I just made a simple feed for ScienceBlogs posts containing “philosophy of science”, via Google Blogs, as a surrogate for their discontinued “Philosophy of Science” channel. I find the “Humanities & Social Science” channel it was subsumed into a bit much (60+ posts a week), and this one should only get a few per week.
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Shortly before my hiatus I began a post about the excellent blog Father Jake Stops the World, which had, well, stopped. I guess being the Episcopal Markos Moulitsas wears on one’s spirits. In his own words, “a constant exposure to some of the toxic rhetoric found on the net has had a negative impact on my spiritual health.”
(Nothing against Markos by the way – I love him, but I wouldn’t want him as my priest. If I had a priest.)
Meanwhile Father Jake, whose real name is Terry, has a new blog called Father T. Listens to the World. Funny how that sounds more ambitious than before.
I had the pleasure of meeting Chris M. of Quaker blogging fame for the first time, as well as Karen Street. Chris has a list of other bloggers here, though Micah Bales is the only other one on the list I’ve talked to. (I’ve also seen Kody, and will probably see Staśa this afternoon. Update: Also ran into Peterson the day after his plenary performance, and had the pleasure of meeting Robin, Liz, and Jeanne.)
Nontheist Friends events, including my and Robin Alpern’s interest group “Theist and Nontheist Friends in Conversation,” are going very well — attendance is significantly up from last year, they tell me, and the energy is very clear.
In addition to our previously scheduled events, this afternoon there’s one billed as “The Great Theist-Nontheist Conversational Smackdown of 2008″ between Chuck Fager and David Boulton, which I will try to record and post here. (Apparently it was a last-minute idea of Chuck’s.)
One of my favorite bloggers, John Remy of Mind on Fire, asked me to write a post for MoF’s series Leaving the Garden, which asks people to reflect on their journey away from religious conviction in a narrative fashion. I heartily support this, since talking about religion/irreligion solely in terms of intellectual arguments can be tiresome. My post just went up here. The opening:
The first garden I remember was by our country house in Ohio, near Steubenville, a little town nine miles from the Pennsylvania border. We were there because my father wanted to attend Franciscan University, as it was a hotbed of charismatic Catholicism at the time. But by the time I was six, we moved from Ohio for the same reason we had moved there from Phoenix: my father’s all-consuming passion for finding the truth about God.
It always took us to unexpected places. (More…)
For a couple months now, a little group of people have been meeting biweekly under the name Humanist Small Group. It was started by a classicist and teaching fellow (I believe is his position) at Harvard who wanted regular fellowship with like-minded folks, more than was facilitated by the social events the Harvard humanist community hosts once a month or so.
Rick Heller has chronicled the last two meetings, the latter of which was this Saturday. As you can see, we covered a lot of standard ground, and more unexpectedly virtue ethics came up at a few points. As it did earlier this month when I stopped by the University of Chicago and sat in on a seminar by Deirdre McCloskey on virtue ethics, Christianity and capitalism. (Guess there’s more than one way to do it.)
I find all humanist/etc. groups to be fraught with theoretical difficulties. For example: Is any group labeled “humanist” a protest group against religion? If not, why does it exist? If so (and surely it is, if only to a very small degree), to what degree should religion and irreligion be a focus of conversation? But refreshingly, these have not seriously affected the actual meetings, and perhaps exist merely in my head.
A related issue that did come up, at the end, was the suggestion that the “humanist movement,” being full of individualistic, highly opinionated people, may never become unified and cohesive enough to be a real force in society. I made the suggestion that, perhaps, but perhaps there is room for more specialized groups within the wider movement. And of course there is Sam Harris’s suggestion that there be no movement at all.
The hosting coop I host my websites at upgraded its servers last year (over a decent stretch of time, to put it mildly), and it’s past time that I take the final steps of migrating my stuff to the new servers. Technically the deadline was December 31, but they’re keeping the old servers online for various reasons, and I’ve been too busy to migrate until now.
I’ve put in at least 4 hours today, and so far I’ve only got Quakerpedia migrated. And the feature that rewrites the URLs to be prettier — John Woolman instead of index.php?title=John Woolman — isn’t working. But I did get www.quakerpedia.org to work without messing up the preexisting en.quakerpedia.org, so I feel a little bit of pride in my humble geek skills.
Next is Opensolo, the online portion of a friend of mine’s dance thesis, and then the quakerism.net blogs. I did If I told you earlier, since it was so easy. (On that subject, sadly, the Bay Windows article is gone due to their restructuring their site… here are the first few paragraphs.)