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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Book Review: Kindred by Rebecca Wragg Sykes

If a book can be “hot” in the world of paleoanthropology, then Kindred: Neanderthal Life, Love, Death and Art is that book. Published in the fall of 2020, Kindred is the latest in a long line of books about Neanderthals, but anyone who has read Kindred knows that it is not like the others.

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Ken Ham vs. NASA

I know I said I would not write posts responding to creationist nonsense without good reason, but when I stumbled upon the fact that Ken Ham thought that Perseverance, NASA’s latest Mars rover, was a “waste of money,” what was I to do? I got to researching, and even after knowing the ways of Answers in Genesis as well as I do, I was still shocked that they would say this.

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Answers in Genesis is Threatened by Human Fossil Discoveries

Happy Sunday and welcome to the latest installment in my series Creationists Don’t Understand Human Evolution! This week I will be responding to the three Answers in Genesis articles under their category “Hominids” in which the AiG authors contend with “the news” each time it “eagerly reports the discovery of another link in the supposed chain of hominid evolution.” In my opinion, this whole category seems pretty incomplete, as it only covers two fossil discoveries as well as an ongoing debate between paleoanthropologists. I don’t normally respond to each article separately, but the first of these three has virtually nothing in common with the other two, so I’ll have to tackle that one on its own. The articles are:

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Why Atheists Revere Carl Sagan

Since I was a kid, I’ve had a tendency to get “obsessed” with various things. I think “obsessed” might be a harsh word for it, but it’s not entirely inaccurate: over the years I have become enamored with different book series, TV shows, and musicians in the sense that one could have thought that my being a fan of that thing was my main personality trait. As I’ve grown older, this zeal has gone more towards things like atheism, paleoanthropology, and most recently, everything Carl Sagan has ever written.

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The End of My Atheist Blog

I would say that 2020 has been a roller coaster for me, but honestly, the entire life of this blog feels like a roller coaster. This is because what I write about (which is all this blog is) changes and evolves as I change and grow up. I began The Closet Atheist Blog in November of 2016 with slight apprehension that I might one day run out of things to talk about in my specific niche of atheism, and I wondered what I would do then. Should I just end the blog? No, I would first change it—the content, maybe even the name?—instead of leaving it behind altogether.

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Is Astrology Really Harmful?

One of my favorite things about my blog has always been the ability to sit down on the weekends and write about whatever topic it is that plagued my mind all week. Sometimes it’s paleoanthropology or progressive Christianity, and this week it’s been astrology. I’ve written about astrology before (why it is pseudoscience, and why mercury retrograde is strictly an astronomical rather than astrological phenomenon), so one might wonder why I can’t just let it go. The fact is, something about astrology really rubs me the wrong way, and anyone close to me knows it.

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Book Review: The Jesuit and the Skull by Amir D. Aczel

After reading The Demon-Haunted World, I was hoping to find a book that was a bit more fast-paced before moving onto something else academic. I started reading a book that I had had on my shelves for a few months: The Peking Man is Missing by Claire Taschdjian. The Peking Man is a group of fossils that has gone through several names but is now classified as Homo erectus. This might not sound thrilling, but Peking Man’s story is unusually chaotic in that the fossils went missing from their place in China during World War II, and what happened to them is a mystery to this day. Taschdjian’s book really grabbed my attention when I first saw it, and I had been saving it for when I wanted a particularly exciting read. Taschdjian was one of the last people known to have seen the Peking Man fossils before they went missing, and her book is her idea of what may have happened to them, written in the form of a novel.

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Answers in Genesis Doesn’t Understand “Ape-Men”

This week we are returning to our series where we examine the claims of everyone’s favorite creationists, Answers in Genesis, about human evolution. The purpose of this series is twofold: I want to learn more about paleoanthropology myself and how to better write about the subject, and I want to act as a resource for anyone who is questioning AiG’s claims but doesn’t know enough about human evolution to be able to refute them. To be sure, I know that Ken Ham and his authors are never going to read this, and they would certainly not change their minds or even their methods if they did. They’ve seen myriads of people arguing against them—and blocked them on Twitter (myself included). This isn’t for the AiG staff but for the more bold of the budding skeptics in their audience.

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Book Review: A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking

A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking is undoubtedly one of the—if not the—best-known science books of the twentieth century. Its 2005 follow-up work, A Briefer History of Time, starts its foreword with a note on the original 1988 bestseller’s sales: “A Brief History of Time was on the London Sunday Times best-seller list for 237 weeks and has sold about one copy for every 750 men, women, and children on earth.” From the perspective of today’s reluctance to ponder the greater questions posed to us by science (and the even greater unlikeliness that one is willing to pick up a science book at all), I’m astounded that that many people sat down and read a work like A Brief History of Time.

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