Repost: If I Were an Unethical Atheist

[I'm taking a break from the blog to bond with and care for my new son. Please enjoy this classic post! I'll check in periodically to answer comments.]More times than I can count, I've heard the argument that atheists can't be trusted to act ethically, that human beings need to believe in a supernatural source of morality to coerce us to behave. (The most recent time I remember hearing this was in my debate with Peter Hitchens last year.) The argument usually goes that even if we … [Read more...]

Repost: So Wrong For So Long: On Liberal Biblical Reinterpretation

[I'm taking a break from the blog to bond with and care for my new son. Please enjoy this classic post! I'll check in periodically to answer comments.]Following up on last week's affray over cognitive dissonance in pro-LGBT Christians, I have one more point I want to make.Liberal and progressive believers have a variety of theological rationalizations for why they remain in a church that's historically been an unrelenting enemy of people like them. One of the most common is that God is … [Read more...]

SF/F Saturday: Uprooted/The Speed of Dark

In my last installment of this series, I said that I wanted to read more sci-fi and fantasy written by women. That plan is already paying dividends, as I've checked off two books by authors on the list I hadn't read before and thoroughly enjoyed both of them: Uprooted, by Naomi Novik, and The Speed of Dark, by Elizabeth Moon. Here are some short reviews and thoughts.Uprooted, by Naomi NovikA fantasy rooted in Russo-Polish mythology, Uprooted starts out like a fairy tale. It's set in a … [Read more...]

Are the Olympics Worth It?

I rarely watch sports, but I make an exception for the Olympics. I can't deny that it's thrilling to see the world's top athletes in one place, showing off the greatest feats of strength, speed and grace that human beings are capable of. And I still believe the international cooperation that makes the games possible is a triumph of diplomacy and a good sign for human civilization.But it's getting harder and harder to ignore the problems threatening to overshadow the competition. Every … [Read more...]

Open Thread: Ghostbusters

There's so much darkness in the world lately, I feel like we could all use a break to talk about something light-hearted. So how about that new Ghostbusters movie?I saw it over the weekend, and the theater was packed. If the internet backdraft has hurt the box office at all, which I doubt, it wasn't noticeable where I live.Overall, it was solidly entertaining. There weren't any huge surprises, but it was a fun popcorn movie and it met my expectations. If you liked the original - and if, … [Read more...]

On Seasteading and Liberlands

Libertarianism is an ideology of the frontier.Most political ideologies are built to answer, in some fashion, the question of how to get along with our neighbors. It may be through democratic persuasion, or melting-pot cross-pollination, or shared notions of duty and tradition. Libertarianism alone makes the assumption that you don't have to get along with your neighbors. You can limit your interactions with other people to whatever trades you find advantageous, and if you'd rather not deal … [Read more...]

Useless Money: A Humanist Sermon

This is 432 Park Avenue:It's the newest addition to the New York City skyline, an ultra-luxury residential skyscraper in midtown Manhattan. With a top height of almost 1400 feet, it's the tallest residential building in the world and the second tallest building in all of NYC, ahead of the Empire State Building, behind only the new One World Trade Center.Despite its neck-craning height (it actually required approval from the FAA), 432 Park Avenue has only 104 apartments. The first … [Read more...]

SF/F Saturday: The Top 100 Women Authors

My familiarity with the classics of sci-fi and fantasy is patchy, and I've been trying to make it more systematic. As part of that goal, I want to diversify my reading selections, and pay adequate attention to the excellent women and minority authors who are too often overlooked in favor of the white male authors who've historically dominated the field.So, I was very pleased to see this top-100 list of SF/F novels by female authors from BookRiot. I was curious to see where I stacked up in … [Read more...]

Why Do Anti-Choice Christians Believe Abortion Is Bad?

The Colorado courts have unsealed some documents in the case of Robert Lewis Dear, the Christian terrorist who attacked a Planned Parenthood in Colorado and murdered three people. (Since it seems clear that Dear isn't denying his guilt, I think we can dispense with words like "alleged".)The new documents confirm that Dear's motivations were explicitly religious. Among other details, we're told that he repeatedly quoted the Bible, "called President Barack Obama the antichrist" and "thought … [Read more...]

SF/F Saturday: Mystery Science Theater 3000

The whole East Coast is snowed in after last night's blizzard. If you're feeling a touch of cabin fever, I've got a suggestion for how to while away the time.Mystery Science Theater 3000 is a cult-classic TV show that came out of Minnesota in the late 1980s. It's about a mild-mannered janitor named Joel (series creator Joel Hodgson), who had the misfortune of being employed by two mad scientists. As part of their evil, never-fully-specified plan to conquer the world, they kidnap him, shoot … [Read more...]