Res ipsa loquitur

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Analogies and the death of Bin Laden

That's the title of my latest column over at The Catholic Thing. Here's how it begins: N. T. Wright, former Anglican Bishop of Durham, is one of the foremost theologians and biblical scholars in the world. Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity at the University of St. Andrews, his work on the doctrine of justification, controversial among Evangelical Protestants, is in many ways remarkably close to the Catholic view. For this reason, Professor Wright’s work, much to his chagrin, has b … [Read more...]

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Law, Liberty and Virtue – a Conference at Princeton University – 16-17 May 2011

Next week I will be at Princeton University participating in what promises to be an outstanding conference: Law, Liberty and Virtue (May 16-17, 2011). I will present a paper as part of the panel on Tuesday afternoon (May 17), "Revisiting Hadley Arkes’s First Things on its 25th Anniversary." The other panel members include Hadley P. Arkes (Amherst College), Diana J. Schaub (Loyola University Maryland), Michael Uhlmann (Claremont Graduate University) and Robert P. George (Princeton Unive … [Read more...]

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And that the ladder of the law has no top and no bottom: Bob Dylan’s lyrics find their way into many judicial opinions

(HT: Bill Glennen)From the LA Times: On summer nights in the mid-1960s, while black-and-white television crackled elsewhere in his Staten Island home with news of Southern violence and Vietnam, Bobby Lasnik would stretch out in his bedroom to let the righteous soundtrack of the civil rights movement waft into his impressionable teenage soul.Tuned in to WBAI-FM, coming across the water from Manhattan, he heard baleful laments about injustice that he would carry with him for a … [Read more...]

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When conspiracy theories coalesce: the truther-birther-deather.

Consider the rare political conspiracy theorist known as the truther-birther. He not only believes the wrong guy, bin Laden, was killed, but that the wrong guy, President Obama, ordered the killing. And now we can add to this conspiracy theory stew the newly-minted, "deather," who doesn't believe bin Laden was really killed. Thus, you can in theory have someone who believes that the wrong guy issued an order to kill a guy that didn't die for a crime he did not commit. … [Read more...]

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Al Mohler: Killing of bin Laden was just, but not an act of justice. Is this possible?

Albert Mohler, Jr., president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, makes this statement in a recent blog post on the killing of Osama Bin Laden: "The death of bin Laden was fully justified as an act of war, but not as an act of justice. The removal of a credible threat to human life — a clear and present danger to human safety — is fully justified, especially after such an individual has demonstrated not only the will, but the means to effect murder on a massive scale."I'm not sure what to … [Read more...]

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Defending Abortion Philosophically: A Review of David Boonin’s A Defense of Abortion

That is the title of a 2006 article I published in the Journal of Medicine & Philosophy (31: 177-203).  Here's the abstract, as it appears on the article's first page: This article is a critical review of David Boonin’s book, A Defense of Abortion (Cambridge University Press, 2002), a significant contribution to the literature on this subject and arguably the most important monograph on abortion published in the past twenty years. Boonin’s defense of abortion consists almost exclusively of so … [Read more...]

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Deatherism: Donald Trump’s ticket to the White House

2 May 2011An Open Letter to Donald TrumpIt is time to grab the moment, Donald. Recent events have provided you with a wonderful gift that only someone with your abilities and talents can take proper advantage. Now that birtherism is dead (thanks to you, of course), and trutherism is relegated to a few kooky academics, this is the moment of truth for the birth of deatherism, whose working slogan should be, "Where is the death certificate?"  They say Osama Bin Laden is dead. But do we really … [Read more...]

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Taking Theology Seriously: The Status of the Religious Beliefs of Judicial Nominees for the Federal Bench

That's the title of an article I published in 2006 in the Notre Dame Journal of Law, Ethics & Public Policy (vol. 20, pp. 455-471).  Here's how it begins (notes omitted): Nominees to the federal bench, like all citizens, have beliefs.  These beliefs include everything from what they were taught in law school to what they know about history or mathematics or what they may have learned in church or synagogue.  And yet, it is the latter beliefs that are singled out for special scrutiny by the Un … [Read more...]

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Now we know why Donald Trump has so much hair…

He needs it to protect his thin skin. … [Read more...]

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Fr. Robert Barron on Bob Dylan in China

(HT: Dennis Dixon)For more on Dowd and Dylan, see my blog entry here. On Dylan's biblical vision, see my chapter in Bob Dylan & Philosophy: It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Thinking) (Open Court, 2006), "Busy Being Born Again: Bob Dylan's Christian Philosophy" … [Read more...]

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The Court of Disbelief: The Constitution’s Article VI Religious Test Prohibition and the Judiciary’s Religious Motive Analysis.

That is the title of an article I published in 2006 in the Hastings Constitutional Law Quarterly 33.2 & 3, pp. 337-360. I bring this to your attention because I cited it in a recent exchange I had with a friend on my Facebook wall.  Here's how the article begins: In several federal cases concerning whether particular statutes or policies violate the First Amendment’s prohibition of religious establishment, both the United States Supreme Court and other federal courts have rejected the co … [Read more...]

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The Epistemology of Political Correctness

That's the title of an article I published in the October 1994 issue of Public Affairs Quarterly (8.4, pp. 331-340). It is now available online, and you can find it here. It begins this way: On university and college campuses today there is a movement popularly known as "political correctness." Although difficult to define precisely, I think it is fair to say that political correctness refers to a web of interconnected, though not mutually dependent, ideological beliefs that have challenged the … [Read more...]

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The National Day of Reason Doesn’t Have A Prayer

That's the title of my latest column over at The Catholic Thing. It begins this way: May 5, 2011, is the National Day of Prayer. It has been an annual American observance since Congress enacted it in 1952. The law simply states: “The President shall issue each year a proclamation designating the first Thursday in May as a National Day of Prayer on which the people of the United States may turn to God in prayer and meditation at churches, in groups, and as individuals.”Since 2003, secular grou … [Read more...]

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