Climate and Epistemology

Blog neighbor and friend The Jewish Atheist has a quiz on climate. Before tendering my response, I thought first to offer a few comments on method. He asks:

please assign what chance (0% – 100%) you think that each of the following is true

For me (personally), this is a strange way of putting things. My feeling is that rarely do people assign probabilities in a useful way to their beliefs and that when they do those methods although they may take an appearance of quantitative rigor, rarely if ever possess such. It seems to me to more psychologically accurate to express a thing as having only really one of three possibilities:

believed, disbelieved, or unknown

How readily one might switch from a thing believed to disbelieved is a matter of temperment and training. In the programming language SQL, there is a notion of beginning a query/set of queries and at the end, performing a “commit” or “rollback”. In reading a new text, or exploring a new idea (or in fact just reading an essay) a useful exercise is to accept the premises of the theory or idea presented. Then examine the consequences in full faith with the author. At the end, judge the result and either “commit” and accept the hypothesis, premise and conclusion or reject (rollback) to your prior views.

In that light, I’m going to examine (and then discuss) the questions in turn asked, but alas, won’t assign probabilities, just affirm, deny or state whether a thing is unknown … below the fold. Continue reading →

Things Related

Two links on things on which I’ve recently written:

Al Mohler on marriage and virginity … on a critic of marraige:

The most interesting part of Willis-Aronowitz’s critique is her assessment that feminism has thus far failed in a central task — that of providing a genuine alternative to marriage.  Citing feminist theorist Ariel Levy, she argues:

The culture has not yet carved out a space for women to indulge their own fantasies rather than to fulfill those of men. Feminism has not finished its job; a version of nonmushy, nonmarital sex that makes women feel good about themselves is still hard to achieve.

On closer analysis, it is the new movements’ focus on marriage that is her real concern.  How fascinating that she would indict feminism for its failure — for now — to create “a version of nonmushy, nonmarital sex that makes women feel good about themselves.”

And … on Solzhenitsyn, specifically the Gulag Archipelago, which I skimmed decades ago … but I’ve been looking at Sozhenitsyn a lot lately. But has a post on reading volume 1 and 2.

Fame Fortune And A Contrary Thought

Joe Carter made a big splash in the god-blog corner of the blogging universe with his top 100 list at Evangelical Outpost.  He is careful to note:

This is not a list of the “best Christian blogs” (whatever that might mean) but rather the top 100 blogs that I have found to be the most convicting, enlightening, frustrating, illuminating, maddening, stimulating, right-on and/or wrongheaded by Christians expressing a Christian worldview.

My first thought was one of amazement and surprise to find myself so high on his list for a variety of reasons including, Joe is the reason and inspiration for my blogging, he writes so well (compared to me), and the company in which I am placed I regard so highly.

Then … I realized that’s the wrong way to look at this sort of list. This list is important, but blogging is a community not solo effort unlike other types of media. Christianity is a community. We should instead be considering what blogs were not on Joe’s list and how, if he does this effort again, how might we make it harder and harder not to make the list of “can’t miss” blogs larger and larger. How can we encourage those “further down” on the list by comment, inclusion, encouragement and discussion to become better at blogging.

So I have two suggestions which I am going to undertake and I welcome any readers to join in.

  1.  Add or make sure are on included in my RSS reader every one of the 102 blogs listed.
  2. Pick five of those blogs I’ve never read (or rarely read). Comment on their blog once or twice a week for a few months. Include myself in their dialog and conversation. Become a good neighbor.

A Curious Parallel

Reading this post, (which is well worth the read courtesy of Jason Kuznicki), two thoughts struck me. First this parallel construction constrast.

  • Same sex attraction/marriage proponents hold that their actions are not a choice, but that those of their opposition is.
  • Same sex attraction/marriage opponents hold that their actions are not a choice, but that those of their opposition is.

More explicitly, same-sex attraction is held by (for example Mr Kuznicki in the above) notes:

I’ll just note that both of my parents are alive and well, that they have always had a happy marriage, and that I grew up in a home that was stable, loving, deeply religious, drug-free, abuse-free, and financially secure. And I turned out 100% gay. Not “confused” gay, or kinda gay. Really, totally gay.

That is it is not “choice” it is nature/nurture or some combination of the above (and by “nurture” I mean not necessarily intentional nurture but all environmental factors in one’s development). The question to ask is, if that is not a choice, is not mutable or changeable … why would he assume that all those who find homosexuality distasteful or wrong do so “by choice”?

