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This explanation seems quite likely to account for some of the positive ratings from O'Reilly fans, but does it really do anything to account for the vehemence of reactions to negative ratings?

Yes, this made me think precisely of Hare's two-level utilitarianism, with a Friendly AI in place of Hare's Archangel.

Is this a book which would be readable by a layperson with an undergrad intro level of knowledge of psychology, biology, and philosophy? Is it readable in the amount of time available on a typical interlibrary loan?

I was going to comment along similar lines. Most people probably have a concept of "supernatural" that's defined by a grab-bag of phenomena. If you stop wondering about whether "the supernatural" exists, and whether various allegedly supernatural phenomena (e.g. transubstantiation, ghosts, spoon-bending) exist, and if it happens that they do, how they work, you'll be well on your way to not needing the concept of "supernatural".

I think this is correct. If you want to successfully pose as a Christian, you might be well advised to read a bunch of C. S. Lewis, and then imitate his arguments and style. I say this because I think his books constitute the most accessible body of reasonable-but-still-wrong arguments in favour of Christian orthodoxy. If you can quote him, all the better, because being able to quote C. S. Lewis is a high-status marker among people who have both a self-identity as Christians, and a self-identity as intellectuals.

Jayson_Virissimo's comments show one reason why it's a poor instrument: it doesn't actually address any of the arguments you actually want it to.

Another reason is that it's a "virtual" argumentum ad baculum. Because it doesn't actually address your opponent's arguments, the only reason it gives them to agree with you is to avoid (virtual) punishment. If it actually does get them to concede the argument, it might be useful, but be aware that it's Dark Arts at best.

Ah, this is precisely the sort of answer that is useful to me. Thank you.

Can you briefly explain to me why taking children seriously is a troll answer?

It make me think of "Poor little clams, snap, snap, snap".

I have taken ephedrine (in the form of ephedra tea) for nasal decongestion and increased focus. In my experience, it worked about as well for increased focus as caffeine (in the form of coffee) does, but caused more heart racing and jitters.

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