Responsible Writing

It’s strange what catches the attention. What I thought was a rather innocuous and boringly-balanced post on the strengths and weaknesses of Rebecca Watson’s recent talk at Skepticon 5 has sparked a barrage of commentary, not all of it flattering to yours truly. Most of the criticism seems to be along the following lines: “You are being [Read More…]

Buy All the Things! – The Center for Inquiry Has a New Store!

The Center for Inquiry, one of my favorite organizations working to promote science, reason, and secular values, has a new store and it looks great. Make sure to check the store for holiday gifts for the godless heathens in your life. Highlights include: The beautiful CfI coffee mug, with which you can “let people know [Read More…]

Responsible Reading

I’ve been thinking about something for a while. What I’ve been thinking is this: that readers have responsibilities as well as writers. More precisely, effective communication is not entirely the responsibility of an author or speaker: the people reading a work, or in the audience of a talk, also have responsibilities they must meet if the encounter [Read More…]

What Inspires You?

I love inspiration: I think it’s one of the most important and underrated aspects of human experience. That sense you get when something wonderful, something amazing takes your breath away, drops your jaw and makes you go “Wow!” I find inspiration in many things: art, theatre, music, the natural world, the fantastic discoveries of science, [Read More…]

Shining Eyes, Clear Heads – Self-Help Without the Bullshit

I have a confession to make: when I was a teenager I was enthralled by motivational speakers. I was visited with this affliction after Ben Zander (a Boston-based orchestra conductor and musician) descended upon my high school and brought me to tears with his inspiring exhortation always to “radiate possibility” rather than “spiral downward”. I [Read More…]

Scott Lively Wants to Bring Down the City

On Saturday November 24th an enormous gas explosion ripped through downtown Springfield, MA, damaging numerous buildings, injuring 18 people, and leveling a strip club. The Boston Globe reported: The explosion happened at 5:25 p.m., leveling Scores Gentlemen’s Club, punching a large hole in the street, and blowing shards of glass and other debris through downtown [Read More…]

Occasionally, I Think I’m an Alien

Nathan Salo Tumberg, a friend and fellow atheist blogger at Occasionally, I think, doesn’t understand me (he also deeply loves his wife, and his thoughtful account is charming to read). Specifically, he doesn’t understand my ecstatic reaction to my visit to B’nai Jeshurun Synagogue. While I found it uplifting and inspiring he, he thinks, would find unpleasant, [Read More…]

Desire Matters, Truth Matters More – Alex Gabriel and Jeff Cook on “Unbelievable?”

Alex Gabriel of The Heresy Club, one of my favorite online atheists, was a thoughtful and precise presence on Christian radio show Unbelievable? – a show which “gets Christians and non-Christians talking”. Listen to Alex discuss God with Jeff Cook, author of Everything New, and elucidate some of the strange holes in Cook’s (I thought rather weak) arguments. Cook is [Read More…]

Loving and Hating Religion – Some Reflections After Visiting Religious Communities

These reflections were written shortly after visiting four religious communities in New York City as part of The Humanist Institute, a leadership training program for people passionate about Humanism and who want to play a role in the movement. If that sounds like you, I recommend the course: it’s been invigorating and challenging for me, [Read More…]

Giving on Thanksgiving

The Washington Post yesterday featured a fantastic article on the Washington Ethical Society’s latest Thanksgiving service idea: Leader Mary Herman asked the 150 or so congregants at the Washington Ethical Society on 16th Street NW to check their programs. Ten of them would find a randomly inserted blue card. She asked those 10 to stand up. “I [Read More…]


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