Two People Who Changed Their Minds

My second post at the humanist blog Applied Sentience is up!

Within, I discuss the interesting stories of two people who were well-known advocates for certain political and moral policies, but then publicly denounced certain of their previous beliefs after learning new facts about the world. This doesn’t seem to happen as often as it should, so I thought that Alan Chambers and Patty Wetterling were worth writing about.

Of course, just because you’ve changed your mind, doesn’t mean your views are more accurate than they were before; read the comments for an interesting set of counterarguments from a fellow named “McFoofa”.

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Side note: It’s interesting to write for a blog with an established audience. You take on a different tone, simplify certain concepts, and assume certain bits of knowledge from the readers there. And because I have no established audience yet for Alpha Gamma, I wind up writing things that (I hope) are untouched by any such calculation.

Profiles in Conversion

The miracle workers at the New Journal compressed my 5400-word rough draft into 2800 words of tight prose:

I really like the final edit, but since about 6000 words wound up in one draft or another and were cut before the end, I’d like to throw in some footnotes/addenda/scraps from my reporting notebook. Ordered according to the relevant spot in the piece:

1) When I was eight years old, an eight-year-old friend of mine had me declare my faith in Christ in his basement. I was told this would save me from Hell, so I was glad to comply. I later learned that Jews don’t believe in Hell. Damn!

2) In the course of having an evangelical best friend, I attended his church a few times. It was a lively church. Lots of singing and dancing, which was confusing, because the rabbi at Temple Beth Emeth never danced. At one point, after the service, I compared the pastor to a kangaroo. This led, five seconds later, to a knock-down, drag-out fight with the pastor’s kid. My friend never took me back to church with him.

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