Posted on: Paradigm Shift: The Making of Sci Phi Journal 2.0, 2017-06-09 17:17:16
Steven Grassie: Hi Ray, the Contact form would not accept the security code, and I tried multiple times on several different devices. Anyway...
I had a story accepted by Mr Rennie in January of this year and was told it would likely run this month. Having read your answer to comments/questions below I understand that there has been no hand-off between editorial teams; so if I were to submit the story again, what kind of response time should I expect?
Paradigm Shift: The Making of Sci Phi Journal 2.0, 2017-06-06 08:56:17
Chris Limb: Hi Ray
Thanks for confirming - I will resubmit.
Paradigm Shift: The Making of Sci Phi Journal 2.0, 2017-06-06 01:21:57
J'nae Rae Spano: I'm happy to have been part of this magazine and am happy it is continuing on.
Paradigm Shift: The Making of Sci Phi Journal 2.0, 2017-06-05 22:03:35
Ray Blank: Hi Chris, I am sorry to give bad news but there is no possibility that your story is in the works. There has been a clean break from the submissions process/team that was closed near the start of this year and the new process/team recently established in anticipation of the handover of SPJ in July. I can only express my sympathies that you have been waiting for an answer but it appears to have gone missing somehow.
Paradigm Shift: The Making of Sci Phi Journal 2.0, 2017-06-05 17:43:08
Philip Brian Hall: Since I was published once by Sci Phi Journal I can't claim my experience was universally bad. I understand you've no records. I'm happy to treat the open submission as lost. The acceptance being lost upsets me rather more. However it's certainly not your fault. Best wishes for the future.
Paradigm Shift: The Making of Sci Phi Journal 2.0, 2017-06-05 17:32:41
Gregg Chamberlain: glad you enjoyed Berens & Kasparov's latest misadventure... be warned, then, have at least two more of their scientific snafus in the works... and if i have anything else that may be apropos for SPJ, be sure i will present for consideration.
Paradigm Shift: The Making of Sci Phi Journal 2.0, 2017-06-05 17:25:58
Ray Blank: Hi J.K., and thanks for your encouragement. Please accept my apologies, but there has been no handover of submissions during the transition to the new management team, and all past submissions should have already received an answer. However, as we have a new team to review submissions, and a new process to handle them, you are welcome to submit your story using the new form, knowing it will be seen by a fresh pair of eyes. I'm sorry I can't offer you more, but it's the best we can do given that the new team has no record of the stories received or decisions made before the handover of responsibility.
Paradigm Shift: The Making of Sci Phi Journal 2.0, 2017-06-05 17:23:28
Chris Limb: Hi Ray
I too have a story still under review - submitted on 15 Jul 2016. I did receive confirmation of receipt from Jason at the time as well as confirmation that he had passed the story onto the first readers. I have heard nothing since. Should I resubmit or is it possible that my story is still in the machinery somewhere?
Paradigm Shift: The Making of Sci Phi Journal 2.0, 2017-06-05 17:20:35
Ray Blank: Hi Philip, I'm sorry to hear about your experience of making submissions to Sci Phi Journal. I can't comment on your stories as there has been no handover of old submissions to the new management team. Obviously you should have received a response to both submissions by now - is it possible that they were caught by your spam filter? As there is now a completely new process for submissions, and a new team to review those submissions, you may want to resubmit your stories using the new submissions form. I'm sorry I can't help more, but as we have no copy of your stories that is the best I can offer.
Paradigm Shift: The Making of Sci Phi Journal 2.0, 2017-06-05 17:15:30
Ray Blank: Hi Steven, can you explain the difficulties you're having with the contact form? It's working for other people...
Paradigm Shift: The Making of Sci Phi Journal 2.0, 2017-06-05 17:07:10
Ray Blank: Thanks Gregg. Your help is much appreciated. And I enjoyed your latest story. I hope you will be sharing many more with the SPJ readers in future.
Paradigm Shift: The Making of Sci Phi Journal 2.0, 2017-06-05 16:38:37
Gregg Chamberlain: Good luck and welcome.
Will post a notice with FB writers market news group I belong to about the changeover and the new guidelines for submission.
Will also update my own market file for SciPhi Journal.
Paradigm Shift: The Making of Sci Phi Journal 2.0, 2017-05-30 07:29:13
Steve and the wood ducks: RThanks for taking the time to expand your vision, RB. It sounds great and I wish you every success. My two problems are focus and time, okay, three if you count the Pinot Grigio. :P Because I only have a few hours each week, I try to be efficient. I've chosen platforms that suit me to give a little time to, eg, not twitter and not wordpress.org but wordpress.com because the wordpress reader is mostly the way people find my site.
Paradigm Shift: The Making of Sci Phi Journal 2.0, 2017-05-29 16:09:09
J. K. MIles: Ray,
Good luck with the journal. It has so much potential. Like Clara, I too had a story in review (confirmed earlier this year) but I have not heard an answer and indeed I was considering pulling it and sending it elsewhere. Could you advise?
Paradigm Shift: The Making of Sci Phi Journal 2.0, 2017-05-29 10:49:27
Philip Brian Hall: Hi Ray,
Can you please tell me what will happen to stories that were accepted but not yet published? I have an acceptance dating from 27 January 2015 which seems to have been shuffled to the back of the publication queue several times. It was left with the magazine when the format changed. I queried what was happening to it but received no definitive reply.
I also have another story on submission since 17 March 2016 without response.
Paradigm Shift: The Making of Sci Phi Journal 2.0, 2017-05-29 10:47:56
Steven Grassie: Hi Ray, I'm looking to ask you a question but I can't get the Contact form to work...
Paradigm Shift: The Making of Sci Phi Journal 2.0, 2017-05-29 10:46:40
Ray Blank: Thanks Steve! I think you're right. The word 'hub' is one that especially resonates; I have used it to describe other web-based collaborative endeavours I've worked on. Some of the challenge involves implementing the right tech - for example, it is good if people are notified of comments in response to their own words, so dialogues can occur more spontaneously. But a lot of the challenge is to encourage the right habits. You can't just create a massive blank space on the web and then order people to "put words here" because that is too daunting, but you can give people the opportunity to engage in dialogue and then promote the efforts of those who take a lead. For example, if somebody feels strongly enough to leave a long and thoughtful comment, you might want to ask them to write an article, and so lift the dialogue to a new level where more people will notice it. Please feel free to be one of those leaders!
I passionately believe that many intelligent people enjoy engaging in dialogue not just with their neighbours, family and friends who live nearby, but also with strangers who have common interests but live on the far side of the planet. Not all 'social' media has to be as simple as Twitter tweets or the posts people share on Facebook. Data tells us about 1 percent of the human race are super creative and want to make lots of content to share with other people (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1%25_rule_(Internet_culture)). That's not a high proportion of the human race, but it is a lot more people than can be employed as highly-paid professional full-time writers, artists etc. Unfortunately for them, if they run their own individual site, showcasing their work in isolation, it will be hard for other people to discover them because it unrealistic to expect the audience to scour through too many sites. A 'hub and spoke' model works better for these super-creatives: they share some of their content via a central hub, which receives more inbound traffic because of the high turnover and greater variety of content it offers, and then some of that traffic will flow to individual projects elsewhere. That is the kind of community I would like to see SPJ foster, based on some regular writers constructing a common core for their mutual benefit. I will be especially looking for individuals who show, by their actions, that they can be relied upon to make high-quality contributions on a regular basis. When I find them, they will be given more opportunities to use SPJ as a hub that connects them with the audience they seek.
Paradigm Shift: The Making of Sci Phi Journal 2.0, 2017-05-28 23:34:46
Steve and the wood ducks: Hi RB, I wish you success with version two. I've always thought Sci Phi was a great idea and it's oz, so I left a piece with Jason even when the potential rights payment fell, and I subscribed pseudometrically. I know boutique publishing is hard work and I sent some thoughts to Jason a while back (kind of similar to your own):
...importance of taking the time to interact and comment/discuss in the relevant on-line community. But when I read/view something at a publisher's site (art fiction whatever), I rarely click a like button or comment because it doesn't feel like a conversation/communication with the creator, it's more like a vacuum ...could a publisher's site be more of a hub, more networked to the creators, even with some kind of duplication...
As a jackass of all trades, when I look at publishing markets, I consider payment a token of respect to creators :) plus I ask myself will more people have a chance to enjoy my work if I put it on my own modest site? BTW I'm convinced that sites need some short powerful stuff to build up casual readership.
Again best of luck and I would love to support Sci Phi 2 into the future.
Paradigm Shift: The Making of Sci Phi Journal 2.0, 2017-05-28 11:58:35
Ray Blank: Hi Clara, I'm sorry to hear about the disappointing experience with your submission. I will reach out to you by email so we can ensure your next submission receives a speedy response.
Paradigm Shift: The Making of Sci Phi Journal 2.0, 2017-05-27 23:18:17
Clara: Hi Ray,
Thanks for the answer. I've had something under review since 2015 (confirmed still in review last year) but received no definitive response. Since the timeliness of the story has faded (what I wrote about technically happened in real life), I'll cut my losses. Good luck with the changeover!!
Paradigm Shift: The Making of Sci Phi Journal 2.0, 2017-05-27 22:38:29
Ray Blank: Hi Clara, and thanks for your support!
If you're asking about stories submitted before the submissions process was closed (near the start of this year) my understanding is that Jason has contacted all the authors who submitted and given them an answer. Jason has selected all the remaining stories he wants to publish before the handover date. Given the lengthy period when submissions were closed, I wasn't expecting any submissions to be carried over.
As I have not seen the stories previously considered, nothing stops an author from re-submitting their story for review via the new front end. New submissions won't be routed to the same reviewers as before, so every author has a second chance of success.
Paradigm Shift: The Making of Sci Phi Journal 2.0, 2017-05-26 22:29:25
Clara: I'm glad to hear SPJ will continue. I've enjoyed the stories. It will be interesting to see the changes. How do you expect to handle fiction submissions that are still being reviewed?
The Secret Meaning of HBO’s Westworld by Dustin Zielke, 2017-05-26 12:18:40
Fredösphere: This concept that no misdeeds are victimless, that one self-harms when one intends to do harm: I'm fascinated by the idea that classical thinkers as well as Christian theologians agree on this point. (In the Christian case, it's because there's always another party involved: the Creator. I harm my relationship with God by sin, even if no other part of creation appears to be involved--and through God, all other parts of creation are indirectly affected by my sin.)
So, why did modern Western thought drop this ball? I'm guessing the Utilitarians are the most to blame, but I'd like confirmation from better students of philosophy. To me, it's simply obvious that someone who goes to Westworld to objectify and abuse the Hosts (even though Hosts are, you know, objects) will come back a nastier person.
Spectrums of Violence in the Monster Hunter International Universe by Patrick S. Baker, 2017-04-27 22:49:13
Spectrums of Violence in the Monster Hunter International Universe by Patrick S. Baker | swordscrollandscreen: […] http://www.sciphijournal.com/spectrums-of-violence-in-the-monster-hunter-international-universe-by-p… […]
Utopia on Mars; or the Boundaries of Human Intellect, 2017-04-27 04:29:05
Wes McGuinness: Yes, I'd like to know more about what 'entities' exist without an 'object' being associated.
Does Western Society and the definition thereof exist somewhere in the members (Minds ?) of the Society ?
If the definition of Western Society was written down and then all Western Societies were wiped out...
Then in the future another society found the transcript and eventually translated it and understood it. At what point in this history did 'Western Society' exist ? Was there a time it didn't exist ?
Utopia on Mars; or the Boundaries of Human Intellect, 2017-04-22 18:31:54
John McConnell: Dr. McWatt seems to be keenly intelligent and imaginative. I like that his character isn't unrelatably "futuristic". The character not only narrates but provides editorial opinions and philosophical insights. Do I also detect a note of mischief and a wholesome cheekiness as a cantus firmus of the piece?
Cottage in the Woods by Gisele Peterson, 2017-04-17 23:08:02
Joan: Cute story with a new perspective on an old tale
Cottage in the Woods by Gisele Peterson, 2017-04-13 19:43:43
laura Aiken: Really enjoyed the story. I thought it was a clever twist on an old story. It made me think about how things can be looked at from different angles.
Faith and Hope and Charity: The Churches of Science-Fiction by G. Scott Huggins, 2017-04-09 06:30:03
Sean M. Brooks: I thought this article by Mr. Huggins to be interest, albeit too short. What I chiefly regret is how no mention was made of how science fiction writers who treated religious belief and believers seriously and with respect handled that theme. Examples are numerous: A CANTICLE FOR LEIBOWITZ by Walter Miller, A CASE OF CONSCIENCE, by James Blish; stories such as Poul Anderson's "The Problem Of Pain," "The Season Of Forgiveness," "The Word To Space," "The Three Cornered Wheel, THE GAME OF EMPIRE; and C.S. Lewis' SPACE TRILOGY, etc. I should also mention Anthony Boucher's "The Quest For St. Aquin" and "Balaam."
The Antitheists Nightmare by G. Scott Huggins, 2017-02-19 11:28:20
Ray Blank: An elegant argument presented as a witty story :)
Hoplite by Patrick S Baker, 2017-02-18 10:32:17
New story at Sci-Phi Journal: Hoplite | swordscrollandscreen: […] http://www.sciphijournal.com/hoplite-by-patrick-s-baker/ […]
Bread and Salt by Mark Silcox, 2017-02-06 22:54:27
professor.lack: Very enjoyable and thought provoking, Mark! Kudos!
The Antitheists Nightmare by G. Scott Huggins, 2017-02-01 17:00:58
Olayiwola Olarewaju Metamofosis: I am left with the conclusion that I have read a philosophical piece. What a lovely story!
Unalienable Right by Leenna Naidoo, 2017-01-28 23:58:05
Africans can write for the Philosophy Through Fiction: Short Story Competition. - Amaka Notes: […] behind the piece. Examples of such Food for Thought sections appear at the end of these stories: Unalienable Right by Leenna Naidoo and Immortality Serum by Michaele Jordan. Evaluation of the quality of the Food […]
Unalienable Right by Leenna Naidoo, 2017-01-24 11:36:05
Africans can write for the Philosophy Through Fiction: Short Story Competition. – Amaka Notes: […] behind the piece. Examples of such Food for Thought sections appear at the end of these stories: Unalienable Right by Leenna Naidoo and Immortality Serum by Michaele Jordan. Evaluation of the quality of the Food […]
Yours in Heaven by James Beamon, 2017-01-20 15:59:00
War Journal 74: Two to View | fictigristle: […] back from the most recent first, my story Yours in Heaven debuted in Sci Phi Journal. It’s the story of a sociopathic arms dealer who goes from being a captive in an […]
Habeas Corpus Callosum by Jay WerkHeiser, 2017-01-20 09:17:46
Sergei Soloviev: There was a short story by Gene Wolfe about life sentence and immortality treatment: "The doctor of dead island", I think.
Immortality Serum by Michaele Jordan, 2017-01-02 20:00:33
mec: Very engaging vignette! Both Dr. Tweedly and the Prince are a bit too clever and over-explain a bit too much. However I really felt drawn in and I would very much like to see that lab, too.
