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A Random Response to Stephen Barr

From First Thoughts

In his post Stephen contends that I may be trapped in a false dilemma: the choice between believing that certain processes are random or believing that they are directed by God. I don’t believe I presented such a false dilemma because I don’t believe such a false choice exist. In fact, . . . . Continue Reading »

Are We All Baptists Now?

From First Thoughts

That’s the question blogger Camassia asks in an intriguing post about why the Baptist-style ecclesiology and voluntarism came to be a dominant form of religion in America: When the Baptists came into being in England in the early 1600s, there were several church-state models around Europe: . . . . Continue Reading »

Toward a Bioethics of (God’s) Love

From First Thoughts

Helen Rittelmeyer, one of our bloggers at Postmodern Conservative , has written a compelling essay at Doublethink titled ” Toward a Bioethics of Love .” Rather than building an argument on abstraction, she brings—in true Burkean fashion—her own real-world experience to bear in . . . . Continue Reading »

Intellectuals Who Support Human Dignity

From First Thoughts

MercatorNet—whose mission is “reframing ethical and policy debates in terms of human dignity”—has compiled a list of twenty public intellectuals who promote some aspect of human dignity : After asking friends and contributors to nominate public intellectuals who support human . . . . Continue Reading »

The Poetic Work of Good Prose

From First Thoughts

This part of your post , Sally, helped me see both what I had been missing and (somewhat shamefully) what it was I was admiring about the work of Billy Collins: The thing is, though, that this isn’t really like reciting poetry. I’m not sure what these poems look like on the page, but they . . . . Continue Reading »

The Mr. Potato Head Constitution

From First Thoughts

Along with the nomination of Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor, comes—once again—the age old judicial question, “Is the U.S. Constitution a ‘living document?” At the American Spectator , Jonathan Witt answers with a qualified “yes”: This brings us to the . . . . Continue Reading »

Is Billy Collins Killing Poetry?

From First Thoughts

Compile a list of topics Americans feel compelled to form an opinion about—global warming, the job performance of Obama, the fate of Jon and Kate—and “contemporary poetry” will rank near the bottom. Most Americans, though, are not ROFTERs . If you’re a ROFTER you’re . . . . Continue Reading »