7 Quick Takes (10/15/10)

7 Quick Takes (10/15/10) October 15, 2010


Hands down, my favorite post in religious blogging this week was Julian Sanchez’s post on the problem of an omnipotent God:

Ned Resnikoff ponders the question. It seems to me that the answer is clearly “no,” but for a reason Ned doesn’t actually offer: It would require a good deal less than omnipotence to make a human perceptual system experience any demonstration of omnipotence you might care to suggest. So we might imagine God zipping you back to the dawn of creation so you can watch him summon all the galaxies into existence, then mold the earth and breathe life into the first humans, and so on. The trouble is that if you’re aiming for parsimony, the simpler explanation will almost certainly be that you’ve encountered a being capable of simulating all these experiences to your primate nervous system. That is, of course, a hell of a trick—a being who can do that is certainly pretty potent!—but still pretty far short of complete mastery over all space, time, and matter.

This is one of the main reasons that I’m much more interested in proofs of God’s existence and goodness than his power.  Like Sanchez, I can’t really imagine any way a human could understand a proof of omnipotence, and the whole point seems irrelevant.  A being could be powerful without being worthy of worship or even respect.  The question is too large-scale to be relevant to me. So is the exact mechanism by which God could exist outside of time.  If I had a relationship with a God and/or a Savior, maintaining that relationship would trump the angels-dancing-on-a-pin arguments that apologists seem to assume atheists are interested in.


After Obama’s election, some science fiction websites tried to guess what would be the new, low-key symbol of THE FUTURE now that a black president existed in the present.  This week, io9 guessed that gay generals might be the new, non-jetpack signifier of the future.  Hopefully, the new, nationwide injunction against Don’t Ask Don’t Tell may spoil that one before it gets folded into any scifi series.

Any guesses for the next iteration of shorthand for “This is the FUTURE?”  I’d love to see a city of driverless shared cars, but I won’t be heartbroken if that becomes reality before anyone makes use of it.


Also delightful, also from io9: The ACLU is studying science fiction to find the next threats to your liberty.  My two greatest loves… united at last!


And one last dispatch from the department of science fiction made real: exoskeletons let the disabled walk


Yale Jewish center has hired a new Rabbi, and I’m inclined to agree with some of the commenter on the related YDN article that her views are too liberal to be properly called religious. Rabbi Doherty says:

“We study Jewish law but our choices in life are not automatically bound by Jewish law,” she said. “What makes us Jewish is our connection to the Jewish community.”

If Judaism is a religion, instead of a ethnicity, this kind of statement makes no sense, particularly for a religion ostensibly centered around laws established by covenant with God.   There would be nothing wrong with having a Jewish culture house in the same way Yale has an African-American culture house, but why do proponents of this secular, Torah-independent creed bother identifying as a religion?


I can’t seem to go more than a post without ending back up in wacky science.  I’m so delighted by Sparkfun Electronic’s new robot design competition.  Here’s the Antimov Challenge:

Do you love robots? Do you love destruction? Are you tired of the same old robot competitions? We’ve got just the thing for you: the SparkFun Antimov competition! Based on Isaac Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics, the Antimov competition challenges you to design a robot which breaks the laws of robotics (well, except for hurting humans of course). A robot is traditionally designed to perform a complex task as efficiently as possible. Building a competent and efficient robot that completes its task unharmed is SO last year.

We want you to build a robot that completes a trivial task in the most inefficient and laborious way possible. Oh yeah, it needs to destroy itself doing so. Intrigued? We thought so! We ultimately wanted a competition that focuses less on engineering abilities and more on creative ingenuity.

(h/t Make Magazine)


I only wish I had the free time to enter that robotics competition,but I’m saving all my creative energy for Halloween.  I bought fabric this week, and hope to start drafting the pattern for my bustle skirt and corset this weekend.  In the meantime, I thought I’d share the best Halloween costume I’ve seen lately.

Darth Fairy

(h/t Fashionably Geek)

[Seven Quick Things is a blog carnival run by Jen of Conversion Diary]

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  • I was listening to Star Wars music while reading this post. That made the exoskeleton creepier-looking then it should have been, but was highly appropriate to the Darth Fairy.