Tuesday, January 26, 2010

In Response To A Couple of Criticisms of the APA Anti-Discrimination Policy

Back when it was first announced, Alexander Pruss at Prosblogion authored a post in which he indicated that he did not think that the APA's new anti-discrimination policy made sense. He quotes what he regards as the relevant part of the policy:
The American Philosophical Association rejects as unethical all forms of discrimination based on race, color, religion, political convictions, national origin, sex, disability, sexual orientation, gender identification or age, whether in graduate admissions, appointments, retention, promotion and tenure, manuscript evaluation, salary determination, or other professional activities in which APA members characteristically participate. This includes both discrimination on the basis of status and discrimination on the basis of conduct integrally connected to that status, where "integrally connected" means (a) the conduct is a normal and predictable expression of the status (e.g., sexual conduct expressive of a sexual orientation) or (b) the conduct is something that only a person with that status could engage in (e.g., pregnancy), or (c) the proscription of that conduct is historically and routinely connected with invidious discrimination against the status (e.g., interracial marriage). [Pruss's emphasis.]
Pruss then claims that this policy actually protects certain instances of anti-gay discrimination, since some instances of anti-gay discrimination are normal, predictable expressions of adherence to certain religious faiths, and these faiths are also protected.

Now, I didn't read the 48 comments that follow the piece, so maybe somebody else made this point already. But the policy, as stated, does not have this implication. It goes on:
At the same time, the APA recognizes the special commitments and roles of institutions with a religious affiliation; and it is not inconsistent with the APA's position against discrimination to adopt religious affiliation as a criterion in graduate admissions or employment policies when this is directly related to the school's religious affiliation or purpose, so long as these policies are made known to members of the philosophical community and so long as the criteria for such religious affiliation do not discriminate against persons according to the other attributes listed in this statement.
So although the APA's new policy protects against anti-religious discrimination, it does not thereby protect discrimination that has a religious basis. It makes an exception for cases where the normal, predictable behaviors are discriminatory in nature. When the normal, predictable behaviors violate the anti-discrimination policy, they are not protected.

More recently, Troy Nunley authored a guest post at What's Wrong With The World in which he objects to the three "integral connection" clauses of the policy. Since he takes them in reverse order, I guess I will too. The first clause says that:
(c) the proscription of that conduct is historically and routinely connected with invidious discrimination against the status (e.g., interracial marriage).
Nunley's objection is that marrying white people, for example is not "integral" to being black. He asks what "makes marriage to a white woman “integral” to one’s status as a black man? Interracial marriage is not integral to any status I can think of."

Nunley's criticism here has to be that this is an unnatural way to interpret the expression 'integrally connected.' It cannot be that a university policy against miscegenation would not be discriminatory, or that the APA would be wrong to include such behavior in their anti-discrimination policy. So Nunley must be making the semantic point that this is an odd, unnatural way to understand what an integral connection is supposed to be.

If that's his point, then I guess I grant it, as far as it goes. Unfortunately for him, it does not go far. For however unnatural the resulting interpretation of 'integral connection' may be, the employment policy picked out is clearly discriminatory and immoral, and is clearly the proper target of the APA's anti-discrimination policy.
(b) the conduct is something that only a person with that status could engage in (e.g., pregnancy)
Nunley objects:
That a status S is necessary for behavior B is a lousy justification for the view that the two are in any way “integrally connected.” True, only women can become pregnant. It is also true that only women can have abortions, engage in repeated acts of surrogate motherhood with perfect strangers, conceive octuplets through modern reproductive technologies, incestuously bear the child of a close blood relative and so on. Which of these is “integrally connected” to being a woman? Or consider a recent case in which a male fertility specialist secretly impregnated his clients with his own sperm rather than their husbands. Only a male could do such a thing, but is that (despicable) behavior “integrally connected” to his status as a male? I hope not.
I am almost speechless. For one thing, it would be pretty bad for an employer to make not having an abortion, or not serving as a surrogate mother under whatever circumstances, or becoming an octo-mom, or what have you, a condition of employment. And it would be extremely bad for an employer to refuse to hire women because women sometimes have abortions, or serve as surrogates, or become octo-moms, or incestuous mothers. Such a policy would clearly be discriminatory and would rightly violate the APA's policy.

