Well, I did a foolish thing last night. My sister had come over, and instead of drinking wine and watching backlogged episodes of The Good Fight with her (which is what we like to do together), I was sucked into the Internet world of pop-intelligentsia, falling for the Barnum-esque spectacle that was the “debate” between Jordan Peterson and Slavoj Žižek. Billed as the “debate of the century”, it was supposed to answer the question of which system is better for human happiness, Capitalism or Marxism. Continue reading Peterson vs Žižek: My Review of the Debate
A common casual discussion topic among my fellow educators is the question of what the essential focus should be for a true universal education system. Having seen an increasing sense of innumeracy and relative ignorance of recent history among my own students, my default position is always that everyone –young and old– could benefit from remediation in both mathematics and general history. Continue reading Why We Need a Control Group
A recent Angus Reid study, reported widely in the news, showed that many Canadians are experiencing financial stress. A large proportion report needing to borrow money to buy groceries, eschewing dental care, and are experiencing hardship in ten other money-related scenarios presented to them. While sadly no one is shocked that a substantial fraction of Canadians is struggling financially, what is surprising is that the study’s estimate of that fraction is considerably higher than the official governmental numbers. The study found that about 16% of the population is “struggling”, while a further 11% is “on the edge” (i.e., at risk of struggling). This gives a total of 27% who are in some sort of financial jeopardy. Whereas, according to the official estimate, 4.8 million Canadians (about 14%) live beneath the line of indigence. Continue reading How Do We Measure Poverty?
As I write this (on a plane en route from Cuba to Toronto), I’m thinking in an undisciplined manner about some recent developments in public intelligentsia. I’m not quite sure how best to describe what I’m calling something of an “academic rift”, as its nature is only dimly formed in my frontal lobe. But it has something to do with the value of evidence and the extent to which we are willing and able to allow evidence (or what passes for evidence) to dictate our view of social and physical reality. Even as I write those words, I am aware that there will be disagreements about what constitutes “evidence”, and a full appreciation that almost nothing exists in an objective vacuum, immune from the infection of personal bias and value. Continue reading A Tale of Two Fallacies: the Insanity of Progressive Stacking