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...]

Your Moment of Verklempt

It seemed particularly appropriate to post today: Also, housekeeping note, summer voting for the Turing Test was a bit low, so I'll be putting up the index posts for both rounds today, linking them around a bit, and then posting the results next week or the week after once I've doing one more whip for votes … [Read more...]

The Fear of God in Me

Yesterday, when I was attending Daily Mass, I was one of only four people present.  I sat up in front, and, after the priest had administered the Eucharist to himself, he motioned me up to assist as an extraordinary minister of holy communion, to distribute the Blood to the remaining parishioners after they received the Body from him.I was quite nervous walking up and receiving the chalice, and hoped that terror-as-reverence was about the right disposition, as long as I wasn't paralyzed by … [Read more...]


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