Category Archives: books

New York Times’s “Most Notable Books of 2015”: woefully bereft of science books

Among the New York Times‘s “100 Notable Books of 2015,” half are nonfiction. Among those fifty, I find only  a single one that’s even close to being entirely about science, and it’s really about collecting animals: THE FLY TRAP. By Fredrik Sjoberg. Translated by Thomas Teal. (Pantheon, $24.95.) An amateur entomologist from Sweden offers a distinctive tour […]

NYT reviews Hitchens’s new book of essays

The Sunday New York Times Book section has a favorable review by Dwight garner of Hitchens’s new book. The book, a compilation of published essays, is called And Yet . . ., and was released yesterday. I’ve read all of Hitchens’s essay collections (in fact, I think I’ve read every book he’s written), and they’re great for dipping into at bedtime. I’d […]

Rosenhouse on Ruse on atheism

The amiable and temperate Jason Rosenhouse has cut way back on posting on his Evolutionblog, which is a great pity as he always had thoughtful and substantive things to say. Perhaps he’s tired or writing or is occupied with other things, and I can understand that; but I’d like to see him to post a bit more often than […]

Steve Pinker’s next book

It’s impossible not to like Steve Pinker, for he’s simply a nice guy; and one must also admire his diligence, for he’s able to turn out book after book in quick order, and books that are packed with intellectual depth. I don’t know how he does it, and I’m extremely jealous! In this short interview, […]

The New York Times reviews books by Rabbi Sacks and Sam Harris/Maajid Nawaz

In the Sunday New York Times book-review section, Irshad Manji, writer, moderate Muslim—moderate enough to have received many death threats—and teacher at New York University, has reviewed the new book by Sam Harris and Maajid Nawaz (Islam and the Future of Tolerance), which I’ve read, as well as Not in God’s Name: Confronting Religous Violence, a new […]

President Obama talks with Marilynne Robinson

As I’ve mentioned recently, novelist Marilynne Robinson has taken to bashing scientism, atheism, and science itself in her latest nonfiction works, for she believes in an immaterial soul and just can’t forgive science for neglecting it. She’s a devout Congregationalist and sometimes preaches at her church in Iowa City. On September 14, Robinson and President Obama had a long […]

Marilynne Robinson embarrasses herself again with an anti-science rant

I used to like Marilynne Robinson, and much enjoyed the two books of hers I’ve read: Housekeeping and Gilead. The latter book won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction, and Robinson’s also been awarded the National Humanities Medal. But she’s a theist, and her drinking the Kool-Aid of faith has not only produced a substantial degeneration of […]

SMBC Kickstarter raises money for religion-themed comic compilation, features “Speciation”

Zach Weinersmith of Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal is raising money on Kickstarter to finance a collection of his religion-themed comic strips. The project is “Religion: Ruining Everything since 4004 BC.” A bit of information: What’s in the Book? The book is a collection of the best religion jokes on SMBC over the last ten years! […]

Your essential evolution library

by Greg Mayer I frequently teach evolutionary biology in the spring semester, but for various reasons I will not be teaching it this coming spring. A few days ago, a student who wanted to take the course, but now couldn’t, asked what he could read in lieu of taking it. We discussed some suggestions, and […]

Writer Svetlana Alexievich of Belarus wins Nobel Prize for literature

The Nobel Prizes I follow most closely are those in biology (“Physiology or Medicine”) and literature. This year’s literature prize was just announced, and it went to Svetlana Alexievich, a writer from Belarus born in 1948. I’m ashamed to say I hadn’t heard of her, but the Nobel Committee cited her for “her polyphonic writings, a monument to […]


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