726 results
July 13, 2016

When I was a teenager I read a science-fiction short story about a bet between two supernatural beings: which of them, by meddling in human affairs, could create the largest effect by the smallest stimulus? One of the beings triumphed by convincing a man to change one letter in his last name, starting a causal chain that wound up averting a nuclear war. (Nuclear war being what my generation feared before sentient machines and zombie apocalypses.)

With the...

July 7, 2016

In a stunning display of judicial overreach, a California judge has ruled that the website ChristianMingle.com is guilty of discrimination because it offers dating services only for Christians who are attracted to people of the opposite sex. According to The Wall Street Journal:

...
July 6, 2016

Can the universe be a mere brute fact? Can we say, “The universe just exists and that’s that—it has no explanation at all”?

Sean Carroll, a theoretical physicist at the California Institute of Technology, thinks so. In a recent interview with Phil Torres at salon.com, Carroll says, “There’s certainly no reason to think that there was something that ‘caused’ it; the universe can just be.”

Carroll is in good company with such an assertion...

July 5, 2016
Driverless car crashes would cause a constitutional crisis in Rationalia.

Last week agnostic astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson tweeted, “Earth needs a virtual country: #Rationalia, with a one-line Constitution: All policy shall be based on the weight of evidence.” I did my best in 140 characters to show how this sentiment is the exact of opposite of profound. I said, “...

June 30, 2016

I was invited to Thursday dinner at the largest parish in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. Arriving right on time, I was disconcerted to find the rectory empty except for the housekeeper.

“I’m sorry,” I said to her. “I must have marked the wrong date on my calendar.”

“No, you have the right date,” she replied, “but dinner will be a bit late. All the priests are still hearing confessions.”

“On a Thursday?”

When the four priests returned to the rectory, the pastor...