Movie Review: The Brand New Testament

The Brand New Testament, a 2015 independent film from Belgian director Jaco Van Dormael, is a surreal, subversive comedy that parodies the theodicies dreamed up by religious apologists. When I heard about its premise, I had to see it for myself. In Van Dormael’s vision, God exists, and he’s a cruel, foul-tempered old man, like a senior citizen who spends his time yelling at neighborhood kids to get off his lawn. He lives in a dingy, disheveled apartment somewhere above… Read more

A Fireside Dialogue

1. A Portent Late on a wild and blustery autumn night, I was sitting in my study, sprawled out in a comfortable armchair, staring off into the middle distance. The fireplace held a swirl of ashes and dying embers, glowing faintly. In their uncertain light, my shadow stretched out before me, long and distorted, and flowed formlessly up the wall like a clutching vine. Beyond the windows, clouds wafted across the moon, and a wood of black trees shivered and… Read more

Friday Night Music: The Sky is a Neighborhood

The Foo Fighters channel Carl Sagan on their new album Concrete and Gold: Read more

The Fountainhead: Top of the World, Ma

The difference between Stoicism and sociopathy. Read more

Letter-Writing Wednesday: Stop Rapist Cops

[I sent a copy of this letter to the governor and my state legislators.] Dear Senator/Representative: I was appalled to read this story about two NYPD officers who arrested a teenager for alleged drug possession, then drove to an isolated location and raped her. According to media reporting on the case, the police officers admit that sexual acts occurred (and DNA evidence confirms it), but they told investigators that the sex was “consensual”. Although these rapist officers may still be… Read more

Dictators Hate Education

The first step on the escalator of reason is the most crucial one, but it’s also the hardest. Read more

Weekend Coffee: Universal Translators

It’s not quite Star Trek, but this technology from Google is a step in that direction: The Pixel 2 smartphone and wireless earbuds can translate spoken language in real time, allowing two people who don’t speak the same language to have a conversation. And it’s not only Google that’s doing this: As the Guardian notes, other tech companies like Bragi and Microsoft’s Skype also have built-in live translation. As often happens, it was a government need that drove the creation… Read more

The Fountainhead: Villain Protagonist

The Fountainhead is best when its supposed hero isn’t on the page. Read more

A Reading List on Implicit Bias: Gender

One of the first posts I ever wrote for Daylight Atheism, “On Presuppositions”, discusses how implicit prejudices about race and gender influence our actions – even among people who don’t consciously endorse those prejudices. The post discussed the famous Implicit Association Test, which shows among other things that the vast majority of people take less time to link business and work concepts with men and housework and childraising concepts with women than to do the opposite. The IAT is one… Read more

Dystopia Journal #10: Deathbed Confessions

Republicans are beginning to fear World War III, yet even now they can only speak their mind in whispers. Read more

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