A Brief Critique of Non-Cognitivism (Ayer’s Version)

A. J. Ayer’s view of ethical judgments, often dubbed “emotivism,” is that ethical statements are neither true nor false and therefore are without significance. Behind this stance is his empiricism. In order for a statement to be meaningful, it must lend itself to some sort of verification. Without any possible means of verification statements fail to have to express anything. But Ayer does distinguish ethical judgment from other meaningless talk such that of speculative metaphysics or theology in that the former have at least a semblance of meaning since they display the attitude of the speaker toward certain types of actions. When one says, for example, “treason is wicked,” he is, on Ayers view, not uttering a statement with any cognitive content, but is, displaying his strong disapproval of treasonous behavior. Continue reading


Cretians are always liars, evil beasts, slow bellies

One of the few benefits of living in an era of insanity is that it makes the peddlers of the most prosaic and obvious truths appear like sages. The banality I will defend here is that almost every stereotype you have ever heard is true. Continue reading

Mill’s Refutation of Utilitarianism

Utilitarianism is famous for its many flaws (e.g. committing the naturalistic fallacy, positing a simplistic psychological theory, failing to come to terms with ethical distinctions). All these, and more, have been dealt with extensively elsewhere. Here I merely wish to show that if one of J. S. Mill’s arguments succeeds, then Utilitarianism fails. Continue reading

The Ten Worst Monsters of American History

In a recent article, Gary North enlists the aid of his readers to come up with the worst monsters in American history. I immediately went to work, but soon realized that my criteria were not the same as North’s. For one thing, North put on the stricture that the monster had to use other people’s money. Though this requirement is met in most of the monsters I came up with, it did not include all. So rather than contributing to his list, I offer my own. Below is the fruit of my effort. Continue reading

Conspiracy Theories

Like a few recent commentators, I too believe that there is a good deal more to history than what the court historians report. Like the poor, conspirators will always be with us. Augustine reminds us that history is to understood as a battle between two cities. One uses the power of the Word and Spirit to advance its kingdom, the other is apt to cheat, steal, rape, kill and blunder. But the City of Man’s main method of warfare is not force, but dissimulation and secrecy. Christendom seems to have forgotten that our enemy is the deceiver of the nations. Continue reading

A Refutation of the Framework Hypothesis’ “Ordinary Providence Argument”

The following article was part of the Minority Report of the Committee to Study the Framework Hypothesis for the Presbytery of Southern California of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, October 15-16, 1999. It is also found in Kenneth L. Gentry and Michael R. Butler, Yea Hath God Said: The Framework Hypothesis/Six-Day Creation Debate (Eugene Oregon: Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2002). Continue reading

Movie. The Sound of Music, 1965

This, the greatest of our Hollywood musicals, needs no commendation. Most have seen it several times and are familiar with the story. For the few that have not, you have something to look forward to.

Reviews of “The Sound of Music” are legion so I will not bother with another. A few words about the music, though, may be helpful in appreciating the movie. For, as the title suggests, it is the music that is the soul of the film. Continue reading

Baseball was very, very good to me.

I grew up in the golden era of baseball. At least it was golden for me. The L.A. Dodgers and N.Y. Yankees met in three out of five World Series (1977, 1978, and 1981). My team, the Dodgers, beat the Yanks only once, but just getting there was a thrill.

In college I gradually drifted away from following baseball except in 1988 when the Dodgers were in the Series once again. They beat the A’s in five. But the Series really ended after the first game. That was when Kirk Gibson “the gimp” (he had pulled both hamstrings, hurt both knees and could barely walk) Continue reading

The Bill of Rights, RIP

With the current Republican pedophile scandal and cover-up dominating the headlines, you may have missed what happened last week. On Thursday, September 28, Congress passed a law that effectively destroyed the Bill of Rights. The name of the bill that killed it sounds benign enough, “The Military Commissions Act of 2006.” But with its passage the last vestiges of our constitutional republic disappeared. Continue reading