Category Archives: journalism

The tenacity of belief in belief

The recent Pew Report on “America’s changing religious landscape” showed, over the last 7 years, a sharp decline in adherents to mainline Protestantism and Catholicism in the U.S., and a corresponding increase in the numbers of religiously “unaffiliated” (the latter went from 16.1% in 2007 to 22.8% last year).  Now, not all of the “unaffiliated” are nonbelievers: […]

Circling the drain, the New York Times labels the Texas cartoon exhibit “hate speech”

It’s a sad day when the New York Times, a bastion of free speech during Watergate and the publication of the Pentagon Papers , tarnishes its image by sort-of-excusing the Muslim attack on Pamela Geller’s exhibit of Muslim cartoons in Texas. And that sad day was yesterday. In their Thursday op-ed, “Free speech vs. hate […]

Charlie Hebdo was neither racist nor Islamophobic

When I first heard about the Charlie Hebdo massacre, and saw some of the cartoons that, claimed the apologists, were racist and Islamophobic and thus “provoked” the murders, I did some research. I read about the magazine, looked at the cartoons in context, and, most important, consulted French-speaking friends (I read it okay, but preferred greater expertise) […]

Offended PEN members refuse to participate in annual gala because Charlie Hebdo got an award

Jebus! Here’s the Roll of Shame: six writers who took a misguided stand against Charlie Hebdo, apparently not understanding what the magazine was all about: Peter Carey Michael Ondaatje Francine Prose Teju Cole Rachel Kushner Taiye Selasi What did they do? According to an article in yesterday’s New York Times, these writers “[withdrew] as literary hosts at the group’s […]

Why are “sophisticated” newspapers, websites, and magazines so clueless about atheism?

I’ve been wondering for a while—and I’m not alone—why venues like The New York Times and The New Yorker, the newspaper and magazine that have the highest reputation for quality and sophistication in the U.S., are so wonky about atheism.  They either ignore it (the NYT sporadically gives it a tiny nod), or, when they mention […]

Eugenie Clark dies, NYT gets one fact wrong

Eugenie Clark, a famous marine biologist who was a prolific scholar and popular writer, and my one-time colleague at the University of Maryland, has died of lung cancer at the age of 92. She was a very nice person, though I didn’t know her well as she was frequently absent from campus, giving lectures around the […]

Adam Gopnik: Why we should quiz politicians about their views of evolution

In honor of Darwin Day, writer Adam Gopnik penned a piece at the Nov. 19 Daily Comment site at the New Yorker: “The evolution catechism.” It’s about why politicians should be asked what they think about evolution: that is, whether they accept it or not. Some writers have argued that that question should be off limits, for who cares if […]

In which I defend evolution but claim that denying it is not the same thing as denying gravity or relativity

The Washington Examiner is a conservative website, so when one of its reporters, Eddie Scarry, called me yesterday to talk about Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s refusal to give his viewpoint on evolution, I asked if Scarry was himself against evolution. After receiving his assurances that he wasn’t, we then had a long conversation about Walker, and, in […]

David Carr, 1956-2015

by Greg Mayer David Carr’s funeral was held earlier today in New York. He died last week of complications from lung cancer, collapsing and dying in the newsroom of the New York Times, where he had been a media reporter and columnist since 2002. A media columnist for the New York Times might seem a […]

The Chapel Hill murders: C. J. Werleman can’t resist saying that New Atheists have blood on their hands

UPDATE: Several people, including a reader in the comments below, called my attention to Michael Nugent’s characteristically thorough analysis of Hicks’s “motives” after looking at his (Hicks’s) Facebook page. It’s definitely worth a read. ____________ I’ve said my piece on the murders of three young Muslims in Chapel Hill, and I doubt I’ll have anything […]

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