Peter's chronological index page

and other stuff


Other stuff

Home page for Peter Taylor and Carol Phillips

Contact page for the Taylor/Phillips family.

Topical index of Carol's stuff.

Topical index of Peter's stuff.


Chronological index page of (mostly) Peter's writings

The Gesargenplotzian Gospel, as reported by Dr. Harlan B. Miller, Va. Tech Philosophy Dept.
Religion, humor. The revelation reportedly happened in 1962.
Any argument for believing in a religion other than Gesargenplotzianism is also an argument for believing in Gesargenplotzianism. His daughter accused him of making the whole thing up as a teaching exercise.

Polyatheism Sermon An Atheist's Views on Neopaganism
Religion. Originally presented August 14th, 1994 as part of a church service.
This is where my head was at 20 years ago. The article is about twice as long now as originally because I keep adding retractions.

The Art of Stupidity, a venting of spleen
A rant. Circa 2000.
Some people really are stupid, but a lot of people's "stupid" mistakes seem to be in their own favor on some level.

Why are space launch costs so high?
Space. March 2000
This is a catalog of explanations I've heard for why space launches are so expensive, with commentary. None of them are entirely satisfactory.

Electoral Reform: Instant Runoff Voting and why you should support it
Political theory. April, 2000
Single-seat election systems are not to be confused with proportional representation. IRV beats plurality voting at its own single-seat game.

elect1.pas is a Pascal program that goes with the above IRV article.

Where (in space) do we go from here? or, Why do we have a manned space program?
Space. Summer 2000
This is a companion to the launch cost rant. I try to address the problem of lack of direction.

Reasons for Supporting Spoilers: Three Models for Minor US Political Parties
Political theory. November, 2000
Plurality elections put minor political parties such as the Libertarians in an awkward position. How can they make the best of it?

Three-Fifths of a Floridian: A Discussion of The Electoral College Primer, by Lawrence Longley and Neal Peirce
Political theory. November, 2000
The effects of block voting are more important than the effects of having two extra seats per state. The Electoral College is a poorly conceived system, poorly implemented.

Is Rational Religion Possible?
Religion. Original version December 27, 2001.
I keep re-writing this, and it keeps getting gloomier. I started off trying to list the functions of religion and describe the implications. I ended up arguing for a principle of "conservation of irrationality".

The Dog Ate My Manifesto: Reflections on Moderate Libertarianism
Partisan politics. October, 2002
This is a book-length defense of a moderate version of libertarianism.

Ringworld Modal Analysis
Science fiction fannish activity (FANAC). May 24, 2003
A structural dynamic analysis of Larry Niven's Ringworld. It involves linear algebra, complex numbers, and gyroscopic effects.
long version

Filk. 7 Aug 2003
A song about the famous Mars meteorite that might contain evidence of life. To the tune of "I stole the prince", from the Gilbert and Sullivan operetta, The Gondoliers.

Covenant of the Conservative Covenant Group, Bay Area Unitarian Universalist Church, murky authorship
Religion. Adopted: February 14th, 2004
This explains what we consider good behavior.

Frequently Asked Questions of the Bay Area Unitarian Universalist Church's (BAUUC) Conservative Covenant Group, mostly by Jason Pullen
Religion. Circa 2004.
Why does this group exist? What does "conservative" mean?

Election Systems 101
Political theory. Summer 2004.
A curriculum for a 5 hr. short course on voting systems (Condorcet, Single Transferable Vote, Instant Runoff, etc.).

Block Voting and the Electoral College
Political theory. Summer 2004.
This is a crude reality check on the statistical claims in The Electoral College Primer.

Jane's Law and the Progressives or The Care and Feeding of Scapegoats
Partisan politics, religion. September, 2004.
I argue that modern political movements, and Progressivism in particular, are functionally equivalent to religious movements. The radicals in every case are heavily into denial and scapegoating.

Why Rutan Matters
Space. February 2005.
SpaceShipOne is important. We are about to test some of our theories about what makes space launches so expensive.

When a Majority Feels Persecuted: Christianity in the United States
Partisan politics, religion. March, 2005.
Who is in the driver's seat in American society? The Christian nominal majority, or those who hold to modern intellectual fashions that are hostile to it?

Homily about the Conservative Covenant Group at the Bay Area Unitarian Universalist Church (BAUUC),
Religion. March 13, 2005.
A homily explaining the group to the rest of the church. Adapted from Jason's FAQ by Peter for a special church service on covenant groups.

