Meta-Blogging: April 2004 Archives

For the first time, I've submitted something for the Carnival of the Vanities, my What Is Race? post.

Two other posts of interest:

1. Not to undermine the stuff about his true heroism and that his sacrifice is at least financially and popularity-wise more courageous than most others', this recent Pat Tillman emphasis has bothered me, and I'm not the only one. It's easy to let it overshadow all the ordinary, mundane sacrifices that we don't hear about directly and see as major headlines simply because the people aren't football players. I wonder, therefore, why we should have a deeper emotional response to his death than to anyone else's. I think something has gone wrong here.

2. Don't microwave your peanut butter jar.

Wink

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I'm happy to announce that I now have my very own guest blogger. (There's still a possibility that this will turn into a genuine group blog, but at this point he's a measly guest blogger, at his own insistence.) He goes by the online name Wink, and he's got his own blog. I've known him for a long time, and if you happen to know him also then please keep his anonymity intact. I've already said a few things about him before I was ready to announce who he is (to whatever degree I've actually done that).

On the theological and even moral questions that we most care about, I think we have basic agreement, with our differences on some issues even requiring technical terms just to make clear. This is probably at least in part because we've influenced each other in some ways and probably to some degree simply because we have similar starting points in our thinking. On political matters, however, he's enough more liberal than I am that he thinks it might be good to add a Kerry button below the Bush one, though he thinks I could make it smaller than the Bush one to indicate that it's the guest blogger who endorses it. (Maybe I should do that and make it very small!) I don't actually know if there's a Blogs for Kerry site equivalent to the Blogs for Bush site, which is what my Bush button links to. A Google search didn't turn one up, either. Does anyone know of such a thing?

Anyway, I imagine he won't be posting as often as I do, but I'm looking forward to some lively discussion when he does. Those who have been following the comments have already seen some of this. I've added a few links to the blogroll at his request, but he didn't even have many to add, since my lists were already "frighteningly complete". I've also made a link to his blog more prominent at the top of the sidebar.

Christian Carnival XV

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It's a milestone of sorts for the Christian Carnival today, and I'm pointing that out in my own milestone -- my 300th entry. This has been one of the most enjoyable Christian Carnivals for me. I have a number of posts to recommend. First, of course, is my own argument for Christianity based on what the Bible itself says. I put a lot of work into this one, written before I even had a blog.

Jollyblogger has some excellent observations on two methods of Christian evaluation of pop culture -- the moralistic approach and the redemptive approach. I have a third one to add -- those who just appreciate enjoyable things. All three are good in different ways. I can't agree with him about the presuppositionalist stuff, however, for these reasons. I am going to have to link to his blog, though, but it will be when I'm not about to go to bed but posting this just to have something today.

Spare Change notices some crucial points about God's will in scripture.

Messy Christian gives a couple good, practical examples of forgiveness in her own life, one when it took active initiation for reconciliation, when it would have been very easy for her to let things to go the other way, the other when the people involved are still hostile to her. I think what her cases show is her being molded into the image our the God who opens his arms to his enemies. This is thus a great picture of part of the process of Christian sanctification, aspects of the divine image in our character being restored to health and wholeness.

IntolerantElle is new to me. She posts about some of the downsides of church-owned buildings, both in terms of kingdom priorities and with regard to our view of what worship and church are.

Oh, by the way, you achieve a milestone yourself by being the 500th commenter (I think it was) by commenting next on this blog. (This is written with John R's comment on the lizard post as the latest.) You better make it a good one, though.

Christian Carnival plug

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The fifteenth Christian Carnival is coming up. Get your posts in.

This coming Wednesday is the next Christian Carnival, and will be hosted
at Fringe Blog. If you have a blog, this will be a great way to get
read, and possibly pick up readers in the process, or highlight your
favorite post from the past week.

Read on to find out more!

Best of Me Symphony #21

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I've just discovered a new Carnival-like weekly collection of blog posts, but this one's deliberately about old posts. People submit posts that are at least two months old that they consider among the best posts of the history of their blog. This week's is up at The Owner's Manual. I sent in my post about whether the word 'God' as used by a Muslim and as used by a Christian refer to the same being. The Homer Simpson theme looks fun. I haven't had a chance to look at any of the other posts yet (and probably won't until at least tomorrow), so I can't recommend any in particular.

Multi-author

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I've invited someone to join me on this blog. It's not sure that it will happen, but it looks as if it will. I haven't found out yet if the person will be anonymous, so I won't announce who it is.

