Jeremy Pierce: March 2006 Archives

On Monday, Steve Walsh posted a message to his website announcing that violin player and second lead vocalist Robby Steinhardt had been released from Kansas. See the 3-27 message on his Wait Until Tomorrow section. There's still been no official announcement from the band, but this seems to be a done deal. It happened right after some shows in Las Vegas, where David Ragsdale, Kansas' violin player from 1991-1997 has been playing since he left the band. The buzz seems to be that Ragsdale has returned. Several fans who know band members have dropped hints in that direction, saying that it's already settled.

I piece the following together from three sources: Steve Walsh's above-mentioned comments, several hints from those in the know, and interviews from Steve Walsh, Phil Ehart, and Kerry Livgren. Kerry Livgren is busy with Proto-Kaw and sending all his songs that way. Walsh's songs have been reserved for solo albums. He's said several times that he doesn't think he can write for Kansas anymore. Perhaps a teamup with Ragsdale would allow him to do that again. They haven't had a new album since 2000, and Livgren wrote every song on it. The last one before that had only three new Kansas songs on it, by Walsh, and that was 1998. Before that it was the 1995 album that Ragsdale was on. So this may well be about Kansas wanting to keep moving forward and recording new material. They do have an obligation to Magna Carta Records, with whom they have signed on for one additional album. Their live sets have also gotten somewhat stale in the last few years. I last saw them in 2001, and since then there were maybe 1 or 2 songs that they've done since that I really wanted to see them so I could see them perform those songs, but it's nothing like the variety in setlists from year to year that they had from 1991-2001. I might have seen them if they were in town, but I wasn't going out of my way to see them with the infrequent changes in setlists. I would go out of my way to see Kerry Livgren and Proto-Kaw.

So back to my suspected account. I'm guessing that they tossed around the idea of bringing someone else in to help write new material, and David's name came up. The issue of what they would do with two violinists came up, and somehow or other Robby ended up out of the band, either at his own initiative because the others insisted on having David part of this or at their initiative because they didn't want two violinists themselves. People will always jump to conclusions about how this happened, but I don't see any reason to assume anything. This does seem to be my best guess as to what's going on, though.

Christian Carnival CXV

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As with several other commentary series that I've posted that have taken a long time to develop, I wanted to do a separate post for the Anchor Bible in chronological order. For the main Anchor Bible post, see here.

Speiser on Genesis and Reicke on James/Peter/Jude were released same day as each other. Fox on Proverbs 1-9 and Andersen-Freedman on Micah were also released the same day as each other. All others in this list are fully in chronological order as far as my best information indicates. I have not included forthcoming volumes, which you can see a list of in the above-linked post.

No Really Does Mean Yes

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Sophia has been learning all sorts of words, and she's using them in the right contexts. She's long surpassed Isaiah in the use of words at the right times, though she's got a ways to go before she catches up to Ethan. She's well beyond where he was at this age, though, particularly with respect to asking for things. But there's one thing she just can't get. When we say the word 'yes', she'll repeat it, so we know she can pronounce it perfectly. But when we ask her if she wants something we know she wants or if she likes something we know she likes, she always answers quite emphatically, "No!" with a big smile. So all that feminist indoctrination I had during my orientation when I was an undergrad seems to have been just wrong. From the very beginning of their use of language, girls really do mean yes when they say no.

By the way, Sam's posted several pictures that I haven't yet linked to. Here are several of all three kids from about a month ago, all three kids on the couch, Ethan's birthday a couple weeks ago, Ethan's building projects last month, fun with dinner ware, and Sophia at 14 months in a storage bin.

In a discussion I was in recently, someone made the common claim that it would be morally abominable for God to have the ability to save all people but only in fact save some. If God has a plan of providence, as Christianity traditionally has said, and that plan includes exactly what will happen down to the level of what sparrows will eat on any given day (as Jesus seems to me to state in the sermon on the mount), what evil kings will do in their pride in order to punish God's people (as the prophets seem to me to state), and which people will be counted among those who believe (as the book of Acts seems to me to state), then if it also includes which people won't believe Christian thinks God is morally abominable, whether that leads to an eternal hell or just annihilation. The claim is something like that, anyway.

