[Turing 2013] Atheist Entry #1

This is the first entry in the Atheist round of the 2013 Ideological Turing Test.  This year, atheists and Christians responded to questions about sex, death, and literature.    Polyamory It seems to me that the purpose of civil marriage is not to tell people who they should be in a relationship with, but rather to grant legal recognition and rights to the people who are in fact in relationships. As such, the question is not “should more than two people be allowed to form a marriage?” … [Read more...]

7 Quick Takes (8/9/13)

--- 1 --- A few weeks ago, I was visiting DC, and gosh darn it if this video for the a Game of Thrones-styled tour of DC landmarks doesn't make me feel homesick all over again:--- 2 --- Meanwhile, very far from both Berkeley and DC: Two more of not-a-planet Pluto's moons have been named. On Tuesday the International Astronomical Union announced names for two of these moons, the fourth and fifth to be discovered. Moon No. 4 is now Kerberos, after the many-headed dog that guarded the e … [Read more...]

One-Sided Turing Tests and Privilege

Next week, the second half of this year's Ideological Turing Test opens, and, in the meantime, PEG has come up with an interesting connection between Ideological Turing Tests and what I like calling 'reverse dog whistles' (someone please help me come up with a better name).In rhetoric, a dog whistle is a way to say something that seems innoucuous to most of your audience, but carries a message to a core group of supporters.  Think of businesses that include a small Jesus fish in their ads, o … [Read more...]

Come Pick a Useful Fight with me in NYC

This weekend, I'm in New York City for the alumni debate of my college group, and while I'm in town, I'll be giving a talk on productive ways to have arguments this Saturday (August 10th)  at an event cohosted by the NYC Less Wrong meetup group and Ergo (a rationalist group).Now, if by productive arguments, you mean quick and dirty ways to win, I think you may be a bit more interested in Words that Work or The Strategy of Conflict.  But when there's a difference of opinion, at least one of yo … [Read more...]

Legal Shortcuts So Sharp You’ll Cut Yourself

Sorry for the absence, readers!  We've been short-staffed due to plague at work.  This week will be usual posts, and next week the atheist round of the Turing Test will begin.I'm a little troubled by the way same-sex marriage is becoming de facto legal in Pennsylvania.  When I was having SCOTUSblog parties back in June, I found the reasoning based on standing kinda messy.  If a law is challenged, it seems like the appropriate state officials should be obligated to defend it.  Ducking it s … [Read more...]

[Turing 2013] Christian Entry #12

This is the twelfth and final entry in the Christian round of the 2013 Ideological Turing Test.  This year, atheists and Christians responded to questions about sex, death, and literature.    Polyamory Since the dawn of humanity, the divine model for intimate love has been simply one of paradise: the incomparable union between two people. Compelling and enduring, our legal system has taken this cue for intimacy, defining the structure for marital partnership as limited to two a … [Read more...]

[Turing 2013] Christian Entry #11

This is the eleventh entry in the Christian round of the 2013 Ideological Turing Test.  This year, atheists and Christians responded to questions about sex, death, and literature.    Polyamory I had a philosophy professor once who liked to say, "Always start by making distinctions," and that's where I'm going to begin on this issue. Polyamory is an intentionally general term, encompassing both what I'll call polygamy and what I'll call group marriage.Polygamy is found fairly c … [Read more...]