We'll have to change some of the way this blog works with a multi-author format, but much of it will remain as it has, just with a new perspective added. The person I've invited shares basic commitments I have on what I consider to be the most important views someone can have, particularly in a solidly Christian mindset with theological perspectives largely similar to my own. Politically, we'll end up seeing some real skirmishes here, and there will be more minor issues that might lead to some debate as well, but this is a very close friend of mine whom I've known for quite a while, and I'm convinced that it will remain helpful and healthy debate.

Roundup

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Somehow I hadn't been to Mark Byron's blog in a while. He was almost assuredly one of the first 20 blogs on my blogroll, probably even within the first 15, and I guess he got lost in the shuffle recently. I noticed two posts yesterday when browsing through what I'd missed that are worth drawing attention to.

He reflects on the moral significance of the fact that 50% of the population is of below average intelligence, with some good economics thrown in.

He's also been thinking a bit about neocons vs. paleocons as compared with unadjectived conservatives and flat-out liberals.

Be careful when using coupons. You might save money, but is it worth being arrested? I suppose it might be if you can later win a six-figure lawsuit over it. (from The Rough Woodsman)

Someone at Harvard Business School during the period when President Bush had been there (and who became a faculty member shortly thereafter) debunks the mainstream narrative of Bush's coasting through school without learning anything, including some reasons to think the Bush Administration really is what you would expect from an MBA who learned what he was taught when earning his degree. I remember seeing someone talking about the poker player political strategy before. I see it in him, too. (link from Keith Burgess-Jackson)

Christian Carnival XIV

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The fourteenth Christian Carnival is up, with my Pro-Choice Anti-Abortion post. Jollyblogger gives the most balanced thoughts I've seen so far in the recent Blogdom of God discussions on Christians leaving the church. Miss O'Hara gives some equally balanced considerations about the big Purpose-Driven Fad within evangelicalism. Unfortunately, both of these last two lacked links to their specific posts within the Carnival itself. Finally, Mark Roberts has begun a new series on why Jesus had to die. This looks to be an excellent series. I'm looking forward to the rest.

New achievement

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I should announce that I'm now the #9 Google search for Hot Chicks. I've had 25 people click on that link and 8 from other search engines since 8pm last night. I'm not sure why someone searching for Hot Chicks would be interested in clicking on a link to my blog, never mind 33 people. I suppose they'll get a lot more out of my blog than they would most of the items on that list. (Excuse the Google bombing. I just never thought I'd have a chance to be so highly ranked among such an honorable Google search.)

Christian Carnival plug

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Nick at Patriot Paradox:

This coming Wednesday is the next Christian Carnival, and will be hosted
at Patriot Paradox. If you have a blog, this will be a great way to get
read, and possibly pick up readers in the process, or highlight your
favorite post from the past week.

Read on to find out more!

Anonymous Commenters

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Brian Weatherson blogged about people who refuse to leave their email address when commenting. He gives evidence that it doesn't lead to spam anyway, so one of the main objections to leaving your email address is removed. Then he qualifies it by noticing that his own case (which is his evidence) involves leaving a web address, which is usually what shows on the comment. Thus the email address isn't vulnerable to the spammers anyway.

It seems to me that you don't even need to concede this much, if your MT settings are set properly with a spam guard feature that's built into the software. When someone slides their pointer over the link to someone's website or email link on my blog, all you get is a link to something on my own blog that forwards the clicker to the correct site or opens up an email message with whatever software is configured for email. Thus email adress harvesters can't get anything from my blog anyway unless I've included any addresses in actual posts. People have nothing to fear spamwise by leaving their real email address in the comments. Yet it happens.

This set me to wondering why people go anonymous anyway. Some people have blogs with information they prefer to keep private but don't mind discussing anonymously out of a need to discuss it somehow. That's fine. I know people who do this, and I understand it. When they have a regular pseudonym and visit regularly, I can identify them by their pseudonym. If it's someone I know who doesn't mind my knowing their pseudonym, and if I acknowledge that and agree not to reveal who they are, as has happened with me at least once, I also see that as fine. Those aren't the people I'm wondering about.

It's the people who show up once, leave rather unthinking and harsh comments with fake email addresses and fake names, and never return who really bug me. Why do people do this other than to be annoying? I can't conclude much other than that they're moral wimps and won't stand up for what they appear to be endorsing. They want to register that they don't like what they see on my site, which is their prerogative. If they have something intelligent to say about why they don't like it, then I'm happy to discuss it with them and hear why they don't like something I said. If they don't fit into the first category, then even these people may be subject to my objection. Are they unwilling to stand up for their own view, assuming they really believe it? Are they embarassed for something they think is true? This is just something I don't understand.

Christian Carnival XIII

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This may have been the earliest posting of the Christian Carnival in its history (at TheGodBlog.com), and I've been out all day and haven't had a chance to look at anything until now. Let's see what we've got.