It’s Me or the Robot and On Synthetic Humans: Friends Electric by Mark Kirkbride, 2017-01-02 11:05:00
It’s Me or the Robot | markkirkbride: […] Free sf in Sci Phi Journal: ‘It’s Me or the Robot‘. […]
The Teenage Girl’s Robot Army by Rawle Nyanzi, 2017-01-01 17:08:21
Welcome -Rawle Nyanzi: […] interested. I’ve also got a short story which has been accepted by the Sci Phi Journal; my story says that full automation will lead to legalized […]
The Teenage Girl’s Robot Army by Rawle Nyanzi, 2017-01-01 16:47:11
The Current Year Is Now 2017 -Rawle Nyanzi: […] My short story, The Teenage Girl’s Robot Army, is available on Sci Phi Journal as a subscription read. Its central question is a salient one for […]
Let the Tempest Hold Me Down by Zena Shapter, 2017-01-01 00:39:24
Thank you, 2016! – Zena Shapter: […] the short story side of things, the Hugo-finalist Sci Phi Journal published my fantasy story ‘Let the Tempest Hold Me Down‘ in its online magazine, and then again in its print anthology ‘The Journal of Science […]
Unalienable Right by Leenna Naidoo, 2016-12-28 09:51:28
Olayiwola Olarewaju Metamofosis: Well thought-out. You are a living being are your ideas are living. Kudos!
The Mote in God’s “I”: The Human Lesson by G. Scott Huggins, 2016-12-19 13:58:35
Fredösphere: Thanks for the stimulating article.
With its written constitution and its founding by men who were philosophically aware, the U.S. scores very high on principle and low on personal--and yet has a long history of sound government, with a high capacity for self-correction (as with the issue of slavery). So I'm not sure I agree with you--and yet, the offices defined by the Constitution are always occupied by flesh & blood people, so I wouldn't argue the opposite side either.
With Christianity, we have an infinite, numinous God who is nevertheless personal and, in Christ, even human. Seems like it strikes a balance between the abstract and the personal.
The Mote in God’s “I”: The Human Lesson by G. Scott Huggins, 2016-12-19 07:53:24
Ray Blank: What you have called 'the human lesson' and 'the God lesson' can also be found in Aristotle, and might be called 'the political lesson'. Aristotle ranked the political systems according to whether the government is controlled by one, few, or many people. He also analyzed them by whether the system is 'pure', where the government is doing the best for society, or 'corrupted', because the government prioritizes the selfish goals of those who rule. Hence there were six forms of government in Aristotle's system. His conclusions about the best and worst systems are striking. The good rule of one person (a monarchy) has most capacity to do good, but its perverted form (tyranny) will do most harm. In contrast, the rule of many, whether called a polity or democracy, is the most constrained, so can do least good and least harm. So we might say that a government is a weapon of oppression in direct proportion to its power to do good.
There is a valuable lesson here for conservatives and classic liberals, though often ignored by those with more extreme political views, or those guided more by immediate emotion than by concern for how a system works. It is understandable that people would like governments to improve the quality of life, and so they naturally prefer governments that play an active role in improving society. However, as more power is vested in government, there is an inevitable and proportionate rise in the threat of corruption and oppression.
Nested by Wole Talabi, 2016-12-10 07:50:44
2016 Eligibility Post. | Wole Talabi: […] “Nested” – SciPhi Journal, February 2016 […]
Couch with a Labrador by Shauna O’Meara, 2016-12-08 09:51:55
Couch, With a Labrador | omearaartandwords: […] science fiction short story Couch, With a Labrador is finally out over at Sci Phi Journal. It explores the companion-animal, agricultural and ethical […]
Couch with a Labrador by Shauna O’Meara, 2016-12-04 05:06:34
Damon: Thanks, Jason.
Couch with a Labrador by Shauna O’Meara, 2016-12-04 05:01:22
editor: Sorry about that, it is fixed now.
Couch with a Labrador by Shauna O’Meara, 2016-12-04 01:08:12
Damon: I keep getting "Page not found (404)" when I try to download the .mobi file.
New Appliances by Brandon McNulty, 2016-12-02 23:32:28
bob flynn: Very creative how you wrote a story about our everyday appliances well written enjoyed it very much,it really shows you about how we rely on are everyday appliances.I enjoyed it very much
Couch with a Labrador by Shauna O’Meara, 2016-12-02 02:11:45
jeffracho: I *loved* this piece! Definitely one of my favorites in SPJ!
The Mote in God’s “I”, A Heroic Obedience by G. Scott Huggins, 2016-11-24 23:37:21
Paul Reiners: The poem "Casabianca" ("The boy stood on the burning deck, ...") would be another example where obedience is seen as a virtue. Of course it's not science fiction.
New Appliances by Brandon McNulty, 2016-11-17 04:15:00
Eileen Eustice: Where would we be without our appliances!! Funny story but made you wonder if we give them too much of our time and energy!
Lou Antonelli’s Hugo nominated short “On a Spiritual Plain” available for free, 2016-10-23 04:15:56
Albie Awards 2015: Short Stories – Broad Horizons: […] “On a Spiritual Plain” by Lou Antonelli […]
Let the Tempest Hold Me Down by Zena Shapter, 2016-10-18 22:25:40
You’re invited to ANOTHER book launch! Actually, a few… – Zena Shapter: […] anthology is published by Hugo-finalist Sci Phi Journal and is on sale now as both a print book and ebook through this […]
Religion and Science Fiction by G. Scott Huggins, 2016-10-13 12:54:47
Ray Blank: I find it ironic that you cite Christopher Hitchens whilst attempting to dogmatically dictate what science fiction is, and what it is not. You don't own science fiction, though you're like many people who want to assert ownership because you're unwilling to hear different points of view, and so seek to stifle them. It's pompous to stipulate "the" reason why science fiction is interesting, as if you have some (god-given) power to speak on behalf of a (supposedly diverse) community. Of course "it can be argued" that SF is some kind of alternative to religion, just as it is possible to argue that up is down and black is white. Make that argument if you want; others don't have to respect it, and I find it a lousy doctrine with no merit. L Ron Hubbard founded a religion, Arthur C Clarke was a crypto-Buddhist and HG Wells considered himself a brother to Christians, but whether their works belong to the SF cannon has nothing to do with whether their ideological opinions conformed to your arbitrary point of view.
SF ultimately exists as entertainment, irrespective of whether you, Christians, or anybody ascribes a higher purpose to it. Stories about space crustaceans meeting God might appeal to some, others may prefer stories about space crustaceans mathematically proving there is no god. But if you want to claim that your superior understanding of science entitles you to dictate which stories should be excluded from SF then the most obviously faulty belief system is your oppressive pseudo-morality, not the differing faiths of others.
Religion and Science Fiction by G. Scott Huggins, 2016-10-10 00:58:24
Zeno of Elea: It's pretty sad that a science Fiction and "philosophy" Journal needs to muddy the waters so much as to explain away the barbaric nature of abrahamic religions. The reason that science fiction is interesting to so many people is that it provides us a way to think about concepts that would either completely be unaddressed or censored in most "ascetic" and mainstream religions anyway. It can be argued that science fiction allows us to move away from such flawed mythologies of "sacred" and dogmatic religions providing us ways to talk about creation and other concepts in any meaningful thats away from theocratic and outdated mythologies of people who had no understanding of anything close to science let alone morals and ethics. This problem is even further compounded when the above author tries to be an apologist and obscure christianity or any of the other thousands of harmful religious ideologies into things completely ignore the texts and the general teachings of these mainstream religions. Please do the world a favor and read some Christopher Hitchens before trying to intellectualize and do mental and philosophical gymnastics with your harmful and outdated ideology that is not only the antithesis to what science fiction is but what it can be.
Javi and Parma by Ellen Denton, 2016-09-28 17:05:39
Chris Miller: I think this story's dominant theme is marriage, in whatever form society endorses it. To me it's metaphorical of many relationships. Nice work, Ellen!
Subscriptions, 2016-09-18 23:44:11
Roderick T. Long: It says "two ways." But then offers one way. Is the other way a secret?
Submission Guidelines, 2016-08-23 14:52:30
Jerome: This looks great! What's the word count you're looking for in fiction?
Zee Warrior by Mark Wolf, 2016-08-16 03:03:43
Summer 2016 Prompt #1 – livewritelovelearn: […] Latest publication prior to this one: http://www.sciphijournal.com/zee-warrior-by-mark-wolf/ […]
Unalienable Right by Leenna Naidoo, 2016-08-11 21:03:36
Philosophy Through Fiction Short Story Competition | My Writers Bureau: […] the piece. Examples of such Food for Thought sections appear at the end of these stories: unalienable right by Leenna Naidoo and Immortality serum by Michaele Jordan. Evaluation of the […]
Religion and Science Fiction by G. Scott Huggins, 2016-08-08 09:35:39
Ray Blank: The argument is well made, though I have to question why such a thoughtful author has chosen to equate religion with Christianity throughout this piece. In this respect, he makes a similar mistake to his interlocutor at WisCon. She equates all religion with a certain kind of exoteric Christianity. Any esoteric form of religion would confound her arguments, as esoteric religion must emphasize the personal exploration required to discover hidden (or unknowable) truths. Christianity can have an esoteric dimension, but the sense that the world is mysterious and we need to embark on a personal journey to reach enlightenment is much more obviously apparent in Eastern religions.
Unalienable Right by Leenna Naidoo, 2016-07-24 05:16:50
170201 | $500 | 1K-7.5K | Contest: Philosophy Through Fiction |: […] behind the piece. Examples of such Food for Thought sections appear at the end of these stories: Unalienable Right by Leenna Naidoo and Immortality Serum by Michaele Jordan. Evaluation of the quality of the Food […]
Curse of the Life walker by Joe Vasicek, 2016-07-18 17:52:03
Upcoming short stories – One Thousand And One Parsecs: […] I’m not sure how this slipped past me, but my short story “The Curse of the Lifewalker” is now available on the Sci Phi Journal! It’s behind a paywall, but you can read the first […]
On Board Leper by E.J. Shumak, 2016-07-06 21:00:44
Glen Weissenberger: Tightly written with great forward momentum, Shumak's piece is superb. A great balance of action and emotion, this a fine example of his consistently brilliant work.
Unalienable Right by Leenna Naidoo, 2016-07-06 12:06:21
Philosophy and fiction | Episyllogism: […] behind the piece. Examples of such Food for Thought sections appear at the end of these stories: Unalienable Right by Leenna Naidoo and Immortality Serum by Michaele Jordan. Evaluation of the quality of the Food […]
On Board Leper by E.J. Shumak, 2016-07-06 06:05:05
Steve Lagois: Nice to see space opera here, especially with aliens flying by. Feels like I am right there on the bridge. Neet.
News, 2016-07-05 00:21:45
Jeff Suwak: Thanks so much for sharing this opportunity. I usually don't do contests, but this is very intriguing. I will definitely be entering it.
Review: Foundation by Isaac Asimov, Reviewed by Mike Phelps, 2016-06-28 16:06:59
Sean M. Brooks: I hesitate to seem harsh or over critical, but I can't really agree with those who praised Asimov's original FOUNDATION books. By the mid 1970's, I was feeling disenchanted with Asimov's novels. More and more I found them too flat, plain, colorless.
A few years ago, I reread the first three FOUNDATION books. Alas, they simply no longer had the fascination with which I regarded them as a boy. The background was too flat, the characters, aside from a few like the Mule, were not interesting. Also, I simply don't think any "psychohistorians" can manipulate history the way we seem them doing in the FOUNDATION books.
I vastly prefer the works of Poul Anderson, esp. in this context, his Technic Civilization stories and novels. Not only was his handling of background and developing of characters far more interesting, Anderson's speculations about the rise and fall of a civilization were far more PLAUSIBLE to me.
Jodorowsky’s Dune : What Might have Been by Rich Monetti, 2016-06-27 10:57:09
Ray Blank: "Some clever maneuvering and Dali was in" is one way of explaining how Jodorowsky encouraged Salvador Dali to act in the film. A more straightforward explanation is that Jodorowsky agreed to pay Dali $100,000 (which would be worth about half a million dollars today) for every minute Dali appeared on screen. That doesn't sound that clever to me, and explains why nobody wanted to give Jodorowsky the budget he demanded.
House of Flies by Russell Nichols, 2016-06-22 18:16:36
Russell: What's up MEC,
Richmond represent! Thanks for the comment. You're right about the smart microphones too. Think you just inspired a sequel.
God, Robot reviewed by Marina Fontaine, 2016-06-15 21:14:31
More Reviewer Praise for "God, Robot" - SuperversiveSFSuperversiveSF: […] the best yet, my true favorite review, is from Marina Fontaine of the Sci Phi Journal. Miss Fontaine reviews each story in detail, and ends her review with […]
The Last Flight of Odin’s Hundred by L. Jagi Lamplighter, 2016-06-13 14:49:52
James Hamilton: Eucatastrophe!
Good one - thank you so much!
News, 2016-06-08 06:00:38
Tom Simon: I’m honoured that you mentioned my work, but in fact what you have shown in the post is last week’s new release – which you mentioned in last week’s news.
For those who may be interested, I now have another essay collection out: Style is the Rocket.
Unalienable Right by Leenna Naidoo, 2016-06-05 07:06:05
Roos and Unalienable Right – InBetweener: […] Unalienable Right, or ‘My Very Aussie Short Story – with Roos’ has been out (right on schedule) over at Sci Phi Journal, illustrated by the extremely talented Cat Leonard. And being in a very writerly mode, I thought you might want know just how a trip Down Under morphed into a story about the unalien… […]
Nested by Wole Talabi, 2016-06-03 08:07:29
Thoughts and Stuff: Early June | Wole Talabi: […] my story ‘Nested‘ which appeared in hugo-nominated magazine SciPhi Journal, was reviewed favorably by Tangent […]
An Innocent Choice by Matthew A. Stirnaman, 2016-05-30 17:00:08
Mary Trenshaw: Another great story Matt. Thought provoking and riveting!
An Innocent Choice by Matthew A. Stirnaman, 2016-05-30 15:47:25
Ernesto M Obregon: I am against the death penalty, but, I am not a pacifist. This puts me in an odd position. I am against war; but I can see that choosing war may quite often be the lesser of two evils. Nevertheless, I cannot see execution as the lesser of two evils, even if the prisoner wishes to die.
In the case of war, taking lives is an evil that is tolerated in order to achieve an objective that is less evil than the taking of lives. Letting a Hitler take over, or letting a country be conquered by people whom they do not wish in charge is often a worse evil than the killing that occurs in war. Note that in both cases cited, killing will take place regardless, so the question of killing is already on the table.
A type of theodicy of this thought is found in Romans 13 where Saint Paul states that government is given the sword in order to restrain lawlessness. In a more apocalyptic vein, in 2 Thessalonians, Saint Paul states that when the "man of lawlessness" is no longer restrained, then the end will come. In this case, a Christian theodicy could very well argue that the evil of killing people is less than the evil of allowing lawlessness.
However, in the case of someone in prison, there is no lawlessness that is being allowed. Rather, the lawlessness is being restrained by non-fatal means, by imprisoning the offender. In this case, there is no "need" to kill, other than pure retribution. While many verses can be cited from the Old Testament to justify the death penalty, the Gospels seem to point to a different attitude, particularly in the possibly-apocryphal John 8, where the woman caught in adultery is not given the death penalty.
A caveat needs to be put in. A pro-life stance toward the death penalty cannot simply be an anti-death penalty stance. That is too poor a stance. Rather, a pro-life stance toward the death penalty must also include the commitment to keep the felon incarcerated in such conditions that we could stand before any justice or court and affirm that the felon has lived in reasonable and humane conditions, even though restrained.
[Note: If one is going to be totally utilitarian with regard to prisons, then the position that would seem to have more utility is to simply apply the death penalty quickly and efficiently to those guilty of capital crimes and to those who are irremediable repeat offenders. That is, the three strikes laws should lead not to life imprisonment, but to death. The problem with the utility approach is that it is already one being bruited about in parts of Europe, such as Denmark, to cover those with irreversible injury, mental disease, etc. Thus, utility would seem to me to quickly lead to more death and to a devaluation of the human qua human.]
