AAUP Responds on Academic Freedom

Gary Rhoades at AAUP responded to my original post. My own response is below the fold. Dear Mr. Crowther, Apparently patience is not one of your stronger virtues, at least not in this case. If you were really interested in my response, or in the position of the AAUP, you might have had the courtesy to give me a reasonable amount of time to respond to your letter below (which came to me at 3:33p.m. EST today, whereas your posting below was 1:24 p.m today, though the time zone is not posted). Upon returning to my emails late this afternoon, after addressing some other pressing matters earlier in the afternoon, I come to find that you have already posted the Read More ›

How Not to Defend Free Will

Friday in Washington, D.C. The American Enterprise Institute (AEI) hosted an event titled “Genes, Neuroscience, and Free Will.” The panel, which discussed whether new findings in neuroscience and genetics have destroyed our notion of free will, consisted of James Q. Wilson (Pepperdine), David Brooks (New York Times), Charles Murray (AEI), Sally Satel (AEI), and moderator Christina Hoff Sommers (AEI). I won’t bother to record the differing views of the panelists, for their differences were very few and very far between. Essentially, they all argued that we have an innate sense of free will and that findings in genetics and neuroscience have not undermined it because: (1) sure, genes determine behavior, but not 100%; often the environment contributes to our behavior Read More ›

The End of Morality

Recently, David Brooks published a column titled “The End of Philosophy” in The New York Times (April 7, 2009). Brooks, long one of the most thoughtful writers in public life, addresses an ages-old tension over whether reason controls our moral intuitions and passions, or whether moral intuition/feeling is king and reason is only rationalization. In the latter view, Brooks says,

Anti-Evolution Atheists?

The Washington Post‘s Michael Gerson recently wrote: The latest findings of the Pew Forum’s massive and indispensable U.S. Religious Landscape Survey reveal some intriguing confusion among Americans on cosmic issues. About 13 percent of evangelicals, it turns out, don’t believe in a personal God, leading to a shameful waste of golf time on Sunday mornings. And 9 percent of atheists report that they are skeptical of evolution. Are there atheist creationists? Well, there probably aren’t any atheist creationists, although, if Richard Dawkins can be an “Atheist for Jesus,” anything is possible. Yes, these folks may be severely confused (“deluded,” if you prefer). However, perhaps many of these atheists, while not being creationists, are simply skeptical of the Darwinian mechanism. (Gerson Read More ›

Propelling Evolution to Unchallengable Status in Spite of Its Weaknesses

It’s surprising that editorial writers aren’t better educated on the issues they pontificate on. Last weekend it was the New York Times making the claim that there are no weaknesses in modern evolutionary theory, albeit they were likely led astray by the misleading article by Laura Beil. (As an aside, Ms. Beil finally did respond to my question about why she didn’t bother to contact Discovery Institute or Texans for Better Science Education, both of which she attacked in her story. Her response: I did not contact you before the story because I was focusing on the situation here in Texas, and I am not aware that you have any direct involvement. I did not contact Texans for Better Science Read More ›