Friday, August 30, 2013

More From Tillman on Stone

Here is a link to the Corner that features Tillman's comment. A taste:
Professor Geoffrey R. Stone—University of Chicago School of Law—was recently appointed to the NSA Surveillance Review Committee. Professor Stone has written on some subjects which may interest your readers.

Geoffrey R. Stone, The Second Great Awakening: A Christian Nation?, 26 Georgia State University Law Review 1305, 1333 (2010):

“This is the fundamental issue posed by the Second Great Awakening, and it remains a fundamental issue today. As citizens, advocates of Sunday closing laws, temperance legislation, the abolition of slavery, anti-abortion laws, prohibitions of stem-cell research, and law forbidding same-sex marriage are free to support such policies because they honestly believe they serve constitutionally legitimate ends; and they are also free to urge others to embrace and abide by their religious beliefs. But what they are not free to do, what they must strive not to do if they want to be good citizens, is to use the law disingenuously to impose their own religious beliefs on others.”

I guess some opposition to slavery is “disingenuous” if somehow connected to religion. Why does Stone think it so obvious that a citizen circa 1860 who had supported public policies seeking to limit or to overthrow slavery on sectarian religious grounds failed to live up to the aspirational goals of our constitutional order? Is it a matter of any concern that slave owners were, to use Professor Stone’s terms, “imposed” upon? One wonders why Professor Stone sees the legal order so clearly through the eyes of slave owners, rather than the slave who might have had his shackles loosened? Why cannot Professor Stone see that in our world of second bests, First Amendment church-state absolutism ought, in some circumstances, to give way to other values, and that in making that difficult weighing of competing values responsible persons should be loathe to declare our fellows bad citizens merely because they weigh things differently than we do?

10 comments:

Tom Van Dyke said...

Why cannot Professor Stone see that in our world of second bests, First Amendment church-state absolutism ought, in some circumstances, to give way to other values, and that in making that difficult weighing of competing values responsible persons should be loathe to declare our fellows bad citizens merely because they weigh things differently than we do?

Because religious beliefs are inherently and by definition irrational, hence legislation based on them or associated with them can pass no "rational basis" test.

The Court has also abolished the concept of objective values, of right and wrong. The only legitimate constitutional value is "tolerance."

These matters, involving the most intimate and personal choices a person may make in a lifetime, choices central to personal dignity and autonomy, are central to the liberty protected by the Fourteenth Amendment.

At the heart of liberty is the right to define one's own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life.Beliefs about these matters could not define the attributes of personhood were they formed under compulsion of the State.


[BF mine.]

wsforten said...

Tom, you should read some of William Lane Craig's scholarly articles before claiming that "religious beliefs are inherently and by definition irrational."

Tom Van Dyke said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mark Hall said...

Alvin Plantinga, in God, Freedom, and Evil, argues persuasively, I believe, that there is absolutely nothing irrational about believing in God. It is a short little book, well worth a read.

Mark David Hall

Tom Van Dyke said...

Y'all misunderstand--I was speaking ironically of recent positions taken by our courts. However, it's very difficult to use reason to get much past the remote "blindwatchmaker" God who doesn't give a damn what we do.

My own argument is that the Founding and the Constitution [& 1st amendment] were never designed to abolish God in the first place, or to forbid the use of religious belief as a basis for law.

Lee said...

And devotees of Dr. Craig should read some critiques of Craig's ideas and whether or not they rest upon reason.


http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/michael_martin/holy_spirit.html


But at least that means Craig is not theistic rationalist.

Lee said...

And of Plantinga . . .

http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/raymond_bradley/fwd-refuted.html

Tom Van Dyke said...

Ed Feser kick your ass. ;-)

http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2013/02/craig-versus-rosenberg.html

Lee said...

Yes, TVD, Craig is more well known for his debates than his scholarship. Once a debate is agreed upon and scheduled, Craig sends his staff of grad students to do "opposition research" on his opponent. He spends months preparing for each encounter. I do not think he has a real job. Although listed as a faculty member of Talbot Seminary in California, he lives here in Atlanta. That's not to say he's a lightweight. Craig's destruction of Christopher Hitchens shows what happens when a philosopher meets a journalist.

Tom Van Dyke said...

Well, that sounds like opposition research on Craig. ;-)

I'm not too up on him--I consider Aristotle-Aquinas the gold standard on classical theism, so Ed Feser's my man. One commenter said Craig sounds a lot more like Feser lately, which gave an appreciative chuckle. As for Craig's technique, another commenter wrote

Crude said...
I think Untenured is referring to the fact that Craig does have a core group of arguments that he deploys in these debates, by his own admission. The problem is that Rosenberg's response of 'People have refuted these arguments and Craig ignores that!' because A) Craig does respond to criticisms of his arguments in literature, etc, and B) he also responds to them during debate.

The last part is important, and Craig's actually had a brilliant response to this criticism: he doesn't use any surprises in a debate, by his own admission. He uses the same arguments. If his arguments are easy to knock down, then how come Rosenberg wasn't able to do this?