There's a lot that could be said about this claim, and I don't have the time to treat it comprehensively, but I find the move to be interesting given another common philosophical claim that I've seen made against the most common Christian view historically on the atonement, i.e. penal substitution. The claim is often made that it would be wrong for God to use Jesus, an innocent, to take the sins of humanity, because then we're not really being atoned for. It's true that someone is dying for our sins, but it's not justice according to this objection, because no one is getting what they deserve. Jesus is wrongly killed, and we're unjustly not getting what we deserve. How could a just God allow that?

What's interesting about these two objections to what I consider to be standard Christian views is that they can't both be right. If it's wrong to allow Jesus to die for people and thus have the people not get what they deserve, then it can't be wrong to allow people to go to hell when they could be saved. If it's wrong to allow people to go to hell when they can be saved, then it can't be wrong to allow Jesus to die in the place of sinners who would otherwise deserve to suffer eternally in hell. Those who find themselves attracted to both objections face a serious inconsistency. I can't even imagine how the same motivational structure could produce both objections unless they stem just from the motivation just to undermine Christianity at whatever cost, even if it's the cost of inconsistency.

The 115th Christian Carnival will be this week, hosted at The secret life of Gary. The Christian Carnival is a weekly collection of some of the best posts of the Christian blogosphere. It's open to Christians of Protestant, Orthodox, and Roman Catholic convictions. One of the goals of this carnival is to offer our readers to a broad range of Christian thought. This is a great way to make your writing more well known and perhaps pick up some regular readers. For examples of past carnivals, see Matt Jones's list of previous Christian Carnivals.

To enter is simple. First, your post should be of a Christian nature, but this does not exclude posts that are about home life, politics, or current events from a Christian point of view. Second, please submit only one post dated since the last Christian Carnival (i.e. from last Wednesday through this coming Tuesday).

Then do the following:

So how else have people been finding their way to this blog lately?

President Bush said "gay marriage is immoral"
I very much doubt it. It's telling that one of my posts not that close to this is one of the top searches on the list (#10 as I write this). What he's said is that he thinks civil marriage should be defined as being between a man and a woman. He didn't comment on the morality or immorality of the practice itself, just what public policy ought to be.

bible woman's body belongs to the man
Well, yes, but it's a bit misleading just to leave it at that. It also says his body belongs to her. It's also not about woman and man per se but husbands and wives.

Is God Male and Female

is there a sexual relationship between jack oneill and daniel jackson

Andreas Koestenberger is now blogging. I've been wondering when the more conservative biblical scholars would begin to have a presence in the blogosphere. We've got some top-notch moderate conservatives in Ben Witherington and Scot McKnight, but both have views that I have serious reservations about, despite their stalwart defense of conservative positions on other matters. I consider Koestenberger a solid conservative on most issues I care about being conservative about, and I welcome him to the blogosphere. Now if only he could figure out how to have permalinks for his individual posts...

Bart Ehrman's Misquoting Jesus : The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why has become quite a publishing success since it came out in November. Those who know biblical studies will recognize it as mostly a good popularization of standard textual criticism (comparing the various manuscripts of biblical books to try to reconstruct with the text originally said). Those who don't know the subject will take it as a strong argument against the integrity of the Bible, but any familiarity with text criticism will demolish that impression rather quickly. Ehrman's conclusions on such matter simply don't follow from his arguments. I've not looked too much at the book itself, but I've read several reviews over the last few weeks:

Craig Blomberg in Denver Journal
Daniel Wallace at
Ben Witherington at his blog (which includes Wallace's comments with his own thoughts surrounding it)

All three scholars conclude that Ehrman's presentation of the actual data is excellent as an introduction at the popular level to a difficult field but that he paints his conclusions to suggest something way beyond what the data show. For instance, he handpicks the very worst cases of textual corruption and then acts as if those are fairly representative, when in reality hardly anything is on that level. I could go on, but I'd rather you just read what the biblical scholars say.