My post on intermarriage is in there.

Some young guy in the UK names Andrew Guilder has a reference to Yes keyboardist extraordinaire Rick Wakeman's new special on the BBC about British attitudes about Easter. The title is "Jesus Who?" This story from before it aired says far more about it than the link Guilder gave. I'd be interested in seeing it, but I doubt I'll ever get the chance. There are two problems overdetermining his failing to get a link from me. First, he called Wakeman "this old rock star guy Rick Wakeman". Keep in mind that the guy he's calling "this old rock star guy" is probably second only to Keith Emerson among keyboard legends and a real musical hero of mine. That's a real insult to anyone who knows the history of rock music. Second, he uses Xanga, which has no permanent links, and the relevant entry isn't even on his front page anymore with no way to link directly to it. I had to search for it myself. So much for getting publicity from me. I'm not merely being petty. I wouldn't know how to link to it properly if I wanted to.

As usual, ireneQ has some funny and thoughtful comments, this time about prayer and the annoying things we do when we pray. She keeps saying all sorts of things I've long thought, but I always thought I shouldn't say them. It's nice to see them out there.

Mr. Standfast, a blog completely new to me, blogs about when to conceal knowlege. Hmm?

There's other stuff too, including some good reflections on Easter that for some reason struck me as old hat and of last week simply because Easter is past. Isn't that awful? Why should the resurrection of the Son of God get dated simply because the day we single out to emphasize it more than other days is done?

Christian Carnival plug

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Christian Carnival XIII info:

This coming Wednesday is the next Christian Carnival, and will be hosted
at the God Blog. If you have a blog, this will be a great way to get
read, and possibly pick up readers in the process, or highlight your
favorite post from the past week.

Read on to find out more!

250th post

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This is my 250th entry. I don't have anything incredibly significant and worth the honor of being my 250th post, as was true of my last two landmark posts. So as to avoid any claim that I'm trying to raise the value of a post to be worth the significance of being post #250, I'm going to talk about something completely worthless and stupid. I'm going to blog about the fact that it's my 250th post and how it became that way. (Actually, given the last sentence, you might think I'm also blogging about the fact that I'm blogging about the fact that it's my 250th post. Wait. Now that I said that, I also have to mention that I'm blogging about the fact that I'm blogging about the fact that I'm... Oh, never mind. Recursive blogging isn't necessarily a good thing.)

It really is my 250th post. Believe me. It doesn't matter that I had to change the time of almost four hours to get it to appear earlier than the time I'm posting it. It doesn't matter that I had 251 entries already before I wrote it. It doesn't matter that I had to interrupt two posts that I typed in immediate succession by fixing this one between them. All that matters is that its final position is 250. I had planned on doing this days ago anyway, and who cares about the technicalities of when I typed it? The sad thing is that I do, and my deceptive behavior offends my conscience deeply enough that I had to report it publicly.

I know this is no excuse or justification for my behavior, but my deep-seated conviction that the 250th post should at least be distinctive in some way has overcome my deep-seated conviction that I shouldn't do such things. Both deep-seated tendencies come from the same personality traits: my love of order, exactitude, and things just simply being done right. It's unfortunate that satisfying these requires violating them in the process, but it seems at least a little better that it's out in the open that this is going on. Now go ahead and commit me.

Orson Scott Card

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Popular science fiction author Orson Scott Card has a blog, The Ornery American. Check out his thoughts on The Passion of the Christ. It's interesting to get a Mormon take on the film.

One of the faculty at the college I teach at is a rabbi in Reform Judaism, and he considers Card a Christian philosopher of sorts, regularly using his novels in philosophy classes. I wouldn't consider the LDS church representative of Christianity, but it intrigues me that he thinks his stuff counts as doing philosophy enough to use in philosophy classes. I've never read any of his books. It shouldn't be surprising that I'd share some affinity with Card's general outlook (with strong disagreement on many important, sometimes crucial, details). I'll have to keep looking in on this blog.

Divine Command Theory

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The University of Rochester philosophy grad students' blog has a name finally: My Ontology is Bigger Than Yours.

Brown has one now also, Fake Barn Country. So we've started a trend. Just remember: OrangePhilosophy was first. (Some people have argued that Philosophy from the 617 was the first, but that was a group blog from people who at the time were in Boston, not tied to one institution.)

Andrew Cullison has some worthwhile reading on Divine Command Theory at the Rochester blog. I've said stuff about this before, but my primary audience was for introductory philosophy students. This is a much more detailed discussion and includes some more sophisticated arguments (though some, I think, are poor arguments nonetheless).

