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- Emily Dickinson, Lesbian?: Her Letter to Susan Gilbert, in June of 1852, Might Tell Us Less Than You Think
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- UFOs, Aliens, and Religious Art
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Monthly Archives: September 2010
A little reminder about making hasty generalizations about people:
A recent Pew Survey on religious knowledge has found that atheists do better on a battery of religious knowledge questions than Jews, Christians, Mormons—indeed, anybody else. Out of 32 questions, atheists, on average, managed to answer about 21 of the questions … Continue reading
In introducing his new book, To Set Prometheus Free, philosopher A C Grayling explains his choice of title by referring to Aeschylus’s play, Prometheus Bound, and quoting from it: As so often, the Greeks themselves understood with a preternatural clarity … Continue reading
Swami Satchidananda is my all-time favorite Hindu guru. His name consists of a combination of three terms that, taken together, sum up rather nicely the Hindu spiritual quest: that which is (sat); that which is consciousness (chid); that which is bliss (ananda). … Continue reading
What is the proper response to this burning, bleeding, milk secreting, honey babbling world? It seems to me that the range of responses are pretty limited, and can be boiled down to six plausible options: acceptance and celebration (go with the flow) … Continue reading
A little reminder, from Greg Easterbrook, that life in America is actually pretty good and getting better: Since roughly 1975, when middle-class income gains began to stagnate, lifespans have improved, material living standards have risen (safer cars, nearly universal air … Continue reading
Eloquent. Shocking. Pro-Catholic. Johann Hari on Pope Joseph Ratzinger’s flagrant criminality, and why he should not be above the law (and notice Richard Dawkins standing behind Hari): Andrew Sullivan, a Catholic, has also been wise to Ratzinger. Here’s some of what Sullivan said, … Continue reading
In scene 3 of Euripides’s ancient tragedy, Bakkhai, is a brief passage that overbrims with implications for the atheist vs. theist divide. Addressed to the anti-theist Pentheus, king of Thebes, a messenger calls on him to reconsider his hostility toward the divine and … Continue reading
Christine O’Donnell Says That Young Earth Biblical Creationism Has as Much Evidence Supporting It as Evolution Has
The GOP’s Delaware Senate nominee, Christine O’Donnell, has a history of saying rather ridiculous things about matters of science. Here, for example, is something that she said on CNN about the merits of reading Genesis chapter 1 literally, and how … Continue reading
Incidents of non-Muslim Americans harrassing Muslim Americans in the workplace are climbing, and the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has been having to step in with lawsuits. This today in the New York Times: Last month, the commission sued JBS … Continue reading
Physicists are excited. The Washington Post this week has a very brief article, absent details, suggesting that maybe the CERN Large Hadron Collider has started to pick the lock on the Big Bang and the so-called God Particle (the Higgs boson): … Continue reading
What would your older self say to your younger self, if you could? That’s the premise behind the It Gets Better Project: older gays and lesbians attempt to persuade gay and lesbian teens contemplating suicide to refrain and look with … Continue reading
Yesterday, I interviewed an American imam, Kamal Al-Khatib. Originally from Jordan, he has lived in the United States for 24 years and heads a mosque in northern Los Angeles County. Joseph West, a Muslim friend and coworker of mine, video taped the … Continue reading
Atheists are like frogs in the proverbial pot of hot water. They look through their glass across the stove at the hell realms of religion, critiquing them as psychologically warping, but have conveniently forgotten that they themselves are in a … Continue reading
Startling the mind of a child (or a vulnerable adult) with threats of hell is manipulative and, yes, even abusive. I see no sense in denying it. But there is a premise that underlies the condemnation of hell preaching that deserves scrutiny: … Continue reading
Should we call our time the era of the prodigal sons and daughters? Chris Hedges, from page 44 of his book Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle (Nation Books, 2009): We are a culture … Continue reading
Chris Hedges, from page 44 of his book Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle (Nation Books, 2009): We are a culture that has been denied, or has passively given up, the linguistic and intellectual … Continue reading
On Wednesday, I’m scheduled to interview an American imam. But I’m a member of the doubting community, not any faith community, which means that I trace my intellectual lineage to people like these: Rene Descartes. Descartes made the first principle of his life, … Continue reading