Movie: Tie Fighter, 2016-05-20 12:59:56
Geoff Gander: I've watched this one many times, and I am extremely impressed at the quality. I hope the artist produces more in this vein!
News, 2016-05-18 09:35:38
Jason Rennie of Sci Phi doesn’t withdraw from the Hugo Awards exactly… | Camestros Felapton: […] Shame really. Sci Phi Journal is actually not the worst thing in the wider Rabid campaign orbit. You can read their latest news here http://www.sciphijournal.com/news-15/ […]
Bre by Erik B. Scott, 2016-05-14 19:35:32
Jeff Suwak: Free will is a question that has always interested me. I'm reading "The Intelligence Paradox" right now that discusses, in a peripheral way, some of the problems with free will. To me, it's always come down largely to first defining what we mean by free will. I don't think that free will and biological determinism are mutually exclusive. If, by free will, we mean the ability to intelligently analyze a problem and possible solutions and choose the one that is most likely to benefit us, then I don't see how anyone can say we don't have free will of that sort. But, a person who possesses free will in some regards may then simply give in to their first impulse in others, effectively being an automaton in that area.
P.S. the author's website url isn't complete. I tried to go to it and the page didn't exist. I found the author's blog at http://steampunk-rocker.blogspot.com/. Just wanted to give a heads up.
Failure to Thrive by Tom Howard, 2016-05-11 10:57:57
mec: Nice little story! I enjoyed the unusual viewpoint character.
News, 2016-05-10 12:46:56
Peter j Borger: Just wondering when "Ada" will run?
House of Flies by Russell Nichols, 2016-05-07 13:04:54
mec: Cute story!
Smart meters are just one form of monitoring. Smart microphones are much more invasive. Read up on Samsung TV voice monitoring.
Coincidentally, I grew up in the same town as you! Richmond, California.
The Button by Jamie Wahls, 2016-05-06 19:58:53
mec: Wireheading is such a good source of horror!
I enjoyed the first half of the story a lot, right up to the line "yes you are". I think that would have made an effective ending line. Up to that point, the whole story was in the moment with little background details building up a truly disturbing environment. After that, though, the viewpoint shifted to some less involved characters and the rest of the story was telling, not showing.
Failure to Thrive by Tom Howard, 2016-05-01 17:25:59
Tom Howard: Great illustration! Thank you and the artist.
Review: Foundation by Isaac Asimov, Reviewed by Mike Phelps, 2016-04-28 21:16:02
Patrick: I read this originally in the late seventies and re-read, well listened to actually, again a couple of years ago.
Good news, I enjoy it a lot. Yes, the Galactic Empire is pretty much fifties middle America with incremental advances here and there, the future is still very much analog.
But I think it holds up well because it is basically a pretty good story, and the books are short compared a lot of contemporary SiFi.
Overall, a nice trip down memory lane for me.
News, 2016-04-26 20:51:38
Ray Blank: Congratulations on being nominated for a Hugo! You deserve some recognition. Nobody can argue with broadening the fanbase for SF by publishing thoughtful stories that have no natural home elsewhere, and you put a lot of work into SPJ. It should also be noted that SPJ is the only nomination in its category which has just a single editor!
The Ethical Committee by Ray Blank, 2016-04-26 15:50:16
Ray Blank: Thanks!
The Ethical Committee by Ray Blank, 2016-04-25 15:06:17
mec: Riveting story! I particularly liked Silvestre's questions about children.
Review: Foundation by Isaac Asimov, Reviewed by Mike Phelps, 2016-04-14 14:11:16
Robert aka August von Orth: I read this as a very young fellow and loved it. I've thought about rereading it many times over the years, but now worry how it will hold up after I've spent decades working as a physicist. Anybody else in a similar boat who went ahead and tried it? How'd it work out?
Upgrade by Axel Schwarz, 2016-04-12 01:35:22
Carbonel: I don’t want machines to exceed human intelligence and creativity because I personally don’t want to live in a world where I and my friends/family are obsolete
We create our replacements every time we have children. On balance, I find them a joy.
But I agree that creating a class of children who are also things could be pure evil. Certainly we'd try to make it so. Only a miracle could keep it from becoming a systemic horror.
News, 2016-04-12 00:07:01
Jeff Suwak: Very neat stuff!
Lily in Asphodel by Gregory Marlow, 2016-04-04 23:11:54
Harmon: What theory?
The Persistence of Tim by Matthew F. Amati, 2016-04-04 04:16:32
James: Cool story!
Lily in Asphodel by Gregory Marlow, 2016-04-04 01:31:55
editor: Good question. I had the same thought. It does presume a particular theory of mind.
Lily in Asphodel by Gregory Marlow, 2016-04-04 01:27:03
Harmon: How could Backup Lilly know anything about death, when the "death" occurred after the time of backup?
Hemmingway Hunter by E.J. Shumak, 2016-04-02 20:39:32
Glen Weissenberger: Ej Shumak's Hemingway Hunter is not only elegantly written, it is also an extremely clever, engaging story. With an incredibly imaginative premise, the story is written to appeal to all of the senses. It succeeds on every level. Bravo! A stellar piece by a master of this genre.
The Persistence of Tim by Matthew F. Amati, 2016-04-01 01:06:46
mec: What a disturbing story! (I mean that as a compliment). I've seen many stories exploring the nature of robots as slaves, but this one is a twist.
Mr. Marcus acts under subterfuge, not openly. At first I thought this was creepy. And it certainly would be creepy, if Annie were a human being with human agency. But Annie is hard-wired for loyalty to one person. And if enough time elapses, and the government declares the original Tim to be dead, someone will force Annie to be recycled.
What alternative does Mr. Marcus have to act in a moral fashion?
Is it moral to build a robot such as Annie in the first place? She has enough self-awareness that she doesn't want to be recycled, doesn't want to be macerated, and certainly does not want to be abused. But she has no choice about her emotional bonds.
The First Martian Church of God by David Wiley, 2016-03-31 12:17:16
March Guest Posts | Writings of David Wiley: […] you missed it at the end of February, one of my favorite short stories is up on Sci Phi Journal: “The First Martian Church of God” so be sure to check that one out and let me know your thoughts on […]
Let the Tempest Hold Me Down by Zena Shapter, 2016-03-13 18:47:28
elizabeth.ottosson: Enjoyed this a lot! I was telling a friend this morning how much your stories make me think - they're so alien (literally!), and yet relatable. Looking forward to more.
Let the Tempest Hold Me Down by Zena Shapter, 2016-03-13 12:31:30
Zoya: Enjoyed this immensely.
Let the Tempest Hold Me Down by Zena Shapter, 2016-03-13 11:33:26
Mijmark: Got to read it. It reminds me of a really cool short story where a thoroughly non-human race were the characters. Strange is good in my books; you know how much a fan of uniqueness I am.
Let the Tempest Hold Me Down by Zena Shapter, 2016-03-13 06:47:44
Susan Steggall: Seriously strange! But clearly the product of a vivid imagination and a talent for writing.
Let the Tempest Hold Me Down by Zena Shapter, 2016-03-12 11:02:49
Merri field: This is a very interesting read, it captures the imagination of both reader and writer.
Rolli and Curve by James Fitzsimmons, 2016-03-12 00:10:28
James: Hi Mec. Thx for the kind words. Much appreciated!
Rolli and Curve by James Fitzsimmons, 2016-03-11 17:20:00
mec: Good story! I liked the bit about depth perception in the courtroom scene. The climax of the action was a good surprise, too.
The Persistence of Tim by Matthew F. Amati, 2016-03-11 03:59:21
Harmon: I wouldn't say that identity is meaningless, just that it is an illusion, in the same way as, and as an adjunct to, consciousness. Identity is the imposition of narrative structure on experience. Which leads me to think that meaning itself is an illusion resulting from the imposition of narrative structure on experience. In the end, the illusion of identity creates meaning, so that identity makes itself meaningful. (Now my head hurts.)
Seeing Marcus (I misidentified him as Tim - ironic) as exploiting the limitations of her programming is a better description of what he did.
Let the Tempest Hold Me Down by Zena Shapter, 2016-03-11 00:44:08
Free-to-Read Story Out Today: “Let the Tempest Hold Me Down” « Zena Shapter: […] Click to read more! Why can Tek not hear any fatherly voices? What exactly’s making that unusual stink of hot blood and damp leaves…? […]
The Persistence of Tim by Matthew F. Amati, 2016-03-09 18:41:56
Matthew F Amati: That seems like an extreme position. The electrons in the atoms that make up a physical object change moment to moment, so by that logic, identity is meaningless. I think Quine's point is that even if identity is an illusion, it's an illusion of convenience; we need a concept of identity to be able to refer to anything at all. As for Annie's equation of identity with constituent parts, it assumes that there's no difference between parts and the whole. Maybe on a fundamental level there's no difference between a ravenous lion and a goldfish (they're just bunches of carbon), but it's important to me that I be able to perceive one. Maybe Annie's not preposterous, but her limited perception isn't very useful. Mr. Marcus hasn't messed with her programming; he's exploiting its limitations.(Also, recent advances in facial recognition technology make a future Annie not very likely!)
Thanks for commenting; I love getting into this stuff.
Magnets of the Soul by J. Robert Dewitt, 2016-03-09 17:23:52
mec: I like this one! Some good characters and emotions to go with an interesting premise.
Typo: "Langrage" should be "Lagrange".
The Persistence of Tim by Matthew F. Amati, 2016-03-08 03:41:11
Harmon: Any physical change, no matter how small, to a material object creates a different object. Any continued reference to the changed object by the same name is a matter of convenience, convention, or definition, not actuality.
If a human being is only a material body, the same rule applies. This is true even if the human being thinks otherwise. His experience of not changing despite the actually of change - Quine's "continuation of identity" - is an illusion.
Annie is not at all preposterous. She is using the correct method of identifying her owner. However, Tim has messed with her programming, so that she cannot correctly interpret the data.
The Persistence of Tim by Matthew F. Amati, 2016-03-07 02:33:54
“The Persistence of Time” – Matthew F. Amati: […] http://www.sciphijournal.com/the-persistence-of-tim-by-matthew-f-amati/ […]
MegaCats by Jonathon Burgess, 2016-03-06 03:35:41
Damon: Thanks. I've downloaded the mobi.
Computers -- they'll make our lives so much easier...
MegaCats by Jonathon Burgess, 2016-03-06 02:41:11
editor: Sorry about that Damon, thanks for the catch, it is fixed now.
MegaCats by Jonathon Burgess, 2016-03-06 02:04:17
Damon: I can't access the mobi file (either from here or the subscription emails)
Are the links wrong?
MegaCats by Jonathon Burgess, 2016-03-04 16:35:33
rachel filbeck: Love it! Can't wait to read it.
MegaCats by Jonathon Burgess, 2016-03-04 11:06:43
mec: I like the way so many characters just want something (a TV, a truck part, an action figure) but Martin is the first to figure out that he wants something more important.
MegaCats by Jonathon Burgess, 2016-03-04 01:17:09
editor: You may well be right. Or at least grass clippings into something edible.
Cows already work for making grass clippings into steak :)
MegaCats by Jonathon Burgess, 2016-03-04 01:14:39
Theodore: I suspect that when we finally get there (and we're coming close) we're going to see the first starvation free depression ever. Of course, before we do that- we're going to need a 3D printer capable of converting grass clippings into steak. But it is coming.
Review – Ctrl.Alt.Revolt by Nick Cole, reviewed by Peter Sean Bradley, 2016-03-03 02:38:26
CRMOGS: I bought this along with another of Cole's books after I read his blog post about his publisher's behavior as a sign of support. Thankfully, as this review points out, the books themselves are well worth the read and the money spent. Here's to cracking "Trad Pub's" death grip on taste-making and as cultural gate-keepers. The Lord knows they deserve to lose their power, and have had it coming for a while now.
The First Martian Church of God by David Wiley, 2016-02-26 12:56:45
Sci Phi Journal & Writing Update – Writings of David Wiley: […] The story can be found now at this link, but you still need to pledge on Patreon to gain full […]
Submission Guidelines, 2016-02-23 13:52:25
Eighty More Online Places to Publish Science Fiction Stories, Flash and Microfiction - Gregory Scheckler: […] Sci Phi Journal. Science fiction with a philosophical hook or issue. http://www.sciphijournal.com/ guidelines at http://www.sciphijournal.com/submission-guidelines/ […]
Dressed in Black by Filip Wiltgren, 2016-02-15 14:36:49
Dressed in Black - SF Flash Fiction « Filip Wiltgren: […] Read the rest in SciPhi Journal […]
Grass is Grass by Luc Reid, 2016-02-08 02:17:18
editor: I'm pretty sure your pets are edible unless you keep exotic poisonous tree frogs or some such. They may not be appetizing, and you are probably sufficiently attached to them that eating them is out of the question, but they are edible. Nearly anything made of meat is.
Grass is Grass by Luc Reid, 2016-02-08 01:36:40
Theodore: I have an objection to domesticating non-food lifeforms. It occurs to me if even our pets and landscaping was edible, we could eliminate hunger and never worry about emergency prepardness again.
A Struggle for Primacy by Brian Cato, 2016-02-07 20:14:25
Brian: Thank you, Steve, for such a learned and entertaining post. Given it's length, you should have submitted it as a work of writing independently!
This story definitely received a lot of negative feedback in the submissions process. Some editors (not here) felt it was a little dry and mechanical, without a lot of substance to it. But I appreciate your close reading of the text, paying special attention to the attitudes of the narrator, and I think it's easy to overlook some of the subtleties of the story.
I, at once, think the narrator is crazy, and am envious of him. I agree that in the modern age, people have become quite focused on lifespan, and have lost the ability to believe in causes larger than themselves. It's not uncommon to hear people refer to a single person's death as a tragedy, when the world (and society even) cares not a whit about it, or to hear people say it's unnatural for a child to die before his parents, when in fact, for most of the vastness of time, nothing could have been more natural. The idea that a generation of young men might die in a Revolutionary War, a Civil War, a World War, seems quite foreign.
I feel that my own inability to find a cause large than myself is a huge personal loss, hence my jealousy.
As for the madness, it's my belief that the narrator occasionally descends into cliches and absolutisms ("world must be made safe for the rest of us") because he's not capable of fully independent thought. One could argue a kind of social identity theory, that he knows he can never achieve immortality, so he's convinced himself that those who have must be evil incarnate. Without the strength of that belief, without it's rigidity, he would not have the focus, the commitment, required to kill.
I'll leave it to others to speak about what they feel might be lost if some subset of people gain immortality. As you suggest, I don't think our society is near ready to deal with the consequences, both personal, and interpersonal.
A Struggle for Primacy by Brian Cato, 2016-02-07 19:35:11
Brian: Your comment reminds me of a phrase that comes up in the story, the will to power, the tendency of all things to gather power toward themselves. If people live forever, this capacity grows. It could become enormously destructive, or enormously beneficial. This leads me back to last part of question number two, how do we encourage the beneficial aspects of the will to power and stifle the sinister?
Why did Bill Gates devote his whole life to philanthropy, but the owners of Walmart and Amazon continue to amass market share often at their employees' expense?
Rolli and Curve by James Fitzsimmons, 2016-02-06 18:31:16
James Fitzsimmons: Hi Theodore,
Jan Dobbs name is just something short and simple. Any reference here is coincidence. Thanks for reading!
Rolli and Curve by James Fitzsimmons, 2016-02-06 03:15:58
Theodore: Is the name of Dr. Jan a reference to the Dr. Dobbs Journal?
