All entries by this author

Physician Heal Thyself

Nov 26th, 2004 7:41 pm | By

Another Update. This time on the matter of voting dogs and marrying gays, of the ethics and etiquette of comparing gays to dogs, of Johnson’s joke and rhetorical animalia, of ad hominems and arguments, of substance and style, of professionalism and irony, of sarcasm and insults, of cabbages and kings.

Chris at Crooked Timber posted yesterday about Burgess-Jackson’s, shall we say, provocative simile, with an amusing addendum about canine psephology. Burgess-Jackson commented on Chris’ comment later the same day.

The folks at Crooked Timber are having fun at my expense…What’s interesting (and ironic) is that nobody at the site engaged my argument. In the insular world of liberalism, argumentation is unnecessary. One mocks conservatives; one doesn’t engage their arguments. Perhaps

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Or From the Other Direction

Nov 26th, 2004 6:00 pm | By

Update. Well that’s quite funny. Brian Leiter comments on that unnoticed assumption I pointed out in the article on religious law schools – but he views it from a different angle. He’s right of course. In fact I’m hatching a comment to talk about that very issue, and have been ever since I read the article. It really is bizarre how cheerfully people disavow reason and rationality these days. One feels like asking them, solicitously, ‘Do you really want to say that? Are you sure? Have you thought it through?’

Only those on the Left are reasonable…

…according to this article about the growing number of new, overtly religious law schools (such as Regent, Ava Maria, St. Thomas in

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Doctors Good but Prayer Makes Crucial Difference *

Nov 26th, 2004 | Filed by

Girl recovers from rabies after experimental treatment; father credits prayer.… Read the rest

A Coffee-table Philosophy Book *

Nov 26th, 2004 | Filed by

Review of David Papineau’s Philosophy: The illustrated guide.… Read the rest

Disclaimer Stickers for Science Textbooks *

Nov 26th, 2004 | Filed by

This textbook states that the earth is over 4 billion years old. Well who believes that?!… Read the rest

1621: A Historian Looks Anew at Thanksgiving

Nov 26th, 2004 | By Jeremy Dupertuis Bangs

“A Thanksgiving for plenty. O Most merciful Father, which of thy gracious goodness hast heard the devout prayers of thy church, and turned our dearth and scarcity into cheapnesse and plenty: we giue thee humble thankes for this thy special bounty, beseeching thee to continue this thy louing kindnes unto vs, that our land may yeild vs her fruits of increase, to thy glory and our comfort, through Iesus Christ our Lord, Amen.”

This prayer of Thanksgiving was not used by the Pilgrims in 1621, but with these words we must begin, if we want to assess the claims that, “The 1621 gathering in Plymouth was not a religious gathering but most likely a harvest celebration much like those the … Read the rest


Nov 26th, 2004 3:35 am | By

Tricky evasive rhetoric chapter 7863. A complaint about the New York Times’ obituary of Derrida. The obit was rather unfriendly, I noticed it at the time, but this article – well let’s have a look.

Derrida had advanced deconstruction as a challenge to unquestioned assumptions of the Western philosophical tradition.

Unquestioned assumptions? Really? Derrida single-handedly woke philosophy from its dogmatic slumbers? The ‘Western philosophical tradition’ was full of assumptions that no one had ever questioned until Derrida came along? Maybe that’s not what he means to say – but if it’s not, he’s a very bad writer, because that’s certainly what the article seems to be saying. And Derrida’s fans so often do seem to say things like that – … Read the rest

God Told Me The Defendant Did It

Nov 25th, 2004 9:55 pm | By

There’s nothing like going directly from John Stuart Mill to the kind of drivel one finds in, say, law schools that intend “to bring a religious perspective to the law and to legal practice.” The move from clarity and precision to muddle and sloppiness can be quite a shock to the system. As William Whewell must have found when he read what Mill had to say about his work. Poor guy. But maybe he didn’t read it.

The article in question is itself muddled, as well as reporting on an inherently muddled subject. Here for example –

These new law schools say they are a sort of counterweight to the views that dominate legal academies in the United States. “The

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What Rodinson and Derrida Had in Common *

Nov 25th, 2004 | Filed by

Adam Shatz on two interpreters of maladies.… Read the rest

On a Hostile Obituary of Derrida *

Nov 25th, 2004 | Filed by

Ross Benjamin accuses the New York Times of rehashing old affronts against deconstruction.… Read the rest

Why Rashomon and not Inorganic Chemistry? *

Nov 25th, 2004 | Filed by

Why does cultural literacy mean literature and music but not science?… Read the rest

Law Schools With Religious View of the Law *

Nov 25th, 2004 | Filed by

Article foolishly conflates rationalism with leftism.… Read the rest

Casino Buys Miracle Ancient Sandwich *

Nov 25th, 2004 | Filed by

10 year-old grilled cheese sandwich resembling virgin Mary sold on Ebay for $28,000.… Read the rest

US Congress Approves Anti-abortion Clause *

Nov 25th, 2004 | Filed by

New clause in spending bill undermines state laws requiring hospitals to provide abortions.… Read the rest

Charles Tries to Take it Back *

Nov 25th, 2004 | Filed by

Some say he ought to keep quiet.… Read the rest

Hey, No Problem! *

Nov 24th, 2004 | Filed by

Islamist terrorism is driven by an idea, not by an organisation, so it’s not scary. Huh?… Read the rest

A Philistine Rant About Philistinism *

Nov 24th, 2004 | Filed by

Carlin Romano on a dumbed-down complaint at dumbing-down.… Read the rest

Faulkner Avoided Universities *

Nov 24th, 2004 | Filed by

Autodidact novelist shunned academics but became academic subject.… Read the rest


Nov 23rd, 2004 10:18 pm | By

By way of contrast, here is Richard Chappel at Philosophy Etcetera actually thinking about the subject instead of just issuing dictats. Makes a change. He takes empirical evidence into account, linking to the New Scientist, and he looks at some feeble arguments. It’s good stuff. He also takes on a rather unpleasant analogy of Keith Burgess-Jackson’s. I was especially interested in that because a couple of readers have recommended KB-J to me, thinking that he and B&W have a lot in common. But I don’t think so. I haven’t bothered reading him much, but that’s because what I did read struck me as pure boilerplate. Uninspired, familiar, and peevish. The post Richard discusses is (in my view) somewhat worse than … Read the rest

Jeremy Bentham and Marvin Olasky

Nov 23rd, 2004 9:52 pm | By

Some more thought for the day. Because some days need more than one thought. And because Bentham is out of copyright, and because this is funny stuff. I haven’t been used to think of Bentham as a funny guy, but that just shows how much I know.

In looking over the catalogue of human actions (says a partizan of this principle) in order to determine which of them are to be marked with the seal of disapprobation, you need but to take counsel of your own feelings: whatever you find in yourself a propensity to condemn, is wrong for that very reason…In that same proportion also is it meet for punishment: if you hate much, punish much: if you hate

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