Category Archives: books

Jonas Salk’s 100th birthday and the conquest of polio

I was still young when polio was a scourge of the world, and I well remember being terrified of getting the disease and having to spend my life in an iron lung, or walking with braces. The disease peaked in the summer, and we were always told to avoid public swimming pools, where you were supposed to […]

Paradise enow

Greg Mayer sent me this photo with a note: “I like this room. Lots of books and a cat.” (Click to make real big.)  

Reader’s book

Today Reader Don Bredes published a new book, which falls in the category”Young adult fantasy” (a fast-growing genre!). You can find it on either Amazon or the publisher’s website, Green Writers Press. Here’s the Amazon blurb: Set in a much-diminished America called the Christian Protectorates, a poor country ravaged by coastal flooding, drought, and catastrophic social upheaval, the […]

The Albatross revealed!

I discovered—from Matthew Cobb!—that the Albatross, under its real name, has now appeared on Amazon. Here it is (note that the publication date of May 19 is provisional): You will note that the name “Richard Dawson” is in the blurb on the site; it will be changed to “Richard Dawkins” ASAP. I like the cover (that […]

My take on NOMA: an old book review

Several readers called my attention to a nice essay by biologist David Barash in today’s New York Times, an essay whose theme is the incompatibility of science and religion. In it, Barash takes out after Steve Gould’s accommodationist stance of Non-overlapping Magisteria, or NOMA, adumbrated in detail in Gould’s 1999 book Rocks of Ages. When that […]

The Guardian continues to flog Karen Armstrong’s book

If it wasn’t already obvious, the Guardian has made clear its view that religion is at worst benign, but in general pretty good. This is clear not only from their continuous atheist-bashing and Dawkins-dissing, but also from their flogging of books that osculate the rump of faith. And they’ve gone overboard with Karen Armstrong’s latest book (Fields […]

A positive review of Karen Armstrong’s book: frantic osculation by Ferdinand Mount

A negative review in the Telegraph of Karen Armstrong’s new book—Fields of Blood: Religion and the History of Violence—has been balanced by a very positive review in the Spectator, “Religion does not poison everything—everything poisons religion.” The reviewer is Ferdinand Mount—Baronet Mount to you—who was editor of the Times Literary Supplement for 11 years. As you know if […]

Another tw**t at Deepakity

Someone’s gonna have to explain these to me: On a jealous note, Sam’s new book, Waking Up, is doing really well. Note, too, that Randall Munroe’s book (he’s the creator of xkcd), is #3 on the Times list, which is great. And from the New York Times:

Keeping the faith: an apologist argues that religion isn’t responsible for anything bad

Guess who said this? In the past, many of the most influential Jewish, Christian and Muslim thinkers understood that what we call “God” is merely a symbol that points beyond itself to an indescribable transcendence, whose existence cannot be proved but is only intuited by means of spiritual exercises and a compassionate lifestyle that enable […]

A bookish coincidence

Sadly, as I am preening the Albatross I have almost no time to write about science: such posts are much, much harder than posts on politics and atheism. Fortunately, the Albatross is almost at her nesting ground. Coincidentally, Matthew finished his book the same day as I did, and, yesterday, as I was going through my bibliography (mindless grunt […]

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