Minimax It

by Gene Callahan

I’m always shocked by the idea that “the star has to take the final shot” in basketball. I just watched UConn, down one point with eight seconds left against Louisville, force the ball to Kemba Walker for what must have been about a thirty-foot shot. They had the ball in the hands of Shabazz Napier, a dynamic, fast point guard, who can drive, and they only needed two to win. When Napier saw Louisville was focused on Walker, why in the world wasn’t he given the green light to go to the basket? Continue reading

Against Magical Thinking

by Roger Koppl

The term “magical thinking” has different meanings, most of them involving something like extrasensory perception or the efficacy of spells.  Here I define it as an argument, one of whose steps requires something impossible.  (Larry White helped me with this definition, but gets no blame for it or anything I say here.)  It is not magic thinking if your argument has an unexplained piece.  Darwin knew didn’t have anything like Mendelevian genetics as a mechanism.  That was a hole in his theory, eventually filled by others.  No magic there.  Magical thinking exists when one fills the gap with something that is logically or physically impossible.

If you can show I have engaged in magical thinking, you have overturned my argument.   Continue reading