Theology, philosophy, math, science, and random other things

Keeping score: my coronavirus predictions

There's two reasons for me to do this. The first is for self-improvement. Making predictions and evaluating the results helps me refine my thinking. The second one is to "flex". And yeah, there's probably some element of vanity in there. But even apart from that, I do think that it's important to display my predictions and their results publicly, so that people know that they can trust my works.

Quick takes on the plan to re-open the country

It's not bad. It has many key features from my plan, and while it does have some deficiencies, the fact that it's quite flexible means that state and local leaders can fill in those gaps as necessary. In fact, that responsibility goes all the way down to the individual - to you. As we start re-opening parts of the country in a few weeks, please do your part: take all the standard measures, and do anything else you can that will reduce R0 below 1.

Coronavirus endgame: how we get back to normal

Where do we go from here? And how do we get things back to normal, as quickly as possible? Some people are fantasizing an apocalyptic future, where we stay locked in for months and venture into the virus-infected outside world only to fight over food and toilet paper. Is that what lies ahead? It's clear that our current level of suppression cannot persist indefinitely, but how will it end, and what will life look like when it does?

The coronavirus pandemic: status report on the United States

But we're all wondering whether we've done enough, and how things will turn out in the future. After all, it's the future that's scary: people often report and comment on the current numbers, but I think this is a mistake. The current numbers, of themselves, are insignificant. It's what they portend for the future, under the assumptions of exponential growth, that's the cause for alarm. That's why it's so important to break the exponential, through our efforts of social distancing and better personal hygiene.

On the coronavirus

This doesn't mean that anyone should panic, of course. You wouldn't panic over someone not wearing their seat belt, or lighting up a cigarette. But you'd clearly agree that these are bad ideas. And, again, the risks here increase exponentially with time. Soon enough it will be like getting in a car with a drunk driver. Without a seat belt. On a stormy night. For a drag race.

Some vague, unoriginal thoughts about the election

[...] Surely the nations are like a drop in a bucket; they are regarded as dust on the scales; he weighs the islands as though they were fine dust. Lebanon is not sufficient for altar fires, nor its animals enough for burnt offerings. Before him all the nations are as nothing; they are regarded by […]

Religious freedom and religious accommodations

This post is a consolidation of a whole series into one post. It's fairly long. Click on the following entries in the table of contents below to jump directly there: Introductory case: A Muslim flight attendant who won't serve alcohol Enumerating the general principles at work A Muslim student's home-engineered clock is taken for a […]

Religious freedom and religious accommodations (Part 5)

In this post, I will tackle the story surrounding Kim Davis. She is the county clerk of Rowan County, Kentucky, who was jailed for some time for refusing to issue marriage licenses. Her rationale was that issuing them to same-sex couples would violate her religious beliefs. The rules for this post are the same as […]

Religious freedom and religious accommodations (Part 4)

I will tackle the story surrounding Sweet Cakes by Melissa in this post. "Sweet Cakes by Melissa" is a cake shop that was heavily penalized for refusing to cater a same-sex wedding, which they felt was against the principles of their religion. The rules in this post are the same as in last week's post: […]

Religious freedom and religious accommodations (Part 3)

In the last post, I stated several principles which govern the interaction between the majority and a minority. We will now apply these principles to a real-world case, beyond the original story of the Muslim flight attendant. For reference, the principles are reproduced below: I believe that people have a right to the free exercise […]