Category Archives: Religion

Links and Comments: Jonathan Haidt; Religious presumption; Hanlon’s razor; H.L. Mencken; Mark Lilla on prophecy

The Atlantic: Jonathan Haidt Is Trying to Heal America’s Divisions: The psychologist shares his thoughts on the pandemic, polarization, and politics. Great profile, though long, of Jonathan Haidt, author of one of the best books I’ve ever read, The Righteous … Continue reading

Posted in Culture, Religion | Comments Off on Links and Comments: Jonathan Haidt; Religious presumption; Hanlon’s razor; H.L. Mencken; Mark Lilla on prophecy

Notes for the Book: Hierarchy of Attitudes about Gender and Sex

I’m rethinking a lot of matters, about epistemology, about culture and politics, as ranges of attitudes, from the intuitive and simplistic, to the informed and complex. Are some of these spectra, rather than hierarchies? A hierarchy implies that the top … Continue reading

Posted in Religion, The Book | Comments Off on Notes for the Book: Hierarchy of Attitudes about Gender and Sex

Links and Comments: Socialism, Conspiracy Theories, Religion, Rationality, Liberalism, William Barr, Republicans

First, a David Brooks column from back in December: I Was Once a Socialist. Then I Saw How It Worked. I was a socialist in college. I read magazines like The Nation and old issues of The New Masses. I … Continue reading

Posted in Conservative Resistance, Culture, Humanism, Psychology, Religion | Comments Off on Links and Comments: Socialism, Conspiracy Theories, Religion, Rationality, Liberalism, William Barr, Republicans

John Allen Paulos, IRRELIGION (2008)

John Allen Paulos, Irreligion: A Mathematician Explains Why the Arguments for God Just Don’t Add Up.  Farrar, Straus and Giroux/Hill and Wang, 2008. John Allen Paulos is a professor of mathematics who’s become, over the past three decades, well-known as … Continue reading

Posted in Book Notes, Mathematics, Religion | Comments Off on John Allen Paulos, IRRELIGION (2008)

My Religious Upbringing, Such As It Was

My upbringing was not especially religious; my parents attended church, and took their kids to Sunday school, but more out of social habit and propriety, was my impression, rather than from any deep-seated faith. My parents both grew up in … Continue reading

Posted in Personal history, Religion | Comments Off on My Religious Upbringing, Such As It Was

Sam Harris, THE END OF FAITH (2004)

Sam Harris, The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason. Norton, 2004. In the 2000s, in the aftermath of 9/11, several well-known intellectuals wrote books examining the bases and legitimacy of religion in general. Four of them—Sam … Continue reading

Posted in Book Notes, Culture, Religion | Comments Off on Sam Harris, THE END OF FAITH (2004)

Yuval Noah Harari, HOMO DEUS: A Brief History of Tomorrow (2017; 2015 in Israel)

This is, in effect, a sequel to SAPIENS. Top level summary: It opens with a long prologue: now that humanity has largely overcome famine, plague, and war, what next? Three possibilities: immortality, happiness, divinity. However these are predictions; this book … Continue reading

Posted in Book Notes, Evolution, Human Progress, Religion, Science | Comments Off on Yuval Noah Harari, HOMO DEUS: A Brief History of Tomorrow (2017; 2015 in Israel)

Yuval Noah Harari, SAPIENS: A Brief History of Humankind (2015)

Yuval Noah Harari, SAPIENS: A Brief History of Humankind (2015) This is a history of the human species in the context of “Big History” – the first page sketches the history of the entire universe as a backdrop – and … Continue reading

Posted in Book Notes, Evolution, Human Progress, Religion, Science | Comments Off on Yuval Noah Harari, SAPIENS: A Brief History of Humankind (2015)

Peter Watts essay: “Understanding Sarah Palin, or, God Is In the Wattles”: Summary and Comments

From the book Peter Watts Is An Angry Sentient Tumor: Revenge Fantasies and Essays (Tachyon, November 2019), a selection of posts from the blog of Peter Watts, which has been running since 2007. Watts is the noted author of high … Continue reading

Posted in Book Notes, Conservative Resistance, Evolution, Religion | Comments Off on Peter Watts essay: “Understanding Sarah Palin, or, God Is In the Wattles”: Summary and Comments

Carel Van Schaik & Kai Michel, THE GOOD BOOK OF HUMAN NATURE: An Evolutionary Reading of the Bible (2016): Introduction

This is a fascinating book because it describes how there really is some rationale (if not reason or logic) to the stories in the Bible. It’s a set of answers to the general question, a sort of meta-question that one … Continue reading

Posted in Bible, Book Notes, Evolution, Religion | Comments Off on Carel Van Schaik & Kai Michel, THE GOOD BOOK OF HUMAN NATURE: An Evolutionary Reading of the Bible (2016): Introduction