Moving on to the fertility clinic example. While I concede that only a man could secretly use his fertility clinic to impregnate women with his own sperm, Nunley must concede that anybody could secretly use a fertility clinic to impregnate women with sperm they didn't ask for. So it doesn't satisfy the APA's conception of integrality, because it's false that only men can engage in the relevant behavior. And if a fertility clinic used the possibility that a man would do this as an excuse not to hire men, I suspect that it would constitute discrimination. (Also, psychosis.) Moving along.
(a) the conduct is a normal and predictable expression of the status (e.g., sexual conduct expressive of a sexual orientation)
Nunley complains about age: "it is predictable, normal and expressive of being an octogenarian that one walks slowly. But what’s so “integral” about that? As if a spry eighty year old is somehow wrapped in some inner conflict?"

For one thing, I don't see why Nunley thinks that inner conflict is an important part of the APA's conception of integrality. For another thing, it would clearly be wrong and discriminatory for a university to use slow walking as an excuse to not hire a qualified octogenarian in virtue of her octogenariosity. And this behavior would clearly violate the APA's policy.

Nunley also complains that "[a] predictable, normal expression of [political] affiliation is propagandizing. But is such conduct “integral” to being a Democrat? I suspect not." But again, if someone were to use the fact that the fact that the Democrat (or Republican; it doesn't have to be a Democrat) in question is prone to propagandizing as an excuse not to hire Democrats--particularly if the Democrat in question kept the propagandizing out of the classroom--that would pretty clearly be wrong, and would violate the APA's policy. So I don't get what the problem is supposed to be.

In sum, if Nunley's criticism is that the APA has foisted an absurd and philosophically indefensible account of integral connection on its membership, then I guess I agree but don't see why it's an important point. If the criticism is that the APA has foisted an absurd and philosophically (or morally) indefensible anti-discrimination policy on its membership, then the arguments do not bear this out.

--Mr. Zero


Anonymous said...

You're too kind to him. The post is bad, but then he then goes on to say incredibly idiotic things in the comments thread. (Fascists! We're fascists because we don't think schools that discriminate against our members should be able to advertise in the JFP without a shaming mark.) He comes off as either a nut or a nitwit, but he's in good company.

Anonymous said...

The most invidious kind of discrimination is the kind we never hear about, where there is no overt policy instituted by the school. The APA can do nothing about this kind of discrimination. As previous exchanges have demonstrated, you can't punish these perpetrators. The APA policy is a stop-gap measure. It won't work to prevent the worst form of discrimination.

FemPhil said...

It's not even clear to me that his criticism of the use of the term "integrally connected" here is on track. Since the APA's statement says the following,

"This includes both discrimination on the basis of status and discrimination on the basis of conduct integrally connected to that status,"

then the issue is NOT, as Nunnaly reads it (perhaps in bad faith?) that the conduct is necessary condition for the existence of the status, but rather that the status is the necessary condition for the conduct. Which is to say that the APA's aim here is clearly to circumvent the (potential) claim that 'persons' aren't being discriminated against, only 'conduct,' by rightly pointing out that to discriminate against certain forms of conduct (pregnancy, interracial marriage, homosexual activity) is necessarily to discriminate against certain persons.

Also, what a douche.

Anonymous said...

Angels on pinheads: This whole discussion implies the fantasy that the APA could actually enforce any such policy. In hiring, it seems nearly impossible to prevent even egregious instances of discrimination. In promotion, etc., the APA's stance will never trump actual legal standards which, themselves, are notoriously difficult to bring to bear on individual cases. Flagging misbehaving institutions in the JFP hardly amounts to a punishment, given the current job market. At best it will be an announcement that those in the discriminated group need not apply for the job...which has the same effect as discrimination. Having said that, if it makes people feel good that they're "doing something," what the hell?

Anonymous said...

This is a bit tangential to this particular discussion, but it is centrally related to the politics of hiring.

I wish schools would just come out and say what they're really looking for in an applicant. For example, college X might be blunt and say, "we are looking to hire someone in AOS Y from a currently or formerly Leiter-Ranked, Top-15 school," or, "for this job we hope to attract a non-white female doing work in metaphysics from a continental perspective" or, "this will probably end up being an inside hire, but we might make an exception for an exceptionally strong candidate."

