Black Friday 2012

    1. Separated at Birth?
    2. This ‘gotcha’ cuts both ways.
    3. Great Natural Law, er, debate.
    4. Moralistic, therapeutic deism anticipated.


Stumbled onto this and thought I’d learned something about the history of Food Channel’s Alton Brown:

I wasn’t the first to think that.


Friend and fellow blogger Doug Masson occasionally fires a dud as he did when he recently picked up on Marco Rubio’s religio-scientific agnosticism during a GQ interview. At least Doug recognized that it was a “gotcha” question.

He linked it on Facebook where it was taken entirely too seriously be one and all, including Tipsy’s good friend and publicist. Many of Doug’s FB Friends denied the question was a gotcha, trying to bootstrap “gotcha” into a bona fide question because Rubio’s on a Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation.

During the brief time the thread was alive, Tipsy’s publicist stumbled onto on a similar evasion by one Barack H. Obama a few years back, upon the linking of which the snarkmeisters in Doug’s Comment Boxes inserted some nonsequiturs to change the subject and the thread pretty well died.

Looking for something else entirely this morning, I stumbled onto a couple of GetReligion items on the topic.

The GQ interview is wide ranging, if by wide ranging you mean questions about Rubio’s favorite Afrika Bambaataa songs, his three favorite rap songs, whether there is a song he plays to psych himself up before a vote in the Senate and whether Pitbull is too cheesy. It’s obviously incredibly fluffy.

Here are two questions asked from the middle of the interview (in order):

GQ: You were obviously very moved by your grandfather’s dignity and your father’s dignity. What are the qualities that would qualify for a man to have dignity?

GQ: How old do you think the Earth is?

What the what?

Rubio gives a fairly standard political answer:

Marco Rubio: I’m not a scientist, man. I can tell you what recorded history says, I can tell you what the Bible says, but I think that’s a dispute amongst theologians and I think it has nothing to do with the gross domestic product or economic growth of the United States. I think the age of the universe has zero to do with how our economy is going to grow. I’m not a scientist. I don’t think I’m qualified to answer a question like that. At the end of the day, I think there are multiple theories out there on how the universe was created and I think this is a country where people should have the opportunity to teach them all. I think parents should be able to teach their kids what their faith says, what science says. Whether the Earth was created in 7 days, or 7 actual eras, I’m not sure we’ll ever be able to answer that. It’s one of the great mysteries.

Oh no he did-unt!

Then a bunch of media outlets all lined up to freak out. This smugtastic Slate piece, which had to run a correction about whether sociology, linguistics, anthropology, and other sciences indicate that the Earth is billions of years old, was definitely my favorite.

I guess my problem with the whole scenario is that I don’t trust the media here. It’s not like we have a media where we see routinely tough questions asked about science as it relates to human life and dignity …

Marco Rubio and the media’s curiously inconsistent approach to science. I thought the question to Obama was kind of a softball, at least relatively. GetReligion again:

[L]et’s look at what President Obama said, as reported this week by Slate in a piece headlined, “Who Said It: Marco Rubio or Barack Obama? Willful ignorance of science is a bipartisan value“:

And here’s then-Sen. Obama, D-Ill., speaking at the Compassion Forum at Messiah College in Grantham, Pa. on April 13, 2008:

Q: Senator, if one of your daughters asked you—and maybe they already have—“Daddy, did god really create the world in 6 days?,” what would you say?

A: What I’ve said to them is that I believe that God created the universe and that the six days in the Bible may not be six days as we understand it … it may not be 24-hour days, and that’s what I believe. I know there’s always a debate between those who read the Bible literally and those who don’t, and I think it’s a legitimate debate within the Christian community of which I’m a part. My belief is that the story that the Bible tells about God creating this magnificent Earth on which we live—that is essentially true, that is fundamentally true. Now, whether it happened exactly as we might understand it reading the text of the Bible: That, I don’t presume to know.

And the response to these statements? Was it the same as the response to Rubio’s? You know the answer.


Randy Barnett is right: for a ConLaw geek, this is kind of hard to stop watching. Arkes, who I’ve admired in print for 30 years, is maybe even more brilliant in person, as you seen him coming up with obscure, long quotes without looking at his notes. For most of the years I’ve admired him, he was of the Jewish faith; he apparently found his pro-life compadres minimally congenial, as he converted to Catholicism recently.


[E]ven the most traditional, confessional and “exclusive” churches accept the idea of a modus vivendi with other religions, of all kinds of “dialogues” and “rapprochements.” There exist[s] – such is the assumption – a basic religion, some basic “religious” and “spiritual values,” and they must be defended against atheism, materialism and other forms of irreligion. Not only “liberal” and “nondenominational,” but also the most conservative Christians are ready to give up the old idea of mission as the preaching of the one, true universal religion, opposed as such to all other religions, and replace it by a common front of all religions against the enemy: secularism
It sounds like a paradox, but the basic religion that is being preached and accepted as the only means of overcoming secularism is in reality a surrender to secularism. This surrender can take place – and actually does – in all Christian confessions, although it is differently “colored” in a nondenominational suburban “community church” and in a traditional, hierarchical, confessional and liturgical parish. For the surrender consists … in accepting the very function of religion in terms of promoting the secular value of help, be it help in character building, peace of mind, or assistance of eternal salvation. It is in this “key” that religion is preached to, and accepted by, millions and millions of average believers today. And it is really amazing how little difference exists in the religious self-consciousness of members of confessions whose dogmas seem to stand in radical opposition to one another. For even if a man changes religion, it is usually because he finds one he accepts as offering him “more help” – not more truth. While religious leaders are discussing ecumenicity at the top, there exists already at the grassroots a real ecumenicity even in this “basic religion.” It is here, in this “key” that we find the source of the apparent success of religions in some parts of the world, such as America, where the religious “boom” is due primarily to the secularization of religion …
[I]t may be asked whether certain non-Christian “spiritual traditions” are not really of “greater help” from the standpoint of what men today expect from religion. Islam and Buddhism offer excellent religious “satisfaction” and “help” not only to primitive man, but to the most sophisticated and intellectual as well. Have not oriental wisdom and Oriental mysticism always exercise an almost irresistible attraction for religious people everywhere? Is to be feared that certain “mystical” aspect of Orthodoxy owe their growing popularity in the West precisely to their easy – although wrong – identification with Oriental mysticism. The ascetical writings collected in the Philocalia have a tremendous success in some esoteric groups that are supremely indifferent to the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Fr. Alexander Schmemann, For the Life of the World, (Second edition 1973) (boldface added).

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Some succinct standing advice on recurring themes.