Rod Dreher

Rod Dreher


What will we say to the aliens?

posted by Rod Dreher

Here’s a Guardian journalist’s pleasant lunchtime excursion with the superbrilliant cosmologist Paul Davies, who is in charge of the group of eminent scientists in charge of coming up with something non-stupid to say to aliens if ever they make contact. Excerpt:

“So what will the message say?” I ask, changing the subject.
“We’re talking about two civilisations communicating their finest achievements and their deepest beliefs and attitudes. I feel we should send something about our level of scientific attainment and understanding of how the world works. Some fundamental physics. Maybe some biology. But primarily physics and astronomy.”
“And some classical music?” I suggest.
“Well, we could, but it’s not going to mean anything to them,” Paul says.
“Yes, yes, of course.” I pause. “Why won’t it mean anything to them?”
“There’s nothing certain in this game,” Paul says, “but our appreciation of art and music is very much tied to our cognitive architecture. There’s no particular reason why some other intelligent species will share these aesthetic values. The general theory of relativity is impressive and will surely be understood by them. But if we send a Picasso or a Mona Lisa? They wouldn’t care.” He pauses. “I mean the phonograph disc that went off on Voyager had speeches by Kurt Waldheim and Jimmy Carter. That’s a world away from what we should be doing.”

Oh, I’m not so sure about that. I think that’s a scientist’s bias coming through. Granted, he’s right about speeches by Jimmy Carter and Kurt Waldheim, but does one really have to share our aesthetic values to appreciate our art? Bach is intensely mathematical, for one thing, and for another, an intelligent non-human race could certainly perceive harmony and design in our works of art. Does one really have to understand Christianity to appreciate the beauty of Michelangelo’s Pieta? Of course not. Understanding Christianity deepens your understanding of the art object, but any intelligent person is capable of perceiving formal beauty. I don’t understand the theory behind traditional Chinese painting, but I can appreciate it on the most basic level. Why would this necessarily be gobbledygook to aliens?
Thought experiment: Which five cultural objects would you transmit to an alien race to make sure they had access to among the finest artifacts of the human race? You can only have five. Obviously your choices will reflect your own biases, but so what? That’s what makes this fun. I say:
1. Bach’s B-minor mass.
2. Shakespeare’s “King Lear.”
3. Architectural plans and images of the Chartres cathedral.
4. A compilation of hymns and chants from the world’s religions.
5. Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue.” (A note about that one: I don’t even own a copy of it in my CD library, but it seems to me to be the quintessential statement of modern urbanity, hope and playfulness — and I would want the aliens to know that we are a solemn people, but also a merry people.)
Ask me tomorrow, and I’ll have five different entries. I’d probably take Gershwin off in favor of something from the world of rock. I’d need to think hard about rock and roll — which would be the example of rock I’d want the aliens to have? Everybody’s default is The Beatles, and though the Stones’ “Exile on Main Street” is probably my favorite rock album, I’m not sure I’d necessarily want that representing our civilization in toto. I dunno. Your five?



Advertisement
Comments read comments(37)
post a comment
Irenicum

posted March 8, 2010 at 1:40 pm


The complete series of Mork and Mindy. nanu nanu!



report abuse
 

Helen

posted March 8, 2010 at 1:44 pm


Anybody read The Sparrow? It’s about a Jesuit-sponsored trip to an inhabited planet. The trip is organized after a guy on earth monitoring the skies hears music from the distant planet. The music is beautiful, but it does not mean what the humans think it means.
Aliens may be able to appreciate human art and music, but it’s hard to know if they could suss out its meaning. Maybe they’d interpret the art as hostile. Who knows.



report abuse
 

Frog Leg

posted March 8, 2010 at 1:45 pm


On other words Rod, you have 3 religious choices, 1 choice dealing with decline and fall after authority is destroyed, and 1 choice of pure whimsy. A perfect summary of your outlook on life!



