New on the Guardian: Beyond Debating God’s Existence

My latest column on the Guardian is up: "It's time for atheists to stop debating God's existence and decide what to do about it".In it, I argue that the atheist movement can't make critiques of religious belief its whole focus and should be doing more to create justice in this life, which is the only one we'll ever have. I also argue that the community is already moving in this direction, citing a new mission statement put out by the Secular Student Alliance that makes diversity and social … [Read more...]

SF/F Saturday: Terry Pratchett’s Death

I was devastated to learn that Terry Pratchett, the renowned fantasy author, died this week at the unfairly early age of 66. Pratchett had been suffering from early-onset dementia for several years, and while he was a vocal advocate of assisted dying, his own passing was natural. (He also worked almost right up to the end: his final Discworld book, The Shepherd's Crown, is set to be published posthumously this year.)The sad news was broken by family on his Twitter account, in a form any … [Read more...]

Atlas Shrugged: The Rapture of the Capitalists

Rapture

Atlas Shrugged, part II, chapter XLeaving the stranded train behind, Dagny and Owen Kellogg set out into the night to seek help. As they walk along the tracks, they get to talking. Dagny tells Kellogg how hard her job has become, lamenting, "I don't have a single first-rate man left on the Taggart system" (ouch - sorry, Eddie!), and offers him any job he wants if he'll work for her again:"All right. Track walker.""What?""Section hand. Engine wiper." He smiled at the look on her … [Read more...]

ISIS Is Bleeding Human History

BurnedBook

On top of all the other atrocities they've committed, we have to add another entry to the list of ISIS' crimes against the human race: their penchant for destroying ancient relics and other historical artifacts in the cities they've conquered. While it's not comparable to the mass slaughter of human beings, this cultural vandalism stands out for its sheer senselessness. Like the Taliban fanatics who dynamited the monumental Buddhas of Bamiyan, or the militants of Ansar Dine who destroyed the … [Read more...]

Constitutional Crisis in Alabama?

BrokenChain

My newest column on AlterNet is up, Right-Wingers' Secession Threats: Fighting Tooth and Nail on the Wrong Side of History. It's an expanded version of my earlier post on Roy Moore and other social conservatives arguing that they shouldn't have to obey laws they don't like. Here's an excerpt:When a U.S. federal judge - an appointee of George W. Bush, no less - ruled in favor of marriage equality in Alabama, Judge Roy Moore didn't take it lying down. The chief justice of the state supreme … [Read more...]

Photo Sunday: Dark Sunrise

DarkSunrise

For us Americans and others who still rely on the antiquated agricultural ritual of Daylight Savings Time, we "spring forward" this weekend. For the next few weeks, we'll be rising in the morning dark once again. But as discouraging as it is to lose an hour, it's a welcome reminder that spring is on its way, that sun and warmth are slowly, patiently creeping back into the world. After a long, bitter winter here on the east coast that's tried our spirits, the thaw can't come soon enough.Image … [Read more...]

Atlas Shrugged: Thank You For Riding Taggart Transcontinental

RailroadAd

Atlas Shrugged, part II, chapter XHaving heard the tramp's conveniently about-to-be-relevant tale, Dagny drifts off to sleep, puzzling over what it might mean. When she wakes up, it's to a sudden, disorienting silence: the train has stopped moving.The sweep of her hand pressed the light switch and the bell to summon the porter. The electric light came on and brought her back to a rational world. She glanced at her watch: it was a few minutes past midnight. She looked out of the rear … [Read more...]

Neil deGrasse Tyson Shows Why Small-Minded Religious Fundamentalists Are Threatened by Wonders of Universe

RoseCenter

This column originally appeared on AlterNet.Neil deGrasse Tyson's new Cosmos series is a worthy reboot of Carl Sagan's original. Following in Sagan's footsteps, Tyson takes viewers on a voyage through the outer reaches of the solar system and beyond, showing how our sun is just one star out of a hundred billion in the majestic spiral of the Milky Way galaxy, and even the Milky Way itself is a speck in the observable universe. As in the original series, he compresses the history of the … [Read more...]

Bangladesh Is Killing Atheists

There's horrific news from Bangladesh: the atheist activist and writer Dr. Avijit Roy was murdered on the street in Dhaka, hacked to death by two assailants wielding machetes as he left a book fair at Dhaka University. His wife Rafida Ahmed Bonna was seriously wounded in the same attack. An Islamist group calling itself Ansar Bangla 7 issued a statement claiming responsibility for the murder.Dr. Roy was the author of books such as The Philosophy of Disbelief and The Virus of Faith, as well … [Read more...]

I Get Religious Mail: If Wishes Were Airplanes

Most of the religious charity solicitation letters that I get have identifiable humanitarian aims, as much as I might disagree with the religious message those aims are wrapped up in. But that isn't the case for the latest specimen, which begs for money to advance a purely religious mission, without even a pretense of serving people's actual needs. (See end of post for the full letter.)This letter was from Wycliffe Associates, an evangelical missionary organization, and concerns the work … [Read more...]


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