Friday 8/26/16

  1. Faith healers and psychics
  2. Salvation by Salvation by Faith Alone
  3. The Lottery of Indecency
  4. Warning against Trigger Warnings
  5. 2 (no, make that 3) takes on the Epi-Pen kerfuffle


Encountered on Facebook commenting on a sarcastic meme about Bennie Hinn: “You don’t see faith healers working in hospitals for the same reason you don’t see psychics winning the lottery.”


Some things never change. There are still Protestants who put the emphasis on protest and who say that one is saved by believing their doctrine of how one is saved — which, of course, Catholics don’t believe. Ergo, Catholics aren’t Christians.

Note that this amounts to “saved by a doctrine about Christ, not by Christ simpliciter” (or perhaps “saved by a doctrine about salvation by grace through faith in Christ, not by grace through faith in Christ”).

Lest you think me unfair, let me quote (shifting their emphasis):

Essentially, we (that is, Protestants) confess that those who believe in justification by faith alone in the death, burial and bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ (who is the second person of a Triune God) is a fellow Christian, is born again, and will be in Heaven.

You can’t make this stuff up. Not even the bad grammar: “those who believe … is a ….”

If you don’t understand the controversy, be advised that the drumbeat of “alone” (sola) in the Reformation mnemonics is the characteristic Protestant doctrinal error, though many live better than their errant doctrine warrants. In the case of “justification by faith alone,” the gloss is itself unscriptural, being refuted in the Epistle of St. James (which Luther hated and was minded to throw out of his canon along with the other books he threw out with somewhat greater justification).

I’m sorry if I’m punching down. The website wasn’t using the Demented Ideologue website template, so I took it for a serious effort by someone with some resources or backing


The Lottery of Indecency

(H/T Mark Shea)

One of the reasons I detest the “Burkini bans” in France is that there is altogether too much immodesty in the world.

I will grant you that what constitutes modesty and what constitutes immodesty is culturally relative — to an extent. The kind of cultural relativity I don’t accept is the one that says in effect “Dressing to be sexually provocative is normal in our society and therefore is not immodest, whereas dressing modestly is socially provocative.” That, I think, is what the French government is saying, rendered in plain English.

Be it further noted that I am not exclusively talking about women. Because I am a cisgendered male, I note female immodesty more readily than male (well, let’s make that “much, much, much more; you’ve pretty much got to be that dude at the Feast of the Hunter’s Moon with red body stain and a string bikini-type loincloth for me to notice male immodesty), but when I visit monasteries, I take long sleeves and long pants because everybody is expected to cover up.

I really don’t think any members of the fair sex would get hot and bothered if I wore short sleeves, but long sleeves and long pants/skirts are considered traditionally proper attire for worship in God’s house, too, so “when in a Monastery, do as … your monastic hosts say.”

That all having been said, note Michael Brendan Dougherty’s succinct distillation:

In the Middle East, [hijab and burkini] may be part of a uniform that is imposed by society, and it may signal a woman’s conformation to that society’s demands. Psychologically, the social act of wearing the hijab must be different in France. There a hijab can also signify independence and pride. Wearing a hijab in France may say, all at once: I am humble before God, and defiant in the face of social expectations.


One of the law school courses I teach at George Mason University is Constitutional Law II, which focuses on the Fourteenth Amendment and its history. The class necessarily addresses many painful and difficult issues. Instead of offering trigger warnings, on the first day of class I give the students what I like to call my “warning against trigger warnings.” It goes something like this:

“I don’t believe in trigger warnings. But if I did, I would have to include one for virtually every day of this course. We are going to cover subjects like slavery, segregation, sexism, suicide, the death penalty, and abortion. There is no way to teach this course without discussing these issues. And there is no good way to cover them without also considering a wide range of views about these subjects and their relationship to the Constitution.”

(Ilya Somin)


How Parents Harnessed the Power of Social Media to Challenge EpiPen Prices,” says the New York Times headline. And yes, that’s a legitimate angle.

But so is this:

The latest political pile-on over alleged pharmaceutical price gouging is officially underway now that Hillary Clinton joined the scrum on Wednesday. Usually these exercises are inspired by cures or important clinical innovations that happen to be expensive. The irony this time is that the target is a monopolist created by the same government that Mrs. Clinton wants to hand far more power over drugs.

Epinephrine is a basic and super-cheap medicine, and the EpiPen auto-injector device has been around since the 1970s.

Thus EpiPen should be open to generic competition, which cuts prices dramatically for most other old medicines. Competitors have been trying for years to challenge Mylan’s EpiPen franchise with low-cost alternatives—only to become entangled in the Food and Drug Administration’s regulatory afflatus.

Approving a generic copy that is biologically equivalent to a branded drug is simple, but the FDA maintains no clear and consistent principles for generic drug-delivery devices like auto injectors or asthma inhalers. How does a company prove that a generic device is the same as the original product if there are notional differences, even if the differences don’t matter to the end result? In this case, that means immediately injecting a kid in anaphylactic shock with epinephrine—which is not complex medical engineering.

But no company has been able to do so to the FDA’s satisfaction ….

(Wall Street Journal, Anaphylactic Political Shock)

Even more incendiary is this, the accuracy of which I haven’t affirmed (but they couldn’t say it on the internet if it wasn’t true, right?). Oh, wait: This, this and this confirmation. Since part of the Wall Street Journal’s take is picky, picky, picky regulators, the CEO’s powerful political connections seem relevant.

* * * * *

“In learning as in traveling and, of course, in lovemaking, all the charm lies in not coming too quickly to the point, but in meandering around for a while.” (Eva Brann)

Some succinct standing advice on recurring themes.