report abuse
 

Richard

posted March 8, 2010 at 1:48 pm


My answer reminds me of the cartoon involving a guy who mubbed a magic lamp, invoking a genie who said “you get one wish. Please name it” and the fellow responded “3,716,435 wishes”.
I like your list, Rod. I would enclose a CD/DVD with photos and descriptions of the UNESCO World Heritage sites – counting as one item. The website that was once maintained showing these sites shows humanity at the top of its game (and Chartres is included).
I would propose the complete works of Shakespeare, only because it is unreasonable to limit the vision of the author of “As You Like It” and “Henry V” and “Romeo and Juliet” to simply “King Lear”.
I would keep “Mass in B”, but I would substitute “Kind of Blue” for “Rhapsody in Blue”.
And I would include a digitized representation of the Bayeux Tapestry.
Richard



report abuse
 

meh

posted March 8, 2010 at 1:49 pm


Rod, how much would you appreciate Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” by looking at the grooves in a phonographic record of it? It might be the same way for aliens listening to it. The information is there but they can’t appreciate it.



report abuse
 

Steve Bodio

posted March 8, 2010 at 1:50 pm


The Sparrow is a wonderful book and you would like it I think.
Voyager actually had Chuck Berry– a BIT whimsical to say the least (I think it had “serious” music too).



report abuse
 

JohnT

posted March 8, 2010 at 1:52 pm


Science is an after effect for the search for God. You flash the aliens a couple master works of art. If they don’t get it–open fire.



report abuse
 

Karl G

posted March 8, 2010 at 2:02 pm


I think the error he makes is in looking at the problem backwards. It’s not about whether they’d be able to appreciate or understand our art and music aesthetically but about showing them how our sense of aesthetics works so they can work back to other way to a better understanding of how we see the world.



report abuse
 

Mark the Zealot

posted March 8, 2010 at 2:16 pm


So a science dude thinks we can only talk science with Space Aliens. Projection, anyone?
Who knows, maybe the mythical Space Aliens will be more like what C.S. Lewis imagined, and they will laugh at our self-important scientists.
Or maybe the Space Aliens that all the cool folks are waiting for don’t exist.



report abuse
 

MH

posted March 8, 2010 at 2:20 pm


The design of a digital computer including audio and visual display.
MP3′s of Earth Music. The list would include Bach’s Joy of a Man’s Desiring and NIN’s Only. But certainly others.
An image of the periodic table including a close up of the man made elements.
An image of a human family including a pet dog.
The text of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.*
* They’ll either get the joke or think they’re missing all the fun.



report abuse
 

Amy

posted March 8, 2010 at 2:35 pm


I find it a bizarre assumption to think that our art and music is completely tied to our “cognitive architecture” but that our science and mathematics are not…



report abuse
 

MH

posted March 8, 2010 at 2:47 pm


Amy, if the aliens don’t share our math or science then the world is a much strange place than we think it is. Put it another way. Human cultures agree on the fundamentals of arithmetic and the existence of substances around them. But they can disagree radically on things like art, food, music, and some ethical issues. This is likely because one is objective and the other is subjective.



report abuse
 

Turmarion

posted March 8, 2010 at 2:53 pm


Helen, and Steve Bodio, The Sparrow, and its sequel, Children of God, are in my opinion the most brilliant novels written dealing with religion and first contact with aliens. I would highly recommend them. As Helen alluded (and I will follow her in not giving anything away), the novel shows how even with the best will, an alien race can be egregiously misunderstood, and the best intentions can unleash as much disaster as colonialism and exploitation.
Another great example of the difficulty, if not impossibility, of bridging the conceptual gap is the short story “The Dance of the Changer and the Three”, by Terry Carr. I also highly recommend it.
Since we’d know nothing about aliens’ sense mechanisms or perceptions ahead of time, we’d have no way of knowing how they’d respond to our art (see Mars Attacks! for speculation on the effects of Slim Whitman). Nevertheless, if I had to pick something, I’d probably go with Bach (maybe The Well-Tempered Clavier, since it illustrates the principles of Western music), Beethoven’s sonatas, The Divine Comedy, the Confucian Odes, and anything by Michelangelo.
I’d second MH re math and science, by the way, and I’d be even more forceful than he regarding math in that I think it is completely independent of our “cognitive architecture” and would be the same for all conceivable intelligent races who developed mathematics.



report abuse
 

JP

posted March 8, 2010 at 3:08 pm


The only substance we can be sure is beloved to all living creatures who will respond positively to it is Coca-Cola. Therefore, I suggest singing “I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing.”



