Posted tagged ‘religion’

Red Sex, Blue Sex

October 31, 2008

I would not have guessed that blue states have lower rates of divorce.

For too long, the conventional wisdom has been that social conservatives are the upholders of family values, whereas liberals are the proponents of a polymorphous selfishness. This isn’t true, and, every once in a while, liberals might point that out.

http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2008/11/03/081103fa_fact_talbot

I Evoke Brow XXVII: Book Review Man’s Peak Season!

September 22, 2007

Three books sitting on my desk, awaiting reviews so I can return them, so let’s knock them out:

A Devil’s Chaplain, Richard Dawkins

Marvelous. Fascinating. I absolutely love the letter to his daughter concerning religion and science that ends the collection. Simple, concise, and impossible to refute. 8/10.

. . .

Death by Black Hole, Neil DeGrasse Tyson

Every bit as interesting as Dawkins and probably a bit better of a writer. Has an amazing ability to explain mindbogglingly complex phenomena in layman’s terms, aided by a knack for analogy. This clip explains the difference between the two scientists very well. I side with Dawkins in rejecting Stephen Jay Gould’s separate magisteria, but I must say I find Tyson’s methods to be better: persuasion vs. refutation and disengagement. 9/10.

. . .

Pattern Recognition, William Gibson.

Startlingly contemporary science fiction. Actually, there’s not anything about it that places it in the realm of SF other than the author’s previous works. Much like Neal Stephenson, Gibson transcends genre with his flawless style. While I like Gibson’s earlier works well enough, this book really stands out to me. It reminds me very much of Stephenson’s writing, though I wasn’t exactly sure why, at first. Now it occurs to me that in the same way Stephenson’s Baroque Cycle completely immerses you in its time and place, Pattern Recognition embodies the here and now, more than anything else I’ve ever read. PoMo, cybercommunity, otaku, marketing: Gibson captures it all. And the treatment of 9/11 is superbly done, with levels of depth. I happened to read it in the days surrounding the anniversary of the attacks and I often had to set it down to collect my thoughts. The novel falls short of perfection only in its ending–while not terrible, it didn’t feel as integral as the rest of the story–somehow it breaks the spell. Still, an easy 9/10.

Quote of the Day

February 20, 2006

“The fact is, what I hated in the Church was what I hated in society. Namely, authoritarians. Power freaks. Rigid dog­matists. Those greedy, underloved, undersexed twits who want to run everything. While the rest of us are busy living—busy tasting and testing and hugging and kissing and goofing and growing—they are busy taking over. Soon their sour tentacles are around everything: our governments, our economies, our schools, our publications, our arts and our religious institutions. Men who lust for power, who are ad­dicted to laws and other unhealthy abstractions, who long to govern and lead and censor and order and reward and punish; those men are the turds of Moloch, men who don’t know how to love, men who are sickly afraid of death and therefore are afraid of life: they fear all that is chaotic and unruly and free-moving and changing-thus—as Amanda has said, they fear nature and fear life itself, they deny life and in so doing deny God. They are presidents and governors and mayors and generals and police officials and chairmen-of-the­-boards. They are crafty cardinals and fat bishops and mean old monsignor masturbators. They are the most frightened and most frightening mammals who prowl the planet; love­less, anal-compulsive control-freak authoritarians, and they are destroying everything that is wise and beautiful and free. And the most enormous ironic perversion is how they destroy in the name of Christ who is peace and God who is love.”

-Tom Robbins, “Another Roadside Attraction”

I’ll put a review of this up eventually, but I wanted to get this quote up right away.