religion

From the Vault: The Science of Holy Butter

There's more to butter than meets the eye. Each yellow pat of fatty goodness is nothing short of processed solar energy, and its long history entails many a magical and sacred rite. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Christian consider the curious nature of butter. (Originally published Jan 10, 2017)

Virgin Birth

For Christians, the Christmas centers around a miraculous virgin birth. But don’t worry, secular holiday revelers, because nature has its own virgin births to wonder over. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick explore the world of parthenogenesis. 

From the Vault: Baby Jesus and the Homunculus

We’ve all marveled at the grotesque, oddly-proportioned old man babies in medieval art -- but why did artists of the period pain such creatures? In this special Christmas episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick explore the convergence of the homunculus theory of human reproduction, the nativity and the infants of medieval and renaissance art. (Originally published Dec. 21, 2017)

The Electric Ark

What if the Ark of the Covenant was actually a bronze-age machine capable of storing an electrostatic charge? It almost certainly wasn't, but the idea is a great excuse to explore the understanding of electricity in the ancient world. Join Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick for another Ark-themed episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind. 

The Ark of the Covenant

What was the Ark of the Covenant? A mere ceremonial vessel for sacred items? A radio for speaking to God? The golden chest of the ancient Hebrews has fascinated historians, theologians, scientists, dreamers and Nazi-punching archeologists for ages. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick consider some of the more thought-provoking ideas concerning its nature. 

Age of the Earth, Part 2

Scientific consensus currently holds that the Earth is a 4.5 billion-year-old planet in a 13.8 billion-year-old universe. But how do we know? Why do religious models of a much younger (or older) Earth fail to pass the baloney test? In this two-part Stuff to Blow Your Mind exploration, Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick explore the answers.

Age of the Earth, Part 1

Scientific consensus currently holds that the Earth is a 4.5 billion-year-old planet in a 13.8 billion-year-old universe. But how do we know? Why do religious models of a much younger (or older) Earth fail to pass the baloney test? In this two-part Stuff to Blow Your Mind exploration, Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick explore the answers.

From the Vault: Black Stone of Mecca

The Kaaba marks the geographic center of the Islamic world, and here one finds Al-Hadjar Al-Aswad, the Holy Black Stone of Mecca. Islamic traditions hold that the once white white stone blackened with humanity’s sins, but various scientific theories point to geological and potentially cosmic origins. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick discuss the mythic, historical and scientific substance of the Kaaba. (Originally published on Feb. 16, 2017)

The Gods Must Be Counterintuitive

What’s the key to a lasting myth, a captivating religion or a sensational film pitch? Some cognitive scientists and anthropologists argue that the key is a minimally counterintuitive narrative: the right balance of the mundane with just a dash of the unreasonable and unexpected. Join Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick as they discuss the minimal counterintuitiveness effect. 

From the Vault:  Transhumanist Rapture War, Part 1

What do the transhumanist visions and singularitarians have in common with Christian rapture doctrine, apocalyptic prophesies and far-future saviors? Join Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick as they explore the space for common ground -- and conflict -- between genetically modified cyborgs and Heaven-teleported believers in this two-part episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind. (Originally published Aug 23, 2016)