“For he is like a refiner’s fire!”


Friend of the blog Scott Hebert has written an article for Patheos titled "Metaphysical Annealing: Empirical Science, Suffering, and God." Let this be the first of many theological essays that talk about local vs global optima as a way to talk about theodicy. I've skipped some of Scott's background/analogy building in my choice of blockquote, because I think the terms may already be recognizable to readers of the blog, but do pop over to see the whole thing. What is our search mechanism? Our liv … [Read more...]

7 Quick Takes (4/5/13)

--- 1 --- While we've been discussing ways to tweak the comment sections chez moi, regular commenter Gilbert has put together a hacky fix to make comments a little easier to read (new comments are highlighted, comments are collapsible, etc).  You can read how to install it yourself at his blog. --- 2 --- Via TYWKIWDBI, a video on how marbles are made.  (The second method is the one I learned in college!)--- 3 --- This is the best solution I've heard in a while for the tendency of jo … [Read more...]

Why I Am Catholic…

church interior

Patheos asked bloggers to give 200 word apologiai for their faith, so, here's my very brief attempt at why, given theism, I went with Catholicism:From Paul's original cry that "If he be not raised... your faith is in vain" to Flannery O'Connor's "Well, if [the Eucharist]'s a symbol, to hell with it!" Catholicism has resisted Invisible Dragon in the Garage Syndrome fairly well.  It’s not a religion that doesn't mind what people think, as long as they all get along  -- it's truth … [Read more...]

Suggestions for Revamping Comments?

flamewar exit

  Well, the comments that followed my post on 'A Week' and the adjectives besides atheist that people choose kind of spiraled off into flamewars about gay marriage and other unrelated comments.  This isn't the first time this has happened, and I'd like to get people to help me brainstorm some solutions, from the technical to the more honor culture-y.Here are a couple things that have occurred to me:Culture ChangesPeriodic "Take it Outside" threads - when an off-top … [Read more...]

7 Quick Takes (3/28/13)

--- 1 --- Lo, a miracle has occurred.  I enjoyed an article that in some way pertained to March Madness.  (Unsurprisingly, it's by Nate Silver).  Over at 538, he's got an explanation (with simulations and graphs) of why a team might prefer a lower seed, what they could do with the perverse incentives, and how the NCAA could patch the problem.  --- 2 --- Ok, in fact there were two articles about college basketball that caught my eye this week.  I also enjoyed seeing Travis Waldron call … [Read more...]

Famine in a Time of Feasting


This past weekend was the one year anniversary of my conversion (well, according to the liturgical year, anyway). I changed my mind in the night between plain old Saturday and Palm Sunday. And, as one friend joked, this meant I got to skip Lent and come in right during Holy Week.But one of the things I felt most acutely during my attendance at Triduum services that week was a sense of distance. It was one thing to not participate in the liturgy as an atheist, but if the Eucharist was … [Read more...]

7 Quick Takes (3/22/13)

cfar planning monster

--- 1 --- It's March!  That month when people care particularly intensely about sports I am indifferent to, but make brackets about all kinds of things that do catch my fancy.  Like this Shakespeare Showdown bracket, which has prompted a number of fights about the rankings to the point where we might soon to say "Oh, what a falling off was there!"  --- 2 --- Passover starts this week, and the Maccabeats have a delightful new song which is also a Les Mis medley.  Too bad it's still abo … [Read more...]