Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Keith Burgess-Jackson's anti-Leiter blog

Keith Burgess-Jackson has started a blog detailing Brian Leiter's academic thuggery. One of Leiter's victims is Antony Flew. Hat tip: William Vallicella.


Lippard said...

Burgess-Jackson (who I believe got his doctorate from the University of Arizona, I'm not sure if our time overlapped) seems to be a little off-kilter:

Lippard said...

And this one:

Victor Reppert said...

This feels like an academic food fight. I'm not sure I like either participant, from what I am seeing.

Victor Reppert said...

However, I should just point out that whatever Burgess-Jackson's foibles may be, nothing follows from those foibles about the objections he raises against Leiter. He might have produced a bad argument against gay marriage, but his complaints against Leiter might be perfectly justified. So if you are thinking that these problems with KBJ show that his objections to Leiter are unjustified, this would be the ad hominem fallacy. I don't think KBJ is asking us to accept his charges on his authority.

Lippard said...

I agree with your point, Victor. However, based on reading this posting, the first thing I went to look for on Burgess-Jackson's blog was what was said by Leiter about Antony Flew, since I had some idea what it might be about--and what Burgess-Jackson calls "abuse" of Flew is Leiter saying this:

"His understanding of the putative "science" is not, shall we say, robust, and old age, as we know, takes its toll on people in many different ways. This is more an embarrassment for Flew than some triumph for creationism. But so many folks have e-mailed me about it, I figured I should post something.

Sad." (

Leiter is right. Flew's understanding of the relevant science is, by his own statement, quite minimal. In his correspondence with Carrier and in-person conversations with others, he is unable to give reasons for what he believes or even clearly explain what his position is. He has gone back and forth repeatedly. My take on it is that he is somewhat confused, and those who have been trumpeting his conversion as a win for Christianity are the ones who are taking advantage of an old man--and that *is* sad.

To characterize what Leiter wrote in this instance as "abuse" is to mischaracterize it.