My Week at Rationalist Summer Camp [Sequence Index]

Giving my Harry Potter genetics talk at camp

After spending a week at geek summer camp (not that one!) in July 2012, I never got around to assembling the index post for all the blogging I did in response to the workshop.  But, at least I'm just sneaking in ahead of this year's workshop.  I still think the best summary of CFAR's workshops is the one I posted last year: This is the kind of summer camp where, before you go, they send you and two close friends a detailed survey, so they have a baseline to assess the impact of the camp on you i … [Read more...]

7 Quick Takes (6/14/13)

Lego figures

--- 1 --- Since I've had two posts this week (and two more scheduled for next week) on oath-keeping and rule-breaking, I have the perfect excuse to include the Tony Awards performance from Catch Me If You Can: Norman Leo Butz in "Breakin' All the Rules"--- 2 --- Father's Day is coming up this Sunday, so, if you're planning to join me in giving the gift of stealth compliments to your friends' fathers, you'll need to set aside time, ASAP.  I'm not doing too many this first year, so the siz … [Read more...]

A Dicey Way Out of Dilemmas

"Rock, Hard Place" Road Sign with dramatic clouds and sky.

In response to yesterday's post on breaking promises, KristeninDallas made an alternate suggestion: I'm not saying he should keep his promise, but I am saying he should feel at least a little bad about breaking it. We seem to have this need to rationalize everything and figure out the best choice and then pat ourselves on the back/ let ourselves off the hook when we make it. When we're choosing between two clear goods, the pat is well earned. But when choosing the lesser of evils, I think we … [Read more...]

A terrible consequence of consequentialism

pinky swear

A few weeks ago, in The New York Times Magazine, the Ethicist column gave some terribly unethical advice.  A doctor wrote in with this dilemma: Years ago, I saw a young patient with headaches, who disclosed — reluctantly — that he had committed a serious crime and that somebody else took the fall for it. I believe he was telling me the truth (his headaches soon resolved after the confession). Before his admission, I assured him that whatever he told me would not leave the room. Later, without gi … [Read more...]

Sex Ed is Obviously Meant to Teach…

radio mic

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)

Putnamcountyspellingbeealbumcover

--- 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

mask remove 2

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...]


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