Update: It was too good to last. They've taken on a new non-name (at a new location): This is Not the Name of This Blog. That's creative and interesting philosophically, but it's not as fun as My Ontology is Bigger Than Your Ontology. I'm not changing my link's name.

The latest Christian Carnival is up at ChristWeb. In addition to my post on Presuppositional Apologetics and Sam's on the silliness of a political shibboleth for evaluating whether someone is Christian, I recommend Mark Roberts on the seven last words of Christ. I read only the first one so far, but Mark is always worth reading when he comments on scripture, so I can confidently recommend the whole series. IreneQ's struggles with prayer are an excellent example of someone asking hard questions of herself and making progress in her understanding on the issue. I love to read people's accounts of these things. We Christians need to do more of this. Messy Christian has a few such posts of late, though none of them made it to the Carnival this time around.

Christian Carnival XII Plug

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This coming Wednesday is the next Christian Carnival, and will be hosted
at ChristWeb. If you have a blog, this will be a great way to get read,
and possibly pick up readers in the process, or highlight your favorite
post from the past week.

To enter is simple. First your post should be of a Christian nature, but
this does not exclude posts that are political (or otherwise) in nature
from a Christian point of view. Then do the following:

email Stephen at

mccaskil@mac-con.com

Provide the following:

Title of your Blog
URL of your Blog
Title of your post
URL linking to that post
Description of the Post

Cut off date is Tuesday by 8 PM EST

If you are reading this and are not a part of the Christian Carnival
mailing list please visit the following link and join up:

http://patriot-paradox.com/mailman/listinfo/christiancarnival_patriot-paradox.com

*Also if you wish to host the Carnival in coming weeks email me at carnivalhost@patriot-paradox.com *

All questions are welcome. Get your entry in asap!

Telepathic googling

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Imagine searching Google for something about mind-reading and then discovering a blog discussing how strange your Google search was. So you were trying to find out something about mind-reading, only to find out that someone seemed to have been reading your mind and blogging about your very search, and your search led you right to it.

That just happened to someone. I was checking my referrals and discovered that someone recently searched Google for something about telepathy and Pakistan. What did they get? They ended up clicking on my post about how strange it was that someone had searched for "organization of telepathy in Pakistan" and gotten Sam's blog. Hmm. I guess I'm telepathic. I don't know about Pakistan, though. That was weird even the first time.

The time has arrived once again when I have too many things to blog about and not enough time to do it, so before some of this stuff gets too old I'll at least link them and say something about them.

Discoshaman comments on the scientists on the verge of creating life in a laboratory to the effect that someone's going to start denying that it's happened on the grounds that only God can create life. Read the first comment, the one about the dirt. It's hilarious and exactly the right to say here.

This one's been old for a while, but I just found it. Philosopher Keith Burgess-Jackson has been a gradual convert to conservative thought over the course of his life. He wrote this before the big brouhaha over liberal professors in academia of the last few months, but it looks at why so many liberal thinkers think conservatives are stupid in a way that's neither insulting to liberals nor favorable to the position that conservatives tend to be stupid.

Speaking of philosophers discussing important issues, Jeremy Chong gives a near-formal deductive argument for the conclusion that soy milk is indeed milk. I would have argued on the same basis but in a very different way, focusing more on philosophy of language but really for the same reasons and based on the same intuitions.

Volokh: A 15-year-old girl is up for child pornography charges for taking pictures of herself and sending them to people through the internet. Get a load of what they're charging her with.

Also at Volokh, Jacob Levy, from my alma mater Brown, mentions two things of note in one post. First is his reference to Buddy Cianci, former mayor of Providence who was convicted of a felony and then later re-elected mayor for multiple terms while still not serving any terms. It's as if he's a cartoon character. What Jacob says about him is precious. Then he goes on to tell a great story of the new attorney general of RI calling Marvel Comics to get Stan Lee's permission to use a quote from the first appearance of Spiderman.

Yet again at Volokh: Anyone up for a vampire slaying? This one wasn't posted on April Fool's Day. At least the guy was already dead.

Last but not least, you have to see the latest two comments on my post from January about the racist Condoleeza Rice poster that had been circulating at the time. It would be ideal if you go and look at the family pictures on my old blog site first to appreciate the full humor of what these two guys (assuming they're two people -- I haven't checked the IPs yet) think they can get away with saying. Update: Sam weighs in. I like the MTV comment. It's too bad I didn't catch that. It's insulting enough to assume that I don't know my wife. To assume that I watch MTV may even be worse.

I've got a couple more, including another from Volokh, but I'll hold off on them in the hopes that I might be able to say a little more about them.

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