Author Archives: Mark R. Kelly

E.O. Wilson: ON HUMAN NATURE

I first read this book shortly after its 1978 hardcover publication, and it was revelatory; elegantly written and insightful, it challenged conventional ideas about human nature, especially the one about the mind being a ‘blank slate’ completely molded by environment, … Continue reading

Posted in Book Notes, Evolution, Religion | 1 Comment

The Blish/Lawrence Star Trek adaptations

[this is a draft to be linked into the set of Trek review pages when complete. will add a photo of the entire set of books. details of how each adaptation varied from its script original will be added to … Continue reading

Posted in Star Trek | Leave a comment

Kinsley: OLD AGE

Michael Kinsley’s OLD AGE: A BEGINNER’S GUIDE (Crown/Tim Duggan Books 2016) is another slender book that, like part of Junger’s, was originally published as various magazine pieces. Kinsley is known for his ‘law’ — “A gaffe is when a politician … Continue reading

Posted in Book Notes | Leave a comment

Junger: TRIBE

Sebastian Junger’s TRIBE: On Homecoming and Belonging (Grand Central/Twelve 2016) is one of several short, relatively ‘incidental’, books I’ve read in the past month — ‘incidental’ in that they’re mostly off-topic to my more serious themes of science, philosophy, and … Continue reading

Posted in Book Notes, Conservative Resistance, Social Progress | Leave a comment

Links and Comments: Petty Rage; EO Wilson; Rutger Bregman; Conservative Causes; Zealots

Paul Krugman’s March 11 column, The Power of Petty Personal Rage discusses incidents about plastic straws, hamburgers, and Captain Marvel. The point is that demented anger is a significant factor in modern American political life — and overwhelmingly on one … Continue reading

Posted in Changing One's Mind, Conservative Resistance, Lunacy, Politics | Leave a comment

Links and Comments: Anti-Vaxxers

From Sunday’s New York Times, essay by Frank Bruni: The Real Horror of the Anti-Vaxxers, subtitled “This isn’t just a public health crisis. It’s a public sanity one.” (The print title was “The Anti-Vaxxers’ War on Truth”.) How many studies … Continue reading

Posted in Conservative Resistance, Lunacy, Psychology | Leave a comment

Links and Comments: The Smart Ones Figure It Out; Coyne on Yet Another Religious Apologetic

I’ve mentioned before how I think “the smart ones figure it out,” even as traditionally it’s been impolite to discuss it. The smart ones are generally smart enough not to make an issue of it; to not challenge their friends … Continue reading

Posted in Culture, Religion | Leave a comment

Links and Comments: Scientific Humanism; the Socialist Menace; Border Crisis

Michael Shermer’s final Scientific American column, in January, summarizes The Case for Scientific Humanism, a “blending of scientific naturalism and Enlightenment humanism,” echoing my own Provisional Conclusion #5: Modern science arose in the 16th and 17th centuries following the Scientific … Continue reading

Posted in Culture, Politics, Science | Leave a comment

Oliver Sacks on Forster and Rees

There’s a short essay by the late Oliver Sacks in current issue of The New Yorker: The Machine Stops. He muses about people walking down the street staring at their phones. Much of this, remarkably, was envisaged by E. M. Forster … Continue reading

Posted in Culture, Human Progress, Science, science fiction | Leave a comment

Lilla: THE ONCE AND FUTURE LIBERAL

THE ONCE AND FUTURE LIBERAL: After Identity Politics (Harper, 2017) is by Mark Lilla, a professor at Columbia University, and is much more explicitly about politics than most books I read. (Because my concerns extend far outside the relatively narrow … Continue reading

Posted in Book Notes, Politics | Leave a comment