Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Are Bird-watchers Racist?

This is pretty funny.  Oh, the loony left.


Sunday we had a family meeting and among other things we talked about bullying.

Amy: I want everyone to tell us what they think bullying is.  Let's start with the youngest.  Jonathan, tell us what you think bullying is.

Johno (four-year-old): Uhhhh.....Uhhhhhh.....

Amy: When somebody is a bully what are they like?  What are people doing when they are bullying, Jonathan?

Johno: Uhhhh...It's like.  It's like when you put a ball on the ground and then you roll it forward.


Me: Bowling, Johno.  That's bowling.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Now Playing


Emma Watson Feminism Follow-up


For an example of a (willful?) distortion of feminism and egalitariansim see #7 in conjunction with  #20 here.

Is there such a thing as feminism?  Does the word "feminism" have a definition and a limited semantic range?  Or are there only feminisms?  These are interesting but difficult questions to answer. Similar questions can be raised about religion, liberalism, socialism, conservativism, masculinism and the like.

 My problem is this: If you want to tell people to embrace feminism then let's be clear about what we're supposed to be signing up for.  If feminism is something which is to be praised, protected, and promoted, then let us know what it is we're supposed to be promoting.  If you don't think there is such a thing as feminism, then why keep talking as if there is?

Fierce Criticism

We run away from correction; we ought to court it and expose ourselves to it, especially when it comes in the shape of discussion, not a school lesson. Each time we meet with opposition, we consider not whether it is just, but how, wrongly or rightly, we can rebut it. Instead of opening our arms to it, we greet it with our claws. I could stand a rough shaking from my friends: ‘You are a fool, you’re talking nonsense.’ In good company, I like expression to be bold, and men to say what they think. We must strengthen our ears and harden them against any weakness for the ceremonious use of words. ~Montaigne

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Now Playing

Leonard Cohen

La Complainte du Partisan ("The Partisan"): A WWII Song

Hermione and the Chamber of Feminist Conundrums


A commenter on Twitter writes that I wrote a strawman characterization of feminism.
To which I reply: "A strawman argument? Are you suggesting Emma Watson is not a feminist? Or that Camille Paglia who I link to is not either?"To which he replies:"There is no "feminism" so much as there are "feminisms"—Multiple ways to approach and/or address the question of sex equality."
Maybe that's right. But if there is no feminism, how can I be giving a strawman characterization of feminism?  Answer: I can't. (As well, if that is right, then feminism is immune to both criticism and praise).  So there was no strawman characterization.  There was, however, a critique of a particular speech by a feminist which has been lauded with praise, apparently not due to the enlightening substance therein but for the platitudes.

So I've been hearing all this fuss and gushing praise about some great feminist speech Emma Watson gave.  Against my better judgment I decided to read it.  Scroll down here for full transcript.  Meh.  I'll comment on a few selections below and then point to my kind of feminist:

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

David is God: Follow-up

An anonymous commenter asks what I think the upshot is from Dale Tuggy's recent post I put up on the blog.  Instead of commenting back, I decided that this required a post of its own.

"Oh, you're a philosopher. What is one of your sayings?"

Occasionally the dreaded small talk arises and I am asked what it is that I do by someone I do not know.  I usually try to avoid having this question come up because it almost always leads to awkward silence, or even more awkward small talk, or friendly abuse.  So if I can't get away with saying "I'm a father" or "I'm a teacher," I will say that "I'm a teacher; I teach philosophy classes."

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The Bible Teaches That David is God

This is clever and makes a nice point or two.  (I might add, the Bible also teaches pacifism, annihilationism, Tuggy's-subordinationism, modern-egalitarianism, and many other trendyisms).

    Richard Gere as King David
    The Bible holds many hidden wonders. In addition to its explicit teachings, by careful reasoning we can draw out many implications of what it says, by comparing various parts with others. Aided by various evangelical apologists and theologians, I’ve made a few discoveries which I am now privileged and humbled to share with the world.
    Step 1: prove that Jesus is God
    1. When the prophet Isaiah says “Prepare the way of the Lord” (Isaiah 40:3) the “Lord” there is God, Yahweh.
    2. Mark applies this to Jesus; the “Lord” when he quotes Isaiah is Jesus. (Mark 1:3)
    3. Therefore, Jesus is God. (1,2)
Step 2: prove that Jesus is David

Monday, September 22, 2014

Now Playing

Man In the Long Black Coat

What's not to like about this song?  The Fall, Total Depravity, Predestination... (Question: Who IS the man in the Long Black Coat?)

