Sunday, March 23, 2014

Kathryn Schulz: On being wrong

Some excellent advice for us all to remember...

"Trusting too much in the feeling of being on the correct side of anything can be very dangerous...[T]o me, if you really want to rediscover wonder you need to step outside of that tiny terrified space of right-ness and look around at each other, and look out at the vastness and complexity and mystery of the universe, and be able to say 'Wow. I don't know. Maybe I'm wrong.'"




Reminds me of one of my favorite Asimov essays and Feynman's comments in the BBC interview.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

The Legacy of Fred Phelps

Recovering From Religion released a statement on behalf of Nathan Phelps (who is on their board of directors) about the death of his father, Fred Phelps - the infamous founder of the Westboro Baptist Church. Nate also spoke to Seth Andrews recently after he learned that his father was in hospice:



And here's a interview Nate did with a Calgary radio show after his father's death...



Nate inspired a friend and I to action with his speech at the Reason Rally in 2012, and we started a local chapter of Recovering From Religion in the Charlotte metro area as a result. Nate has had a positive impact on so many others in the secular and LGBT community. So when I think about the legacy of Fred Phelps, I will always think of Nate as the most enduring part of that legacy.


BANG! Five sigma r of .2

Some big news this week of a major discovery in physics. Andrei Linde, one of the "founding fathers" of the theory of inflation supported by this "smoking gun" evidence for the "BANG" in "Big Bang" was pretty excited about the news when he first found out about it:



The other founding father of the theory, Alan Guth, answered a few questions about the scientific significance of the discovery (For those interested in the theological significance of inflationary cosmology, see this summary by Victor Stenger - or these creationists in complete denial, or this embarrassing piece by a scientist for CNN).

Lawrence Krauss also has a good overview in the New Yorker, and National Geographic has a piece on the implications for a multiverse. Finally, PhD Comics has pretty good explainer.

Everything may never be the same again...