Poetry Sunday: Church Going

Today's edition of Poetry Sunday features the English poet and novelist Philip Larkin. Born in Coventry in 1922, Larkin received a degree in literature from Oxford in 1943. Though he worked for most of his life as a librarian at the University of Hull, he was well-known and widely acclaimed for his poetry and his work as a literary reviewer and jazz critic. He received numerous awards for his writing in his lifetime, including the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry, the German Shakespeare Prize, an … [Read more...]

Report from the Secular Society Conference: Day Three

The final day of The Secular Society and Its Enemies had three programs. The first, a panel titled "Secularism: The Next Generation", was moderated by Derek Araujo and featured several young freethinkers: Matt LaClair, whom I discussed previously; Sarah Stone, a student freethought organizer from Indiana; Mark Antony Smith, a CFI intern from Arizona; Justin Trotter, the director of CFI Ontario; as well as Nica Lalli, the author of Nothing: Something to Believe In.The panelists discussed … [Read more...]

Report from the Secular Society Conference: Day Two

The second day of The Secular Society and Its Enemies was largely devoted to panel discussions. I mentioned yesterday that the conference site at the New York Academy of Sciences had some spectacular views of Ground Zero and lower Manhattan; here are a few of them I took that morning:Looking down on Ground Zero.Looking east across the river into Brooklyn.Looking north.The morning opened with a panel titled "Secularism Through History: From Spinoza to JFK", with … [Read more...]

Report from the Secular Society Conference: Day One

I mentioned back in October that this weekend I'd be attending The Secular Society and Its Enemies, the 2007 conference of the Center for Inquiry. I didn't get to post my report on the first day of the conference yesterday (since it finished rather late), so I'll do that now. My report on today's events will be up tomorrow, and Sunday's report will be posted on Monday.The conference was held at the New York Academy of Sciences in lower Manhattan, which is on the 40th floor of World Trade … [Read more...]

Open Thread: Christianity and the Enlightenment

This is an open thread to address John's comment regarding Christianity and the origins of the Enlightenment. Comments and replies are welcome. … [Read more...]

A Note on the IIDB Situation

There are many reasons why I didn't want to write this post. Unfortunately, they are outweighed by the reasons why I did have to write it. A serious wrong has been done to a friend of mine, a once-thriving atheist community has been mortally wounded by an unaccountable few whose actions reflect poorly on the freethought movement, and I fear that if I don't report on this matter, those same few may erase the fact of its occurrence from history. I detest politics, gossip, and drama, and alas, this … [Read more...]

I Don’t Like to Brag…

...and I also wouldn't normally use this blog to inflict personal photos on you all, especially vacation photos.But today I'm going to make an exception to both rules.Anyone care to guess where I was last week?Yes, you guessed it: after a three-hour plane flight and a two-hour drive along narrow, winding backcountry roads, I arrived at the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico, the largest radio telescope in the world.Here's me at the observatory complex's front … [Read more...]

Poetry Sunday: Dirge Without Music

Today's edition of Poetry Sunday features another freethinking poet of the 20th century, the American playwright Edna St. Vincent Millay. Joseph Parisi's 100 Essential Modern Poets calls her "glamorous and bold", and notes that she was known "as much for her unconventional lifestyle as for her gift for poetry". Millay was the first woman to win a Pulitzer Prize, the second to win the Frost Medal, and the English novelist Thomas Hardy called her poetry one of America's two greatest creations (the … [Read more...]

Book Update

I'm pleased to announce I've finished the sixth chapter of my book, which lays out the case for atheism as a positive worldview. This chapter draws on my essay "Life of Wonder" on Ebon Musings and from several posts from the Garden here on Daylight Atheism.I think you all know the drill by now. Who's interested in reading it? … [Read more...]

The Secular Society and Its Enemies

Just a quick note to announce that I'll be attending The Secular Society and Its Enemies, a conference sponsored by the Center for Inquiry that will take place in New York City the weekend of November 9. I'm already looking forward to the event - CFI has lined up a top-notch slate of speakers, including Christopher Hitchens, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Ann Druyan, Susan Jacoby, Michelle Goldberg, Eugenie Scott, and more. If any of my readers happen to live in the New York metropolitan area and are … [Read more...]


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