report abuse
 

Christopher Mohr

posted March 8, 2010 at 3:16 pm


Well, it is entirely possible that our science, which claims objectivity, is just as tied to culture and religion as art and music. There was a Vedantic anthropologist some time ago who got laughed at when he suggested that certain human bones found in Latin America might be somewhere in the neighborhood of 200000 years old. The measurements used the same dating methods as other scientists, but they assumed the results were inaccurate because the dominant scientific model didn’t allow for that. And because they assumed a Vedantist agenda, while not even questioning their own agenda. At least, that’s what I remember. And let’s not forget where Darwin all but lifted his species order from (Genesis matches quite closely in terms of the order, and Darwin was a practicing Christian). Or even the Big Bang theory. You have to believe that there is a beginning of time and an end of time for that to work. What if the Indic and certain other cultures are right, and time is more circular than linear? No beginning, no Big Bang. it might just be a day and night of Brahma and will be repeated in about another 15 billion years.
I’m not saying I agree with the “suggestions” I just made, only that there is the distinct possibility that modern science (particularly theoretical science) derives from, and is influenced by cultural assumptions to some degree. One must, if it is even possible to do so, get past those assumptions to see reality. In any case, Rod and others make a good case for the need to look again at possible cultural and/ or religious biases in science.



report abuse
 

BobSF

posted March 8, 2010 at 3:39 pm


It seems to me that reducing what we present to them to just a handful of things will give them the impression that we’re rather dim. Surely any civilization advanced enough scan the stars for life would appreciate cultural variety and be able to absorb and analyze enormous amounts of information, no?
If, on the other hand, they can’t and are limited to a very simple message, I vote for “We look good, but we taste awful. Move along.”



report abuse
 

Charles Cosimano

posted March 8, 2010 at 6:01 pm


I would send them paintings by Picasso and a whole bunch of hip-hop. That way they would never dream of wanting to bother us out of sheer disgust.



report abuse
 

allbetsareoff

posted March 8, 2010 at 6:03 pm


1. “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” the Max Reinhardt film with Erich Korngold’s augmented version of Mendelssohn’s incidental music. (This, in one package, takes care of Shakespeare, the complexities of human interaction, playfulness and mutually supportive interplay of language, image and sound.)
2. 3-D images of San Marco in Venice. (A gothic church is too denatured and geographically and culturally restrictive; this quasi-Byzantine structure combines West and East, medieval and classical, spiritual and sensory.)
3. The periodic table, with samples of elements and basic compounds. (Aliens would want to know what we’re made of.)
4. A serving of pasta with a fairly complex sauce, a meat-and-vegetable stew thickened with flour, or a four-flavors Chinese dish. (Aliens would want to know how we physically nourish ourselves.)
5. A carpenter’s toolkit. (Self-explanatory, I would think.)
I’ve purposely avoided stand-alone examples of language, spoken or mathematical. Most living beings on our planet don’t employ or understand human language(s) but have the same set of senses; I’m guessing that aliens would have at some of the same senses. My selections would allow them to learn about us by inference and analysis.



report abuse
 

Amy

posted March 8, 2010 at 6:08 pm


MH, I get that art and all the rest has a certain subjectivity to it, but that was not my point. My question is, are mathematics and physics as we have derived them ABSOLUTELY FUNDAMENTAL to the universe, or are they simply the way we humans have come up with to describe the fundamental phenomena of reality we observe around us? To put it in other words, is math itself absolute, or is the system of mathematics we have come up with also a product of our cognitive architecture?
Turmarion, how do we know the realities of the universe could not be described in other ways (other “maths”) using “cognitive architectures” of a different sort?
I am in no way denigrating math or science! I do think they describe accurately the realities of the universe. But having a language to describe them (math and science) is not the same as being equivalent to them. All we know of reality is what our five senses tell us, and we are limited to the way our brains are structured in interpreting that sense data. It seems like hubris to me to assume that our human sciences are the only possibly way of looking at the universe objectively.
This is really more of a philosophical question, because we cannot possibly get outside of our brains to verify any of it.



report abuse
 

Cecelia

posted March 8, 2010 at 6:50 pm


definitely think a guy with such a limited view should not be in charge of this project. Even if science is not a function of human cognitive architecture – wouldn’t we want them to understand our cognitive architecture?
I like the UNESCO world heritage site suggestion – and how can we seriously even think of excluding Mozart from this list? A really good copy of the Sistine Chapel ceiling – the main section with man reaching out to the hand of God.
No periodic tables – might give them some bad ideas. LOL – we should consider that if there is life out there they may not be friendly.
I endorse the previous comments about The Sparrow – a truly great book.



