Category Archives: secularism

The Science of Making Choices

What happens in your body when you choose to go right or left?  What makes your choices? your Self? What does the word “choice” really mean?

VN Alexander, PhD discusses the science of making choices from a complexity science-biosemiotics perspective. From “Science, Art and Biosemiotics” series, produced and directed by Lucian Rex.

To read more about this topic see The Biologist’s Mistress: Rethinking Self-Organization in Art, Literature and Nature. 

blank

 

Atheists sue over WTC cross

Statues of mythological and/or fictional characters and themes can be found in state and federal parks all over the country, like this statue of Neptune at a city park in Virginia Beach.  As far as I know atheists don’t try to get these removed. The American Atheist Organization is suing to remove a cross from the WTC memorial.  The “cross” is actually a section of welded I-beam that was found sticking up from the rubble after 9/11.  Witnesses found the coincidental resemblance to Christ’s cross significant. While I don’t agree that such coincidences are supernaturally caused, I think they are interesting. Significant coincidences are at the heart of all “chance” phenomena which lead to the emergence of life, language, and art. (That’s my natural philosophy in a nutshell.) I could no more reject public tributes to Christianity than I could to any great work of fiction. Somehow it just doesn’t piss me off.  I understand it as art. It doesn’t bother me that others take it differently.  (I even have a portrait of a black Madonna hanging in my home.  It’s a really cool painting that my great-grandmother brought over from Poland.)  That’s why I think there is something up with AAO’s president David Silverman who isn’t able to detach himself emotionally from the power of religious symbolism.  He released this statement about the WTC cross Continue reading

Naked Singularity now on Kindle

My second novel may not get quite as much attention as my other two novels (with pretty females on their covers), but Naked Singularity is my personal favorite and I’m happy to announce that it’s finally available on Kindle.  The subject is dark — euthanasia — but heavy as it is, it’s also darkly comic. Here’s a thoughtful review from poet Gerrit Henry published when the novel first appeared in 2003.

Alexander, Victoria N. Naked Singularity.The Permanent Press, 2003, Sag Harbor. 189 pp. One of the many dark beauties of Victoria N. Alexander’s new novel is that, not only is it the proverbial good read, it is also a proverbially brilliant one. Alexander–holder of a PhD–has dished up a heart-stoppingly beautiful heroine who holds similar degrees in teleology (the study of why) and she thinks, and writes, like a dream. Witness this sample from a soliloquy by Hali on death: “You had thought death would at least be romantic, but now you realize there is nothing to be thankful for–how vacuous, how colorless, how without pity, how without regard for your intentions . . . . ” This, from a piece of popular fiction, is almost asking too much in the matter of sheer, unabused style. Continue reading

Writer Dorion Sagan on What Now

Dorion Sagan, a good friend of mine, science writer, thinker, novelist, was recently interviewed on Ken Rose’s radio program “What Now? Extended interviews with accomplished thinkers, writers, artists, farmers and scientists addressing the global crisis” on KOWS in California.

Click here to download the mp3. It’s a wonderful, long interview. It starts slow, but keep listening. Dorion gives a surprising answer to Rose’s question about whether or not the human is likely to survive as a species and in what form. He talks about his books The Sciences of Avatar: from Anthropology to Xenology, Notes from the Holocene, Dazzle Gradually, which he wrote with his mother Lynn Margulis, Death and Sex, which he wrote with Tyler Volk, Cooking with Jesus: From the Primal Brew to the Last Brunch, and many others. Dorion also plugged my 2003 novel, Naked Singularity. Thanks Dorion.

Death and Sex

Death and sex are literature’s subjects, not science’s. What we care most about is what these subjects mean to us—not what they, in fact, are. When scientists attempt to enlighten us on these matters, they often fall to recounting certain metabolic processes, generally missing the point, while we readers sigh or snicker, wondering if the researcher has any experience out of the lab. This is not the case with Death and Sex by Tyler Volk and Dorion Sagan. See my review in New York Journal of Books.

Death with Interruptions by Jose Saramago

As a reviewer, there are two things you’ll want to know about me before bothering to read further. I only like literary fiction, and I only like literary fiction that’s a bit “difficult,” in one way or another, style or theme, preferably both.

A good theme for me might include controversial social issues, human paradoxes, ethical puzzles– problems to which there are no easy solutions. The concerns of unmarried 32-year-old woman and the plight of a middle-aged man whose affair is petering out are not real “problems,” in my view, nor is the temporary loss of faith in God or humanity. Continue reading

The Choice Issues in the Health Care Bill: eating meat and reading literature

Two extremely important issues–that are not strictly health related–are holding up the health care bill. These are: whether the government should help fund abortions and whether the government should help fund end-of-life consultations between patients and physicians. Anyone who knows my novels knows that I’m a feminist and so would expect me to support Pro-Choice, and I do. Anyone who has read Naked Singularity knows that I would fight for choice on the issue of euthanasia too. Nevertheless, I think both should be withdrawn from the bill. Here’s why: Continue reading