Friday, 16 February 2007


Hillary Clinton’s 2008 campaign strategy is clear: Go as far left as necessary to win the Democrat nomination, but not one inch further. At some point, assuming she receives the nomination, she has to be able to tell the American people with a straight face that she stood up to the moonbats. See here for an interesting column.

Kai Nielsen on Naturalism

Many contemporary naturalists believe that with the critical work—the critique of the truth-claims of theism—essentially done by Hume, we should turn, setting both metaphysical speculation and fideistic angst aside, to naturalistic explanations of religious beliefs. The main players here from the nineteenth century are Ludwig Feuerbach, Friedrich Engels, Karl Marx, Max Stirner, and Friedrich Nietzsche; and from the twentieth century Emile Durkheim, Max Weber, Axel Hägerström, Sigmund Freud, Bronislaw Malinowski, and Antonio Gramsci. Their accounts, although varied, are all thoroughly naturalistic.

These naturalists assume that by now it has been well established that there are no sound reasons for religious beliefs: there is no reasonable possibility of establishing religious beliefs to be true; there is no such thing as religious knowledge or sound religious belief. But when there are no good reasons, and when that fact is, as well, tolerably plain to informed and impartial persons, not crippled by ideology or neurosis, and yet religious belief (a belief that is both widespread and tenacious) persists in our cultural life, then it is time to look for the causes—causes which are not also reasons—of religious belief, including the causes of its widespread psychological appeal for many people. And indeed, given the importance of religious beliefs in the lives of most human beings, it is of crucial importance to look for such causes. Here questions about the origin and functions of religion become central, along with questions about the logical or conceptual status of religious beliefs.

(Kai Nielsen, “Naturalistic Explanations of Theistic Belief,” chap. 51 in A Companion to Philosophy of Religion, ed. Philip L. Quinn and Charles Taliaferro [Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishers, 1997], 402-9, at 404-5 [italics in original])

Note from KBJ: Theism is the belief that there is a god. Atheism is the belief that there is no god. If one belief cries out for causal explanation, so does the other. Religion is a social institution. Irreligion is a social institution. If one institution can be understood in terms of its origins and functions, so can the other. Atheists assume that theism is false and try to explain its persistence. Their explanations make reference to such things as the need for a heavenly father. Theists assume that atheism is false and try to explain its persistence. Their explanations make reference to such things as rebellion against the heavenly father. That naturalists think their approach undercuts only theism, rather than both theism and atheism, or only religion, rather than both religion and irreligion, suggests that they’re not as intelligent as they think they are.

Political Correctness

Native Americans are being erased from American culture. This is good?


Here is a Washington Post story about Michelle Malkin, who is one of a handful of bloggers I read every day. I am honored to have a place on her blogroll.


Here is the start list for the Tour of California, which begins Sunday. Note that Italian Ivan Basso is now racing for The Discovery Channel. I predict that his teammate, Tom Danielson, will win the race. My second choice is Chris Horner, who races for the Belgian Lotto team. Feel free to make a prediction.

Addendum: Here is a map of the state, showing the stages.

Addendum 2: Here is a New York Times story about the race.


Here is Peggy Noonan’s latest column. Here is Peg Kaplan’s latest post.

Best of the Web Today


Nonbinding but Nevertheless Important

This will have no effect on President Bush’s prosecution of the war. Nor should it.


I was shocked yesterday to hear several students say (before class started) that USC won consecutive Bowl Championship Series titles. USC won one BCS title. The following year, Texas beat USC. I’m not talking about polls. I’m talking about the BCS title game. See here for a list of winners.


Here is Ed Feser’s latest column at Tech Central Station. Ed is a brilliant young philosopher, and a good person to boot.

From Today’s New York Times

To the Editor:

Re “No Apology Needed” (column, Feb. 15):

David Brooks says Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton does not need to apologize for what she has said about the Iraq war. No one is asking her to apologize for what she said; it is what she did that is so upsetting.

Senator Clinton was in a place and a time where she could have spoken up for humanity by voting no to war. Instead, she did the politically expedient thing.

What she did (not what she said) was to vote to give the president the power to invade Iraq. What remains upsetting is her transparent excuse of “if I knew then what I know now.”

She knew then that Iraq was a sovereign nation, that invading a sovereign nation violated all the rules of international law. But she was afraid of looking soft on terrorism and played politics with her position.

I don’t want an apology; I want a leader who is not afraid to do the right thing, and she did not.

Herb Bardavid
Great Neck, N.Y., Feb. 15, 2007

Note from KBJ: God forbid Senator Clinton should do anything that upsets Herb Bardavid.

Bush Derangement Syndrome

See here. I wonder why The New York Times didn’t mention Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, who are among the most feckless presidents in American history. Carter’s dollar should have an image of an upside-down helicopter on the back. Clinton’s should have an image of a cigar and a beret.

A Year Ago