The First Thing We Do, Let’s Kill All the Philosophers

"What sat in those three chairs was three men, though hard to recognize as men till you looked closely. Their hair, which was gray, had grown over their eyes till it almost concealed their faces, and their beards had grown over the table, climbing round and entwining plates and goblets as brambles entwine a fence, until, all mixed in one great mat of hair, they flowed over the edge and down to the floor. And from their heads the hair hung over the backs of their chairs so that they were wholly hidden. In fact the three men were nearly all hair."

I know there are some rumblings in yesterday's thread about sin, judgment, and necessity about my being tardy to reply to comments.  When there's such a fast discussion (over 100 comments in 12 hours, I can't pop in and out as much as I'd like to.  I did quite appreciate Steve Schuler's comment that, even though my tardiness was frustrating, "For my purposes the best aspect of Leah’s blog are the comments threads and the overall civil and thoughtful exchanges I am able to read here."  Ag … [Read more...]

I Never Promised You an Ecstasy Garden

Since we've been discussing some Mormon perspectives on conversion and personal revelation, I've got the perfect excuse to link to Daniel Siliman's essay on Catholic conversion stories.  It's very much a RTWT, but I'll post an excerpt to whet your appetite. (Ok, it's a long excerpt. I got carried away.) My sense is, too, that while there're certainly historic examples of Catholic conversion narratives, that this widespread popularity -- that conversion narratives as a common Catholic practice … [Read more...]

A Mormon Perspective on Interrogating Emotions

It's a guest post by Michael Haycock!  He blogs aperiodically at Not a Tame Lion, and helped clear up factual questions about Romney's priesthood along with more abstract questions about Mormon theology of priesthood the last time he guestblogged here.  Now he's popping in to talk about conversions than win over hearts as well as minds in the light of a recent On the Square piece.It is a typical indictment of Mormon proselytization and practice that it’s all predicated on untrustworthy or … [Read more...]

The Epistemological Weight of Warm Fuzzies

I was reading an On the Square post from a Mormon to Catholic convert and was struck by the way he described his enounter with grace: Early in the evening of May 28, 2010, I am attending Mass in the majestic Basilica di Sant’Apollinare next to the Pontificia Università della Santa Croce in Rome. From Utah I have come as a scholar to deliver a paper at an international conference on the work of the great Catholic philosopher Dietrich von Hildebrand, and I have come as a tourist to see the Et … [Read more...]

Upon this ROC I will build…

Real data is noisier than this

I was considering writing an April Fools day post, but life's too short to not blog about epidemiology and epistemology.As is often the case when I go back to Yale for alumni debates, I ended up in some extended theological debates.  In a conversation with one friend, we ended up on thse topic that used to form the core of my about section: what evidence would persuade me that Christianity (or another religion) is true?I think it's possible that I've set the bar for proof so high … [Read more...]

Playing the Consistency Game

When I posted earlier on the blogfight unleashed by Jenifer Fulwiler’s post “Five Catholic Teachings that Make Sense to Atheists,” I focused on how to gauge the sincerity of a convert’s discarded beliefs. That was an argument about the author, and now I want to focus on the dispute over the logic of her post. Jen wasn’t offering a proof of Catholicism’s claims, she was trying to show that the system held together pretty well. PZ Myers wrote two posts rejecting the validity of this approach Does … [Read more...]

God Can’t Prove Much to Puny Mortals

Over in the comment thread of last week's post on standards of proof for miracles, P. Coyle and Iota have been hashing out the classic argument that a truly unambiguous miracle would be a blow against our free will, forcing us to believe in God.  I want to walk through and discuss their positions, since this is a common Christian contention (and because it's going to set me up perfectly for a Harry Potter fanfiction reference in today's Sunday's Good Book post).  Everyone's comments have been tri … [Read more...]


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