Sex Ed is Obviously Meant to Teach…

Last Friday, I was on Sheila Liaugminas's Relevant Radio show ("A Closer Look") with a couple other bloggers from the Catholic channel here (Calah Alexander, Sam Rocha, Betty Duffy).  We all sat down for a roundtable on sex-ed (the mp3 can be found here).The format was a little unconventional.  Instead of Sunday-morning-political-show-style crosstalk, where all the participants speak in dialogue (frequently overlapping dialogue) and question or build on the previous speaker's comments, S … [Read more...]

7 Quick Takes (6/7/13)

--- 1 --- The wheels have been set in motion for this year's Ideological Turing Test, where Christians and Atheists imitate each other in order to understand each other better.  You can contribute to the giant brainstorming thread and help pick the topic and format.  (In year one, we did standards of evidence, year two: authority and aesthetics). --- 2 --- But speaking of shibboleths, I was delighted by the final word in the Scripps Spelling Bee: knaidel (meaning matzo ball or dumpling).  No s … [Read more...]

Choose the theme of this year’s Ideological Turing Test

There are specialized comment rules for this post, make sure to read them before commenting.In the inaugural Atheist/Christian Ideological Turing Test, I asked the participants to answer questions about evidence (What shapes your current beliefs?  What would convince you otherwise?).  That prompt turned out to elicit pretty dull and easy to predict answers, so, in 2012, I switched to a weirder theme and asked contestants to talk about authority and aesthetics.And now "Sumer Is Icumen I … [Read more...]

The Besetting Sin of Bloggers

Yesterday, Mark Shea posted a mea culpa about the way he's interacted with some of his ideological sparring partners.  And, for me, there was one part that really hit home: [M]y attitude toward Public Figures is much the same.  I tend not to see them as human beings, but as sort of semi-fictional characters.  People who don’t fully exist but who are In the News and therefore symbols or representatives of ideas.The upshot is this: Irony of ironies, a friend asked me today if I had contacted L … [Read more...]

Modern Stoicism – The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

A number of my friends have gotten more interested in Stoicism of late and have been reading A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy by William B. Irvine for a practical introduction.  I give Irvine total credit for writing a philosophy book that's meant to be actionable, not a historical survey.  But, as a recovering Stoic, I'd like to couple any praise with a warning about the philosophy.    The GoodA Stoic avoids becoming attached or indifferent to the things ze ca … [Read more...]

Strange Idols and Strange Identities

In Strange Gods: Unmasking the Idols in Everyday Life, Elizabeth Scalia has a simple definition of an idol. In the decalogue, we are warned by God to have no other/foreign/strange gods before Him.  So, in our modern age, Scalia points out, our idols are less likely to be something like, say a giant golden calf that give burt offerings, and more likely to be letting Reddit usurp our prayer time.  An idol doesn't have to be worshiped to impose itself between us and God.But what would it be l … [Read more...]

7 Quick Takes (5/31/13)

--- 1 --- This evening, at 6pm ET, I'll be on Relevant Radio for "A Closer Look with Sheila Liaugminas."  A whole mess of the Catholic Patheos bloggers are going to turn up to talk about purity culture and the problems with most abstinence sex-ed programs.  (A bunch of them got a head start last week, and I'm joining in for round two).  You can tune in online, or stream it after the fact. --- 2 --- And, elsewhere on the internet, Eve Tushnet wrote an interesting reflection for the Atlantic tit … [Read more...]