Monthly Archives: September 2009

Skeleton Meditation (for Life Perspective)

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Be with Allen Now

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Hail or Frost? What, Exactly, Does Awe and Wonder Mean for an Atheist?

If you’re an atheist, what’s wonderful about the universe? I know it’s pretty in places, and really big and hard to comprehend in detail, but if you’ve concluded that the universe consists, ultimately, of chance matter shuffling in the void, without any mind … Continue reading

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In Three Days He Revived: A Russian Neuroscientist Has a Dramatic Near Death Experience

In 1976, this Russian neuroscientist was hit by a car and pronounced dead. But after his body spent three days chilling in the morgue, it revived on the autopsy table! I. Shit. You. Not. Oh, and he says we don’t die. Watch it:  … Continue reading

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Atheism is Dead?

There will always be atheists in the world—so I’m not talking about a demographic trend. I don’t know where atheism is heading with the masses. For all I know, it may be growing faster than any other idea in the world. Go team! … Continue reading

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Are You Ready?

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I Love Terence McKenna

He died of a brain tumor a few years back, but he was always a wonderfully engaging thinker and speaker. I went to one of his talks in Los Angeles in the late 1980s, and Roy of Hollywood used to … Continue reading

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Close Literary Reading 101: Some Terms and Ideas for Thinking about Dramatic Structure

I thought it might be fun (at least for me) to lay out, in a series of short blog posts, some of the basic terms and ideas that I present to my students when talking about the “close reading” of literary texts. … Continue reading

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Here’s the Groovy UFO Historian Dude I Went to Lunch with on Saturday

At a Burbank UFO conference I attended on Saturday, I had lunch with Richard Dolan (I tell that story here). In the clip below, Dolan is being interviewed at a UFO conference in Nevada: And here’s Dolan’s website and the Amazon link to … Continue reading

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Close Literary Reading 101: Some Terms and Ideas for Thinking about Characters

I thought it might be fun (at least for me) to lay out, in a series of short blog posts, some of the basic terms and ideas that I present to my students when talking about the “close reading” of literary texts. … Continue reading

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Strict Materialism, Intelligent Design, and a Potential Crime Scene (by Way of Analogy)

Barry Arrington is an intelligent design advocate, and he recently offered a detective analogy for thinking about the tensions between strict materialists and intelligent design advocates. His analogy seems pretty sound to me. Imagine a scene where someone is killed … Continue reading

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I Went to a UFO Conference! And I Took Pictures!

This past weekend, a UFO conference came to Burbank, California. It wasn’t far from where I live, so I went. The event was sponsored by Project Camelot, and was held at the Burbank Marriot (by the airport). Here was the event’s poster … Continue reading

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Ants Eat a Gecko. 21 Hours. Time. Lapsed.

“Because I could not stop for death . . .” Emily Dickinson would have written a disturbing poem about this: Do you suppose she would have laughed at the ants carting off the skull? There’s something funny about it somehow, … Continue reading

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Blogging UFOs: Yikes! I See Lots of Parallels Between God Belief and UFO Belief!

In thinking about UFOs the past few weeks, I’m struck by similarities between UFO belief and God belief. Here are just some of the striking parallels that jump out at me: Like the God question, the UFO question could be solved by … Continue reading

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Google’s Press

According to Anthony Grafton at the New Yorker, Google is in the process of passing yet another milestone in the digitizing and distribution of books: Google announced [on Sept. 17th, 2009] that they would allow On Demand Books to produce paperback … Continue reading

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Thus Screeched Zarathustra

A real student orchestra channeling John Cage in Nietzschean struggle with Wagner: According to the YouTube poster of this brilliantly discordant (and truly haunting) rendition of “Thus Spoke Zarathustra”: An authentic student orchestra created as a musical experiment by their teacher, the … Continue reading

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Listen

Really.

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We Don’t Die? We Can’t Die? If the Wave Function in Quantum Physics Doesn’t Collapse, Does that Mean Consciousness Can’t Collapse Either?

In thinking about near death experiences (NDEs), I had a thought that might support the idea that the human mind really is immortal. I must say, however, that I’ve never seen this argument made anywhere else, and so it’s probably … Continue reading

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George Orwell Watch: Far Rightists Decide That They’re the True Inheritors of the 60s Left!

Crazy. Way out. Orwellian. Politico reports today on the evidence that the Far Right is self-consciously appropriating the slogans, artistic styles, and general political tactics of the 1960s Left! Obviously, conservatives perceive (correctly) that Americans are, in general, so unevenly educated, and so confused about history … Continue reading

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The Mind’s Dependency on the Brain? Bryan Appleyard on the Final Frontier of Atheism v. Theism

Two years ago, journalist Bryan Appleyard wrote an interesting review of The Spiritual Brain, a book by neuroscientist Mario Beauregard, and started his review this way: Neuroscience is a combat zone. It is here, in the human brain, that the final conflict … Continue reading

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