What I Love About Paleoanthropology

Four years ago to the day, I wrote a post called “Why I Am Not a Scientist”. I’ve since privated it, because I don’t like the way I spoke about myself and my own intelligence in that post. My main idea was that I was new to being an informed atheist, and I was not confident in my abilities to refute young-earth creationism. I called myself “scientifically challenged” and expressed that I felt that in order to really be confident in my atheist stance, I would have to become much more educated in various fields of science. I said that I was “really bad at science” even as I said that I loved and appreciated how it allows us to learn about the world around us.

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Book Review: A Most Interesting Problem by Jeremy DeSilva

As I said in my last post, this week I am reviewing A Most Interesting Problem: What Darwin’s Descent of Man Got Right and Wrong About Human Evolution, a collection of essays by twelve anthropologists critiquing Darwin’s book on human origins, Descent of Man, chapter by chapter and telling us whether Darwin’s ideas have withstood the test of time over 150 years. I was particularly excited about this one, both because I got to see the Leakey Foundation’s promo livestream with panels from many of the authors and because the book serves as a shining example of scientists denying dogma in science.

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Confessing My Controversial Opinion

Each day this week, I’ve read one chapter of Jeremy DeSilva’s A Most Interesting Problem (which will be the focus of my next blog post). In the chapter “The Darwinian Road to Morality” by Brian Hare, the author discusses our co-evolution with dogs and the way that “dogs and humans are the first species known to have a between-species oxytocin connection.” He goes on to explain, “During domestication, the same physiological response that occurs between parent and baby evolved between human and dog. Dogs confirm Darwin’s suspicion that love is ancient, evolved, and present in many species.”

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Book Review: The Gnostic Gospels by Elaine Pagels

If you’re reading this blog, then chances are that you have a pretty good grasp on what Christianity is. But did you know that Christianity as we know it almost didn’t succeed in early centuries? You may have heard whispers of various ancient sects of barely recognizable Christian beliefs, and it turns out that the rumors are true. The ancient Christians that we know—whether we love them or hate them—had to struggle against their competitors known as the gnostics, better known to history as heretics.

For centuries, historians have known about the gnostic Christians and their texts only through the writings of their enemies, the orthodox or catholic Christians (which gave rise to the many denominations of Christianity existing today). You can imagine how hard it was to understand the gnostic point of view with their only documentation being from those who despised them. So it was immensely exciting for historians when the gnostic gospels themselves were discovered near Nag Hammadi in Egypt in 1946. The discovery was an exercise in patience, though; it would be thirty years until an English translation of the full library would be published in 1977. Elaine Pagels must have gotten to work quickly, then, as her book The Gnostic Gospels was published in 1979.

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The Dawkins Problem

One could argue the atheist community has an unspoken rule to respect the esteemed biologist and controversial atheist Richard Dawkins. People have several reasons to respect the man: he has advocated for atheism, he has communicated the science of evolution to the masses, he has written many beloved books; hell, the man invented the word “meme”. For many of us, there has been a lot to like about Dawkins. But a line must be drawn somewhere. Just because someone has done good things at their best, does that mean we can ignore the hurtful things they say and do at their worst?

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Should Atheists Support Hijab?

It is a strange position to find myself in, trying to reconcile my values as an atheist and as an intersectional feminist. Allow me to explain.

In the beginning of this month, the French Senate passed a bill that, if made into a law, would enforce a sort of “secular dress code”. This amendment applies very specifically toward the rights of Muslim women, including:

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Happily Ever After?

It is kind of funny that when I was 22, all I wanted in life was to leave my problems at the time behind. I could list off everything that was wrong in my life, and I knew that the day I got married and moved out, all of those specific problems would be gone. I suppose that that’s what happened. I hadn’t liked my job, I was stifled at home, I was made to go to church, and before that, I had been significantly unhappy at college. I never had very big dreams; I was so focused on wanting that all to end that I hadn’t really thought of what I would do after.

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Book Review: On Her Knees by Brenda Marie Davies

This is the first time that I have ever reviewed a memoir. I’ve joked with my husband about it: how do you critique a book recounting someone’s life story? “Good job having a life, it was really interesting”? However, there is a lot to reflect on in On Her Knees. Before I get into it, as a graphic designer, I have to applaud this book’s incredible cover art. I love to pick apart designs and think of how they could be improved, but as for On Her Knees‘ final cover, I came up empty. It’s perfect.

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Book Review: The Disordered Cosmos by Chanda Prescod-Weinstein

Only one week ago from today, I wrote of The Disordered Cosmos, “This book is particularly intriguing because my perception is that it is about physics, astronomy, Star Trek, and how science needs to be a more accepting space for women and people of color. I just bought it yesterday as my reward for making it through the week, and I am so eager to get started!” I had a decently correct idea of what the book actually is, but in no way was I prepared for what I would learn.

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15 Nonfiction Books I Can’t Wait to Read

I love books so much, but the ones I have actually gotten around to reading and reviewing in the past five years are so few compared to my ever-growing to-be-read list! I usually wait until I’ve finished a book to talk about it, but I am just so excited to read these books (some of which I already own and some I do not).

I wrote years ago that I was disappointed that so few of my books were by women, and especially by any authors of color. I’m so happy to finally be rounding out my book collection with more diverse voices across race and gender, as well as across genres! My book collection started off as mostly centering on atheism and religion, but it has since expanded onto topics related to science, society, and history. Without further ado, here is just a fraction of the books on my to-be-enthusiastically-read list, as well as some insights on how exactly I come across all these books in the first place.

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