report abuse
 

MikeW

posted March 8, 2010 at 7:06 pm


Ah, yes, The Sparrow and the Children of God are brilliant books that take the phrase, it is a matter of perspective, to interesting levels. I looked around my house and as a way of limiting Rod’s question a bit, here’s what I’d want to send off:
- A copy of my kid’s favorite book, “Goodnight Moon.”
- the horse my daughter, Marieka, made out of legos
- an actual violin and bow accompanied by a DVD of Joshua Bell in concert
- a baseball, baseball bat, mitt, and a video of one of my son’s little league game
- DVD of JJ Johnson playing Blue Train…
Best,
Mike



report abuse
 

Turmarion

posted March 8, 2010 at 7:39 pm


Amy: My question is, are mathematics and physics as we have derived them ABSOLUTELY FUNDAMENTAL to the universe….
My answers: for math, absolutely yes! For physics, not for any given universe–different sets of consistent physical laws can be conceived. As to why any given universe (e.g. ours) has the laws it has (that is, whether there’s a fundamental reason for those laws, or whether we have to have them), there is no universally accepted answer on that yet.
Turmarion, how do we know the realities of the universe could not be described in other ways (other “maths”) using “cognitive architectures” of a different sort?
The question as phrased is a little obscure. There are different possible valid non-Euclidean geometries–a universe might have positive or negative curvature, or none, e.g. Also, as I said, different consistent sets of physical laws described (necessarily) by different equations are possible. E.g. in a universe with four spatial dimensions light would follow an inverse cube law rather than an inverse square law.
The math itself, however, I think is universal, invariant, and not dependent on the cognitive architecture of any conceivable being. I don’t see how any intelligence, regardless of its structure, could develop a mathematics where 2 + 2 =5, or where 17 is not a prime number or where quadratic equations have seven roots. Now there is some controversy in the philosophy of mathematics about the points made in this paragraph (you can read about it in more detail on Wikipedia, and aspects of it are touched on in Rudy Rucker’s excellent book Infinity and the Mind), but I am staunchly in Kurt Gödel’s camp as a mathematical Platonist.
All we know of reality is what our five senses tell us, and we are limited to the way our brains are structured in interpreting that sense data. It seems like hubris to me to assume that our human sciences are the only possibly way of looking at the universe objectively. This is really more of a philosophical question, because we cannot possibly get outside of our brains to verify any of it.
Human perception is not perfect, complete, or the only possible one, but to say that we can’t know “things in themselves” or “get outside of our brains to verify” things is the position of Kant. It is not shared by philosphers before the Renaissance. An excellent, non-technical discussion of this may be found in Mortimer Adler’s Ten Philosophical Mistakes; his Aristotle for Everyone is also excellent. The bottom line is that Adler argues that, while our perceptions aren’t total or perfect, they do allow us, to some extent, to gain real knowledge of the outside world.



report abuse
 

MH

posted March 8, 2010 at 8:13 pm


Amy, your question is a good one which is why I didn’t say it was certain. But things are even stranger than we think if aliens have different mathematics than us.
You’re asking for an answer to the foundation of mathematics and the short answer is we don’t know. But there are aspects of mathematics and by extension physics that suggest they are not a product of the way the human mind works. In fact it is likely the other way around and we’ll find that alien minds work much like our own.
In a previous thread I pointed out that mathematics is not just descriptive of reality, but predictive. Physicists do something called working the equations, where they work new mathematical techniques into old equations, this suggests new behavior about the way the world works which turn out to be correct. Both special and general relativity were partially a product of this technique.
Now this is odd because there’s no reason new math plus old physics should make accurate predictions about the way the world works unless mathematics is somehow bound up in the way the universe works.
Turmarion rephrased my statement by an analogy to both games and languages. When humans invent new words the hypothetical things they describe don’t pop into existence. The same is true for games we create reality by creating games.
So it seems likely that something else is going on.



report abuse
 

your name

posted March 8, 2010 at 8:18 pm


In some ways the question is not only unanswerable, but laughable. Remember a couple months ago when a post discussed a missionary to an Amazonian Indian tribe? The locals were all excited about something happening on the river bank, which to them was a Fatima-like experience. The missionary noticed nothing out of the ordinary. Think about this cultural gulf with people who are as human as you or I, who have had some sontact with the western world for several years. Stick to the periodic table.



