Where Vlad has been

At the Basillica of St Lawrence.

It's probably past the point where a New Year's post is timely or relevant, but I've been gone a fair bit and it seems only appropriate to say where I've been, so here we are.Physically, I've spent the holiday and the first few weeks of January home in Durham, mostly working. I've been really academically productive, which has been hard but encouraging. I've started the first round of edits for a paper I spent most of last semester collecting data for, and I can't wait to wrap this project u … [Read more...]

How Andreas accidentally undermined scientific arguments for moral principles by dissing Kanye West

A portrait of the blogger as a young science carney.

Yesterday, I finished my time working at the North Carolina State Fair. My lab set up our department's mobile research center, and I spent about 100 hours over the last 10 days administering surveys to three or four thousand people in exchange for enough money to make a small dent in the North Carolina GDP. I mention this not only to explain where I've been for the last week and a few days, but also to preempt any suggestions that the argument I'm about to make comes from a place of not caring ab … [Read more...]

It’s Caturday!

Princess unicorn kitteh

At NonProphet Status, we love dogs. We love dogs a lot. We love their faces and their fur and the way their stupid little noses sniff and bury into everything. But some of us like cats, too.In the interest of promoting interpet literacy, we bring you... Caturday! —1. Dean's princess unicorn, Darla, is a cat; or, Dean's cat, Darla, is a princess unicorn— Some context, from Dean:This is Darla's unicorn princess halloween costume. She loves wearing it so much that if you try to take it off … [Read more...]

One month at Patheos, looking back

Screen Shot 2014-10-03 at 1.18.22 AM

It's been a little more than a month since our humble blogfam joined the atheist channel here at Patheos. The entire process moved very quickly---Dale McGowan, the Managing Editor of the atheist channel[1. AKA our blogdad] reached out to us to see if we'd be interested in relaunching NPS at Patheos. Though Chris Stedman, the founder of our blog,[2. AKA our other blogdad] had moved on to blogging at his Religion News Service site and couldn't join us, we all agreed to join the network.On the f … [Read more...]

Lessons from Kanye West: Atheistic inspiration can come from the religious

By LittleO2 (Kanye West) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

At NPS, we believe that critical contributors are missing from the conversation and culture around atheism. We recognize that popular scientists aren’t the only ones who have relevant things to say about what it means to live life without religion, and significant voices might be found where we least expect them. One of the aims of this blog is to identify cultural and artistic work, as well as lived experiences, which can provide inspiration, aspiration, and comfort to nonreligious folk in ways … [Read more...]

More Humanist Reflection (and technical difficulties)

You may or may not have noticed but the site has gone a bit wonky. We've run into some technical troubles on our end and are working to take care of it ASAP, so please bear with us as we sort that out. You might notice a bit of the skeleton peeking through and some of our fancier features failing, but other than that it shouldn't affect the site too much.In the mean time, I thought I'd provide a bit less of a cerebral reflection for World Humanist Day and share a poem I think that has a par … [Read more...]

Vlad's Duke Event Audio

To anyone who was waiting for a recording of the dialogue I had with my friend Neil Shenvi last week, the audio is now online, hosted on Neil's website.I listened to it this morning while walking my dog and the audio came out surprisingly well. It's not without its issues (some clipping here and there, a few moments where it cuts out during transitions, and so on), but definitely listenable.My opening statement starts at around the 18 minute mark, and our conversation starts after a … [Read more...]

NPS: Lenten Reflections 2013

It's been nearly a week since the end of our 40-odd days of Lenten fasting, and we'd like to take some time to briefly reflect about the process. This post will be updating as we get more perspectives, and it seemed like a good place to aggregate all the links and writing we've done on the topic for easy reference.Our inaugural post this year.A defense of Lent as a secular practiceVlad writes about secular Lent on the Huffington PostA reflection on how we ought to treat religious … [Read more...]

A quick note on gay marriage and slacktivism

Unless you've been completely abstaining from any form of media over the last two days, you've likely noticed that the Supreme Court has been hearing oral arguments for the Defense of Marriage Act and Proposition 8---two landmark cases for gay rights.You may also have noticed that the pink and red version of the Human Rights Campaigns's logo has been circulating on many people's Facebook walls and profile pictures. For yesterday and much of today, Facebook feeds were inundated with the HRC's … [Read more...]

Atheist Lent in Religion News Service and also Other Places

Kimberly Winston, a reporter for Religion News Service, has a really thorough and nice write up of our secular Lenten fasting. Reflecting a bit, it's been a really cool experience and I'm glad to see it's largely been received so well.Readers of the blog might find our comments to be pretty familiar. And for anyone who wants my take on Flynn's comments and objections to our practice, check out my response from a few weeks ago. I was really pleasantly surprised to see that Winston had … [Read more...]