Duverger's Law and the Libertarian Party
Political theory. April 5, 2005.
More on how Libertarians can deal with the spoiler problem. Originally written for The New Libertarian.

Discussion Topics originally from "Why We Need a Conservative Forum for Unitarian Universalists (CFUU)"
Religion, politics. Summer of 2005.
This started out as a list of suggested readings for a workshop held at the 2005 SouthWest Unitarian Universalist Summer Institute (SWUUSI), but lately I have been using it as a links page for the Conservative Covenant Group.

In Lieu of a Blog
Formerly "Miscellaneous notes from discussions involving the BAUUC Conservative Covenant Group (CCG)"
Religion, politics, philosophy. Started July 22, 2012.
Short church-related articles, some Industrial Engineering Dharma Talks, and other short articles that didn't seem to belong anywhere else.

Conflicting Visions of the Manned Space Program
Space. August 2005
What kind of space program you think would make sense depends on which historical analogy you think is most applicable. I list 19 suggested analogies, with (for me) mercifully brief comments.

Separated at Birth? Mysterious parallels between the Unitarian Universalist Association and the Republican Party
Humor, religion, politics. Circa 2006.
Just as The Church of the SubGenius is not to be confused with the Heaven's Gate cult, so the Unitarian Universalist Association is not to be confused with the Republican Party. Some helpful clarifications here.

Response to Dr. Mike Griffin's Speech on Real vs. Acceptable Reasons for Space Exploration
Space. February 2007.
The reason it's so hard to carry on an intelligent conversation about space policy is because of a paradox noted by economist Robert Frank regarding the pursuit of prestige.

Comments on the War in Iraq
Partisan politics. Posted on May 27, 2007.
I had the same conversations with multiple people regarding Iraq and US foreign policy. Here are my thoughts on the topic at the time. In retrospect, I underestimated how divided the US is politically.

A Discussion of Guenter Lewy's Why America Needs Religion: Secular Modernity and its Discontents
Religion. June 8th, 2007.
Lewy, an atheist, started writing a book to argue that religion had little to do with morality, and ended up writing this one instead.

Book Review of Bryan Caplan's The Myth of the Rational Voter: Why Democracies Choose Bad Policies
Political theory. August 9th, 2007.
Voters have astronomically little reason to exercise mental discipline. It's worse than rational ignorance; Caplan calls it "rational irrationality". I include an appendix on media bias.

Dark Mark seen over Taylor Phillips household, evidence of Death Eater attack on Halloween, 2007
Silliness. October 31st, 2007.
The Death Eaters cast their signature "dark mark" symbol in the sky over the scene of the attack, which was seen to persist throughout the evening of the 31st. With photos. 1000 700 Points of Dark.

Texas watermelon receives death penalty
Silliness, martial arts. Circa July 13, 2008
Fun with a cutting sword. Then-JKN Carol Phillips, executioner. With photos.

Honesty, Flattery, or Fealty? The nature of beliefs
Philosophy. September, 2008.
Thoughts on mental compartmentalization, cognitive dissonance, and escalation of failure.

Linux Dualboot Adventures
Linux. June, 2009.
Notes on installation, booting, nVidia graphics, and multimedia issues with Debian Lenny and Squeeze, Mint 10, and OpenSuSE 11.1 and 11.4.

The Market for Sanctimony or why we need Yet Another Space Alien Cult
Partisan politics, religion. November, 2009.
A long, frank discussion of human nature, the substitutability of religion and politics, "conservation of irrationality", and what goes into a good religion.

A Review of Michael Strong's Be the Solution: How Entrepreneurs and Conscious Capitalists Can Solve All the World's Problems
Politics, religion. September 1st, 2010.
More on politics as religion, and what goes into a good religion.

What Does "Morality" Mean? Musings on Claire Berlinski's There Is No Alternative: Why Margaret Thatcher Matters
Politics, moral philosophy. February 5, 2011.
This is (1) a book review, (2) an inquiry into moral philosophy, and (3) an inquiry into rhetoric.

Does the Ruling Class Exist? A book review of
The Ruling Class: How They Corrupted America and What We Can Do About It by Angelo Codevilla,
The New Road to Serfdom by Daniel Hannan, and
Get Out Of Our House: Revolution! A New Plan for Selecting Representatives by Tim Cox
Political theory. October 31st, 2011.
Is the problem in the US that the politicians don't do what the voters want them to do, or that they do do what the voters want?

