From Ars Disputandi, Eric Steinhart (William Paterson): Theological Implications of the Simulation Argument; Brian Garvey (Lancaster): Absence of Evidence, Evidence of Absence, and the Atheist’s Teapot; and a review of The Uses of Paradox: Religion, Self-Transformation, and the Absurd by Matthew Bagger. An interview with Rodney Stark, author of God's Battalions: the Case for the Crusades. What Christians can learn from Muslims: Please ask yourself whether you would like others to judge Christianity based on the picture of it now being presented in the modern Western media. The first chapter from Wicca and Witchcraft for Dummies by Diane Smith. A review of Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement by Kathryn Joyce. A review of Should We Fire God? Finding Hope in God When We Don't Understand by Jim Pace. A review of After You Believe: Why Christian Character Matters by N.T. Wright (and more). I Wanna Hold Your Hand: Wayne Adams on finding common ground between religion and philosophy. Jason Boyett on 3 wrong ways to read the Bible: How to read the Bible without trying to make it into something it's not. A panel on The Evolution of God by Robert Wright. Philip Pullman creates a darker Christ in new assault on the church (and more). Uppercase: Why does God have an initial capital letter? An interview with John Allen, author of The Future Church: How Ten Trends are Revolutionizing the Catholic Church. A review of Blown for Good: Behind the Iron Curtain of Scientology by Marc Headley. An interview with Stephen Prothero, author of God is Not One (and more and more and more). Jonathan Cuff on the funny, strange stuff Christians like (and more). Forgive Not: Gary Wills on his struggle with the sins of his church.
From The Economist, a special report on water. Like Demand Media and AOL’s new Seed project, Yahoo has joined the race to mass-produce content for the web with its purchase of Associated Content for a rumored $90 million. Michael Yessis asks Andrew Potter, author of The Authenticity Hoax, if authentic travel experiences exist — and about the cost of our search for them. You've been framed: Consumers are suckers for “special” deals that are costlier than they first appear. A review of Meaning in Life and Why It Matters by Susan Wolf. Treasure Island: Richard Beck on how TV serials achieved the status of art. Michael Miller reviews Evening's Empire: The Story of My Father's Murder by Zachary Lazar. The power of a gentle nudge: Phone calls, even voice recordings, can get people to go to the gym. From THES, a review of The Myth of Popular Culture: From Dante to Dylan by Perry Meisel; a review of Gothic Histories: The Taste for Terror, 1764 to the Present by Clive Bloom; and a review of Boys will be Boys: The Story of Sweeney Todd, Deadwood Dick, Sexton Blake, Billy Bunter, Dick Barton, et al by Ernest Sackville Turner. Some experts say exposure to a variety of bacteria, viruses and parasitic worms early in life helps prime a child's immune system; that raises a question: Are we too clean? A large chunk of missing matter — theorised but never before measured — has been discovered as a vast smear of extremely hot intergalactic gas 400 million light-years away. The Joy of (Outdated) Facts: Older books of supposedly impartial information can be a useful reminder of just how slippery facts really are. North Korea, a nuclear-armed state, seems to be increasingly unstable — what can the big powers do about it? Time for North Korea’s friends and foes to start preparing for the worst.
From The Tablet, would Israel launch a preemptive strike — despite U.S. opposition — to prevent an Iranian bomb? Despite its bluster, probably not. Lost Jewish tribe found in Zimbabwe: The Lemba people of Zimbabwe and South Africa may look like their compatriots, but they follow a very different set of customs and traditions. The Unwelcome Mat: Today's rabbinic culture is closing the door to converts, and ignoring its own history in the process. A review of Moses Montefiore: Jewish Liberator, Imperial Hero by Abigail Green (and more). An interview with Steven Katz on books on the Holocaust. From Slate, that's no way to run a blockade: Fred Kaplan on how Israel botched what should have been a straightforward military operation; and what's to investigate? We know what happened to the Gaza flotilla. A review of The Mystical Origins of Hasidism by Rachel Elior. Thanks to a history of scarcity in a hostile region, Israel is poised to lead the world in clean technology. A review of The Unspoken Alliance: Israel’s Secret Relationship With Apartheid South Africa by Sasha Polakow-Suransky (and more and more and more). Middle East Plan B: It's time to consider alternative paths to peace. From Forward, an article on the kibbutz at 100: Reflecting changes in Israeli society; and this is Theodor Herzl’s Judaism: An inclusive religious tradition separated from the state, imbued with Western liberal values and combining the old with the new, offering inspiration once again to the world. Why won't Israel admit it has nukes? Linked In: Why do Arab governments — and the US — insist the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is at the heart of all the Mideast’s problems? Good Samaritans: Israel's smallest religious minority offers Jews a glimpse of what might have been. Lawrence Davidson on the present state of anti-Semitism.
