Tony Woodlief | Author


And another thing

Some of you may enjoy my radical suggestion in today’s Wall Street Journal that the First Amendment doesn’t authorize teachers to indoctrinate children. It’s getting pushback from free-speech absolutists and folks who have faith The Market will sort everything out in the long run. My fear is that if we wait for the end of …

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Since it’s commencement season, I’ve put together a draft address in case I get a last-minute call

I’d like to thank Debtwell University for this opportunity to address your student body. Furthermore, I want to express my deepest hope that your original speaker overcomes [FOOD POISONING/ IRS DIFFICULTIES/ SUBPOENA/ ETC] without undue complications. [PAUSE. MAKE EYE CONTACT. SQUINT AS IF DRAWING ON A WELL OF DEEP WISDOM, BUT NOT SO HARD THAT YOU …

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On scientism

Those of you who read what I scribble here and elsewhere know I nurse a few curious theories about science, like that it ought to remain distinct from scientism, and that the scientific process taught in schools is hokum, and that reductionism is just as nonsensical when it comes to dominate the physical sciences as …

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The scandal of the evangelical intellectual’s mind

A reasonable response to the accusation that the evangelical mind is insufficiently expansive is to ask to what dimensions its critics would like to see it expanded. That question springs to the lips when considering Biblical scholar Peter Enns’s contention that evangelical minds are not only confined, but are required to remain in confinement. “The …

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Professorial logic

There are many plausible explanations for why men commit nearly all murders and start most wars. It could be that we’re just hard-wired to smash skulls. Or perhaps it’s that we’ve learned how much chicks dig a man in uniform. Or maybe, according to Jesse Prinz, philosophy professor at the CUNY Graduate Center, it’s because …

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On the Virtue of Hemlock

In his recent Boston Review essay, philosophy professor Carlos Fraenkel manages the neat trick of advocating a sensible position — that high-school students should be taught philosophy — so ineptly that he ends up proving the opposite, namely, that while it may be the case that students should learn philosophy, this is quite independent from …

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On the conservative as warmonger

The problem with political science professor Corey Robin’s claim that warmongering is woven into the DNA of conservatives is that he can’t seem to define his subject. One minute a conservative is a Burkean, the next he’s a tea-partier, then a neocon, then a Republican politico. Richer still, Robin represents these British-American country-clubbing anti-marxist quasi-literate …

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Breathe easier?

I’m always leery of research by people who desperately, desperately want a certain answer. So when I hear shouts of joy over a new study running counter to previous studies in its conclusion that putting small children in daycare has no adverse effects, I develop a more skeptical eye than usual. Which I know is …

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Relative risk

I’m wondering if these researchers would have been fine with The Goonies if only all the kids had worn bicycle helmets while pedaling to the treacherous caverns.