Christian Carnival CXIV

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Race Traitor

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Eugene Volokh has a good post about my wife. I'm not sure why he keeps referring to her as "he", though.

I think he's a little too unwilling to focus on how many black conservatives have been convinced by real arguments that liberal policies are worse for black people than conservative policies are. But his point about those not convinced by such arguments that they aren't race traitors still stands. I particularly like his last paragraph. Some people, even if they wrongly think Republicans and conservative policies are anti-black, might still put aside identity politics and concern themselves more with issues that aren't as self-focused.

It hadn't occurred to me until this afternoon that the term 'race traitor' originally arose in the context of white racists calling white liberals race traitors when they sought to promote liberal social policies with the goal of greater equality. Now it's being used to refer to black people who think conservative policies promote greater equality. Some say the charge is appropriate because this time the policies don't promote greater equality. I think that's wrong, because I think conservative policies do have better effects racially speaking (and I think it's demonstrable that liberal policies that were supposed to promote equality had mixed results, e.g. the mass expansion of welfare to include most black urbanites, thus creating generations of dependency). But two things even apart from that strike me as inappropriate about the traitor metaphor.

Searches: Bible Theme

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From my ever-lengthening list of noteworthy ways people have found this site:

I suppose that's right alongside the biblical information about Christmas trees and Easter eggs.

hat does rsv mean in the bible

Is it biblical to ordain as REVEREND
Are these terms even in the Bible? I've read it cover-to-cover in several translations, and I've never seen either term. I worry about the practice of ordaining to begin with, never mind to ordain under the term 'reverend', which has plenty of problems.

bible passages that support not renting to gays
I've listed them all in the comments below.

I have little sympathy for one line of argument currently being advanced [hat tip: SCOTUSblog] against the Texas redistricting that the Supreme Court is currently considering. This argument takes it to be an unconstitutional maneuver because it silences voters. It gives those who vote Democratic less voice by lumping them in with a larger group that turns out to be more Republican-leaning. Mark Veasey, in the above-linked article, complains that his district, which is majority black and majority Democratic, was moved to a district that is largely white and largely Republican. He wants his district back so that all the people in the district that happen to be inclined to vote Democratic won't be drowned out by those who vote the other way.

I grew up in RI. Voting Republican in RI in most elections is equivalent to not voting. I now live in a city in NY, where it's much the same. Most of the state of NY is red. If you look at the county map, you'd think it's a red state. I'd love for New York City to join northern New Jersey and Philadelphia as some new state that will always vote blue, so that the rest of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York can have their votes counted for a change. If every single voter in New York outside New York City voted one way, I'm pretty sure it would have no effect if everyone in the city voted the other way. Maybe that's wrong. I'm not checking populations. But if you add in Buffalo, Syracuse, and Rochester I think it's clearly going to be true. That means the collective total of the rest of the state has no vote, effectively. And this isn't just pointing out that lots of people live in New York City and posing a potential issue if there were going to be a political split between the city and everyone else. There is such a split. To use Veasey's language, the political views and values of residents in most of New York are remarkably different from those who live in the the cities and overwhelmingly vote Democratic. Under the current plan, our voting strength has been destroyed and our voices silenced.

Some would argue, and Veasey does, that it's different when it comes to a racial minority. How? Voting considerations directed toward minorities are for the purpose of restoring a balance, toward bringing minorities who had been denied the vote to a place where they have as much right to vote as others, toward vote-counting that treats each black vote as important as any vote from anyone else. Well, these problems occur for largely white populations, so not being allowed to have a vote in the same way that certain largely white populations don't have their votes counting doesn't mean that we haven't achieved equality in voting. It means we have indeed achieved it. So welcome to the club. Your votes now count enough that political machinations and arbitary lines will affect you too. They've been affecting me all my life, and they've been affecting white voters for long before I've been around. That they affect black voters who live in communities that tend to vote one way but are part of a region that tends to vote another way just means black voters have arrived at the same place white voters have been for a long time. Maybe there are problems with redistricting, and maybe there are issues unrelated to race that have a bearing on this, but I just can't see how this argument can even get started without revising every voting district so that it reflects voting blocs much more exactly. Even then those who are the minority within their district will be silenced, but even without that problem I very much doubt this is what Veasey wants to propose.

