From The Access Resource Network: Phillip Johnson’s “Daniel Dennett’s Dangerous Idea’

Full piece here.

I’ve found this type of hubris in some quarters:

‘Daniel Dennett’s fertile imagination is captivated by the very dangerous idea that the neo-Darwinian theory of biological evolution should become the basis for what amounts to an established state religion of scientific materialism.’

There are a lot of areas in which religion, libertarianism, and secular liberalism come into conflict, and I don’t think education here in America is any exception:

“Dennett cannot be accused of avoiding the religious liberty issue, or of burying it in tactful circumlocutions. He proposes that theistic religion should continue to exist only in “cultural zoos,” and he says this directly to religious parents:

‘If you insist on teaching your children falsehoods– that the earth is flat, that “Man” is not a product of evolution by natural selection–then you must expect, at the very least, that those of us who have freedom of speech will feel free to describe your teachings as the spreading of falsehoods, and will attempt to demonstrate this to your children at our earliest opportunity. Our future well-being–the well-being of all of us on the planet–depends on the education of our descendants.’

Of course it is not freedom of speech that worries the parents, but the power of atheistic materialists to use public education for indoctrination, while excluding any other view as “religion.”

Our author finishes with:

“Science is a wonderful thing in its place. Because science is so successful in its own territory, however, scientists and their allied philosophers sometimes get bemused by dreams of world conquest. Paul Feyerabend put it best: “Scientists are not content with running their own playpens in accordance with what they regard as the rules of the scientific method, they want to universalize those rules, they want them to become part of society at large, and they use every means at their disposal — argument, propaganda, pressure tactics, intimidation, lobbying — to achieve their aims.” Samuel Johnson gave the best answer to this absurd imperialism. “A cow is a very good animal in the field; but we turn her out of a garden.”

There are always dangers.  Any thoughts and comments are welcome.

Also On This Site: A former Marxist materialist and still quite anti-religious:  Via Youtube: “UC Television-Conversations With History: Christopher Hitchens”

Maybe if you’re defending religion, Nietzsche is a problematic reference: Dinesh D’Souza And Daniel Dennett at Tufts University: Nietzsche’s Prophesy…

Maybe it’s Chomsky’s Idealism?:  The Politics Of Noam Chomsky-The Dangers Of Kantian Transcendental Idealism?

A Few Thoughts On Isaiah Berlin’s “Two Concepts Of Liberty”Harry Jaffa At The Claremont Institute: ‘Leo Strauss, the Bible, and Political Philosophy’

Jesse Prinz argues that morals too, have roots in emotions, and argues that evo-psy/cog-sci should get back to British Empiricism, with some Nietzsche thrown in, among other things-More On Jesse Prinz. A Review Of “The Emotional Construction Of Morals” At Notre DameJesse Prinz Discusses “The Emotional Construction Of Morals” On Bloggingheads. Another Note On Jesse Prinz’s “Constructive Sentimentalism”

Add to Technorati Favorites

From Foreign Policy: ‘Germany’s Age Of Anxiety’

Full post here

Germany has long imported Turks as a source of low-wage labor.  And now:

‘But the third generation of Turks, who came of age in 1980s and 1990s and only knew Germany as a home, began demanding more from the state. When all they seemed to receive in return were welfare payments, discontent rose both among immigrants and among German citizens. Germans resented what they saw as a permanent dependent class; Turks pointed to systemic discrimination and cultural exclusion.’


“Germany is beginning to realize that there is a gap in the party political spectrum to the right of Merkel’s Christian Democrats, but to the left of the virulently undemocratic neo-Nazis. Opinion polls show that a party inspired by Sarrazin’s thesis — a party that would be critical of Islamic expansion in Europe and that seeks to control immigration — could win 15 percent of the vote, thus seriously shaking up the German political system.”

Interesting times.

