Toys for Boys AND Girls

Christmas is rapidly approaching, we have three granddaughters to spoil. They’re now ages 5, 6, and 7, and I’ve been spending my time checking out toys both online and in our local toy stores. What am I finding?

That the toy manufacturers have a long way to go.

When our first grandchild was born, we promised her parents that we would:

  1. not add to the already overwhelming pile of stuffed animals (difficult, but so far, so good)
  2. avoid toys requiring batteries (at least while the kiddos are young)
  3. avoid toys with trademarked ads promoting movies and TV shows—no Sesame Street characters, no Disney princesses (we’ve done fairly well on this one).

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Lying with Statistics: the Sharpshooter & Post-hoc Fallacies

targetI’m not an expert at archery, but there’s a way I can guarantee I get a bull’s eye every time. It’s simple. I shoot the arrow at a large target, one I can’t possibly miss. Then, I walk up and draw a bull’s eye around the arrow.

We laugh at how ridiculous this is, but this sort of error occurs every day in peer reviewed studies published in prestigious journals. Called the Sharpshooter Fallacy, it’s all too common, so it’s important that we be able to recognize it.

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About Galileo

Galileo_facing_the_Roman_InquisitionWe all know the story. Galileo, the Italian astronomer, insisted that the planets revolved around the sun. The Catholic Church, on the other hand, insisted that the earth was in the center, and all else revolved around us. Galileo was smart, the church was ignorant (to put it nicely), and he was brought before the Inquisition. They convicted him of heresy and forced him to recant. But now we know better—even the Catholics have agreed that Galileo was correct. The conclusion? This all provides yet one more example that scientists are smarter than Christians.

Except… that story is just that—a story. It isn’t exactly true, and leaves out a lot of very important facts.

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When Not to Pray

phonegodI don’t have to pray about that!

Have you ever heard someone explain that they didn’t need to ask God about a particular situation? Perhaps you’ve been that person—so confident that you already know God’s will that you don’t need to confirm it? There seems to be an agreement in the church that some things are so obvious, we don’t need to check in with God about them.

I suppose you could make a case for instances where God’s will is clearly stated in the Bible. We probably don’t need to ask Him whether or not we should murder that annoying neighbor, for example. Nor do we need to pray about if we should cheat on our spouse.

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A Bias for Action

GoldenGardensPark-WA_LAH_2774

“God can’t steer a ship that isn’t moving.”
or
“God can’t steer a parked car”

You are likely familiar with one or both of these phrases—they’re two of those Christian truisms that we hear repeated over and over—while no one thinks to ask whether or not they are actually true. The idea is that we should ask God what to do in any given situation, then start doing something while we wait for His answer. After all, God can’t….

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