A Struggle for Primacy by Brian Cato, 2016-02-04 05:28:08
Steve: Of course, there are many practical moral problems that a technologically-created immortality would probably pose. In this story, it is suggested that immortality has been achieved only through exploitation of others. And that, moreover, given that this immortality is only accessible to some, they might indeed become like gods, not only in being immortal but perhaps in their status or authority over those who do not have this power. Further, even if everyone could be immortal, we would have to deal with problems such as overpopulation. These problems may or may not have practical solutions (and, it seems highly unlikely that as a society we will have given enough serious thought to them before they are actually at hand).
Setting these issues aside, however, would we want an immortality of this sort, if it did not bring these problems? The protagonist of the story calls Walton is a “monstrosity”—but why? The text suggests that it is partly because of the artificial components of his make-up—a metal skeleton, a computerized brain. But is this merely an enculturated prejudice inducing a visceral response, such as some people might feel disgust watching a homosexual couple kiss? He is a “stain upon all that is pure”, also, it seems, because he is above death. But does that sentiment reflect the bias of a value system developed because we *could* not previously be immortal? Would we would learn to feel differently over time, after it became possible? Or, would it, in any case, be bad *not* to be human, if we had a choice to be something “better”?
The problem which this sort of immortality would pose, though, is how would we find a deeper meaning and value in life and how we would redefine what it even means to be human (or whatever it is that we would then be), when the certainty of death has traditionally played such a central role in shaping that definition. Our achievements, our choices, and even the people that we love and the things that we value, might well loose their significance in the sea of eternal time. Our lives would not have any obvious shape or progress to them. One could argue that the ultimate way to place a value on something is to be willing to die for it, as the protagonist of the story does, and indeed concludes that that is what it means to be human. That will be a harder conviction to maintain and act upon, if death is not inevitable at some later date. And yet the inability to be willing (or perhaps even able) to make such a sacrifice is a loss. Is it worth the price?
A Struggle for Primacy by Brian Cato, 2016-02-04 05:27:22
Steve: For at least as far back as the epic of Gilgamesh, the quest for immortality has been a central theme in the mythology of many cultures. Typically, it is taken a given that, as mortals, we cannot have immortality even though we want it (as Gilgamesh discovers only after a long but ostensibly fruitless quest). Therefore we have to find some meaning in a finite life. That may mean hope in some greater meaning or lasting life after death. Or achieving a surrogate immortality by achieving fame through great deeds or writing literature that will last beyond our death, or through children who remember us and carry on our family and genes. Or even just to appreciate the good things we have each moment that we have them.
Often it is assumed that we would, of course, choose immortality if it were an option.
In one scene of the Iliad, two heroes talk about why they are willing to risk death in battle. The reasons given are the usual statement of the heroic “code”: to win honor while they are alive and immortal fame. But there is a caveat, a conditional: “since we are not immortal gods…”. Certainly, it is worth trading some years from our lives (if we end up dying in battle) to make those lives more meaningful, but that is, at least in part, because it is a given that we are going to die eventually anyway no matter what we do. What if, however, we could live forever and even stay young, like the gods. Then it might be different, the heroes admit.
In our own time, we have perhaps become more focused on resisting the idea of growing old. We often obsess about living as long as possible, and fighting signs of physical aging. But in some way the calculus is still the same—one way or the other, we are going to die, and like the traditional hero, we may argue that adding a few extra years to our lives ought not to be our highest priority. If technology does develop in the way suggested in this story (as it well might), however, then everything would change. For the first time in history, we would have a real philosopher’s stone. Why would we choose to settle for a surrogate immortality when we could have real immortality? What is the point of being willing to die for what you believe in if you don’t have to die at all? (As Woody Allen once said (more or less), I would much rather live on in my apartment room than in the hearts and minds of future generations)
It is true that, for example, Odysseus is offered immortality by the goddess Calypso and refuses it, along with the allures of living with a goddess. He wants his human life, his own land, his own family, even his own struggles and eventual death, rather than an eternal life of ease and obscurity on a remote island. Similarly, although the innocence and earthly immortality of Eden is described as a Fall, nevertheless the redemption of Christ provides human life with a greater meaning than would have possible if this had not happened. But these are still belief systems which were fashioned in a context in which real immortality was conceived as impossible. Are they merely ways of convincing ourselves that, rather than just (quite reasonably) accepting a necessary limitation, a part of the human condition, it is something that we would actually choose if we had a choice (a much less obvious conclusion)? And even if we do believe this, would we have the courage to actually act on that belief, when there is a way out?
Upgrade by Axel Schwarz, 2016-02-01 18:03:21
Jeff Suwak: Well, I must confess that I am strongly against that kind of AI development. I wrestled with this idea for a long time, because I can't really "prove" that my misgivings are wrong. But, then I read a rather simple argument on the subject that changed my view. Basically, the idea is that there is no logically "right" stance on this topic. It ultimately boils down to personal preference. So, generally I don't like taking a stance for or against something unless I can solidly back it rationally. But, really, I don't want machines to exceed human intelligence and creativity because I personally don't want to live in a world where I and my friends/family are obsolete. I don't want them to have human emotion because there is some part of me that finds the idea dehumanizing. I do also think, though, that there a lot of ethical concerns. Why damn machines to suffer the same existential doubts and fears and pains as we do. It doesn't seem like it would serve any purpose other than making the inventor feel good about him or herself. It would be a hell of an intellectual, technical achievement, but I don't see how it helps anyone or anything.
A Struggle for Primacy by Brian Cato, 2016-02-01 13:46:18
Leslie: Immortality, like money, car and air condition that human created to make life more desirable have two sides, good and bad. The bad part, people might lose a sense of urgency, life became meaningless. If used for personal gain or evil will cause suffering for the society as whole. On the other hand if used properly, more knowledge and creativity might be saved.
A Struggle for Primacy by Brian Cato, 2016-02-01 13:45:50
Leslie: Immortality, like money, car and air condition that human created to make life more desirable have two sides, good and bad. The bad part, people might lose a sense of urgency, life became meaningless. If used for personal gain or evil will cause suffering for the society as whole. On the other hand if used properly, more knowledge and creativity might be saved.
A Struggle for Primacy by Brian Cato, 2016-02-01 08:53:06
Semiprozine – All the Semiprozines (almost) [Updated] | Camestros Felapton: […] Sci Phi aims to mix philosophy and science fiction, which is a worthy endeavor. In its original more magazine like format it was available via Vox Day’s Castalia House (among other places) and hence may be perceived as leaning puppywards. It relaunched this year with regular free and subscription-only stuff, stories reviews etc (subscription via Paetron). Some free stories (all dated 2016) – this one was OK: http://www.sciphijournal.com/the-meeting-of-infinite-stairs-by-christopher-alan/ whereas this one was not great: http://www.sciphijournal.com/a-struggle-for-primacy-by-brian-cato/ […]
News, 2016-01-30 22:05:21
Semiprozine – All the Semiprozines (almost) | Camestros Felapton: […] Sci Phi Journal http://www.sciphijournal.com/news-4/ […]
A Struggle for Primacy by Brian Cato, 2016-01-28 15:34:08
Brian Cato: That's a good question. In an age where if things can't be assigned a numeric value, people have difficulty accepting that they have value, what kind of things do you think might be lost if some or all members of society gain immortality?
The Meeting of Infinite Stairs by Christopher Alan, 2016-01-27 20:30:46
The Writer's Arena: This is a fascinating literary representation of M. C. Escher's stairs. Nonsense, and yet logical, playful and yet serious. Wonderfully done!
Upgrade by Axel Schwarz, 2016-01-27 20:05:14
axelschwarz: Thanks, Jeff. How do you feel about creating emotionally intelligent machines in the first place?
A Struggle for Primacy by Brian Cato, 2016-01-27 18:43:38
Leslie: Immortality is something humans want for centuries, just wonder to what expend that we are willing to trade for that...
The Meeting of Infinite Stairs by Christopher Alan, 2016-01-25 05:31:08
Short Fiction Reviews, January 2016 – castaliahouse.com: […] The Meeting of Infinite Stairs by Christopher Alan Sci Phi Journal January 4, 2016 […]
News, 2016-01-25 03:19:28
Semiprozine: (R) & S | Camestros Felapton: […] First off the rank Sci Phi Journal http://www.sciphijournal.com/news-4/ […]
A Struggle for Primacy by Brian Cato, 2016-01-25 00:04:34
Brian Cato: Thank you for reading A Struggle for Primacy here at the Sci Phi Journal! If anything strikes you about the thought questions or the story, please don't hesitate to leave a comment. I'd really like to hear people's thoughts and get a conversation going.
Red Dwarf’s Inquisitor and Judgement Day by Ben Zwycky, 2016-01-18 13:08:47
I’ve had an article published in Sci Phi Journal | The Zwyckyverse: […] http://www.sciphijournal.com/red-dwarfs-inquisitor-and-judgement-day-by-ben-zwycky/ […]
Upgrade by Axel Schwarz, 2016-01-15 17:21:58
jeffsuwak: I absolutely loved the line, "...and as he lay in bed he looked out over the smooth slope of the station into the chalk dust and charcoal sea of space..." Beautiful writing.
The biggest question the story left me with was whether or not fear/terror qualifies as "pain." Even if Sam couldn't physically feel what was being done to him by the doctors, he felt the emotion of blind terror. Assuming that emotionally intelligent machines are possible, this raises an interesting moral dilemma in replacing them.
The schedule to look forward to, 2016-01-14 23:13:29
Jeff Suwak: Well, I'm in. I really like what you have going here, and I think the publication's theme has tremendous potential to attract a wide audience.
The schedule to look forward to, 2016-01-14 22:43:42
Jeff Suwak: Ah, ok. Thanks for the clarification.
The schedule to look forward to, 2016-01-14 22:39:11
editor: Sorry I should clarify that. It will be charged once a month. But I didn't want to set it to monthly on Patreon so if things fall over I can stop charging everybody by posting no further "paid posts". I will have to reword it.
The schedule to look forward to, 2016-01-14 22:36:37
Jeff Suwak: The Patron page says that the charges will be per issue. What exactly will an issue constitute? I'm trying to discern what that means in the context of your subscriber-only stories and such.
The Meeting of Infinite Stairs by Christopher Alan, 2016-01-14 22:29:17
Jeff Suwak: Excellent. Thanks for letting me know. I'm really enjoying the site so far. Great stuff.
That Day at Grandma’s by Gregory L. Norris, 2016-01-14 22:24:10
Jeff Suwak: This is one of those stories that really comes together at the end. Touching. I enjoyed it.
The Meeting of Infinite Stairs by Christopher Alan, 2016-01-14 22:22:53
editor: Hi Jeff,
Yep you are seeing the whole story. The file download links are hidden from non-subscribers (or subscribers who aren't logged in) for the Monday stories. I'm glad you liked it, I really liked it too.
The Meeting of Infinite Stairs by Christopher Alan, 2016-01-14 22:18:58
Jeff Suwak: I love this story. Not sure if I'm getting to see the whole thing, but it reminds of the very best of the original Twilight Zone episodes, and TZ is my favorite show of all time. The "food for thought" is very interesting, but I most enjoyed the mystery of the story as it stood on its own.
The schedule to look forward to, 2016-01-03 20:22:14
Sci Phi Journal’s New Format is Ready to Go | The Zwyckyverse: […] The new format of Sci Phi Journal is about to begin, with the first article due within the next hour or two. I have an article that will appear in January, but to get access to all the top-quality content (and some other benefits), you’ll need to be a subscriber. Details can be found over at the Sci Phi Journal site […]
Contact, 2016-01-03 07:25:53
M: Please bring back the the Sci Phi show and put it up on Patreon. ???
Some news and a request, 2015-11-04 10:01:05
Blog Watch: Academic Wankery, Rehashed Success, Women’s Renaissances, and Sprawling Fantasy | Jeffro's Space Gaming Blog: […] Magazines (Sci Phi Journal) Some News and a Request — “I’d like to keep producing it but the financial burden is putting a strain on […]
News, the future and Issue #8, 2015-11-02 17:17:23
Barry Price: Of course I would remain interested in submitting to your publication. Your new conditions seem little different than your old ones, at least to me; although probably much more of a radical departure for you. If I need to re-submit at this time, please let me know at the above e-mail address, and I'll zap another one along. If not, then I assume you still have my original submission of - "The Quantum Entanglement/Alternate Universe Blues" in your memory banks. Thanks, by the way, for the personal reply, and I hope to be hearing from you soon with an enthusiastic acceptance. Please let me know in either case.
Yours; Barry Price
News, the future and Issue #8, 2015-10-21 08:40:54
Issue 8’s Cat Leonard Artwork for Beyond the Mist! | The Zwyckyverse: […] Issue 8 of Sci Phi Journal, which will be the last issue of the journal in its current format, will feature chapters 14 and 15 of Beyond the Mist. The last two installments will continue in the new sustainable format, which will mean I’ll start get paid for the editing work I’ve been doing on the journal as well as for my contributions, though the initial rates may be lower until subscriptions pick up, details on the new setup can be found here. […]
Some news and a request, 2015-10-12 10:16:21
Patrick: I support the payments being in AUS dollars. While I'd like to see the Journal continue as a bi-monthly, would rather it go quarterly than fold altogether.
Another Excerpt, Falling to Eternity by David Hallquist, 2015-09-21 22:32:30
onlinegambling.co.ke: What you published was very reasonable. But, what about this?
suppose you added a little information? I am not suggesting your content isn't
solid, but suppose you added something that makes people desire more?
I mean Another Excerpt, Falling to Eternity by
David Hallquist is a little vanilla. You ought to look at Yahoo's front page
and watch how they create post titles to grab viewers to open the links.
You might add a related video or a pic or two to grab people interested about what you've written. In my opinion,
it could bring your posts a little bit more interesting.
David Kyle Johnson on the Sci Phi Show, 2015-09-06 06:58:46
Riad: This is great, Rob! I've actually long thghout a magazine with this sort of theme would have a lot of potential, so I'm glad to see someone taking up the battle cry.I'm a bit disappointed that it's available for download only, but that's just more motivation to get an e-book reader one of these days, I suppose.
Sci Phi Journal #5 is out!, 2015-08-29 02:24:48
Sci Phi Journal #5, May/June 2015 | Cyd Athens: […] might encounter in a book discussion group follows many of the stories. Let us, then, foray into this issue’s content and see what we […]
Issue #7 is available now!, 2015-08-28 15:52:23
Shell Game at SciPhi Journal! (get a copy) | kieran sterling holmes: […] My first official scifi short story, Shell Game, has just been published in the anniversary edition of SciPhi Journal (#7). Check out the website and order a copy (and more!): http://www.sciphijournal.com/issue-7-is-available-now/ […]
Sci Phi’s Editorial Policy, 2015-08-26 15:24:47
Martha Burns: Hi there. I just wanted to commend you for making your position clear, though I do want to make a distinction between philosophy and politics. While I can't tell for sure, I suspect we'll agree on this and it may help clarify what the author was asking. The publications where the editors have a particular philosophical position oftentimes make that clear with a list of "stories we've seen too much of" or a clear statement. Feminist editors, for example, often make that clear in just that way. I applaud anyone who aligns themselves with the SPs when they make their philosophical position clear rather than call what they share politics. It isn't politics all feminists or all SP supporters share; it is a view of the structure of reality. That touches at something deeper and far more meaningful than how we might vote. Of course, they _may_ go hand in hand, but that hasn't been my experience. A liberal voter might be a religious believer or an atheist. A position on which laws ought to be enacted _may_ go hand in hand with a view of reality and a moral view, but even if they do always go hand in hand, politics and philosophy are still distinct matters.
