Category «HISTORY»

The Severance Vostok

If you haven’t been watching Apple TV+’s new drama series Severance, you’re really missing out on an unsettling, thoughtful, and rewarding sci-fi mystery. Severance centers around Mark S (Adam Scott), an employee of Lumon, an enigmatic technology corporation. Lumon offers select employees the option to “sever” their work selves from their off-duty selves via a computer chip implanted …

21st Century Iconoclasm

Thoughts on the new book Smashing Statues by Erin L. Thompson  On the night of January 20, 2022, workers in New York City removed an 82-year-old statue of Teddy Roosevelt from its location outside the American Museum of Natural History. The statue depicts the late president mounted heroically on a horse, with a pair of men (one …

When We Cease to Understand the World

A review of Benjamin Labatut’s award-nominated collection. They are well-worn clichés: the scientist as tortured genius; the idiot savant who peers unblinkingly into the secrets of the universe while forgetting to eat or bathe; or, at the most superficial, scientists as hopeless nerds, whip-smart but clueless when it comes to “regular” people and their quotidian …

The Kentucky-Darwin Connection

Step just inside the front entrance of the University of Kentucky’s historic Miller Hall and you might notice a brass plaque on the righthand side titled Freedom of Inquiry, the Teaching of Evolution, and the “Monkey Trial”. The plaque reads, in full: In March 1922, the Kentucky House of Representatives debated a bill to prohibit the teaching …

When Do Wars Really End?

April 9, 1865: On this day, Lee surrendered to Grant at Appomattox Courthouse, effectively ending the American Civil War. I say effectively, because this War, like so many others, was not so neatly concluded. April 14, 1865: President Lincoln was assassinated. May 9, 1865: Lincoln’s successor, Andrew Johnson, declared the insurrection had ended. May 10, …

Trump’s 2nd Impeachment Is Unprecedented but Justifiable

The House has voted to impeach Trump. Again. There was a lot of talk by Republicans about the unprecedented and precipitous way in which the House pursued this second impeachment. However, I would point out that the circumstances were unprecedented. Never before in our history has a sitting president sicced an armed mob on Congress …

Better to Deal with Insurrectionists Sooner Rather than Later

In the aftermath of the Civil War only one person (the commandant of the infamous Andersonville prison camp) was ever held directly accountable for war crimes. Robert E. Lee lost his swank plantation at Arlington and the right to vote. Jefferson Davis was imprisoned by the Army under harsh conditions for two years before being …

Book Review: Jesus for the Non-Religious

Bishop John Shelby Spong’s controversial demolition and (hopeful) rehabilitation of Jesus of Nazareth. [Originally posted February 10, 2008 at AmericanFreethought.com.] Jesus was born in a perfectly natural way in Nazareth. His mother was not the icon of virgin purity.  His earthly father, Joseph, was a literary creation. His family thought he [Jesus] was out of his …

Book Review: Evolution’s Captain

A review of Peter Nichols’ biography of Robert Fitzroy, captain of the H.M.S. Beagle [Originally posted in February 2004 at SciFiDimensions.com; re-posted on February 2, 2008 at AmericanFreethought.com.] Every schoolchild and amateur scientist knows (or should) that Charles Darwin began developing his ideas about evolution and the origin of species while on a round-the-world voyage aboard …