A portrait of the place where Evangelical politics and climate change meet

The climate talks in Paris are in their second week, and it's sometimes difficult on such a global stage to appreciate the small and local ways that climate change affects us. Consider the Hampton Roads region in Virginia, a collection of seven coastal cities including Virginia Beach and Norfolk. Writing for Scalawag, the Durham-based magazine covering Southern politics, Michael Schulson sets the scene (full disclosure: Schulson and the Scalawag team are good friends of mine): Global sea level i … [Read more...]

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

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...]

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

 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?

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...]

How a subway step explains Ferguson

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

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...]

My Interview with David Pizarro for Religion Dispatches

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing David Pizarro, professor of psychology at Cornell University and host of the fantastic podcast, Very Bad Wizards. He and I had a great conversation about the psychology of hiding cocaine and how we're inconsistent with religions like Islam:VC: I’ve always found it really interesting that there also seems to be an asymmetry in how we treat religion as a cause for some actions and not others. People are very quick to blame Islam for terrorism in the M … [Read more...]

Trigger warnings are more important than spoiler warnings, so why are they more controversial?

This post originally appeared on my new website, which you should check out.A few fair warnings: First, I’m about to discuss events from two recent episodes of this season’s Game of Thrones, “Unbowed, Unbent Unbroken” and “The Gift.” Second, I’m also going to discuss graphic depictions of rape. Those who aren’t up to speed with the show or who might be triggered by depictions of sexual violence may want to proceed with caution.Sansa Stark, the oldest living daughter of Eddard Stark, was a … [Read more...]

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Chris Stedman on MSNBC: “This is a really good thing, and I think people of faith should agree”

My good friend and founder of this blog, Chris Stedman, was on the Melissa Harris-Perry show yesterday morning to discuss the recent pew data showing a rise in the religiously unaffiliated (now up to 23% of the American public). Stedman was joined by Reverend Samuel Cruz, Christopher Hale from Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, and Kelly Brown Douglas, an episcopal priest and a professor of religion at Goucher College."What do you think is going on with this decline, particularly … [Read more...]

My review of Dan Ariely’s new book, “Irrationally Yours”

Dan Ariely was kind enough to hook me up with a review copy of his forthcoming book, Irrationally Yours (which you can preorder on Amazon).It changed my life. … [Read more...]