William M. Briggs

William M. Briggs is a consultant and adjunct Professor of Statistics at Cornell University, with specialties in medicine and the philosophy of science. He blogs at wmbriggs.com.

recent articles

Leaked Laudato Lamented

Here are some comments on the leaked version of Laudato Si’. As everybody knows, the final version may be different than the leaked version. Even if so, the comments I make are valid concerning the material we have. I also only concentrate on the section devoted to “climate change,” a.k.a. global warming.  The document is long … Read more

What Does “Sustainability” Really Mean?

The Pontifical Academy for Science’s summary of their recent conference on sustainability, itself anticipating our Holy Father’s (supposed) environmental encyclical, is suffused with scientific inaccuracies, some small, others large. But these are forgivable, considering the hearts of its authors are in the right place; and perhaps the theology of the document is sound. The PAS said, “Unsustainable … Read more

Vatican Burns with Global Warming Enthusiasm

The Pontifical Academy of Sciences had its one-day global warming conference yesterday. Not unlike a certain synod, it ended with the issuing of an anticlimactic pre-prepared climatic document “Climate Change and The Common Good: A Statement Of The Problem And The Demand For Transformative Solutions.” Gist: we are soon doomed unless we “do something.” More on that … Read more

The Return of Eugenics

It’s beginning to look a lot like 1913, a decade before the peak of the Social Darwinism movement, a time when educated and concerned people joined the Race Betterment Foundation and looked to the settled science of eugenics to save civilization from the growing horde of the genetically inferior. Events have since made the word … Read more

A New Row Over Pregnancy Caused by Rape

What percentage of raped women become pregnant? Answer: nobody knows. Strike that. Many people claim to know, but the actual rate is hidden from us, though it can be estimated with considerable uncertainty. Maybe the better question is, are pregnancy rates higher, the same, or smaller for raped women than for non-raped women? Answer: nobody … Read more

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