Wednesday, May 25, 2016

A shocking tale of censorship! Elton John threatens one of my friends, Paddy Manning! Listen closely

What's behind Milo's slogan "Feminism is Cancer"?

The ruckuses caused by Milo Yiannopoulous' speeches across the country are escalating! By chance I had the luck of speaking to one of the organizers who arranged to have him speak at UC Santa Barbara months ago, and we had a calm and informative discussion about the meaning of "Feminism is Cancer."

Thursday, May 19, 2016

CogWatch 28 -- Fellow traveler Katy Faust shares a Christian angle

This podcast was recorded a few months back but is still as relevant as ever!

Thursday, May 5, 2016


The “Child” in Judeo-Christian Philosophy

full name / name of organization: 

International Children’s Rights Institute and Christian Concern (United Kingdom)

London, United Kingdom

November 11-12, 2016

contact email:


Deadline for proposals: July 15, 2016

Scholars at all levels encouraged to submit (Panels will be grouped to respect different tiers of expertise depending on submissions)

Over the past decade, the notion of “children’s rights” has become highly contested, both in political and academic terms. On the one hand, many self-proclaimed progressive groups have invoked the rights of children to promote sexual education, same-sex parenting, and transitional treatment for “transgender minors” as young as toddlers. Such progressive citations of “children’s rights” often raise the interests of children as a counterpoint against the objections of parents’ rights, especially parents with religious values. On the other hand, “children’s rights” have been invoked by dissenters from mainstream liberal politics. Both radical feminists and adoption reformists on the left, as well as social conservatives on the right have asserted that children’s interests should not be dictated by adults who overlook other issues in “the best interests of the child.” For instance, what of the child’s universal rights to matrilineal and patrilineal heritage, normal sexual development, or pathway to membership in the religious mores of their parents?

While the tension between these two branches of “children’s rights” has played out in many secular forums, such as the United Nations Human Rights Council, it is most apparent in the area of religion. Religious institutions and religious parents are most often confronted with the choice between raising children according to their faith and cooperating with secular liberal demands about children. 

For this conference, all disciplines in the humanities, ranging from English and philosophy to history and art, are asked to address the dilemma of children’s rights in Christian thought. The hosts of this conference would like to solicit paper proposals for two panel topics in particular:

Panel 1: Depictions of Children in Sacred Texts or in Artistic Works by Religious Writers

Panel 2: Obligations to Children in Jewish and Christian Law

The moment to confront the role of children in Judeo-Christian philosophy is long overdue. Children have been a perennial weak spot among philosophers. For example, two of the dominant ethical theories, Kantianism and utilitarianism, have a difficult time making sense of our deeply held intuitions about how children ought to be treated. Kantianism, for instance, claims that people have rights because they have rational agency; the problem is, children have only incomplete rational agency, so it seems difficult for Kantians to defend the claim that children should have the same rights that adults have. 

Utilitarianism claims that all that is of ethical significance is pleasure and pain; thus, it winds up seeing young children as having no more ethical significance than have chimpanzees or dolphins. A recent book by S. Matthew Liao called The Right to Be Loved argues that children have a right to the affections of others. But where does this lead us? Who is assigned the power to determine whether the child is loved and whether the affection shown to the child matches an acceptable definition of “love”?

In the practical sense, what does this mean for Jewish or Christian schools and parents who grapple with demands from secular governments, which may conflict with their faith background?

Areas of focus may include, but are not limited to:

·       artistic renderings of the infant Jesus
·       adoption and birth certificates
·       narratives of childbirth, infertility, and pregnancy in Jewish and Christian scriptures
·       sex education
·       transgender surgeries for Jewish and Christian children
·       religious schools and government mandates on curriculum
·       how important Jewish and Christian authors depicted children
·       the history of laws regarding children in Judeo-Christian societies
·       divorce, unmarried parents, and orphans

The above is not an exhaustive list. Interested parties may send a proposal for a 15-20 minutes presentation to . Please include a bio or brief CV. The proposal should be 250-350 words. Requests for a audio-visual accommodations should be included in the initial proposal.

The conference will be held in London, England, on Nov. 11-12, coinciding with the American observance of Veterans Day.

This recent talk by Prof. Robert Oscar Lopez provides a lot of background detail on "children's rights":