Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Torture and Definitions

John DaFiesole asks some pertinent questions for those who are still on the sidelines about torture:


Some questions for those whose need for a definition of torture has not yet been met

  1. What are you going to do with your definition once you get it?

    I ask this because lexicographers, moral theologians, legislatures, courts, governments, and international bodies all have definitions that meet their needs.

    Read the whole thing.

(Via Disputations.)

Friday, January 22, 2010


is what I sometimes think people are about some subjects. Read the disclaimer at the bottom of this to get the context:

37th Anniversary of legalized baby killing ...:

... and Robert George says he's "moderately pro-choice"!!:

I am personally opposed to killing abortionists. However, inasmuch as my personal opposition to this practice is rooted in sectarian (Catholic) religious belief in the sanctity of human life, I am unwilling to impose it on others who may, as a matter of conscience, take a different view. Of course, I am entirely in favor of policies aimed at removing the root causes of violence against abortionists. Indeed, I would go as far as supporting mandatory one-week waiting periods, and even non-judgmental counseling, for people who are contemplating the choice of killing an abortionist. I believe in policies that reduce the urgent need some people feel to kill abortionists while, at the same time, respecting the rights of conscience of my fellow citizens who believe that the killing of abortionists is sometimes a tragic necessity--not a good, but a lesser evil. In short, I am moderately "pro-choice."

Read the whole thing.

(Via Musings of a Pertinacious Papist.)

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Abortion and Economics

The other night a friend mentioned the Freakonomics hypothesis that Roe v. Wade had led to a decrease in the crime rate. The idea is that crime comes from the poor and abortions tend to reduce the number of the poor, ergo a decrease in the crime rate.

I couldn't remember the details on that one, but I did suggest a counter example: the decrease in the population from abortions may be having a devastating impact on our economy. Lo and behold:

Researcher: Abortion is $38.5 Trillion Drag on the Economy:

In its latest estimate on the economic impact of abortion, the Movement for a Better America is reporting that the abortion toll is projected to climb to a new high of 52,333,000 as of January 22, 2010, the 37th anniversary of Roe V. Wade.

Read the whole thing.

(Via Catholic Exchange.)

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Can Anyone Remember the Shoe-Bomber?

Because if you can this looks scary stupid:

Kristol: Dennis Blair vs. the Intelligence Community:

We can and we must outthink, outwork and defeat the enemy's new ideas.

Read the whole thing.

(Via Campaign Standard.)

Framing the Question

sometimes determines the answer you get. In the abortion debate (to the extent there is one) the philosophical analysis frequently ignores the obvious biological relationship the two parties have: mother and child:

The Right Way to Think About Unborn Children:

I give you a wonderful quote from Francis Canavan's excellent book The Pluralist Game:

we take the principles of liberal individualism as axiomatic, we find it
possible to think of the fetus and the woman as the parties of the first and
second part arguing over their respective rights.  We are then able to blind ourselves to the
natural fact that they are related as mother and child and that the child is in
the only natural place for him to be, his mother's womb
(italics added).

(Via Touchstone Magazine - Mere Comments.)

Really Scary People

are marching boldly into moral chaos:

Denying Intrinsic Human Dignity in Bioethics:

An article in the journal Bioethics proposes dumping intrinsic human dignity as a basis for determining bioethical principles and policies.  But that would expose the most defenseless among us to the worst forms of exploitation, which the author, Alasdair Cochrane, acknowledges. From his article “Undignified Bioethics” (link to abstract):

…if all individual human beings possess dignity, then they should not be viewed simply as resources that we can treat however we please.

Read the whole thing.

(Via First Thoughts.)

Mark Shea

saves me the trouble of writing and thinking (hopefully not in that order) about the Christmas bomber and reactions to him:

A rather sensible and sober take:

on the security issues raised by the Christmas bombing attempt.

Me: I don't think we are serious--and I say that about both a) the fools who think we should subject blue-haired old Lutheran ladies to the exact same scrutinies as single male Nigerian Muslims with a documented history of crazy Islamic opinions and b) the idiots who think that Dick Cheney's policies of torture and terror are Manly Realism.

Read the whole thing.

(Via Catholic and Enjoying It!.)

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

ID and Enthymemes

What is an Enthymeme? It's an argument that fails to state all it's premises and which is defeasible because of that. (Gee, I miss college-level philosophy.) All of which is an excuse to point out this well-reasoned post:

A Walk to the Moon:

As Jim Croce once sang, “You don’t tug on Superman’s cape, You don’t spit into the wind, You don’t pull the mask off the old Lone Ranger, and you don’t match wits with David B. Hart.” (At least I think those are the lyrics, its been awhile since I heard the song.) Hart’s commanding intellect and depth of knowledge are so daunting that only the foolish would rush to disagree with him. While I’m naturally reticent to disagree with anything he writes, he made a claim about intelligent design theory (ID in his review of Richard Dawkin’s latest book that I believe is worth challenging.

Read the whole thing.

(Via First Thoughts.)