report abuse
 

Roland de Chanson

posted March 8, 2010 at 9:43 pm


I would send them a recording of the Stabat Mater.
It will all be for naught however. Cultivated aliens prefer Bohlen-Pierce tonality. The run-of-the-mill barbarians like Brownian music. Nihil circum foramen nigrum novi.
This is the way the world ends. Tant pis pour nous. Alors, les gars, osions manger une pêche.



report abuse
 

Kemay

posted March 9, 2010 at 12:02 am


Ironic that the focus of the post is all about what WE should SAY, when it seems to me that, actually, it would be far more important for us to be able to LISTEN. ;)



report abuse
 

Senescent

posted March 9, 2010 at 2:08 am


Quite aside from aesthetics, there’s the straightforward issue that all human music occurs within the sound frequencies audible to humans and all the visual art within the light frequencies visible to humans. Pretty as it might be, diagrams of the cathedral printed in standard human form would just be blank pages to aliens that see in ultraviolet, or even heat vision.



report abuse
 

MH

posted March 9, 2010 at 9:18 am


Keymay, I read a book called “Why Aren’t They Here?” which discussed the Fermi paradox and possible solutions. Your question “what the aliens would say to us” had some interesting discussions.
One answer was around the topic of religion. If the aliens have religion then they are likely to proselytize us, and their message might be religion in nature. If the message is entirely secular then it would be a strong indicator they did not have any such concept.
If you listen to shortwave radio bands you’ll notice a similar pattern. After government broadcasters, religious stations are one of the more common formats.



report abuse
 

Chris Floyd

posted March 9, 2010 at 12:00 pm


That statement that aliens “wouldn’t be interested” in our music or art seems easy to falsify: Wouldn’t WE be interested in THEIR music?



report abuse
 

Max Schadenfreude

posted March 9, 2010 at 12:55 pm


I would ask the aliens, “Does interstellar space travel erode moral character?”



report abuse
 

MH

posted March 9, 2010 at 3:05 pm


Max, will they chastise us for home-brewing wine on our planet and not purchasing the fine wines of Sagittarius B which contains a billion billion billion liters of alcohol?



report abuse
 

Jon

posted March 10, 2010 at 6:40 am


Re: Pretty as it might be, diagrams of the cathedral printed in standard human form would just be blank pages to aliens that see in ultraviolet, or even heat vision.
Assuming they come from an Earth-like world they will almost certainly see in visible wavelengths of light because an Earth-like atmosphere is transparent to those wavelengths. They may of course have some visual ability in the UV and IR spectra, as some animals on Earth do. They could also have limited or no color vision. But I think it’s a good assumption that they will be able to see black type on white paper.



report abuse
 

Felix

posted March 10, 2010 at 8:43 am


You must be joking? Einstein’s theory will impress them? Ha ha, some of out galactic neighbors are MILLIONS of years ahead of us. Comparing our retarded view of the universe to theirs is like a dog trying to impress his master with his marking of trees.
We are the babies of this galaxy and should approach our teachers with humility.
As far as religion goes , all established religions were based on the Aliens’ visitations and our misunderstanding of who they were. Later ambitious leaders hijacked the religions and used them for political gain.
Jesus was the product of an Alien father and his mother.
They understand the creator in a way that our backward culture is unable to.
Besides they are already here watching, shaking their heads, hoping that we wake up before we destroy this beautiful planet.



report abuse
 

AnotherBeliever

posted March 10, 2010 at 1:21 pm


I’m not sure what I’d include exactly.
I think if there are others like us out there, they will appreciate harmony, symmetry, order. And probably variations of themes which depart slightly from these ideals only to refer or return to them again and again.
It’s sort of what music IS. But ask a mathematician, and she will tell you that is what math is, at heart. A biologist will point out the elegance of the nautilus, a geologist the long slow patterns of climate cycles, an astronomer the stunning spectral science which indicate not only the heavenly bodies’ age but their relative movement.
I’m a linguist by training. What bugs people like me is finding the UNDERarching linguistic structure we all must share, an attempt to reconstruct the ruins of the tower of Babel, with no trace of it left to us. I’d include samples of languages from each major language family, with some way of indicating syntax by emphasizing certain particles over others, and lexicon by visual image. In some sort of three dimensional map.
Mathemeticians claim their “language” is universal. But we’d still need to talk to each other. We’d have a hell of a time getting past physical descriptions of our surroundings without moving past it.



