Maher's Religulous : More Borat Atheism

Bill Maher's mockumentary Religulous opens in theaters on Friday. Judging by Maher's media interviews, it's more of the same type of sophomoric ridicule that has been so self-defeating to the atheist movement and that I have written about at this blog and in recent articles. Watch the trailer of the film, directed by the high minded genius who brought us Borat.

As this NY Times review describes, Maher chooses the easiest of targets to interview in his film, such as an amusement park Jesus. In the process, Maher makes fun of fundamentalist religion while seldom addressing the moderate dimensions that many Americans find so meaningful.

Maher's claim, like Dawkins and others, is that the goal of his film is consciousness raising among agnostics and rationalists, lending them the strength to speak out against religion. But if Maher's and Dawkins' rants become the model for our own Borat-like conversations with friends and neighbors, as atheists we are likely to be scoring a lot of self-inflicted wounds.

I discuss the impact of the New Atheist movement in this recent video interview with Big Think.

​There are two kinds of failure – but only one is honorable

Malcolm Gladwell teaches "Get over yourself and get to work" for Big Think Edge.

Big Think Edge
  • Learn to recognize failure and know the big difference between panicking and choking.
  • At Big Think Edge, Malcolm Gladwell teaches how to check your inner critic and get clear on what failure is.
  • Subscribe to Big Think Edge before we launch on March 30 to get 20% off monthly and annual memberships.
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Why are so many objects in space shaped like discs?

It's one of the most consistent patterns in the unviverse. What causes it?

  • Spinning discs are everywhere – just look at our solar system, the rings of Saturn, and all the spiral galaxies in the universe.
  • Spinning discs are the result of two things: The force of gravity and a phenomenon in physics called the conservation of angular momentum.
  • Gravity brings matter together; the closer the matter gets, the more it accelerates – much like an ice skater who spins faster and faster the closer their arms get to their body. Then, this spinning cloud collapses due to up and down and diagonal collisions that cancel each other out until the only motion they have in common is the spin – and voila: A flat disc.

This is the best (and simplest) world map of religions

Both panoramic and detailed, this infographic manages to show both the size and distribution of world religions.

(c) CLO / Carrie Osgood
Strange Maps
  • At a glance, this map shows both the size and distribution of world religions.
  • See how religions mix at both national and regional level.
  • There's one country in the Americas without a Christian majority – which?
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Photo by Alina Grubnyak on Unsplash
Mind & Brain

Do human beings have a magnetic sense? Biologists know other animals do. They think it helps creatures including bees, turtles and birds navigate through the world.

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