Black swans and blue tarantulas: ‘Without’ and ‘despite’ are not the same

Sazima

To believe that which has been disproved is always wrong. To believe that which cannot be proved could be wrong, but it also could be right. The distinction is not subtle, and it’s rather important. [Read more...]

Does the Universe Have a Purpose? Your vote counts

You are here.

We have a say in this. We cannot consider the question “Does the Universe Have a Purpose?” without considering the sub-question “Do I Have a Purpose?” or even the sub-question to that, “Do I Want to Have a Purpose?” Answering “Yes” to that third question means answering “Yes” to the second. And that means — even if only in a very tiny, tiny way — answering “Yes” to the first. [Read more...]

Smart people saying smart things

Uwe Reinhardt says Europeans visiting the U.S. marvel at infrastructure that reminds them of the 1960s; Alex Knapp points out that if the Earth is only 9,000 years old, then none of our technology should work; Rachel Held Evans discusses her least-favorite adjective; and Richard Beck discusses the economy of submission. [Read more...]

Bulgarian town survived Noah’s flood

thankgod1

Even more remarkable than the ancient town’s unique fortifications or its “peculiar burial positions and objects found in the graves,” of course, is that this settlement was built and occupied by humans centuries before the creation of the universe. And not only did these Neolithic Bulgarians construct huge walls without “the wheel and cart,” their community also seems to have survived Noah’s flood. [Read more...]

A belated happy Carl Sagan Day

Sagan

“As scientists, many of us have had profound experiences of awe and reverence before the universe. We understand that what is regarded as sacred is more likely to be treated with care and respect. Our planetary home should be so regarded. Efforts to safeguard and cherish the environment need to be infused with a vision of the sacred.” [Read more...]

Not all sins are stupid and not all stupidity is sinful, but young-earth creationism is both

BillNye

When undeniable facts “conflict with your beliefs,” then you have only two options. You can, as Bill Nye said, “question your beliefs,” to see if they can be reconciled with the undeniable facts. Or you can reject the facts, shut your eyes and your ears to the world, and cling white-knuckled to beliefs that you’ve already seen are false, fortifying them with whatever urban legends and outright fabrications you find useful. [Read more...]

Giving names to the animals

pickerelfrog1_wayne

Here’s a delightfully odd Bob Dylan song: I’ve been thinking about that one lately as I’ve tried to give names to all the animals who dwell in or visit my little patch of Chester County — such as the pickerel frogs like the one pictured here. That photo is by Wayne Fidler, from the Pennsylvania [Read More...]

Look at those cavemen go

A week ago, I obsessively followed NASA’s successful landing of the Curiosity rover on the surface of Mars, but failed to write anything about it here because I couldn’t think of anything to say that was any more insightful or articulate than “whoa” and “wow” and “cool.” After thinking about this for the past week, [Read More...]


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