I Want You! (to be a virtuous virus firebreak)

vaccine

I've been terribly tardy in getting my flu shot this year, but I finally did it today.  (Turns out there's a bit of a run on for vaccinations in DC; my original appointment was cancelled because the pharmacy ran out, and I had to phone six CVSes before I found anyone with supplies).Vaccination is awesome for you, since the flu sucks, but it's also a public service.  The vaccine is 62% effective (which means people who get the vaccination are 62% less likely than those who don't to have such a … [Read more...]

7 Quick Takes (1/11/13)

painted anatomy

--- 1 --- Remember when I told you about that awesome New Yorker article on the professional pickpocket?  Well, now they've got a video up of how he pulls his heists.One thing that was particularly fun about watching this is that, although I couldn't spot how he was doing his steals on the first go-round, I could recognize some of his ways of distracting his mark from aikido class.  --- 2 --- The pickpocket revealed his tricks for The New Yorker, and researchers are giving up th … [Read more...]

Straight from the Humanist’s Mouth

philosophy_discussion

James Croft and Vlad Chituc have both continued to contribute to the discussion of what exactly unites humanists.  Vlad's put up a new post, and James has posted a clarifying comment that I've quoted from below. You seem to think "Humanism" denotes a single, coherent moral system (particularly a metaethical system). He seems to think that it is some sort of equivalent to "virtue ethics" or "utilitarianism" or something.But this is a category error. Humanism, in my understanding, can mean … [Read more...]

But Aren’t Saints Dreadfully Dull?

colm valjean

Tonight I'm seeing Les Miserables for the third time (there have been various outings as people have straggled back into DC after the holidays) and, a day or so after my second viewing, I ran across David Denby's pan of the movie for The New Yorker.  Some of the criticisms are fair (the camerawork draws attention to itself in a bad way, Jackman's voice isn't as well suited to Valjean as it was to Curly, etc), but there was one plot-related criticism that I disagreed with big time.  Denby wri … [Read more...]

Can You Pick a Humanist Out of a Lineup?

human lineup

Vlad Chituc, an atheist who blogs at NonProphet Status, thinks I was right on in my critique of humanist groups yesterday.    He says, as an atheist activist, he's run into similar problems. I’ve tried to pin down specific moral principles of Humanism from various people, and all I ever seem to get is some vague gesturing towards Reason or Compassion, or some philosophical terms like Naturalism and Consequentialism. But that gives me nothing specific.If I have a conversation with someone who … [Read more...]

How is an atheist group like a bridge club?

good without god

In yesterday's Sunday Review section of The New York Times, Susan Jacoby had an essay titled "The Blessings of Atheism."  She's tackling the perceived absense of atheists and secular philosophy in moments of crisis.  Here's an excerpt, but my critique is about something missing in the piece, so you'd better read the whole thing to be fair. One major problem is the dearth of secular community institutions. But the most powerful force holding us back is our own reluctance to speak, particularly at … [Read more...]

The Criminal Justice System, Touched by Radical Forgiveness

scales justice

In today's NYT Magazine, there's an amazing story about forgiveness and the criminal justice system. Conor McBride shot his longtime girlfried Ann Grosmaire, and, after her death, her parents kept up their relationship with him. Four days later, Ann’s condition had not improved, and her parents decided to remove her from life support. Andy says he was in the hospital room praying when he felt a connection between his daughter and Christ; like Jesus on the cross, she had wounds on her head and ha … [Read more...]


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