Father Stephen Freeman, a Russian Orthodox priest and blogger, fired an excellent rebuke at all those who apply biblical stories to their lives in hermeneutically reckless fashion. While I agreed with Father Freeman’s post, I argued that his criticisms should be extended to all of theology and not just be taken to target only its corruption. Father Freeman was gracious enough to stop by and address my criticism in the comments section to my post.  I reproduce here his reply… Read more

From “Tekitos”: Read more

Father Stephen Freeman gives a well-deserved epistemological and moral rebuke to the haphazard, self-serving, and hermeneutically arbitrary way that Mark Sanford, like many other religious people throughout history, has taken biblical stories as justifications for his decisions: The problem with such use of Biblical imagination is that it simply has no controlling story. Nothing tells us which story to use other than our own imagination (which is generally a deluded part of our mind). A governor gets to play King… Read more

This is a great video on the 5th Amendment and on the various reasons people should always invoke its privileges.  Quite eye-opening on both police procedures and our rights. At 48 minutes it sounds long, but I couldn’t turn it off start to finish. Read more

Zombietime has the excerpts from new “science czar” John Holdren’s 1977 book, in which he advocates the following: • Women could be forced to abort their pregnancies, whether they wanted to or not; • The population at large could be sterilized by infertility drugs intentionally put into the nation’s drinking water or in food; • Single mothers and teen mothers should have their babies seized from them against their will and given away to other couples to raise; • People… Read more

Here’s the full transcript of President Barack Obama’s July 11, 2009 speech in Accra, Ghana: Good morning. It is an honor for me to be in Accra, and to speak to the representatives of the people of Ghana. I am deeply grateful for the welcome that I’ve received, as are Michelle, Malia and Sasha Obama. Ghana’s history is rich, the ties between our two countries are strong, and I am proud that this is my first visit to sub-Saharan Africa… Read more

David Brooks’s recent NY Times article is rather eloquent on our first president’s attempts to shape his inner man through adherence to a rigid code for outward behavior.  I personally in general inclined to interpret moralities most fundamentally as codes of discipline, whether they be culturally enforced or personally adopted as a deliberate tool for self-formation, so I must admit this account hit the heroicizing bone in my body pretty squarely. For the most part I am a real fan… Read more

Easily the ugliest and most irresponsible moment of the 2008 Presidential Campaigns came when Sarah Palin accused Obama of bieng someone who: sees America, it seems, as being so imperfect, imperfect enough, that he’s palling around with terrorists who would target their own country. This is not a man who sees America as you see America and as I see America. At the time, the story went that Palin had “gone rogue” and opened up this line of attack and… Read more

Francis Collins, former head of the Human Genome Project, evangelical Christian, and author of The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief, has been selected by President Obama to lead the National Institutes Of Health. Chris Wilson has an excellent article at Slate, discussing whether Collins would set anything aside as being beyond the reach of science: In practice, Collins views almost every hole in evolutionary theory as one that can and will ultimately be filled by further… Read more

This study says yes: Women are surprisingly underrepresented in the chess world, representing less that 5% of registered tournament players worldwide and only 1% of the world’s grandmasters. In this paper it is argued that gender stereotypes are mainly responsible for the underperformance of women in chess. Forty-two male-female pairs, matched for ability, played two chess games via the Internet. When players were unaware of the sex of opponent (control condition), females played approximately as well as males. When the… Read more

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