I attended a sort of lecture-duet at Brown University a few days ago, with Stephen Pinker and Paul Krugman giving their respective responses to the prompt question “Is humanity progressing?” This was my first drop-in to an installment of the university’s Janus Forum lecture series. While I get the impression that the two speakers invited to these events often take up starkly opposing views, Pinker and Krugman — while not agreeing, exactly — complemented one anothers’ points in interesting ways.
Yes, let’s begin impeachment (January 19, 2019)
I hereby add my small voice to the rising chorus of those with their minds changed by Yoni Appelbaum's "Impeach Donald Trump", published in The Atlantic this month.
I must become anti-Republican to remain pro-humanity (October 6, 2018)
All Republican activity poisons both America and the world. I pledge to seek ways, through both democratic and direct action, to disempower it.
My oblique climate hopes (August 8, 2018)
I don't put any stock in humanity avoiding catastrophic climate change. I do allow myself hope that it will survive anyway, even if profoundly changed.
Republicans are enemies of human civilization (June 19, 2018)
Claiming membership in the Republican party today means embracing evil, cruelty, and trading away humanity's future for an extra scoop of ice cream.
A letter to my mayor and his moustache about the climate (June 2, 2017)
I just wrote an email to the mayor of Newport. Perhaps I should follow it with a phone call — I’ve proven to myself I can call my representatives in Washington — but email seems like an acceptable starting place, at this level of government.
I called my representative and senators about a thing (December 9, 2016)
Inspired by certain recent events, I last month joined the Union of Concerned Scientists, one of two climate-defense organizations (along with the Natural Resources Defence Council ) which multiple friends recommended as worthy of my regular financial support. Yesterday they emailed their membership urging action against Trump’s disturbingly nihilistic proposal that Scott Pruitt, an avowed foe of the Environmental Protection Agency, should lead the Environmental Protection Agency.
I read: Learning to Die in the Anthropocene
(December 23, 2015)
In the epilogue of Learning to Die in the Anthropocene: Reflections at the End of a Civilization, author Roy Scranton reveals himself as a philosophical determinist, one for whom the acceptance of a wholly material universe necessarily pairs with a total rejection of free will, whether spiritual or physical. The future, as he describes it, is as just as real, fixed, and linear as the past; what its events lack in visibility they make up for with total inevitability, everything playing out exactly as fated since the Big Bang.