7 Quick Takes (7/13/12)

--- 1 --- Any given week, there are usually enough interesting science stories in my Quick Takes folder to do an all-geek Takes, but usually I like to cover a range of topics.  But this was an especially awesome week, apparently, and the science backlog is getting big, so let's have the "I Love Charts" song lead us into a data-rich link roundup:But I'm compelled to point out that, if you want to raise your kids right, you'll steer them away from 3D pie charts. --- 2 --- While drafting … [Read more...]

Morality isn’t only hard on special occasions

In the discussion of St. Thomas More's martydom, and how it helps me understand moral obligation, Kewois had a question about something I said, and I quite appreciate the chance to clarify and expand.  I'm double blockquoted, and Kewois's reply follows in normal blockquoting below:Morality might be natural, but most of us don’t think of it as easy. You said “morality” but you are talking about “moral dilemmas”. I mean, I think that for most of us is easy not to steal or to kill at random.   … [Read more...]

A Martyr for All Seasons

Two weeks ago, I had an absolutely lovely time reading A Man for All Seasons out loud in a coffee shop with a new group of friends.  In what I hope was not type-casting, I read the part of Cromwell. (ok, it was probably type-casting).  I greatly enjoyed the play (though I'm now going to have to put aside all the very nice spiritual reading people have recommended or lent me, so I can reread Wolf Hall), and there was one exchange that particularly struck me, just after More resigns his position a … [Read more...]

“That his heels may kick at heaven”

now might I do it pat

Some time ago, Hemant Mehta asked "Where are the atheist fiction books?" and I was kind of baffled by the question.  There may not be many books where the atheism of the characters is a major plot point, but when I was growing up, most books I read had no reference to religion at all, so I tended to assume the characters were all atheists like me.  Even in books where characters go to church, there were seldom theological influences on the plot -- the church was just a public square where c … [Read more...]

Can Lethal Resistance be Loving?

I quite enjoyed reading Logan Mehl-Laituri's Reborn on the 4th of July for the Patheos Book Club this month.  Mehl-Laituri was weakly religious, but, while serving in the US Army, he became more deeply engaged with Christianity and ultimately decided that his newfound faith was incompatible with his job shooting people.It's obviously an emotional as well as an intellectual journey for Mehl-Laituri, but since I tend to be an unfeeling reader, wishing for a little less personality and a bit … [Read more...]

7 Quick Takes (7/6/12)

book binge

--- 1 --- My next post is going to be a contribution to the Patheos Book Club for Reborn on the 4th of July, a memoir by a soldier turned conscientious objector.  It's been delayed a little, since I had a couple topics I wanted to cover, so instead of one post, you're going to get enough to take us at least through Sunday.  In the meantime, you might want to review some of the things I've written on radical forgiveness, since I'm going to refer back to those posts.  (I think they also satisfy so … [Read more...]

Happy Higgs Day!

Today, all over America (land of science enthusiasts) fireworks will be set off in remembrance of the many particle collisions that it took to bring our observations of the decay products of the Higgs up above a five sigma confidence interval.  If you need a refresher or just haven't followed all this very closely, you'll definitely want to watch PhD Comics' animated explanation below (you'll want to see it full screen).The best print coverage I've seen so far today is, unsurprisingly, at … [Read more...]