About Me

I write the biweekly “Beliefs” column for The New York Times and also report for The Atlantic, The Nation, This American Life, and elsewhere. I have four daughters and two dogs.

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Mail I Get When I Write About Atheists

This came to my e-mail inbox after I wrote my Times column about atheist and humanist Paul Kurtz. The subject line was “Mr. Kurtz, he dead”:

Spiritually dead, for sure.
Poor Mr Kutrz, too proud to see the abundant physical evidence of God's omnipotence and omnipresence.
--spontaneous remission of advanced diseases in the baths at Lourdes, France, since 1858.
--the Tre Fontane apparition in Rome, 1947
--the apparition and miracle cure at Isle d'Chambord, France, in 1947.
--the miracle cure of Peter De Rudder, Oostakker (Ghent), Belgium, 1875.
dozens of others, similar to the above, have been extensively chronicled over the centuries.
Please consult "The Miracle Detective" (2002) by a former skeptic and Rolling Stone reporter, Randall Sullivan, for many such cures, and detailed investigation of the miraculus apparitions at Medjugorje, Bosnia-Herzegovina, since 1981.
I must say, I do want to go read the Randall Sullivan book, which I had not known.

Annie Murphy Paul supports my writing habit

I am thrilled for my friend Annie Murphy Paul that her new book is on the cover of Time magazine, is getting a strong review from The New York Times, and is generally rocking and rolling. Thrilled indeed, not just because she is a worthy soul, but also because if she makes a ton of money for Free Press, our shared publisher, than they can continue to lose money on books by the likes of me. Onward!

(I should, however, say that I am terrified to read her book, because what if it tells me that my wife has to give up doing stuff I love during pregnancy, like, you know, baking brownies or reading to me from the “Star Tracks” section of People magazine, lest she retard our fetuses’ development?)

Here she is on the boob tube, just for your pleasure:


Me and Plastic Surgery

I am strangely addicted to this celebrity plastic-surgery website. Enjoy.


Atheists at war

Here is my latest Beliefs column, from The New York Times. It is the first of a two-part series, the second to run in two weeks. Key quotation:

Mr. Kurtz, an 84-year-old who names his dogs for free thinkers throughout history, is the exiled founder of the Center for Inquiry, which is devoted to promoting humanism and criticizing religion. He founded the center’s two affiliates: the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, which investigates claims of the paranormal, like U.F.O. sightings and mental telepathy, and the Council for Secular Humanism, which promotes ethics and values without God.

And he started two magazines and a publishing house, Prometheus Books.

There are more famous opponents of supernaturalism, but none is an institution-builder like Mr. Kurtz, a retired philosophy professor. The Center for Inquiry, which assumed its name in 1991, until recently shared a budget of more than $6 million with its affiliates, and it supports campus groups, a West Coast office and branches in many American cities and in countries like England, Peru and Poland.

Which makes Mr. Kurtz’s fall Lear-like.

The rest is here.



Me, debating religion

Starting Monday evening, my debate with uber-atheist Sam Harris will go live at, in their terrific series of online debates. Make sure to check it out, and have a good weekend. (Note: if you go to, using the definite article, you will have to look at a picture of Alan Greenspan.)