Christian Terrorism in Colorado

You probably don't need me to fill in the details of the latest shooting rampage in gun-sick America. This time, the target was a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado. After a multi-hour gun battle with police, the attacker was captured alive, but not before he'd killed a police officer and two civilians.By now, these slaughters are a drearily familiar story. Other than the city and the number of people killed, they all follow pretty much the same template, and all you have to do is fill … [Read more...]

Friday Night Music: The War on Drugs

When I want to get in the mood for writing, I listen to music that helps energize me. But when I'm feeling the need to relax, I prefer to space out with something mellow, and The War on Drugs fits the bill. Here's one of my favorites from their 2014 breakthrough album Lost in the Dream: … [Read more...]

Atlas Shrugged: Big Soy


Atlas Shrugged, part III, chapter VWith d'Anconia Copper gone and the last few copper mines in the U.S. perishing for lack of machinery and spare parts, it's become almost impossible for Hank to keep making Rearden Metal. But as he tells Dagny, a bigger problem is looming. He's been selling as much metal as he can on the black market to the wheat farmers of Minnesota, who desperately need new farm equipment:"Dagny, I was in Minnesota last month. I've seen what's going on there. The … [Read more...]

A Christian vs. an Atheist: On God and Government, Part 15

This is part 15 of my "Think! Of God and Government" debate series with Christian author Andrew Murtagh. Read my latest post and Andrew's reply.Hi Andrew,I think Haidt's work on the five foundations of morality has a lot of validity, although I'd argue that the conservative, "beehive" values tend to work better in smaller and more homogeneous societies. Large, multicultural civilizations, by their nature, need to rely first and foremost on the "contractual" values of harm/care and … [Read more...]

In Defense of Radical Individualism

Conservative Christians are still grappling with the Supreme Court's ruling legalizing same-sex marriage this summer. It's sinking in that Obergefell was just the starkest example of how they no longer enjoy the absolute cultural power they once held, and that, as younger generations become more secular, their influence will keep dwindling. Some are reaching for apocalyptic rhetoric - Franklin Graham, for example, has said in response to the ruling, "I believe the end is coming... we are in the … [Read more...]

Weekend Coffee: CRISPR

Double Helix

For decades, we've understood the structure and function of DNA. But this immensely powerful knowledge has led to surprisingly few practical breakthroughs. Our ability to alter the genomes of living things has been painfully limited, progress frustratingly slow and elusive. However, that all may be about to change, thanks to a new technology taken from nature: a genetic system called CRISPR.CRISPR was an initially-mysterious string of repeating DNA sequences, discovered in bacteria decades … [Read more...]

Atlas Shrugged: Job Creators


Atlas Shrugged, part III, chapter VHank Rearden has moved to Philadelphia, seemingly to live on the grounds of his steel mill, and hasn't seen or spoken to his family in months. But he's still paying their bills, which makes no sense given his attitude at this point. He decided two chapters ago that he should run his personal life the same way he runs his business, meaning that he owes his family nothing and has no reason to support them. But Rand inexplicably has him put off acting on this … [Read more...]

The Astounding Hypocrisy of Anti-Refugee Christians


With the Syrian civil war plodding through its fourth year, the country is being hollowed out as everyone who has the means to escape flees from the bloodshed. Ordinary Syrians are trapped in a vise between the indiscriminate brutality of Bashar al-Assad's military and the sadistic terror of ISIS. The United Nations estimates that over four million of them are now refugees. The vast majority have gone to neighboring states like Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and even Iraq, but tens of thousands are … [Read more...]

The Mormons’ Great Leap Backward


Earlier this year, I wrote about about how the Mormon church laudably apologized for its past racism, yet its leaders were repeating the errors of history by continuing to insist on anti-LGBT discrimination. Well, the next chapter of that story has just been written:In a major policy announcement, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints says children living in a same-sex household may not be blessed as babies or baptized.... "A natural or adopted child of a parent living in a … [Read more...]

Photo Sunday: Peace, Light, Strength


I wanted to write about something else this weekend. Instead, I spent my Friday night sitting by the TV, watching the news from Paris, mesmerized and grief-stricken by yet another proof of human beings' capacity for inhumanity. And while it didn't get as much world notice or media coverage, there was also a deadly string of bombings in Lebanon this week.Even in the midst of awful crisis, there were heroes, as there always are: the Paris security guard who caught one of the suicide bombers … [Read more...]