If You Love Each Other You Should Be Able to Marry

Let's try out a few contemporary attempts at providing some conditions for marriage in order to see what insights can be gleaned therefrom.  Perhaps a lesson or moral will follow if we try...

1. If you love each other, you should be able to marry.
Really?  I should be able to marry my sons or daughters?

2. If you are adults and love each other, you should be able to marry.
Can I marry my uncle or mother?  What about an estranged brother and sister who meet and are sterile? Will you exclude them from holy matrimony (or at least matrimony)?

3. If you are adults and non-family members and love each other, you should be able to marry.
So then, are polygamy, polygyny, and polyandrous relationships more generally acceptable?  Aside from acceptability let's talk metaphysics: Could everyone in the U.S. be united as one big happy family if Obama declared it so and if Americans all loved one another as Christ loved the Church? Is it possible, even if not practical?

And what is this business about love anyway?  Surely two people being in love (in the dating sense) isn't necessary for them to be married.  People in arranged marriages may not be in love in the dating sense, but if the marriage is a good one they will be in love or at least they will grow to love one another in certain ways.

Some lessons from the short exercise:

One in Four Women Raped on Campus?

I just finished reading Allison Blakeney's diatribe against her alma mater's Philosophy Department and its "rape culture."  Retired CO Boulder philosophy professor Wes Morriston sensibly replies here.  The whole CO Boulder situation is an excellent example of the left devouring itself.

Ms. Blakeney makes the oft repeated claim, by the President/VP, Huffington Post--the usuals-- that 1 in 4 women on college campus are raped/sexually assaulted.

Is that statistic surprising?  It sure was to me!  ONE in FOUR??

I have found that a good rule of thumb is that, when a statistic is thrown out that sounds too good (or bad) to be true (especially from ends-justify-means-liberals), it probably is.

Heather MacDonald tries to set the record straight in a long but well argued piece.  It is definitely worth the read.

Here is just a brief snippet:
If the one-in-four statistic is correct—it is sometimes modified to “one-in-five to one-in-four”—campus rape represents a crime wave of unprecedented proportions. No crime, much less one as serious as rape, has a victimization rate remotely approaching 20 or 25 percent, even over many years. The 2006 violent crime rate in Detroit, one of the most violent cities in America, was 2,400 murders, rapes, robberies, and aggravated assaults per 100,000 inhabitants—a rate of 2.4 percent.
Of course, conservatives will agree that any rape culture is too much rape culture.  Where they disagree is with the notion that the right way to go about lowering the number of rapes is by throwing vast amounts of tax money at the sort of "education" and policies envisioned by the left.  

Friday, September 19, 2014

Spiros Defends the Satanists in Oklahoma

Part time philosopher and full-time gossip, Brian Leiter, links favorably to a post by "Spiros" defending Satanists.  "Spiros" is the anonymous pseudonym behind which some 'professional philosopher' (whatever that means) hides.  Actually, he doesn't so much defend the Satanists as he does encourage them to steal a consecrated host from a Roman Catholic church so that it can be desecrated at the black mass.

I reproduce his remarks below the fold:

Banning Tobacco & Cursing on Campus, and the Gateway Drug

Two anecdotal stories from readers of the blog:

Banning Tobacco and Cursing

The Gender Gap

The Gender Gap.  This is surely one of the most under reported social justice stories in the news this year.  Did you know that in the U.S., for every 3 men only 1 woman gets around on a bicycle?  Did you know that in London 77% of bike trips are taken by men but only 5% by women?  (Strange stat, I know, but a strange stat for even stranger times).