Lou Antonelli’s Hugo nominated short “On a Spiritual Plain” available for free, 2015-08-25 13:04:44
The Winners of the 2015 Hugo Awards: Puppies Lose, Translations Win - Women Write About Comics: […] “On A Spiritual Plain,” Lou Antonelli (Sci Phi Journal #2, 11-2014) – RP, SP […]
Aristotle, Atheism and God, 2015-08-11 05:26:02
Floris M. Kleijne: Likewise. It has been both instructive and entertaining, and I look forward to whatever blog post this may result in. I'm abandoning the discussion now, not because we seem to be out of points to argue (we're clearly not), but because all this is coming out of my writing time :-D If we ever run into one another at a Con, let me buy you a beer (soda? vodka?), and we'll drink to Aristotle and Aquinas...
Aristotle, Atheism and God, 2015-08-10 21:16:53
Jason: "Admittedly, I am not at all as well-versed in philosophy as you obviously are"
That's alright, I am certainly an amateur myself. It is all a process of learning.
"our disagreement does seem to be one of world view rather than misunderstanding."
It s probably a bit of both, but certainly at base it is a clash of worldviews.
"Old Tom did not, perhaps, explicitly use the existence of God as one of his starting points. However, he was a religious fellow, wasn’t he? His religion, his belief in a Supreme Being, cannot but have informed his Ways"
A first point. If you say "I can dismiss Thomas because he was religious and therefore tainted", then I can just as reasonably say "I can dismiss Floris because he isn't religious and therefore his view is tainted by that and therefore irrelevant". Surely it is better to look at the actual merits of the argument, entertain them on those merits and evaluate accordingly.
I would ask though. Have you read the relevant section of the Summa Theologicae? Thomas can be a little hard going, but he is a very careful thinker and does examine the strongest objections he can find to his arguments. He certainly doesn't, as you seem to think, suggest that God is self evident and puts forward an argument as to why before he gets to the 5 ways in the Summa Theologicae. He also is quite explicit in the 5 ways in not claiming this leads to a specific God but is just a general falsification of the broad atheist project. Also the whole point of the early part of the Summa was to work out how much you could learn via reason alone without the aid of revelation.
"Any approach to this question that is both logical *and* scientific needs to start with a negative null hypothesis, and critically attempt to reach mundane conclusions before leaping to God"
May I suggest you take the time to read the first few articles in the Summa Theologicae. I think you will be surprised.
"Similarly, it strikes me that despite your impressive arguments from philosophy, your root argument is nevertheless one of religion"
I did not cite any religious text and quite explicitly worked with the assumptions of Aristotle, not a believer in any particular religious tradition as his mentor Plato was not nor was his mentor Socrates. Socrates was in fact put to death for his rejection of the Pagan Greek God's.
:Setting aside the details of Aristotle’s causes for a moment, you do argue that Man’s final cause is Good"
In a sense i would argue that mans final end is happiness or actually Eudimonia (Greek word, that is probably best translated as blessedness), and the pursuit of the good in the virtuous life will lead to this end. Aquinas has an interesting article on "What does a mans happiness consist in?" that I really should write something on some time.
"Myself, I’m one of them Darwinists"
I did guess that ;)
"And while evolutionary biologists and other careless types have the bad habit of speaking about evolution in teleological terms"
It is the natural way to speak about such things. I would suggest that it is the natural way to speak about such things because it is true.
"evolution can in fact explain life, and human behavior, without resorting to final causes at all"
This isn't actually true. Explain what the heart does without reference to a final cause. You will find the task impossible. Don't forget a "final cause" is the "What is this for?" question. Either science cannot actually answer that question, or it will need to use final causes to explain it. Final causes don't have to be "intelligent" in the sense you seem to presume.
"mere chance and efficient causes suffice"
I would suggest this is essentially an appeal to magic. There is nothing inconsistent between Aquinas' 5th way, his "argument from design" and evolution. The modern ID movement, which makes the mistake of trying to follow in the footsteps of the mechanical project, muddies the water there. I know a number of them and I think they do good work, but they do confuse the issue. Mike Behe in particular I think as an orthodox Catholic sees no conflict between evolutionary theory and his religious convictions and his point is closer to being the idea that the current Darwinian theory is not wrong so much as incomplete. Much as Newton wasn't wrong, but his work was incomplete and General relativity provides a more complete picture.
"As I argued before, apparent moral behavior can simply be the result of evolution, because what we now call Good actually provided evolutionary advantages"
This is problematic though. You can assert it, but what evidence do you have? Altruism and other behaviors are still largely black boxes and more importantly, Alvin Plantinga has a devastating critique of your whole approach in his Evolutionary Argument Against Naturalism that (AFAICS) the critics have failed to understand rather than ever shown was wrong.
"I’d even go as far as claiming that evolutionary theory is in itself the single most powerful refutation of Aquinas’ 5th Way."
That probably rests on your misunderstanding of it. Which is alright, as I said, the modern ID movement does rather muddy the waters. I would suggest evolutionary theory is a strong vindication of Aquinas' 5th way.
"So does this make me a nihilist? Perhaps so"
I'd suggest your adherence to "darwinism" and the mechanical project will lead you into an abiding nihilism that includes the epistemological and even the merelogical and not simply moral nihilism.
"But this still seems to me to be a collision of world views"
Of course, it always was.
"in which I think that our Universe can be sufficiently explained through science, and you that metaphysics are needed."
There is one difference though. I admit the need for metaphysics and make use of it, while you make use of metaphysics and then deny the need for it.
Saying "The universe can be sufficiently explained through science" is a metaphysical not a scientific claim. You can't do science without a significant amount of metaphysics already worked out. It isnt "metaphysics or science", you can do metaphysics without science but you can't do science without metaphysics. Try and construct a scientific framework without resorting to metaphysics, it can't be done. If you think it can keep in mind a few things.
1. That your senses are in any way reliable is a metaphysical assumption.
2. That the universe is orderly is a metaphysical assumption (actually it is also a deeply theistic one).
3. That the universe is comprehensible is a metaphysical assumption (and doesn't automatically follow from 2).
Trying building a framework for science that doesn't presume those.
Your view was once known as "Logical Positivism" and more commonly is known as "Scientism" and it is logically incoherent, but also quite popular.
Thanks for the reply you have given me some things to ponder.
Aristotle, Atheism and God, 2015-08-10 14:30:21
Floris M. Kleijne: Admittedly, I am not at all as well-versed in philosphy as you obviously are, and my use of the applicable terms is careless and inaccurate. However, we do seem to be talking about the same things, and our disagreement does seem to be one of world view rather than misunderstanding.
Let me make a couple of observations that are relevant to my argument.
Old Tom did not, perhaps, explicitly use the existence of God as one of his starting points. However, he was a religious fellow, wasn't he? His religion, his belief in a Supreme Being, cannot but have informed his Ways, especially since from what I can gather, he did not go out of his way to work from the explicit assumption that God does *not* exist. Any approach to this question that is both logical *and* scientific needs to start with a negative null hypothesis, and critically attempt to reach mundane conclusions before leaping to God. Such a leap, I maintain, is insufficiently grounded in his arguments, and therefore results, in my opinion, from a pre-existing bias towards the existence of God.
Similarly, it strikes me that despite your impressive arguments from philosophy, your root argument is nevertheless one of religion; the title of your post is an important tell in that regard. Setting aside the details of Aristotle's causes for a moment, you do argue that Man's final cause is Good. To me, that is a religious assumption rather than fact, originating more in your religious beliefs than in rational argument. (And of course, I'm not equating religion with DCT; there are, and have been, many ways in which the Divine has been put forward as the source of morality, of Good and Evil, and I wholeheartedly agree with you that DCT, or the Biggest Stick Theory, is flawed.
Myself, I'm one of them Darwinists. And while evolutionary biologists and other careless types have the bad habit of speaking about evolution in teleological terms, evolution can in fact explain life, and human behavior, without resorting to final causes at all; mere chance and efficient causes suffice. As I argued before, apparent moral behavior can simply be the result of evolution, because what we now call Good actually provided evolutionary advantages. Worse even, the concepts of Good and Evil are in this view inventions after the fact, labels applied to evolved behaviors. (Speaking of careless terminology: this is what I meant when I talked about "great good for society" in my first comment.) I'd even go as far as claiming that evolutionary theory is in itself the single most powerful refutation of Aquinas' 5th Way.
So does this make me a nihilist? Perhaps so. But this still seems to me to be a collision of world views, in which I think that our Universe can be sufficiently explained through science, and you that metaphysics are needed.
Aristotle, Atheism and God, 2015-07-26 22:57:07
Content Editor: Hi Floris,
"Reasoning from the basis that religion is *a* source of morality"
That's the problem. I didn't do that, if anything I was saying the reverse. That "religion as a source of morality", which is (IMO) a lot of what Divine Command Theory amounts too, is actually a problem that comes from a rejection of Scholastic Metaphysics. You have my argument backwards.
"it is unsurprising that the conclusion is that religion is *the* source of morality"
But that was _not_ my conclusion. The conclusion was that morality finds its proper grounding in a metaphysics with formal and final causes. That formal and final causes lead to arguments that conclude some sort of generic theism is true is a corollary of that. This was never intended as an argument for the existence of God but to show that bad metaphysics renders morality impossible and that for the atheist, good metaphysics, is inimical to their atheism.
"Generic Theism" or the agnostic variety as Socrates, Plato and Aristotle appear to have adhered too are not "religions" in the sense you appear to mean the term.
"Similarly, refuting old Tom’s so-called logical proofs of the existence of God is Logic 101,"
You say that, and then laud the abysmal arguments I cited but their refutation of the First Way, the argument from motion, makes the typical modern mistake of assuming that "motion" means movement, but Aquinas meant "motion" as change. It was a different, and broader, usage of the term. A "refutation" isn't off to a good start when it indicates that it doesn't understand the source material.
"looking at the Prime Cause, disregarding the view that a Prime Cause is unneeded in most multi-dimensional views of the Universe"
Be careful here. I am guessing you think "first cause" means "initial event", but again, Aristotle, who originated the argument thought the material universe was eternal. Any argument that starts with, "but we don't need a beginning of the universe" or "but we have a different explanation for the beginning of the universe" doesn't understand the argument.
"let’s for a moment accept that the Universe actually needs to have a Prime Cause"
It does Aquinas and Aristotle showed this from the existence of change in the universe. Do you agree with Parmenides that change is impossible?
"It is then a giant and unsupported leap to propose that God must be that Prime Cause"
I think there is some confusion on your part as to what Aquinas' 5 ways are supposed to demonstrate. He also goes into the idea elsewhere at great length to show what you can derive from the original proof. It is hardly a "leap" and Aquinas, in these arguments, isn't presuming the truth of any religious revelation, quite the opposite. He was trying to see how far he could get on reason alone. Quite far as it turns out.
"Similarly, arguing for religion as the only real basis for morality, as you do"
But that is explicitly what I didn't do, saying that such an approach was a problem for my fellow Christians who are nominalists. The reference to an appeal to Divine Command Theory and dismissing it as "god having the biggest stick" was not an argument for the idea that "religion is the only basis for morality".
"Morality stabilizes society, minimizes conflict (if applied correctly), and thus helps create optimal circumstances for the perpetuation of society. Hence, morality is such a great good for the human species, that humans have repeatedly invented religion to institutionalize morality"
For someone who accuses others of begging the question, it seems strange that you would then do it yourself.
"It also occurs to me that science, and specifically the Big Bang Theory, Relativity, and Evolution"
Except that none of these are a problem at all for the 5 ways and evolutionary theory might be seen as a vindication of the 5th way in particular.
You appear to be trying to argue against something i'm not actually arguing.
Aristotle, Atheism and God, 2015-07-26 10:13:14
Floris M. Kleijne: The error in the argument here, as in many arguments, is in the assumptions. Reasoning from the basis that religion is *a* source of morality, it is unsurprising that the conclusion is that religion is *the* source of morality. However, to accept that basis, one needs to be religious in the first place. I would argue the opposite: that religion originates in the need for morality on the part of early societies.
Similarly, refuting old Tom's so-called logical proofs of the existence of God is Logic 101, provided one doesn't take one's pre-existing faith that God exists into the argument. Never mind the flaws in each of the five Ways, which are excellently--not abysmally--refuted in the linked article: even if each step in each of the five Ways, up to the penultimate step, were objectively correct, his final leap in each case is not supported by his arguments. That is, in each case, even if something unknown needs to exist to fit his (already flawed) reasoning, it does not need to be God, or any kind of all-powerful benevolent being at all.
For instance, looking at the Prime Cause, disregarding the view dat a Prime Cause is unneeded in most multi-dimensional views of the Universe, let's for a moment accept that the Universe actually needs to have a Prime Cause. It is then a giant and unsupported leap to propose that God must be that Prime Cause. With a Big Bang theory, supported by an overwhelming body of evidence, to describe how the Universe came to be, it seems to me that Mr Occam would have something to say about dragging a hypothetical Supreme Being into the equation as well.
As an additional example, the Argument from Perfection falls flat in at least two ways. First, to propose that there must exist a *single* entity possessing *all* properties to the maximum extent has no basis in logic or in what Tom himself puts forward. And even if he did manage to argue that there must exist such a "perfect" entity, there is still no basis for concluding that such an entity would then be the God the Christians believe in.
In other words: Aquina's Ways can seem valid only to those already convinced that God exists. He was preaching to the parish.
Similarly, arguing for religion as the only real basis for morality, as you do, can only seem valid if you accept religion as *a* basis for morality. Like I said, if you argue from the assumption that religion serves some need of the human species, it would seem most plausible that the need served is the need for morality. Morality stabilizes society, minimizes conflict (if applied correctly), and thus helps create optimal circumstances for the perpetuation of society. Hence, morality is such a great good for the human species, that humans have repeatedly invented religion to institutionalize morality. From this basis, it flows naturally that morality leads to religion, not the other way around; and ultimately, that most humans will have an innate need for morality, that can either be served by religion, or alternatively, and increasingly, by a non-religious moral system (such as reciprocity, or a non-religious belief system that does not require a Supreme Being).
It occurs to me, though, that both the refutation of Aquina's Ways, and the point of view I've sketched here, require the acceptance of the scientific method as the most reliable and useful means of observing and explaining the Universe. It also occurs to me that science, and specifically the Big Bang Theory, Relativity, and Evolution, are hated by so many religious people and institutions precisely because understanding the scientific method, and knowing these theories, cannot but lead to refutation of the assumption that religion is *a* source of morality, never mind *the* source.
Issue #6 out now!, 2015-07-07 17:50:38
Fireworks | Bev Vincent: […] new short story “The Bottle of Red Zinfandel” is now available in Sci Phi Journal issue 6. Electronic and paper copies of this periodical are […]
Lou Antonelli’s Hugo nominated short “On a Spiritual Plain” available for free, 2015-06-30 05:41:15
Magazine Monday: Hugo-Nominated Short Stories, 2014 | Fantasy Literature: Fantasy and Science Fiction Book and Audiobook Reviews: […] “On the Spiritual Plain” by Lou Antonelli is set on the planet Ymilas. This planet “has an energetic planetary core, and the planet has a very strong magnetic field.” As a result, living beings “develop an electromagnetic imprint as a result of the experiences of life that survives after death.” In short, the Ymilans live with ghosts of their ancestors. […]
More news, 2015-06-03 04:57:39
Jeff Racho: I'd be happy to pay (or donate an amount) for an original painting by Cat!
More news, 2015-05-31 19:56:24
Mark Keigley (Mark Wolf): One thing an editor and his artist did for me that was really cool was when I got a cover they gave me permission to use it as my facebook and email avatar. It also promotes the mag. http://www.amazon.com/Stupefying-Stories-July-2013-II-ebook/dp/B00DR11UI0
Some more news, 2015-05-22 06:49:00
Malcolm the Cynic: Jason, you are the first publisher I have EVER seen apologize publicly for rejecting people.
