Jul 22

Know Your Naccle I: Match the Comment to the Commenter

By our reckoning, it’s time for a well-earned break from aggregator politics, Proposition 8, and the finer points of topless-male-missionary-calendar excommunication. Following are nine excerpts from posts and comments–some quite recent, some positively antique–made by nine well-known denizens of the Bloggernacle. Can you identify the blogger who said each of the following? (Hint: each blogger listed is represented by exactly one comment. That is, no blogger on the list appears more–or less–than once.) Continue reading

Jul 02

Abraham and Milgram

(Disclaimer: I’m not really attempting in this post to give a plausible read of Genesis 22, as I realize that my speculations about Abraham have little basis in the scriptural text. Rather, I’m hoping to use the story as a way of raising general questions about the potential consequences of obedience vs. integrity situations. And, of course, what’s the fun of blogging if not to engage in a bit of wild speculation?)

In the 1960s, social psychologist Stanley Milgram did a study on obedience that has since become legendary. Participants were told to administer electric shocks to people, ostensibly as part of an experiment on learning. What was fascinating–and disturbing–was how willing participants were to continue inflicting higher and higher levels of shocks, despite cries of acute distress from those apparently receiving them (though this was of course faked; the “learners” were confederates in the study). The participants expressed discomfort, but ordered by the experimenter to continue, the majority of them did so–65 percent went up to the highest setting of 450 volts.

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