The 114th Christian Carnival will be this week, hosted at all kinds of time.... The Christian Carnival is a weekly collection of some of the best posts of the Christian blogosphere. It's open to Christians of Protestant, Orthodox, and Roman Catholic convictions. One of the goals of this carnival is to offer our readers to a broad range of Christian thought. This is a great way to make your writing more well known and perhaps pick up some regular readers. For examples of past carnivals, see Matt Jones's list of previous Christian Carnivals.

To enter is simple. First, your post should be of a Christian nature, but this does not exclude posts that are about home life, politics, or current events from a Christian point of view. Second, please submit only one post dated since the last Christian Carnival (i.e. from last Wednesday through this coming Tuesday).

Then do the following:

Anchor Bible

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This is a list of the current and forthcoming commentaries in the Anchor Bible commentary series. For more series, see my post on commentary series.

The Anchor Bible (AB) commentaries are among the most academically respectable scholarly commentaries, though the quality and level of detail can vary from volume to volume. They transliterate the Greek and Hebrew, which helps for someone who doesn't know the original languages, but sometimes the level of detail isn't all that helpful for someone who just wants a little background and doesn't want to wade through pages of scholarship to find that the kind of theological question they're worrying about is hardly treated by a scholar who cares more about the linguistic, historical, and text-critical issues. Not all volumes are like this, but many are. The level of detail will also vary greatly from volume to volume, with later publication dates often signaling much more depth, and some (though certainly not all) older ones are all but useless given what else is out there. Textual criticism, exegetical notes and expositional commentary are separated into separate sections. This makes it difficult to find anything, but it also keeps separate kinds of work separate. I'd rather not have these separated, but some people prefer it.

As with most critical series, evangelicals will be troubled by some of the conclusions of most of the scholars writing in this series (except for the few evangelical contributors). Though evangelicals can supplement the kind of information in these commentaries with what I consider to be much better theological sense and a much higher appreciation of scripture, many evangelical commentaries simply can't compete with the best volumes in this series, at least with respect to historical and sociological background information, lexical study, text criticism, archaeology. etc. Theology is often given short shrift. The series is mostly done, with only Nahum and Philippians not covered and only Exodus, Deuteronomy, and Ezekiel still only partially covered, though some volumes are being replaced (I know of Genesis, II Chronicles, Ezra-Nehemiah, Psalms, Proverbs 10-31, Matthew, the second half of Mark, and Revelation).

Volumes released so far:

Adam Knew His Wife

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The ESV Bible Blog discusses the literal rendering of the term for knowledge in sexual contexts. Some contemporary translations treat this as a mere euphemism for the physical act of sex. Since we don't use the word 'know' in English in this way, he argument goes, we should use an expression that says what really took place, a physical act of sex. I think this loses not just a connotation of what the original expression says. I think it loses the very reason that word was used to begin with. I do note that the ESV doesn't always keep the original word, as the post admits. It just treats this argument as presumptive, as I think it should be treated. Other factors might turn out to be more important in any given passage. I don't know if I'd always agree in particular cases, but I think that's the right approach.

However, I think one argument the post discusses but does not endorse seems to me to be too far, and I think what it shows is a deeper problem in translation to begin with. The argument is that translating the Hebrew word for knowledge in these contexts as "have relations with" is banal and does not capture the element of knowing in the original. Is this true? Maybe so, but if so then I wish it were not true. Has the sense of relationship and relating to someone completely gone out of expression "to have sexual relations"? If so, this is a further slide down a path we've already seen in the past. Intercourse was once a close sharing, of human interaction on a deep level. Now it's sex, and it's used in he clinical, banal way that "have relations with" is claimed to be used. Consider also the word 'intimacy'. We can say that two people were intimate, and we might just mean that they did the nasty in exactly the sense of performing the physical act, with no sense that they were close in any other way.

