Poetry Sunday: Lot’s Wife

Today's Poetry Sunday features Anna Akhmatova, one of the most famous and critically praised Russian poets of the twentieth century. Anna Ahkmatova was born Anna Andreyevna Gorenko in 1889; she started writing early in life, and took the surname of her grandmother after her father forbade her to sully his respectable name by publishing "decadent" poetry under it.Akhmatova was a prominent poet of the Russian Acmeist movement, which rejected symbolism in favor of clarity and immediate, vivid … [Read more...]

A Response to the Theist's Guide

I first posted "The Theist's Guide to Converting Atheists" on Ebon Musings in June 2001. At that time, I promised that I would cite any theist who prepared an equivalent list and posted it on the internet. In the six and a half years since, I've had a total of two responses to that offer. One was discussed in June of last year.Last month, I got a second reply from a theist calling himself Quixote. He told me that if he had heard of my essay earlier, I wouldn't have had to wait this long, and I … [Read more...]

Book Update

I've finished chapter 8 of my book. (It's considerably longer than the last few chapters, which is why it's taken so long.) The chapter is titled "Universal Utilitarianism" and addresses the basis for an atheist's morality and the flaws in divine command ethics, drawing on my essays "The Ineffable Carrot and the Infinite Stick" and "The Roots of Morality".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 … [Read more...]

Poetry Sunday: Gravelly Run

Today's edition of Poetry Sunday introduces another freethinking poet, the American A.R. Ammons. Born in North Carolina in 1926, Ammons grew up on his family's farm during the Great Depression and attended a Pentecostal church, whose hellfire sermons terrified the young man. He first began to write poems while serving on a destroyer in the Pacific during World War II. After the war, he pursued a postgraduate education and served in a variety of jobs before beginning to publish in earnest. His … [Read more...]

Daylight Atheism in the News

I wasn't going to post today, but I was going through my Google news alerts and what do I find:The Daylight Atheism author states, "Over the past several years, I have observed to my dismay the forces of militant religious fundamentalism gaining in strength, both in my home country, the United States of America, and worldwide. This ominous development, driven by those who are dedicated enemies of all the progress and enlightenment that has been achieved over the past several centuries, … [Read more...]

New Post on Dangerous Intersection

I have a new post up on Dangerous Intersection, "How the mainstream media has failed us". The post is about an essay by John Hockenberry, an award-winning reporter and former correspondent for NBC's Dateline, that's a devastating indictment of the standard operating practices of network TV news. … [Read more...]

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 … [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...]