Poetry Sunday: Stopping by Woods

There's just enough time for one final Poetry Sunday in 2007, and this one will feature another famous American poet with skeptical leanings: Robert Frost, the New Englander and national Poet Laureate whose work has become so iconic of the American experience.Frost's views on God are complex. In some of his letters, he calls himself "an old dissenter", "secular till the last go down", and said there were "no vampires, no ghouls, no demons, nothing but me". In others, he expresses belief in and … [Read more...]

Open Thread: The Internet Infidels Situation

In light of the continuing, and in fact worsening, fiasco at the IIDB discussion forum, I'm creating an open thread to document the continuing misuses of power. The Internet Infidels Board of Directors is now engaged in a full-scale effort to rewrite history, shuttering feedback forums, deleting countless threads on IIDB that have been critical of their recent actions, and banning numerous members without warning as punishment for dissent. (The stated reason for those bans is "useless … [Read more...]

Poetry Sunday: The Snowstorm

Compliments of the season, today's Poetry Sunday brings you "The Snowstorm" by the famous American transcendentalist poet Ralph Waldo Emerson. Emerson was born in 1803 in Boston, son of a Unitarian minister, and at first looked set to follow in his father's footsteps. But before he was 30, he walked away from even that liberal religious viewpoint to found a movement that was entirely his own, and authentically American.The transcendentalist movement, which can best be described as rational and … [Read more...]

New Post on Dangerous Intersection

For those of you who are interested in this sort of thing, I have a new post up on Dangerous Intersection, "Joe Klein is not a journalist". … [Read more...]

Book Update

I've finished chapter 7 of my book. The chapter is titled "Shattering Stereotypes" and refutes some of the most widely held misconceptions about atheism. It draws on several posts from this site and essays from Ebon Musings, including "Red Crimes", "Turning Away Anger", and others.As in the past, I'm making this chapter available to regular commenters on this site for editorial review and critique. If you fit that description and would like to review it, please let me know. … [Read more...]

Open Thread: For Former Christians

I was asked to create this open thread in e-mail, and I'm doing so. From that e-mail:I would like to have an open thread for people who have been Christians for a long time (preferably more than 10 years) and then decided it was not true to post their reasons for their decision. I think this may help me sort things out by weighing their reasons against my reasons and thinking the whole matter through.I don't know how many people there may be on this site who fit that description, but if … [Read more...]

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...]


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