Susan Ball (Sorbonne) and Petros Petsimeris (Vincennes): Mapping Urban Social Divisions. Signs of the zeitgeist: The vain battle to promote German. The battle over taxing soda: The classic way for lobbyists to defend their client's interest is to insist that they are not actually defending their client's interest — really, they say, they are just looking out for ordinary Americans. A review of The English Lakes: A History by Ian Thompson, The Making of the British Landscape: How We Have Transformed the Land, from Prehistory to Today by Francis Pryor, and The Hidden Landscape: A Journey into the Geological Past by Richard Fortey. A review of books about silence — the harder you look for it the more it resists. A review of Geekspeak: A Guide to Answering the Unanswerable, Making Sense of the Nonsensical, and Solving the Unsolvable by Graham Tattersall. A new sort of togetherness: With new technology and new concerns, emigres reinvent themselves. A review of Necessary Secrets: National Security, the Media, and the Rule of Law by Gabriel Schoenfeld (and more). From The Economist, a truck in the dock: How the police can seize your stuff when you have not been proven guilty of anything; and the world according to 24: Jack Bauer is a cartoon — yet some people take him seriously. A review of Dying, Assisted Death and Mourning. If the universe as we know it ends, when will it happen? In praise of oversharing: The Web is making us more intimate strangers — why going public can be a civic good. What is behind the U.S.-led push to create global norms against texting while driving? This is speculation, but it may be Samantha Power and Cass Sunstein. Melissa Anderson reviews The Talented Miss Highsmith: The Secret Life and Serious Art of Patricia Highsmith by Joan Schenkar.
From Marx & Philosophy Review of Books, a review of The Ecological Revolution: Making Peace with the Planet by John Bellamy Foster; a review of The End of Capitalism (As We Knew It): A Feminist Critique of Political Economy and A Postcapitalist Politics by J.K. Gibson-Graham; and a review of Bonfire of Illusions: The Twin Crises of the Liberal World by Alex Callinicos. From Global Politician, Kyle Bristow on Western Man and Liberalism. From Cato Unbound, Patrick Deneen (Georgetown): The Dead End of Contemporary Liberalism (and a response by Jacob T. Levy). From City Journal, Benjamin Plotinsky on Varieties of Liberal Enthusiasm: The Left’s political zealotry increasingly resembles religious experience. Neither naive nor foolish nor misguided: Edward Cline on how Obama is perilously and vastly worse than Woodrow Wilson, Jimmy Carter, or Bill Clinton. From Policy Review, Mark Blitz on what conservatism retains: A commitment to liberty; and Lee Harris on the Tea Party vs. the Intellectuals: A movement of attitude, not ideas. Glenn Beck, America’s Historian Laureate: The Tea Party’s guide to American exceptionalism (it is all about race). Tea Party rage is just the beginning: Simon Schama warns that great economic disruptions take time to transform into revolutionary rage. Limbaugh and Hannity are fans, and so are millions of others — Imprimis is the most infuential conservative publication you've never heard of. A look at how the Pauls (Ron and Rand) are reshaping politics. Does Rand Paul understand his own conspiracy theories? Garbage and gravitas: Corey Robin reviews Ayn Rand and the World She Made by Anne Heller (and more at Bookforum) and Goddess of the Market: Ayn Rand and the American Right by Jennifer Burns. Of Creators and Men: How Christian is America's government?