kurt's nightmare

Generally, I post once a week. Topics are randomly selected and depend mostly upon whether it's baseball season or not. Other topics will include sex, politics, old girlfriends, music, and whatever else pops into my little brain. If you'd like to read, or ignore, my blog about China: http://meidabizi.blogspot.com/

Location: Dayton, OH, Heard & McDonald Islands

I'm an Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Dayton. I represent no one but myself, and barely do that. I'm here mostly by accident.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Why Monotheism Fails

Monday, January 26, 2009


An update from the science wars—well, actually the war is between those who get to claim they are doing science and those who, while claiming to do so, aren't.

The money quote?

Public opinion surveys consistently have shown that Americans are deeply divided over evolution. The most recent Gallup poll on the issue, in June 2007 , found that 49 percent of those surveyed said they believed in evolution and 48 percent said they didn't. Those percentages have stayed almost even for at least 25 years.
News story from Yahoo!

I'd like to say this is hard to believe, but it is all too easy to believe. This, to my mind, is a scathing indictment—as if we need another—of our educational system.

It's been awhile since this there has been much doubt about the basic outlines of evolution—descent with modification—and talking to actual biologists (with the exception of Michael Behe) indicate that it functions as an assumption of doing biology. All kinds of biology. One might as well have a poll about trigonometry; if 48% of Americans said they "didn't believe" in it, would anyone think that working mathemeticians and their views would be relevant?

I love it when someone who rejects evolutionary theory, yet flies 1000 miles, drives to a hotel, flips on the lights and the TV, then hooks up a laptop to write up more objections to evolution, because it isn't a science.

Anyone reading this probably thinks I'm wasting my time on this issue. I probably agree with them.

66% of Republicans, according the poll cited, don't "believe" in evolution. (Imagine someone asking "Do you believe in gravity?" [The opposing view, my wife Robyn would say, is the ever-popular theory, not taught enough in public schools, of "intelligent falling."])

Yet Obama got 52% of the vote.

Hence, the miracle.

Monday, January 05, 2009


Anyone who dares to speak about what is currently going on in Gaza is bound to be attacked. As a Zionist, or "ultra-Zionist," defending Israeli state-terrorism, or as in favor of Islamic terrorism and attacking innocent Israeli citizens. Perhaps that's the reason that the "main stream media" (and most of the rest of the media, as well as our brave politicians) simply say things like "it's a tragedy." "Damn." "Wish there was something we could do."

The current knucklehead-in-chief, who expressed very little interest in furthering a Middle East peace settlement for most of his two terms, now simply says "It's Hamas's fault." Now there's political insight, backed up with rigorous historical and political analysis.

To say that the invasion of Gaza might be immoral—if not illegal (see below)—is not to say "I think more Jewish kindergartens should be bombed." To say that Hamas shouldn't be sending rockets into areas populated by civilians is not to say "There are no Palestinians, and if there were, they aren't really human beings."

It's easier to ignore, caricature, or simply adopt the status quo ante (which, I fear, is the track Obama has adopted). The status quo ante might look like a democracy surrounded by terrorist-loving Muslims who hate Jews and hate peace. Or the status quo ante might look like a country that receives annually huge sums, public and private, from the US, and pits one group of people using tunnels to get fuel against another group that has F-16s and nuclear weapons.

I won't make any calls here, because a) such calls are pointless b) I'm no expert and c) I don't like getting called a Judeophobe racist or a Judeophile racist any more than the next person.

However, for those who are interested, I've given some links below that provide a perspective that is rarely seen in the "mainstream media" and will be virtually unmentioned on any "respectable" television or radio outlet (and I'll stretch the notion of "respectable" to the extent of including the FOX News Channel).

From CounterPunch, reliably predictible in its perspective, but valuable, in its own way, as a critique of the Likudniks and their approach:

Paul Craig Roberts
A Palestinian perspective (also from CounterPunch)


An interesting discussion (including useful responses) on the
legal issues involved in the invasion of Gaza

Middle East Online

An earlier essay from Harper's

Michael Lerner's perspective

A Debate on the Invasion from "Democracy Now!"

I'll be interested in your comments.

As a pre-emptive strategy, I'm guessing I might get some that say

1) "Why do you hate Israel?" (I don't, and hasten to add that I distinguish the activities of a state from that state's religious affiliation, even when the two are, for historical reasons that are profoundly distressing, as closely connected as they are in Israel. That is, criticizing Israel is not, ipso facto, anti-Semitic. Really.)


2) "Where are the articles providing the perspective defending Israel's right to self-defense?" (No one I know of denies that right—except the lunatic fringe, in whom I'm not interested —but to interpret what is going on as simply a sudden, isolated event, responding to unprovoked rocket attacks from Hamas, is a) a bit naïve and b) precisely what is stated in many articles one can find much more easily in the US media.)