The Likelihood and Preciousness of Life

Until quite recently, it has been assumed by everyone literate in science that intelligent life, which I will refer to as Life As We Know It (LAWKI) is common in the cosmos. That proposition is becoming less likely with every scrap of new knowledge that we acquire.

Religion, Atheism and Science

I have always been intensely curious and from an early age read science books from the travelling library van that visited the farm where I grew up....

On Being Human: Some Reflections on Consciousness

From the working of the eye to the process of cell division, the human body is one very impressive piece of self-replicating engineering. For many this thought is dispiriting. If we’re simply machines, what makes us special?

The Sad Truth About Accidents

We live in Houston, the long-time home and heart of the oil and gas and petrochemical manufacturing industries in the United States. These industries make the news all over the world entirely too often because of a never-ending stream of explosions, fires, releases, spills, injuries and fatalities...

Sharing the Credit

I'm a biologist and wildlife photographer. So I have spent my lifetime engaged in the study of living things. When I’ve spoken at Oasis, that relationship between us and other living things was front and center, or peripheral, but it was always there.

The Perfect Secular Holiday

When I was a kid, Christmas was the best time of year. My brother and I would go to school one morning early in December and by the time we’d get home the inside of our house had transformed...