8-31-88 . . . The [Detroit] Tigers made a last-ditch effort to insure [sic; should be “ensure”] a divisional title this evening. They traded for Baltimore’s [the Orioles’] Fred Lynn, a hitter, and Kansas City’s [the Royals’] Ted Power, a pitcher. Lynn has been a solid player for many years with Boston [the Red Sox], California [the Angels], and Baltimore. He should add iron to the anemic Tiger lineup.
My view, then, is not that which it has often been taken to be in discussion and which Singer, Regan, Clark, and others blast in their work; I am not suggesting that, because they lack language, animals can be factory farmed without suffering. Animals can suffer, which they could not unless they were conscious; so they are conscious. Nothing I have said in earlier chapters and nothing I will say in subsequent chapters is intended to deny this fact, which animal rightists correctly insist upon. But animals lack that reflective awareness which enables us to see our experiences and acts as our own (and thereby, of course, unlike animals, to be responsible for our acts).
Note from KBJ: Who thinks, much less argues, that animals are responsible for their acts? Animals are moral patients, but not moral agents. Like children, they can be wronged but cannot wrong. Nor does it follow from the fact that animals are not moral agents that they cannot have rights. There are two types of rights: autonomy-rights and welfare-rights. You and I have both. Animals have only welfare-rights, the most important of which is the right not to be made to suffer.
Milton Bradley (a.k.a. the Most Valuable Player of the American League) continues to lead the league in batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, and (a fortiori) OPS. He is the most valuable player on his team (the Texas Rangers), so why can't he be the most valuable player in the league? Without him, the Rangers would be in last place (instead of second).
I hate professional football (especially the Dallas Cowboys), but I love college football. I became an Arizona Wildcat football fan while attending graduate school in the mid-1980s. The Cats were at one time a top-10 team, but things have not gone well for them in recent years. This year, they're not ranked in the top 25. Mistake!
John McCain's choice of Sarah Palin as his running mate leaves progressives sputtering in frustration. They thought they would be running against two wealthy white males, i.e., two evil beings. Leave aside the fact that George Soros, Ted Kennedy, John Kerry, John Edwards, and Bill Clinton are wealthy white males. They're not evil, because their progressivism redeems them. How does that work, exactly?
My polymathic friend Down Under, Dr John J. Ray, makes a startling prediction. Will Sarah Palin turn out to be the next Margaret Thatcher, of whom French president François Mitterand said, "She has the eyes of Caligula and the lips of Marilyn Monroe"?
Your excellent report about teaching evolution to high school students reminds us that indoctrinating the young (“Because I say so,” “Because God did it”) is relatively simple and requires no mental effort on the student’s part, whereas actually teaching (“Consider these reasons,” “Observe the following data”) demands active attention and intellectual effort.
By the time students reach high school, many of them have been indoctrinated for years by perhaps well-intentioned people whose own backgrounds were formed by religious indoctrination. No wonder it is so hard for teachers to make the case for facts, evidence or even common sense.
As a 21st-century society, we owe a deep debt of gratitude to teachers like David Campbell, who year after year work patiently at the difficult job of replacing indoctrination with learning.
Philip Appleman New York, Aug. 24, 2008 The writer is editor of “Darwin,” the Norton Critical Edition.
Note from KBJ: The only indoctrination taking place in public schools is by Darwinians. Why are they so defensive about allowing alternative theories to be discussed? What are they afraid of? If their theory is superior to its rivals, as they believe, and if they are as good at explaining things as they think they are, then the theory will be accepted by students. The dogmatism of Darwinians is breathtaking.
8-30-88 . . . The [Chicago] Cubs and [Atlanta] Braves were on television again this evening. The Braves have the worst record in baseball, while the Cubs are breaking even for the year. Neither has a chance to make the playoffs. But it’s still fun to watch them play, because there’s always at least one other team involved. The Cubs play in Wrigley Field, which only recently got lights. It has short fences, ivy-covered walls, and favors hitters rather than pitchers. I love watching Andre Dawson hit; he’s awesome. The Braves are uninteresting, though Gerald Perry is duelling [sic; should be “dueling”] San Diego’s Tony Gwynn for the batting title. Dale Murphy is having an off year. In baseball generally, three of the four divisional winners are settled. Unless there’s a serious tailspin, it’ll be the New York Mets against Los Angeles [the Dodgers] in the National League and Oakland [the Athletics] in the American League. All have substantial leads and are playing good baseball. The American League East is still wide open, in part because Detroit [the Tigers], Boston [the Red Sox], and New York [the Yankees] have played so poorly of late. Even Toronto [the Blue Jays] and Milwaukee [the Brewers] have a chance to get back in the race. I expect to see a lot of baseball this fall on cable and network television.
As many of you know, Josh Hamilton of my adoptive Texas Rangers had a spectacular first half of the season. Since then, he has appeared tired and not been productive. I told my friend Jeff several weeks ago that Josh hasn't played a whole season in many years, much less a whole season in the Texas heat and humidity. Here is a story about Josh's diminished second-half production. The good news is that if Josh stays in the lineup this season, it'll help him build endurance for future seasons. Look for him to have a monster year in 2009.
Progressives aren't very smart. They think conservatives are biased against blacks and women. Take it from someone who has been both a progressive and a conservative: There is at least as much racism and sexism among progressives as among conservatives. (I would argue that there is more, but that's not necessary to make my point.) Have you noticed the outpouring of support among conservatives for Sarah Palin? It is effusive and genuine.
I rode my bike today with two old friends, both of whom, like me, are conservative. We are delirious about John McCain's choice of Sarah Palin as his running mate. Not one disparaging word was said by anyone about her sex. It never came up in conversation. One of my friends said that he is so happy with the choice that he is going to write a check to the McCain campaign. Does that sound like a sexist? Does that sound like someone who wants to keep women barefoot and pregnant?
Conservatives love Clarence Thomas. His race is irrelevant to them. They love him because he has the right views and values. Conservatives love Thomas Sowell, Shelby Steele, Alan Keyes, Walter Williams, Janice Rogers Brown, and Condoleezza Rice, none of whom, last I checked, had white skin. If progressives can't see the lack of racism in this, then they are blind. Willfully blind.