I am amused, but it speaks to character as well. So good for you.
More news, 2015-05-20 23:51:31
Content Editor: We normally post content through @SuperversiveSF
More news, 2015-05-20 15:18:15
Geoff Gander: Very cool poster! It would make a great avatar picture if Sci Phi Journal has a Twitter account.
Forums work!, 2015-05-16 18:27:39
http://www.asko108.imperium.kao.pl: Very good info. Lucky me I recently found your site by accident (stumbleupon).
I have saved it for later!
Sci Phi Journal #5 is out!, 2015-05-08 23:48:17
Content Editor: Cat Leonard (catleonardart.com) who does all the art work for Sci Phi, except the cover of Issue #1 and the header art for the Cloaking article in #5.
Sci Phi Journal #5 is out!, 2015-05-08 23:31:18
Mike Mike: Who did the cover?
Sci Phi Journal #5 is out!, 2015-05-06 23:53:58
Non “Joy of Technology” News | The Joy of Technology: […] Sci Phi Journal’s website. […]
Lou Antonelli’s Hugo nominated short “On a Spiritual Plain” available for free, 2015-04-24 21:27:35
2015 Hugo Nominated Short Stories & Novelettes » Death Is Bad: […] “On A Spiritual Plain”, Lou Antonelli (also in pdf) […]
Lou Antonelli’s Hugo nominated short “On a Spiritual Plain” available for free, 2015-04-22 04:04:19
Death Rides A Puppy 4/22 | File 770: […] “Lou Antonelli’s Hug-nominated Short “On A Spiritual Plain” Available for Free” – April 21 […]
A Hugo nomination and other news!, 2015-04-14 23:59:10
art bowshier: I'm an older artist/writer. I've published a short story with Fight Card and self published a comic anthology. I have several genre shorts in file I could use to write short comics, also.
More news, 2015-04-05 00:23:46
Malcolm the Cynic: Congratulations on the Hugo nomination! Two if you count Mr. Antonelli's story.
Submission Pile is being processed and a nice review!, 2015-03-31 19:51:38
Ben Zwycky: I'm tempted to send him chapters 1-5, to see what he thinks, maybe even encourage other people to buy back issues. can I?
A Sci Phi Trailer and news!, 2015-03-18 20:17:45
Gregg Chamberlain: Beauty art and beauty vid.
Issue #4, Book Bombs and News, 2015-02-27 06:23:33
Brian Niemeier: Congratulations on Issue #4!
Hugo nominations are still open (that's why Larry is book-bombing Issue #2), so don't give up hope.
Teaser art for Issue #4, 2015-02-24 12:08:59
Content Editor: Thanks Elliotte, we did catch that and it has been corrected for the issue itself.
Teaser art for Issue #4, 2015-02-24 11:47:35
Elliotte Rusty Harold: I suspect there's a typo in the art for Alex Shvartsmann's story. That should be "Icarus Falls", not "Incarus Falls" (unless this is a new story, not a reprint, that differs from his previous story in only a single letter, which seems unlikely)
Teaser art for Issue #4, 2015-02-09 08:42:19
Sci Phi Art by Cat Leonard | The Zwyckyverse: […] http://www.sciphijournal.com/teaser-art-for-issue-4/ […]
Teaser art for Issue #4, 2015-02-08 06:04:34
Teaser Art for Issue 4 of the Sci Phi Journal | Malcolm the Cynic: […] Here it is. […]
Sci Phi Journal makes Sad Puppies 3 list!, 2015-02-03 15:45:39
Kull: I was reading up on the rules and apparently we get five slots for each category. So even if I opted for the straight slate I would have one vote left to cast for "Domo". I would love to see the Antonelli story get a nomination too. I will definitely be using a slot for that.
Sci Phi Journal makes Sad Puppies 3 list!, 2015-02-02 21:01:43
Content Editor: Thanks Kull. We can't have everything make the list. Thanks very much for the support.
Sci Phi Journal makes Sad Puppies 3 list!, 2015-02-02 15:34:49
Kull: I signed up this year and I plan on voting for you and the journal all the way. I am a bit miffed "Domo" didn't make the slate. I plan on voting for it anyway.
Some news and a joke, 2015-01-22 03:44:44
Content Editor: I can do that!
Some news and a joke, 2015-01-22 03:42:30
David: Jason, if you can do a scan of smaller proportions (inkjet printer capable) and upload that to willing distributor of the poster, I could easily print my own copies for posting. Save you the printing and mailing costs....
I need a section separator for stories! Any ideas?, 2015-01-18 17:27:16
Matthew P. Schmidt: An infinity symbol? A greek letter phi?
Some news and a joke, 2015-01-18 05:32:37
EJ: It's obvious how hard you are working Jason and we all believe in you and this great concept (SciPhiJournal). I would be happy to post a few of the A3s. There is a Barnes and Noble as well as two Starbucks that I am sure would allow posting. Keep us advised as to how we can help out.
How Sci Phi is going, 2015-01-15 10:02:09
Content Editor: I don't know if you have Stephen but I will do that. Any tips on submitting?
How Sci Phi is going, 2015-01-15 04:19:59
Stephen S. Power: Have you sent each issue to Lois Tilton at Locus for review? She definitely makes a place for new endeavours, whether Uncanny, which was hugely anticipated, or Bastion, which has as high aspirations but a lower profile. I might have mentioned this before.
How Sci Phi is going, 2015-01-14 06:25:30
Spreading the Word about the Sci Phi Journal | The Zwyckyverse: […] http://www.sciphijournal.com/how-sci-phi-is-going/ […]
How Sci Phi is going, 2015-01-13 15:36:15
Gene: I'd be happy to help. Can you get my email from these comments?
How Sci Phi is going, 2015-01-13 01:28:20
Content Editor: Holy smokes Brianman!
If I need 4 for a nomination, depending on when they close I could even be eligible!
It is nice to know when you make a difference thanks for pointing that out :D
How Sci Phi is going, 2015-01-13 01:21:03
Brian Niemeier: Hi, Jason. I'm glad Sci Phi Journal has been selling better than its predecessor. Take heart, it can take time for a work to reach its full audience.
By the way, I wasn't sure if you'd seen this post asking readers for Hugo nominee suggestions over at Brad Torgersen's blog. https://bradrtorgersen.wordpress.com/2015/01/07/announcing-sad-puppies-3/
Your name comes up several times in the comments--I think deservedly so. It's a good sign. Keep up the solid work!
How Sci Phi is going, 2015-01-12 19:28:33
Content Editor: Thanks Gene, I do appreciate it :)
I think for the next 3 issues it will be every two months. I can afford that and it gives me some breathing room.
If you would like to help editing or proof reading I can always use the help. I can offer you an editor credit for doing so on the front cover, on the ISBN entry and on Amazon.
How Sci Phi is going, 2015-01-12 19:07:08
Gene: I, for one, would like to see it continue. I have been promoting it on Facebook and Twitter. I hope it's helping. I will say that monthly releases is quite ambitious compared to other journals I like. Perhaps it would be easier if you scaled back to bimonthly or quarterly.
Also, I do have some expertise with proofreading and editing if that would help.
Your rights end where their feelings begin at Oxford!, 2015-01-12 10:21:59
Yahoo: I've been surfing online more than three hours today, yet I by no means discovered any attention-grabbing article
like yours. It's lovely price sufficient for
me. In my opinion, if all web owners and bloggers made excellent content material as you
did, the net can be much more helpful than ever before.
I need a section separator for stories! Any ideas?, 2015-01-07 15:43:36
Joseph Moore: I agree. Over time, you could accumulate a variety of little SciFi/SciPhi icons to use as dividers, in addition to a rocket ship and a ringed planet:
- ray gun
- Erlenmeyer flask/smoking beaker
- bug-eyed tentacled alien
- little bitty 'the Thinker' by Rodin
Then, use the one or ones that best apply to the story.
But then, maybe these would be better for the ends of stories/essays rather than in the middle, as they might be too distracting. A curlicue might work better mid-piece. But I bet your friends and contributors could cook up a bunch if so desired.
I need a section separator for stories! Any ideas?, 2015-01-07 14:10:39
Ben Zwycky: Or these:
I need a section separator for stories! Any ideas?, 2015-01-07 13:50:52
Ben Zwycky: Like these?
I need a section separator for stories! Any ideas?, 2015-01-07 12:18:37
David Hallquist: I think three small graphics would work well.
Perhaps three classic finned rocket-ship outlines. Or three ringed planet outlines. Or maybe a black-and-white image of a scroll.
Submission processing continues!, 2015-01-06 07:49:42
Ben Zwycky: My parents would certainly be interested, I also know the director of the local evangelical seminary, I suggested it might be something good to add to their library, we'll see how that goes. I could proofread it.
Meet the contributor – Ben Zwycky, 2015-01-03 10:27:26
Meet (or Hear) the Man Behind the Curtain | The Zwyckyverse: […] http://www.sciphijournal.com/meet-the-contributor-ben-zwycky/ […]
Issue #3 is out!, 2014-12-30 15:26:27
shameless other people promotion! | I Speak With the Tongue of A Thousand White-Hot Lies!: […] #3 of SciPhi Journal is out, and it has a story in it by my evil twin, Jason […]
Issue #3 is taking shape and other news, 2014-12-26 02:41:02
Malcolm the Cynic: I think a kickstarter could work if your goal is modest. I know you needed a certain amount to keep things going, but it doesn't need to all come through Kickstarter. You can ask less.
Issue #3 is out!, 2014-12-25 16:57:07
Ben Zwycky: It's working now, so all is well.
Issue #3 is out!, 2014-12-24 21:45:59
Content Editor: Yeah it isn't up yet, but I figured I would get the post out and it would update during the day. I figured most people would be with family at the moment anyway. But I will post a note.
Issue #3 is out!, 2014-12-24 21:42:18
Ben Zwycky: Castalia House link is broken for me (maybe they haven't updated their store page yet)
Issue #3 is taking shape and other news, 2014-12-16 23:02:26
David Hallquist: Awesome cover!
Issue #3 is taking shape and other news, 2014-12-16 03:44:37
Stephen S. Power: Plasma Frequency tried a Kickstarter and it went nowhere, whereas Uncanny's was a huge success. I think you may need a larger profile before you try it or have some serious weight, as Uncanny did, for its first issue. Perhaps you could try an anthology, such as Blackguards, but again that has some huge contributors.
Submissions update and other news, 2014-12-14 22:38:30
Content Editor: Thanks for the suggestions Stephen, I will start doing those. I'm working towards trying to do more topical issues, Issue 3 (due out soon) has something of a theme to it, at least for the stories.
Submissions update and other news, 2014-12-14 04:23:21
Stephen S. Power: Have you put out a "call for papers" as it were? I used to be an editor at Wiley, and that was our strategy to get pieces for books in our "And Philosophy" series. To juice people, you might also propose a theme for stories, maybe an sf take on a classic philosophical conundrum or an idea such as the "zombie argument." You could even make it topical, tying into a movie such as Interstellar. You could also post on reddit's writing board http://www.reddit.com/r/writing/ and on various sf forums about the stories you want. You could also get some coverage from the SF blogs such as SF Signal (http://www.sfsignal.com/) and io9 (K. Tempest Bradford, in particular, who tweets at @tinytempest).
Submissions update and other news, 2014-12-12 04:02:35
Content Editor: I've looked at going with some sort of subscription approach but i'm reluctant to take money for subscriptions when the magazine is still shy of being viable.
I think I will need an ISSN number to publish officially as a magazine which may be required for Amazon. Still, looking into it, and at the point the magazine is sufficiently viable to make subscription an option I will.
Email list is a good idea though. Thanks Jill
Submissions update and other news, 2014-12-11 17:06:53
Jill: Since this is a monthly magazine, I wonder if you've considered going with a yearly subscription model. It sounds like something I would enjoy reading, but remembering to purchase is another matter. Or maybe you just have an email subscribe list so that people can get updates and be reminded that way?
Ideas for a name for interview segments?, 2014-12-11 00:16:51
Content Editor: Thanks for the suggestions :)
Ideas for a name for interview segments?, 2014-12-10 19:28:35
Feelasopher: I like "signs of intelligent life" and I offer these:
Submission Guidelines, 2014-12-09 13:01:24
sciphi journal: 5 cent pr ord | Kenneth Krabats 1000 stemmer: […] http://www.sciphijournal.com/submission-guidelines/ […]
Submissions update and other news, 2014-12-09 02:47:20
Content Editor: Thanks Josh :)
Submissions update and other news, 2014-12-08 19:27:32
Joshua Young: I'm hawking it to everyone I can.... and just managed to get my mother to do so, lol.
Submissions update and other news, 2014-12-08 19:14:45
Content Editor: Hi Joseph,
Not yet, if the magazine reaches the point of being self sustaining I am planning to organize that but while it is still a month to month affair I am reluctant to takes peoples money for something that might cease to exist before the subscription runs out.
Submissions update and other news, 2014-12-08 16:42:14
Joseph Moore: Is there a way to buy a subscription, or is it an issue-by-issue deal? Because I'd buy subscriptions for some friends if I could...
Submission Guidelines, 2014-12-08 04:33:11
Monday Markets – Sci Phi Journal (via @thesciphishow) | Literarium – The Blog: […] Guidelines here: http://www.sciphijournal.com/submission-guidelines/ […]
Ideas for a name for interview segments?, 2014-12-07 17:29:48
Content Editor: Thanks David!
Ideas for a name for interview segments?, 2014-12-07 15:35:57
David Hallquist: I really like "Meet Your Makers" "First Contacts" Behind the Curtain" and ""Signs of Intelligent Life".
Would you like the magazine in a paper edition?, 2014-12-02 22:20:22
Content Editor: Thank you for letting me know Malcolm. I will see if I can produce one for Issue #3.
Would you like the magazine in a paper edition?, 2014-12-02 22:10:27
Malcolm the Cynic: Yes, I would, actually. It's fairly cheap, so twice the price is not bad at all as far as I'm concerned.
Would you like the magazine in a paper edition?, 2014-12-02 09:59:16
Content Editor: Malcolm,
Would you pay twice the price plus shipping? At a rough guess that is what it would cost to createspace POD physical copies.
IF you are keen I will see what I can do, but that would be the reality. It would probably be $7.99 for the issue.
Bat fight words, 2014-12-01 20:35:55
Content Editor: It is great isn't it. I couldn't resist sharing :)
Bat fight words, 2014-12-01 17:35:08
Gene: This is awesome.
Would you like the magazine in a paper edition?, 2014-12-01 17:06:57
Malcolm the Cynic: I'd love to have a physical copy, because I am vain and could bring it around and show it to people more easily if I'm in it.
Would you like the magazine in a paper edition?, 2014-11-30 23:07:39
Content Editor: They would just be print on demand copies. If some people wanted it, unless it was another 30 hours of work I wouls t mind doing it.
The best of will definitely be in paper.
Would you like the magazine in a paper edition?, 2014-11-30 22:42:02
David Hallquist: Paper magazines are tricky to sell these days. I do hope that the collections and "best of" eventually become available in a paperback form. I'd like to have that on my bookshelf.
Your rights end where their feelings begin at Oxford!, 2014-11-25 09:02:49
Content Editor: Wayne,
Their principles appear to be based in a broad idea that the only virtue is "tolerance" and that "reason" and "debate" are incompatible with this idea. That feelings must be protected at all costs and that they have a "right" to be comfortable and that that "right" trumps a right to free expression and the liberty of open debate. I derive all of that from their words as reported and from others I have encountered extolling exactly those positions including the insane "Your rights end where my feelings begin".
