New on AlterNet: Book Excerpt!
My latest article has just been posted on AlterNet, The Biggest Threats We Face From Conservative Religion. It's a substantial excerpt from chapter 1 of my new book, and is based on (but greatly expanded from) my 2006 essay "Fossil Fuels". In this chapter, I lay out the grave dangers that religious faith poses to a modern world where powerful, destructive 21st-century technologies coexist with medievally minded fanatics steering the ship of state.
Read the teaser below, then click through to see the rest. And if you like this excerpt, I hope you'll consider buying the book!
But combustible hydrocarbons aren't the only product of the Middle East that shapes the face of the world today. From those desert sands comes another fuel. Like oil and coal, this fuel has its origins in the distant past; unlike oil and coal, this one is invisible, intangible. Rather than being transmitted through drills and pipelines, it travels through the air, leaping from one mind to the next, igniting conflagrations figurative and literal. Our economy runs on the fossil fuels of oil, gas and coal, but our society runs on the fossil fuel of religion.
Science and the squishiness of the human mind. The joys of wearing whatever the hell you want, and so much more.
- Why can't we have a human-sized cat tree?
- What would happen if you got a spoonful of a neutron star?
- Why do we insist on dividing our wonderfully complex selves into boring little boxes
Progressive America would be half as big, but twice as populated as its conservative twin.
- America's two political tribes have consolidated into 'red' and 'blue' nations, with seemingly irreconcilable differences.
- Perhaps the best way to stop the infighting is to go for a divorce and give the two nations a country each
- Based on the UN's partition plan for Israel/Palestine, this proposal provides territorial contiguity and sea access to both 'red' and 'blue' America
A guide to making difficult conversations possible—and peaceful—in an increasingly polarized nation.
- How can we reach out to people on the other side of the divide? Get to know the other person as a human being before you get to know them as a set of tribal political beliefs, says Sarah Ruger. Don't launch straight into the difficult topics—connect on a more basic level first.
- To bond, use icebreakers backed by neuroscience and psychology: Share a meal, watch some comedy, see awe-inspiring art, go on a tough hike together—sharing tribulation helps break down some of the mental barriers we have between us. Then, get down to talking, putting your humanity before your ideology.
- The Charles Koch Foundation is committed to understanding what drives intolerance and the best ways to cure it. The foundation supports interdisciplinary research to overcome intolerance, new models for peaceful interactions, and experiments that can heal fractured communities. For more information, visit charleskochfoundation.org/courageous-collaborations.
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.