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Eight Random Things

Casting out Nines, after putting down gaussian fields for a bit, tagged me with the “8 random things meme”. The rules:

  1. Let others know who tagged you.
  2. Players post 8 random facts about themselves.
  3. Those who are tagged should post these rules with their 8 facts.
  4. Players should tag 8 other people and notify them they have been tagged.

So, below the fold, 8 random, hopefully somewhat quirky facts about me, not yet revealed. Starting with the 8 random facts.

  1. When I was 10 or so running amuck in the forest “exploring” with a friend just outside of Pennington NJ where I grew up. We discovered a forest fire … well actually a brushfire in a small woods. We ran home, called the the fire department and returned to help the men “find the deep pools” in the small stream nearby.
  2. In my 1st year of college (U of Chicago) intending to major in Physics, Math was my favorite subject. My father convinced me to stay in Physics. I hope not to do the same “for” my kids.
  3. I played trumpet (classical) from the fifth grade through my third year in college. Now all I do (musically) is sing.
  4. When I started college, during that year (1980) John Lennon was killed and I didn’t know who he was at the time.
  5. I do now know who Mr Lennon was but I do dislike the Beatles music.
  6. I was a Boy Scout, even getting to Eagle Scout. I haven’t made contact with scouting in any way though since college … and now I’m raising girls.
  7. Asian is my favorite cuisine.
  8. I’ve only been to about two or three rock concerts in my life. My first was to see Thomas Dolby at Auditorium Theater in the early 80s. She Blinded Me With Science and all that.

Then the 8 taggees.

  1. Jason Kuznicki at Positive Liberty.
  2. Matthew Anderson at Mere Orthodoxy.
  3. Jim Anderson at decorabilia.
  4. The Jewish Atheist.
  5. Henry Neufeld.
  6. Anne at Heart, Mind, Soul and Strength.
  7. Minerva.
  8. Bonnie at Intellectuelle.

On Time

First a remark somewhat off the usual topic. Post injury (hamstring sprain), I’ve been “riding” indoors a lot for recovery and exercise. Via Netflix, I’ve begun watching Dr Who (Season 2 of the “new” release). I thought the episode “The Girl in the Fireplace” one of the best of the series (spoilers following the link, it’s a synopsis of the episode).

Jason Kuznicki at Positive Liberty remarks on new predicctions of when the end will begin, or “happen”.

Christian notions of the eschaton, or end is that it accompanies theosis and reuniting Creation with God. God exists out of time, so when the eschaton “occurs” is very likely to be an event which is not an “event” localizable or even definable within time in any human understanding of that notion.  So “predicting” it will happen at any particular time or date is quite a heretical notion.

Gadamer: Truth and Method
A Teaser

Next week, at Verbal Vortex,  I hope to start with the help of a few friends out there to begin reading and discussing Gadamer’s book, Truth And Method. From the introduction (here he begins starts by introducing his topic, which is hermeneutics that is on the extraction of meaning from text):

Given the dominance of modern science in the philosophical elucidation and justification of the concept of knowledge and the concept of truth, this question [ed: the question of what kinds of knowledge and truth can be obtained by hermenuetical methods] does not appear legitimate. Yet it is unavoidable, even within the sciences. The phenomenon of understanding not only pervades all human relations to the world. It also has an independent validity within science, and it resists any attempt to reinterpret it in terms of scientific method. The following investigations start with the resistance in modern science itself to the universal claim of scientific method. They are concerned to seek the experience of truth that transcends the domain of scientific method wherever that experience is to be found, and to inquire into its legitimacy. Hence the human sciences are connected to modes of experience that lie outside science: with the experiences of philosophy, of art, and of history itself. These are all modes of experience in which a truth is communicated that cannot be verified by the methodological means proper to science.

[… a paragraph on the experience of philosophy elided …]

The same thing is true of the experience of art. Here the scholarly research pursued by the “science of art” is aware from the start that it can neither replace nor surpass the experience of art. The fact that through a work of art a truth is experienced that we cannot attain in any other way constitutes the philosophic importance of art, which asserts itself against all attempts to rationalize it away. Hence, together with the experience of philosophy, the experience of art is the most insistent admonition to scientific consciousness to acknowledge its own limits.  [note: emphasis mine]

A short commentary on this below the fold.