Well here is a courageous journalist cataloging 21 photos of real women who shatter the stereotype of a what a bicyclist looks like.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Now Playing

I Was in the House When the House Burned Down

One Other Comment About the Article on Sex/Domestic Violence in the NFL Below

I didn't want to ruin a blog post commending the data mining of 538 sports (which I'm glad exists for their statistics) but I can't let this paragraph in that article go without commenting:

Indeed, perhaps the question of how the NFL should “police” its players is the wrong analogy entirely. This situation may be more akin to tort law than criminal law: If the NFL is capable of reducing any harm its players are causing — whether through harsher suspensions or other policies targeting behavior — it may have a legal (or at least moral) duty to do so.

So after presenting the data, the author, Benjamin Morris, suggests that in light of the fact that sex and domestic abuse cases are relatively high (compared to other NFL crimes) within a relatively low crime pool (compared to the national average) that the NFL may have a legal duty within the law of torts to take some sort of action to lower the number of sex/domestic abuse arrests.


The Rate of Domestic Violence Arrests by NFL Players

(Some of these thoughts are from my friend HK)

As the media vultures swarm around what has officially been termed a "crisis," I am reminded of the media portrayal around the Catholic sex abuse scandals and my skepticism about media coverage more generally.  Horrible as these cases were in the Catholic church, rates at Protestant churches and among school teachers are similar statistically from what I've found, and the actual cases of pedophilia (defined as prepubescent sex) were about 5% of all priest sex abuse cases.  But one wouldn't know that from the media coverage.

Which brings us to the NFL media coverage.  According to Five-Thirty-Eight Sports the NFL arrest rate for sex abuse crimes is lower than the national average and the overall crime rate is much lower (see the first chart above).  The article seems to attribute the overall crime rate being lower to the affluence of NFL players, but there's reason for a healthy dose of skepticism that a lack of wealth is a major cause of crime. 

Still, among NFL crimes, sexual and domestic abuse crimes are quite high (as can be seen in the second chart above).  What then is the reason why sex/domestic abuse crimes are higher in the NFL than one would expect from another randomly chosen group?  Does it have anything to do with football or the violent collisions therein?  Or is it because more players in the NFL come from backgrounds where sex outside of marriage is the norm, where fathers are largely absent, where women are often referred to as "bitches and ho's", etc.?  (Or do you have some better explanation?)

Lessons in Fatherhood Never End

I have two daughters and three sons.  Being a father is a wonderful and humbling experience.  I share with the reader a bit of wisdom I recently learned about fatherhood.

My eldest daughter who is 11 going on 16, had a bit of a spat with her mother.  I won't get into the details except to say that for a time my daughter was quite upset and here was an opportunity for some good father-daughter talk, since we're buddies.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

My Year as an Abortion Doula

This article is deeply appalling.   I read a few excerpts of it to my wife, Amy, this morning.  Here is one:

When we take her into the OR, she’s crying, fighting strong contractions. “You’ll get to go to sleep in just a minute, then it’ll all be over,” I say. “I know you’ve waited so long.” She grunts in response. She’s grown sick of me [her abortion 'doula'], rightfully, and resists my touch. They put her out.

The fetus comes out easily; they put it in the bucket and shove it near me. It is fully intact, curled on its left side, fists closed, knees bent up. He sleeps just like you, I think. Then, a second thought, an act of distancing: He looks more like an alien than a person.  

I have, by this point, seen lots of women and lots of fetuses, and the sight of the second doesn’t change my feelings about the first. The mourning for what could have been is countered by an appreciation for what is — a woman’s life, allowed to proceed as she wants it to. When it is over, I say, “You did great. You were so brave,” and I tell them they’re done now, because sometimes they don’t know. “It’s all finished,” I say.

Amy gasped when I read this sentence: "The mourning for what could have been is countered by an appreciation for what is — a woman’s life, allowed to proceed as she wants it to." 

Amy: "This has to be satire."
Me: "No, I'm pretty sure it's not satire."
Amy: "It can't be true."
Me: "Amy, this is what such people think."
Amy: "Are you sure?  Why would any pro-abortion proponent write such a thing?  It's counter-productive.  They don't like to have abortions described."
Me: "Maybe the author was feeling but not really thinking when she wrote this."