The 27th Philosophers' Carnival is at Heaven Tree.

Update: I'm now getting back to looking through the Carnival, and I found that Mathetes has an excellent summary of Parmenides' argument that there is just one, unchanging thing. I wanted to preserve a link to it so I can go back to it later if I teach Parmenides again. It's a clear presentation of the argument, and it seeks to motivate Parmenides' strange claims rather than just shoot them down as stupid. The one thing I wish it had was an evaluation of the claims, but I'd rather see someone trying to motivate them and not criticizing them than someone trying to shoot them down without indicating why someone might have found them plausible to begin with.

Dem Candidates Bleg

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Now that I've posted he GOP primary straw poll, I'm curious if there's a similar listing of the Democratic candidates actively pursuing the nomination (or at least acting as if they're pursuing it, because I don't think anyone has actually announced a candidacy for either party yet)?

GOP Primary Straw Poll

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GOP Bloggers is offering this straw poll of Republican candidates for he presidential nomination. Some of the formatting isn't looking right on my screen. The first column is for candidates you would like to see get the nomination. The second column is for candidates you would not like to see get the nomination. It looks as if it's giving me errors when I submit it, so I don't know if the code is working right. Even if it doesn't work, it was nice to see a semi-definitive list. I hadn't seen one prior to this.

In a post about the consistency of maintaining equal rights for men and women while calling women to live decently , Laurence Thomas raises some further issues about a moral power of women that men don't have. He says that, because of the difference between a man raping a woman and a woman raping a man, women have a moral power that men don't have. This is a curious statement, and I can see what he might be getting at, but I'd need to see a little more to be sure. Since he didn't enable comments on that one post, I'll raise my questions here.

I agree with the claim that rape of a man by a woman and rape of a woman by a man are not equivalent. There's clearly a kind of rape that a woman cannot do to a man that a man can do to a woman, and that is to have sex when the other party is not aroused at all. There are purely biological reasons for this. There can be sexual assault of some sort, but it won't be outright rape of a man by a woman unless he is aroused enough that the act can even take place. That's a real disanalogy, and I think it has severe consequences for how we think about rape of a man by a woman as opposed to rape of a woman by a man. Men can rape women in ways that women can't rape men.

I'm not entirely sure that Laurence's next step is correct. He points out that a sexual act can be rape even if the woman being raped enjoys it or desires it at some level. This is the very heart of what sometimes happens in date rape cases. She does not consent to sex. He presses and succeeds. This can happen even if on some level she does desire the sexual interaction, as long as she doesn't rationally consent. This is especially the case when she's unable to give rational consent due to what's commonly called the date rape drug or even just a high blood alcohol level. Her desire is perfectly compatible with lack of consent, and it is indeed rape in such cases. But Laurence doesn't apply the same reasoning to men, and I'm not fully clear on why.

Several posts at Prosblogion might be of interest to those who are more philosophically inclined. Matthew points out a response by Alvin Plantinga to the Dover Intelligent Design decision. Basically he points out that this judge has used his judicial authority to settle ongoing philosophical debates by defining the answer into the terms being used. I think I agree with everything Plantinga says, but I think he's too nice. This judge just accepts the philosophical claims of the scientific orthodoxy, even if that scientific orthodoxy is philosophically uninformed on most of the important points. His ignorance of important philosophical distinctions would lead to a failing grade in any good philosophy course, and yet he's the one who decides that this clearly philosophical argument is religion. I'd go so far as to say that the judge's decision is anti-intellectual, largely because he couldn't make such a decision and say the things he said without deliberately ignoring all kinds of important distinctions that anyone honestly considering the facts should bear in mind. Anyway, Plantinga says what I want to say and probably a lot better, so stop reading me and read him.

