Monthly Archives: October 2010

Damon Linker Owns the New Atheists

Damon Linker, a contributor to the New Republic, is, to my mind, one of the more insightful writers on religion and irreligion writing in the United States today. In a recent interview with The Economist, Linker offers what I can only describe … Continue reading

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Is Atheist Morality an Oxymoron? Philosopher Joel Marks Gives Up on Right and Wrong

I find philosopher Joel Marks’s recent flat-out rejection of morality disarming in its honesty. Here’s Joel Marks: The long and the short of it is that I became convinced that atheism implies amorality; and since I am an atheist, I must … Continue reading

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Joel Marks’s Desirism vs. John Hart’s Commanderism

Atheist philosopher, and former Kantian, Joel Marks has given up on grounding morality absent God. So what now? Here’s Joel Marks’s default idea: base your choices—perhaps compassion today, perhaps hedonism tomorrow—on desire. He calls his position desirism. At the Catholic First Things … Continue reading

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Born in 1915, Barbara Billingsley (the ‘Leave It to Beaver’ mom) has died

And she spoke two languages: suburban 1950s house mom and superfly 1970s jive. Here she is in her mid-60s in the 1980 film, Airplane:

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Groovy Park Instrument Players Led by a Singing and Dancing Kybele

Some male devotees accompany their chain-wielding goddess: Below are some fit lines from Euripides’ Bakkhai  (from scene 1) describing Korybantes—ecstatic drumming and pipe-playing young men devoted to the Phrygian mother-goddess Kybele: Triple-crested Korybantes Devised for me The circle of stretched hide! In … Continue reading

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Carl Jung, Alien Longing, Dante’s Beatrice—and Sarah Palin?

In a recent Washington Post review of a couple of UFO books that have just come out, there’s a sentence that I think nicely summarizes Carl Jung’s thesis on UFOs: [P]sychologist Carl Jung proposed that UFOs symbolized a wish that … Continue reading

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What’s the Right Rhythm for the Weekend, for Life?

If you think that life is worth living, are you? And what’s it worth living for, anyway? Maybe the hint is in this video. Or maybe not. What do you think?

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A Pretty Good Math Joke

I remembered a math joke this morning that I haven’t thought of in a long time. Two mathematicians, both 30 years old, married to one another, are talking over coffee. The husband says to his wife: When I’m 60, I’m trading … Continue reading

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I’ll be voting. Will you be also?

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Carl Paladino: Living a Gay Lifestyle is “not a valid or successful option”

Lovely how Carl Paladino tries to have it both ways: he’s all for “live and let live,” but children must not be “brainwashed” into thinking that the gay lifestyle is a “valid or successful option.” And who or what makes … Continue reading

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A Nice Quote for Countering Epistemic Closure and Confirmation Bias

R. Gordon Wasson has been a long time advocate of a seductive hypothesis: that entheogens (psychedelic mushrooms, etc) have played a significant role in the evolution of many religions, from Hinduism in the East to Persephone devotion in the West … Continue reading

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Jack Kerouac: “I enter my page”

A great Jack Kerouac quote on the hollowness of pursuing fame: I can just see the shabby literary man carrying a “bulging briefcase” rushing from one campus to another, one lecture club to another, nodding confirmation with his hosts that … Continue reading

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A Gorgeous View of the Thames from the Tate Modern

An English professor colleague (and friend) sent me a gorgeous image that he took this afternoon from the Members’ Lounge of the Tate Modern. He’s teaching a semester in London:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               . The English professor’s name is Charles Hood and he … Continue reading

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Chris Hedges on the Tea Birchers

In a recent TruthDig essay, Chris Hedges (I think accurately) sizes up the Herderian Tea Party movement in America, and where it is moving us: There is a yearning by tens of millions of Americans, lumped into a diffuse and fractious movement, … Continue reading

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Atheists and Agnostics Have a Faith Too (And It’s an Interesting One That Might Well Be True)

Question: If you are a Baptist, how do you ensure God’s election of you into his eternal love and heaven? Answer: Baptists tend to think that you have to say a sincere, and I would say magical, prayer with the … Continue reading

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Eight Things Jonathan Elliot Learned from Having a Meal with a Muslim

On the theory that maybe we should strike up conversations with our Muslim neighbors and not matches for burning their Qurans, Jonathan Elliot in New Zealand found a Muslim to have lunch with this past month, and recounts how he did … Continue reading

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Three Fascinating Near Death Experiences: A Homemaker, a Businessman, and a Blind Woman

Three near death experiences (NDEs) from a BBC documentary on the subject: Oops. It doesn’t embed. You have to watch it on YouTube. It’s worth clicking over. Here’s the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RsV2oWL0bK0

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The Emperor Has No Clothes

But you might not say anything if nobody else is: And something curious here: variations on this experiment have found that, if just one person starts to speak the truth of his or her perceptions, then the group’s “spell” is weakened considerably … Continue reading

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The Two Confidences of Atheism vs. The Four Confidences of Theism

When it comes right down to it, what are atheists confident about and what are theists confident about? It occurs to me that, to be an atheist, your life ultimately rests on just two rather naked confidences: God does not … Continue reading

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From the Annals (Anals?) of “How did that get there?”

This at The Smoking Gun this past weekend: A Florida man arrested Wednesday on drug charges told cops that a bag of cocaine found hidden inside his buttocks did not belong to him. I can see how that could happen. … Continue reading

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