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Dilemma: Embrace Wage Stagnation or Deny Science

And now look at this.  An open comment box with a semi-intelligent comment (qualification for the "semi" below)!  Here's "Northern Hick's" comment from Dilbert.com:

Challenge the premise, Dilbert. A study proving that more money =/= more happiness does not establish that a raise would not net positive happiness, particularly cast against the alternative of wage stagnation. (Moreover, such statistics are not necessarily descriptive of individual cases, even assuming that the study's results are generally corroborated by other comparable studies.)

i.e. It may well be true that I'm just as happy as - or happier than - I would be if I were making twice as much money, but the absence of positive career progress, including an improving income, would make me pretty miserable.

But perhaps more importantly, it may well be the case that more money wouldn't make all you suckers happy, because you really care more for things like interpersonal connections, respect of yourself and others, and other such nonsense, whereas I recognize that there's nothing more important than material wealth, and therefore would be happy as a pig in mud if I had a swimming pool filled with money... [Northern Hick in this last paragraph goes off the rails, assuming that happiness must mean pleasure, and animal pleasure at that.  But if happiness is best understood as well-being or flourishing, then Mo Money could certainly mean Mo Problems.]

Church Sign in Town

A Liar's Paradox Church Sign!?!?  Brilliant!!

ESPN's Kate Fagan On Early Childhood Indoctrination

Translation by Andrew McCarthy

Wives Also Kill Husbands Quite Often---Alan Dershowitz

Department of Justice Homicide Statistics: Way More Men Murdered Than Women

Monday, September 15, 2014

More Media Love on Ray Rice, O.J. Simpson, Etc.

This from a reader (my comments in bold):

1. Is it really justice when the mob wants to lynch Rice, Rodger Goodell, and take down the entire NFL? Every mob member is screaming moral outrage and wants to destroy everyone in their wake. Look, I'm all for chivalry and treating women with honor and respect. I have four precious daughters and a wife that I deeply love. If a man ever slugged one of my girls and knocked her unconscious, I would want to murder the gutless evildoer. But, does that make me morally good? No! In fact, this is why we have a justice system. It's an eye for an eye, but I would want to repay death for a punch. Isn't this similar to what the media and the mob are calling for? Nobody (including Rice, his wife, or the NFL) is justifying what Rice did. But the bloodthirsty mob isn't crying out for justice....they want vengeance and want to destroy Rice and Goodell and the NFL. Please, somebody articulate for us all what a just response should be in this case.  [I may have more to say on the matter, but definitely not today.]

Jazz Music is Overrated

Am I qualified to have an opinion on Jazz music?  Probably not.  But that won't stop me from linking to a guy who is qualified (and it won't stop me from putting up a cartoon which makes light of Jazz with an annoying "water mark" on it).  This Washington Post piece, which appeared in the Arkansas Democratic Gazette yesterday, nicely puts into words pretty much what I've thought of Jazz music ever since first encountering it.  I've tried it and found it wanting.

There was a new pizza place in West Lafayette bordering Purdue that my wife and I used to frequent (famous for its "pitcher and a pie" for $10) when there was a jazz band that would usually play on Thursdays.  I admit to liking jazz when it's live and one doesn't have to focus one's entire attention on it.  That's because I like live music. But I can't imagine ever paying for it when there's about any other available alternative.  A couple quotations:

“Jazz might be the stupidest thing anyone ever came up with,” read “Sonny Rollins: In His Own Words” — actually written by Django Gold of the Onion. “The band starts a song, but then everything falls apart and the musicians just play whatever they want for as long they can stand it. People take turns noodling around, and once they run out of ideas and have to stop, the audience claps. I’m getting angry just thinking about it.”

This music has retreated from the nightclub to the academy. It is shielded from commercial failure by the American cultural-institutional complex, which hands out grants and degrees to people like me. Want to have a heated discussion about “Bitches Brew” or the upper partials ? White guys wielding brass in Manhattan and New England are ready to do battle.

