Trying to get back into blogging more / open thread

Hey everybody, lately I’ve been busy getting ready to go to App Academy in San Francisco in November, and generally not finding much energy for blogging. But I still have a TON of posts I want to write, some about religion, quite a few about AI-related issues, and at least one about superheros. I’m going to try to force myself to write a bunch of them over the next week. Until then, consider this an open thread (post requests welcome).

  • Pofarmer

    All right gregory popchak over at “faith on the coach” not only won’t allow even respectful comments, he deleted a comment of mine that went through, and hasn’t allowed a comment that shows him being duplicitous on using an academic paper, For a blog network that calls itself ” the conversation on faith” that just seems intolerable, not only that, but a couple ofmhe Catholic blogs dn’t even allow comments. What an echo chamber.

    • ctcss

      I think most online groups foster an echo chamber kind of environment, whether someone deletes comments or not. (However, sometimes the technology is simply at fault.)

      Discussions centered on the religious area of life and thought (whether one believes, doesn’t believe, or believes differently) have many hard or impossible to answer questions. Other than the more egregious types of incidents that most people would consider to be cases that are abusive or unloving (and thus a slam dunk for calling out as abusive or unloving), many other incidents or concepts are far more complex, and thus not really suited for quiet, unbiased, and thoughtful exploration in a contentious online forum.

      From my perspective, the more productive use of most people’s time would be to spend their efforts trying to grow and improve in their own chosen area of religious/moral/ethical/spiritual outlook, so that whatever happens in life, one’s personal interaction with others will be more helpful. The parable of the good Samaritan was deliberately crafted to point out that a compassionate and loving response, even from one considered to be an enemy or an adversary, should be acknowledged as the kind of behavior that is to be valued, whether one is part of an “approved” group or not.

      The point being, if anyone values their current outlook (religious or otherwise), they would do well to ask themselves if their own thought and practice regarding their chosen outlook is transforming them into a better neighbor to whomever they encounter, or is simply making them a more “acceptable” member to those in their chosen group.

      The world doesn’t need more artificial divisions, it needs more loving and healing. And if what we value doesn’t foster such an outcome, maybe each of us needs to question ourselves as to how what we do can be improved (or changed) in order to being about that better result.

      • Pofarmer

        You know what? In theory I tend to agree. But, if you don’t want to have a discussion and defend your views, why come to a place like Patheos? I’ll tell you why, they see it as the perfect place to evangelize, turn off comments, and always come up with plenty of “Great posts Father”. If they want that, they can go to 1000 other places with nearly zero traffic. I just don’t think it’s good etiquette in this atmosphere, and it’s tacky. If you aren’t willing to defend your views, why post them at a forum like this? I’ll be the first to admit, I despise the Catholic church, hate it. But, I don’t think that disqualifies thoughtful measured criticisms.

        • ctcss

          Even though I am a Christian (non-mainstream), I don’t come from an evangelical background, so I don’t come here specifically to promote or defend my particular views. I often just comment when I see something that either isn’t true, or that seems to need a more nuanced view expressed.

          And although you may hate the Catholic church, is that hatred really helping you to personally go forward, find healing, or otherwise transform yourself into something better? (That’s not a slam, that’s just a question. You sound like a decent sort who has had to put up with a lot.) That’s why I made my small post in response to yours. How many of us (and that includes me) actually make our efforts pay off in a good way? If we adopt a particular viewpoint, shouldn’t it be one that works to bless both ourselves and others? (And I mean that in simply a neighborly way, not in a religious way.) Religion (or some other moral/ethical approach to life) is what we do as a choice as to how we want to build and develop our life on a personal level. But being neighborly (caring and helping) is what we do for others. Hopefully that is an outcome of how we choose to develop ourselves.

          • YesDavisIsMyFirstName

            You would be in the minority then, (not mainline and not evangelical) Religion as understood from a Catholic perspective is very much about community rather than personal, so its reach affects person to person interactions. It also, due to its large size has a lot of political power which it throws around. If at the same time, it (or it’s constituents) hedge themselves in and away from critique, they effectively break the two way street which you purport as a high Ideal (being neighborly).

            Critique is much more needed when the views of the religion have direct negative real world impact (like providing misinformation about condoms in Africa and preaching against contraception in general).

        • YesDavisIsMyFirstName

          I understand the beef, but sometimes we get deleted because we are out for blood or for a long defense of a position stated by a Christian. Many of these bloggers are writing for their particular audience. Its ok that they lock comments. Sometimes they may not have the time to sit and moderate and defend against all the questions that come along, especially when we roll up fully equipped to challenge every assumption and worldview presented.

          I’ll head over there and see If I can comment at all and see how it goes. Do you usually comment there and get deleted often? or was it just this once?

          • Pofarmer

            Just this once, there. But routinely get blocked at Bad Catholic and Longeneckers.

          • YesDavisIsMyFirstName

            I think the Bench guy is on vacation or traveling, you commented on the theology of the Body right? I remember that that comment thread was closed recently and It might be because he isn’t around to moderate. It still wouldn’t surprise me if its an echo chamber.

            Also quick note, I’ve noticed that my comments “disappear” from moderation once I leave the page, but that they pop up later. That could also be the problem.

  • Mark

    I think it’s really cool that you’re pursuing programming. What experiences have you had with it so far? Is it something you foresee yourself developing a deep interest in or passion for, or do you just imagine it’s a relatively easy way to earn a fairly sizable salary?

    • Chris Hallquist

      Mostly money. So far, learning has been fun, though, and I can see myself getting really into it if I get a job at a company that’s doing sufficiently cool projects.

  • YesDavisIsMyFirstName

    Open thread! – I have a kindof specific question along the lines of transhumanism. What conditions of humanity would you argue need to be fulfilled before you would hand the keys of extended lifespans or immortality to our species without us abusing that gift?

    • Chris Hallquist

      That’s not one I’d worry about much. Extended lifespans / immortality seems like a relatively safe technology to be widespread, compared to AI, uploading, nanotech, synthetic biology, etc. I guess you might worry about it ossifying society in some ways, but that wouldn’t be enough for me to oppose introducing it.

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