Book Update

I am slowly making progress on the big evolution/creation book. I passed the 25,000 word mark yesterday (Whoo hoo!) but my contract calls for 100,000 words (D’oh!). I am nowhere near running out of things to say, but I am such a painfully slow writer that 75,000 more words seems like an awful lot. I am one of those people who writes a sentence, then stares at it for a while, then runs off to play three games of internet chess before deleting it and trying again. Oh well. All you can do is keep chipping away.

Which is my long-winded way of saying that blogging is going to continue to be very sporadic around here for a while. If you want something to read, I recommend Gina Welch’s new book In the Land of Believers in which she describes the two years she spent undercover at Jerry Falwell’s Thomas Road Baptist Church. I’m about two-thirds of the way through it, and I am finding it completely engrossing. It makes a nice companion piece to Kevin Roose’s book The Unlikely Disciple, which describes the semester he spent undercover at Liberty University after transferring from Brown. It is also excellent.

My book has a number of similarities to theirs. Some differences, too. For one thing, my book is based specifically on my experiences at evolution/creation conferences, unlike Roose and Welch who focus more on evangelical Christianity generally. For another, whereas they are writing primarily as journalists, I intend to use my experiences as a springboard for discussing various issues of math and science. Probably the biggest difference is that they were both undercover, whereas I was most definitely above cover. The fact remains that I recognize the sorts of people they describe in their books. I well know the feeling of liking them personally while being horrified by many of the things they believe.

Welch, like me, is a secular Jew, while Roose, as I recall, came from a background of liberal Christianity. I wonder what it is that makes fairly extreme forms of religion seem so fascinating to us.


  1. #1 wrpd
    March 17, 2010

    How about adding, “Evolution took a very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very…very, very, very, very, very…very, very, very, very, very, very…long time.

  2. #2 kkBundy
    March 17, 2010

    The more extreme the better for some. Humanity likes to feel like it has control. Whether or not we really do isn’t truly relevant. It’s the appearance that really matters. If we believe in increasingly extreme ideas then that makes us more elite, hence stronger than others.

    Fundamentalists of what ever ilk believe that because they are willing to sacrifice the most freedom/thought/reason then they are the ones who truly deserve God’s allegiance and love. And those others? They are the undeserving, the fallen, the weak. All these religions are sure that God/Allah is just weeding out the chaff of humanity and that their mind numbing servility will save them and make them far stronger than the rest of us. The more they are willing to abase themselves, the more God favors them. And oh, are they willing!

    Yeah, I know, what a crock of shit! But that is religion.

    Blessed Atheist Bible Study @

  3. #3 itchy
    March 17, 2010

    I had no idea book contracts required a certain number of words.

  4. #4 jedipunk
    March 18, 2010

    Are you still blogging dawkin’s book?

  5. #5 Rob Jase
    March 18, 2010


    Lots & lots of adjectives.

  6. #6 ohioobserver
    March 18, 2010

    I’ll tell you why these people and their world are fascinating to ME — the same reasons that reading “1984” or ” Brave New World” is fascinating, or “The Gulag Archipelago”, or studying the Inquisition — it’s a glimpse into a possible society that, are we not careful and watchful, we might all be forced to live in, as has happened in history already. Heydrich was a very cultured individual, and I’m sure Torquemada was probably kind to children and dogs when he wasn’t burning heretics. Doesn’t mean they’re fit to govern.

  7. #7 SLC
    March 19, 2010

    Re ohioobserver

    Heydrich was a very cultured individual, and I’m sure Torquemada was probably kind to children and dogs when he wasn’t burning heretics. Doesn’t mean they’re fit to govern.

    Indeed, Mr. Heydrich showed considerable promise as a concert violinist before his excursion into politics. Somewhere, there is a film clip of him giving a recital, I believe, in 1928 or 1929.

  8. #8 Blake Stacey
    March 19, 2010

    Any thoughts on the “So you want to write a pop-sci book” discussion currently ongoing?

  9. #9 nitramnaed
    March 19, 2010

    I wonder if Roose’s credits from Brown transfered to Liberty???

  10. #10 Bayesian Bouffant, FCD
    March 20, 2010

    If word count is an issue, maybe you could substitute “change over time” for “evolution” …

    You know, this explains a few things.

  11. #11 Kişisel Gelişim
    April 17, 2010

    Einstein puts the final nail in the coffin of atheism…

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