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Why do Christian fundamentalists hate Set Theory?

Set Theory is one of the topics all but banned from charter schools in Louisiana (funded with public money). Here is why this subset of mathematics angers Christian fundies. What do Christian fundamentalists have against set theory? - Boing Boing
But after re-acquainting myself with this stuff, I think I see a couple of things happening that would make set theory problematic for some Christian fundamentalists. First: Some of these folks get very touchy about the idea of infinity. Mark Chu-Carroll is a software engineer at foursquare and a math blogger. Unlike me, he was already aware of the fundamentalist objection to set theory, because he's actually had people show up in his comment section railing about how the theory is an affront to God. Particularly the part about multiple infinities. Chu-Carroll told me that one commenter explained the problem this way: "There is only one infinity, and that is God." Basically, this perspective looks at set theory and Georg Cantor and sees humankind trying to replace the divine with numbers and philosophy. The second problem is a little more complex. Remember how the modern idea of set theory really isn't all that modern? That's because I'm pretty sure A Beka doesn't mean "modern" as in "recent", but "modern" as in "modernist". I can tell you from experience that A Beka (and Bob Jones University Press) are stridently against modernism in all its forms. (I'm assuming they're against post-modernism, too, but you have to understand that the opinions and perspectives this sort of Christian fundamentalism has about society and culture were formed between the late 1920s and early 1970s and, because of this, the culture wars that they are fighting often come across as confusingly antiquated. Thus, the ongoing obsession with the imminent threat of Communism. See also: Why I sat through multiple sermons on the evils of rock n' roll in the late 1990s.) If you associate modernism primarily with abstract art, Scandinavian furniture, and houses made out of glass, then all of this is probably just as confusing as set theory, itself. But art isn't really what the fundamentalists are thinking about when they think about modernism.

August 01, 2012

So what's the deal with Pussy Riot?

Russia's anti-Putin movement gets deeply weird, and then gets tortured by the state. What's Going on With Pussy Riot, Explained | Mother Jones
Pussy Riot is a Russian, anti-Putin, riot grrrl art collective. The group formed in September 2011, directly after Vladimir Putin announced his run for president (again). The 10 performers are known for dressing up in balaclavas (knitted ski masks with eye and mouth holes cut out) and staging punk-infused protest art shows in Moscow's public spaces. On February 21, five members of Pussy Riot performed a "punk prayer" at the altar of Christ the Savior Cathedral in Moscow. The original cathedral was destroyed by Stalin in 1931 and rebuilt as a godless celebration of the state (later becoming the world's largest swimming pool), but it returned to its function as an Orthodox church in 1994. Pussy Riot stood under the cathedral's elaborate frescoes, punched at the air and cursed, pleading with the Virgin Mary to kick Putin out of power. Watch the video here. What happened after that? Two weeks after being led out by cathedral security, three members of Pussy Riot were arrested with a warrant for "hooliganism," a charge for which they could serve up to seven years. They were denied bail, and their trial was repeatedly postponed. Two of the women are mothers of young children, and all three have remained imprisoned for nearly five months. On Monday, the trial finally began. The defense had little time to pore over 2,800 pages of an indictment, and tweets from Violetta Volkova, one of the defense lawyers, tell of the women being given five consecutive days, from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m., to read their charges in a cage-like cell at court. Today, the defense claimed that after 11 hours in court yesterday deprived of food or sleep, the women were too exhausted to proceed. According to the Moscow Times, Judge Marina Syrova eventually promised to let the defendants take a break. . . .

July 24, 2012

How To: Suck At Your Religion

Goddess help me, but I actually enjoyed a The Oatmeal comic. This must be what going crazy feels like. Or he just aimed his giant pander blaster right at one of my pet peeves. Which is more likely. Short version is: No one likes it when adults are super pushy about religion and lie to people about science stuff. How to suck at your religion - The Oatmeal