Keith Parsons

Constitutional Fundamentalists

Right-wing columnist Marc A. Thiessen recently wrote an op/ed claiming that “liberal presidents tend to nominate judicial activists who legislate from the bench and shape the law to reach their preferred outcomes” (Concerning “Chief Justice is incorrect on both counts,” by Marc A. Thiessen, The Houston Chronicle, 11/26, p. A17). Further, “These liberal judges hold that Constitutional Fundamentalists

Belief, Unbelief, and Rationality

In his classic essay “The Ethics of Belief,” mathematical and philosophical wunderkind W.K. Clifford (1845-1879) famously made rationality a branch of ethics. A belief is rational when we have discharged all of our epistemic duties in forming that belief and are thereby within our epistemic rights in holding it. Your epistemic duty is to carefully Belief, Unbelief, and Rationality

Does Rhetoric Lead to Violence?

I have been away from Secular Outpost for about six months due to a very heavy teaching schedule and publishing commitments. However, recent events compel me to come back and say some things. The morning of 10/31/18 on NPR’s 1A program with Joshua Johnson they were discussing the question of whether overheated rhetoric can lead Does Rhetoric Lead to Violence?

Conservative Pundit Ross Douthat Takes on Steven Pinker’s New Book

William F. Buckley Jr. died ten years ago last week. For decades, his polysyllabic punditry set the gold standard for conservative controversialists. As a true-blue liberal, I generally disagreed with him, often passionately, but I always admired and appreciated his trenchant intelligence. He might have described his own style as “Often mordant; occasionally vituperative; never Conservative Pundit Ross Douthat Takes on Steven Pinker’s New Book

Tolerating the Intolerant: The Central Paradox of Liberal Democracy

Insofar as human happiness is achievable, the clear verdict of history is that it is most readily achievable in societies based on the principles of liberal democracy. That is, societies with democratically elected representative governments that respect individual liberties, and which maintain satisfactorily high standards of social justice and economic equity. Examples of liberal democracies Tolerating the Intolerant: The Central Paradox of Liberal Democracy

Tim Crane on Religious Violence

In his new book, The Meaning of Belief, philosopher Tim Crane argues that much of the anti-religious animus of atheists is largely motivated by the spectacle of religious violence in our day, typified by the events of 9/11/2001. Atheists such as Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins, and Sam Harris passionately denounce the violence done in the Tim Crane on Religious Violence