Right or wrong, this sort of thing probably happens all the time, but it's done behind closed doors. I personally know of half a dozen or so instances in which candidates were passed over because they were viewed as too continental, analytic, religious, liberal, conservative, white, or what have you, but none of these categories were listed in the job description. Politically it would never fly to make certain sorts of information public knowledge, but doing so would probably eliminate a lot of needless work and stress on both sides of the interview table.

Anonymous said...

then the issue is NOT, as Nunnaly reads it (perhaps in bad faith?) that the conduct is necessary condition for the existence of the status, but rather that the status is the necessary condition for the conduct. Which is to say that the APA's aim here is clearly to circumvent the (potential) claim that 'persons' aren't being discriminated against, only 'conduct,' by rightly pointing out that to discriminate against certain forms of conduct (pregnancy, interracial marriage, homosexual activity) is necessarily to discriminate against certain persons.

But some people who are straight have engaged in same-sex sexual activity.

FemPhil said...

Anon 6:35:

Of course, and I'd want to suggest that the fluidity of sexuality in particular has a way of troubling the very sorts of "persons" categories that protected-status clauses depend on. And for that reason, it's crucial that the APA stipulate a variety of different ways of conceiving "integrally connected," such that discrimination against behaviors is conceived as discrimination against persons (regardless of their sexual identification), and therefore proscribed.

On another note, while I'm all-too-aware that neither the APA nor any other professional governing body is capable of preventing or punishing all or even most instances of invidious discrimination, I'm concerned about the dismissive tone of some of the comments here. Is the point that because the APA can't stop such unfair practices, it shouldn't even bother issuing statements? Or is it that we shouldn't care about what such statements actually say? It seems to me that the APA's stance--that such practices are not only illegal and unethical, but officially recognized as un-professional in our discipline--is important.

Anonymous said...

How much support do you think this What's Wrong With the World blog has among Christian philosophers? Are the opinions expressed there representative of, for example, the views of the more famous Christian metaphysicians? Or is it the kind of marginal freak-show it appears to be?

Anonymous said...

As a Christian faculty member who knows other Christian faculty at places like, say, Rutgers, MIT, Brown, and Yale, I have to say that I think it's really unrepresentative among what you might think of as the mainstream research departments.

Anonymous said...

W4 is a marginal freakshow. Not all the opinions expressed at W4 are as marginal as they should be, though.

Anonymous said...

Just to second anon @2:55

I'm not a Christian faculty member. I'm an atheist and a philosopher who spends too much time reading W4. I can say that W4 is not representative of Christians in philosophy or outside of philosophy. In fact, I get emails from Christians in philosophy about W4 and we laugh and/or cry together.

Anonymous said...

Can I break in here with a question which is only tangentially related? OK, it's probably not related at all, except that it has to do with the job market and potentially unethical behavior by a hiring dept.

So, a couple weeks ago I get a call from a mid-size New England state school. The dept chair called. Said they were calling people on their short list to see if they are still on the market. My spouse took the call -- I was at work. I am still on the market. Chair says they will call back "in the immediate future." On the phylo wiki, it says "First round interviews scheduled," with a note in the comments from someone who got basically the same call I got, with the added info that school plans to schedule phone interviews in 2 weeks.

So, now it is almost two weeks later. I'm going nuts waiting for the call. And I'm thinking, what frickin' purpose was served by calling people with this tease? If you call your "short list" to schedule interviews, and somebody already has an offer, you just move down your list, right? Unless you're trying to winnow your list by removing people who already have jobs (which also tells you which of us losers don't already have jobs), saving you from having to make a decision. But either way, this pre-call call is just gratuitously torturous, and something I've never heard of being done.

Anonymous said...

@6:46 (and still nothing to do with APA anti-discrimination policy)

I had a similar thing happen to me a couple of years ago -- the chair first contacted me to check on my status and promised to be in touch again soon. Apparently, I was on a long short-list of some sort.

It may be a sign of disagreement about the short-list -- the committee agrees on the top ten, say, but can't agree on the top three, so they check to see if any of the top ten can be crossed off to resolve the issue. Painful for us.

(I didn't get the interview, but I got a job at a better place the following year -- in case that's any comfort).

Bertrand van Kripkenquine said...

