Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Scalia makes the case for nationwide marriage equality.

Justice Scalia dissented from the Supreme Court's majority opinion on scrapping the Defense of Marriage Act in a rather interesting way today—He actually started writing the court's opinion scrapping all restrictions on marriage equality. See page 23 of his "Old man yells at cloud"-esque opinion here.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Reason is what is left.

There is a problem with unconstrained human thought that dogmatism is fairly good at correcting over the short run: Sensible, coherent, valid arguments are far more difficult to construct than nonsense, but proper reason is often required in response to bad arguments. The result is that it is easily possible to spend all of one's energy debunking bogus critiques of good works, essentially spinning one's intellectual wheels in an unfathomable quagmire of ignorance or even dishonesty. This is one of the huge benefits of dogmatic thinking- It quashes the spread of heretical ideas and even their formulation in the minds of its subscribers. No lay Catholic need waste time grappling with the intellectual difficulties of salvation and damnation; they already know that the Church is guaranteed to be right.

Those of us who wish to forge ahead into the intellectual frontier are then deprived of the protected status afforded established religions and other doctrines. The result is the production of and response to articles such as "Christopher Hitchens' lies do atheism no favors" by Curtis White. I hesitate to attach adjectives to pieces like this unless they apply to the text as a whole so, while parts may be dishonest or ignorant*, I can't call it anything but depressing. The obviously interested and engaged White is so far off the mark that it enters the realm of things which make the aforementioned unfathomability of the pseudo-intellectual muck readily apparent. From a list of anecdotes as part of his response to Hitchens' so-called anecdotal God Is Not Great, to what seems like an out of hand rejection of the physical manifestation of conscience in the brain**, to a rather obvious straw man argument in which White essentially converts Hitchens' thesis from "religion poisons everything" to "only religion poisons anything".