The Rotten Orange and the Kingslayer

kingslayer iron throne

Calah Alexander kicked off a Patheos Catholic-wide conversation about certain kinds of abstinence-only education with "Sloppy Seconds Sex-Ed" and Elizabeth Scalia has been aggregating the responses.  Calah is criticizing specifically the kind of program that sends students (especially women) the message that sex before marriage will leave them used up and worthless. When I heard it, it was glasses of water. Women (and only women, mind you; the boys got a separate talk about cherishing each … [Read more...]

A Disquisition on the Nature of Love, or, Contra Ron/Hermione

Ron's face is how I feel about this pairing

See, this is exactly why I love culture-wide book clubs.  I mention Harry Potter in passing, and you all start discussing the proper nature of love, and whether Ron/Hermione or any of the other case studies we're all quite familiar with from the series, fit the mold. I said that one of the reasons I hate the Ron/Hermione pairing is that Ron has, at best, apathy and at worst contempt for Hermione's curiosity and brightness.  I didn't she, or anyone else, should you marry someone … [Read more...]

That Moment We Saw You For What You Really Are

choosing a mask

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 … [Read more...]

Who are you dressed up as today?

Since we've been talking about theatre, (and had a guest post from an actress) I have all the excuse I need to link to Eve Tushnet's tribute to John Keegan. She wrote: Keegan proposes that leadership requires theatricality: Heroic leadership–any leadership–is, like priesthood, statesmanship, even genius, a matter of externals almost as much as of internalities. The exceptional are both shown to and hidden from the mass of humankind, revealed by artifice, presented by theatre. The … [Read more...]

“What’s Hard is Simple, What’s Natural Comes Hard”

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. In T.M. Luhrmann's ethnographic study of charismatic evangelical Christians, When God Talks Back, communing with God is a strenuous practice.  Cultivating a personal, two-way relationship is a choice for these Christians, and the sheer level of effort they put into changing their minds trips a lot of … [Read more...]

Simulated Ethics and Brainmodding

It's not all science fiction.  Check out Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transcranial_magnetic_stimulation) or brain implants for depression (http://www.nature.com/news/2011/110207/full/news.2011.76.html)

It's a week of tough questions about transhumanism.  After reading my post on moral hazard for uploaded humans, Gilbert asked: OK, so people value other people based on some kind of proximity function. In practice they instinctively use some evaluation procedure that generalizes badly to modern situations (where interactions can be more remote) and even worse* to uploads. Perhaps a bit like different polynomials may be functionally identical on some finite fields but not on others so that … [Read more...]

High Octane Ritual

Hooded figures

Yesterday I made a case for authority among atheists and today I’m addressing ritual without religion. In the big discussion about Greg Epstein’s humanist chaplains and the twitter forum on #humanistcommunity, PZ Myers claimed setting up atheist rituals that paralleled religious tradition was “a cheat and a waste.” At their essence, Myers claimed, ritual is just another world for “waste of effort, feel-good displacement activities that take the place of thought.” It’s easy to … [Read more...]


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X