The position expressed by the APA in their new policy is a stupid one but not because it opposes discrimination against gays. Of course discrimination against gays should be opposed. What makes the APA's position stupid is that it doesn't oppose discrimination against: atheists, unmarrieds who engage in heterosexual sex, people who drink, people who smoke cigars and for Christ's fucking sake, people who don't believe the story of Adam and fucking Eve. (If you've read wheaton's statement of faith you'll know that the last case is not something I'm just making up.)

The W4 goofballs want to argue that since the APA allows religious institutions to make theism, teetotalling, adam and eve, etc. conditions of employment, it is inconsistent of them to disallow discrimination against homosexuals. Of course that isn't inconsistent. There is certainly nothing inconsistent in saying that discrimination is wrong unless its against gays, women, and anything else you want to list.

But consistency isn't enough to avoid stupidity. What is the underlying principle that tells us that this sort of discrimination against gays is wrong? I'ddda thought it had something to do with the fact that whether or not you get it on with others who have your same naughty parts has absolutely nothing to do whether you can be a good philosopher or not. But ditto for theistic cigar smoking scotch drinkin evolutionists.

Now there is this language about historically oppressed groups. So maybe the principle is that its okay to discriminate on the basis of irrelevant characteristics unless its against historically oppressed groups. but that principle (a) sucks and (b) doesn't get the result that its okay to discriminate against atheists.

Now there's also this language about furthering the aims of religious institutions and maybe being a theistic, teetotalling creationist IS necessary for doing that. But I thought the apa was supposed to be interested in advancing the cause of philosophy not religion.

There is a case to be made that, while they should certainly be concerned about discrimination against gays, they should be at least as concerned about discrimination against atheists. Atheism (unlike homosexuality) is a philosophical position. It is counter to the very idea of philosophical inquiry that taking a certain philosophical position should be a requirement for being a philosopher. If being a theist is a requirment for working in your "philosophy department" then you don't have a philosophy department. You gotta a religion department that calls itself a philosophy department.

(Aside: For this reason I think the apa should also censure and boot out the society for christian philosophers a group that, as near as I can tell, makes being a christian a requirement of being a member of the group. I'd say the same for the society for utilitarians, eliminativists, etc. But I wouldn't say it for the society for realism/anti-realism discussion. See the diff? I have no idea what to say about the society for "field-being".?#@$&)

So yeah fuck weaton, fuck w4, and fuck the apa.

Anonymous said...


how are the campus visits going?

Anonymous said...

Judging from the new ads posted by Calvin College and University of St. Thomas, the APA discrimination issue remains meaningless in the real world of actually getting jobs. Either prove that you haven't made a non-Christian and/or homosexual lifestyle choice, or don't bother to apply. Full stop. St. Thomas seems to require obedience to the Catholic Church's magisterium, while Calvin states outright that they don't endorse the APA revisions (this statement is in the body of the ad, not a flag added by the APA). I'm not saying this is right or wrong, I'm only pointing out that the APA statements are meaningless. There are many other institutions who, without advertising as such, would never hire someone obviously Catholic or conservative Protestant, etc., so one could add that at least the religious schools are honest about their discrimination.

Anonymous said...

Off topic, but ...

Just saw a post on X Phi where Holton has posted a new paper on the Knobe Effect coming out in Analysis. It's a good paper. Deserves publication. When I sent Analysis a paper on this topic a few years ago, the response was that the paper was fine but Analysis doesn't do papers on the Knobe Effect anymore. Period. End of story.

Unless you're famous, I guess.

Blackwell should fucking step in and make Analysis blind. This is ridiculous.

Anonymous said...

Alexander Pruss is right. As written, the policy (1) rules out discriminating against Westboro Baptists while (2) permitting the use of non-discriminatory religious affiliation as a requirement for hiring. You're mistaking (2) for (3) an exception to the policy that you can't discriminate on the basis of religious affiliation. But read again: (2) and (3) are plainly not the same thing.

Anonymous said...

Um, I'm not sure if it is appropriate to bring this up again on this thread--but what's going on with the APA Pacific thing? Am I riding on the trolley or taking my last grad student stipend check and betting it all on red?

Anonymous said...

@1:46 You are right about the Calvin ad. Seriously, WTF? Their ad basically says "Fuck You APA! We do what we want! We can damn well discriminimate against them queer folk if we choose to!"