Also at Prosblogion are two posts in the general area of God's atemporality and omniscience, human freedom, and the character of time. Kevin Timpe defends divine timelessness from the objection that it doesn't allow libertarian free will. I'm no libertarian, but I could never see how these two views are inconsistent, and the comments that follow raise a number of other interesting issues, including some philosophy of time. That thread has been the main reason I haven't posted anything here since just after midnight two days ago. One comment I was writing got long enough that I turned it into a whole post on the supposed inconsistency of divine timelessness, omniscience, and a tensed view of time. There are several ways out of the argument, including my preferred non-tensed view of time, but there are things someone who holds all three views can say to avoid contradiction, so I don't think there's really an inconsistency. Anyway, since I haven't been writing much here, I thought I'd direct you to what I've been writing over there.

The 113th Christian Carnival will be this week, hosted at Light Along the Journey. The Christian Carnival is a weekly collection of some of the best posts of the Christian blogosphere. It's open to Christians of Protestant, Orthodox, and Roman Catholic convictions. One of the goals of this carnival is to offer our readers to a broad range of Christian thought. This is a great way to make your writing more well known and perhaps pick up some regular readers. For examples of past carnivals, see Matt Jones's list of previous Christian Carnivals.

To enter is simple. First, your post should be of a Christian nature, but this does not exclude posts that are about home life, politics, or current events from a Christian point of view. Second, please submit only one post dated since the last Christian Carnival (i.e. from last Wednesday through this coming Tuesday).

Then do the following:

If this isn't evidence of at least a kind of residual racism among a readership who is usually fairly intelligent, I don't know what is. Tyler Cowen posts at the Volokh Conspiracy (a high quality legal blog, for those who don't read it) that Mexican-Americans tend to lower the crime rate in cities where they have a high presence. From the very beginning of the comments, almost every comment tries to respond by changing the subject to illegal immigration, as if Mexican-Americans are somehow illegal immigrants. When did we ever pass any laws that prevented Mexicans from immigrating legally? How did they get to be Americans if they were illegal. Last I knew, the Bush plan hadn't been implemented, and that would take years before anyone who entered illegally could restore themselves to good faith to be considered for citizenship anyway.

This reveals something about the gut assumptions of the primarily libertarian and libertarian-grounded conservative audience of a high-powered intellectual blog (or at least about those most motivated to comment). American law-abiding citizens are being assumed to be criminals merely because they were born in Mexico. So Mexicans are apparently criminals just because of their country of origin, even if they're legal immigrants to this country. The only thing I can think of to explain that is some sort of racism, even if it's unintentional and unconscious. I've seen this phenomenon before, but it was particulary obvious, especially given the site it was taking place at. I don't think this is something inherent to libertarianism or to intellectualism, but I wonder if there is something attractive about libertarianism and libertarian-like conservatism among those who are really irrational about things like this.

Christian Carnival CXII

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The 112th Christian Carnival is at Adam's Blog.

Quote of the Week

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It amazes me that the so-called black leaders who can see racism in the flight patterns of airplanes and the constellation of snowflakes cannot see the damage that celebrating a song like "It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp" is doing to young black minds, female and male alike.

From Laurence Thomas, Pimps, Blacks, and Racial Equality: Who is Zooming Whom?.

His observation about feminist leaders' silence reminds me of their similar silence after the President of the United States committed the most serious abuse of authority with regard to sexual matters according to standard feminist thinking. It makes you wonder whether it's really the stated concerns of feminism that drive them.


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Our congregation is working through John 13-17 in our sermons right now. Jeremy Jackson, one of our elders, was teaching on John 15:9-17 a couple weeks ago, and he presented a very interesting definition of joy. Joy can't be mere pleasure, because you wouldn't then have it while experiencing severe persecution. But it also seems to be an emotion of some sort. So many of the biblical discussions of joy seem to involve overflowing with some kind of excitement. It can't be mere resignation to the difficult things in life. It's certainly not the outward look of happiness that many have meant when they've told me I should show more joy when leading worship.

