Movie Review: Alive Inside

AliveInside_POSTER

Alive Inside is an award-winning documentary by Michael Rossato-Bennett about the work of Dan Cohen, a social worker from Long Island, and the charity he founded, Music & Memory. (Disclaimer: I know Dan personally, and I've contributed to his charity.) It spotlights a slow-rolling demographic crisis poised to overtake the Western world, and offers at least one startlingly powerful idea that could be part of the solution.In the next few decades, the developed world is going to confront … [Read more...]

A Response to Cracked’s “5 Atheist Arguments Which Aren’t Helping Anyone”

I admit, I spend a lot of time browsing Cracked. From its origins as a comedy website about dick jokes, it's grown into one of the most subversively intelligent and thoughtful sites on the internet, commenting not just on pop culture, but on politics, philosophy and religion. Among other things, they've published harrowing personal essays about life in Muslim theocracies, religious honor-killing cultures and the Quiverfull cult.Which brings me to this column by Luke McKinney, 5 Atheist … [Read more...]

Friday Night Music: Every Open Eye

I last wrote about Chvrches, the Scottish synthpop band with the name I can never type, two years ago. They've since released their sophomore album, Every Open Eye, which is excellent - bigger, more expansive, more optimistic than their debut. Here's one of my favorites:Another standout is "Empty Threat", a defiant anthem that's hard not to read as the band's response to the kind of bottom-feeder harassment that lead singer Lauren Mayberry has often spoken about. … [Read more...]

Atlas Shrugged: The Descent of Man

Chimpanzee

Atlas Shrugged, part III, chapter VII, The SpeechJohn Galt is still talking. In this section of his doorstopper monologue, he lectures about Rand's views on human nature:"Man's mind is his basic tool of survival. Life is given to him, survival is not. His body is given to him, its sustenance is not. His mind is given to him, its content is not. To remain alive, he must act, and before he can act he must know the nature and purpose of his action. He cannot obtain his food without a … [Read more...]

Book Review: The Illusion of God’s Presence

IllusionOfGodsPresence

Summary: Not a new theory, but a new and strong case for an old theory, supplemented with up-to-date neurological evidence.Jack Wathey is a neuroscientist and computational biologist and the founder of Wathey Research, a scientific firm that focuses on problems like protein folding. His new book, The Illusion of God's Presence, presents an answer to a puzzling problem: Why do human beings believe so strongly in a supernatural deity, even in the face of ample contradictory evidence? (Full … [Read more...]

Jimmy Carter Is Better than the God He Worships

JimmyCarter

The world needs more statesmen like Jimmy Carter.Since his presidency, he's been an unflagging advocate for human rights. Through his Carter Center, he's worked to oversee fair elections, release political prisoners, and negotiate peace accords in conflict-torn regions like Haiti, North Korea, Palestine, South Sudan and Bosnia. He's well known for his work building homes for the poor with Habitat for Humanity. At the age of 91, after beating brain and liver cancer, he's still going strong. … [Read more...]

If You Won the Powerball

BilliardBalls

OK, I admit it: I bought a ticket for the Powerball lottery this weekend. After multiple drawings with no winner, the grand prize hit $800 million, and could surpass $1 billion before tonight's drawing.I'd argue that it's not totally irrational to play. At $2 a ticket and jackpot odds of 1 in 292 million, that's a positive expected value (although of course taxes complicate the picture, and it's less if you choose to take the winnings as a lump sum).Still, it makes no sense to me that … [Read more...]

Atlas Shrugged: Author Filibuster

Lecture

Atlas Shrugged, part III, chapter VII, The SpeechA brief promo before we get to today's post: I was on the Feminist Coffee Hour podcast to talk about Ayn Rand and gender roles in Objectivism. Check it out! (Full disclosure: one of the co-hosts happens to be the person I'm married to. There were also some minor cat-related technical difficulties midway through, so apologies for that.)* * *Last time, we heard John Galt commandeer the airwaves to explain his grand plan to destroy the … [Read more...]

The Invisible Threat of White Christian Terrorism

InvisibleMan

Just after New Year's, a gang of self-proclaimed militia members led by two sons of Cliven Bundy (yes, that Cliven Bundy) announced that they'd seized a building in the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon. Ostensibly, this was a protest on behalf of two ranchers who'd been sentenced to prison for setting fires on federal land. They vowed to occupy the refuge "for years" if necessary and promised violence if police tried to remove them, saying they were ready to "kill and be killed". Ammon … [Read more...]

Turning the Corner on Climate Change

MiamiBeach

The future is bleak for Miami.Built on low-lying swampland, it's one of the most vulnerable places on the planet as storms strengthen and seas rise. The city is already suffering from streets that flood at high tide and saltwater seeping into drinking wells. With just a few feet of sea-level rise, which may be unstoppable at this point, most of South Florida will vanish beneath the waves. As a famous Rolling Stone article puts it, Miami is "doomed to drown", possibly sooner than we … [Read more...]


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