Friday, January 20, 2023

Free Market Fundamentalism

 A frequently held position is that the best results can be achieved by allowing the free market to operate, and attempts by government to correct it in the interest of fairness simply make matters worse instead of better. This is a very typical conservative economic philosophy. On the other hand, because of a pre-existing condition, I was never able to get health insurance until the Affordable Care Act was passed, and without insurance I would never have been able to get the surgery I needed six years ago. (I realize that what is good for me might be bad in general, but I would like to see some proof that this is the case.) Would the free market have mandated, for instance, warning labels on cigarettes, or even putting ingredient information on canned goods? This view is called "free market fundamentalism" and it doesn't seem to me to be supported by the evidence.

Is there good reason to believe this? If so, what is it?

Monday, January 16, 2023

Atheism and the Establishment Clause

 It would be very odd if our government were to make it legal to practice any religion you wanted to, so long as you practiced one, but prohibited you from lacking any religion at all. So, freedom of religion includes freedom from religion. But does freedom from religion involve more that this? If so, what?

Suppose a religious professor at a state college were to make it his goal to get as many students to believe his religion as possible. There seem to be at least some things he could do (for example, making it clear that anyone who wrote a paper in opposition to his religious beliefs would almost certainly get a failing grade), that would give the student grounds for suing based on the Establishment Clause of the Constitution.
Now, suppose an atheist professor were to make it his stated goal to get as many students to become atheists as possible. Are there things he could do that would give a religious student grounds for suing based on the Establishment Clause? Or, since it's nonbelief instead of belief, that's different?

Sunday, January 08, 2023


 This is a link to the Russell-Copleston debate. What if C. S. Lewis had debated Bertrand Russell? What if Richard Dawkins had debated William Lane Craig?