Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Readers respond

Some reader combox comments on the Keith Parsons pseudo-event that shouldn’t get lost in the ether – edited by me for typos, and followed by my clever rejoinders:

Ryan writes:

I think I know whom you primarily have in mind when you speak of "those for whom philosophy is only ever politics by other means." I don't wish to mention him by name, though, for he is a notorious self-Googler.

Yes. And he’s so vain, he probably thinks this post is about him.

Untenured writes:

Compare the reception that Parsons received to the one Antony Flew got. Parsons is a nobody; a two-bit net skeptic who writes a lot of so-so replies to Plantinga and Co. Flew, on the other hand, is a fairly prominent philosopher who has a number of well-known articles and books to his credit. When Parsons says that the case for God is a fraud: "Devastating! Maybe the case for Theism IS a fraud!" When Flew abandons Atheism: "He's soft in the head! Doesn't know enough ‘science’!”

Good point. But since Religion Dispatches didn’t mind reheating the months-old Parsons “story,” perhaps they’ll be serving up the years-old Flew story next. (Apparently their “dispatches” aren’t posted with dispatch.) On the other hand, in fairness to Parsons, Eric writes:

When this "news" first came to my attention, I wondered, "What if [insert prominent theistic philosopher of religion] announced that he was no longer going to do any work in philosophy of religion because the arguments for atheism were mind numbingly bad – fraudulent, even (to use Parson's term, which he concedes was hyperbolic)? Would we ever see a post on Leiter Reports like this: "This is Striking: Peter Kreeft Quits Philosophy of Religion, Claims the Case for Atheism is a Fraud," followed by serious analysis of Kreeft's claims about the overall weakness of the case for atheism? Not likely. (In Parson's defense, I asked him this question, and he said that he thinks his decision vis-a-vis philosophy of religion has "zero epistemic significance," and that he was surprised by all the attention it got in the blogosphere.)

Interesting. Glad to hear that Parsons himself, unlike certain people who have been pushing this “story,” isn’t as full of it as the diaper I just changed.

Finally, some fun from MMcCue, who writes:

A poem relating to "professional philosophers"

I am a Prestigious Professor of Philosophy,
At a quite Elite University.

I get generous grants,
To sit on my pants,

And write books that nobody reads

Yup. And to bitch and moan about his "workload," too.


  1. Okay, can someone just tell me who this vain, notorious, self-Googling, overly-political fellow is? I'm sorry, but us non-philosophers just aren't in on the joke.

  2. Anon

    I think Dr. Feser is referring to Brian Leftow at Oxford University.

  3. You're both wrong. He's talking about BR!AN L!ETER. (Replacing the "I's" with symbols means he won't find it via Google).

  4. You are all wrong. He's talking about Bill Luse, his seedy, nefarious co-blogger over at What's Wrong With the World.

  5. What would Ed have against Brian Leftow?

  6. Why Leftow? Hahaha.

    If anyone is interested, here's a debate between the famous William Lane Craig and Keith Parsons:

    Part 1:

    Part 2:

  7. @ BenYachov:

    Haha I though the same thing.

    L. seems to spend his time searching comments about himself in blogs and forums and then link the same 3 lame posts on his blog... (which are like his books... always the same story and arguments with some variation and no improvement)

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