Snow. We had a fairly healthy snow last night, but not enough to keep us from gathering at R.C.’s house to record another installment of the Basement Tapes. By the time we were headed home the snow had stopped and the roads were fairly clear. Right now it’s snowing lightly, but I don’t think it will keep us from making our way to Nashville today.
Opry. We’re headed for Nashville on Friday, for our first visit to the Grand Old Opry. At the moment the Opry is not originating from the new venue at Opryland, but from the Ryman Auditorium, where it was produced for many years before Opryland was build.
Why this weekend? Because on Sunday we received an email from the Reeltime Travelers, informing us that they would be playing the Opry on Friday and Saturday night this week. If you can’t be there, you might want to try listening on the internet, at WSM Online.
I mistakenly posted this on the HSC weblog on Wednesday; I meant to post it here.
Reason. Some long-running PSA campaign uses the tag line “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.” That is such sound advice that it verges on being tautological. So why is it that almost every pop science ‘breakthrough’ critically depends on the American public setting aside that advice?
The latest example is probably the hoohah about the Atkins diet, a diet that claims in essence that we’ve been eating all wrong for the past six thousand years. I like to think of it as the Sleeper diet—remembering the beginning of the movie, when Woody Allen is being briefed about the scientific discoveries made while he was in suspended animation, including the discovery that it was health food that caused cancer, while a diet of steak, fried potatoes, and milkshakes was the key to long life.
Here’s an article about the recent Atkins study by Michael Fumento, who is making a career of countering pop science foolishness with common sense. The study turns out to be a good example of the post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy, namely the fallacy of assuming that, because one thing followed another, that the first thing caused the second. Why did people who lost weight on the Atkins diet experience certain benefits? Not because of the Atkins diet, but simply because they lost weight.
Gambling. I think the position taken in this column by John Piper is way over the top. Perhaps Piper thinks so too, because it substitutes an awful lot of pious posturing for reasoned discussion. Is his ministry going to publish a detailed blacklist? Gamblers are on it. Will it include lottery workers? Convenience store clerks who sell the tickets? Brewers? Distillers? Bartenders? Tobacco growers?