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Visiting … or Chiding Mr Brayton

Dispatches from the Culture Wars: Okay, It’s Not All Bad

I do not understand who anyone who considers themselves a liberal can justify such a ruling. How can a liberal make case that for two months of the year, no advocacy organization can try and convince their fellow citizens to agree with them by airing commercials advocating their position (just as I wondered how on earth the liberal justices could justify upholding the right of big corporations to take property, primarily from lower income people, and use it for their own profit in Kelo). I have a hard time imagining ideas less liberal than those.

What? Mr Brayton has a “a hard time imagining ideas less liberal” … this is really just a statement that he has little notion of what liberals value. That is to say by what metrics and values do progressives judge the righteousness of various statutes and rulings. And by the by, I think “progressive” is the term they prefer to call themselves these days. There is the alternative perhaps of his using the rhetorical technique of deliberate disengenuity?

Mr Brayton is a self-described Libertarian. He most values liberty and in that case feels the primary purpose of government is protecting our liberties. Progressives (liberals?) don’t and neither do conservatives. They have other visions of what the primary purpose of government is and what it needs to accomplish those goals. In order to evaluate why a liberal might support that … you could, ya’ know, read what they write or even more scary … ask one. There are probably more than two “progressive” people out there that support McCain/Feingold.

It seems to me there are two exercises which are of possible value here, neither of which was performed here. The first is to judge the behavior of liberals (in this case judges) against their own criteria, i.e., how this ruling matches up against the criteria used by progressives when evaluating whether a law is good and a clue that you’re not doing this are statements like “I do not understand how anyone …” The second exercise one can do is the harder meta-ethical work and try discover ways of external criteria for comparing the different schools. But, the third option, chosen by Mr Brayton, of judging someone operating on different princples by criteria foreign to their analysis … is, well, silly or at best white noise to calm the choir.

Discussions of Past Eras

Jason Kuznicki and Timothy Sandefur offer a defense of Libertarianism against a detractor who cites the 19th century example from an earlier post as an example of error. The detractor (Matt Zeitlin) critiques this passage of Mr Kuznicki’s in this essay (from June 1).

Indeed, one of the book’s others strengths is that it gets the nineteenth century just about entirely right: In its first chapter, it addresses the old canard about the Gilded Age as the great American experiment with laissez-faire. Put simply, it wasn’t. The great majority of people were miserable, and they were miserable from both economic realities (you have to make wealth before you can have it) and from political inequality (Jim Crow and the legal inequality of women, for starters). The few who got rich mostly did it by squeezing favors out of the government or by engaging in outright fraud against their customers. Libertopia this isn’t.

Yet the stereotype remains that the nineteenth century was the age of unbridled capitalism.

Mr Zeitlin’s critique, in my (admittedly un- or at best self-tutored) impression is I think wrong. But … not for the reasons that Mr Kuznicki claims they are wrong. Mr Zeitlin holds that power in the 19th century shifted from being used for the rich for their enrichment to one being used (by progressives) by essentially the liberal socialists (my term).

Mr Kuznicki’s rebuttal (reinforced by further examples by Mr Sandefur) to Mr Zeitlen is to cite notion that Libertarians have been consistent in their position regarding the application of state power whereas the liberal has in fact not. They hold the the thesis that the liberals are inconsistent in their application of power, from the Libertarian perspective, in that they don’t really cite injustice as the reason for disputing the application of power, e.g., Kelo but that they think it should applied differently.

Below the fold, I’m going to expand on what I mean by noting that Mr Zeitlen and Mr Kuznicki miss out one the “big action” occurring with regard to personal freedoms regarding economics and government, I’ll also take the opportunity to try to engage the Positive Liberty crew to explain Libertarianism a little more by pointing out what I think is missing in it, and I’m going respond to a uncharitable dig by Mr Sandefur regarding Conservativism.

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Dumb Down Dere

Stupdity en masse noted at Chicago Boyz

A summary:

Read the whole thing, the article is well worth the time. Llosa describes the various species of predatory socialists who rule some key countries in South America and goes on to argue that there currently is a major conflict between pro-Western forces and those who would like to keep it on its present course. The negative influence of European and American intellectuals could well make it impossible to overcome the ‘Latin American Idiot’ and so finally get over economic stagnation and the subsequent, widespread lack of trust in democratic institutions.

