Chris Green reviews The Theology of Dallas Willard: Discovering Protoevangelical Faith by Gary Black.
Gary Gutting interviews Keith DeRose, a professor of philosophy at Yale University.
The Strange Legacy of Theologian Wolfhart Pannenberg by Fred Sanders.
He vehemently defended the Resurrection but denied the Virgin Birth. He was hugely influential but leaves few disciples. What you need to know about the German giant who died this month.
More at CT.
Emily Johnson reviews Righteous Rhetoric: Sex, Speech, and the Politics of Concerned Women for America by Leslie Dorrough Smith.
Europe after Secularisation: What Future has Christianity on the Continent? by Tomas Halik.
In Western Europe, politics and the media are still dominated by the liberal mentality that prevailed among European intellectual elites for most of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and gave rise to various versions of the “theory of secularisation.”
Ronald Bailey reviews This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate by Naomi Klein.
You can browse inside the book here.
How Cops Became Robbers by Jacob Sullum.
Three features of civil forfeiture law and five Supreme Court decisions make it easy for police to take money from motorists.
More at Reason.
Yes, It’s Official, Men Are from Mars and Women from Venus, and Here’s the Science to Prove It by Lewis Wolpert. See here.
The Harry Potter Generation by D.C. McAllister.
It doesn’t matter who raises children as long as they have money and basic parenting skills. That’s the gist of Emily Badger’s article at the Washington Post, “Children with married parents are better off—but marriage isn’t the reason why.”
Badger admits that children raised by “two parents tend to be more successful—at school, in the future labor market, in their own marriages—than children raised by a single mom or dad.” But it’s not because their own parents are raising them, it’s because of economics and parenting skills among the type of people who marry.
Let’s cut to the chase. This is just another attempt to attack the traditional family and undermine the importance of marriage. If all that matters for children “to thrive” (which Badger defines in basically materialistic and economic terms) is decent parenting skills—such as reading to and eating meals with the kids—and a healthy bank account, then most anyone could successfully raise a child. A single dad. Or not a dad. A single mom. Or not. Two men. Two women. How about a nanny? Would that work? Sounds like it.
A glaring omission from Badger’s analysis is the biological, psychological, and spiritual dimension of a child. The researchers she cites—who coldly call marriage a “commitment device”—seem oblivious to what it means to be a complete human being. We don’t come into the world isolated and alone. We are born into a social framework, a family. We are born to two parents—a father and a mother—and this is deeply significant to the well-being of the whole child.
The Death of Adulthood in American Culture by A. O. Scott. See here.
Related: Roger Berkowitz responds here.
Feds Want Prison Time for Dinesh D’Souza by Aleister.
Democrats John Edwards and Jon Corzine couldn’t be reached for comment.
The Documentary Ivory Tower May Spark More Debate over Higher Ed’s Big Problems by Jesse Saffron.
Filmmaker Andrew Rossi is fascinated by creative destruction—a concept that sheds light on how new and innovative technology can disrupt and even topple an entire industry (e.g., Ford’s Model T vs. horse-and-buggy manufacturers).
In 2011, he gained acclaim with the release of Page One: Inside the New York Times, a documentary that focused on how the Digital Age and Internet media have affected the once-unshakeable business model of the nation’s “paper of record.”
With his latest effort, Ivory Tower, Rossi presents a portrait of the financial and existential problems facing public higher education. It premiered at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year and rapidly gained national attention via high-profile reviews in the Chronicle of Higher Education, Business Week, and the Los Angeles Times, among others.
What Ken Burns’ New Film Gets Right—and Wrong—About the Roosevelts by Damon Root. See here.
Slate provides an excerpt from Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies by Nick Bostrom.
A President Surrenders by Walter Russell Mead.
The most disconcerting element in the speech was that even now, six years into the job, President Obama still doesn’t know how to avoid telegraphing weakness even as he seeks to project strength.
The Illusion of Neutrality by Anthony Esolen.
We have all heard what has come to be a liberal dictum, that the State must remain neutral as regards religion or irreligion. One can show fairly easily that the men who wrote our constitution had no such neutrality in mind, given the laws that they and their fellows subsequently passed, their habits of public prayer at meetings, and their common understanding that freedom without virtue, and virtue without piety, where chimeras. To show that that understanding persisted, all one need do is open every textbook for school children published for almost two hundred years; or recall that Catholic immigrants established their own schools not so that their pupils might read the Bible, but so that they might choose which translation they were to read.
Still, there are two more fundamental reasons for rejecting the dictum. One is that it is not possible. The other is that it is not conceivable, even if it were possible. It is a contradiction in terms.
More at PD.
The Crisis in Secular Studies by Jacques Berlinerblau.
Talking imprecisely about secularism is now an American rhetorical tradition. Politicians, policy makers, and journalists routinely deploy the term without really knowing—or caring—what it connotes. This is bad for us and for them, since secularism is germane to so many domestic- and foreign-policy problems. Is it appropriate for an elected official to invoke God in public? Can censorship be justified in deference to the feelings of the faithful? How can nonbelievers be accorded equal rights under the law? Does one country have a moral obligation to assure that there is “religious freedom” in another? What is “religious freedom,” anyway?
The Coup That Failed: How the Near-Sacking of a University President Exposed the Fault Lines of American Higher Education by Talbot Brewer. See here.
What Atheists Can Actually Offer The Right by Rachel Lu.
Some weeks back, Robert Tracinski wrote an essay on “What Atheism Can Offer the Right,” in which he suggested some contributions atheists can make to the political right. Conservatives are known to have a generally friendly relationship with organized religion, but Tracinski believes this fact leaves some openings for conservative atheists to make unique contributions, especially in crafting arguments on the basis of natural (as opposed to revealed) facts, which can appeal to a broader range of audiences than theologically-based arguments. Atheists can especially help the cause, he thinks, by showing conservatism is not hostile to the natural sciences.
I agree atheists can do all of these things. But I don’t agree they are uniquely equipped to do these things. As I argued elsewhere, Tracinski errs in failing to recognize that atheism (that is, the belief there is no God) is a metaphysical stance, just as theism is. That means it is just as relevant (and just as irrelevant) to natural-fact-based arguments as Christianity or Judaism.
Atheists can of course contribute to the natural sciences, and to political or sociological debates. But there’s no reason to think they have an edge on the rest of us. An argument that happens not to mention God is not for that reason “atheistic”; most of the debates that interest Tracinski simply are not metaphysical in nature. Does he really suppose believers have to “switch off” their faith in order to communicate intelligibly on non-theological subjects? Although I don’t believe this was his intention, Tracinski ends up perpetuating the prejudice that religious believers are reality-challenged.