Thursday, April 30, 2015

Did Freddy Gray Kill Himself?

   Uh...
   I mean...stranger things have happened...right? But...prima facie, this stretches credulity. Doesn't it?
   Surely doctors and suchlike will be able to tell us whether this claim is at all plausible, and, if so, how likely it is. Right?
   I've got no dog in this fight...but I'm extremely skeptical of this claim.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

A Truly Terrible Ranking of Buffy Seasons

This is awful.
It's kind of a (two-instance) tradition with Johnny Quest and me that, when we are immersed in a hopeless and endless house renovation project, we watch several episodes of Buffy on a laptop every night. Because we don't have a tv. Or a real bed. Or a real place to live...but I digress...
   I always insist that we watch Buffy episodes in order, with only the occasional deviation if we absolutely have to watch Hush or Once More With Feeling or Band Candy or whatever... JQ fought me on this for awhile...but she'd given up on that...
   Anyhoo, we're currently almost halfway through season 5...and this is probably about our 4th or 5th time through the whole series...and my judgment so far is: 5 is the worst of the first 5 seasons. I've long thought that Season 1 is far, far underrated. Seasons 2-4 are great. I'd have a hard time ranking them. Those are the core of the series. There are signs of trouble in 4 (JQ's favorite)...Willow starts talking in baby talk, and her charming diffidence has begun turning into annoying, habitual...what? Super-diffidence? Something. I think it's clear that Nicholas Brendan is having trouble with alcohol--he started looking like hell in 4, and, though he seems to have recovered a bit in 5, he still looks rough sometimes. Also, the writers have no idea what to do with his character, and that really sucks. Buffy vs. Dracula is a great episode (despite weak acting by Drac) with some great lines, but things fall off badly after that, and many episodes in the first 1/3-1/2 of the season are just soap opera stuff.
   Of course 5 has one of the all-time great episodes (The Body)...but I've never thought that the last few, including The Gift, were that great. In fact, I think The Gift is about as bad as it could be given what it is, and compared to how awesome it could have been...
  The one really great thing about 5 is the introduction of Dawn. That shit is some virtuoso riffing on terrible tv tropes...that's a paradigm crap tv move--introducing a major new character...a character that is central to the lives of the extant characters, and who simply could not have been overlooked thus far--after several seasons. But Joss pulls it off. He makes it work by making it make sense. This is as brilliant a masterstroke as making the singing and dancing make sense in Once More With Feeling... I mean, one can only be in awe...
   But overall: 5's the worst of the first 5, contra that Buzzfeed nonsense. If it's better than 1--which I deny--it wouldn't be by much, and it would only be because it's longer, the show is better-established, and it's got The Body...

[And, yes, I do realize that the whole point of Buzzfeed is to post stupid crap to get hits...]

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Amanda Taub: A Truly Terrible Article On Political Correctness

Wow this is bad...
You see...political correctness doesn't exist but also it's right and it's what you call someone who is more compassionate than you and ALSO MICROAGGRESSIONS!!!111
So much facepalm...

An Extremely Shitty Ranking Of Buffy Characters

Wow this is bad.
   I mean, I know that that's the purpose of Buzzfeed...but that doesn't make it good.
They got the lowest-ranking character right (Kennedy...the Jar Jar Binks of the Buffyverse...) But Willow as #1? No way, dude...and I love me some Willow. Early Willow, anyway...before late season 4 when actors start falling into routines with the characters, and Tara comes along and both Tara and Willow start talking in baby talk.. Early Willow is awesome. She's got some of my favorite deliveries of lines in the show, and she gets so hot around season 3-4 or so... But not the best character in the show.
   I mean...Graham, Principal Flutie, Percy, the Beast and Eve all in, like, the bottom 25? Nope, nope, nope...
   ...And I'm a  big fat nerd, aren't I?
   I really do have an unhealthy love for that show...

The Onion: College Encourages Lively Exchange Of Idea

link
We laugh so that we do not cry.
[h/t Dr. d00kie]

Monday, April 27, 2015

Judith Shulevitz: In College and Hiding From Scary Ideas

At the NYT.

[In retrospect, I wish I'd titled this post The Emos Are At The Gates...]

"RationalWiki" On Political Correctness

The frequently-really-awful "Rational"Wiki being really awful on PC: link.