Friday, September 12, 2014

My 10 (or 11) Most Formative Books

There's a 10 Most Influential Books meme going around in social media.  Thought I'd play along.  I'll narrow the selection down to the 10 that I have read cover to cover (as opposed, for instance, to books that were read to me as as kid).  There will also be many books that I think are objectively more important which I have read that do not make the list, books which, if I would have read them at a different time or in different circumstances would have made the list (Plato's Republic, for instance).

The order here is more or less chronological.  I'm sure I will leave books out that should be in the list.  Nonetheless, here goes:

Thursday, September 11, 2014

What Should Be Expected of Phil Robertson?

In response to the previous post JT Tweets:  Robertson was unwise, didn't reflect the gospel & lacked any nuance in that interview...and I don't think I'm a "leftie."

I agree, JT is not a "leftie."  But I don't agree that his interview had no nuance. For instance, he does say at one point that he'd prefer to sit down with people and have a Bible study and lead them to Jesus than go in guns blazin'.  Clearly his idea of conversion is not conversion by the sword.

Was what he said unwise?  Well, it was certainly not prudent if one of his goals was not to create a media firestorm in response to "convert or kill."  It was unwise insofar as Robertson is not a learned theologian, lacks significant nuance in his approach, and so forth.  But why should we expect Robertson to talk like a theologian?  Why should we expect someone who has been afforded the education and upbringing that Robertson has been afforded to talk like an educated scholar?  I think people have a right to make a fuss over what comes out of Phil Robertson's mouth only if it's reasonable that he's being willfully ignorant or saying things that are obviously false which are being taken seriously by the general public so as to lead them astray.  And I doubt any of that is the case.  If you want to blast Hannity or Fox News for taking someone like Robertson seriously in a news interview, go for it.  If Fox News wants to be taken seriously for journalism, it's fair game to criticize them for interviewing a Phil Robertson.

Does what he said not reflect the Gospel?  Well, he doesn't make reference to I Corinthians 15 (though he does mention leading people to Jesus).  Is going to war inconsistent with the Gospel?  In a certain sense, yes, since there will be no war in heaven.  In a certain sense, no.



Convert Them or Kill Them

Here we are again, listening to the media and social media blowhards fuss about Phil Robertson's latest PC-heresy.  The lefties are coming out in droves to make sure we realize that Christianity is no different than Islam, Islam is a religion of peace, and conservative kooks are so dumb that they are basically like ISIS/L.  So what DID Robertson say?  Here it is:

"In this case, you either have to convert them—which I think would be next to impossible—I'm not giving up on them, I'm just saying either convert them or kill them. One or the other."

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Sins of Omission and Commission

A Critique of Roger Olson's Critique of Scholastic Evangelical Theology

Baylor's Truett Theological Seminary professor, Roger Olson, has a blog post here with his objections to "Scholastic Evangelical Theology" and support for his alternative "Intuitive Evangelical Theology."  More on that in a moment.  But first, what kind of animal is Scholastic Evangelical Theology and its intuitive counterpart?

As I would define Scholastic Evangelical Theology it is simply theology by an Evangelical which tries to take into account all  the available evidence when rendering a judgment about the nature of God, God's actions in the world, and the relations of the world with God.  It's the most systematic theology one can imagine. Described in that way, I find the discipline hard to resist.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Did Ray Rice's Girlfriend Deserve to be Punched in the Face?

That was the first question that I asked aloud in the room of people watching PC_SPN this summer when I first heard the story.  Does that question shock you?  It shouldn't.  Allow me to explain.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Now Playing

The Key to Success

Is Booing at a Sporting Event Wrong?

A colleague asks (rhetorically?): "So it's OK to boo, if it gets you want you want?"

Answer: No.  I'm not a leftist (that the ends justify the means is false).  Nonetheless, if what one wants is not immoral, then it is morally OK to boo (provided that there are no evil effects caused by the booing which outweigh the good, such as causing the Steelers to lose).

According to this recent item in the news, some colleges are encouraging their fans not to boo at soccer matches, insinuating that booing is always (or at least often) unsportsmanlike.  Are these colleges right?

