I’m Speaking at Eschaton2012!

I've been invited to give a talk at Eschaton2012: Celebrating Reason at the End of the World in Ottawa (woo-hoo!) on the subject of Beta Culture! Come to Ottawa for a weekend gathering of scientists, philosophers, authors, academics, skeptics, rationalists, humanists, atheists, and freethinkers, where you can see presentations and join discussions on science, skepticism, gender issues, theocracy vs secularism, godless ethics, parenting beyond belief. … [Read more...]

50 Things to Do Before I Die

This is a self-indulgent repost of an older piece, freshened by thoughts of my recent 60th birthday: I stumbled across the title phrase some time back, and Googled it. I found several lists and scrolled through them. One of them was all “Go watch the Masters golf tournament,” and “Sit ringside at Madison Square Gardens for a boxing match,” and “See the Tour de France in person,” and it just seemed like most of it was a lot of crap you’d do to impress other people, instead of … [Read more...]

Sorry, Way Too Busy to Blog

I just started a new class today, and I was studying hard for almost half of it. I know you'll understand the sometimes exhausting demands of higher education. Official school picture below the fold (click to embiggen): … [Read more...]

Blue Collar Atheist: Non Sequitur

This is a little nothing, just a bit of me that bubbled up in my head this morning. Maybe it’s a birthday wish for myself. There’s this bird. Well, I should tell you about where and when I saw it, first, so you’ll know why it matters to me. I lived, as some of you know, in the mountains in central California, the High Sierra. I was on the east slope, not far from where California and Nevada butt together, and about midway up the range, not far south of Yosemite National Park. … [Read more...]

60th Birthday Whale Watching Tour a Success!

I done seen whales! But you don't get to see them unless you click below the fold. The pictures are so awesome, so breathtaking, that I fear you will be awed and breath-taked to the point that you'll pass out and fall onto a smaller, less massive bystander — possibly a child or a dog. Meanwhile, content yourself with this picture of an extremely rare bird known as a "sea gull." (Click to embiggen.) … [Read more...]

I’m Away for a Day or So

I'm turning 60 on Thursday. I've been planning to go on a whale-watching tour near Boston, but a surprising number of obstacles have fallen in my way. I still MIGHT get to do it, but I have to wake up at 5 a.m., rent a car and drive for about 4.5 hours to get there. After the whale tour (several hours, I imagine), I'll most likely be driving for another 4.5 hours to get home and sleep in my own bed. Argh. Pretty arduous 60th birthday. But still ... whales! When I get back, I have a lot more … [Read more...]

And can anyone tell me …

Why has my old post Calvin &  Hobbes Epilog — Extra Bacon!, from July 22, gotten so many hits today? My stats page has it about equally popular with my two recent Beta Culture posts. Where are all these people coming from? How are they finding this more-than-a-month-old post? An epilog to Calvin and Hobbes is definitely worth looking at, but hey ... I'm tryna change dah woild heah! Show some respect. … [Read more...]

Thoughts On My Upcoming 60th (!) Birthday

Okay, fuck it. I’ve decided to celebrate. To explain why I actually had to decide that: I had a thing happen a few weeks back. Was at a dinner party and a close friend happened to mention the date of my birth right out in public. I was peeved at him for several minutes. For years now, I haven’t liked people knowing my birthday. I’ll tell you why. It’s a glitch left over from childhood, but apparently I’m still carrying it around. (I’ve just apologized to my good friend, who puts … [Read more...]

First Person Revolutionary — Part 3

[ Read Part 1 and Part 2 ] The fatal flaw of atheism? Actually, it's a challenge atheism shares with religion. The difference between the two is that religion has found a solution. So let's talk about religion: The weedy form of religion, superstition, arises automatically in each mind all on its own, simply by virtue of our need to create private theories – often wildly personified due to our ability to detect “person-ness” in everything from smiley faces to wind in the trees – about … [Read more...]

First Person Revolutionary — Part 2

[ Read Part 1 first. ] Atheism (more broadly, freethought) isn’t new, of course. Just in this country alone, it’s as old as Thomas Paine (although Paine was a deist, he was widely accused of being an atheist, and I'm confident he would've been one of us if he lived in a society in which it was possible to actually think about such things), and has had its bright sparks all along the way, right up to Carl Sagan, who published The Demon Haunted World only 15 years ago. … [Read more...]