Yet at the same time, I wouldn't be so quick to include St Thomas in the crazy pile. I don't have all the details but their diversity, employment, and harassment pages all explicitly mention sexual orientation as a protected category. Moreover, St Thomas has recognized student organizations for both undergrads (Allies) and law students (OUT!law) to promote GLBT issues. Am I missing something?

Anonymous said...

Has the APA even officially promulgated its policy? I've only seen it mentioned in this blog and Leiter's. Why don't they front-page it on their web site?

Anonymous said...

You might also mention Catholic University of America, which advertised for a professor who is a priest. That immediately justifies the good old asterisk, whatever Catholic's other policies.

Anonymous said...

St. Thomas might have GLBT organizations on campus, but getting a job in their philosophy department is a separate issue. There might well be other departments which don't require adherence to the Magisterium, but their philosophy ad was explicit about Fides et Ratio (not really a bad document, given its perspective) and Ex Corde Ecclesiae (much more troubling). Given that the department seems active in the ACPA, I would also guess that ACPA membership is a prerequisite (as SCP is for Calvin).

Anonymous said...

The St. Thomas Phil Dept does not require membership with the ACPA. Nor does it require adherence to the magisterium.

Anonymous said...

Does Analysis not use blind review?

Anonymous said...

(Not the original poster)

Analysis isn't blind reviewed. But it also isn't published by Blackwell any more - it's OUP. The point's still the same though, 'course.

Anonymous said...

"Does Analysis not use blind review?"

Not really. Paper goes to editor who decides whether to accept on the spot, reject on the spot, or send to referee for review. At that stage, it's not blinded.

I can't believe OUP allows them to operate like this. I can't believe any journal is allowed to operate with anything but double blind review.

staying anonymous for the second half said...

"I think the apa should also censure and boot out the society for christian philosophers a group that, as near as I can tell, makes being a christian a requirement of being a member of the group."

One doesn't need to be a Christian to be in the SCP, though in the past that seems to have been the working assumption, both within and oustide the SCP. But they have atheist members and had pretty high profile atheists even as their plenary speakers (e.g., Paul Churchland).

And St. Thomas does hire homosexuals. Even if their philosophy department.

Anonymous said...

hmm, it'd be nice to have a list of other journals that are not blind-review. I know that JPhil has recently adopted a blind-review policy (I think). I guess part of this depends on what we mean by 'blind-review'. Anyone off the top of their head know the journals that are not blind-review?

Anonymous said...

I want to go back to the Jan 27 remark that's been reposted on the Leiter blog. The answer, as someone who is and has been an object of the version of discrimination is W4 are a bunch of freaks. IRL, however, all it takes is ONE bigot on the faculty who quietly lies in wait until s/he has power, e.g. the power of an administrative office, to make life living hell.
Maybe they are statistical exceptions among Christian philosophers or the SCP, maybe not. But (1) the percentages cease to matter at all when one is faced, as the target of discrimination, with even one such character; and (2) I suspect that LBGT philosophers are so often told that "Christians like *that*" are the exception (who knows?) because it makes the person uttering the claim feel better to think so, and feel less obligated to think and/or do anything about the real and very serious discrimination that is a part of daily life for some of us.
/rant off.

Anonymous said...

I see that Calvin's ad says that they haven't endorsed the APA non-discrimination revisions; but they also say on their HR website that "Calvin College prohibits unlawful discrimination in hiring on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, religion, disability, gender, marital status, sexual orientation or other characteristics protected by federal, state or local statute or ordinance." So it's unclear to me whether they're being inconsistent, or if the line in the ad is just aimed at being forthright about their take on recent developments.

For what it's worth, I'm a Christian in a Leiteriffic dept, and almost none of the other Christians I've met in philosophy have the kind of animus that the W4 folks exhibit. Some earlier comments mention the SCP: my sense(as an SCP member) is that most of its active members tend to be quite liberal theologically, socially, and politically... However, the EPS (Evangelical Philosophical Society) -- of which I am NOT a member! -- is much more conservative, and probably more like what the earlier commenters have in mind.

Anonymous said...

"Anyone off the top of their head know the journals that are not blind-review?"

