Monthly Archives: July 2010

Stairway to Gilligan’s Island: Jason Rosenhouse and Auguste Comte on Theology v. Science

At EvolutionBlog, Jason Rosenhouse takes after theology’s shell game: If theology must change every time scientists achieve consensus on something, then what good is it? If it is only allowed to make assertions about things that are completely divorced from … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Sean Carroll on What It Means to Have a “Sciencey Attitude”

I like this pithy summary, by Sean Carroll, of what science is: Propose an idea, see where it leads, toss it out if it conflicts with the data, build on it if it seems promising. But what if your idea … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Holographic Universe: the Unbreakable Lightness of Being?

After reading yesterday’s mind-bending New York Times article on gravity (and the possibility that we live in a holographic universe), I think I’ve put it all together. But I need a very smart physicists or science oriented person to set … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Is Gravity Entropy?

The New York Times yesterday had a curious science article suggesting that maybe one way that entropy manifests is as gravity; or, to put it another way, gravity may not be a fundamental force in the universe, but just another way … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Do You Support a Burqa Ban in France?

About 2000 Muslim women in France wear the full body burqa, and the French Parliament is slated to vote on its ban Tuesday. The idea of a burqa ban is popular in France (in polls, about 80% of French citizens tend to … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Aristotle on (what ought to be) a source of social shame

A great Aristotle quote: It is absurd to hold that a man ought to be ashamed of being unable to defend himself with his limbs but not of being unable to defend himself with speech and reason, when the use … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How do you spell relief? R-E-L-I-G-I-O-N?

According to ScienceDaily, researchers are finding strong links between anxiety and religious extremism in individuals: Across all studies, anxious conditions caused participants to become more eagerly engaged in their ideals and extreme in their religious convictions. In one study, mulling over a personal … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Is the Jesus of John’s Gospel Anti-Science?

In the Gospel of John, the apostle Thomas is famously (or rather, infamously) held up as a bad example to followers of Jesus, for he insisted upon evidence for Jesus’s resurrection.  Look again at the famous passage from the Gospel of John … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Will Albert Mohler Be Tapped by Sarah Palin as One of Her Science Advisors?

With regard to the universe’s appearance of vast age, Albert Mohler, President of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, offers this curious argument: The universe looks old because the creator made it whole. When he made Adam,  Adam was … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 32 Comments

Donor 45: Talk about Speeding up Evolution!

Imagine locating a single person who just happens, by natural variation, to have the ability to ward off most strains of a widely feared virus. Then imagine taking cells from that man, learning how they achieve the trick, and then putting that discovery … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Why I’m an Agnostic, But Not an Atheist

What is it, really, that separates the atheist from the agnostic? I would argue that the ultimate dividing line between the atheist and the agnostic is over the issue of mystery. For the atheist, the ontological mystery—the mystery of being—is merely an … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Save the Life of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani

This today at the New Humanist: As has been widely reported in the press (it’s the cover story of today’s Times), a 43-year-old Iranian woman, Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, faces being stoned to death for conducting “illicit relationship outside marriage”, a … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“There Was an Awful Rainbow Once in Heaven”: A Double Rainbow Triggers a Man’s Confrontation with the Ontological Mystery, and Recalls for Me Some Lines from John Keats

The man’s response to the double rainbow recalls for me some lines from John Keats. In “Lamia” are these cautioning lines (231-238) against a too-eager reductionism: There was an awful rainbow once in heaven: We know her woof, her texture; … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Thinking about Metaphor with Jan Zwicky

At the Huffington Post yesterday, Jason Derr referred to a book that sounds interesting: In her book Wisdom and Metaphor poet and philosopher Jan Zwicky argues for a poetic form of doing philosophy, one rooted in an understanding of metaphor. … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Gloria Steinem Being Interviewed at Age 75

Gloria Steinem, at age 75, interviewed at Smith College:

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Who’s Older? Phyllis Schlafly, Gloria Steinem, or Sarah Palin?

Answer: Phyllis Schlafly. She was born in 1924, and will turn 86 years old next month. Gloria Steinem is ten years younger than Schlafly. Born in March of 1934, Steinem called Sarah Palin (who was born in February of 1964): … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Herbert Hoover Ascendent?

In a recent New York Times article, Paul Krugman sees Europe and America channeling Herbert Hoover: As far as rhetoric is concerned, the revival of the old-time religion is most evident in Europe, where officials seem to be getting their … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Michael Drayton’s Sonnet 14: Prometheus Contrasted with a Hottie

Below is a sonnet that appears to be one of the earliest references to Prometheus in an English language poem. In The Oxford Guide to Classical Mythology in the Arts, 1300-1990s—which is a pretty encyclopedic reference—the poem is the first … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Great Double Entendre

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             . A color engraving, from 1814, with this exchange: ‘My sweet honey, I hope you are to be let with the Lodgins!’ ‘No, sir, I am to be let alone.’

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

David Wolpe Succinctly Explains the New Atheist Moment

Rabbi David Wolpe, in the Washington Post this weekend, on what triggered the New Atheist moment: After Sept. 11, 2001, religion seemed to many to be less a consolation for suffering than a cause. Science, not spirituality, offered the promise … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 38 Comments