Monthly Archives: March 2011

Bart Ehrman: Liars Wrote Parts of the Bible

Bart Ehrman has a new book out and it’s got a rather attention grabbing title: ‘Forged: Writing in the Name of God — Why the Bible’s Authors Are Not Who We Think They Are’ (HarperOne 2011). And in a recent piece for HuffPo, … Continue reading

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Thinking about Entropy

One way to think about entropy is as a measure of disorder in a system: where disorder is high, entropy is high; where disorder is low, entropy is low. I don’t have the exact quote in front of me, but the … Continue reading

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A Modern Iphigenia Story Plays Out in a Custody Battle Turned Murder Trial

A new nonfiction book, Janet Malcolm’s “Iphigenia in Forest Hills”, is the story of an ugly custody battle in which a little girl named Michelle is lost in the fray, and her father is ultimately murdered by her avenging mother. At Salon, Laura Miller says this … Continue reading

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Are the New Atheists Insufficiently Serious?

R. Joseph Hoffmann, an atheist himself and the author or editor of numerous academic books—including Jesus in History and Myth (Prometheus Books 1986)—thinks so, writing at his blog recently the following: The mode of critique [by New Atheists] is lodged somewhere … Continue reading

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Who is Dagny Taggart? Atlas Shrugged Part 1, the Movie, is Coming to Theatres April 15th

Atlas Shrugged Part 1, the movie (which depicts the first third of Ayn Rand’s famous novel of ideas) comes into general release on April 15th, and I must say that the following YouTube teaser clip posted by the film’s producers is … Continue reading

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End Times Hysteria Watch: Lyn Benedetto Allegedly Tried to Kill Her Daughters to Save Them from The Tribulation

The Antelope Valley Press, a northern Los Angeles County newspaper, had the following disturbing headline on Sunday, March 20, 2011: Mom feared ‘The Tribulation,’ cops say: Cut daughters’ throats, then her own. And the opening paragraph to the story was … Continue reading

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Sweeping the Prudes into the Dust Bin of History: Camille Paglia on Elizabeth Taylor

Camille Paglia has been working on a book and, consequently, her Internet presence has been near to zip for more than a year. But Salon recently interviewed her on the death of Elizabeth Taylor, and here’s part of what she had to … Continue reading

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In the Free Will Debate, Does the Truth Matter?

According to the New York Times this morning, researchers have discovered a curious correlation between belief (or disbelief) in free will and behavior: [W]hen people doubt free will, they do worse at their jobs and are less honest. This raises … Continue reading

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What is a Human, Really? Thinking about Definition via Aristotle

If your definition of a word is to be any good, Aristotle was the first to notice that it should say something general and something specific. Aristotle designated these two components the genus and species of a definition. Thus you might … Continue reading

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Critical Thinking Watch: Ray Kurzweil Says Solar Cells Will Power the World in 16 Years. Should We Believe Him?

Futurist and inventor, Ray Kurzweil, predicts that advances in nanotechnology will result in solar energy powering the world in just 16 years. The Big Think website recently interviewed him, and here is part of the editors’ summary: [H]ow far away … Continue reading

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Chris Hedges the Prophet on Print Culture Turning to Image Culture

Former New York Times war correspondent, Chris Hedges, has, over the past couple of years, taken on the mantle of a secular prophet—an emperor has no clothes truthteller—writing scathing (and I think powerful) books and essays documenting the messes that we find ourselves … Continue reading

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Is Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station Heading for a Meltdown?

The New York Times today explains what’s most worrisome about Japan’s post-tsunami Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station crisis: [As the Chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission,] Mr. Jaczko’s most startling assertion was that there was now little or no water in … Continue reading

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Hell Apologists Watch: Albert Mohler wants people to awake “in the morning” and go “to sleep at night with the fear of hell never far from consciousness”

Here’s Albert Mohler, President of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and evangelicalism’s leading “intellectual” (at least according to Time magazine), lamenting at his blog the fact that literal hell belief no long terrorizes the psyches of most people living in western countries: … Continue reading

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Japan’s earthquake and tsunami: there was a terrible noise. There was a terrible silence. There was a terrible noise. There was a terrible silence. There was a terrible noise.

The most heart-breaking and arresting sentence (or, rather, portion of a larger sentence) I’ve encountered on the Japan earthquake and tsunami was penned at Salon this morning by Matt Zoller Seitz: [W]omen and children walking and in some cases swimming through … Continue reading

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Chris Hedges the Prophet

Former New York Times war correspondent, Chris Hedges, has, over the past couple of years, taken on the mantle of a secular prophet—an emperor has no clothes truthteller—writing scathing (and I think powerful) books and essays documenting the messes that we find ourselves … Continue reading

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In Japan’s quake, God is revealed. Is she serious?

I genuinely can’t tell. Can you?

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Deconstructing Barack Obama (the Brand) and America (the Plutocracy)

Lifting the Veil is an unusually well done compilation documentary. Though long, I ended up watching the whole thing at YouTube, and found it so compelling I’m posting it here. You might find yourself unable to stop watching it as well. I can’t … Continue reading

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The Thorny Problem of Defining What a Book Is (It’s Not as Easy as You Might Think)

I like this definition of a book (which I found in a Times Literary Supplement essay): I. A. Richards called the book “a machine to think with” . . . Notice that the definition has the two elements that Aristotle … Continue reading

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Do the universe’s most terrifying and nihilistic truths birth the gods as intoxicants?

University of Chicago biologist Jerry Coyne calls the below quote (from rabbi Eric Yoffi) “Abrahamic religion in a nutshell.” I’m inclined to agree with Professor Coyne. See if you do. Here’s the quote (the rabbi is speaking): All of this might be … Continue reading

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