Monday, 25 June 2007


I leave you this fine evening with an essay about “resistance to science.”


Here is philosopher Francis J. Beckwith’s critique of Richard Dawkins. Here is law professor Robert T. Miller’s reply to Beckwith.


Here is John Fund’s column about Mitt Romney.

All Fred, All the Time

You know Democrats are afraid of Fred Thompson, because they’re already attacking him! I can’t wait for Fred to hit back, which he will, because he’s a man, not a mouse.

Best of the Web Today

Here. (Still no mention of immigration.)

Little Bighorn

Today is the 131st anniversary of the Battle of the Little Bighorn, in which George Armstrong Custer (1839-1876) and more than 250 officers, soldiers, and scouts of the Seventh Cavalry were annihilated by Sioux and Cheyenne Indians. The battle took place on the bank of the Little Bighorn River in southeastern Montana. In 1989, a friend and I kayaked several miles of the Little Bighorn near the battlefield. It was the best day of my life, which is saying a lot, since I have had a wonderful life.

Al Gore

Whenever I read things like this, I thank God that Al Gore wasn’t elected president in 2000.


The United States Supreme Court ruled today, in Morse v. Frederick, that public-school administrators do not violate the First Amendment when they punish students who advocate the use of illegal drugs. It’s about time administrators were given authority to punish students for misbehavior. Schools are sites of learning, which requires rules, order, discipline, and punishment. The First Amendment simply does not apply in such settings. Read Justice Thomas’s concurring opinion. Key paragraph:

In light of the history of American public education, it cannot seriously be suggested that the First Amendment “freedom of speech” encompasses a student’s right to speak in public schools. Early public schools gave total control to teachers, who expected obedience and respect from students. And courts routinely deferred to schools’ authority to make rules and to discipline students for violating those rules. Several points are clear: (1) under in loco parentis, speech rules and other school rules were treated identically; (2) the in loco parentis doctrine imposed almost no limits on the types of rules that a school could set while students were in school; and (3) schools and teachers had tremendous discretion in imposing punishments for violations of those rules.

As usual, Justice Thomas nails it. As much as I like John Roberts, I wish President Bush had nominated Clarence Thomas to be Chief Justice.


Why are there so few blacks in baseball? Before answering, realize that any answer you give presupposes a standard—of how many blacks there should be. Should the percentage of blacks in baseball be the same as the percentage of blacks in society at large? In other words, should the sport be a microcosm of society? But why? Are there no racial differences in body type, discipline, aptitude, intelligence, interest, and so forth? If there are, then one should not expect each sport, or any given sport, to be a microcosm of society. See here for a column on this topic. By the way, as much as I admire Gary Sheffield as an athlete (he now plays for my beloved Detroit Tigers), I find his comments disturbing. Is he implying that blacks are incapable of cooperating? Is he implying that blacks lack self-control? Is he implying that blacks are incapable of working in hierarchies? If so, then he may be explaining far more than he thought he was. He may be explaining such things as illegitimacy, illiteracy, unemployment, violence, and poverty in the black community.

Christoph Cardinal Schönborn on Teleology

The existence of a ship leads to the question “Who constructed it?”—and so the self-evident experience of nature (as being directed toward an end, as ordered, and as beautiful) leads to the question “Where do these marks of intelligence come from?” Evolutionary theory, with its scientific method, cannot provide an answer here; it can only explore measurable and mechanical causes. An oft-cited remark by George C. [sic] Simpson runs: “Man is the result of a purposeless and materialistic process that does not have him in mind. He was not planned.” If Simpson had said merely that no plan according to which mankind came about may be discerned using the purely quantitative-mechanical methods of scientific inquiry, then this assertion could be correct. But this way of looking at things—this “self-limitation of reason,” in the words of Benedict XVI’s Regensburg address—is not “given by nature” but is a deliberate, methodological, and eminently goal-oriented choice.

(Christoph Cardinal Schönborn, “Reasonable Science, Reasonable Faith,” First Things [April 2007]: 21-6, at 24-5 [italics in original])

From Today’s New York Times

To the Editor:

Re “Pigs With Cellphones, but No Condoms” (Advertising, Business Day, June 18):

Fox’s excuse for refusing to broadcast a recent Trojan condoms ad is stunning—“Contraceptive advertising must stress health-related uses rather than the prevention of pregnancy”—and CBS’s cries of inappropriateness fall flat. Preventing unintended pregnancy, and planning and spacing healthy wanted pregnancies, are in fact major public health issues.

In the United States, approximately half of all pregnancies are unintended, and teenage pregnancy continues to be a national health epidemic. As the nation’s leading reproductive health care advocate and provider, Planned Parenthood knows that for sexually active people, condoms are the best way to prevent unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections.

Fox and CBS have been taking sex to the bank with shows like “Temptation Island” and “The Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show.” To reject these condoms ads is the height of hypocrisy and irresponsible programming.

Vanessa Cullins, M.D.
New York, June 19, 2007
The writer is vice president of medical affairs at Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

A Year Ago