Archives for August, 2009

Book Reviews at NCSE

If you’re in the mood for some Darwin-related reading, have a look at these four offerings from the website of the NCSE. They are reviews of four recent books about Charles Darwin. I recommend especially the eloquent smackdown of The Darwin Myth: The Life and Lies of Charles Darwin by Discovery Institute flak Benjamin Wiker.…

This is All Dawkins’s Fault!

My friends, there are certian times in your life when you are simply forced by events to reevaluate everything you believe and hold dear. For me, now is such a time. I have argued at length that the aggressive tone of the anti-religion books by Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchens does not hurt…

The success of the New Atheist books has spawned an industry of book-length, pro-religion replies. I have read quite a few of them at this point, and have emerged far more confident in my atheism as a result. Some of the books, like David Berlinski’s The Devil’s Delusion, were obviously the work of hacks just…

Over at Jeffrey Goldberg’s blog we find a brief interview with Congressman Henry Waxman about how his Jewish faith informs his political views:

Schneider on God

People often tell me that I have a skewed view of religion because of my frequent participation in creationist gatherings. Yes, obviously, the fundamentalists are out of their minds, and it is discouraging that they give religion a bad name generally. But there is also a rich body of serious, probing work in Christian theology…

The Times Hearts Richard Dawkins

Here’s The Times of London planting a big wet kiss on Richard Dawkins in one of their lead editorials: Thomas Henry Huxley, the great contemporary populariser of Charles Darwin’s ideas, declared it his aim to “smite all humbugs, however big; to give a nobler tone to science; to set an example of abstinence from petty…

My Review of Inglourious Basterds

I have been a huge Quentin Tarantino fan ever since seeing Reservoir Dogs in college. I have loved all of his movies, with Jackie Brown being the only item in the corpus that gets a rating below brilliant. So you can imagine my excitement over the premiere of Inglourious Basterds. I almost never go to…

How Many of These Describe You?

I am currently working my way through the book The Evolution Controversy in America, written by historian George Webb and published in 1994. I got a kick out of the following quote. It will help to know that the Reverend Ben M. Bogard was the pastor of a church in Little Rock, Arkansas in the…

Dershowitz Spanks Scalia

Speaking of crazy right-wingers, the Supreme Court’s resident lunatic has been up to his old trick again. Alan Dershowitz administers the proper spanking: I never thought I would live to see the day when a justice of the Supreme Court would publish the following words: This court has never held that the Constitution forbids the…

Barney Frank confronted one of those “Obama is a Nazi!” types at a town hall meeting the other day. Video here. QUESTIONER (holding a picture of Obama with a Hitler moustache): Why do you continue to support a Nazi policy, as Obama expressly has supported this policy? Why are you supporting it? FRANK: When you…

Grayling States it Plain

The fall semester begins one week from today. Much work, both physical and psychological, must be done to prepare. Cuts into the blogging time. Sorry about that. But since it hardly seems fair that my problems should cut into your bloggy pleasures, have a look at the latest column from the always excellent A. C.…

One More Round With M and K

Chris Mooney and Sheril Kirshenbaum have another of their New Atheist bashing essays up, this time in The Los Angeles Times. It is, alas, a dreadful piece of work. P. Z. Myers has already wieghed in here, as has Jerry Coyne here. The actual arguments in the op-ed are standard fare: The New Atheists are…

Fermat’s Room

You can imagine my dismay upon discovering that I had forgotten to deposit my latest Netflix offerings in the mail. Bereft of quality home entertainment to take my mind off the looming return of the students, I hopped into the Jasonmobile and sallied forth to the local Blockbuster Video. Typically I rent back episodes of…

Time to wrap up my discussion of Chris Mooney and Sheril Kirshenbaum’s book Unscientific America. In Part One I focused on the main themes of the book, arguing that it was superficial in its analysis of the issues and that its proposed solutions are impractical and unlikely to be effective. In Part Two I focused…

Good Writing Alert

Sometimes, when you’re reading, you come across a paragraph so well-crafted and eloquent that you just have to pause in admiration. Here’s an example, taken from the book Higher Superstition by Paul Gross and Norman Levitt. Published in 1994, it deals with some of the astonishingly foolish things certain humanities professors had been writing about…