Weekend Coffee: February 20

• Last month, I wrote about Richard Dawkins being disinvited from NECSS for sexist comments. I'm disappointed but, in a sign of my cynicism, not overly surprised that NECSS has caved in and reinvited him. Needless to say, I won't be attending. Ophelia has more, and a follow-up.• In happier news, scientists at the LIGO detector confirm the existence of gravitational waves, a Nobel-worthy discovery if there ever was one. LIGO picked up the signal of two black holes colliding and … [Read more...]

Atlas Shrugged: America’s Most Wanted

Atlas Shrugged, part III, chapter VIIIThe looter government's radio appeals to John Galt are getting desperate. They promise to meet whatever terms he sets, to follow any orders he gives if he'll just help them, but there's no hint of an answer. The bad guys keep badgering Dagny in the (entirely justified and accurate) hope that she knows something:"Miss Taggart, we don't know what to do," said Mr. Thompson; he had summoned her to a personal conference on one of his scurrying trips to … [Read more...]

The Inglorious End of the Oregon Occupation

The Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon is back where it belongs: in the hands of the American people, free for everyone to use and enjoy. The month-long occupation by white Christian terrorists ended in utterly mundane fashion, with most of the militants taken into custody at a traffic stop as they attempted to travel to a public meeting in a neighboring county.For the first few weeks of the occupation, it was frustrating how passive and disengaged the authorities were. The FBI came … [Read more...]

The Life and Death of Antonin Scalia

Antonin Scalia has died. The news broke on Saturday night while I was at the movies watching Deadpool (seriously). It was such a sudden and unexpected shock, such a bolt from the clear blue, that at first I had trouble believing it was for real. It brought irresistibly to mind Clarence Darrow's quip that while he's never wished anyone harm, "I have read some obituary notices with great satisfaction."I don't mean to be crass, but I also think it's a nonsensical tradition to never speak ill of … [Read more...]

Photo Sunday: Titanosaur

I spent this weekend doing some cultural stuff in New York City, including a visit to the American Museum of Natural History to see their new exhibit: the skeleton of an enormous dinosaur from Argentina, one of the largest ever discovered. This species is so new it doesn't even have a proper scientific name yet, but "titanosaur" is fitting. At 122 feet long, it's so large it doesn't quite fit into the huge gallery room, so its head juts out into the corridor. And the paleontologists who … [Read more...]

Atlas Shrugged: The Work of Depressions

Atlas Shrugged, part III, chapter VIIIIn the aftermath of John Galt's speech, the last few businesses left in the country are grinding to a halt. Stores and homes are found empty, abandoned by their owners and gutted of everything useful. The plant of Rearden Steel, whose operations had been suspended after no one could be found to run it, goes up in flames; the fire is set by an elderly worker who confesses that he did it "to avenge Hank Rearden". (He was a Good Capitalist, but he was old … [Read more...]

Daylight Atheism Is 10 Years Old

I've gotten lazy about these anniversaries over the years, but this one is too big to ignore. My first-ever post was February 10, 2006, which means this humble little blog is ten years old today!In the time I've been writing, the atheist movement has made amazingly rapid progress. The non-religious have grown by leaps and bounds in the U.S., and while congressional representation is a lagging indicator, we've gained political pull as well - including the candidacy of Bernie Sanders, the … [Read more...]

New on AlterNet: Mistakes of the Atheist Movement

My latest column is up on AlterNet, 4 Things the Atheist Movement Has Done Badly (and How to Do Them Better). As you might guess, it's about some of the chronic blind spots of the atheist movement, together with my thoughts on how we can improve. Read the excerpt below, then click through to see the rest:Born in the shadow of September 11, the New Atheist movement took up the mission of pushing back against religious dogma and warning the world about the danger of unchecked fundamentalism. … [Read more...]

Atlas Shrugged: Loose Lips Sink Ships

Atlas Shrugged, part III, chapter VIIIJohn Galt's massive, multi-hour speech finally comes to an end. As I mentioned earlier, because Randian protagonists have the superpower of being able to deliver gigantic monologues without interruption, everyone in the TV station is still standing in the exact same places:"It wasn't real, was it?" said Mr. Thompson.They stood in front of the radio, as the last sound of Galt's voice had left them. No one had moved through the span of silence; … [Read more...]

The One-Percent Difference

I posted the other day on Facebook about Richard Dawkins being disinvited from NECSS for promoting a grossly sexist video, which provoked an onlooker to comment that he agreed with Dawkins and not with me. (It was a white man, if you wanted to know.)Since I curate my Facebook wall and don't care to share details of my personal life with people who hold such retrograde opinions, I unfriended him, which he apparently took as a grave insult. He sent me an angry, huffy message, then stopped by … [Read more...]


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X