Looking to give to an interspecies evangelical charity, any suggestions?


I always respected people who said this up-front. They were smart, and you could tell real skeptics from conspiracy-theorizing types. (But I came home in 1999, so 9/11 hadn’t happened yet.)

There was a guy in one of my areas who could barely afford his own housing…he lived in a room in one of those large houses converted to rented-out rooms. He had the missionaries to Pizza Hut once a month, no matter what. It was a standing appointment in that area, whomever the missionaries at the time were.

(Missionaries are rotated from area to area within the mission, usually after 6-12 weeks in one area. Companionships are changed roughly twice as often.)

He loved the dedication of the missionaries, but he wasn’t ready to get baptized and live it. And he knew it, but he still liked his time with the Elders once a month.

We never failed to show. At his place, a shitty one-bedroom-with-bathroom-down-the-hall place upstairs and barely enough room for a bed, let alone stuff of his own. He was poorer than us, if that was possible, but his monthly connection with God’s servants was important. Who were we to deny him?

I hope he’s ok today. I think that was Manitowoc.


Non-religious, but definitely more promising if you want to dive deeper into communication with non-human animals:

In the 1960's, Margaret Howe had a very unusual roommate: a bottlenose dolphin named Peter. They lived and worked in a small, damp apartment on the island of St. Thomas. In her first-ever radio interview, Margaret tells the story of their time together. Historian D. Graham Burnett helps us understand what it all means (and why so many of our friends have dolphin tattoos).

It’s a great episode of RadioLab (but I’ve never heard a bad episode of that show, so I’m probably biased.)


In case anyone would like some kind of evidence…

And that’s really my “White Bible” the name tag is clipped to, as many missionaries do with their daily tags.


Why would someone lie about being a Formon? XD


It looks pretty clean; did you get it replaced every now and again? I never went door to door, but my Bible looks a lot worse for wear.

It took me a while to realise just how strong the Evangelical church was in the US. It’s a bit of a shock to see what people with your beliefs act like in large groups. I was used to seeing a big Catholic church, a smaller Church of Ireland, then isolated Evangelical, Jehovah’s Witness and Mormon groups. As far as a lot of people were concerned, if you weren’t one of the first two you were basically a cult. We didn’t have much contact with Mormons, but my family had good friends who were JW. I think a number of these groups are much more likely to be nice to others if they don’t have a lot of power.


Lol, and we’re back here again


Have you tried infecting his dreams with tales of the horrifying ‘Qualia Zombie’?

The most common source is monozygotic twins: since the embryo is allocated a soul immediately upon conception; but later splits into two independently developing embryos, one of the twins has a soul while the other is a soulless shell; but with a fully operational human nervous system and thus the capability to emulate all the behaviors and responses of an ensouled person with chilling accuracy.

holds flashlight under face to make spooky shadows

Such accuracy that nobody can tell which of the twins is a soulless abomination. Not even the twins themselves…


Well, obviously the soulless one is immediately infiltrated with demons, making them evil.

And we all know that the evil twin is the one with the van dyke.

But that’s an interesting question I hadn’t thought to ask him. I’ll have to do that now.


I don’t have much use for the ‘soul’ hypothesis; but if I did, I’d be inclined to speculate that dogs are designed to play a role analogous to that of the Microsoft ‘Surface’-brand devices.

MS built those, not because they wanted to be a hardware OEM; but because they wanted to give the Wintel hardware OEMs a kick in the ass and encourage them to stop building hardware that made ‘wintel’ a term of derision.

Dogs are a ‘Hey, look, soul-havers! With a couple of minor modifications this almost-wolf joyfully embodies selfless agape way better than you. Shape up!’ product.


Heh, my dad and I had an interesting conversation about religion and the religious persecution complex christians seem to have, during thanks giving. It actually was pleasant this time.

I had to explain to him the No True Scottsman fallacy a few times though. You see, the Westboro Baptist Church aren’t “real christians” to him. Nor the mormons. But he got the idea.


Interesting idea. I’ve asked my dad about dogs and cats. He kinda vacillated for a bit between evolutionary explanations, and just saying that god did it.

Eventuallly he settled on “dogs and cats are just really, really good prototypes for Adam’s companion, when god was trying to find him a best buddy, but when Adam didn’t like them ‘enough’ god ‘resorted’ to making Eve.”

I remember this from when I was a very small child and asking why dogs are so awesome.


The ‘Philosophical Zombie’ family of thought experiments is pretty neat. I’m not sure I’ve ever heard of anyone being convinced by it; but it has inspired both some fun thought experiments, and some entertaining fiction(I’m afraid I can’t find it now; but there was a great story about a tense standoff between a bunker full of survivors, besieged by qualia zombies, and a human force, intent on containing and exterminating a nest of qualia zombies before they could escape and wreak havoc; with the not-terribly-surprising-twist ending that both sides, as would be expected either of humans or of suitably sophisticated qualia zombies, believed that they were the humans and facing down the qualia zombies.)


Closest I can think of would be the Iowa Primate Learning Sanctuary of the Great Ape Trust where Kanzi and Pambanisha live.

They brought in some Maoris to do a haka for them, so there’s definitely some spiritual introduction going on between the species there.

Doesn’t appear to be video of it online anywhere… Not sure if Susan Savage-Rumbaugh mentions it in her TED talk but it’s worth a look if you’re not familiar.


Because they’re so good at meeting sentient beings and interacting with them in a peaceful manner? Because they are so accepting of people and ideas that do not fit their worldview?


That’s actually an awesome answer. The proverbial, “God, fuckit. You don’t wanna take care of the dog? Fine, here.”

I put the sin in cynical.


You went to Wisconsin for your mission? I’m curious about your conversion success rate there.


I wonder what he thinks of Lilith… XD


No. Because they have a message to spread and they are scarily relentless in spreading that message.


Lilith only appears once in the KJV, and is referred to as an “unclean animal”. I’m fairly certain my dad doesn’t know the hebrew mythology of Lilith.


Some Mormons know of Lilith, but usually only those who have spent some time with the Kabbalah.

She’s certainly never spoken of in meetings or lessons. But the fact that she “would not submit to Adam” was always met with a wink and a smile to those in the know.