Wednesday, October 26, 2005


Don't click if you've got deadlines. You've been warned.



My high score on the grid game is 1524.

UPDATE: The Bourgeois Dad e-mails that he got 1807 on the grid game.

UPDATE 2: Thorgerson, who should have been grading essays, got 1867.

UPDATE 3: Mark, who should have been testing software, got 2138. He claims he was "testing" the grid game.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

When It Rains, It Pours

We've received a glut of bathroom reading material lately. It seems we went for a month or two without anything new. Here's what we've gotten recently.

1. University alumni magazine.
2. Bourgeois Wife's undergraduate honors program newsletter.
3. JCPenney home catalog.
4. Church archdiocesan magazine.
5. Pottery Barn catalog.
6. AAA magazine.
7. California special election information guide.
8. Graduate school quarterly magazine.
9. Intercollegiate Review.
10. Crate and Barrel catalog.
11. Vision Forum catalog.
12. Touchstone magazine.

Quite a goodly supply of material to keep one occupied while taking care of business.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Caring about Moral Problems

I noticed (or remembered) today that many students in my class on moral problems do not care about moral problems. "Abortion? Whateve." (Some students cannot be bothered to complete their words.) "Animal rights? [Shrug.]" (Some cannot be bothered to use spoken language.)

What is surprising, perhaps, is that these are not typical slacker students. They are not apathetic about other aspects of their lives, even other aspects of their academic lives. They are very interested in, say, biology or chemistry. They just do not care about moral problems.

Such apathy is also not to be confused with moral relativism. That I can respond to. Apathy, however, is difficult to respond to. The student is asleep and needs to be woken up. Since apathetic students often appear to not pay attention in class, the teacher may try some antics to get their "attention." But this is just to send a jolt through their bodies.

What needs to be awakened is their soul. How is that done? Socrates tried to wake up the soul by refuting the person's opinions. Sometimes this is easy to do, but then the problem reasserts itself when the one who is refuted refuses to admit it. What do you do in that case? Antics?

Monday, October 17, 2005

The Winningest Team in College Football

That'd be Michigan. I find it really curious that Penn State has been unable to beat Michigan since it joined the Big Ten (making the Big Ten the big eleven). Despite the losses to Michigan, Joe Paterno is still a living legend.

Anyway, on to other, more serious matters. What's worse than hearing a bad argument for abortion? A bad presentation of the basic issues involved in abortion given as a lecture to a class at a public university. If you're a Christian and you've ever thought that perhaps Christians who go into philosophy (or sociology, psychology, etc.) are wasting their time, think about the kind of person you'd like to have teaching your child's college class covering abortion. You have four options:

1. Incompetent Christian philosopher
2. Incompetent non-Christian philosopher
3. Competent Christian philosopher
4. Competent non-Christian philosopher

("Competent" and "incompetent" refer to the person's ability to present clearly and fairly the issues in the abortion debate.) Clearly, the first two are out. And if the Christian philosopher is sufficiently incompetent, then that's often worse than an incompetent non-Christian philosopher discussing abortion.

You might think that there is no real difference between 3 and 4. But this isn't the case. True, I'd rather have a competent non-Christian philosopher than an incompetent non-Christian philosopher. But just because the non-Christian philosopher is competent doesn't mean he or she wouldn't tell the students his or her own position on abortion. Some professors don't tell -- at least in the public lecture; they might do so in private -- the students their position on controversial topics; some do. And this influences students. So, who would Christian parents rather have influencing their students?

I should note that I'm using the labels "Christian" and "non-Christian" arbitrarily here. There are some Christians who don't think abortion is wrong, and some non-Christians who don't think abortion is right (Jews and Muslims come readily to mind, but there are others).