First, the searches of the week.
most hopeless search: unitarians same as muslims
This one isn't biased, is it?: post-trib heresy
Don't ask: ARMINIAN SEX
I don't even know what to say about this one: democrat terrorist traitor feminist racist affirmative action lesbians
Then there was the referral I got from stoics genetic engineering
Over a year ago I posted about a weird search that brought someone to Sam's blog [organization of telepathy in Pakistan]. Well, almost the same search took someone yesterday to that very post of mine. In the post, I had asked what whoever had searched for that could possibly have been searching for. This person left a comment answering the question. [Update: I just realized this is the second time something like this has happened. The second time I talked about this sort of search is here.]
Favorite search of the week looking for someone thinking a pejorative expression refers to a good thing: Playing god a good thing
The 61st Christian Carnival is up at ChristWeb. As usual, I'll post my highlights after I get through the whole thing. I think we're just shy of 50 posts this week.
The 11th Philosophers' Carnival is coming up next Monday. Submissions should be in by this weekend, so send them in. The host will be The Only Official Blog of Clayton Littlejohn, so I don't recommend submitting anything defending slavery.
We're finally getting the kinds of post I've been waiting for at Right Reason, the new conservative philosopher blog hosted at the same site that hosts the three blogs I have a part in. Originally they seemed to want to discuss differences between different styles of doing philosophy and whether those should have much bearing on political views (which I would have thought was obviously a no, because the dominant political views of philosophers of all stripes is way left of center). Well, here are four posts I particularly enjoyed:
Robert Koons discusses the varieties of conservatism. I think the distinctions he's making are very helpful. People tend to lump all conservatives together, and those who are more sensitive will separate out what they call economic issues and social issues to distinguish between libertarians and conservatives proper. Rob says it's more complicated even than that. There are three scales on which we can measure a conservative. There's the scale of libertarianism as compared with a George Willian soul-crafting model, according to which the state has an obligation to help further people's moral development through the things that are in its power to promote morality (which, admittedly, may not be as much ability to accomplish as some conservatives think, but it still may be the state's obligation to do what it can, whatever that might be). Then there's the scale from neocon to paleocon, which amounts to the role of the U.S. in spreading democracy abroad. Finally, there's the source of motivation, whether religious or purely secular. Then he goes on to explain what conservatives have in common despite these three ways of being different.
Also at Right Reason, Steve Burton discusses the new SAT, with an illuminating conversation following in the comments. I think some of his comments are insightful, some perhaps more speculative, but they're worth thinking about either way. His suggestions about political motivations are especially worth investigating, because they sound plausible to me, though I'll need more evidence to be convinced.
Another Right Reason post by Lydia McGrew does an excellent job explaining why the court system committed a grievous crime in pretending they had good reason to think Terri Schiavo has consented or would consent to being killed. There's a lot of information here that I hadn't seen before.
Finally, Roger Scruton's latest contribution is a review of a recent Peter Singer book. I think he overstates Singer's positions a few times (e.g. Singer thinks our duties to people we don't know are instrinsically equal to our duties to people we know, not greater than them as Scruton says, and he believes instrumental considerations can favor duties to people we know anyway, and the same may go for animals), but I think his arguments against Singer are basically in the right direction.
I keep wanting to comment on Mark Roberts' series on the TNIV issues, but it keeps getting longer, and I keep wanting to read large portions of it at once. Maybe I'll try posting about parts of it at a time, or maybe I'll just work on a longer post over a long period of time and post it when I'm done. Even from my brief glance at it, I suspect it's one of the most balanced things on the issue. The more I read on this, the more I think both those who oppose the TNIV vehemently and those who defend it as if there's nothing bad about it are completely out of touch with the nature of language, translation, and society, and Mark's approach seems much more sane.
Jollyblogger has an excellent post on whether Christians should be motivated purely by fun.
Also at Jollyblogger is this post that I'd wanted to say something about almost two weeks ago. He takes on those think a Christian can stand apart from the church and judge it, particularly those who complain about the institutional church. With quotes from as diverse fellows as Eugene Peterson, Joe Carter, and John Calvin, this post is spot on in many ways. I'd wanted to interact with it more, but I'm not going to get around to it.
Evangelical Outpost reflects on Maine legislator Brian Duprey's attempt to test the waters on whether gay rights or absolutist acceptance of abortion will take priority. As usual, I'm not going to agree with Joe on everything he says on this, but he's raising questions worth considering. I'm not going to take the time to develop my own thoughts on it at this point.