Scared of Darwin for All the Wrong Reasons

UPDATE: I've expanded a response to a commenter in a new post: "Have Humans 'Won' Evolution?"Over at Patheos's group blog on science and religion, Connor Wood is trying to explain why people have a visceral discomfort with evolution.  He sees natural selection as the ultimate example of "nature red in tooth and claw" -- a rigged game that pits us all against each other and suppresses the better angels of our nature.  He writes: Once you start looking at evolutionary reasons for human beh … [Read more...]

7 Quick Takes (5/4/12)

Cooking my way into a more accurate philosophy!

--- 1 --- As I announced earlier this week, the Ideological Turing Test is starting up again.  (This is the contest where Christians and atheists see how good they are at imitating each other).  I'll be asking for feedback on specific questions soon, but right now I'd love feedback on general logistics in the comment thread of the post linked above.  I think it's going to be super!  --- 2 --- As you may have inferred from my choice of words in that last Take, I went to see Avengers at … [Read more...]

More on accepting sacrifices

In re the discussion of accepting gifts, a recent post by Eve Tushnet seemed apropos.  (Note, she's discussing her experiences working with women at a crisis pregnancy center, and I would prefer any discussion not be derailed by an argument about crisis pregnancy centers, since that's not the part of the story I'm highlighting). I've been struck recently by how many of my clients are ashamed to go to their friends for help: both material or financial help, and emotional support, the love in ti … [Read more...]

Winning a Moral Arms Race?

The first person to comment on my post about The Hunger Games and not seeing gifts as debts had a pragmatic concern: I don’t see this as moral progress. If more people would see a sacrifice as a debt the world would be a better place. I've got a (richly deserved) reputation as a not-so-soft paternalist when it comes to social policy, so I'm sympathetic to this critique.  Isn't there a benefit to chafing under a debt insofar as it spurs us on to better acts?  How is this kind of inducement dif … [Read more...]

Ideological Turing Test, Mark 2!

I really enjoyed the first iteration of the Ideological Turing Test for religion, which ran on this blog last summer, and I always meant to return to it at some point.  At the end of May/early June, I'm going on vacation for two weeks, which strikes me as the perfect time to have a lot of interesting prewritten posts ready for you all to parse.  I'll open sign-ups soon, but today is only for discussing parameters of this year's contest.For those of you who have joined this blog since last s … [Read more...]

Ok, Let’s Put Our Heads Between Our Knees and Take a Few Deep Breaths

Mark's got another post up today, profiling a gay friend he greatly admires, and I've got a few more things I'd like to respond to, but I'm going to take a little break.  Judging by the comment threads, this hasn't been a particularly helpful discussion.  I've registered and explained my objection to the Nazi allusions, and I'm going to hold off on following up until I think I've got a better strategy for the discussion.It seems like, to have a conversation about LGBT rights with this r … [Read more...]

It’s Hard for Me to Hear You Over the Sound of Your Nazi Analogies

The "Let's Talk About How to Have Reasonable Discussions about Religion" post has over a hundred comments and the tone in some sections is pretty well summed up by one reader: I love this comment thread. Leah: My commenters are great and tend to argue in good faith and assume that others do the same. Commenters: NAZIS! People who disagree with me are NAZIS! NAZIS EVERYWHERE! NAZIS!! And speaking of which, today, I was frustrated by a post by Mark Shea in which he mockingly awarded a Son of … [Read more...]