Catholic Church Flexing Muscle in U.S. Hospitals

According to Wikipedia: The Roman Catholic Church is the largest non-government provider of health care services in the world. It has around 18,000 clinics, 16,000 homes for the elderly and those with special needs, and 5,500 hospitals, with 65 per cent of them located in developing countries. In 2010, the Church's Pontifical Council for Pastoral Assistance to Health Care Workers said that the Church manages 26% of the world's health care facilities. The Church's involvement in health care has … [Read more...]

A Short, Short Post on the Idea of Souls


I kinda wonder how broadly the idea of ensoulment affects what we consider is acceptable to think and do. For instance, it occurs to me that war and the death penalty are easier to contemplate in a social matrix of soul-belief. Sure you're killing people's BODIES, but you're not affecting their real selves.Likewise I wonder if our rather casual approach to drug use is somehow a result of that same idea. If you think your brain is YOU, that any change or damage to it is a direct assault on … [Read more...]

Beta Culture: ‘Yeah, We’re Fucked.’ Now What?

I'll tell you about one of my sort-of-hidden motivations behind my thoughts about the necessity of Beta Culture.I've told this anecdote at least once here, but I'll repeat it: I was in New York City a few years back, specifically to meet PZ Myers at a Seed Magazine event, and I got to meet a climatologist at the same time. Drink in hand, and jokingly, one of the first things I said was "Tell me the truth. Are we fucked?" Dead seriously, he replied "Yeah. We're fucked."Some years before … [Read more...]

Thoughts on “Privilege”

I've been hearing a lot about "privilege" lately, and I confess I continue to be disturbed by the subject, and how it is most often applied.I recognize that I have ADVANTAGES over some other people. For instance, I have the advantage that I'm healthy enough to donate blood, strong enough to carry a neighbor's groceries, perseverant enough to hold a job, bright enough to learn fresh skills or read a book in a day, creative enough to come up with novel ideas and think about things in new … [Read more...]

The Book of Good Living: Just Say No

Looking back over my life, one of the skills that would have saved me a lot of anguish, annoyance and wasted time is the skill of saying No.If I'd been taught to say No, just no -- without anger, or guilt, or any sort of emotional spin -- oh boy my life would have been different. I would have spent a great deal less time getting roped into doing things I didn't really want to do. My life would have been more MINE -- which I strongly suspect would have better allowed me to say Yes in the ways … [Read more...]

Beta Culture: A Third Approach to Gender Equality

Unequal copy

I’ve been thinking about feminism for a couple of years, and I’ve actually felt a certain amount of dread when I attempted to relate it to my conceptual work on Beta Culture. It’s completely obvious that Beta can’t work without a healthy respect for the needs of women, something better than what our western society has now, but I couldn’t see how ‘feminism’ – not the thing I want feminism to be, but the thing that it presently is – could be integrated into it without overwhelming the welcoming, i … [Read more...]