Choose Your Own Genre Adventure

Christian H of The Thinking Ground, and the inspiration for the question about genres in this year's Turing Test, has put together an online quiz to figure out "which genre would give you the most opportunities to express your worldview and explore the questions that you find most interesting."  Here's how he describes it:In general, I tried to make questions about the kind of beliefs you have--what the beliefs are about, how you think about them--more than what your opinions are. After all, … [Read more...]

7 Quick Takes (11/8/13)

--- 1 --- This week, I got to make a donation to Against Malaria in honor of the Unequally Yoked readership.  Back when I got my flu shot, I asked any of you who were contributing to herd immunity to sign the flu shot honor roll, and I'd donate $5 per immunized reader, up to $100.    You guys made quota, and I'm delighted to have made the donation today.  And, if you didn't sign up in round one, but have since gotten your flu shot, I'll donate up to an additional $50 if you brag about your vir … [Read more...]

It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane, It’s… Evangelism?

Marvel Comics is introducing a new superheroine, Kamala Khan, who is a Muslim, and the New York Times teased out an interesting nuance of how the writers plan to cover her religion. The creative team is braced for all possible reactions. “I do expect some negativity,” Ms. Amanat said, “not only from people who are anti-Muslim, but people who are Muslim and might want the character portrayed in a particular light.”But “this is not evangelism,” Ms. Wilson said. “It was really important for me … [Read more...]

Safe Zones for Secular Students

 My friend Jesse Galef, the communications director at the Secular Students Alliance, sat down with me to do a Q&A about a new project they unveiled: the Secular Safe Zone.  The program recruits and trains teachers, students, and other allies to establish clear safe points for non-religious students to have conversations and ask questions.  Here's the discussion we had: Jesse, can you tell me and the readers a bit about why the Secular Students Alliance has started the S … [Read more...]

In Which I Still Struggle With Pelagianism

I think one of the worst near occasions for sin for me comes whenever I’m nearing the end of my turn in the confessional. I’ve disclosed my sins (some of them easily, some of them blurted out quickly, as though that lessens their gravity) and then the priest assigns me penance.Unfortunately, my kneejerk reaction is usually, “That’s it?!?”When a priest assigns me only a few prayer, or a spot of silent meditation, I feel like I’m getting away with something. Surely he could come up with som … [Read more...]

A Saint for this Season

Yesterday, I had a lot of trouble making it to church for the Feast of All Saints.  All Saint's Day is a Holy Day of Obligation for Catholics, and it's the feast of all those in the Church Triumphant -- all the saints, recognized on earth through canonization and those unknown to us, but sharing in the beatific vision.Unfortunately, as I'm in a more rural area teaching at a work event, we had to deal with poorly-marked, poorly-lit signs, and spotty GPS to get there.  Around the third time we … [Read more...]

7 Quick Takes (11/1/13)

  Happy Feast of All Saints!   --- 1 --- This week's quick takes theme is transposition, and there are few people as in love with stories and patterns as Douglas Hofstadter, author of Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid and his recent work on analogy: Surfaces and Essences.  In a recent interview with The Atlantic, he talked about what he sees as the heart of human intelligence: Cognition is recognition,” he likes to say. He describes “seeing as” as the essential cognitiv … [Read more...]