Transit of Shadow: On Eclipses

Totally predictable, yet totally magical.


KtB Wants You…To Write About the Eclipse

The total solar eclipse passing over the continental U.S. this August 21st is the first to do so in 99 years, but American eclipse stories go back much farther than that. It was a “Dark Day” in the spring of 1780 that apparently convinced Shaker leader Mother Ann Lee to “open” her revelation to new…


“It’s The World That’s Strange”

Barbara Ehrenreich talks to Jeff Sharlet about her new book, mysticism, secrecy, and science.


Big Bang Fingerprints

We all leave our traces. Even campers who fastidiously carry their garbage out of the woods leave footprints behind. Flora and fauna from millions of years ago are found fossilized in the sand. The universe leaves traces behind, too. On March 17, scientists announced that the Big Bang, the universe-creating explosion, left its own traces…

Killing the Buddha

Ham on Nye: Beyond the Debate

Having been party to an extremely brief and insignificant debate with Ken Ham in these pages over the account of his Creation Museum in my 2011 book Paradise Lust: Searching for the Garden of Eden, I can attest that to him the facts matter not, the debate is all. Having followed Ham’s organization Answers in…


Gym Class Zen

An ode to pain.

Killing the Buddha

Baseball Literalism

There is a long and often ridiculous history of comparing baseball to a religion. Rule-bound, slow to change, cyclic, and timeless; an assembly of people presided over by men in funny outfits, who say what is safe and what is out; a space sealed-off from the rest of society, yet definitional to a national culture: the…

TheGiantVermin, via Flickr

Love is an Animal Thing

Barbara King’s new book How Animals Grieve raises questions about grief, and its emotional corollary, love, for humans too.

Definitely not African.

Adam and Eve or Bust

You’ve probably heard about Professor John R. Schneider, who lost his job at Calvin College, a Christian school, for claiming that Adam and Eve could not have been real people. Science agrees that the number of genetic mutations it takes to go from from homo erectus to homo sapiens couldn’t have emerged from a population…

Still from The Tree of Life

Visualizing the Cosmos

Terrence Malick and an imaginary history of the universe.

Train of Thought

Stephen Hawking Decrees God Away

This afternoon on the New York subway I came across this little gem, this “train of thought” meant to inspire who-knows-what among riders in the course of their usual hum-drum existences. It’s a passage by the great wheelchair-bound British physicist Stephen Hawking from his bestselling 1988 book A Brief History of Time. Just below, for…

Killing the Buddha

A Pier into the Brain

Vladimir Lipovetsky M.D. from Los Angeles writes in about Robert Jensen’s “The Struggle for the (Possible) Soul of David Eagleman“: The trouble with many articles that explore applications and limitations of neuroscience through the prism of the neuroscientist is that they come up against the same limitations over and over again for dozens of years.…

Killing the Buddha

Does Science Need Religion?

When one is out to study religion, or to cover the religion beat, it can be awfully tempting to see religion everywhere you look as the all-satisfying explanation for everything. It’s the whole if-you-have-a-hammer-everything-looks-like-a-nail effect, right? Today at Religion Dispatches I’ve got a review of the new book by Steve Fuller, a rather audacious and…

"Brain (Left)" and "Brain (Right)," © Don Stewart.

The Struggle for the (Possible) Soul of David Eagleman

A neuroscientist imagines life beyond the brain.

Illustration by the author.

Farewell, Little Piece of Me!

Skin-punch biopsies in remembrance of Christ.


Martyr City

If you don’t know the name Hypatia, you should. In the grand mythology of the Enlightenment (to which, on optimistic days, I subscribe), her murder at the hands of a Christian mob marks more or less the end of Greek philosophy and the beginning of the Dark Ages. Now, for those of you who don’t…


The Politics of Big Questions

As I’ve worked on questions of religion and reason, both in the academy and as a journalist, the John Templeton Foundation has been around every turn. As I called, corresponded, and visited with many of the leading thinkers in the science-and-religion discussion, caution was the prevailing tone—some even joked that I should get them on…

"Religion-And-Science" by a-small-lab, via Flickr

Speaking of Science

Krista Tippett and her interlocutors take on the “Big Questions.”