So what is joy? Jeremy defined it as the exhilaration of the accomplishment of something worthwhile, in particular of God's accomplishment of something worthwhile in whatever situation we are in. He also likened it to spiritual adrenaline for Christ. When we were looking at Habakkuk at a one-day retreat about a week later, he recast his definition as conscious experience of the fact that God delivers you and the sober exhilaration in the awareness that God's purposes are being worked out. I think this is it exactly. This not only avoids the various things I said above that joy isn't but also explains how someone can be sorrowful yet always rejoicing, as Paul described his own life (II Cor 6:10). I was going to connect this up with some of the ancient philosophers' views on the good life (in particular the Greek concept of eudaimonia), but I think it's more important right now that I finish grading some papers on the ancient philosophers so I can hand them back tomorrow, and maybe this will go into the growing file of things to finish blogging about.

Kenny Pearce follows up on my Abortion Exceptions post with some exploration of how a libertarian can tackle the same issues. One thing he suggests that really attracts me is the idea that it's morally wrong to pursue some things that we have a right to. That may be the best way I've seen so far to capture theoretically what's going on in some of Jesus' statements in the Sermon on the Mount that are so offensive to many people. It will probably take some time for me to think about this before I say any more, but I thought I'd put it out there to see what people think of it as a way to capture what's going on behind those particular ethical teachings.

Last week, I picked up a copy of the Syracuse University Daily Orange, and it had an interesting article [registration may be required] about some students who wanted to start a chapter of N.O.W. on campus but decided against it because N.O.W. is a top-down organization that wouldn't let them promote the issues as they wanted to promote them, and there was also some hesitation related to the perception that N.O.W. consists largely of rich, white women. That was an interesting enough issue, but I have little to say about it. I do have something to say about one thing in the article, however. They include a quote from Marcia Pappas, president of the New York State division of N.O.W. Pappas says, "If you can't control your own reproductive system, you can't control anything."

Really? I'd like to see some evidence that societies that illegalize abortion are forced to prevent women from having jobs or to decide what kind of car they'd like to have. Show me even just a strong correlation between restricting contraception and removal of things like freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of religion, and other freedoms that someone who can't control anything wouldn't possess. I'd be interested in any sign that those whose reproductive choices are restricted will somehow lose control of all their limbs and be unable to control what words come out of their mouths. That's what her statement implies. She probably just meant that those without good control over their reproductive options have far fewer options on matters of great importance, but her way of saying it makes it sound as if she can't distinguish between having fewer options on matters of great importance and not being able to control anything in your life. Probably even worse is that she's insulted anyone who struggles with fertility issues. Her statement implies that their lives are completely out of their control simply because they can't control their reproductive system.

Whatever you think of the views N.O.W. puts forth, this sort of ridiculous overstatement does not in any way serve their purposes, because it just makes her sound really stupid. People are then going to associate stupidity with the agenda of N.O.W. On one level I have welcome this sort of rhetorical blunder, because I think the N.O.W. agenda is ultimately evil, even if most of the people promoting it have good intentions. Still, I regret that anyone would say such foolish things and thus bring the entire public debate over abortion down to this kind of idiocy. It's bad enough that both sides ignore some important philosophical issues that aren't always obvious. It's much worse if we support our views with statements that are this obviously false while also insulting to a significant enough portion of the population.

Searching for What?

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Sometimes I don't even know what a search is supposed to be looking for.

aspergers people reproducing no girlfriends
Right, at least on Thursday. Left-handed numbers, however, exist Spiderman a satellite. I said hi.

should black america depend on myers-briggs test?
For what? Tests don't generally count as the sort of thing you can depend on. They don't provide for your basic needs. They don't ensure that your civil rights are being recognized. If the question is just asking if black people are genuinely people and thus should be expected to manifest the different tendencies the test looks for, then the answer is obviously yes. The way it's worded doesn't fit well with that interpretation, but the principle of charity requires me to assume it, since no better interpretation comes to mind. It's pretty sad if something with that obvious an answer is the most charitable interpretation.

deontological whiteness
Can anyone shed any light on this? I'm guessing they were going for ontological whiteness. I searched for the expression in quotes and got nothing, so I imagine I'll now be Googlewhack for this.

church of satin
If that's a typo, it's got to be one of the biggest meaning changes a typo can bring (aside from forgetting a 'not' or something of that order).

