Category Archives: Uncategorized

Springer “apparently” retracts a creationist paper, but it’s still on the website

On December 18 of last year, I wrote to Springer’s International Journal of Anthropology and Ethnology, which had published a loony creationist paper by one Sarah Umer, whose affiliation was listed as the “Department of Visual Arts & Graphic Designs at the Institute of Visual Arts & Designs at the Lahore College for Women University […]

Michael Cohen testifies

I’m watching Michael Cohen’s live testimony before the House of Representatives, and you can follow it, along with commentary, at the New York Times site. What he has to say is chilling, and it’s not over yet. I can tell the party of any Representative questioning Cohen simply by the loudness of their voices (the […]

Goff responds to my critique of “religious fictionalism”

I recently wrote a critique of philosopher Philip Goff’s TLS article on “religious fictionalism”, his idea that all of us, including atheists, might benefit from becoming religious fictionalists, embracing a practice that Goff describes as follows: Religious fictionalists hold that the contentious claims of religion, such as “God exists” or “Jesus rose from the dead” […]

Andrew Sullivan’s weekly trifecta. Part 1: Homosexuality, hypocrisy and immorality in the Vatican

I have to say that I’m really enjoying Andrew Sullivan’s weekly columns in New York Magazine. This new one has three absorbing bits, all of which are worth reading. (I’ll post about all of them if I have time today.) The first is about the homosexuality that’s rife in the Vatican. Not that there’s anything […]

Caturday felid trifecta: Cat weight-control device; vets save a frozen, ice-covered cat; shelters for homeless cats in Ecuador

Here’s a device, “Little Cat”, that purports to help your tubby moggie lose weight; it apparently comes from Korea, and I can’t find out how much it costs. You can operate it from your phone with an app, and the speeds are up to 72 rpm, which may be a bit fast for even a […]

“Religious fictionalism”: The TLS argues that you should pretend to believe in God even if there’s no evidence for him

I used to write quite a bit for the Times Literary Supplement (TLS), but my interest in that has waned—as, I suspect, has theirs in me—as they’ve become ever softer on religion. (As I recall, they even got a theologian to review Faith versus Fact, which is like having the Pope review The God Delusion).  […]

Sunday: Hili dialogue

It’s Sunday, February 10, 2019, and a positively tropical day in Chicago, with temperatures soaring to 25°F (-4°C). (Snow is predicted for later today.) It’s National “Have a Brownie” Day (again, why the scare quotes? Are they just messing with us and we don’t really get brownies?). In Italy it’s National Memorial Day of the Exiles and […]

Should the governor of Virginia resign over racist yearbook photos?

As many venues report (NYT article here), Ralph Northam, the governor of Virginia, is now the object of gazillions of calls for him to step down, all based on a photo of a person in blackface, accompanied by a person dressed in KKK robes, that appeared on Northam’s page in his medical school yearbook of […]

A response from Steve Pinker to Salon’s hit piece on “Enlightenment Now”

Phil Torres is a “riskologist” who studies existential risk, and seems to have it in for the New Atheists (Salon, of course, is always willing to provide him with a platform for that). Torres’s latest Salon piece is an attack on Steve Pinker and his last book (Enlightenment Now, or EN), a piece called “Steven […]

Surfing the world’s biggest waves

When I was in Hawaii I became fascinated with the surfing culture, and curious about why so many people devote their lives to it. I’d probably understand more if I ever tried it, but that’s not going to happen. Yet I can get an idea of its allure when I watch videos like the ones […]