Monty Python *Contra* Political Correctness

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Are Women Superior To Men? (Note: The Two Acceptable Options: (i) Men and Women Are Equal; (ii) Women Are Superior)

Link1 link2
   Well, we get some pretty straight-forward SJW gibberish in both of these pieces (e.g. "gender binary," "not all men," blah blah blah...). I wonder whether this sort of thing is actually taken seriously in anthropology?
   I do think that there are empirical questions in this vicinity, and it could turn out that one of the sexes is superior to the other in a majority of non-moral respects...
   And I've certainly wondered whether or not females might be, on the whole, better-suited to life in the future...
   So I don't want to suggest that we should get in a quasi-moral huff about this...
   However, I will note that: There's an obviously asymmetry here. A book that advanced an analogous thesis about men would be dogpiled and vilified. Which, y'know, maybe it should be... But what cannot be defended is the double-standard. Either such a book should be taken seriously whichever sex it's about, or it shouldn't be taken seriously in either case.
   Oh, also note the sophomoric dismissal of agency via a patently unsound argument. Man, that's really one of the things that is creepiest about the far left--they hate the idea of autonomy...  The far right might try to explain it in some kooky theistic way...but at least they don't deride it...

Ronald Reagan's Welfare Queen Was Real

   I...do not know what to say to this...
   I used to say that Reagan was wrong about everything but the Soviet Union...but...I guess this makes two things...

Forensic Follies: FBI Analysts Send Man To Jail For 28 Years By Confusing Dog Hair And Human Hair

link
   I long ago concluded that forensic analysis is about a half-step above voodoo.
Give a lab ten samples and ask whether any of them belong to the accused--or whatever. If you can't pick the damn sample out of a lineup, then you don't know what you're doing. And if you can't afford to do it that way, then you can't afford to use these methods.
   Confirmation bias alone makes this shit near enough to witchcraft so far as I can tell.

Assault On Free Speech In Britain

   Reason on SJWs and the new push for censorship from the left.
   Of course some (but not all) of the relevant speech is idiotic...but that shouldn't matter.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Neo- PC Follies: 'Gin-Soaked' in "If You Were A Dinosaur, My Love"

facepalm
   So as I just discovered, there is this short-short story--more like a kind of poem, really--"If You Were A Dinosaur, My Love." I kind of liked it. It turns out to be preachy in the trendy SJW way that is currently all the rage in sci-fi...and, y'know...everywhere else it seems...  But still, preachy PC thought-policing to the side, the story's got a perfectly fine message and I like the writing. It won't go down as one of my all-time favorites, but, even fed up as I am with all this stuff, I can control for that, and I like the thing.
   But oh for the love of God...the post above is almost as beautiful an illustration of the nuttiness of the neo- PCs as you could ask for...  It turns out that the perpetrators of the violence in the thing are described as 'gin-soaked,' which apparently SJWs have decreed a "class marker". Thus, despite the intensely SJW-friendliness of the thing, IT IS TEH EVVILZ!!!111  Fer the lova... Those people are going to eventually evaporate in the very center of their hugbox/echo-chamber in a puff of self-parody...
   I'm not going to waste time on this foolishness, tempting though it is...but...two quick points:
   First, WTF kind of "class-marker" is gin (or 'gin')? I mean...if you held a gun to my head and forced me to say, I'd guess...uh...upper? I mean, none of the people I grew up with were exactly sitting around swilling Tanqueray martinis... But, of course, something that's anti-upper-class wouldn't be the target of neo-PC ire...so I guess they must think lower, then? Who the hell knows? This the SJW version of arguing about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. (But wait...'angel' may be monotheism-centric...so...supernatural beings? No...I'm sure that's something-centric too...)
   Second: the large methodological problem floating around in the background of so much of this insanity is the corrupt literary method that passes for thought among such folk. Granted, this time they actually are talking about literature... But the same method is employed even when they aren't. It's just a kind of free-association...except that it represents itself as something more... Just keep spinning out free-associative gobbledy-gook--but gobbledy-gook with the correct political spin...until you emit some words that please the echo chamber...
   Jebus these people. They make the nutty right look almost sane by comparison.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Columbia University Sued By Student (Falsely(?)) Accused Of Rape In The Mattress/"Carry That Weight" Case

Link
Sulkowicz's accusation against Nungesser is likely false, and I think it's reasonable to hold Columbia responsible for at least some of what he's gone through.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Rape Allegations At Columbia: The Sulkowicz / Mattress Case

I haven't been keeping up with this well-known case...but it looks like these allegations are also very likely to be false.

