Friday, 29 June 2007


Yesterday, in Houston, 41-year-old Craig Biggio of the Astros became the 27th player in the history of Major League Baseball to get 3,000 hits. He went 5-6 in the Astros’ 11-inning victory over the Colorado Rockies. See here for the story. I have always felt a connection with Biggio for the following reason. In August 1988, I moved from Tucson, Arizona, where I had attended graduate school, to College Station, Texas, to take a one-year teaching position at Texas A&M University.  (I was ABD.) Craig Biggio was a rookie catcher in 1988. I read the Houston Chronicle during my year in College Station and listened to the Astros’ games on the radio. You might say that Houston was my adopted team, just as the Texas Rangers now are. Never would I have dreamed that, 19 years later, Biggio would still be playing, but here he is. He is a shoo-in for the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Have you ever heard the slightest negative thing about Biggio? He is a class act. If I had a son, I’d point to Biggio and say, “Be like him.”

Addendum: Here is the video of Biggio’s 3,000th hit. It gives me chills.


Here is Richard Dawkins’s review of biochemist Michael Behe‘s new book. I’m pleased to see Dawkins in his realm, which is biology, which is a science, instead of mucking around in philosophy. In case you missed it, here is what a philosopher (Thomas Nagel) had to say about Dawkins’s book The God Delusion. Nagel calls it “amateur philosophy.” Ouch.


Most people think of libertarianism as a right-wing political morality, but there are people (including some prominent philosophers) who defend a left-wing version of it. See here for an essay in which the author, Mathias Risse, questions the coherence of left-libertarianism. If you want a book-length defense of left-libertarianism, see here. Tom Palmer reviews the book here. Ian Carter reviews it here. David Gordon reviews it here. Gopal Sreenivasan reviews it here.

I Wouldn’t Want to Live in a World Without . . .

1. Dogs.

2. Jif peanut butter.

3. Baseball.

4. Books.

5. Philosophy.

6. Cake.

7. Coffee.

8. Fireplaces.

9. Newspapers.

10. Progressives.


Yesterday, while browsing YouTube, I found the video of “King,” by the Houston band King’s X. It appears on Out of the Silent Planet (1988). I don’t recall how or where I first heard it, but when I did, about two years ago, it floored me. The guitar is clean, innovative, and powerful. I knew immediately that I was in the presence of musical genius. Why this band hasn’t made it big is beyond me.


I paid off my 2007 Honda Accord SE V-6 in three months. Today, I received a check from Honda for $1.50. It says “Loan Overpayment.” Has anyone received a smaller check than that? It confronts me with a dilemma. I would have to drive about six miles (round trip) to deposit the check in my bank. Is it worth it?

Addendum: Here is the color (Moroccan Red Pearl) I chose. (When you click the link, click the reddish color.) Which color do you like best? Truth be told, I don’t much care what color my car is. Henry Ford would have loved me. When I bought my 1989 Pontiac Grand Am, the salesman asked me what color I wanted. I told him it didn’t matter. He was flabbergasted. I took the car that was closest to where I was standing. I’m serious.


Here is my latest post at Animal Ethics.

W. D. Ross (1877-1971) on the Self-Evidence of (Certain) Moral Convictions

I should make it plain at this stage that I am assuming the correctness of some of our main convictions as to prima facie duties, or, more strictly, am claiming that we know them to be true. To me it seems as self-evident as anything could be, that to make a promise, for instance, is to create a moral claim on us in someone else. Many readers will perhaps say that they do not know this to be true. If so, I certainly cannot prove it to them; I can only ask them to reflect again, in the hope that they will ultimately agree that they also know it to be true. The main moral convictions of the plain man seem to me to be, not opinions which it is for philosophy to prove or disprove, but knowledge from the start; and in my own case I seem to find little difficulty in distinguishing these essential convictions from other moral convictions which I also have, which are merely fallible opinions based on an imperfect study of the working for good or evil of certain institutions or types of action.

(W. D. Ross, The Right and the Good [1930; repr., Indianapolis/Cambridge: Hackett Publishing Company, 1988], 20-1n [italics in original])

Note from KBJ: There are two legitimate uses of “distinguishing.” One is exemplified in this quotation from Ross: “distinguishing A from B.” The other is “distinguishing between A and B.” The expression “distinguishing A and B” is illegitimate.

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Hillary Clinton is in trouble. More than half the respondents in a poll said they would not vote for her. Does anyone (besides Bill and Chelsea—and I have my doubts about Bill) like her? She seems to have alienated everyone, including feminists! But keep in mind that it’s early. If Hillary is the Democrat nominee, progressives—even moonbats such as Michael Moore and Paul Krugman—will rally around her, if only to prevent another Republican from being elected. The same is true on the Republican side. I vastly prefer Fred Thompson to Rudy Giuliani, but I’d vote for Rudy over Hillary if it came down to it. (My friend Peg will be glad to hear that.) The poll also shows that Mitt Romney is in trouble. It’s too bad that Mitt is a Mormon, for he would otherwise be an attractive candidate. Maybe it’s not too late for him to convert to Christianity. It wouldn’t be a death-bed conversion, the aim of which is to get to heaven. It would be a campaign conversion, the aim of which is to get to the Oval Office (the secular equivalent of heaven). If God saves those who convert on their death beds, maybe voters will “save” a candidate who converts to their religion just prior to an election. What do you think?

From the Mailbag


I hope this story about Romney’s treatment of the family dog is not true. I’m a catholic Christian who would have no problems with a Mormon as president. However, mistreating dogs raises a red flag.

I remember the big news was President Johnson picking up his dogs by the ears. I didn’t (and don’t) know enough about the breed he had to know whether that was benign or not and in any case that happened before I could vote.



Curro Ergo Sum

Big news in the world of distance running. Ethiopian Haile Gebrselassie broke two world records in the same race Wednesday in the Czech Republic. His goal was to break the world hour record of 13.11 miles. He covered 13.22 miles. He ran 184 meters farther than the previous record holder, Mexican Arturo Barrios, who had held the record since March 1991. Along the way, Gebrselassie broke the world 20-kilometer record with a time of 56:25.98. These are the 23d and 24th world records broken by Gebrselassie (now 34 years old) during his distinguished career. In case you’re wondering, Gebrselassie’s mile pace during the record-breaking hour run was 4:32.18. See here for the story.

From Today’s New York Times

To the Editor:

Re “On Abortion, Giuliani Faces a Potential Fall From Catholic Grace” (news article, June 25):

Rudolph W. Giuliani and other Catholic politicians who say they oppose abortion but do not wish to impose that view on the entire polity have support in Catholic teaching.

Sts. Augustine and Thomas Aquinas both favored legalization of prostitution even though they thought prostitution evil. Their thinking was that “greater evils” would result if prostitution were banned and this outlet for aberrant sexual energy were unavailable.

In so doing, St. Thomas Aquinas said, the “wise legislator” is imitating God who, though all powerful and supremely good, tolerates certain evils lest greater evils ensue.

Similarly, today legislators who truly think abortion immoral could vote to keep it legal since greater evils, multiple deaths of women (especially poor women) from botched abortions as seen before Roe v. Wade, would follow.

Catholic bishops, even though they are pastors and administrators and not professional theologians, should know this and cease harassing Catholic candidates, thus making Catholic candidates less electable.

Daniel C. Maguire
Milwaukee, June 25, 2007
The writer is a professor of moral theology at Marquette University.

Note from KBJ: This is a weak analogy. Nobody is harmed by prostitution. An innocent life is snuffed out in abortion.

A Year Ago