Archives for March 2012

A discussion thread on religion for people who live–or have lived–in “red” parts of the country

Strange as it may sound for someone who writes about religion so much, there are times when religion seems like this thing that’s “out there” but which doesn’t affect my life. And I guess that’s been true for some parts of my life, particularly when I’ve lived in the “blue” (i.e. liberal) city* of Madison, [Read More…]

When the people you’re trying to reach say stupid things

About a year ago, I took part in a campus atheist group’s “ask an atheist” day. We stood out on the sidewalk in a well-traveled part of campus with a table, signs, and sidewalk chalk to announce what we were doing. Unfortunately, we didn’t so much get people with questions as people who wanted to [Read More…]

Operational atheists or perfectly normal believers?

Julian Sanchez has a post titled “Undercover Atheists?” that makes a number of interesting points, but the one I want to comment on is about the number of atheists in government: [Read more…]

From the archives: Parkinson’s and schizophrenia

Unlike my recent “From the archives” posts, this is a post I wrote way back in 2008. I had completely forgotten about it until recently, when a woman e-mailed me to thank me for it, because she had a mentally ill son and by showing her friends my post she could get them to better understand [Read More…]

1.5 million children stolen–guess who’s responsible?

I wouldn’t normally link to PZ because I assume you all read him anyway, but I just had an uncanny experience at his blog. I read the headline 1.5 million children stolen, and felt like I was suddenly Batman (as played by Adam West): “There’s only one organization that could have pulled off a plot [Read More…]

I really should know more about ebook formats. Help please?

I like the concept of ebooks, but I’ve never gotten a Kindle or Nook or anything like that. I just read them on my computer. So there’s a lot I don’t know about ebook readers. Like I only just now found out that EPUB is supposed to be great because you can read them on [Read More…]

A position statement on metaethics (or, the package deal fallacy)

“Metaethics” means taking a step away from standard ethical-slash-moral questions (is abortion morally permissible? is it permissible to bomb civilians if it will end the war sooner and prevent a greater number of deaths?) and asking questions about the questions. Do we know the answers to any moral questions? If so, how do we know [Read More…]

After hipsters, there will be more hipsters

Andrew Sullivan has a post about “what subculture will follow hipsters.” My prediction is “more hipsters.” Cultural trends have a funny way of beginning long before they began, and not ending until long after they’re over. Whenever I watch movies from the 90’s, I’m always struck by how much the 90’s looked like the 80’s. [Read More…]

You need alegebra and statistics to understand the world

Andrew Sullivan writes a post titled Math is Useless, then follows up with reader reactions. I’m definitely on the side of this guy: [Read more…]