Who are we?

Question: What forces have shaped humanity most?

Calvin Trillin: Well obviously at this very moment in history, the forces are religion. I mean among the forces is religion. It gives you some idea of how loony it is to predict the future. If you had asked me in, say, 1960 what’s the future of religion in the United States or in the world, I mean . . . and its influence, not just I, but practically anybody you asked would have said it’s dissipating. It’s . . . In all religions, not just Islam which we knew nothing about really; but in say Christianity. I mean who would think that the Republican presidential contenders would have to pay court to somebody like Pat Robertson who, with Jerry Falwell, agreed that 9/11 took place because God lowered His defensive shield in the United States when He saw what was happening with people from the American way and lesbianism and stuff like that. I mean there aren’t any __________ wackier than that. And who would think that Orthodox Judaism would be the force it is now? I mean it seemed to be disappearing really. So obviously you can’t tell what’s going to happen, and religion is certainly one of the things that has shaped the situation we’re in now.

 

Recorded on: 9/5/07

 

 

Fifty years ago, Trillin would have never thought that religion would become so prominent in American public life.

Car culture and suburbs grow right-wing populism, claims study

New research links urban planning and political polarization.

Pixabay
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Canadian researchers find that excessive reliance on cars changes political views.
  • Decades of car-centric urban planning normalized unsustainable lifestyles.
  • People who prefer personal comfort elect politicians who represent such views.
Keep reading Show less

How to split the USA into two countries: Red and Blue

Progressive America would be half as big, but twice as populated as its conservative twin.

Image: Dicken Schrader
Strange Maps
  • 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
Keep reading Show less

NASA astronomer Michelle Thaller on ​the multiple dimensions of space and human sexuality

Science and the squishiness of the human mind. The joys of wearing whatever the hell you want, and so much more.

Flickr / 13winds
Think Again Podcasts
  • 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
Keep reading Show less