This has been a very transhumanist week. First there was a question about whether we should want to be uploaded to computers and then a discussion of how conversion (and/or brainmodding) is a process of being born again, but the first step is dying.
I’ve got one more transhumanist/identity post in the hopper for the weekend, but, in the mean time, you may want to head to the National Catholic Register to see some more discussion of the Douthat thought experiment that troubled me. Stephen Greydanus and Jennifer Fulwiler both share thoughts. Has anyone seen this get much play on other atheist blogs?
It’s been a while since I did a Quick Takes, so I’ve accumulated a backlog of fun links. I thought about easing you in, but I can’t hold back the splendor of Biostatistics!Ryan Gosling
There’s a whole tumblr of geekery and soulful looks. May you have joy of it.
(P.S. in statistical vocabulary, bias is a measure of how close my predictions are, on average, to the correct value; variance describes how similar my predictions are to each other)
Huzzah! You just learned a lot. Now kick back with this compilation of contest entries for a one second film competition.
Oh, and yes, I’ve seen the new Rick Perry ad. Everyone on the internet has pretty much said all the things I think (I’m glad DADT was repealed; students are free to pray in school, it’s just that teachers can’t promote prayer; and it’s hard to commend Perry for his bravery in publicly declaring himself a Christian when it’s my team that has over 50% of our fellow citizens declaring they couldn’t in good conscience vote for an atheist).
But I just want to take a second and quote the facebook status of a friend:
The reason kids don’t celebrate Christmas in school, Rick? That would be because THE SCHOOL CALENDAR IS DESIGNED AROUND CHRISTIAN HOLIDAYS.
A college friend of mine did an excellent job explaining that trying to use the state or other non-religious institutions to promote a holy day is likely to be bad for your sect as well as the rest of society. Yishai wrote:
There is only one reason that Hannukah has been given the place of prominence it currently occupies in the American public and at Yale: Christmas. As American Christians try to navigate their way through the Scylla of free expression and the Charybdis of the establishment clause — as they struggle to balance a desire to practice a particular faith with the need to maintain the appearance of universality — they find that glorifying Hannukah is a useful tool. “Of course, this isn’t a Christian space — see, there is something Jewish too!”
As a Jew, then, there is something deeply disturbing about knowing that Hannukah is being privileged over other, far more significant holidays in the service of Christianity. Now, the entirely public conception of Hannukah is determined by the needs of American Christians. This incongruity is only heightened when we remember that Hannukah was established to celebrate the survival of Judaism in the face of Hellenistic assimilation.
Another palate clenser: a brinicle — a super cold current of water in the deep ocean that freezes and kills anything unlucky enough to be found in its path.
“Did Uncle Fester commit a crime? He was a conman pretending to be Fester, but unbeknownst to him [because of amnesia suffered in the Bermuda Triangle], he actually was Fester.”
N.Y. Penal Law § 190.25. Since Fester (who believed himself to be a man named Gordon) thought he was impersonating someone with the intent to gain access to the Addams Family’s wealth, this seems to fit. The question is whether Fester’s real identity is a defense despite his belief that he was committing a crime. We think the answer is that he may not be guilty of impersonation but he is likely guilty of attempted impersonation.
For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!