Pappy van Winkle Heist: Local Cops Bust The "Criminal Syndicate" That Swiped The Booze

Whew!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Florescent Yellow Scourge Banished From Macaroni And Cheese

link
I, for one, feel lucky to have survived the Cheesepocalypse, and am grateful that we can now enjoy a more subdued shade of mac and cheese.

More On The Neo- PC Attack On Andy Pessin At Connecticut College

   Obvious, intentional misinterpretation/misrepresentation of his words, followed by false accusations of racism, dogpiling by campus PCs/SJWs, apparently caving by the administration, and so on. These lunatics have actual power largely because sane people refuse to stand up to them.
 

Neo- PC Follies: Berkeley Edition

Jesus, these people.

Brontosaurus Is Back

As I'm sure you've already heard.

Same-Sex Marriage Kills

Duck, my friends, as you could very well break your nose from the facepalm you are about to perform...
My favorite bit: “It is still too new to do a rigorous causation analysis using statistical methods,”
Wonder how that'll turn out when it does happen?

Tom Toles: Why Are You A Republican?

I've seen the case for being a Democrat made roughly like this before, and I think it's about right.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Jimmy Carter: Losing My Religion For Equality

   I think this is good.
   Though equality with respect to sex has taken great strides in my lifetime, there are still some fairly major ways in which women continue to be represented as humanity's little sister. I'm not religious, but I don't think I could, in good conscience, be part of a religion that perpetuated that idea.
   I don't write about this stuff much because I'm so averse to contemporary feminism. Nevertheless, I think it's important. (And it's something that old-school egalitarian feminism could get behind.)
(h/t S. rex)

Terry Eagleton: The Slow Death Of The University (Or, At Least, The Humanities...)

   Eagleton touches on half of the story here.
   The other half of the story is: the humanities really are currently largely bullshit.
   I mean, I, too, am concerned about universities being turned into vo-tech schools... And the humanities do, in principle, have something important to offer students. However, (and as Fareed Zakaria also notes), the humanities (and some of the social sciences) have earned their reputation for being (a) easy (b) bullshit by dint of long effort. Though e.g. philosophy and econ are largely immune, many other disciplines in and between the humanities and social sciences have long been infected by a mish-mash of bad continental philosophy (the dregs of postmodernism, poststructuralism, critical theory, and others) and far-left politics. It's uncool to see STEM being promoted as the only legitimate course(s) of study...and far more distressing to see the humanities afforded less prestige even than business...but, well, the damage is largely self-inflicted. And the problem is not fictitious.
   Incidentally, an anecdote: I had a student in my office last week, a soon-to-graduate double-major in philosophy and English. Without prompting she enthusiastically reported that she was excited to be studying arguments for and against relativism in my class, because the view, she said, is basically just taken for granted in many of her English classes, and she'd never studied the arguments before. Then she said: And if you question that sort of thing in many English classes, you aren't just wrong...you're a bad person.
   And, though I'm sure I've infected some students with my crackpot views, I don't think I've infected this one... That's a pretty scary report, IMO, though it doesn't exactly surprise me.
   The humanities aren't intrinsically easy, nor intrinsically bullshit...but right now, they're (largely anyway) contingently so.

Social Justice Bullies: The Authoritarianism of Millennial Social Justice

link
   I'd say he gets a lot of stuff right. However, I'd disagree on at least two points:
   First, he, like so many other critics of the SJWs or neo-PCs, says that he agrees with their goals. I'd say that's an error. It's not only unclear what "social" justice is supposed to be, but it's fairly clear that the goal of the SJW/neo-PC movement is not actual justice, and is largely not good. Of course if we characterize the goal very vaguely--justice--then we're all all for it. But when we start adding specificity, we see that their actual goals aren't laudable. What they're really aiming at is a far-left illiberal social and political order in which, among other things, any vague claim to victimhood is treated as a trump card, and bourgeois liberal hangups about freedom of speech, freedom of thought, freedom of conscience, and so on are things of the past. And Lysenkoism...don't forget the Lysenkoism...
   Second, I'd say that the SJW / PC folk are not authoritarians, but totalitarians. I used to deride this distinction long ago made by Jean Kirkpatrick*, but not anymore. Authoritarians want you to do what they say. Totalitarians want you to think what they think. As a conservative friend of mine puts it: the right wants you to behave; the left wants your soul.
   This craziness is ascendant, and I find it horrifying that liberals are generally either indifferent to it or in league with it. This is the same thing that happened during the first PC spasm of the late '80's and early '90's. But this time they have the internet. And, whatever else it is, the internet is a tool for concentrating crazy.
   The first PC spasm was finally defeated when mainstream/centrist liberalism finally became aware of it. I'm hoping this latest spasm follows the same pattern.


