Category Archives: Religion

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

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

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Lightman: SEARCHING FOR STARS ON AN ISLAND IN MAINE

Alan Lightman is the best known of the three authors reviewed today; he’s published numerous books before, including the novels EINSTEIN’S DREAMS and THE DIAGNOSIS, as well as numerous volumes of essays, out of all of which I’ve only read … Continue reading

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Links and Comments: Formal and Intuitive Religion

Two items. First, the latest survey showing the rise of the “nones,” the younger generation for whom formal religion is losing its attraction. In Nearly Every Country, Young People Are Way Less Religious Than Adults. The pattern holds throughout most … Continue reading

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Link: Wills on Carter on Ideology v. Religion

From Garry Wills’ review of Jimmy Carter’s new book Faith, in the New York Times Book Review a couple weeks ago (posted online earlier): In the ideology that the right thinks is a religion, the sin of sins is abortion, … Continue reading

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Links and Comments: Storytelling; Religious Fundamentalism and Fake News; the Attraction of Conspiracy Theories

Time magazine, December 5, 2017, Jeffrey Kluger: How Telling Stories Makes Us Human [S]torytelling is a powerful means of fostering social cooperation and teaching social norms, and it pays valuable dividends to the storytellers themselves, improving their chances of being … 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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Links and Comments: Optimists; Bible; Children

Time Magazine’s current issue is called “The Optimists,” and is edited by Bill Gates. Steven Pinker has a piece: Why We Refuse to See the Bright Side, Even Though We Should According to the latest data, people are living longer … Continue reading

Posted in Children, Culture, Human Progress, Religion | Leave a comment

Link and Comments: UFOs and Other Fairy Tales

No I don’t “believe” in UFOs, in the sense of believing them to be evidence of extraterrestrial visitors, because I’ve long been too familiar with the many ways human perception can go awry and of the many ways reports of … Continue reading

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Link and Quote: Hitchens on Christmas

Slate reposts a 2008 essay by curmudgeon Christopher Hitchens: ’Tis the Season to Be Incredulous: The moral and aesthetic nightmare of Christmas. Aesthetics aside; whether Jesus existed or not, was the Son of God or not… Suppose we put the … Continue reading

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