Archives for April 2013

Alan Turing on the possibility of machines smarter than humans

When MIRI folks talk about the idea of intelligence explosion, they often cite I. J. Good’s 1965 paper, “Speculations Concerning the First Ultraintelligent Machine.” But I recently discovered that Alan Turing beat Good to the punch on raising the possibility of machines becoming smarter than humans in every way: [Read more…]

De-cluttering is not effective altruism: review of Jeff Shinabarger’s More or Less

When my contact at Patheos forwarded me an e-mail about the book club Patheos was going to be doing on Jeff Shinabarger’s book More or Less: Choosing a Lifestyle of Excessive Generosity, I was excited. It may have been just the subtitle that did it; if not the subtitle, then the book’s website with its [Read More…]

Switching comment system to Disqus

A decision has been made–I had no say in the matter, though I don’t have any problem with it either–to switch all comments sections to Disqus on a Patheos-wide basis. I’m told that the process has already begun for this blog. [Read more…]

Lots of people are awful, but not everyone who disagrees with you is

The two main impetuses for this post are both already old news in the blogosphere’s short news cycle, but I think the issue is important, so here it goes: [Read more…]


This is a brief “throwing an idea out there” post: I’d like to coin the term “semi-consequentialism,” for the view that the consequences of our actions on people’s well-being is of central moral importance, without being committed to the theses often associated with consequentialism that (1) maximizing well-being is obligatory or even that (2) it’s [Read More…]

Against worrying about what kind of person would do that

Scott Alexander is on a virtue ethics kick at his blog. One comment that really stuck at me: [Read more…]

Best religion-blog comments sections?

In the last couple days, I’ve started participating a bit in Leah Libresco’s comment section. I’m not generally a big fan of other people’s comment sections, but Leah’s have a unique flavor to them that I enjoy a lot, which I think comes from the fact that she was an atheist blogger before becoming a [Read More…]

Some Biblical scholarship/early Christianity basics

A commenter posted a link to this comment by someone named “Randy” in one of Leah Libresco’s threads. I started typing up a reply (which you can see here), but I cut my reply a little short because I decided Randy was probably the kind of person who a long reply would be wasted on. [Read More…]

Premillenial dispensationalism and superheroes

I have this idea for a superhero novel kicking around in my head… maybe I’ll do it for this year’s NaNoWriMo, who knows. Anyway, because I’m annoyed by the fact that it’s impossible to give an explanation of superpowers that makes any sense, part of the premise is that nobody knows why people suddenly started [Read More…]