* See what they've driven me to? Quoting Jean Kirkpatrick...Jebus...

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Slavoj Zizek: PC As Totalitarianism

link
I think this guy's full of it...but my enemy's enemy and all that...
He's got a point here, I'd say...but it's not like one of the most important 100 or so criticisms one might make of the neo-PC/SJWs...
Also: this video made me sneeze. And I got really tired of watching the guy rub snot on himself.

We Few, We Happy Few, We Band Of Siblings

   So I pointed to that Economist thing...
   But, honestly, I disagree with a lot in that. I don't mind 'he/she', 's/he' or whatever... I kind a think it's bad to always use the masculine as neutral/non-sex-specific. It seems to me to send/reinforce the message that males are the normal/regular humans, and females are...you know...that other kind. The second sex. Humanity's little sister...
   This is a point that was made long before the PCs and SJWs...but also: those folks, loony as they are, aren't wrong about everything. It's really hard to be wrong about everything...
   I've long wished for more non-sex-specific pronouns in English. I actually find it hard to write philosophy without them. I'd use one...if only someone could think some up that don't sound incredibly stupid... But, as yet, no luck. So I continue to do what the Economist admonishes us to avoid--I mix the singular and the plural and so forth.
   As for the title of this post...I use it just because I thought of it only after I'd posted the other one, and I like this one better...

Friday, April 17, 2015

We Few, We Happy Few, We Band Of Brothers And/Or Sisters

Politically correct language
At the Economist

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

The "Cheryl's Birthday" Problem

link
Well, I ran across some stuff that made this sound like some amazing problem...like the next Monty Hall problem or something.
Seems like just an ordinary little logic puzzle to me...takes about three minutes to figure out. Kinda fun, but IMO completely unremarkable. Nowhere near as hard as your average Smullyan-esque knights and knaves problem...
Which isn't to say that it's not fun. It's just not some big deal.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Northwestern Graduate Students: Professors Falsely Accused Of Sexual Harassment Should Not Sue Their Accusers

   This really is nearly beyond belief.
   Since everyone already agrees that someone guilty of sexual assault should not sue their accuser, that assertion isn't worth making; and since no philosopher is so incompetent as to fail to recognize that the claims in this letter entail that falsely-accused professors should not sue their accusers, there can be no real doubt that that is the real point of the missive: to assert that those who are falsely accused should not sue those who accuse them. Even though sexual harassment is a very serious crime... (And even though the kinds of people who write such letters typically think that it is an even worse offense than it actually is...)
  This is madness. Utter, unmitigated, madness.
   I'm seeing signs all over that make me worry that philosophy is in danger of becoming the steaming pile of politically-motivated, dogmatic, fuzzy-headed horseshit that so many other humanities and social sciences have become.
   The letter itself is bad enough, but the nauseatingly enthusiastic expressions of support in the comments are almost worse. Fortunately, many comments call bullshit on this bullshit...but are then dogpiled by people trying every interpretive ploy they can think of to block the obvious criticisms of this obvious nonsense. And then there are the many expressions of dismay that some commenters are concerned about the rights of the falsely-accused! I mean...the very idea!
   This is extremely dangerous stuff. And it's really disheartening to see so many comments from apparently competent philosophers--people who ought to be able to see how irrational and misguided this position is--defending it. An unreasonable philosophers is a very dangerous thing...they know all the tricks...
   Just for the record: if I am every accused of sexual harassment, I will, of course, be innocent. And I will sue the accuser into outer space.
   This kind of SJW/neo-PC nonsense needs to be combated at every turn. The very idea that crackpot appeals to power differentials trump appeals to rights is just astonishing. I don't care how much more power I have than Smith--if Smith is a lunatic who falsely accuses me of doing something morally repulsive, I am going to sue the living hell out of said Smith.
   PC madness made inroads into philosophy back in the '80's and '90's...so I suppose I really shouldn't be that surprised by this, especially when its recent incarnation is assisted by the internet, that megaphone for lunatics. But, still, there's part of me that just can't help expecting better from my people...
[Oh, and don't miss this bit: some commenters are forced to resort to pointing out that the falsely-accused might be black...because, y'know...injustice against white guys....I mean...who cares, amirite?]

