Tuesday, 2 January 2007

Twenty Years Ago

1-2-87 . . . Finally, I watched what amounted to the most important college football game of the year. Penn State [the Nittany Lions], ranked number two in the nation before the game, defeated the top-ranked team, Miami [the Hurricanes], by a score of 14-10. Both teams were undefeated and untied. I’m happy with the result. Miami had a chance to win it on the last play of the game, but Vinnie Testaverde, the Hurricane quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner, threw an interception. It was well worth staying up late (midnight) to watch the entire game. My flight leaves Detroit at 7:44 tomorrow morning.


After a rough start, I’ve done well on my college-football bowl picks.  See here.  With four games to go, I’m 13-14-1.

Lincoln Allison on the Immaturity of Progressives

Because they have disbarred themselves from having a mature moral sense, some people on the ‘left’ find it very difficult to argue, to cope with those who fundamentally disagree with them without becoming angry or prematurely contemptuous.  The ‘right-wing’ intellectual, in contemporary Europe at least, is protected from such narrowness and absolutism by having to work in an intellectually hostile environment.  He is likely to be surrounded by people, varying in quality from the clever and honest to the dim and dishonest, who disagree with him.

(Lincoln Allison, Right Principles: A Conservative Philosophy of Politics [Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1984], 76)

Peter Singer

Here is an interview with Peter Singer on something called Comedy Central.  (Okay, I’ve heard of it, but I’ve never watched it.)


If the images of food on this site don’t make your mouth water, something’s wrong with you.


Here is a Wall Street Journal column about Saddam Hussein, who was, by any reasonable standard, one of the worst human beings to have lived.  When you consider how many human beings have lived, that’s saying something.  I almost wish I were a theist so I could say, “May he burn in hell forever.”

Still Fresh After All These Years

Hypnotize Me” (1986).

Best of the Web Today


Search and Ye Shall Find

Has anyone tried the search function in the sidebar?  Type “Singer,” for example, and see what happens.  You immediately get all the posts with that string of characters in it.  Neat!  But then I typed “Hare,” to get posts in which I mentioned R. M. Hare.  I got them, but I also got posts with “share,” which contains the character string “hare.”  Okay, so it’s not perfect.  But it’s a nice tool to have at one’s disposal.  I’m constantly searching my blog for this or that.  By the way, I put the Google search tool at the bottom of the page, so there are now two ways to search this blog.  Keep in mind that only a small part of the archive has been imported from AnalPhilosopher.  I’m taking my time with it, as I am with the blogroll.

Addendum: Does anyone know the origin of the expression “Search and ye shall find”?  I typed it into Google, but didn’t see anything explanatory in the first couple of pages.  I did find this, however.  It’s a review, circa October 1997, of the available Internet search engines.  I didn’t see Google mentioned.  Was Google a latecomer to the scene?  How did it come to dominate?  Which search engine do you use, anyway?  I’ve been using Google for years.


Mark Spahn sent a link to this retrospective on the Danish cartoon controversy.

Food Safety

Is there anything about conservatism, as a political morality, that prevents conservatives from seeking to regulate food industries for the sake of public health and welfare?  It’s obvious to me that the answer is no.  But Adam Cohen makes it sound as though it’s conservatives who are opposed to regulation.  He mistakes conservatism for libertarianism.  It’s libertarians, with their worship of individual liberty and their hostility to governmental regulation of any kind, who would abolish certain agencies or programs that are designed to promote public health and welfare.  I’ve said it many times before, but let me say it again: Conservatism is not opposed to government, in principle or in practice.  Conservatives want as much government as is necessary to accomplish their substantive purposes, one of which, presumably, is to promote public health and welfare.  I might add that if President Bush wants to abolish food-safety regulations, then, to that extent, he is a libertarian, not a conservative.

From Today’s New York Times

To the Editor:

Some groups of people seem more prone to diabetes than the rest of us: the obese, Hispanics, blacks and American Indians. This makes me wonder if diabetes has become yet another way to discriminate against people some are determined not to like.

Charles McEniry
Stoughton, Wis., Dec. 26, 2006

Dog Bites

I got to wondering about dog bites during today’s run.  (No, I wasn’t bitten, but many runners have been.)  Are particular breeds responsible for the majority of bites?  The answer appears to be yes.  See here.  A study discussed at this site concluded that 74% of dog bites were from three breeds: pit bulls (i.e., pit bull terriers), Rottweilers, and some other breed I’ve never heard of.  Suppose these are the facts.  Is it objectionable to legislate against these breeds?  I’ve heard it said that since not all pit bulls or Rottweilers are vicious, it’s a form of discrimination (in the bad sense) to single them out.  What say you?

Freedom of the Will

My friend Mylan Engel sent a link to this New York Times story about freedom of the will.  The question is, are you free to click the link?

Addendum: Here is my longish post from a year ago about the problem of free will and determinism.

A Year Ago