Gradualism in the Gym and the Bedroom

dominos

A number of responses written to the recent Synod have been focused on the merits and drawbacks of a gradualist approach to sin and error.  Gradualism is usually understood as asking people to make small changes, as they try to come back into communion with the church, even if that means praising people for making a change that still involves a serious sin, just one that's smaller in degree than their old habit.  It's a way of making sure you're welcoming people into a hospital for sinners, r … [Read more...]

Why Have Gender-Segregated Sports at All?

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After yesterday's post on the female athlete who's been banned from competition for having too much testosterone, several commenters asked what criteria I would use to distinguish male and female athletes, in lieu of the testosterone titer test.  Jake wrote: I feel like you've skipped the most important part though. What the IOC is really saying is that they've picked a definition of what it means to be eligible to compete in women's sports, and that definition includes some constraint on h … [Read more...]

Harrison Bergeron-ing a Too-Exceptional Sprinter

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There's an article in the NYT today covering one of my philosophy of the body hobbyhorses.  Dutee Chand, an 18-year old champion sprinter, has been told she must have surgery or start a drug regimen in order to be allowed to compete in official races.  The problem? Her body naturally produces more testosterone than usual, and administrators worry it gives her an unfair advantage: Arne Ljungqvist, the longtime chairman of the I.O.C.’s medical commission, said a hyperandrogenism policy was nece … [Read more...]

When’s the last time I spoke to a *real* adult?

modern family-wallpaper5

This weekend, when I was hosting a debate on "R: Send Your Children to Public Schools" one of the speakers said she thought the most destructive assumption of the public school system was that children should all be partitioned into same-age groups, moved about in those sets, and that any cross-age interaction is abnormal and disruptive.  (I'll note that this tends to hold for most non-public schools as well).  Critics of homeschooling tend to bring up worries about "not being socialized" but, a … [Read more...]

Finding Fellowship in Exile [Pope Francis Bookclub]

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In 2014, I’m reading and blogging through Pope Francis/Cardinal Bergoglio’s Open Mind, Faithful Heart: Reflections on Following Jesus.  Every Monday, I’ll be writing about the next meditation in the book, so you’re welcome to peruse them all and/or read along.This chapter is called "The Solitude of Prayer" but, as I read Pope Francis's meditations on exile -- the first, individual one, experienced by Adam and Eve, the Babylonian exile endured by the Jews, the state of Christians described … [Read more...]

Endless War without a Proving Peace

Still from Restless Heart, the Augustine biopic

My parish here in DC is very lucky because, now that the summer's over, we get to have Adult Sunday School after the 9am Mass with two of the Dominican friars from the House of Studies.  The new semester started this past Sunday, and the first topic was just war theory.  The Dominican who presented melded encyclicals, excerpts from the Catechism, Ecclesiastes, as well as the writings of Aquinas and Augustine.  He cited this passage from chapter 12 of my patron saint's City of God: Whoever gives … [Read more...]

Charity for Society’s Canaries

yoked

After Robin Williams's suicide, SlateStarCodex wrote a thoughtful meditation, and I'd like to highlight one of the points he wound up making.  Scott works in mental health, and he wound up discussing the idea of "being a burden" and pointing out that this isn't an intrinsic fact about a person, but the result of who they are and how their society relates to them. Society got where it is by systematically destroying everything that could have supported him [a patient] and replacing it with t … [Read more...]


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