Monday, April 13, 2015

False, Politically-Motivated Accusations Of Racism Against Connecticut College Philosophy Professor Andrew Pessin

   I've remained silent on this blog about this incident because Andy Pessin is a good friend of mine, and I didn't want to inadvertently do anything that might make matters worse. One must tread carefully when dealing with the extremist academic left.  But here's something by David Bernstein in the Washington Post that's too important to pass up. Bernstein is right on the money.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Move UNC Forward

   Finally, some faculty strike back against the anti-Carolina forces that are trying to use the AFAM scandal to attack the university.
   It was bad--really, really bad. But Carolina was extremely aggressive and transparent in responding to it. That doesn't make it go away, but it's the best an institution can do when it uncovers something like that.
   Currently, what we have is (a) a really, really rotten state of affairs that turned up a few years back, and (b) a rabid, concerted effort by certain individuals and groups to exaggerate an already bad situation for various reasons. Dan Kane and the N&O are angling for a Pulitzer...and acting as the catspaw of the NCSU fan base concentrated in Raleigh. The national media (CNN, Sports Illustrated, etc.) are obviously looking for the most sensationalized interpretations they can turn up or think up. Jay Smith and Mary Willingham are angling to make money. Rival fan bases are angling to maximally harm UNC athletics.
   I admire how forthright the university has been in dealing with this scandal. However, instead of getting any credit for being open, honest and transparent about what happened, the university is being attacked that much more aggressively. The basic argumentative strategy being employed by the ABCers is:
* For any extremely damning conclusion in the Wainstein report, accept it at face value.
* For any conclusion that is exonerating, or even less-than-extremely-damning: assert without argument that the report must be wrong on that score, and that the real facts must be maximally damning.
   Case in point: the Wainstein report largely exonerated men's basketball. Roy thought he smelled a rat, and told the advisers not to encourage players to major in AFAM. But men's basketball is the trophy that the ABCers are really after. That's the dog. The rest is tail...
   I don't want Carolina to descend to the level of its enemies...but I do think that it's time to strike back against the most egregious of the attacks and misrepresentations.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Amanda Marcotte Finally Admits That "Jackie" Lied About The Rolling Stone / UVA Gang Rape That Wasn't

   Well...actually she merely refers in passing to Jackie's "apparent lying" [my emphasis]...in the course of trying another bizarre line of attack against mythical "rape deniers"...
   But, hey, on the bright side, at least she seems to have grown...I mean...she never did admit that the Duke lacrosse rape hoax was a lie, did she?
  Marcotte is a nut. It's an embarrassment to liberalism that she's still taken at all seriously, and publishing in places like TalkingPointsMemo...which...well...I dunno...didn't used to be crazy, anyway... [Note: the comments are largely critical of Marcotte...so maybe TPM is still ok...]

Rolling Stone To Retract Fabricated UVA Rape Story

link
   Though everybody is bending over backwards to avoid speaking the obvious truth--that the story was a lie. In fact, they are falling all over themselves to say that they can't prove that it is false, and that something may have happened...i.e. that it might still be approximately true... Which, I suppose, means that if you're ever accused of rape and you can't conclusively prove your innocence...well, you're screwed...
   This whole thing has been a tangle of insanity and reality-denial from beginning to end...
   Somehow we as a culture seem to have been convinced that there is no middle ground between dogmatically disbelieving alleged victims/accusers and dogmatically believing them...

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Why Study The Humanities?

   It seems remarkable to me that so many defenders of the humanities have been so bad at offering arguments in support of their passionately-held belief that the humanities are important...
...especially when one of their arguments is typically the humanities teach you to reason...
   I mean, I am inclined to think that there is something valuable about at least most of the humanities...but I actually think that it's harder than it might seem to produce support for that position...
 

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Charles P. Pierce at Grantland on Krzyzewski and the Refs

   I think this is about right. And, as I guess ought to go without saying, expressed in about the right way.

Badgers Fade, Dookies Win

bleck

Saturday, April 04, 2015

Once And Future Sins

   This starts out fine--though with a thought that I can't believe that anyone will find original: that we've made moral errors before, and that we're undoubtedly making some now, and that we might be judged harshly for it in the future... It also points out that (again, this isn't an original point) thinking about what we might be condemned for in 100 years can give us a slightly original angle on our own possible errors. (The authors fail to mention that there's no guarantee that the moral orthodoxy will be better 100 years hence...) Sadly, it descends into bullshit about open borders and the unreality of free will. It may very well be a covert attempt to defend wacky SJW/neo-PC conclusions by suggesting that, in 100 years, everyone will think that they were right...
   I don't think it's crazy to deny that we have stronger obligations of certain kinds to our countrymen than to others... In fact, it's notoriously uncomfortable to try to defend that view... OTOH, down that road lies the view that we have an obligation not to have any sort of moral or quasi-moral preferences...and that, e.g., even showing any preference for those we love is impermissible... And that view is likely daft... And, since a world with entirely open borders is almost certainly a world in chaos--at least as things stand currently--entirely open borders are not currently a genuine option, morally speaking. Ergo it would be daft to condemn us for it.
   Anyway, if you've never thought about this stuff before, this might be worth a read.

