Category Archives: books

A new book by Dan Barker

Oh dear: Dr. Cobb promised a nice, interesting science post this afternoon, but he’s very busy being famous and all, so I’ll just make a few announcements. The first is that Dan Barker, whose proclivity at writing books makes him the Steve Pinker of Godlessness, has yet another book, one that will go on sale February […]

John Gray: an atheist-hating atheist

John Gray is an English writer, philosopher, and atheist—one of those atheists who really, really hates New Atheists, doesn’t think much of science, and positively loves religion. I’ve dissected his pieces before on this website (see this collection, for instance), and, truth be told, I can barely muster up the energy to discuss any more of his […]

Why the study of literature is going extinct

This is a long post, larded with quotes. If you don’t want to read it, take a number, get in line, and. . . When I was in college at William & Mary, I was lucky enough to be taught by professors not only oriented more toward students than toward research (so we got lots of personal […]

Damon Linker reviews Hitchens’s new book of essays in the NYT

Damon Linker, author and senior correspondent at The Week, is also a Catholic, which, it would seem, makes him less than objective as a reviewer of Christopher Hitchens’s new book of essays, And Yet . . . . Linker has also criticized New Atheists on several occasions, chastising us for not being sufficiently lugubrious (you know the […]

Readers’ wildlife photos, purloined edition. (Or: “You won’t believe this stunning mantis!”)

Instead of presenting our own readers’ photographs, I wanted today to highlight a post by naturalist/evolutionist/photographer Piotr Naskrecki from his wonderful website The Smaller Majority.  I doubt that Piotr reads my site, so he probably doesn’t qualify as a “reader,” but I do know him and have permission to reproduce his photos. That’s good enough for me, for today’s […]

Sean Carroll debunks the “fine-tuning” argument for God

I don’t know how many readers watched Official Website Physicist™ Sean Carroll debate theologian William Lane Craig on whether cosmology gives evidence for God, but nonbeliever Carroll clearly won (I’m not unbiased, of course!). Here Carroll takes apart the argument that the so-called “fine tuning” of the physical constants of the Universe constitutes evidence for […]

More misguided censorship of “Huckleberry Finn” in secondary schools

ce According to the American Library Association, Huckleberry Finn is #14 on their list of “most banned or challenged books“, with “challenging” meaning “attempts to remove a book from a library”, and “banning” meaning “a successful removal”. Here are the first 15 books on the “top 100 list” from 2000-2009 (lists compiled by decade), in order […]

Matthew Cobb chooses the five best books on the history of science

Our own Matthew Cobb has just appeared on the Five Books site, where Jo Marchant interviews him about his five choices for “best books in the history of science”. (I think he really means the five best books that are accessible to the layperson.) It’s a good interview, and Matthew sounds very smart, which he […]

Today’s Google Doodles honor Scotland, Nessie, and Lucy Maud Montogomery

Today there are different Google Doodles for the UK and the US (I don’t know about other places). The UK Doodle, as pointed out by reader Dom, features a celebration of St. Andrews Day, but there’s an added reptile: I wonder if the Scots like the addition of Nessie (a fictitious creature) to their celebration. The Google […]

Will a new and benign Qur’an help curb terrorism?

CNN reports that there’s a brand-new Qur’an, published in the U.S. that seems intended—at least in part—to de-fang extremist Islam. (There’s a video, too; go to that and the article by clicking on the screenshot below.): The book’s website contains endorsements by many scholars of Islam (sadly including Karen Armstrong), but also promises the following: A new English […]


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