My beloved Arizona Wildcats (23-6) lost two games this past week (to USC and UCLA), which caused them to plummet from 10th to 18th in the polls. Yes, I'm disappointed; but there's time to recover before the NCAA tournament. I hope my Cats meet John Sullivan's Georgetown Hoyas in the tournament. If so, John and I will make a friendly wager on the outcome. Are you in, John?
In one way and another St Thomas is saying: 'no God, no world; world, therefore God'.
(J. J. Haldane, "Atheism and Theism," chap. 2 in Atheism and Theism, 2d ed., by J. J. C. Smart and J. J. Haldane, Great Debates in Philosophy, ed. Ernest Sosa [Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing, 2003], 76-150, at 122)
I was disappointed to read about yet another study that causes monkeys to become obese and forces them to live alone in tiny cages, in a constant state of boredom.
I remember a proposal for a similar study when I worked in a primate lab over a decade ago; even then, it was frivolous and inhumane.
It’s time for a hard look at these facilities.
Oregon and the seven other National Primate Research Centers are given more than $1 billion in taxpayer financing each year
Congress has been proposing to slash budgets, and the National Institutes of Health director, Dr. Francis S. Collins, is making major changes at the agency. As a result, the primate centers have been trying to make the case that their research is crucial. If this is the best that they’ve got, then they should be worried.
Kathleen Conlee Washington, Feb. 21, 2011
The writer is director of program management, animal research issues, at the Humane Society of the United States.
To the Editor:
Scientists have identified many of the factors in human obesity and diabetes—food, inactivity, boredom and high-fructose corn syrup. But instead of using this knowledge to address these issues, they use it to grotesquely fatten up monkeys, experiment on them with drugs, euthanize and dissect them.
The rationalizations for these animal experiments by some scientists and drug companies are little more than attempts to justify their inhumanity and greed in service to a questionable purpose.
What is their purpose? To develop drugs that treat the “conditions” of obesity, instead of its causes. Prevention is not mentioned. The whole point of sacrificing these animals, in other words, seems to be to allow obese humans to not have to worry about making unhealthy choices, as long as they shell out plenty of money to drug companies for their “obesity pill.”
Karin Barnaby Sea Cliff, N.Y., Feb. 21, 2011
To the Editor:
How ironic it is to read that we, the supposed being with higher intelligence, must cage and overfeed monkeys to learn about obesity, an epidemic that these same monkeys know how to avoid when left on their own.
Let's remember this when we have a Republican president who refuses to defend progressive legislation. I suspect Walter Dellinger will be the first to cry foul. He is a progressive first and a law professor second. In other words, he is unprincipled.
Several states, including mine (Texas), are considering allowing concealed handguns on college campuses. I support such laws. Unless and until campus security officers can guarantee everyone's safety, individuals have a right to protect themselves from assailants. Yes, there is a nonzero probability that someone lawfully carrying a gun will misuse it; but this risk is outweighed by the probability that criminals will be deterred. We're not dealing in certainties here; we're dealing in probabilities. More guns means less crime.
Addendum: Here is my favorite paragraph from the New York Times story:
One student who found himself in the midst of a campus shooting agreed. “I don’t think two people having guns and firing them in public is that good of an idea,” said Nate Hightower, who was at South Mountain Community College in Phoenix in 2008 when a former student opened fire in a dispute with another young man, injuring three people.
The young man makes the wrong comparison. He compares two people firing guns with nobody firing a gun and says he prefers the latter. The proper comparison is between one person—a mass murderer—firing a gun and two people firing guns.
Addendum 2: I can't resist a further comment. I have known several people in my life who can't think straight when it comes to guns. They are otherwise intelligent, knowledgeable, and decent. Something about guns turns them into babbling idiots. These people suffer from hoplophobia.
Most conservatives adopt conservative ideas in order to defend one particular established order. In this respect their conservatism is instrumental rather than primary. Burke, however, was the conservative archetype because his impulse was to defend all existing institutions wherever located and however challenged.
(Samuel P. Huntington, "Conservatism as an Ideology," The American Political Science Review 51 [June 1957]: 454-73, at 463)
Note from KBJ: I part ways with Burke on this one. I'm an instrumental conservative. The institutions I aim to conserve are mine, i.e., those of my country. I don't care what happens elsewhere.
As both an author and a reader, I bemoan Borders’ financial troubles. Authors like me may now have one less venue for consumers to buy what we’ve written.
But if Borders does fail, many readers like me will have no one to blame but ourselves. After all, it is our decision to buy books from online retailers that is largely responsible for booksellers’ woes.
Sure, we save a few dollars, but we do so at the expense of bricks-and-mortar stores.
So I challenge you, dear reader, to make your next book purchase in your town, not on your computer. If your neighborhood bookstore closes, as mine just did, it will be our own fault.
Bruce Weinstein New York, Feb. 17, 2011
Note from KBJ: This past October, I went into Barnes & Noble to browse. I found a book on critical thinking and purchased it for $22.66 (counting sales tax). When I got home, I found it for $13.49 on Amazon.com. That's the last time I purchase anything from a brick-and-mortal bookstore. If the letter writer wants to donate money to Borders, he is free to do so. The rest of us will decide for ourselves where to purchase our books.
Now that I've stopped laughing, I can type. The editorial board of the New York Timeswrites: "we firmly believe that the law and the Constitution are clearly on the side of [health-care] reform." The board members don't just believe it; they firmly believe it. The law and the Constitution aren't merely on the side of reform; they're clearly on the side of reform. No mention of whether anyone on the board has legal expertise.
This video shows the final six kilometers of today's Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, in Belgium. As you can see, it was cold and wet. Two riders—Spaniard Juan Antonio Flecha and Dutchman Sebastian Langeveld—rode to the line together, after more than five hours in the saddle. They worked together until the end, when it became every man for himself. Notice how Flecha rides on the sidewalk briefly. I think it was unintentional. Notice how they slow their pace in the final kilometer, trying to force the other to serve as a leadout. This was risky, because other riders were bearing down on them. You can see them looking back to see whether anyone was coming close.