A New Thing

An experiment in my blogging, in an direct aping of Mr Reynolds and his magnificent blog, I will try instead of the collective “morning linkage” during the day, popping in with things seen.

Emille Durkheim in the early part of the 20th century proposed that religion was a construction of man’s. Mircea Eliade responded eloquently. This is exchange is recounted at Theology of the Body.

Ah … For Simpler Times

Back in the day’s of my youth, global politics were highly polarized between the NATO and Soviet blocs. Back then the bad guys wore uniforms and had funny accents.

Today instead, … I worship with them. 🙂

Today, Mr Kuznicki also points out, things have gotten far more complicated. Fortunately, the MSM is waning and we have a multifarous group of bloggers (here’s a good example) to help us navigate.

Shaaa whoo

I’m not the only person blogging his naivete. Mr Schraub notes “the solution” for prison rape … better administration. Golly, that’s easy. So, do you or anyone you know want the job? No? Hmmm … perchance finding good administrators to go into the correctional field in the first place is hard to do, ya think?

Advice from the Gallery

David Schruab, of the Debate Link, writes about myths regarding pregnancy and marraige choices and notions held by inner city Black women. His final sentence however, is a tad dishonest. Read the rest of the post though, it’s well worth it. He concludes:

Lecturing them about the evils of not being married when they have a kid, when the immediate option to marry might not be to the most attractive candidate, is both patronizing and misguided.

Which is a barb mainly aimed at those occupying the right (strawmen or not). However this iis somewhat weakened when you realize that he has already pointed out ways in which the left also has been patronizing and misguided

A lot of the time we argue for abortion rights as if we were doing so on behalf of poor women; we need to realize that many poor women are not themselves pro-choice, and that if we really want to advocate for them, we should start by listening to what they have to say.

Might it have not been better to conclude that

Right and left both might be well served to take note that their stock positions are both patronizing and misguided. Instead of assuming that the Black inner-city women are not intelligent agents who are making the best decision they can in their local environment and that if either side wishes to assit them in modifiying their environment so that the logical and best decision they want to make is also the one that we, high on our elevated horses, might wish they’d make. Whether that be either the slaughter of the innocents (on the one side) or loving two parent fecund families (on the other).

Ok ok, now my last sentence is unfair. I leave it as an exercise for the reader to patch up the first half of that sentence.

PS. David, I think comments should work better now. Email me if it doesn’t and if the blog presentation doesn’t work on the main page, let me know what OS and browser you’re using.

Choices and Choices

Jim Anderson at Decorabilia considers the multiplicity of choices we make each day. Now some of our discussions would argue that as beings driven by deterministic processes we cannot make choices at all. However, be that as it may, we certainly have the perception that we make choices. But among those myriad choices some of them are “lighter” than others. That is, some of those choices have obvious moral or ethical freight, while others don’t.

Augustine in The City of God argues (indirectly if memory serves) that those choices we make are essentially worship. That those choices demonstrate the god(s) (or probably less often God)  to whom we truly offer ourselves. So, consider those choices in your day for another reason, not just a literay counterfactual exercise, but to ponder what sort of pantheon you set for yourself on the altar of your life.

Snippit Sunday: Atheists Hypocrisy

Atheists, all too often it seems, in their discussions of religion misrepresent it very badly in their discussions (case in point, Mr Wall at Res Ipsa Loquitur). Given that these individuals are almost always sticklers about accuracy on any number of other issues with which hold themselves, it seems odd that they are so fast and loose with misrepresenting religious belief. In Mr Wall’s example, he caricaturized God with the acronym, “BIFITS”. Given that very few modern religions are actually of a primitive animist nature, this characterization is … well odd. This attitude, of insisting on accuracy of terminology and meaning in everything but religion strikes me as hypocritical.

Now, the fact that this is not infrequently done is not my question (or point). Blogging is ripe with examples of people exposing their ignorance publicly, heck I do it quite frequently on issues of public policy for example. Ignorance is not the issue. The problem as I see it is the unwillingness to correct their error when they are wildly off-base. Mr Wall, I would venture, probably is aware that Christianity is not an animistic religion, yet he caricaturized it as such.

Now there is almost certainly points at which an Atheist would like have issues with the beliefs of the Christian. Wouldn’t it be better to address real live points of disagreement or disbelief, instead of displaying a pre-school level of understanding of what the Christian God is believed to be?

