Marching through Ferguson

It’s strange, perhaps, for an activist to admit they do not enjoy marches. Marches and rallies – so often the go-to response when a community wishes to demonstrate power, generate solidarity, or express outrage – make me deeply uncomfortable. The emotional energy, the collective passion, the chanting and shouting and call-and-response: all of it makes [Read More…]

Neil Tyson on Philosophy – Let’s Not Overreact

Watch this first – it’s my video about this issue which attempts to satirize both Tyson’s views on philosophy and the reaction they have provoked in some quarters: Recently Neil deGrasse Tyson made a stir with some comments about philosophy on the Nerdist podcast. Speaking clearly with a hint of jest, the world-famous science communicator [Read More…]

Neil, We Need to Talk

I have some serious words with Neil deGrasse Tyson about philosophy. The ghost of Carl Sagan looks on. [Read more…]

World Voice Day – Poetry and Prose

For World Voice Day 2014 – a celebration of the voice in all its facets – I’ve recorded some selections of poetry and prose requested by friends. There is some sad stuff, some happy stuff, some inspiring stuff, and some sexually explicit stuff (be warned!) – a whole range. Enjoy! World Voice Day – Poetry [Read More…]

How to Check Your Privilege in 5 Excruciating Steps

Recently, I changed my mind. Challenged over my uncritical reposting of a secular argument against abortion, I was forced to examine my assumptions, reflect on my identity, and consider how my actions might look from a different vantage point – in other words, I “checked my privilege”. The exhortation to “check your privilege” is common in [Read More…]

On the Privilege of Discussing Abortion

In April 2012 I was asked by a Secular Student Alliance affiliate to represent the pro-choice side in a debate on the morality of abortion at Bowling Green State University in Ohio. I was wary to accept. As a gay man, I reasoned I was less likely than most to be intimately affected by a [Read More…]

Cosmos – Epistemic, Existential, Ethical, and Aesthetic

My bio as a Humanist speaker ends with the words “James was raised on Shakespeare, Sagan, and Star Trek” – and it’s true. When I discovered the works, words, and worlds of Carl Sagan, my world flew open. I’ve written about his unique approach to science, Humanism, and the big questions of life, and I’ve spoken [Read More…]