Friday, September 5, 2014

Leftist University Silliness: A Grad Student Testimonial

A grad student teaching a university writing class writes in with the following:
I'm sitting in the writing program's yearly (dis)orientation seminar (which is a waste of my time). But anyway, I'm currently sitting listening to the Title IX and disability people. They asked us to define "disability." The table of philosophers I'm sitting with basically did a collective eye roll.

So, how do the disability office people define disability?
 "We define disability as difference, not so much disadvantage. It is people who do things differently." 

Ya got that?  If you are blind you're not disabled or at a disadvantage, you're just different!  You're differently-abled.  Lose your eyesight? You can play basketball with echolocation!  In fact, the Title IX office has a team sign-up roster online for an all echolocation league!  Did you get your nose and legs cut off like the guy in Looper?  No problem!  We're all equal, just different! Here at Lefty-U., you see, we're diversity maximalists.  We take all comers, even people who are brain dead!  After all, brain dead people are people too!

Just make sure not to a bring a dictionary with you to school.  DICtionaries--as one can plainly see--are patriarchal tools for enslaving the mind into thinking that words have meanings and that some words do not have those meanings; they belie the hegemonic, Western, Colonial, cold, dualistic logic of the either-or rather than the nurturing, Eastern logic of the both-and.  So leave your dictionary at home and come hear what we think!...(that is, unless you're deaf).

Church Sign in Town

Care to tell us what you're selling? Doves and Pigeons? Baked goods? Indulgences? (I could probably use a few of those myself).

Or have you already told us?  (In which case, where exactly does the inside end and the outside begin?)

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Why I Hated the Film "Looper" (Alternative Title: "Looper the Pooper")

I'm often asked my thoughts on the Film, Looper, which involves time travel.  Whereas, I have nothing against the logical possibility of time travel (the recent Star Trek movie employs the notion thoughtfully), I do have a problem with terrible movies.  I can suspend disbelief when it comes to what may not be possible for all we know, but I cannot suspend disbelief regarding what we know to be logically impossible.

Thoughts below the fold (major spoiler alert):

Some Questions About White Privilege

The Maverick Philosopher:

There is a lot of talk these days about white privilege.  I don't believe I have discussed this topic before. 
1. White privilege is presumably a type of privilege.  What is a privilege?  This is the logically prior question. To know what white privilege is we must first know what privilege is.  Let's consider some definitions.
D1.  A privilege is a special  entitlement or immunity granted to a particular person or group of persons by the government or some other corporate entity such as a university or a church on a conditional basis.
Driving on public roads is a privilege by this definition.  It is not a right one has  just in virtue of being a human being or a citizen.  It is a privilege the state grants on condition that one satisfy and continue to satisfy certain requirements pertaining to age, eyesight, driving skill, etc.  Being a privilege, the license to drive can be revoked.  By contrast, the right to life and the right to free speech are neither conditional nor granted by the government.  They can't be revoked.  Please don't confuse a constitutionally protected right such as the right to free speech with a right granted by the government. 
Faculty members have various privileges, a franking privilege, a library privilege, along with such perquisites as an office, a carrel, secretarial help, access to an an exclusive dining facility, etc.  Immunities are also privileges, e.g., the immunity to prosecution granted  to a miscreant who agrees to inform on his cohorts.
Now if (D1) captures what we mean by 'privilege,' then it it is hard to see how there could be white privilege.    Are there certain special entitlements and immunities that all and only whites have in virtue of being white, entitlements and immunities granted on a conditional basis by the government and revocable by said government?  No.  But there is black privilege by (D1).  It is called affirmative action. 
So if we adopt (D1) we get the curious result that there is no white privilege, but there is black privilege!  Those who speak of white privilege as of something real and something to be aware of and opposed must therefore have a different definition of privilege in mind, perhaps the following:
D2. A privilege is any unearned benefit or advantage that only some people have in virtue of their identity.  It needn't be granted by any corporate entity, nor need it be conditional.  Aspects of identity that can afford privilege in this sense include race, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation, class, wealth, ability, or citizenship status.
White-privilege-cardPeople who speak of white privilege probably have something like (D2) in mind.  The idea is that there are certain unearned advantages that accrue to whites just in virtue of their race, advantages that do not accrue to members of other races.
One question arises right here.  What justifies the broadening of the term 'privilege' to cover any unearned benefit?  If the term is used strictly, there is no white privilege.  To speak of white privlege one has to engage in a semantic stretch.  What justifies this stretch?  Is it a legitimate stretch or a example of linguistic distortion?  And what is the agenda behind it? 