report abuse
 

AnotherBeliever

posted March 10, 2010 at 1:28 pm


BobSF
March 8, 2010 3:39 PM
It seems to me that reducing what we present to them to just a handful of things will give them the impression that we’re rather dim. Surely any civilization advanced enough scan the stars for life would appreciate cultural variety and be able to absorb and analyze enormous amounts of information, no?
If, on the other hand, they can’t and are limited to a very simple message, I vote for “We look good, but we taste awful. Move along.”
NICE. :)



report abuse
 

AnotherBeliever

posted March 10, 2010 at 1:31 pm


This is right on topic:
http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/ideas/articles/2010/03/07/symphony_in_j_flat/
At any rate, as far as the aliens auditory and vision range, we have learned to “see” and “hear” far past that through a wide range of the available electromagnetic spectrum. From radar to microwave to infrared and on up and past visible light, we have various instruments that can send and receive and “perceive.” I’d expect the aliens can too. ;)



report abuse
 

GrantL

posted March 10, 2010 at 1:55 pm


Rod wrote: “Understanding Christianity deepens your understanding of the art object, but any intelligent person is capable of perceiving formal beauty. I don’t understand the theory behind traditional Chinese painting, but I can appreciate it on the most basic level. Why would this necessarily be gobbledygook to aliens”
Well because its an ALIEN species. Lets assume for the moment we make contact with some other species out in space. As Carl Sagan once pointed out this are not likely to be Star Trek type aliens that look more or less like us and more or less believe the same things we do. They would have followed a totally different evolutionary path under totally different conditions, and the resulting species is therefore totally non human. Alien in the proper meaning of the term.
Our cultural artifacts, from music to art to religion to philosophy, is likely to be totally in comprehensible to a species that shares nothing in common with us. Your question, Rod, assumes that an alien species thinks like we do. Well why would they? We have zero reason to think that. Whatever cultural artifacts they’d want to share with us would also be in comprehensible to us. I mean, we certainly won’t have any language in common to even explain this stuff to each other.
The reason why Sagan and the guy you quote here and other scientists often insist that we would first talk to an aliens civilization in the language of science is that is likely to be the only thing we have in common. Two plus two will always equal four. Math, in particular, may be the only thing akin to a universal language. It’s not anti religion or anti-art bias, but a logical inference. We cannot assume that more most inspiring art or literature would register at all. Rather the idea is that we will be first have in common is an understanding of how the universe works. That is where you start. Cultural stuff comes later.
True, it is possible that some alien civilization is so far beyond us that our understanding of the universe will be utterly primitive, but the fact of the matter is that science is the best chance to communicate anything to a species that, in every other respect, will have nothing in common with us. That might not be a meaningful, Star Treky kind of conversation, but at least it would be a place to start.



report abuse
 

Post a Comment

By submitting these comments, I agree to the beliefnet.com terms of service, rules of conduct and privacy policy (the "agreements"). I understand and agree that any content I post is licensed to beliefnet.com and may be used by beliefnet.com in accordance with the agreements.



Previous Posts

Another blog to enjoy!!!
Thank you for visiting Rod Dreher. This blog is no longer being updated. Please enjoy the archives. Here is another blog you may also enjoy: Most Recent Scientology Story on Beliefnet! Happy Reading!!!

posted 3:25:02pm Aug. 27, 2012 | read full post »

Mommy explains her plastic surgery
In Dallas (naturally), a parenting magazine discusses how easy it is for mommies who don't like their post-child bodies to get surgery -- and to have it financed! -- to reverse the effects of time and childbirth. Don't like what nursing has done to your na-nas? Doc has just the solution: Doctors say

posted 10:00:56pm Jul. 21, 2010 | read full post »

Why I became Orthodox
Wrapping up my four Beliefnet years, I was thinking about the posts that attracted the most attention and comment in that time. Without a doubt the most popular (in terms of attracting attention, not all of it admiring, to be sure) was the October 12, 2006, entry in which I revealed and explained wh

posted 9:46:58pm Jul. 21, 2010 | read full post »

Modern Calvinists
Wow, they don't make Presbyterians like they used to!

posted 8:47:01pm Jul. 21, 2010 | read full post »

'Rape by deception'? Huh?
The BBC this morning reported on a bizarre case in Israel of an Arab man convicted of "rape by deception," because he'd led the Jewish woman with whom he'd had consensual sex to believe he was Jewish. Ha'aretz has the story here. Plainly it's a racist verdict, and a bizarre one -- but there's more t

posted 7:51:28pm Jul. 21, 2010 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.