Also On This Site:  Low European Birth Rates In The NY Times: No Babies?From The Middle East Quarterly Via A & L Daily: Europe’s Shifting Immigration DynamicFrom YouTube: Roger Scruton On Religious Freedom, Islam & Atheism

Why hobble our economy, if it’s so important to integrating new arrivals?: Via The A & L Daily-Interview With Christopher Caldwell At Spiegel OnlineTheodore Dalrymple Still Attacking Multi-Culturalism In Britain

Add to Technorati Favorites

Fareed Zakaria At Time: ‘How To Restore The American Dream’

Full piece here.

Are technology and global competition whittling away the ‘middle-class’?:

“Blinder understands the benefits of free trade but worries that the new wave of offshoring is so big and fast that Western societies will have difficulty adjusting. The crucial distinction for the future, he argues, might be not between highly educated and less educated workers but between those jobs that can be done abroad and those — such as nurse or pilot — that cannot.”

Here are a few of Zakaria’s suggestions (click through for more):

1.  Shifting from consumption to investment (this would be part of his making things again argument, but not things that can be made elsewhere with cheaper overhead and labor…global competition)

2.  Training and Education-On this, it seems to me we have a highly politicized, underperforming educational system.  Look for more politicization and inertia.  The internet will be as important as ever.  The spirit of egalitarianism at its best and worst?

3.  Fiscal Sanity (He suggests getting health-care costs in order, but doesn’t necessarily advocate Obamacare)-For my part, this will be difficult because it requires greater political cohesion, as I don’t think we’ve reached the end of extending freedom for every group (growing an idealism much more comfortable with a big State in its pursuit of justice, equality and fairness and potentially dividing the electorate).   I’m not sure how this will play out, but the impetus for fiscal sanity must come from people and how they balance their own checkbooks.   We need to survive without byzantine rules, a bloated state and protectionism.  Keep it out of the political arena as much as possible to stay nimble. See education.

Addition:  Or has the middle class been co-opted by the American Left, who have all sorts of plans for it?

Also On This Site: Part of Zakaria’s larger project and vision: Repost-Fareed Zakaria BBC Interview: America In Decline?A Shortage Of Skilled American Workers At Microsoft?…Martha Nussbaum and Amartya Sen have plans for America and India, and it involves much more state involvement here in America:  Amartya Sen In The New York Review Of Books: Capitalism Beyond The Crisis

Add to Technorati Favorites

Repost-Steven Weinberg’s Essay ‘On God’ In The NY Times Review Of Books

Full essay here.

It was originally given as part of the Phi Beta Kappa oration at Harvard.

“It has often been noted that the greatest horrors of the twentieth century were perpetrated by regimes—Hitler’s Germany, Stalin’s Russia, Mao’s China—that while rejecting some or all of the teachings of religion, copied characteristics of religion at its worst: “

How many of these ideas have roots in the mystical metaphysics of Hegel is tough to say.  It’s ironic to think that a committed socialist who claims (and indirectly advocates the enforcement of) Godlessness might be carrying more Christian metaphysical baggage than a scientist who might believe in God:

“No one did more than Newton to make it possible to work out thoroughly nontheistic explanations of what we see in the sky, but Newton himself was not in this sense a Newtonian.”

And Weinberg comments:

“So far in my life…I think I have achieved a perfect record of never having changed anyone’s mind.”

Well said.  That’s often a good place to be.

Also Mentioned:  EmersonAl-Ghazali and the Islamic world, Einstein, Darwin, Shakespeare…

Possibly Related On This Site:   Peter Singer Discusses Hegel And Marx,  A Debate: Would We Better Off Without Religion?,  Theodore Dalrymple In The City Journal: Atheism’s Problems the comments section.


From The UK Ministry Of Defence: ‘Why Britain Is In Afghanistan”

Full post here. (sent in by a reader as a refresher)

“Britain’s own security is at risk if we again allow Afghanistan to become a safe haven for terrorists.”

And Spain, and France, and Italy, and Germany.  What is the Obama administration doing to gather European support for operations in Afghanistan?  What are we doing militarily, diplomatically, and on other fronts?

Any links are welcome.

