Category Archives: book reviews

The case of Malcolm Gladwell vs. Jerry Sandusky

In January of 2018 I wrote a post about whether Penn State’s assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky was guilty of child abuse. In 2012 Sandusky was, as you may remember, convicted of 45 counts of sexually abusing eight young boys. His prison sentence was 30-60 years, and, since he was born in 1944, this was […]

Malcolm Gladwell and other authors who make big errors in their books

When I started writing books for the general public (“trade books”, as they call them), I was surprised to find out that I alone was responsible for the accuracy of their content. While publishers do have their legal departments vet books that may violate laws against libel, or cause other legal troubles, publishers have neither […]

What are we reading?

Well, I don’t know what you’re reading, and whether you like it, but that’s what this post is for. In fact, a lot of the books I’ve read, and a few I’m reading now, have come from readers’ comments on posts like this. I usually read only one book at a time, and have been […]

More mishigas about free will, this time in the TLS

The Times Literary Supplement, which I used to write for, doesn’t often make its articles free online, but this one was (click on screenshot below to see it). And it’s about free will: a review of three books on the topic (The Limits of Free Will: Selected essays by Paul Russell, Aspects of Agency: Decisions, […]

The New Yorker praises atheism (sort of)

UPDATE: James Wood has responded politely to this piece in a comment below, which you can find here. ************* The article below (click on screenshot), by New Yorker literary critic and Harvard English professor James Wood, is a review of Martin Hägglund’s new book, This Life: Secular Faith and Spiritual Freedom, but also a paean […]

Nadine Strossen’s new book on hate speech, why such speech should not be censored or banned, and its relevance to recent campus events

I’ve just finished Nadine Strossen‘s 2018 book, HATE: Why We Should Resist It with Free Speech, Not Censorship, one of 16 volumes in the series “Inalienable Rights,” edited by University of Chicago constitutional law professor Geoffrey Stone.  Click on the screenshot to go to the book’s Amazon site: Strossen was president of the American Civil […]

A (relatively) new book on the irreconcilability of science and religion

We’ve met Yves Gingras before, when a Templeton-funded reviewer, having a severe pecuniary conflict of interest with Gingras’s views, heavily criticized Gingras’s book Science and Religion: An Impossible Dialogue.  At that time, at the end of 2017, I defended Gingras on the grounds that the reviewer, Peter Harrison, had an out-and-out bias, having been funded […]

Behe’s book sliced and diced again—by members of his own department

If you go to the website of the biology department of Lehigh University in Pennsylvania, where resides the ID creationist Michael Behe, you’ll find this disclaimer: To my knowledge, this is unique not only in science, but in any academic department, for here you see an entire department disowning the intellectual oeuvre of one of […]

Twitter mobs ruin young-adult fiction again

Jennifer Senior used to be a book-review editor for the New York Times, but now she’s an op-ed editor. Her history at the paper has served her well in her new op-ed about the social media mobs who now police young-adult fiction (YAF) for ideological purity. (Click on screenshot). What happened is that Kosoko Jackson, […]

My review of Behe’s book in the Washington Post

Well, I read Michael Behe’s new intelligent-design book Darwin Devolves a long time ago, as I was asked to review it for the Washington Post. But I couldn’t say that, of course, for it would reveal that I had a prepublication copy, and that means I was going to produce a review. One can’t say […]