Ah, shoot. Finally a meet up at a time I could ordinarily attend, and it happens to be the night I have dinner reservations at SCC Culinary Arts Department dining room. They're not so easy to get, so it's not something I could easily reschedule.
I work Monday through Friday, and am generally off between 5:30 and 6:00 PM. I work up in North Scottsdale, so it tends to take half an hour or so to get down to Tempe during rush hour. There are other social events I attend after work most Wednesdays and every other Thursday, but I'm usually free on Monday, Tuesday, and Friday evenings.
Does your group ever meet later in the evening? I'd be interested in attending a Less Wrong meetup here in the valley, but I work full-time, so Friday afternoon is no good for me. Would I be right in inferring from the location and time that most of your members are ASU students?
Let's leave "intelligent" aside and focus on the "rational" necessary condition for being "intelligent and rational." Also, let's dig down past the label "conservative Christian" (or "conservative Catholic," as Chris actually said) to some of the beliefs that constitute conservative Christianity and conservative Catholicism. For example, in the American context, a conservative Christian who isn't Catholic is probably some variety of creationist, and quite likely a young-earth creationist. Finding out that a person is a YEC would reduce my probability estimate that that person is rational to effectively zero, regardless of what else they had said up to that point; in my experience, it is not possible for a person to know enough about rationality to practice it, and simultaneously be ignorant enough of the natural sciences to believe that the Earth was created in essentially its present form with its present biota less than 10,000 years ago.
Being a conservative Catholic, as I understand that phrase, necessarily entails believing that homosexuality and contraception are morally wrong according to "natural law" which can supposedly be derived without recourse to divine revelation, and also believing that the College of Cardinals, a group of men who conspired to conceal the sexual abuse of children on a massive scale and thus enable it to continue for decades, are the best possible arbiters of morality for the rest of us. (If you don't believe those two things, you may still be a liberal Catholic, but you are not a conservative one.) Those beliefs are likewise not ones that someone can both hold and be a rational person. They do not, however, preclude intelligence; I would note Justice Antonin Scalia as an excellent example of a highly intelligent, deeply irrational conservative Catholic who uses his intelligence in the service of his irrational beliefs and goals.
I think that's probably more practical than trying to make it continuous, considering that our nervous systems are incapable of perceiving infinitesimal changes.
Thanks! I'll have to get hold of the first book and see how I like it -- unless there's a better place to begin reading the series? Does the publication order match the internal chronology?
I have not yet read any of the novels in that series, but I did see Peter Weir's film of The Far Side of the World during its theatrical run. If you've seen it, would you say it was a good adaptation of the novel?
I'll think about that -- from the upvotes, it appears you're not the only Less Wronger interested (at least, I assume an upvote to a one-liner request like that means "I'd like to see it, too"). I wouldn't post an unedited copy, as there are some details in it that I consider very private, as, I think, would my former girlfriend. But I'll take a look at it later and see what would need to be redacted. I would also have to ask her permission before posting any of it, of course, and I'm reluctant to bother her just now -- she has a newborn daughter (as in, born last week), so I expect she's rather preoccupied at the moment.
The problem was that writing a huge essay on why you're breaking up with someone, including detailed analysis of why there is insufficient attraction is a horrible thing to do to someone without even giving any benefit to yourself.
I don't know that that's necessarily the case. My first serious girlfriend wrote me a very long e-mail before our break-up, laying out her rational analysis of why she believed our relationship was untenable in the long term; she actually succeeded in persuading me to see it her way, which I'd been resisting for emotional reasons. That allowed us to have an amicable parting of ways, and we remain good friends to this day.
In case you're still looking, I think you might find Chris Brecheen's "Social Justice Bard" blog edifying, though he doesn't connect social justice ideas to Christianity that I've seen. For that, some of the blogs on the Progressive Christian Channel at Patheos.com might help (Slacktivist is particularly social-justice-oriented), as well as some of the ones on the Atheist Channel whose authors are ex-Christians and still draw inspiration from what they see as Christianity's good points (e.g. Love Joy Feminism, Roll to Disbelieve and An Atheist in Dixie).