I believe that AJP is blinded at the level of editor and referee. I don't know if this is true for PPR, Nous, Phil Studies, Ekenntnis, or Synthese. My sense was that the editor knows who the author is, but the paper is blinded when sent to referees. I think this is bad for a number of reasons, but whenever I say that people say that I'm ignoring all the tiny and inconsequential reasons that count in favor of letting editors know who authored a paper.

I think the APA should take a stand on this practice and urge _real_ blind review for all journals that aren't doing invitation issues. If editors know the identity of an author and have the power to reject immediately, accept immediately, or use knowledge of identity to select referees, that compromises the idea that the work was truly refereed blindly by a peer.

I know people who think they game the system by sending their work to editors they think are friendly. Maybe they are wrong in thinking this, but if they know the editor better than I and think they can get a better chance of publishing by sending their work to an editor they've worked with or know personally, who am I to say they're wrong? (Case in point. Close friend had paper rejected many times and thought as a last ditch effort before tossing it in the trash it should be sent to good journal edited by former professor. Acceptance! Friend said he was pretty sure it would be sent to former friend from graduate school who could be counted on for an acceptance. Nice. That's who we're competing against for jobs. Meanwhile, friend of that friend (i.e., me) is deeply suspicious of the amazing success rate former graduate students of this professor have at publishing in professor's journal. Will that color my perception of them when it comes to things like hiring? Of course it will. I'm assured that there's a significant probability that people are gaming the system and if they're right we're getting screwed and if they're wrong they're getting screwed because they're not receiving the help they think they are while tainting the system in a way that undermines the credibility of the system of peer review. There are easy ways to correct this.)

Anonymous said...

To be a member of the SCP, one must consider oneself a Christian and a philosopher. (Hint: it is the Society OF CHRISTIAN PHILOSOPHERS.)

But one does not have to be a member of the SCP to submit papers to SCP meetings, and indeed some of the plenary speakers have been nonChristians, even atheists.

Anonymous said...

I'm still not sure what one is wondering when one is wondering whether most Christians in philosophy are like the folks at W4. There is a lot of weirdness at W4, no doubt. But if the question is whether there are a lot of Christians in philosophy who still think that, say, gay sex is wrong, then the answer is yes, of course, there are lots and lots of them.

Anonymous said...

Sadly, I completed an advanced degree at a program affiliated with W4, which attracted a number of Christian students. To be honest, the majority of these students were exactly like recognized W4 members. Unfortunately, my suspicion is that, although this breed of fanaticism and hate-mongering is exceptional among earlier generations of Christian philosophers, it's the norm among the newer generation who came of age during the fundamentalist revival in the US.

Anonymous said...

I would love to know more about Anon 12:21's situation. As an evangelical Christian who bears nearly no resemblance to the W4 and knows very few Christians who do, and who's often seen people make outrageous generalizations against Christians solely to make us look bad, I'm deeply suspicious. Hopefully her statement struck many people as false, and I'm not the only one who's deeply suspicious.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 7:22-This is Anonymous 12:21. I'm not sure what more you want to know about my situation. Out of respect for my previous institution, most of the faculty members that work there, and many of its graduates, I'm not going to name names, as it were. In any case, let me say this about your suspicions: if you don't think the typical contributors to What's Wrong with the World (e.g., McGrew, Feser, Beckwith) are fanatics or hate-mongers (or if you simply don't disapprove of them at all), then you wouldn't think the Christian students I'm talking about are either. If on the other hand, you do disapprove of the former, then you would disapprove of the latter. I'm obviously making a value judgment of these people in dubbing them fanatics and hate-mongers. If you object to that, it's fine for you to say so. But if this is the issue, it's inaccurate to say that there's something suspicious about my claim, as though you have any reason to think I'm lying about the fact that the majority of Christian students I knew at this program held the same sort of beliefs, engaged in the same sort of rhetoric, and so on, as the W4 crowd. That's merely a factual claim. Let me end with this suspicion: my guess is that you sympathize with the W4 folks, and don't disapprove of them, but instead of bluntly saying so, you're pretending that I'm likely to be lying about the sort of students at my former program. Perhaps it should've clued you in that the department in question has real links to W4. Shouldn't be too surprising then, that a number of the Christian who applied there sympathized with W4. I didn't assume my fellow students were like McGrew or Beckwith merely because they said they were Christian. That idea is pretty absurd. Christians usually aren't discriminated against that badly. But perhaps you assume they are, because like the W4 crowd, you see Christians as endlessly victimized by secular philosophers. But let's be real here. You're probably a W4 person yourself pretending not to be in the hopes I'll reveal who I am. So then you alert the presses what student wasn't pro-W4 at the relevant institution.