What is Wrong About the Film "Fight Club"

I admit: There is part of me that has always liked, "Fight Club."  And for a long time I thought the movie had a redemptive ending, and ultimately ends up denying the Nietzschean premises it seems to espouse for most of the movie.  That was, until a friend of mine made the following points which I reproduce below (spoilers to follow):

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Falsifiability and Creation Science

It is often claimed that a necessary condition of a scientific hypothesis, or statement, or theory is that it be falsifiable and that creation "science" is not science because it's claims are not falsifiable. But what does "falsifiable" mean?

Let's try out some definitions randomly pulled off the internet:

Falsifiability or refutability of a statementhypothesis, or theory is an inherent possibility to prove it to be false.

What is an inherent possibility?  I have no idea. Perhaps the idea is that the statement (etc.) is one that is contingently true.  Let's try another....

falsifiable claim is one for which there is some observation (or set of observations) we could make that would show us that the claim is false. 

"The earth travels around the sun."  That's true.  Is there some observation we could make that would show us that the claim is false?  How could a true statement be shown to be false?

Falsifiability or refutability is the logical possibility that an assertion could be shown false by a particular observation or physical experiment. That something is "falsifiable" does not mean it is false; rather, it means that if the statement were false, then its falsehood could be demonstrated.

This definition seems too strict.  Some theories can't be shown false by a particular observation or experiment but only by many.  Nonetheless it's an improvement on the previous definitions.  "The earth travels around the sun."  That's a contingently true statement (there are possible worlds where the earth doesn't travel around the sun).  But if the statement were false, the falsehood could be demonstrated by observations or experiments.

Still there are problems.  Theories in physics are heavily dependent on math and mathematical propositions are either necessarily true or necessarily false. Part of scientific theories include mathematical propositions. But (most) mathematical propositions can't be falsified by observation or experiments (save things like Euclid's parallel postulate).

Perhaps, though, mathematical propositions aren't scientific.  And perhaps theories are scientific just so long as they have SOME falsifiable propositions in the sense above.

But creation science has some falsifiable propositions, some propositions which scientists think ARE false and can be shown to be false. Such scientists shouldn't think creation science isn't science because of the falsifiability criterion, but should think it's bad science.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Dealing with "Who's to say?itis"

Unenlightened Product of the "Enlightenment": "But who's to say?"
Theist: "God."
U: "Who's to say God says?!"
T: "God."
U: "But who's to say that?!"
T: "Me."
U: "Huh?"
T: "Look, do you have any interesting questions?"
U: "Those were interesting questions!"
T: "Who's to say?"

Monday, September 1, 2014

Church Sign in Town: Holy Spirit Takes the Hindmost Edition

Did I read that right?  Is that the King James spelling?!  (Guess I'd always taken "quench" as figurative).

The Shame of PBS: Are Abortionists Serial Killers?

According to these authors, the answer is (at least), "sometimes."


Speaking of the horrific slaughter of infants, and the depravity of mind necessary to tolerate it, it appears that PBS will go ahead with broadcasting fiendish propaganda designed to “humanize” late-term abortionists. [Could this broadcast be more offensive than this Slate article favorably comparing late term abortionists with brave veterans of foreign wars]. 

Now “late-term abortionist” is just a feeble, unmanly euphemism for “legally-sanctioned serial killer.” [GREAT sentence]  His wicked business consists in nothing less than this: by direct impalement, precision throttling, dismemberment, or poisoning, to snuff out the life of wholly viable, and often fully mature, infant human beings. It is an undisguised assault upon all innocence superadded to an exploitation of the vulnerable, easily-led, and desperate. Torments and agonies that we would hardly countenance for the most pitiless sociopaths, convicted of ghastly murders and rotting on death row, we suffer to be inflicted on helpless babes maturing in the womb.