Why Not Refer to ISIS by an Epithet?

name is

Patheos doesn't have any site-wide style guide for bloggers, but, over at The Friendly Atheist, Terry Firma announced a style change that will apply to that blog, specifically.  The contributing bloggers over there are going to stop referring to ISIS as ISIS, ISIL, the Islamic State, or anything else except Daesh.Here's the passage Firma quoted from the Boston Globe to explain the decision, interspersed with his own comments:The term “Daesh” is strategically a better choice because it is … [Read more...]

Learning Math Adds Up to Good Citizenship


I've got a book review of David Smith's If: A Mind-Bending New Way of Looking at Big Ideas and Numbers in the latest issue of Social Studies and the Young Learner, and I figured it might be of particular interest to parents/friends of parents, but also of general interest to all of you who love math (or even those who have yet to succumb to her charms).  Here's an excerpt:What Adds Up to Citizenship? Smith makes numbers and statistics graspable, even by small children, by scaling them so th … [Read more...]

Play in the Mini-Ideological Turing Test

Hit Turing right in the test-ees

UPDATE: I've closed the survey, since you all have provided over 100 responses! Thanks for your suggestions of questions for the mini-Ideological Turing Test that I'll be running at UPenn this week.  Now, I could use your help answering them!Just a reminder, an Ideological Turing Test is modeled on a conventional Turing Test, but, instead of checking whether programmers can make a computer that can pass for human, we're checking whether you understand an ideological opponent … [Read more...]

Help Pick Questions for my Ideological Turing Test Talk

From my Effective Altruism talk at Yale

I've got two speaking engagements coming up this week, and I could use your crowdsourced  help for one of them.  How to Have Better Fights About Religion Wednesday, March 18, 7p Shotel Dubin Auditorium, Penn Hillel 215 S. 39th St. Philadelphia, PA 19104    A Night of Intra-Christian Dialogue Thursday, March 19, 7:30p George Mason School of Law 3301 Fairfax Dr, Arlington, Virginia 22201  At the Intra-Christian Dialogue event, I'll be part of an ecumenical … [Read more...]

Terry Pratchett’s Morals and Magic [Radio Readings]


You can listen to “Fights in Good Faith,” my weekly radio program, streaming today at 5pm ET and tomorrow (Sun) at 1pm  I'll update this post when the episode is available to stream and download on demand. After Terry Pratchett passed away this week, I wanted to take some time to talk about how his Discworld books shaped my conscience. Every week, I put up a “Radio Readings” post, so you can track down the books, articles, and (this week) non-violent resistance movements that I cite on the show. … [Read more...]

7QT: Preachy Swords and Pricey Peanut Butter

peanut butter

--- 1 --- I've been recommending Hamilton, Lin-Manuel Miranda's hip hop musical for a while (tickets now on sale for Broadway!) and you can see a few nice clips in this CBS story, which also includes interviews with Miranda:--- 2 --- If you need any further persuading, take a look at how Miranda wrote the character descriptions for the Broadway run:ALEXANDER HAMILTON - Eminem meets Sweeney Todd AARON BURR - Javert meets Mos Def GEORGE WASHINGTON - John Legend meets … [Read more...]

Learning about Sainthood from Terry Pratchett #LittleAngelsReadUp

Read the Lilac

Terry Pratchett, author of the Discworld series, passed away today.  I'm encouraging other fans to celebrate his life and writing by giving a copy of one of his books to a friend and/or donating one to a school or library today.  I've made an image and hashtag to share below, if you'd like to join in.The first Pratchett I read was Small Gods (a standalone book in the Discworld series), which led me into the whole series.  My favorite characters to follow are Sam Vimes (of the Watch sub … [Read more...]