I’ve written a lot of stuff this week! A Roundup

Reading

It's been a hectic few weeks for me, and a lot of pieces I've been working on for the last month or so have finally been published. This has been really rewarding and cool.At The Daily Beast, you can read about the latest research on combating anti-vaccine attitudes. Powell and Horne didn’t measure how long the change in attitude about vaccines lasted, and it’s worth noting that the information about the harms of not vaccinating didn’t change anyone’s beliefs about the link between vaccines … [Read more...]

Faithfully Feminist – Why Women Stay With Their Religious Communities

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The book, Faithfully Feminist – Jewish, Christian, and Muslim Feminists on Why We Stay, will be available for purchase later this summer. It features essays by 45 contributors from Abrahamic religious traditions. "Why do you stay?” It is a common question women are asked in relation to their faith. These are not women who buy into Candace Cameron’s biblically submissive theory; rather, these are women who claim a feminist identity, have membership in a particular religious tradition, and practi … [Read more...]

A Note on Dealing with Death & Dying, Trauma & Tragedy

At a recent workshop on ‘Trauma in Everyday Life,’ a psychologist spoke about big ‘T’ and little ‘t’ trauma. Big ‘T’ trauma is what we commonly refer to when speaking of serious accidents, war, death, etc. In its most severe form, big ‘T’ trauma can lead to post-traumatic stress. On the other hand, little ‘t’ trauma refers to the everyday violence we encounter, such as being teased, losing a pet or a job, being picked last in a group activity, receiving negative comments on a blog. While such exp … [Read more...]

The science of white fragility

According to Robin DiAngelo, a professor at Westfield State University, white fragility is: a state in which even a minimum amount of racial stress becomes intolerable, triggering a range of defensive moves. These moves include the outward display of emotions such as anger, fear, and guilt, and behaviors such as argumentation, silence, and leaving the stress-inducing situation. These behaviors, in turn, function to reinstate white racial equilibrium. David Brooks, a columnist for The New York … [Read more...]

The New Republic’s review of Ta-Nehisi Coates’s necessary new book

Reading esoterically about morality maybe?

 Ta-Nehisi Coates is quickly becoming one of America's great public intellectuals. Bijan Stephen, an Associate Editor at The New Republic and an old friend, recently wrote about Coates's latest book, Between the World and Me. He writes: Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, and his body of work concerns, in general, confronting that violence on its structural terms: racism’s history, the institutions that allow it to persist, and its economic and social consequences. B … [Read more...]

Could there be an ISIS without an Islam?

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Speaking of catching up on things I've missed while I've been gone, I was asked my thoughts about a cover story from March's issue of The Atlantic. It reminded me of another article from The Atlantic earlier in July, which argued that "is ISIS Islamic?" is the wrong question to ask (for the record: I wouldn't disagree that ISIS is Islamic).The important question, as posed by The Institute for Social Policy and Understanding's Dalia Mogahed, is instead "would a group like ISIS, with all the ot … [Read more...]

James Croft and Steve Neumann on atheist diplomacy

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I've been catching up on some material since I've been back from writing in New York (I've also picked up a few very exciting and promising projects), and I stumbled on a roundtable discussion from last month---how should atheists engage with religious believers?Arguing in favor of anti-theism was Kaveh Mousavi and Peter Mosley, while James Croft and Steve Neumann championed a more ecumenical approach.Steve starts by explaining some of the issues with some forms of criticism, and James a … [Read more...]

How a subway step explains Ferguson

Girl and her dog

At Religion Dispatches, Andrew Aghapour has a great piece about the cognitive psychology behind our failures in blame. My favorite metaphor he highlighted (because those are important) is a subway stairwell that has one stair taller than the others, which person after person trips on. He links to the following video and writes: When the video was posted three years ago, it prompted this jewel of an observation by Metafilter user James Bording: “On its own, when you see one person slip, you aut … [Read more...]

Explanations and story-telling, or how to write about science

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I've had a steady gig at The Daily Beast for a half-dozen months or so which, more than paying me too generously, has given me a great opportunity to do some more science writing. I've enjoyed this a lot.I took a science writing seminar my senior year in college with Carl Zimmer, an award-winning science writer and a weekly columnist at The New York Times. He's great, and I still think back often to what I learned from him. It was easily one of the best classes I took, and I was lucky to … [Read more...]

5 Ways to Avoid Being a Jerk in the Workplace

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Jerks --- we all know at least one person we’d describe as such. Because we have to deal with their ish from time to time, I thought I’d compile a short list of ways all of us can avoid becoming one of them. Using the context of my past workplace experiences, I will offer some anecdotal examples to tie in recent research from Stanford, Yale and the University of Southern California. Having been consistently employed since my early teenage years, I have quite a bit of work experiences to draw upon … [Read more...]

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