All posts by Letitia Ryan

Would it be rational to believe that Jesus rose from the dead if you actually saw him?

Lawrence Shapiro (University of Wisconsin) is a talented philosopher.  He has recently written a piece for Aeon Magazine which defends in a somewhat more sophisticated form an argument first made by David Hume (1711-1776).  The argument is for the conclusion that it is never rational to believe that a miracle (such as the resurrection of Jesus) has occurred on the basis of testimony.  The article is well-written and I recommend a careful reading.

According to him we can treat witnesses to miracles as we do tests for rare diseases.  If someone says that a miracle has occurred, then in order to evaluate whether this witness gives us good evidence to believe it or not we have to know the base rate of such miracles.  Because even if witnesses only make very rare mistakes if there are much more mistakes than events being witnessed, then it is always far more likely that any report is a mistake.  (Even if the report is correct it would not be reasonable to believe it.)  To return to the medical case, consider if the disease being tested for has only one known case in the history of the world.  But grant also that the test is pretty accurate making mistakes only one in a million times.  You get a positive test.  Is it reasonable to think you are the one person with the illness?  No.  Because there will be many more false positives the test probably erred.

The reasoning here is pretty compelling and straightforward.  The relevance to belief in Jesus resurrection is obvious.  This event (if it occurred) is unique in history.  A resurrection from the dead has only happened once so far.  While groups of generally honest people coming to strongly believe that someone has risen from the dead is also pretty rare, these sorts of mistakes happen far more often than people actually coming back to life (which if the resurrection didn’t happen is zero.)  One who didn’t have a high opinion of the early Christian witnesses may think that such craziness happens far more often than actual dead people coming back to life.

Read more: How much time should I put into Bible study if I want to “grow” as a Christian?

Audiobook Review: Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan

Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan

Publisher: Macmillan Audio / St. Martins Griffin

Release date: September 13, 2011

Pages: 307

Summary: Waverly has lived on the Empyrean her whole life. The giant spaceship has been on its way to a new earth for years, and all has been well, until now. People from the Empyrean’s sister ship, the New Horizon, storm the Empyrean and take all the young females captive. Waverly is suspicious of the people on the New Horizon, who seem kind on the surface, but may be more evil than they appear. She makes it her mission to uncover the truth about the New Horizon and get the girls back to the Empyrean.

The book: Amy Kathleen Ryan is great at manipulating emotions. You’ll find yourself warming to a certain character, and all of a sudden you’ll feel completely opposite. Antagonists, particularly, seem to evoke different feelings—they’re so bad (Ryan creates great bad guys), but at the same time, you can see where they’re coming from. This lets us examine what it really means to be evil: is it all a matter of perspective?

Glow features a dual narration, which is great at first, but towards the middle of the book, it fades away. We only see Waverly’s perspective for the majority of the book, and as a fan of Kieran, I was a bit disappointed. Still, the events happening in Waverly’s life were far more exciting than those happening in Kieran’s—I’m not sure I would’ve been able to handle the suspense of leaving Waverly’s perspective at chapter breaks.

The story is, overall, quite interesting and very engrossing. Though the plot seems to take priority over character, Glow is still a good read. The only oddity that I found in the book was the late introduction of a religious theme. It seemed a bit out of place; though it made sense, it seemed a little bit like the author was pushing it towards her audience.

The audio: The audio was read by Ilyana Kadushin and Matthew Brown. Like I mentioned earlier, Waverly gets the most face time in the story, so Ilyana dominated the audiobook. I liked her soft voice—I listened to the audio right before bed, and Ilyana’s narration was perfect for unwinding. (Warning to commuters who listen to audiobooks: if you have a noisy car, be sure to crank up the volume!) Another thing to note is that Ilyana does a great Evil Condescending Matriarch voice. I was seething at the main villain because of how well she voiced the character! Matthew Brown did a great job, too, and I actually preferred his narration because of his versatility (he was able to do a wider variety of voices for different characters).

3.5/5 stars (story)

For those who like: truly evil bad guys, escape plans, sci-fi

Read more: A Free Online Essay Checker for all of your College Writing Assignments. Can you do what Robot Don does?

It’s Time to Change Your Career Search Strategy

People are pursuing jobs today like fisherman going after fish at a popular lake with a local reputation for lots of big fish. The trouble is that the fishing today at this lake isn’t what it used to be. In the past, everyone was confident of getting plenty of strikes and landing at least one or two decent keepers. Those days are gone, yet fisherman keeps hoping it will get better again.

Today the lake shore is crowded with fisherman (job seekers) desperately waiting for a bite. They are flailing the water with different lures and baits trying to find a tactic that will produce fish a job, any job.

The problem is that most of the fish are gone and the few that are still in the lake are small. So what are the fisherman doing? They try harder and long. They change tactics. They move around to different spots on the lake hoping to get a hit. Just changing up your resume or improving your interviewing techniques isn’t going to make much difference in the outcome. Those methods will only work if there are fish to be caught.

Some job seekers are even demanding that the government should do something to create new jobs. That is like saying the fisheries department should stock more hatchery-raised fish in the lake. Think about it, stocked fish are usually minimum catchable size, translate that into low paying jobs. There is a limited quantity dumped into the lake, people rush to catch them and they are soon fished out. Are more government created jobs what we are really fishing for?

It’s time to rethink your strategy. What is it that you are after? Is it a job or is it rewarding work? There is a shortage of jobs today but there is not a shortage of work. To find work you need to change your strategy and stop wasting time where the jobs and the crowds of fishermen are. It’s time to stop chasing after a small number of minimum size jobs that are being pursued by the crowds.

