Author Archives: Mark R. Kelly

Arguing with a Flat Earther

Vox: How to argue with flat-earthers, subtitled, “But not necessarily convince them.” People committed to the belief that the Earth is flat (or that the universe was created 6000 years ago) will have answers to all your challenges, all your … Continue reading

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Equus, part 2

Scene 25. The psychiatrist, concerning the worship of a 17-year-old stable boy raised in isolation by his religious mother: I only know it’s the core of his life. What else has he got? Think about him. He can hardly read. … Continue reading

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Steven Pinker on Knowledge and Education

From Steven Pinker’s ENLIGHTENMENT NOW, chapter 16, Knowledge, p233: The supernova of knowledge continuously redefines what it means to be human. Our understanding of who we are, where we came from, how the world works, and what matters in life … Continue reading

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Kingsley Amis, NEW MAPS OF HELL

Next in my series of reading nonfiction books about science fiction, proceeding in roughly chronological order, is this short book of six essays, originally presented as lectures at Princeton in 1959 and collected into book form in 1960. It’s by … Continue reading

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Recent Links Saved from Facebook

Steven Pinker’s favorite books http://www.vulture.com/2018/03/steven-pinkers-10-favorite-books.html include title by Gamow, Dawkins, Deutsch, and his wife Sean Carroll’s correctives to Jordan Peterson’s fandom Cleaning your room is good; using pseudo-intellectual babble about archetypes to identify culture with masculinity is… Posted by Sean … Continue reading

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Links from NYT recently, with Comments

Op-ed by Amy Sullivan in the New York Times, April 1 (posted March 31): Trump’s Christian Soldiers The recurring, amazing fact that the self-righteous evangelicals support someone like Trump. You could open a publishing press devoted to the theological and … Continue reading

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Tim Crane, THE MEANING OF BELIEF

Subtitled: Religion from an Atheist’s Point of View This is a small volume that appeared in 2017 and was well-reviewed in the New York Times. The author is a philosopher, and as the subtitle indicates an atheist (he denies the … Continue reading

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de Camp & de Camp, SCIENCE FICTION HANDBOOK, REVISED

Subtitled: “How to Write and Sell Imaginative Stories” This is more of a curiosity now, than an essential book of criticism or history, though it does reveal some attitudes of its time. I have a 1975 revision, show here, of … Continue reading

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Neil deGrasse Tyson, ASTROPHYSICS FOR PEOPLE IN A HURRY

This slender volume of magazine essays came out nearly a year ago, and I read it then, and thought it pleasant but nowhere near foundational. But since it still shows up on bestseller lists, nearly a year later, and has … Continue reading

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James Blish’s ISSUES AT HAND

James Blish, a science fiction author who emerged in roughly the same era as Damon Knight (they were born a year apart in 1920 and 1921 and both began publishing notable fiction in the early 1950s), wrote critical essays about … Continue reading

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