The 112th Christian Carnival will be this week, hosted at Adam's Blog. The Christian Carnival is a weekly collection of some of the best posts of the Christian blogosphere. It's open to Christians of Protestant, Orthodox, and Roman Catholic convictions. One of the goals of this carnival is to offer our readers to a broad range of Christian thought. This is a great way to make your writing more well known and perhaps pick up some regular readers. For examples of past carnivals, see Matt Jones's list of previous Christian Carnivals.

To enter is simple. First, your post should be of a Christian nature, but this does not exclude posts that are about home life, politics, or current events from a Christian point of view. Second, please submit only one post dated since the last Christian Carnival (i.e. from last Wednesday through this coming Tuesday).

Then do the following:

As I did with NICOT and NICNT, I've decided to post a chronological ordering of the WBC volumes. I think I'm going to do this with all the long-standing series. I think it's interesting to look through how a series developed.

The two 1982 releases came out the same day. Murphy on Proverbs and the third Aune volume on Revelation came out on the same day. The revised volume 1 on Deuteronomy and vol.2 on Mark were released together. I believe I've listed each of those pairs in canonical order. The rest should all be in chronological order. I'll list the whole series together and then the Old Testament and New Testament separately.

Kate Mulgrew raped
Yes, she was, but it was a long time ago and has been common knowledge for a long time. Why am I all of a sudden getting hits from people searching for this at a rate of a few times a week? The search doesn't even turn up a post of mine but two unrelated posts on an archives page, and it's not from posts that are all that recent.

why do most people tend to agree with the majority on controversial topics
I had a really sarcastic reply to this, but the best thing to do with a question like that is just to think about what it's really saying.

what do black people say about the future
So there's one set of things that's distinct about what black people (as opposed to anyone else) might say about the future? I meant the title of this post quite seriously. I really wonder how people come up with this stuff.

What language do Muslims use
The ones I've talked to were using English.

Abortion Exceptions

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Pro-life blogs has two recent posts about the common position among those who call themselves pro-life that there should be some exceptions to laws against abortion. Jill Stanek wonders if it's just an inconsistent position, and the commenters seem by and large to think it is. Then Tim complains about President Bush's apparent endorsement of such exceptions. Those arguing against the exceptions point out that the moral status of a fetus isn't any different because of the circumstance of the conception, and this is of course true. But I'm not sure they've grasped the reason many people who are pro-life think there should be exceptions for these kinds of cases.

I don't think the justification for the rape exception is that the child is less innocent or that it's less wrong of an action if rape is the cause of the pregnancy. The justification of the exception is supposed to be that someone who has been through such an experience needs to be given some moral deference by those who haven't been through such a situation. I don't think it's supposed to justify the action or even excuse it. It's that blaming and punishing may be less morally justified in such cases, and thus the law is going to reflect a less severe attitude toward the crime in those circumstances (given an abortion ban). I'm not saying I agree with this position (see below the fold for why). I'm just trying to make sure it's presented fairly. I really don't think most people who are pro-life but want this exception are seeing it the way the critics commenting on those posts are treating it.

In Emergent Church: Apostate or Nothing New Under the Sun?, I addressed the Emergent Church Movement primarily in terms of what's going on with its key philosophical claims, especially its epistemological claims. For non-philosophers, epistemology is the theory of knowledge, justification for belief, and other questions related to our understanding of the world, how we get it, and what makes it a good or bad state of mind regarding a particular belief or set of beliefs. Epistemological issues in the context of Christian belief thus deal with whether we can be certain that Christianity is true, what gives us good reasons to believe it, the status of the Bible as revelation from God, and the nature of truth itself. I ignored many crucial elements of this movement, and I'd like to remedy that now.

Ed Stetzer discusses three strains with the so-called Emergent Church: Relevants, Reconstructionists, and Revisionists [hat tip: Mickey McLean]. My previous post left us with a choice in how evangelical Christians should evaluate this movement, and I suggest that either there's very little new at all about this movement, and it's classic evangelicalism, or it's heresy and/or heteropraxy. There's probably some of both in the movement. What we need to do is isolate strains with it and then consider each separately. Stetzer's three categories provide one categorizing system to begin this work.



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