Saturday, November 12, 2011

Updates, Links, and Thoughts

1. I sent questionnaires to a couple people. Awaiting responses. If you have an interesting narrative (I suspect most readers of this blog do!), please email me so we can try to work out a way to put up a blog post about you and you can be famous :P

2. Contributed my own two cents to the argument over the Kuzari Principle over in Seforim Blog's comments. If you want to argue or tell me "FTW!", let's keep that discussion over there (I don't like having two discussions in two different places about the same thing at the same time).

3. I've read through The Moral Landscape (quickly though, there are 37 holds on the library's copy!) and I liked it, but what do I know, I'm not a philosophy guy. This seems like a thoughtful critique.

4. Really fascinating interview by Rachel Maddow with Jon Stewart.

5. I like to have voices on my left shoulder and my right shoulder; even as I hope people who generally agree with me will add their own reasoning for their thoughts (and am very grateful when they do), I don't think it's right to be surrounded by people who share all my opinions. My favorite voice on the right is Ross Douthat of the New York Times. But his blog's comment box seems relatively empty and he has less than 100 fans on Facebook. Why no love for Douthat? A lot of people seem to think his columns don't sound that conservative. I think he consistently makes an interesting case for moderate political conservatism; he doesn't seem to go out and be the guy rebelliously and loudly pushing for change on his own party (like, say, David Frum).

6. I've been reading up on the God Debate, but school has slowed me down a bit. In the meantime, I have written some book mini-reviews (some of them better than others) over at Amazon. I'm currently reading Karen Armstrong's The Case for God.

7. People have in the past asked me what "trolling" means. I highly recommend you check out the Field Guide to Trolls. As one blogger has noted, those who troll atheist sites tend to be Contrarian Trolls. I think we've seen a good deal of those crop up in response to Rabbi Slifkin's writings as well.

8. Just a thought: Rabbi Slifkin wrote a post extolling the virtues of Mishpacha Magazine and Jonathan Rosenblum. I agree with Rabbi Slifkin that these are positive forces for increased moderation in the haredi world. The problem is that Jonathan Rosenblum has his own issues (as Rabbi Slifkin well knows) and I think that if the haredi world's loudest moderate forces are anti-science and have a problem with admitting errors (I have emailed Rosenblum about some of these the day of or days after he published them, but there have been no retractions or apologies for said errors), then it's really impossible to have much hope for their efforts. The only people who we can look to to accept more science and be more intellectually honest about history are haredim who quietly dissent from gedolim. The problem is that they don't have yeshivas and I think that since the gedolim are a self-perpetuating bunch, these people will have difficulty instilling their worldviews in their kids. Maybe that will lead said kids my way (nontheism), who knows?

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