Tag Archives: history

Confidence Theists, Confidence Atheists, and Bayes’ Rule

As an agnostic, I think that both theists and atheists have reasons, some of them good, for believing what they do. It’s not just thoughtlessness or blind faith that causes someone to declare for theism or atheism. My issue is … Continue reading

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Four Hundred Fifty Antisemitic Verses In The Gospels And Book of Acts

Acclaimed Holocaust historian, Daniel Goldhagen, in his most recent book, The Devil That Never Dies: The Rise and Threat of Global Antisemitism (Little, Brown & Co. 2013), claims the following about the New Testament: The Christian bible contains four hundred … Continue reading

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Bart Ehrman: The Upton Sinclair of Jesus Studies

Look at the title of Bart Erhman’s new book in contrast with the title of its “flea” (the apologetic book that piggybacks on it): http://www.amazon.com/How-Jesus-Became-God-Exaltation/dp/0061778184/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1398779740&sr=8-1&keywords=bart+ehrman _________ http://www.amazon.com/How-God-Became-Jesus-Nature—-ebook/dp/B00I2P2OVS/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1398748855&sr=1-2&keywords=how+jesus+became+god+ehrman __________ Notice that Ehrman’s book title invites the reader to explore something available … Continue reading

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Stunning Video Reconstruction: The Evolution of Ape to Human in Less Than Three Minutes

Based on real ancestral (and human cousin) skull findings, the evolution of ape to human here is thoroughly mesmerizing. Created by the renowned paleoartist John Gurche, the recreation is notable for its meticulous anatomical and forensic accuracy. __________ Gurche’s book on … Continue reading

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Telling The Truth About The United States Is Hard

What makes the United States the greatest country in the world? I dunno. Yosemite? ___________ I like the above video’s puncturing of American exceptionalism. I especially like the Yosemite line, but when the piano starts to play, and the patriotic … Continue reading

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Saint Ranieri, Meet George Jetson: Deconstruction Illustrated with a Catholic Painting

__________ What is deconstruction? In postmodern theory, deconstruction (in a nutshell) is the undoing of an author’s controlling intentions by time and audience reception. This can only happen because texts are made of parts, not coherent wholes. Over time, parts … Continue reading

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Could the Debt Default Crisis Turn into Our Reichstag Fire?

Something Chris Hedges wrote back in August of 2010 about our American anti-Enlightenment right (a.k.a the Tea Party) is haunting me a bit this week: The next catastrophic attack, or the next economic meltdown, could be our Reichstag fire. It could … Continue reading

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The Living Statue of Liberty vs. the Old Junos (and Jesus on the Cross)

Robert Wright has recently given up blogging at The Atlantic to write a book about Buddhism. His parting admonitions on foreign policy include these two sensible gems: [1] The world’s biggest single problem is the failure of people or groups to look … Continue reading

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Beauty Explained

Sounds right to me. ___________ A quick thought: what if the very things that move us in landscape paintings (water in the distance, grassy fields, etc.) are the very same stimulants that our ancestors followed out of Africa 60,000 years … Continue reading

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Who Is Stephen Greenblatt? Why Should You Care?

Stephen Greenblatt (b. 1943) is the John Cogan University Professor of the Humanities at Harvard, a Shakespeare biographer, and a recent recipient for general nonfiction of the Pulitzer Prize, but most importantly, he is the founder of “the new historicism,” and … Continue reading

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Karl Marx for Beginners

First, let’s get a handle on two terms: bourgeoisie and proletariat. Bourgeoisie comes from the French word for those who live behind walls; those who dwell in bourgs, fortified market towns. For example, in John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress (1678), a book-length allegory of the … Continue reading

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Biblical Archaeology: Believe the Biblical Writer or the Physical Evidence?

If, in a biblical story, the biblical writer appears to contradict the physical evidence as revealed by archaeology, then, in my humble opinion, one should tend to believe the physical evidence—the discoveries of the archaeologists—not the biblical writer. Why? Because physical … Continue reading

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Mars Life Missions Cancelled: Short Sighted and Evidence of America’s Decline

The following is in the New York Times this week: Just as NASA is on the cusp of answering the most fascinating questions about Mars — is there, was there or could there be life there? — the money needed to provide the answers … Continue reading

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The Bright American Future

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Critical Thinking Watch: Sybil Exposed

I haven’t read Debbie Nathan’s Sybil Exposed yet, but it certainly looks promising as an exercise in critical thinking and reflection. Here’s the author talking about her new book:

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Arnaud De Borchgrave on a (Forthcoming) Nuclear Iran and Israel’s (Unpleasant) Options

Arnaud De Borchgrave is a realpolitik conservative who’s 85 years-old, but he’s still in the game. Of Iran he recently wrote the following for the Washington Times: What former CENTCOM commanders and Israeli intelligence chiefs have in common is intimate knowledge of Iran’s formidable … Continue reading

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Who Can Plausibly Tell Us Who Jesus Was?

That’s easy. Academic scholars. They’re the contemporary experts who study the subject using the historiographic, textual, and archeological methods that have been developed since the Enlightenment. Bart Ehrman (for example) is a far more reliable guide to what the individual gospel … Continue reading

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Question of the Day

If Adam or Eve, in the Garden of Eden, had cut down a tree, would they have discovered that it possessed tree rings? Image source: Wikipedia Commons.

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Which Germany would you like to live in? Luther’s, Hitler’s, or Habermas’s?

In thinking about what worldviews are broadly contending for the human future, it occurs to me that Germany, over the past 500 years, has basically passed through the three key ones: The religious civilizational vision. This is embodied today by contemporary fundamentalists … Continue reading

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Is Atheism the New Normal?

Recently perusing a back issue of The New Yorker (from May 21, 2007), I noticed an article by Anthony Gottlieb on post-9-11 atheism titled “Atheists with Attitude” (77-80), the conclusion of which I found arresting: [O]ne can venture conservative estimates … Continue reading

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