A Reply to a Reply on the Habeas Thing

I posted a comment this morning but it seems to have been lost. So I’m going to do it here, were I feel less likely to lose 15 minutes of typing. This is basically and extended comment to this post at the Debate Link.

It appears that I didn’t locate the “correct” Geneva convention, because the articles you cite are not the same as the document I linked (and found). If you have a link to an online copy that you are using, I’d appreciate it.
I have now found the full document
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Genevoid Confusion

David Schraub at the Debate Link pulls what is becoming a standard ploy for the left, that is, to complain about a thing without offering any reasonable alternative. It is always easy to complain about anything, witness the career of Mr Thomas Paine. But as John Adams pointed out, building something up is harder to do. And more to the point, without the building up, we have nothing.
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Problematic Punditry

Jim Anderson at Decorabilia writes a post which begs a response (and gives me an easy topic for the evening … thanks!). He asks if “God is reasonable” … the quick apophatic rejoineder might be that we do not say that God is reasonable, for that would limit God to a human understanding of reasonableness (this is taken by analogy with the apophatic description of God, wherin we do not say God is good but instead God is not evil). Perhaps the alternative apophatic description countering God is reasonable would be that God is not capricious or random (does not throw dice?). More comments below the fold.
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Snapping Dromedary Vertebrae

Professor Bainbridge a conservative affirumed non-Bush partisan thinks that

Barnes said that Bush told him capturing bin Laden is “not a top priority use of American resources.

Mr Bainbridge feels that if he hadn’t already dropped his support for the President that this news would do it. In a comment, I remarked that this might imply that …

Possibly as Bush reads Tolstoy? Part of Tolstoy’s thesis in War and Peace was that men don’t shape events, that Napoleon was not in the drivers seat but that larger events thrust men in onto the world stage.

It depends on if you view al-Qaeda and the Islamic extremist/fascist movement as a Lernean Hydra, in which case killing Bin Laden is not the priority in the war. If it’s a “cult of personality” then it is. It seems to me that difference is one to which intelligent people might disagree not “break camel’s backs over” however.

Now, my guess is that few on the left would imagine the President as having read War and Peace. Remember though he got a Bachelor’s at Yale in 1968. I don’t know how “Great Books” and Yale relate, but I’d hazard a guess that it’d be hard not to have read a passible fraction of the Canon to get a degree in those days (possibly even now). And even if he hasn’t, how about his advisors? How unlikely is it that a non-heroic model of history is not out of place in an Administration that tends not to depend on the particular expertise of the Executive but on a reliance on his judgement of the qualities of those with which he surrounds himself.

Publick Liberty Lost

In Albion’s Seed by David Hackett Fischer we find that the New England/Puritan’s when hearing the word “liberty” had four meanings which they commonly associated with that word. Publick Liberty is the one most likely to have been associated, for example, with the Declaration’s Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. But of the four folkways established by Mr Fischer (being Puritan New England, Virginian Plantation, Delaware Valley Quakers, and the Backcountry) two of these had ideas of liberty now lost. And, today we find David Darlington at In the Agora regretting that loss, but perhaps not being aware of it.
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(post) Modern Warfare

The conflict between the Hezb and the Israeli’s, as graphically pointed out by Shannon Love at Chicago Boyz is very small, but the symbolism plays very loud. Exaggeration seems the role of all warfare these days, following the MSM overplaying their hand on almost all fronts in Iraq. 2500 killed, while bad, in warfare is in the recent two centuries makes this basically a casualty free war if we go by past generations accounting of battlefield losses. Simiilarly casualities, unless you are as innumerate as the MSM in the Hezb/Israeli conflict are also very low. However, move a dozen or so hundreds of soldeirs around (and a few hundred reporters) and we can have war which symbolically looms far larger than it does “in truth”. One question might be, is this an improvement. On the one hand, less people die and less lives are disrupted. On the other hand, it runs the risk of not being really taken seriously.

Maybe the best “solution” to this Hezb/Israeli conflict is to give it the amount of attention, media and otherwise, that it deserves … kinda fourth page stuff, eh?

What I Said

Ed Darrel was kind enough to write a response to my “quibble” of his contribution to a discussion on educatin. My previous post is here, his is here. his original post was here. In his second essay, Mr Darrell perhaps has misunderstood my essay … and we have a disagreement running as well over the value of education in America in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.
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Quick Note

Added some to the blog roll today. Take note, and visit (and add to you RSS feedreader/engine). Re Ipsa Loquitur, Classical Values, Millard Fillmores Bathtub, and First Things blog On The Square. Alas, they are all probably more worthwhile spending your time reading than my blog, but … check them out and don’t forget where to check back even so.

