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Stephen Greenblatt’s The Swerve racked up prizes — and completely misled you about the Middle Ages

Recently on Facebook I made some of my friends go “hmm” when I corrected a meme that suggested the medieval church burned Copernicus at the stake for teaching that the sun is the center of the solar system. (“Contrary to popular belief, the Church accepted Copernicus’ heliocentric theory before a wave of Protestant opposition led the Church to ban Copernican views in the 17th century.” CS Monitor). The label “The…

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Neuroscientist Explores the Ethical Quandries of a Digital Afterlife

Now imagine the resources required to simulate the brains of millions or billions of dead people. It’s possible that some future technology will allow for unlimited RAM and we’ll all get free service. The same way we’re arguing about health care now, future activists will chant, “The afterlife is a right, not a privilege!” But it’s more likely that a digital afterlife will be a gated community and somebody will…

Richard Dawkins

Ex-Pope Benedict says the Selfish Gene is science fiction. He’s half right

The Selfish Gene is a brilliant phrase. It’s also accurate, so long as you realise that “selfish” doesn’t mean selfish, “gene” doesn’t mean gene, and the definite article is a bit of an abstraction. But taken as the literal truth, it’s about as much use as “In the beginning was the word”. Given Dawkins’s hostility to everyone else’s metaphysics, this is an unfortunate weakness. “Science fiction” may not be the…

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Most Christians don’t actually care about Starbucks cups. Here’s what we do know.

No Christians in my social media feed care about the design of that cup. Lots of people in my social media feed have reposted stories critical of the silly Christians who get all worked up about the design of the cup. Full disclosure: I don’t drink coffee. [C]ontrary to a few breathless media reports, most Christians don’t actually care what kind of cup their latte is served in, so long as…

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Two Cheers for the Middle Ages! by Eric Christiansen

I love good writing. “Even those who doubt that hot air is the best way of defeating hot air will be impressed by the main body of the work…” Prejudice against the medieval runs deep…. Remember those angels dancing on a pinpoint? They still dance for those who believe that the medieval schools were engaged in a wasted intellectual effort. | Unfair! the medievalists have shouted, from the days when…

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BWW Reviews: Prepare Ye for GODSPELL in Fox Chapel

  I’d like to say a few words in defense of community theatre: why are we so hard on it? I’ve done it. You’ve done it. Sure, sometime it can be rough around the edges, but more often than not, like this production, it produces something genuine and authentic and beautiful. A quick glance at the program showed that the cast is made up of nurses, producers, government workers, students…