That Moment We Saw You For What You Really Are

The "Welcome to JT" thread has digressed into a number of interesting discussions (parental authority over children, what to make of data that suggests the people you think are wrong are doing better than you, etc).  And I do want to throw this less wrong post on envying "irrational" choices into the mix, but the comment I want to highlight is on a different subject.  Clarissa wrote: Yeah, JT presents himself as a nice guy, but he can turn on a dime into a vicious attack dog.I don’t trust gu … [Read more...]

Quasi-Transhumanist Charismatic Christians

This post is part of Patheos's book club for T.M. Luhrmann's When God Talks Back: Understanding the American Evangelical Relationship with God. I recieved a review copy free of charge.This was a fascinating book to read right on the heels of Thinking Fast and Slow, because both books seemed to be mostly about changing our intuitions and heuristics. Luhrmann is embedded in a charismatic sect of Christianity.  No snake-handling, but plenty of two-way dialogue with Jesus and what Luhrmann calls … [Read more...]

When Do You Reject Your Intuitions?

A while ago, a commenter emailed me to ask if I could recommend any books to read on human cognitive bias, and now that I've finished Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman, I can, with great enthusiasm.  When we study flaws in human reasoning, we usually start with glaring ones, and find out that they're just the most obvious examples of a broader problem (and the subtler errors are the more pernicious ones).  In the book, Kahneman has a really interesting riff on the Müller-Lyer il … [Read more...]

Heaven Can Wait (in your debate arsenal)

Greta Christina and a different Christina at Freethought Blogs both recently came to the conclusion that the Christine doctrine of Heaven is coercive.  It's so dangerous that Greta Christina called it "almost as evil a doctrine as Hell."  Here's their reasoning: The promise of Heaven is the biggest reward of all. The promise of Heaven is infinite. It is the promise that you will get to live forever, and will never have to die. It is the promise that you will get to live forever in perfect e … [Read more...]

Now to ‘Scape the Scapular

The Bright Maidens (a blogging network of young Catholic women) are writing about scapulars this week, and I figured I’d poke my nose in. A scapular is a piece of cloth worn around the neck. It is a sacramental (an instrument of grace, like holy water or some blessed medals). The one all the bloggers seem to be focusing on is the Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel (also called the brown scapular).The virtue of this scapular was supposed to have been revealed to St. Simon Stock in 1251 when … [Read more...]

“You can’t go around building a better world for people”

For an explanation of what Weatherwax Wednesdays are all about, read the introduction post. This week’s Discworld quote comes from Witches Abroad, which is, among many other thing, a retelling of the Cinderella fairy tale. In the story, Granny Weatherwax and her companions are pitted against a more conventional fairy godmother, who is intent on scripting a happy ending for the characters. ‘We’re the other kind [of godmother],’ said Granny. ‘We’re the kind that gives people what they kn … [Read more...]