When I was six, my best friend Joe and I could give ourselves head-rushes by contemplating the size of the universe. We let our imaginations rise from the Earth, to the Solar System, to the Milky Way, and then stretched our imaginations as far as they would go to comprehend the universe. Then we’d wonder Read more…

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A few months back I was giving a philosophy workshop in a mental health charity. It was one of my less popular events – only one person turned up, a Romanian man who had recently moved to the UK and was finding it tough. We talked about Socratic philosophy, about the idea of engaging your Read more…

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How do you fit experiences of ecstasy, awe, wonder, the Sublime, or the Numinous into a materialist paradigm, without reducing or devaluing such experiences? With difficulty. I’ve spent an enjoyable few days reading various works by the Four Horsemen of New Atheism – Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens and Daniel Dennett. For Harris, Hitchens Read more…

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Pope Francis has taken the unusual step of replying to two letters in La Repubblica, in which the founder of the paper, Eugenio Scalfari, wondered out-loud what he’d ask the new Pope if he had the chance. In particular, he wondered, what is the attitude of God to atheists like him, who try to follow Read more…

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Steven Pinker, the Harvard cognitive linguist, would not make a very good ambassador. In his latest diatribe, he attempts to reassure humanities scholars that science is not their enemy. Science is good, and humanities scholars should stop complaining about ‘Scientism’. Unfortunately, he says this in such a tactless and, er, Scientistic way that it’s guaranteed Read more…

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