There comment about "nobody without a uterus should be allowed to speak on this topic" speaks of a commitment to a lunatic obsession with identity politics as if the possession of a uterus somehow changes the validity of an argument. It doesn't, an arguments validity depends on the structure of the argument and the validity of its premises. Are you familiar with the idea of Bulverism?
How did they come to these conclusions? These aren't conclusions, I doubt they are capable of a reasoned argument. These are simply brute facts. Again, based on repeated encounters with people who sound like this and talk like this. Always speaking as if "I feel it ... end of discussion". As I said, they abdicate their birthright as Homo Sapiens Sapiens when they do this becoming nothing more than trousered apes, to use C.S Lewis' term.
I gather you agree with them though. Why don't you explain the argument.
Your rights end where their feelings begin at Oxford!, 2014-11-25 08:26:02
Wayne: "Yes of course it did. That is the most depressing part of it. I want it to be ill thought out feelings, only inability to think because it is such a depressingly evil and totalitarian line of thinking."
So what do you think the student's philosophical principles might be, from their own point of view, and how do you think they might have come to the conclusion to ask for the debate to be cancelled?
Your rights end where their feelings begin at Oxford!, 2014-11-25 07:53:27
Content Editor: "So it never occurred to you that those students might be acting on their own well-thought-out philosophical principles?"
Yes of course it did. That is the most depressing part of it. I want it to be ill thought out feelings, only inability to think because it is such a depressingly evil and totalitarian line of thinking.
That way lies blood, fire and madness.
"I find your attitude towards them dehumanizing"
I find their abdication of reason for feelings a willful abandonment of their birth right as Homo sapiens sapiens.
I think we will just have to agree to disagree Wayne, but you will note, I haven't censored your comment but allowed it because I value open debate and reason.
Your rights end where their feelings begin at Oxford!, 2014-11-25 07:34:50
Wayne: So it never occurred to you that those students might be acting on their own well-thought-out philosophical principles? I find your attitude towards them dehumanizing, and the original article rife with emotional biases and unexamined assumptions.
Your rights end where their feelings begin at Oxford!, 2014-11-23 21:48:43
Your rights end where their feelings begin at Oxford! | Wanda's World: […] Read more at Your rights end where their feelings begin at Oxford!. […]
We land on a comet and some feminists complain about a shirt?, 2014-11-20 20:12:49
Content Editor: I would agree with you Gene that Emmanuel doesn't have a great understanding of current law. Although I suspect he is saying he doesn't agree with the current law.
I don't agree with a lot of it either because it tends to empower the thin skinned and deliberately easily offended.
More than a few women seem to regard "asking her out if you are insufficiently attractive" as sexual harassment. That is hardly reasonable.
We have already seen with "street harassment" women complaining about "being harassed" and then other women complaining they are being ignored and this made them feel ugly. How can you expect the law to be able to deal with something as flighty as women's emotions like this? And that is because of the observation that they are highly variable in this circumstance not some female stereotype.
I agree there is such a thing as sexual harassment but where do you draw the line? Law is a blunt instrument and fails badly at doing nuance. By its nature it needs to be black and white. "A is ok, B is wrong", it cannot meaningfully allow for the sorts gradations that seem to be expected. Take the previous case, either nobody should be allowed to ask anybody for a date or everybody can and sometimes people will be asked by people they wish to refuse, and they should do so politely (but firmly) like an adult.
Maybe we simply need to have gender segregated work places? That is where such laws will lead.
We land on a comet and some feminists complain about a shirt?, 2014-11-20 18:49:08
Clearly you know very little about employment law, especially regarding sexual harassment and hostile work environment. All of my employees received specific training about what constituted sexual harassment under the law and our policy and signed a form saying that they agreed to it. I used my discretion in not firing him. The letter of the law/our policy was stricter than I was. I'm surprised this makes you so angry. I guess that's a good illustration of why the shirt was a problem and why employment law is necessary.
We land on a comet and some feminists complain about a shirt?, 2014-11-20 16:48:11
Yeah... your guy had every reason to up and quit, especially since his boss had such a warped ethos that he honestly thought, in his own little fairy tale world, that he had the grounds to fire him for that. Granted, I'm all for an owner of a business being able to fire anyone for any reason, but like with Freedom of Speech, that cuts both ways and does not render the firer from relentless criticism, especially if he fired someone for something stupid like that.
Words cannot express the number of middle fingers I wish to send your way, but I do believe this will suffice:
We land on a comet and some feminists complain about a shirt?, 2014-11-20 00:01:52
Content Editor: You can find an image of the shirt here http://space.io9.com/that-time-a-scientist-was-held-accountable-for-his-sens-1658525347
I completely agree with you, it is ridiculous to carry on about this some how being marginalized and how they all had their feelz hurt. The part everybody missed was that there were actually 5 female scientists on the team. I don't think that is here or there but presumably the myopic feminists in question didn't bother to ask that question.
We land on a comet and some feminists complain about a shirt?, 2014-11-19 23:28:57
Ye Olde Statistiician: I must have missed something. I have not seen the shirt. Did it have a girlie picture on it? Did is have a sexually suggestive slogan? Or was it only the usual stereotypical trope of women criticizing how others are dressed? What was it about the shirt that supposedly made someone feel "marginalized"?
A colleague of mine was once taken to task for sexist remarks because he used the phrase "rule of thumb" in referring to a statistical approximation. The offense was taken because the complainant believed an urban legend that the phrase originated in an "old law" (never specified) that limited the thickness of the stick with which a man was supposedly allowed to beat his wife. There never seems to have been such a law, and the phrase stems from the origin of the inch as the length of the last digit of the thumb way back in ancient Egypt. "Rule" was understood as in the sense of a carpenter's or mason's rule; hence, its sense as "an approximation." However, the fellow had to make a ritual apology regardless.
Couple that anecdote with the anecdote regarding the girlie picture, above, and one can see the error of lumping very different things into one label-box. Meanwhile, locally, the ACLU has successfully defended for middle school students their right to wear "I (heart) Boobies" bracelets on the ground of "freedom of speech." So good taste is obviously not an issue. Supposedly, they are to raise breast cancer awareness, though one may doubt the intentions of male students in the matter. Once can hardly wait to see the bracelets for prostate cancer awareness.
We land on a comet and some feminists complain about a shirt?, 2014-11-19 02:04:13
Content Editor: Fair enough. I get what you are saying about "just one more thing", but I guess I come at it differently and get sick of people being so thin skinned, especially when everybody demands I must have a thick skin.
Here we have some feminists getting upset and offended by a bowling shirt. Alright, you might think it is tasteless, but "I don’t care if you landed a spacecraft on a comet, your shirt is sexist and ostracizing ... the sort of casual misogyny that stops women from entering certain scientific fields" is ridiculously thin skinned and over the top. Not to mention what this says about women an how infantalized they are if this is a serious comment.
I'm an orthodox Christian (Protestant, conservative Anglican specifically), and we are treated to things like Piss Christ or images of the Virgin Mary covered in feces and pornographic images. When Christians get (not unreasonably) upset over a deliberate act of desecration of things they hold (to varying degrees) as sacred or holy, we are told to have a thicker skin and stop being offended so easily, and "just get over it" or when we are subjected to usual collection of stupid ignorant articles in the paper and on TV at Christmas and Easter (every frickin' year), and likewise told to have a thicker skin and just get over it. All of these are deliberately provocative attacks too, designed specifically to cause offence and attack Christians. I don't mind being expected to have to just put up with garbage like this either. I value free speech and free expression and if you want to say something that disagrees with me, that's fine even if you want to be a dick about it.
But when feminists want to get up in arms over some guy and an unintentional fashion choice they don't like, it annoys me. I hate thought police. [/rant]
Submission Guidelines, 2014-11-19 00:31:11
Market Report: Sci Phi Journal | Alex Shvartsman's Speculative Fiction: […] Click here for detailed guidelines. […]
We land on a comet and some feminists complain about a shirt?, 2014-11-18 18:50:13
Gene: It's an open question whether you should use a pejorative, but I'd prefer one without the mythological baggage. Maybe something that keeps feminists human. Perhaps myopic would work.
And I'm not sure the shirt is marginalizing women as much as it is degrading to women. I don't think the shirt is going to stop anyone from becoming a scientist or engineer. It falls into the "it's just one more thing" category.
We land on a comet and some feminists complain about a shirt?, 2014-11-18 17:07:55
Gene: This whole incident reminds me a little of when I used to manage a chain bookstore. I had to deal with a sexual harassment case where an employee took a picture from a girlie mag that was heading to the shredder and put it on his desk. Several other employees complained. When I was having the difficult conversation, the employee who had the picture kept complaining that he was being ganged up on and saying it's just a picture and everyone should just get a grip. I didn't fire him (although I had the grounds), but he wound up quitting shortly thereafter because of this incident. I was baffled that he either couldn't or wouldn't look at it from anyone else's perspective. He didn't understand how the picture could offend someone. The initial thoughtlessness is certainly understandable, what I could never understand is the doubling down on his position after we talked. Taylor made a mistake with his choice of attire. I understand people calling him out for it. And I give him a lot of credit for, what seemed to me, a sincere apology.
We land on a comet and some feminists complain about a shirt?, 2014-11-18 09:28:44
Noumenon: I'm not getting enough out of your answers to want to carry this on.
We land on a comet and some feminists complain about a shirt?, 2014-11-18 02:25:05
Content Editor: "the first thing that needs to be recognised is that any over-reacting within the feminist community that has followed all this is *effect*, not *cause*."
The reaction started _after_ the comments on Verge. It was that original reaction on the Verge that has prompted a lot of the reaction. That original comment was an over reaction and if others have reacted strongly against that it is probably because they are growing increasingly fed up with the behavior of certain groups of feminists.
"The average male observer, if standing in a lift with someone who was wearing clothes plastered with sexualised male imagery, would likely feel a bit uncomfortable about it"
I doubt the average man pays that much attention to what other people are wearing. Why don't you do the experiment. I would actually be interested in the results.
"The only men who should feel threatened by feminism are the ones who consider themselves better than women,"
It depends what you mean. In my experience few (if any) men care what women wish to do, and how no problem with giving them the same set of political rights, at least in the West. Men in general don't find the idea of "female equality" threatening, most don't care, a level playing field isn't a problem.
What they object to is being told they are second class citizens because they have a penis. Don't forget Jessica Valenti (prominent women identified as a feminist) was saying the solution to the pay gap was to pay men less and she wrote this in the guardian. Maybe it is economically illiterate and sexist garbage like that that makes people concerned about feminism.
We land on a comet and some feminists complain about a shirt?, 2014-11-18 02:06:10
Content Editor: Why is it patronizing? I'm not the one who claimed it is things like this that make women "feel unwelcome" and "excluded" and "marginalized" from science. Is it unreasonable to characterize this as "heading for the hills"?
And my understanding of peer review is that it can be brutal. I work in tech, tearing bad ideas apart (and having your ideas torn apart when they are crap) is part of the environment. Everybody is just expected to get over it and try again.
If someones shirt upsets you to this point, then how are you going to react to having something you thought was a good idea destroyed because it turns out to be a bad idea?
We land on a comet and some feminists complain about a shirt?, 2014-11-18 01:57:01
Noumenon: Just to edit myself: where I said -
"Any man who assumes the average woman to be little different from himself, and deserving of the same rights, is effectively a feminist"
- I'd have preferred to say "deserving of the same treatment". Rights too, of course.
We land on a comet and some feminists complain about a shirt?, 2014-11-18 01:53:06
Noumenon: Yes, I did mean a negative bias.
I think there is a slippery slope of blame in this situation, and (acknowledging that I have sympathy for Taylor, given the hole he dug for himself) the first thing that needs to be recognised is that any over-reacting within the feminist community that has followed all this is *effect*, not *cause*. The swiftness to defend Taylor is coming in the form of swiftness to attack those who felt offence - and "attack" is not "disagreement". Phrases like "shrieking pack of harpies" establishes your point of view very clearly - it's literally dehumanising, which is hardly a step designed to ease tension.
The average male observer, if standing in a lift with someone who was wearing clothes plastered with sexualised male imagery, would likely feel a bit uncomfortable about it. The same person in the same clothes, broadcast into the world's living rooms, would be slated the world over. Feminists in this imaginary hell might abstain from that criticism, and level instead the argument that "If it was a shirt covered in sexualised women, no-one in the mainstream could care less" - and it's because this was just proven demonstrably true that some of them object with vitriol.
The issue here is that this stupid shirt has become emblematic of a failure of equality. The only men who should feel threatened by feminism are the ones who consider themselves better than women, or who are in fact lesser than them. Any man who assumes "the average woman" to be little different from himself, and deserving of the same rights, is effectively a feminist.
As a coda to all that: what I do and say in a private environment is significantly more offensive than what I do and say in public. I share with my friends the same degree of affectionate abuse I would be happy to accept from them, and it varies from person to person. I like dirty jokes, sick jokes even, and I'm not afraid of making fun of a friend's beliefs to their face - feminism would be included in that, has been in fact. The detail that Taylor's female friend made him his shirt is not a mitigation, nor is the fact that for all I know his every lady acquaintance thinks it suits him down to the ground: all that matters is that wearing it on such an occasion is, whether you like it or not, a statement.
And it's a bit of a backwards statement. You want to know who crapped all over Taylor's special day? The fool who dressed like a thirteen-year-old's bedroom wall, that's who.
We land on a comet and some feminists complain about a shirt?, 2014-11-18 01:43:26
Noumenon: Just a guess, but they probably won't have to worry too much about the peer reviewers sitting across the table from them in shirts like that one - they'll probably dress for the occasion... that is a pretty patronising comparison on your part, though, congrats.
We land on a comet and some feminists complain about a shirt?, 2014-11-18 01:11:02
Content Editor: "Do you not see how your choice of words displays a bias towards feminism"
I assume you mean against feminism. Was it unclear that I think feminists getting up in arms about something like this is strong evidence of feminism's total irrelevance? Not all feminists are like this, that is why I agreed with changing it to some, but _this_ is ridiculous and the feminists have a conniption are ridiculous. I'm not the only one who thinks so.
We don't have to agree, I doubt we will, and I welcome your input. Thanks.
We land on a comet and some feminists complain about a shirt?, 2014-11-18 01:03:41
Content Editor: Serious question, if "pack of shrieking harpies" is sexist, could you please tell me what pejorative I should have used that wouldn't be sexist?
I don't really think the Verge saying "I don’t care if you landed a spacecraft on a comet, your shirt is sexist and ostracizing.” is a rational reaction and I think it might reasonably described as "crapping all over" what Dr Matt Taylor and his team achieved. Ok, you don't like his lucky shirt that his friend Ellie made for him. Claiming this is marginalizing women seems like an over reaction.
I would ask another serious question, if this shirt sends women heading for the hills and drives them from science, how exactly do they expect to survive peer review?
Thanks for the input Gene, we are unlikely to see eye to eye.
We land on a comet and some feminists complain about a shirt?, 2014-11-18 00:34:22
Noumenon: For a site that professes to be about sci-fi and *philosophy* this seems a poor choice of post. Do you not see how your choice of words displays a bias towards feminism which the word "some" does nothing to blunt? I've seen worse, mind: John C. Wright's rant smacks of the most juvenile emasculation paranoia... I was especially impressed by his pre-emptive censoring of anyone attempting to make an argument he doesn't accept it to be about - ie: the only argument, that Taylor was dressed inappropriately for his presumably impromptu role as media spokesperson.