Also, a quote from On The Square worth sharing:

A friend asks if I know the difference between a saint and a martyr: A saint is someone who radiates goodness and bears no faults. A martyr is someone who lives with a saint.


TYNGT #7: Alas and Alack Mr Brayton

Some weeks ago, Ed Brayton (for example here) and I had a discussion about the authors and the Declaration about what “liberty” might have meant given that the different “folkways” of America had vastly different interpretations of what liberty meant. I questioned what Jefferson (and the others in the committees) might have had in mind in that document given that varied audience. Where the authors congnizent of that diversity of ideas which was reprented by that word at the time? Mr Brayton argued that Mr Jefferson (and Mr Adams) were influenced by Locke and from his philosophies we should turn in the practice of exegesis in this matter. However … it appears in Mr Jefferson’s words lead one to find that Mr Brayton might be mistaken.
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Remembering Huxley

Jim Anderson at Decorabilia pointed out recently a push for a drug which might turn on/off drunkeness. He thinks it’s ironic that people might fight to keep it away. His straw man argument for why is that “somewhere someone might be enjoying themselves” is the reason why they might fight such a “development”. Just short time later, he points out a blog of note by Peter Wall and look what we find at Res Ipsa Loquitur. Golly, what is this “we hate Aldous Huxley Day?”

In a short span of synchronicity, we find Mr Anderson extolling soma and Mr Wall defending the bokanovsky process? Can nobody remember this short book? Might Mssrs Wall and Anderson think the shallow pneumatic culture of Mr Huxley’s distopia be instead a utopian vision. Might soma (a drug providing bliss sans side effects) have a deleterious effect on human happiness and flourishing? As to Mr Wall, if you don’t find the “bottling”/alpha/beta/gamma “lifestyle” repellent, perhaps you will never understand arguments defending the embryo from holding a status as different from your dinner steak or the guppy in a tank.


Like back seat driving, is always after the fact, accurate, and just a tad … well … thoughtless. And to call the MidEast crisis WWIII at this point is a bit premature. Shame on Mr Bernstein at Volokh.

On the other hand, I might being unfair as well, as he might be doing less of back/seat criticism (asking why Reagan didn’t) but bringing up a near historical question of “why?” for pedagogic instead of critical reasons.


Ed Brayton at Dispatches from the Culture Wars is not a Christian. Why? Well, he explains. And if I understand him rightly, Mr Brayton is not a Christian basically because he (who I gather is basically fairly liberal (or at least libertarian) on social issues) can’t see being a Christian if he can’t be extremely conservative theologically. It’s conservative (strict literal inerrancy and all) theology or the highway.

Go figger.


David Schraub is wrong (and I guess by extension so is Fernando Teson), but only half so in his recent post at The Debate Link. In fact, clues to being “right” in this matter might be found just a tad earlier on his own blog. If I read him rightly Mr Schraub is aghast at the idea that rational discourse might by it’s very principles, fail. Rational discourse doesn’t always fail and it doesn’t always succeed. In the recent book I’ve been discussing (and might I add highly recommended by me), Albion’s Seed: Four British Folkways in America one can extract some information relevant to this thesis. These four folkways, the Puritan New England, the stratified Virginia plantation culture, the Quaker Delaware Valley, and the cantankerous backwoods clans all had very different ideas about virtually everything important in life. Many of those differences have been smoothed over. Some, for example the stratification and heirarchy (which included slavery) took a war. Some, like the sharp religious differences between these groups (Quaker and Puritan’s clashed in armed conflict in the 18th century at times) were smoothed over by … rational discourse and breaking barriers.

In a previous post, which I can’t seem to dig up, Mr Schraub intimated that generalizations often fail to grab the essential details and that when you examine things more closely you find that history and events are far more complicated then we pretend. “Discourse fails” likewise is a similar error. Sometimes discussion succeeds, sometimes it doesn’t. Why we needed Civil War over differences of Virginian concepts of birthright and class and Quaker egalitarian ideals, but that peaceful discourse smoothed over our four different conceptions of Liberty or our religious differences is a interesting question. As our current left/right divide seems to widen, it might behoove us to understand what it is about ideas can be solved by discourse … and those which cannot.