7 Francis Takes (9/20/13)

 As you've probably heard, Pope Francis gave a broad ranging interview to America this week, and if everyone is going to pick out quotations (with or without context) I figured I could offer seven that interested me this week (with brief, non-authoritative commentary).  --- 1 --- Other people have covered the lovely simplicity of Pope Francis's self description [excerpted below] but I was just charmed at the multilingual pope needed to reach for an invented gerund to express … [Read more...]

“Use every man after his desert, and who should ‘scape whipping?”

Looking through social media this morning, I saw more than a few scandalized comments about the news that a priest who had practiced some form of self bondage was being returned to ministerial duties.  Here's the gist: The Roman Catholic bishop of Springfield, Ill., has returned a priest to ministry after an internal investigation into what the priest’s own clinical therapist had diagnosed as “non-sexual self-bondage.”Bishop Thomas Paprocki said in a statement that the Rev. Thomas Donovan wo … [Read more...]

The Strain of Pride

I've read most of Terry Pratchett's Discworld novels, but I'd never gotten around to his Tiffany Aching series til this month.  These books are pitched as more for children than the main Discworld sequence (which doesn't explain why my local library stored them, in order, in YA Fiction, Adult SF, YA Fiction again, and finally the Children's section).I'd say they're enjoyable, but not as much so as the main books (try Witches Abroad, instead, which I've just gotten onto my gentleman caller's q … [Read more...]

Sam Harris Throws Down His Gauntlet

Ok, probably not this gauntlet Sam Harris, one of the 'Four Horsemen' of New Atheism, has issued a challenge to critics of his moral philosophy. It has been nearly three years since The Moral Landscape was first published in English, and in that time it has been attacked by readers and nonreaders alike. Many seem to have judged from the resulting cacophony that the book’s central thesis was easily refuted. However, I have yet to encounter a substantial criticism that I feel was not adequately a … [Read more...]

7 Quick Takes (9/13/13)

--- 1 --- I know it's been a while since I did Quick Takes, which kind of builds up tension for what link merits getting back on schedule.  Ohhh... that'll do nicely.Via io9, a video on how they built the Alien chestburster.  So clever!  And it's a whole month and a half to Halloween, if you want to take inspiration.  --- 2 --- And, of course, you can always costume on a budget.  I love this ongoing series called "Lavatory Self-Portraits in the Flemish Style."Here's the ex … [Read more...]

[Turing 2013] Atheist Round Entries Index

In a conventional Turing Test, computer programmers try to write a computer program that can pass for human. In the Ideological Turing Test, atheists and Christians test how well they understand each other by trying to talk like each other. All the entries in the atheist round are collected below, so, in these answers, atheist contestants answer honestly, and Christians impersonate atheists as best they can. You can click on each link to read the entry to decide whether you think the author is … [Read more...]

[Turing 2013] Christian Round Entries Index

In a conventional Turing Test, computer programmers try to write a computer program that can pass for human. In the Ideological Turing Test, atheists and Christians test how well they understand each other by trying to talk like each other. All the entries in the Christian round are collected below, so, in these answers, Christian contestants answer honestly, and atheists impersonate Christians as best they can. You can click on each link to read the entry to decide whether you think the author … [Read more...]