Monday, March 31, 2008

Noah on Platonism

Noah: The first time I tried everything was in heaven.

Ben: Really? ...what was it like in heaven?

Noah: I forgot.

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Thursday, March 13, 2008

"True Names" podcast

Cory Doctorow and I just turned in our big, sprawling galactic-scale posthuman novella, "True Names", to Lou Anders of Pyr Books, who is going to publish it in the original anthology Fast Forward 2 this fall.

This story came out of a conversation at the Hugo Loser's party at Worldcon 2002 -- the part about "the second law of thermodynamics as the ultimate party-spoiler in a transhuman utopia of self-spawning consciousness"; it acquired shades of Jane Austen, Voltaire, megamillion year ideological warfare, gender theory, coming-of-age story, and musical theater along the way.

We've pretty much been working on it for the past six years. It's been a delight to work on, and it's surprisingly exciting to have it done and ready for readers -- or first, in this case, listeners.

See, Cory, inexhaustible font of energy that he is (for those who don't know Cory and who think of me as energetic, talkative, and full of enthusiasm for various projects -- Cory is me cubed; he makes me look like a laconic hermit), has declared that we are podcasting it.

And so we are! I just have to hunt down a decent microphone so I can record the next installment....

(It's also under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike-NonCommercial license -- so feel free to reproduce, remix, and create your own Alonzo My Love! tchotchkes).

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Thursday, March 6, 2008

From where I'm sitting...

  Traditional Christianity Fundamentalist Christianity
Number of adherents confident that they are saved ~10% ~90%
Primary focus of teachings Ethical behavior, social stability Sexual and other ritual regulations, political change
Basic emotional orientation Awe, humility, & reverence Certainty and contempt
Apparent epistemological motivation Earnest attempt to understand the universe Fear of the other, agenda of political change
(Updated for clarity: This is not a chart of religious liberals vs. religious conservatives; it is a chart of two kinds of religious conservatives, or two attitudes towards religious conservatism -- one, prevalent before modernity (but still extant), the other a response to modernity. Fundamentalists tend not to believe in evolution; traditional Christians, however, trump them there, as they not only didn't traditionally believe in evolution, they also held that the Sun orbited the Earth.)

  the old atheism "The New Atheism"
Atheism seen as Daring and original hypothesis Obvious; mere sanity
Religion regarded as Conventional, uninspired, faulty thinking Pernicious insanity
Religious tolerance considered Vital Foolhardy and toxic
Basic emotional orientation Enthusiasm, rigor and curiosity Certainty and contempt
Apparent epistemological motivation Earnest attempt to understand the universe Fear of the other, agenda of political change

I'm just sayin'.

(On a personal note: if the shoe does not fit, do not attempt to squeeze it onto your foot. I would put my favorite atheists and evangelicals in the left hand column; it's the Dawkinsite smugness that gets to me, not any particular metaphysical contention.)

(Update: My case is probably weakest for putting G. B. Shaw in the left hand column... but his comments suggest at least a bit of, I don't know, decorum...) Comments (15)   permalink

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Reading at Stacy's

Stacy's Coffee Parlor is an oasis of good cheer, comfortable sofas, passion, art, reality (as opposed to chain-coffee-shop alienation), sassy wait staff, toys, magnet poetry, really good cupcakes, conversation and camaraderie amid the enroaching strip-mall sprawl of the beleaguered city of Falls Church. I was a regular there, when we were stateside. After six months of fancy European cooking, I recently asked my kids what their favorite restaurant in the world was. Hands down: Stacy's.

So what better place to read some fiction to a caffeinated evening audience, when we're in Virginia for the kids' spring break?

Monday, March 24th
7:00 pm
Stacy's Coffee Parlor
709 W Broad St (a.k.a Route 7)
Falls Church, VA

Bus from West Falls Church metro: 28B.

See you there?

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Monday, March 3, 2008

Aviva on being raised by psychologists*

Me, at dinner: Aviva, I'm sure you don't want any of this eggplant.

Aviva: Daddy, would you stop motivating? Now I want eggplant, and I don't even LIKE eggplant!


* = okay, I'm a lay psychologist...

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