Archives for September, 2009

Again with literary truth

I’ve gotten distracted recently from a couple of topics I desperately want to return to. A look at Jason Rosenhouse’s sensitive and personal essay on “Ways of Knowing” will have to wait a bit longer, because I finally got ahold of Erich Auerbach’s Mimesis, a copy I’ve had since high school and which I haven’t…

Shorter Denyse O’Leary

Darwinism and popular culture: Darwinists resort to whining when they are not popular (Also, this just in, water runs downhill): In responding to a news item from two weeks ago, I’ll assume Creation still has gotten a distributor. Therefore it’s crummy and boring and will never get a distributor, as it did last week. With…

Crack and polling

Last Friday I made some remarks about polling and evolution and atheism that got some knickers in twists. To summarize: Kevin Padian was asked to comment on a stupid stunt by Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron, who are passing out copies of the Origin of Species along with a foreword that alleges Darwin caused the…

There really is a war on science

FDA Admits Politics Trumped Science on Knee Device: For the first time, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has publicly admitted that politics has trumped science. The agency acknowledged yesterday that it approved a device to help with knee-replacement surgeries—a device the agency’s own scientists said often failed—only after it received pressure from a cohort…

On cracks

Jerry Coyne, 9/21/2009: Kudos to the National Center for Science Education for putting up these videos [of Texas science standards hearings], and for their tenacious defense of evolution in Texas. Thank you, Jerry. Since I shot those videos, and was present in Texas as part of that defense, I thought I was off Coyne’s shitlist,…

Attention nerds

I’ve finally gotten around to reading through hundreds of comments on my posts about truth claims and ways of knowing and whatnot, and posted replies to as many commenters as I could manage (hopefully touching on themes raised by some commenters I didn’t respond to by name). I’ll be monitoring those threads more closely now,…

On baggage fees

Nicholas Beaudrot defends the (second) bag fee against Atrios’s opposition to any fees, and against Matt Yglesias’s defense of all fees for checked luggage. Atrios rightly notes that the fees are part and parcel of the generally crappy air travel experience, Matt argues that the fees discourage excessive packing, thereby reducing the carbon footprint of…

Brief thoughts on analogies

Apologies for the unusually crappy blogging this week. With the arrival of a replacement from my lost/stolen laptop, I should catch up on the 12,000 unread items in NetNewsWire soon, and return to normal crappy blogging. In any event, Chad Orzel replies to last week’s ruckus over “ways of knowing” by observing that “Using Analogies…

A brief note on analogies

Several commenters on earlier posts have suggested that I am claiming that religious truth claims are the same as literary truth claims. I understand how that misunderstanding could be reached, but it is a misunderstanding. I think that religious truth claims would include aspects of literary truth claims (the Bible surely uses metaphor and other…

Defining terms

As promised, I’ve put a few tentative definitions below the fold, in hopes of clarifying questions in comment threads here and elsewhere. These definitions represent a starting point, not gospel. I’m not a philosopher, I haven’t spent much time reading epistemology, and I may mangle things badly. If so, polite critique will lead to productive…