7 Quick Takes (10/1/10)


This week at Unequally Yoked, I’ve been discussing the three questions/concerns that best summarize why I do not believe in Christianity.  I started with questions about conversions and ended up, unsurprisingly, on the subject of math.  (Again).

I really appreciate your comments, and I’ll be writing a talkback post today, so if you have questions/disagreements, please speak out.  I’ll announce the topic for next week’s series this weekend.  (Right now, I’m leaning towards a discussion of how I think about/classify the morality of actions with a possible focus on why the idea of Original Sin makes sense to me.  Would this be of interest?)


Speaking of sin, Kwame Anthony Appiah has written a much discussed op-ed about which current practises will be regarded as abhorrent by our grandchildren.  His criteria:

First, people have already heard the arguments against the practice. The case against slavery didn’t emerge in a blinding moment of moral clarity, for instance; it had been around for centuries.

Second, defenders of the custom tend not to offer moral counterarguments but instead invoke tradition, human nature or necessity. (As in, “We’ve always had slaves, and how could we grow cotton without them?”)

And third, supporters engage in what one might call strategic ignorance, avoiding truths that might force them to face the evils in which they’re complicit. Those who ate the sugar or wore the cotton that the slaves grew simply didn’t think about what made those goods possible. That’s why abolitionists sought to direct attention toward the conditions of the Middle Passage, through detailed illustrations of slave ships and horrifying stories of the suffering below decks.

Ross Douthat thinks that this shift only occurs once increased wealth/new technology makes the moral choice easier to choose.

Any nominees for what’s likely to change?  I’m with Douthat that industrialized slaughterhouses will be taboo once we work all the kinks out of vat-grown meat.


And what better way to solve our moral problems than by indoctrinating our children through board games. Like this one:

Blacks and Whites was a board game intended…

…to demonstrate how the odds were stacked against black people in society by having different rules for each race in the game.

Whites started out with $1 million, blacks with $10,000 and each race had different opportunity decks. While whites could buy property in any part of the board, blacks were limited to certain areas until they had accumulated at least $100,000 and were outright banned from property in the ‘suburban zone’.

Blacks and Whites was inspired by Monopoly which itself was the de-radicalized version of The Landlord’s Game, which was meant to illustrate how rental systems could impoverish tenants.

(h/t Mind Hacks)


Of course, today, there are other ways to neutralize people you disagree with, as this gonzo comic from Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal makes clear.


One video I really must share: Joshua Allen uses garbage bags and the air rising from subway grates to create surreal and beautiful monsters.


I have an op-ed in The Yale Daily News today about my discomfiting brush with sexual harassment this summer. Here’s a quote from the article:

I knew what I was supposed to do, of course. I should have gotten his medallion number and phoned in a complaint to his dispatcher. I ought to have told him, firmly, using ‘I’ statements: “I feel uncomfortable when you talk to me this way. I would prefer that you stop.” But, instead, I just pressed my head against the window, watching the empty streets flash by and wondered if I should get out a block early, so the cab driver wouldn’t know where I lived.

The whole situation felt horribly unfair. Yes, I was getting a cab after 11 p.m., but I was sober; I was wearing pants, not a short skirt and my hair was in a ponytail, for heaven’s sake. Hadn’t he seen that I had a math book by Martin Gardner under my arm? I glanced down at my top, trying to work out if a polo shirt rather than a T-shirt qualified as showing too much cleavage.


Milwaukee is now the home of my favorite airport in the world, now that I know they are the source of this sign:

(h/t “Things You Wouldn’t Know if We Didn’t Blog Intermittently“)

[Seven Quick Things is a blog carnival run by Jen of Conversion Diary]

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  • Original sin is always an interesting topic. Well, to me it is anyway.#7 is very funny.

  • I need a "Recombobulation" area in my house. 🙂

  • Anonymous

    Waiting for vat-grown meat to be widely available to make industrialized slaughterhouses taboo is as wrong as it gets.Even if we accept that shifts in moral thinking only occur once new technology makes the moral choice easier to choose, it is nonsense to make an analogy between the cotton-gin and vat-grown meat.Given widely available alternatives that are indistinguishable from meat, it is only ignorance that drives people like Douthat to make such foolish claims.There are hundreds of alternatives to every single animal product that exists today, at prices only slightly higher than the originals if not equal (since they are not mass-produced, because demand is low), and at identical tastes and textures.People are unable to distinguish bacon from seitan bacon, beef jerky from primal strips, daiya cheese from real cheese, egg replacer from eggs, and on and on for every product.To claim that only vat-grown meat is an acceptable alternative 'identical' enough to the current products, is like saying that to abolish slavery, we needed to invent cotton-picking robots to get hand-picked cotton. If a product is virtually indistinguishable from its alternative, it is solely demand and social awareness that brings the shift.We are already at the point where the technology allows available alternatives, it is just that people don't realize it yet. The time for the abolitionist movement for animal-slavery is now.P.S. Chicken may be the only product whose alternatives have not been up to par in texture. Luckily:http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1993883,00.html-Eitan.

  • Those criteria seem almost designed for vegetarianism/veganism.

  • Hey there! I'm just a busy mummy saying my rosaries so I don't have time to read through your archives- Why would a staunch atheist want to date a Christian and why would you bother linking to Christian blogs (I suppose you want to convert us…:) just curious- I hope I don't offend