21 October 2007

If we wanted to do something about global warming, we would.

We are committing the fallacy of composition when we argue from the premise that every man can decide how he will act to the conclusion that the human race can decide how it will act (for example, with regard to the rate of increase of population or the choice between war and peace).... This, or a similar fallacy, is committed whenever we assume, without adequate reason, that we can speak about groups in the same ways in which we can speak about their members, that we can spedak of a nation having a will or interests.... Of course, it may be possible to do this; there may be predicates applicable (in the same sense) to a group and to his members, but this cannot be assumed without evidence. It may also be possible to introduce a different but useful sense in which a predicate normally applied to individuals may be applied to a group; but if so, the new sense must be explained.
J.L. Mackie, "Fallacie," p. 173, as quoted in Hardin, Collective Action (1982), p.1.

06 October 2007

To Bedevil Naive Darwinists?

Purpose of appendix believed found (AP, 10/6/07)
Some scientists think they have figured out the real job of the troublesome and seemingly useless appendix: It produces and protects good germs for your gut.

That's the theory from surgeons and immunologists at Duke University Medical School, published online in a scientific journal this week.
"Purpose," huh? Nobody here but us teleologists.

04 October 2007

Trees, Meet Forest.

Student takes his C to federal court: Judge dismisses suit against UMass (Jonathan Saltzman, Boston Globe, 10/4/07)
Marquis, a 51-year-old paralegal seeking bachelor's degrees in legal studies and sociology, filed a 15-count lawsuit in US District Court in Springfield in January after a teaching assistant graded a political philosophy class on a curve and turned Marquis's A-minus into a C. Marquis contends that the university violated his civil rights and contractual rights and intentionally inflicted "emotional distress."

Marquis - who salts his comments with "strike that" - acknowledged he was alarmed the C might lower his grade point average and make him less attractive to a law school.
But suing over a grade doesn't make you less attractive to law schools?

03 October 2007

Have You Ever Taken A Series Of Logical Steps

Secessionists meeting in Tennessee (Bill Poovey, AP, 10/3/07)
Separated by hundreds of miles and divergent political philosophies, the Middlebury Institute and the League of the South are hosting a two-day Secessionist Convention starting Wednesday in Chattanooga.
... only to end up in Transylvania?