The Oceanic Feeling

From Terry Firma, I find out that Barbara Ehrenreich has a new memoir coming out. Ehrenreich is the author of the wonderfully skeptical book Bright Sided, where she takes on various popular versions of New Thought and "positive thinking." But this new memoir, Living With a Wild God, sounds a bit odd.On the surface, the book is about certain dissociative experiences Ehrenreich experienced in her youth. That could be interesting. Ehrenreich's experiences with cancer led her to analyses the … [Read more...]

Onward Chitin Soldier

Taking an insult and turning it into a badge of honor is an old bit of cultural jiu-jitsu. "Queer" is an obvious example. "Atheist" was a pejorative for centuries. The word "Christian" may have started out as a smear.Rarely has it been done as well as this. When John Scalzi and Mary Robinette Kowal were called "insects" for their efforts to promote women's equality within the science fiction writers community, Ursula Vernon produced this:Redirecting you opponent's strength is … [Read more...]

The One Thing We Agree On

Our friend Sabio Lantz has a post about how ghosts are a touchstone for atheists:Ghosts can be a touchstone for atheists. Those atheists who have seen ghosts or had mystical experiences generally view religious folks very differently than atheists who have led a life without these experiences. Is that surprising? No, I think not. Is it surprising that many ghost-seeing atheists don’t believe in ghosts, or that many atheists who formerly talked to Jesus now feel those personal conversations w … [Read more...]

The Undeath of the Author

If you've paid attention to the media at all over the past couple of days, you've heard about author JK Rowling's big reveal. The author of Harry Potter explained that she didn't think her pairing of Hermione and Ron was really a workable relationship.“For reasons that have very little to do with literature and far more to do with me clinging to the plot as I first imagined it, Hermione ended up with Ron."Presumably Rowling, who plotted everything out years before the writing, e … [Read more...]

Bible Mash-ups

First, Michael Walker trained a Markov Chain on the King James Bible and a computer science textbook, "Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs," producing the King James Programming bible.And Satan stood up against them in the table used by the programs external to the enclosing procedureWho immediately took soldiers and centurions, and ran down unto them: and when the sun went down, and came to Beersheba, which belongeth to Judah, and said, We will not attempt to print the … [Read more...]