Anonymous said...

As the owners of this blog can undoubtedly verify from ip addresses, I am not anon 12:21.
I find anon 7:22pm's post (addressed to anon 12:21pm) creepy. how do you know whether anon 12:21pm is female? that presumption just makes me suspicious of anon 7:22pm, not anon 12:21pm.

Anonymous said...

"IRL, however, all it takes is ONE bigot on the faculty who quietly lies in wait until s/he has power, e.g. the power of an administrative office, to make life living hell."

This is true whether the person in question is a bigot about one particular issue or a different one. And it's true even if they aren't bigoted but are instead out to get someone personally or....well, the examples are endless and real world instances of many kinds of individual problems of different sorts are out there in the real world.

Anonymous said...

Anon 7:22 here.

I use "her" as a generic pronoun, as has become standard in philosophical writing.

I find the W4 bloggers abhorrent and disgraceful. I know several Christian students who completed one of the programs "affiliated with" the W4, and they also find the W4 bloggers abhorrent and disgraceful. In fact, I know no Christians in philosophy other than the W4 bloggers who have ever said anything positive about them, and I know plenty of Christians who have said very negative things about them, myself included.

@Anon 12:21/9:28 -- You claim that you're just making a "factual claim". Of course, in order for a claim to be factual, it must be true. And you've given no reason to think your claim is true. Since I have reason to believe that your claim is false, I was claiming that I had such reason, which is also a "factual claim". Of course, my reasons are inaccessible to other readers of this blog for the same reason that your reasons are--anonymity. People have no more reason to believe my claim than yours. But hopefully they also have no less reason.

Anonymous said...

"You claim that you're just making a "factual claim". Of course, in order for a claim to be factual, it must be true."

Only on some obviously unintended sense of "factual." It's clear in this context I was using the term in contrast to values. I doubt this confused anyone else.

"And you've given no reason to think your claim is true."

Well, I offered my testimony. I guess other people can do that too. One might attribute differing levels of reliability and sincerity to anonymous posters though depending on style. If someone writes the way Sarah Palin speaks, one could justifiably infer that person was a moron and view their post appropriately. So, I guess that means not all anonymous posts are equal, as you apparently want them to be. Anyway, I also pointed out that younger Christians were raised during the fundamentalist/extremist revival in America, so it wouldn't be too surprising if W4 were less exceptional among them. I guess that qualifies as a reason, so it turns out I have offered more reasons than you.

"Since I have reason to believe that your claim is false, I was claiming that I had such reason, which is also a "factual claim"."

Well then, since you're evidently up in arms about reasons here, why don't you share yours? Or, you could just be honest: you're probably a W4 sympathizer and that's why you made this post. Why do I think that? Here's my REASON: you seem offended, but if you weren't a W4er, it's not at all clear to me why you would be. I'm not simply attacking Christians. I made a claim about students I went to school with. This claim is true, as true as any other old claim I could make about the composition of the student body at the relevant school. I also expressed disappointment at the prospect that this might be rather unexceptional. If I didn't make this clear originally, I am now. Still offended? Why?

Andrew Bailey said...

Like 7:22 and 12:21, I'll offer some testimonial evidence. Unlike 7:22 and 12:21, I'll write under my real name.

For what it's worth: I know a lot of Christian philosophers. Some are evangelicals. Indeed, I know many Christian philosophers who are studying at or have received advanced degrees at places like Western Michigan (where McGrew's husband teaches) and Baylor (where Beckwith now teaches). To my knowledge, none of these friends approve of the W4 group or the things said there. Most are embarrassed by W4; they are no less saddened or angered or shocked by W4 than are any other philosophers.

I do not write this because I'm a W4 sympathizer. I write to counterbalance the testimonial evidence offered by 7:22. 7:22 worries that his or her experience is unexceptional; I'm unconvinced that it is. If I'm right, then I am the bearer of good news: good news for the profession (W4 is marginal), and good news for its Christian members (W4 is marginal among that subclass of the profession too).