Trevor Noah and Neo-PC Outrage

Jim Norton at Time correctly identifies "what has become the new Golden Rule in American public life":
...to never say anything (or, God forbid, joke about anything) that may be deemed even remotely offensive or upsetting by any segment of the population for any reason.
It is, of course, not that I don't think that we should be nice to people. I think we should. But this shit has gotten way, way out of control. I'm not even necessarily defending all of his tweets. I'm just way beyond fed up with the SJW/neo-PC thought police. They're not wrong about everything...it's very, very difficult to be wrong about everything...but their general moral and intellectual orientation is batshit crazy. And the current prevalence of their illiberal, far-left language policing is, to be honest, just pushing me farther in the other direction, try as I might to avoid that kind of over-reaction...

If You Like Not Being Scum, Root Against Coach K, Who Is...

...well...scum...

Go to hell d00que!

Friday, April 03, 2015

Go Badgers, Go Sparty

Beat those other teams

Thursday, April 02, 2015

Reviving the Fight For the Equal Rights Amendment

Weirdly long for CNN.com...though not particularly good, really...
Does the ERA do anything that the equal protection clause doesn't do? My old Con Law prof used to say that the protections were already built into the 5th and 14th Amendments, ergo that this was a waste of energy.
True or false?
Anybody? Anybody?

Zakariah: Why America's Obsession With STEM Education Is Dangerous

link
   No time to mess with this right now, but a few thoughts to throw on the table. I heard FZ on public radio the other day while I was cleaning $#@%*$%$ bad guano out of the attic. I was practically yelling at the radio... The pro-humanities circle-jerk was revving up to dangerous RPMs, when FZ himself made what I thought was the crucial point:
   The glorification of STEM is largely, but not entirely misguided. The other half of all of this is the denigration of the humanities and many of the social sciences, which are currently seen as (a) bullshit and (b) (consequently) easy. (All the guests were vehemently denying that this was so...) But the humanities and the more humanities-like social sciences have become easier and more filled with bullshit over the last 30 years or so. (I've complained about that so much that I can't believe I hadn't previously seen it as the other half of this particular problem...) FZ did not point out, but I will: this bullshittification of the humanities and social sciences coincided with--and was largely the result of--these disciplines falling in love with a mish-mash of recent continental (mostly French...) philosophical and literary theories: postmodernism, poststructuralism, deconstruction, critical theory, etc. Many of the humanities social sciences are eaten up with that stuff. The mish-mash that has been adopted may or may not be true to the original views...I won't speak to that. But it's certainly lowered the intellectual/scholarly standards of the disciplines afflicted. Instead of serious reasoning and analysis, the mish-mash in question relentlessly pushes an even more confused mish-mash of relativism, nihilism and skepticism, combined with an equally pernicious commitment to extreme leftist politics. These disciplines have a reputation for being easy and full of shit largely because they are (largely) easy and full of shit. (Remember: I'm adding that to what FZ said. He didn't say anything about recent continental philosophy.) FZ pointed out, rightly, that there is nothing inherently easy nor bullshitty about the humanities and social sciences. Rather, all this is a fairly recent development.
   Anyway, there are some thoughts.

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Indiana's "Religious Freedom" Law

I've been busy with house renovations, and we've got no connectivity in the new place as of yet, so this travesty of justice has only been at the periphery of my consciousness.

Epps summarizes:
Of all the state “religious freedom” laws I have read, this new statute hints most strongly that it is there to be used as a means of excluding gays and same-sex couples from accessing employment, housing, and public accommodations on the same terms as other people. True, there is no actual language that says, All businesses wishing to discriminate in employment, housing, and public accommodations on the basis of sexual orientation, please check this “religious objection” box. But, as Henry David Thoreau once wrote, “Some circumstantial evidence is very strong, as when you find a trout in the milk.”
One thing I'll say for Indiana...they're making the rest of us look pretty good by comparison...