Addition:  From The Guardian:  Pakistani’s intelligence service, the ISI, may have had a role in the Mumbai terror attacks…why?:

“He claims a key motivation for the ISI in aiding the attacks was to bolster militant organisations with strong links to the Pakistani state and security establishment who were being marginalised by more extreme radical groups”

It will be a long haul.

Also On This Site:  From March 27th, 2009 At WhiteHouse.Gov: Remarks By The President On A New Strategy For Afghanistan And PakistanRepost-From Michael Yon: ‘The Battle For Kandahar’From Commonweal: Andrew Bacevich “The War We Can’t Win: Afghanistan And The Limits Of American Power”

Add to Technorati Favorites

Via Youtube: “UC Television-Conversations With History: Christopher Hitchens”

A writer, a polemicist, a war correspondent, quite at home critcizing the abdication of personal responsibility by religious believers and leftists, a former Marxist/Socialist, a secularist, an anti-religionist, a builder of the humanist project upon Enlightenment ideals (especially against fascistic theocracies), and a Briton born of its class structure.

What are some advantages and drawbacks of the humanist project seeking to enshrine ideals assumed to be universal in international legal framework?  Better than what we have?

Mentioned:  Mother Theresa, Isaiah Berlin, The Generation of ’68, Thomas Paine, The Materialist Conception of History, British Conservatism, the end of the British Empire, The International Left.

Also On This Site:  Via YouTube: ‘Christopher Hitchens Vs. Ahmed Younis On CNN (2005)’Christopher Hitchens At Slate: Yale Surrenders

A Few Thoughts On Isaiah Berlin’s “Two Concepts Of Liberty”

The Politics Of Noam Chomsky-The Dangers Of Kantian Transcendental Idealism?Martha Nussbaum In Dissent–Violence On The Left: Nandigram And The Communists Of West Bengal

How does Natural Law Philosophy deal with these problems, and those of knowledge?

Add to Technorati Favorites

From Foreign Policy: ‘Inside Talibanistan’

Full slideshow here.  (Each photos has stats on each group)

A breakdown of the different groups in AfPak who are fighting our military.

Related On This Site: From Foreign Policy: ‘Reading Woodward In Karachi’

From Michael Yon: ‘General Petraeus Letter’Dexter Filkins Book On Afghanistan And Iraq: “The Forever War”Greg Mortenson On Charlie Rose: Afghanistan And PakistanFrom Bloomberg: More Troops To Afghanistan? A Memo From Henry Kissinger To Gerald Ford?

Add to Technorati Favorites

From The Washington Post: ‘D.C. Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee To Announce Resignation Wednesday’

Full piece here (link will be updated, but will not last)

Michelle Rhee will step down.

Also On This Site:  From Reason.Tv: ‘NBC’s Education Summit-Joe Trippi, Michelle Rhee & More’

Robert Samuelson Via Real Clear Politics: ‘Why School Reform Fails’From The Bellevue Reporter-Walter Backstrom’s: ‘Educational Progress And The Liberal Plantation’

Add to Technorati Favorites

Walter Russell Mead At The American Interest Online: ‘Kausismo Or Death: Dems Face Tough Choices Past 2010’

Full piece here.

Mead argues that Democrats, much like Republicans, will have to face more of the structural problems in D.C., and in order to do so, they’ll have to serve the people. Thus, he argues the people are not served by the typical Democratic political interests (unions, special interest groups, the pork in TARP).

‘But in the longer term, the Democrats will have to choose between the public sector union movement and the American people as a whole.  President Obama’s election gave Dems a brief, euphoric moment of hope, but that has long since faded away.’

Comments are worth a read.  Democrats will probably have their own take on their prospects.

Related On This Site: Walter Russell Mead’s New Book On Britain and America..Repost-Lawrence Lessig At Bloggingheads: ‘Fixing Our Broken System?’…….Fareed Zakaria BBC Interview: America In Decline

Anti-union and anti-immigration?-Full video and background on Mickey Kaus here.  How would he stand on free trade and protectionism?

Add to Technorati Favorites