If Taylor had rolled up one sleeve to reveal a tattoo of Einstein and "harpies", possibly descending in a "pack", "shrieked" that he should have had Mme. Curie tattooed there instead, yes, that would be stupid. However, that's not what happened. Taylor isn't a hero. He's a highly educated individual who managed to make himself look stupid by not understanding "some" basic social expectations on a Big Bang Theory-like level. It takes a room filled with comedy writers to find ways for Walowitz to embarrass himself, Taylor did all his own work.
We land on a comet and some feminists complain about a shirt?, 2014-11-17 20:03:17
Gene: Aside from the fact that, "For the feminists to descend on him like a pack of shrieking harpies and crap all over his achievement," is a sexist way to describe feminists, I don't think they did crap all over his achievement. Everything I read and heard was more along the lines of, "That's really amazing, but, dude, that shirt was a poor choice." Women have been marginalized and degraded for most of human history. Why blame them for getting upset (they didn't get violent or make threats or anything worse than speaking their minds) over something that perpetuates that degradation? What if the shirt had had a racial slur on it? Would that have been different?
We land on a comet and some feminists complain about a shirt?, 2014-11-17 19:26:40
Content Editor: It seems like a ridiculous over reaction to me. From what we can tell it looks like he regarded this as his lucky shirt, made as a gift from a friend of his, and he wore his lucky shirt on that day. For the feminists to descend on him like a pack of shrieking harpies and crap all over his achievement seems like a total over reaction. The hashtag #firstworldproblems was invented for this sort of thing.
We land on a comet and some feminists complain about a shirt?, 2014-11-17 18:06:59
Gene: It's not like he was filmed on the street or in his home. It seems to me that when speaking to the press, a person can take a second to choose a non-offensive shirt.
The SJW feeding frenzy, 2014-11-15 20:56:56
Content Editor: I will work on it Bill.
Submission Guidelines, 2014-11-15 06:04:11
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The SJW feeding frenzy, 2014-11-14 03:46:05
Bill: Wonder-filled scientific/philosophical/Theological considerations woven within these stories, with a true sense of AWE. I believe it was Aristotle--or perhaps St. Thomas Aquinas--who said that "The highest pursuit of mankind is that of AWE."
One little 'caveat emptor' regarding writing style, please. There is such a thing as the "Past Tense" in writing, rather than perpetual Present, Present Participle with an occasional Future Tense regarding verbs and adverbs. For example, NEWS reporters these days repeatedly often give such ANTI-PAST TENSE reporting as: "A car CRASHES into a house outside Philadelphia yesterday." The correct form would be: "A car crashed into a house outside Philadelphia yesterday." Note how often TV News writers accentuate the present over the past tense, even if the story is already a day or two old. Story writers sometimes fall into the same present participial preponderance.
Does anybody recognize this story?, 2014-11-09 23:06:05
Content Editor: Thanks Jetse. I will pass it along.
Does anybody recognize this story?, 2014-11-09 13:48:34
Jetse de Vries: These aliens look very similar to Pierson's puppeteers, from Larry Niven's Ringworld.
Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pierson's_Puppeteers ;
Pierson's puppeteers are extremely intelligent, but also deathly afraid because--according to a long ago scientific experiment--they have no immortal soul, meaning they see death as eternal oblivion, and therefore try to avoid it at all cost.
Quick Poll on Forums, 2014-11-02 23:44:06
Content Editor: That might work. Do you know who is running it these days?
Quick Poll on Forums, 2014-11-02 22:12:58
Ben Zwycky: Of course another possibility might be to ask for a subforum in an existing forum community, such as a guest section at Theologyweb, since some people don't like facebook.
Quick Poll on Forums, 2014-11-02 00:42:25
Content Editor: Sounds like a good idea Ben.
Quick Poll on Forums, 2014-10-31 09:21:44
Ben Zwycky: I suppose you could do that, since ebooks can be updated or redownloaded. Can you have password-protected groups in Facebook? As far as I can tell, you can have public groups, closed groups and secret groups. A closed group looks to be what you'd want, so people can find it easily without automatically being able to join. You'd have to have a description that tells people to ask to join with the code in their request.
Quick Poll on Forums, 2014-10-30 22:38:01
Content Editor: I don't know :(
I think I will move it over to a facebook group tonight. It would be nice to run my own forum but getting facebook to handle that part of it is probably simpler.
I wonder if I could add a "secret code" to the end of the magazine and make the code the requirement to register to join the group?
Quick Poll on Forums, 2014-10-30 21:50:54
Ben Zwycky: So people aren't able to register now?
Quick Poll on Forums, 2014-10-30 02:18:24
Quick Poll on Forums, 2014-10-30 00:42:47
Content Editor: Whatever gets commentated on goes to the top of the list while older staler stuff moves down the list progressively.
It isn't perfect but it has the advantage of being hosted at Facebook as a Facebook group, so people can find the magazine that way too.
I suppose I should just bite the bullet and try it and see how it goes.
Quick Poll on Forums, 2014-10-29 23:58:31
Emmanuel: Sure... but how would we keep track of all of the discussions and stuff?
Quick Poll on Forums, 2014-10-29 04:20:20
Content Editor: That is the trade off. On the upside, someone else manages all the infrastructure.
No need to rely on my busted out of date IT skills
Quick Poll on Forums, 2014-10-29 03:46:57
Josh Young: I wonder. Hmm.
I feel like Facebook might make it harder to keep up with discussions, bit it also might help draw new/more people in.
Forums, Spam and Issue #2, 2014-10-29 00:59:42
Content Editor: Hmm ... Am I the only one that is thinking maybe running my own forums is a horrible idea and that perhaps I should setup a Facebook group for people to join instead?
Forums, Spam and Issue #2, 2014-10-28 19:22:24
Joshua Young: I haven't gotten a confirmation, either =/
Forums, Spam and Issue #2, 2014-10-28 16:23:45
Joseph Moore: I tried to sign up for the forums a couple times yesterday with no luck. I did fumble around a bit before getting it right, but never did get the email confirmation.
I'll try again and let you know how it goes.
More News, Issue #2, Thank you and Forums!, 2014-10-25 05:41:12
Content Editor: Simple Machines is still well supported
More News, Issue #2, Thank you and Forums!, 2014-10-24 07:09:35
Ben Zwycky: Who recommended bbpress to you? Perhaps they could help. According to this page,
support for bbpress isn't very good any more.
Atopia Chronicles by Matthew Mather, 2014-10-24 00:15:00
Content Editor: PArtly yeah. It was a fun read.
More News, Issue #2, Thank you and Forums!, 2014-10-24 00:14:47
Content Editor: Working on it, but I need to get the issue out too. It is a bit of a catch 22. If anybody know about this sort of stuff more than I do then they can be made an admin for the website.
Atopia Chronicles by Matthew Mather, 2014-10-23 20:16:45
Emmanuel: So... it's concerned with kids in a VR simulation making whatever world they want? Cool.
More News, Issue #2, Thank you and Forums!, 2014-10-23 06:14:19
Ben Zwycky: There's a Login box now, but no way of registering, so still impossible to log in.
More News, Issue #2, Thank you and Forums!, 2014-10-21 22:36:30
Content Editor: Ok, i'll need to figure that out!
Guess I know what I am doing when I get home tonight.
More News, Issue #2, Thank you and Forums!, 2014-10-21 10:52:19
Ben Zwycky: No, to comment here you just enter in a name, email (and webpage) for each comment, though it remembers those details from the last time you entered them.
More News, Issue #2, Thank you and Forums!, 2014-10-21 09:20:05
Content Editor: Yep :D
More News, Issue #2, Thank you and Forums!, 2014-10-21 09:19:56
Content Editor: I will figure it all out. Don't you need a login to comment?
More News, Issue #2, Thank you and Forums!, 2014-10-21 09:19:30
Content Editor: I will work on it.
More News, Issue #2, Thank you and Forums!, 2014-10-21 07:08:10
Ben Zwycky: Yep, definitely not there, no-one can post in the forums until the login feature is implemented.
More News, Issue #2, Thank you and Forums!, 2014-10-20 23:54:36
David Hallquist: Great news! The nice thing about web publishing is that issues can continue to sell: you are not limited to making it on one print run.
More News, Issue #2, Thank you and Forums!, 2014-10-20 22:19:56
Emmanuel: Awesome... though I must wonder how I'm supposed to log in on this sit. I don't see a register or login thingy here.
Forums will be here soon, 2014-10-17 00:14:48
Content Editor: I figure I will keep announcements on the blog itself. But those sound good, along with a story and article discussion area with new posts started for each story/article.
And I promised someone else i'd add a forum to discuss and kick around new story ideas.
Forums will be here soon, 2014-10-16 13:18:30
Ben Zwycky: Announcements, recommended resources, general philosophical discussions?
Sold one in Germany!, 2014-10-15 13:01:02
Ben Zwycky: Nice, let's hope things continue to pick up.
How to write Sci Phi!, 2014-10-15 12:11:38
Ben Zwycky: I'm fairly sure you meant good advice there, Jason, and I leave the reader to decide if it is, but since the main focus of the post is worldbuilding, maybe your version isn't entirely inappropriate :-)
Sold one in Germany!, 2014-10-15 09:04:40
Content Editor: Yeah I know, heck I just buy from the Amazon US store and I have a local store they keep trying to switch me too.
Over 200 at this point.
Sold one in Germany!, 2014-10-14 11:59:45
Ben Zwycky: Be aware that a number of non-English regions don't have their own amazon store, such as where I am, so they will just buy it through the US store and you won't see the true geographical distribution of those customers.
How are sales coming along now?
Any thoughts on how to write Sci Phi for an aspiring writer?, 2014-10-14 02:55:40
Emmanuel: @David, Josh, and Ben:
Wow... just... wow. If the advice you three just gave me were mountains, they'd be able to weather a thousand Tsar Bombas and still remain standing. I wish I could come up with better responses to you all considering how thoughtful and good your own were, but I'm afraid I do not yet have the stylistic skills to match yet.
But I can say, with complete confidence: thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Any thoughts on how to write Sci Phi for an aspiring writer?, 2014-10-13 21:05:11
Ben Zwycky: Short answer: yes, it's a lot of work. Long answer here (purely my own humble opinion, in no way authoritative):
Any thoughts on how to write Sci Phi for an aspiring writer?, 2014-10-13 18:49:21
Joshua Young: Ooph. Good question. One of my biggest influences is from anime; there were a lot of things I wanted to copy (I like the way some of the stuff layers in religion) and a lot of things I didn't intend to copy-- like turning my chapters into "episodes." I didn't mean to approach my novels that way, but there's a definite inverted check-mark to most of my chapters.
If you're looking to go all Perry Rhodan and write for decades, I've got no clue how you maintain focus. But to learn to keep focus over 25 or 30 installments, you could maybe do worse than internalize some of the better anime series-- maybe Macross Frontier, Escaflowne, Rah Xephon... You'll notice most episodes of those shows have a climax, but move the stakes a little higher in every time.
Any thoughts on how to write Sci Phi for an aspiring writer?, 2014-10-13 03:35:57
David Hallquist: The keys to a successful serial seem to be: a persistent and antagonistic foe to the hero, a growth of the hero over time, and a sequence of adventures, that logically connect each other to a needed conclusion. Long term antagonists are more interesting if they had some kind of close connection beforehand.
For a Sci-Phi version, you could have the hero and villain have completely opposing philosophical outlooks, and no only describe them, but have them inform how they act, think, view the world and to the smallest effect of what they do.
For a long serial, it could be where they clash in opposing philosophy, in different cultures, each in a conflict that also involves one of the great questions of philosophy.
Then you just need a structure to make it work.
For example: two close friends gain immortality form an alien device. They each become convinced of how to save mankind and deal with the far future, yet have radically opposing ideas as to how, and the consequences of getting it wrong are total. Throughout time and space the clash, interference in the cultures of worlds, or stopping such interference, while they travel the cosmos in a great scavenger hunt to uncover the secrets that the ancients left that could finally answer the greatest questions that have plagued all mankind.
Yard Sale of the mind has nice things to say!, 2014-10-09 00:45:00
Content Editor: I will see what I can do Ben. I'm in a few facebook groups to that effect but I should investigate that.
Yard Sale of the mind has nice things to say!, 2014-10-08 14:01:54
Ben Zwycky: Another possibility would be Babylon 5 (or Firefly) fan forums, I'm sure there'd be plenty of people in those communities interested in the deeper philosophical questions raised by their favourite shows. Is there anyone already a fan of the journal who is a member of any of those communities?
Would you like forums to discuss the stories and articles?, 2014-10-07 23:08:09
Content Editor: Alright, I will organize something
Would you like forums to discuss the stories and articles?, 2014-10-07 22:41:59
Joshua Young: I have no thoughts on the software or how to go about it, but a forum might not be a bad idea. I'd haunt it.
Yard Sale of the mind has nice things to say!, 2014-10-06 17:52:27
Content Editor: Thanks Joseph. You and me both!
Yard Sale of the mind has nice things to say!, 2014-10-06 17:52:05
Content Editor: I left a follow up comment
Yard Sale of the mind has nice things to say!, 2014-10-06 06:43:42
Ben Zwycky: If we could get someone like Bill Whittle (who is really into sci fi and philosophy) to notice it, or better yet even submit an article of his thoughts on the philosophy of star trek or space travel, that could give us a big boost. I've already left a comment on his facebook page linking to the journal, if more of us did that or added to my comment it could get noticed:
Yard Sale of the mind has nice things to say!, 2014-10-05 23:04:33
Joseph Moore: I want this journal to succeed - it's really cool. I'm looking for people and places to make it known. there's got to be at least several thousands of people out there who would like it - we have to find them!
Mario Lopez, 2014-10-04 20:22:41
: Status changed from Pending to Failed
Some more news, 2014-10-04 17:23:48
Frederick Best: Review at http://yardsaleofthemind.wordpress.com/2014/10/03/review-sci-phi-journal-pt-1-overview-domo-ideal-machine/
Thanks for the support so far!, 2014-10-01 11:46:53
Frederick Best: Daniel,
Thanks for the review of the Sci Phi Journal. Reviews like yours will help the readers, who share Jason's love of science fiction and philosophy, to hear about his new journal.
On a personal note, "Cosmic Foam" is my first piece of fiction to be published and I am grateful for all the feedback I have received from you and others.
Thanks for the support so far!, 2014-09-30 14:20:58
Daniel: Hello! I fully reviewed this journal over at Castalia House, in case any potential buyers are on the fence.
Castalia House Review: Sci Phi Journal
Issue #1 Now Available, 2014-09-28 10:52:03
Content Editor: Thanks
Issue #1 Now Available, 2014-09-28 01:50:13
Frederick Best: The Goodreads page for Sci Phi Journal: Issue #1 is at https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23277329-sci-phi-journal?ac=1
Relauching soon, 2014-09-27 20:00:38
Content Editor: Paypal is my preferred method.
Relauching soon, 2014-09-25 22:44:19
Kevin: That's great that you pay upon acceptance! How do you pay writers though? Check, PayPal, etc? Thanks!
Mario Lopez, 2014-09-17 06:31:05
: Status changed from Pending to Failed
Relauching soon, 2014-09-04 05:03:46
editor: Email them in please, rtf format preferably.
Relauching soon, 2014-09-04 05:03:27
editor: I wish to purchase the rights to publish it an keep an non-exclusive option to make an audiobook collection from it.
The author will get a byline yes.
Relauching soon, 2014-09-02 14:41:19
Elizabeth Varadan: How does one submit stories? E-mail or snail mail?
Relauching soon, 2014-08-25 17:07:18
Erika: Sounds exciting! I'd definitely like to send you something.
I was wondering: Do writers maintain the rights to work submitted? Will they receive any type of byline?