Wooden Computers or Why Voting Systems Matter
Political theory. April 4th, 2012.
Tabletop demonstrations of the Condorcet, Borda, Plurality, and Approval voting systems. With photos.

The Baby and the Bathwater: an Atheist Mourns the Death of God
Religion, partisan politics. December 27th, 2012.
More on human nature and what goes into a good religion. Traditional Christians got a lot of things right. Appendix on the life cycle of religions.

A Gentle Introduction to Mencius Moldbug's "A Gentle Introduction to Unqualified Reservations"
Partisan politics. February 19th, 2013.
Love-hate. This is both an appreciation of "The Supreme Sith Lord of the Neoreactionaries" and an attempt to distance myself from him. What is a neoreactionary? What do they get right? What do they get wrong?
Revision B: January 1, 2014. Long appendix added on comparative religion and the relationship between Christianity and Progressivism.

The Resurrection of Classical Liberalism
Partisan politics, religion. June 13, 2013.
Why the libertarian movement reminds me of Young Frankenstein. How did classical liberalism die? Meta-ethics, Natural Law, rhetoric, universalism vs. particularism. How can libertarianism be fixed?

Designing The Church of Glaucon
Religion, partisan politics. June 13, 2013.
I have completely given up on trying to separate politics and religion. How do we design a better religion?
Expanded and revised July 9, 2015 (rev. A). Added appendices on Mormonism and the role of belief systems in religion.

In defensionem iacentis felem mortuum (In defense of heaving dead cats): The Art of Persuasion
Civility, partisan politics. August 23, 2013.
When is verbal abuse morally permissible and appropriate?

Why Johnny Can't Proselytize: A Primer on Meta-Ethics
Philosophy, moral scientism, partisan politics. April 30, 2014.
Why is it so hard to construct a moral argument that is cogent for someone who doesn't already agree with you? This is intended especially for libertarians.

Name-change discussion from the BAUUC Conservative Covenant Group (CCG)
Religion, politics. Posted June, 2014.
No one really likes the name, but part of our mission is to challenge open-minded people to live up to their own principles. Excerpts from an email exchange from June 2012.

Epistle to the Libertarians
Partisan politics. December 9, 2014.
This is an invitation for libertarians to abandon the white light and fluffy bunnies, and embrace the neoreactionary Dark Enlightenment.

The Fourth Profession: Leftism as Prophecy
Partisan politics. January 15, 2015.
This is yet another attempt to make sense of the left-right political spectrum. Do you take pride in being a moral innovator or in playing by the rules?

A short rant on the performance of John Lennon's "Imagine" at Unitarian Universalist church services
Politics and religion. July 13, 2015.
Why does a church sing a song than condemns religion and promotes ideas that caused the bloodiest, most spectacular failures of the 20th century?

Random thoughts on gay marriage
Politics and religion. July 25, 2015.
I have heard a lot of arguments about gay marriage. I find none of them very persuasive.

Freedom of Speech and Godwin's Law
Civility, logical fallacies, partisan politics. March 25, 2016.
I believe that freedom of speech is under a great deal more pressure than many people realize.

Response to Rev. Matt Tittle on Border Policy (Immigration and religion, part 1 of 4)
Immigration, social science, politics. July, 2016.
I object to Rev. Tittle's claim that the numbers don't matter.

Do Ideas Matter in Religion? (Immigration and religion, part 2 of 4)
Religion, probability and statistics, gaming. July, 2016.
Religion and theologians are like cloth and tailors.

An open letter to passionate opponents of Donald Trump
Psychology and partisan politics. December 8, 2016.
I suspect that the reasons people give for their fear and loathing are not the real reasons.

Universalism and Particularism (Immigration and religion, part 3 of 4)
Religion, politics, philosophy. December, 2016.
As Seneca put it, "It's a vice to trust all, and equally a vice to trust none."

The Bay Area Unitarian Universalist Church (BAUUC) and The Clear Lake Islamic Center (CLIC) (Immigration and religion, finale)
Comparative religion, politics, immigration policy. August, 2017.
Unitarian Universalism and Islam make puzzling bedfellows.

The Matador's Cape
A review of Safe is Not an Option: Overcoming The Futile Obsession With Getting Everyone Back Alive That Is Killing Our Expansion Into Space. July, 2018.
I believe that "hyperconcern" over safety is a symptom of deeper problems more than a cause.