Category Archives: religion

My TLS review of Darwin’s Cathedral

As promised, here’s my old review of David Sloan Wilson’s book, Darwin’s Cathedral, which criticizes the theory of “cultural group selection” for the spread of religion mentioned in the last post. The full reference is below (there may be slight differences between what was published and the version I give here, which was the submitted version; I […]

Templeton has another Big Ideas piece in Slate: What’s the future of religion?

The John Templeton Foundation has formed what seems to be an unholy partnership with Slate, for Templeton’s new “Big Ideas” post, “What is the future of religion?”, although really an advertisement, comes with the Slate website imprimatur ( and a Slate icon on its tab. If you look closely at the top, though, you’ll see in faint letters, […]

Advance Australia Fair: the Aussies are losing their religion

This report is from a year ago (and the data go up to only 2011), but I thought I’d put it up anyway, because, although secularism is on the rise in nearly ever Western nation, but it’s particularly pronounced in Australia. The Australian Bureau of Statistics reports, in a census of what looks to be nearly everyone […]

A reader describes the “high” of glossolalia and his journey to nonbelief

I got an email from a reader who had a few comments about glossolalia (“speaking in tongues”), and then his email turned into a description of his journey from belief to atheism.  Because of the possible negative repercussions of the author coming out publicly, I won’t identify him except to use the word “he”. Anyway, the name is […]

Our god vs. theirs

A New Yorker cartoon tw**ted by Massimo Pigliucci. Remind you of a certain Monty Python skit?

The ecology of faith: what makes societies religious?

Along with some sociologists, I’ve long suspected that religiosity in today’s world derives largely from uncertainty in one’s life. This is based on several sociological studies of religion, showing striking positive correlations between social dysfunction and religiosity (the worse off a society, the more religious its members), combined with evidence that religiosity fluctuates with social dysfunction, but lags a […]

Karen Armstrong osculates religion on the BBC

Reader Colin sent an email that Karen Armstrong was on the BBC this morning. His note, below, got me to listen to the first 15 minutes of the 43-minute show, the part that is pretty much a monologue by Armstrong before other discussants take over. His email: If you can stomach it, you might find the interview on […]

The 50 Smartest “People of faith”?

The Best Schools website, which I think is fairly well known for telling people where to study in a given area, has produced a list and description of “The 50 smartest people of faith.” And it’s dire. I’m not sure whether they simply haven’t looked hard enough to find smart religious people (they choose folks who […]

The continuing decline of American religiosity

The Richard Dawkins Foundation website highlighted a post by Tobin Grant, a professor of political science at Southern Illinois University whose interest is the sociology of religion, and who writes about it at the site “Corner of Church and State” at the Religion News Service. Grant’s post reports 61 years of measuring “religiosity” (the degree […]

Lawrence O’Donnell takes out after Ark Park, and Bible as well

In the clip below, Lawrence O’Donnell, author, television writer (“The West Wing,” among other shows), and host of “The Last Word” on the MSNBC television channel in the US,  takes out after the Ark Park planned by Ken Ham and Answers in Genesis. He criticizes its unwarranted tax breaks from the state of Kentucky, its purveying fiction as […]


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