more recently, Duggar was charged in connection with child pornography. On Thursday, a jury found him guilty.

We do not know what sentence he will receive, though this was a serious crime. I do not rejoice at the idea of him spending a long time in jail. Yet it seems that Duggar needs to learn some lessons of life. He had the opportunity to turn his life around after the molestation became known. But apparently he failed to do that.

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December 6, 2021

Reviewing “How to be an antiracist”

by Neil Rickert

I did not initially intend to read Kendi’s “How to be an antiracist”. I had seen a lot of criticism of Kendi’s ideas, so it did not seem like a good way to spend my time. However, somebody persuaded me to actually read it. So I purchased the Kindle edition. And I’m glad that I did.

I’ll break this discussion into two parts. First I will give an overview, and say what I liked about it. And then I will discuss Kendi’s ideas on racism.


The author presents many anecdotes from his experiences, starting from elementary school and onto high school, college, graduate school. These anecdotes illustrate the way that Kendi has personally experienced racism. He presents the anecdotes in an interesting way, and this is part of why I found the book worth reading.

Of course, I have my own experiences. But because I am not black, I have not experienced racism in the way that Kendi has. So these presentations did help to give me a better picture of what racism looks like to an African American.

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