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...]

You Gotta be Kind to be Cruel

Libby Ann and Daniel Finke are running another installment of their Forward Thinking series, where they ask bloggers to contribute their thoughts on a topic. This fortnight, it's cruelty.  Daniel kicks us off with this quote from Nietzsche: Cruelty constituted the great festival pleasure of more primitive men and was indeed an ingredient of almost every one of their pleasures. [...] [I]t is not long since princely weddings and public festivals of the more magnificent kind were unthinkable wi … [Read more...]

Play in a political Ideological Turing Test

 Over at Popehat (despite the name, not a religion blog), the proprietor is trying to test his Turing Test acumen: Today we've secretly replaced your regular Clark with Folger's Clark; let's see if you notice the difference.Please ask me anything about politics, religion, culture, economics, the family, gay marriage, the Obama scandals, immigration, the Republican party, libertarians, etc. I will answer it as a mainstream liberal US Democrat. Then you may judge how well I … [Read more...]