Recent Articles

If you want me to appreciate my ancestors, it’s going to take some time.

If you want me to appreciate my ancestors, it’s going to take some time.

My wife and I attended the wedding of a good friend today.  A thoughtful and sometimes light-hearted rabbi presided over the ceremony.  This ceremony was quite a change of pace from most of the religious weddings I’ve attended.  There was no somber talk about the heavy guilt we bear for being human or how small […]

May 6, 2007 | By More
Christopher Hitchens: “God Is Not Great”

Christopher Hitchens: “God Is Not Great”

This week’s Newsweek reports on the latest book by Christopher Hitchens: God Is Not Great. “Religion poisons everything,” [Christopher Hitchens] expostulates—from such minor pleasures as a slice of ham (Hitchens’s mother and wife were born Jewish), up through sex, and on to the future of life on Earth, whose end is both predicted and welcomed […]

May 6, 2007 | By | 11 Replies More
What debates?

What debates?

The Nation argues that we don’t really have any real political debates among the candidates.  In fact, what passes for “debate” is “idiotic”: What passes for a political debate in the United States today is little more than dueling sound bites. The Republican candidates were restricted to sixty-second answers to the questions put to them. […]

May 5, 2007 | By | 3 Replies More
Rolling Stone reports a recent rise in protest songs

Rolling Stone reports a recent rise in protest songs

The subtitle of “Protest Songs Rise Again,” from the recent edition of Rolling Stone (May 3-17, 2007 issue): “Everyone from Ozzy to Maroon 5 weighs in on the worst president ever.” According to this article, rock has now entered “its most politically charged phase since the late Sixties.”  Tom Morellos’s new solo album (The Nightwatchman) “is packed […]

May 4, 2007 | By | 1 Reply More
The Iraq invasion has cost more than one trillion dollars.  How much is one trillion?

The Iraq invasion has cost more than one trillion dollars. How much is one trillion?

Mathematician John Paulos has been working hard to help us imagine the amount of money spent to invade and occupy Iraq.  Many experts suggest that it has cost $700 billion in direct costs and probably twice that much if you include the indirect costs.  Others estimate the cost at $2 trillion.   Paulos asks us to […]

May 3, 2007 | By | 17 Replies More
Obama reaches out to African-American communities with tough love

Obama reaches out to African-American communities with tough love

The Washington Post reports on Obama’s willingness to address issues that afflict many African American communities: Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) is delivering pointed critiques of the African American community as he campaigns for its votes, lamenting that many of his generation are “disenfranchising” themselves because they don’t vote, taking rappers to task for their language, […]

May 3, 2007 | By | 2 Replies More
Gift giving and fashion statements from the viewpoint of human evolution

Gift giving and fashion statements from the viewpoint of human evolution

In his new book, The Evolutionary Bases of Consumption (2007), Gad Saad serves as a tour guide, draws connections from human biology to the purchasing decisions of human consumers.  He strongly advocates that no explanation of consumer behavior is complete unless that explanation considers human evolution–we always need to consider “ultimate” explanations as well as […]

May 2, 2007 | By | 15 Replies More
Why is religious belief fading?

Why is religious belief fading?

In an Edge article titled “Why the Gods are not winning,” Gregory Paul & Phil Zuckerman characterize the belief that religion is gaining ground in the 21st century as a myth.   First, they present some real life statistics: The evangelical authors of the WCE [World Christian Encyclopedia] lament that no Christian “in 1900 expected the […]

May 2, 2007 | By | 45 Replies More
Bush announces the newest (and worst yet) reason for having our troops in Iraq

Bush announces the newest (and worst yet) reason for having our troops in Iraq

Look how low the bar has now gotten.   This is from the President’s May 2, 2007 address to the Associated General Contractors of America: …”But slowly but surely, the truth will be known. Either we’ll succeed, or we won’t succeed. And the definition of success as I described is sectarian violence down. Success is not, […]

May 2, 2007 | By | 3 Replies More