Finding meaningful work in today’s climate will take a new strategy. It means turning away from the overfished lake and seeking out the less accessible but better-populated ponds and streams. A new strategy means risking and trying a whole new approach that focuses on targeting rewarding work and not a job. There is meaningful work out there, it looks different than a job but it will take a new strategy to find it and catch it.

Killer Reading Strategies to Improve Your Speed

You know you read slowly, but you don’t know how to improve. Does this sound like you? A lot of us are in the same position, but we don’t have to be. Read on, and you’ll learn how to give your reading a killer jump-start!

Good reading techniques allow you to read through material with speed and a high level of comprehension. We’re going to talk about two of these methods – eye span and regression. They both work well for computer (on-screen) reading and printed text.

Eye Span

Eye span is perhaps the single most important technique to reading faster. It refers to the number of words you can take in at a single glance. Word-by-word readers are the slowest kind of readers, since they stop to fixate on every single word. They also lose comprehension because they don’t see the material in context. Unless you can learn to take in multiple words – or phrases – at a time, you will have trouble increasing your speed and your reading comprehension.

To find your current eye span, look at a column of text. If you can see all the words on a line at one time, but not more, then this is your eye span. You should read with your vision placed slightly above the words at the midpoint of your span. This will allow you to use your peripheral vision and see more information than just what appears before your central visual field. When you are ready to increase your span, do so by adding a single word more at a time; too many additional words all at once will prove too difficult to master.


Regression is a bad habit that can slow you down a lot! It means the unnecessary re-reading of material. Sometimes people get into the habit of skipping back to words they have just read. They also may jump back a few words or a few sentences, just to make sure that they read something right. Although they are concerned about comprehension, the word or phrase they go back to is usually something small, like “and” or “the.” These words do not contribute to overall comprehension.

Another problem with regression is that it makes you lose the flow and structure of the text. As a result, your overall understanding of the material can decrease. Occasionally, however, regressions are necessary to clarify a point. Make sure that if you do regress, it is only to help boost your overall comprehension of the text.


Reasons to Become a Teacher

Here is a list of reasons to become a teacher! Everyone, when they are a child, thinks about what they want to become when they will be older. Some say that they want to be astronauts, some say that they want to be doctors, and some say that they want to be teachers. There are a lot of things that change in the meantime and so there are few that actually choose the job that they thought of as children. Still, there are a lot of people that want to be teachers. Teaching is considered one of the best activities/careers and so there are a lot of people that would love to do that. But why should someone become a teacher? First of all, if you love children and you want to guide them in life, by offering to them the information that they need each step in their school activity, then teaching will make you feel rewarded. Let’s learn about a couple of reasons to become a teacher.


Main Reasons to Become a Teacher


Also, do not forget that while you teach, you will end up leaving even more things about that subject along the way. Teaching also means staying up to date with all the news and all of the details of the subject that you are in. Think about what a big difference you will be making, because the children are the future and you have a major impact in their lives; by offering precious information that they will need in life. So teaching gives you the satisfaction of contributing to the changes that the today’s children will be making in the future. And besides these things that are more rewarding for your soul, let’s think practical as well, because being a teacher offers you a stable job if you have a little bit of experience and some great results. There are a lot of schools and a lot of jobs as teachers and a teacher with good results will always have some offers for work if need be.


Additional Reasons to Become a Teacher
Moreover, if you have children, think about the fact that you will be home almost at the same time as they get, because teaching requires a lot of homework, too, so you will not be staying in the school that long, but just until the classes are over. Also, you will be experiencing long holidays, especially in the summer. The summer is the perfect time for you to get another job if you want to, because the free time will allow you to or you can simply enjoy the time off with your family and friends. Think about these reasons to become a teacher and if you really want to be a teacher, then you should make a career out of it.

Goal Setting Tools to Get You Ahead

The common denominator in every successful individual, whether it be in business, relationships, school or otherwise, is the practice of setting goals. In every area of life it is important to have dreams that you aspire to fulfill, and goal setting for students is no different. With all of the responsibilities of pursuing an education, holding down a job and maintaining a social life, it can be easy to get off track and forget what you’re working for. Setting personal goals allows you to track your successes and the lessons you have learned along the way. Why set goals? It will not only give you something to work for, but also adds purpose and challenge to your life.

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Goal Setting Tips

  1. Set Priorities. The best thing you can do in effective goal setting is to determine your priorities. What do you really want to accomplish in life? Earn your college degree? Start your own business? Make the Dean’s List? Whatever it may be, identify what tops your list and let that be your main objective. While setting realistic goals is important, it’s also essential that you don’t allow your daily life is to get in the way of achieving your larger-than-life dreams. Go for it! Even if you don’t necessarily succeed, you will learn the importance of making priorities and sticking to them. If you wish to run a marathon, your running/training schedule will have to take priority to other demands in your life. The process of learning time management and the development of perseverance and dedication to a cause will improve every area of your life.
  2. Write Your Goals Down. One of the most important and effective components of effective goal setting is the physical act of writing down what you wish to achieve. If you write down your goals in a journal or even a just a little note you put in a place you look often, it will increase your chances of making it a reality. There is something about actually writing it down that holds you more accountable to actually following through with it. If you want to ace your final, write down the grade you’d like to earn, the date of the test and what you will do to make it happen. Planning and goal setting work hand-in-hand, so make a point to practice good planning strategies by writing everything down!
  3. Tell a Friend. This step makes the difference between simply setting goals and achieving them. You must tell someone that you trust about your goal and allow them to hold you accountable. Among the many goal setting strategies, this is one of the easiest and most effective tools because it allows you to have a support system. A solid support system and source of encouragement will help you when you encounter obstacles and will lend insight and direction when you start to veer off course.