Mickey Kaus writes in his Slate column about a scandal fomented by the National Enquirer, wonders why such a rumor goes unreported in the MSM ("undernews," he calls it), but contends he actually would prefer that it remain unreported.
The scandal involves allegations by a "close confidante" of one Rielle Hunter that Hunter is pregnant with John Edwards' baby. Edwards denies the allegations. Hunter denies the allegations. (She even names someone else as the father.) But "others" -- namely, the lone "close confidante" -- "are skeptical."
So, yeah, it's a real head-scratcher that reputable media outlets would ignore a story with those bona fides.
Anyway, why does Kaus want a story about Edwards' allegedly cheating on his terminally cancer-stricken wife to remain undernews? Because, he says, he wants Edwards to lose. (Kaus is just socounterintuitive, isn't he?) Naturally, then, Kaus is doing his part to preserve the story's much-deserved obscurity, namely, by not conspicuously vouching for its legitimacy in his column for Slate. Oh, wait...
Anthony Gottlieb, on Antony Flew"'"s (scare quotes around the genitive clitic) new book, There Is No God:
The pattern of the reasoning is always the same: a phenomenon — be it
life, consciousness or the order of nature — is said to be mysterious,
and then it is boldly asserted that the only possible explanation for
it is “an infinitely intelligent Mind.” It is never said how or why the
existence of such a mind constitutes an explanation.
Cf. my parable of the would-be detective for a send-up of this kind of "explanatory" reasoning.
Onegoodmove hipped me to this debate between Dan Dennett and Dinesh D'Souza: "Is God a human invention?"
Notwithstanding D'Souza's routinely shrill, frequently mocking tone, he does manage to score rhetorical points for his team here and there, but only mostly because Dennett's rebuttal isn't as sharp as it should been.
For example, in this segment (starting at 8:08), D'Souza's argues that modern "Big Bang" theory lends support to the idea that God exists:
Everything that has a beginning has a cause. The universe has a
beginning. [Therefore, the] universe has a cause. That cause I call "God."
Now, this argument is really hackneyed. But it is intuitively appealing to "swing voters," and any philosopher with Dennett's skill should have a refutation handy -- something along the lines of:
But talk about "causes" doesn't make any sense outside the framework of time. And on the very theory Dinesh appeals to, time did not exist until the universe began. Therefore, the universe could not have been "caused" in any relevant sense. A fortiori, God could not have caused the universe.
More could be said, of course -- but Dennett didn't even say that much (his rebuttal starts here at 3:30), allowing D'Souza's intuitively appealing argument to go entirely unchallenged. This sort of thing happened way too often.
Don't get me wrong. D'Souza's arguments were generally embarrassingly weak on substance. But you'd need to know something about the substance to know just how weak, and he seemed substantially more focussed than Dennett when it came to rebuttal.