Anon 7:22 said...

Anon 7:22 here.

I think Andrew Bailey has confused me with Anon 12:21. At least, he hasn't counterbalanced my testimony, but rather supported it.

@Anon 12:21 -- I doubt that I can convince you of my disgust for the W4 bloggers, but if there's any way that I can, let me know. I'll try this: I think the typical contributors to What's Wrong with the World (e.g., McGrew, Feser, Beckwith) are fanatics and hate-mongers and I simply don't approve of them at all.

Side note: I think it's interesting (for psychological reasons) that you have such a hard time believing that I dislike them. My guess is that you have very strong feelings against Christians, and that thinking of us all as similar to the W4 crowd makes it easy for you to justify those feelings.

You are correct on my misreading of your use of "factual". I misinterpreted.

I have given reasons just the same as you have: my testimony.

I find your response to me two-faced. On the one hand, you claim that all you're offering is your own experience, and how dare I attempt to contradict that! On the other hand, you repeatedly hint that you suspect that your experience is not an exception.

There are two ways to read this. One way is that you are *concerned* that there are many other Christian philosophers that are similar to the W4 crowd. If that's what you mean, then I'm here to say, "Take heart; there aren't! Based on my experience, your experience is the exception." And my experience with Christian philosophers is quite extensive.

The other way to read it is that you *believe* that there are many other Christian philosophers that are similar to the W4 crowd. Your reason for believing this, then, is that at one program (a program which by your own admission would be expected to attract such people), there were such people. And that is the informal logical fallacy of "Hasty Generalization."

Then, of course, the reason that you post this belief to a website is to get others to believe what you believe based on your testimony.

Troy Nunley said...

Glad to see all here reading my post. I suppose I need to briefly reply to Mr. Zero here regarding my argument that, pace the APA, the items a-c are not individually sufficient to elevate a particular behavior to “integrally connected to a status.” Regarding c, Mr. Zero granted the point. Thanks. However, he changes subject to address whether or not discrimination upon whether one is interracially married or not is morally beyond the pale. Please don’t go there; I am in an interracial marriage. A lot of comments on this blog give me the impression that commentors think that because Mr. Zero changed the subject that I must, in fact, be challenging him on the new subject. Regarding b, Mr. Zero would have been wiser, I think, to simply grant that multiple abortions are not integral to being a woman nor illegally impregnating women with one’s one sperm (emphasis on those last four words) integral to being a man. Instead he again changed the subject to whether it is morally permissible to make not having an abortion a condition of hire or whether impregnating a woman with some person’s sperm is necessary for being a man. Again, I admire challenges to my arguments. I do not admire persons who switch the subject and depict me as having taken a contrary view on the new subject. As for a, again, Mr. Zero changes the subject as to whether persons of a certain age or political behavior ought to be fired or not hired. Whatever views Zero has, I’m certain I didn’t contradict them.
In the final paragraph (thankfully) Mr. Zero gets to the heart of the matter. ALL I said was the APA is wrong on what they consider “integral” here. Where we disagree is whether that makes the APA policy bad. I agree with Mr. Zero that for the most part the policy is good. One generally should not forbid pregnancy or interracial marriage…I enjoy the progeny of my interracial marriage for example. But let’s face it, the policy was not intended to target a rash of anti-pregnancy, anti-interracial colleges. It was to depict the new attack on Christian schools as an extension of defenses of women and minorities. That’s why it concocted a bogus notion of “integral relations.” Too bad they don’t know what they are talking about.

Clayton said...

Not to beat a dead horse (again), but I still don't think Troy has managed to deal with the following tension in his views.

(1) A school that prohibited interracial relationships would violate a policy that prohibited racial discrimination.

(2) A school that prohibited homosexual relationships would not violate a policy that prohibited discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation.

Yes, Troy, we get it. Homosexual sex is conduct, orientation isn't. Sexual acts involving a married interracial couple is to be distinguished from the immutable characteristics of the husband and wife, but we know that anyone who tried to appeal to that obvious fact to argue that policies that forbid interracial relationships don't discriminate on grounds of race is a dumb fucking racist. He knows, we know, we all know that a policy that prohibits discrimination on racial grounds has that covered. He knows, we know, we all know that a policy that prohibits discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation has homosexual "practice" covered.