What’s Wrong with the World

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You can’t make this stuff up, folks

The Leiter reader who parroted (and still parrots) the “apologist for murder” libel against me is awfully upset because, with some mild sarcasm, I referred to him as…

a logician. (Gasp!)

Specifically, I noted that that’s how he referred to himself on his site.

I know, I know. Nasty stuff. But hey, I was in a bad mood that week – what with, you know, people like this very doofus calling me an “apologist for murder” and what not.

Still, the poor, poor man. Apparently I hurt his feelings. You see, by “logician” he didn’t mean to portray himself as some especially penetrating thinker or anything. Just a guy who studies logic, that’s all. Or something like that. Anyway, he’s written a 1,254 word post explaining himself, so do read it, and disabuse yourself of the terrible calumny I directed against him.

Because, you know, he would never, never misrepresent someone else’s words. Nor would he ever ridicule someone else who defended himself against a libelous misrepresentation.

And Brian, I know you like to ridicule people for offering “lengthy” self-defenses – when you’re not ridiculing them for giving “non-replies,” that is. (The good old “Heads I win, tails you lose” strategy – clever one, Bri!) But please lay off this guy, huh? He’s very sensitive…

Comments (18)

Much like the Palin thread below, I fail to see the victory here. Burgis' post is hardly the hysterical complaint you make it out to be.


Never said he was "hysterical," Mike. What's absurd is that's there's a complaint at all, much less a 1,254 word one.

But as they say, if ya gotta explain a joke...

So he doesn't consider you nasty, doesn't consider himself a poor, poor man, didn't get his feelings hurt, doesn't consider what you said a terrible calumny... who exactly is the OP speaking of?

I once insulted a particularly obnoxious atheist-and-Darwinist (pardon the redundancy) who always made much of being a scientist by referring to him as “Sir Scientist.”

Come to think of it, as it turned out, I had actually insulted *all* scientists by mocking the pretentiousness of that one fellow.

Oh, and I had also "insulted" this thingie which it pleases people to call "science."

It appears that while I've been away Mike the postmodernist has decided W4 is his favorite site to hang out on and make would-be sophisticated comments. Darn.

Lydia, for a postmodernist Mike's awfully literal-minded.

Let me explain it, Mike: If a guy writes 1,254 words in response to being called a "logician," we can resaonably infer that it got under his skin a bit, no?

(And no Mike, I don't mean literally under the skin, like an infection or something...)

I really don't see anything in Ben's post that indicates he is "awfully upset" or that you "hurt his feelings". Apparently you CAN make this stuff up...

Groan. Chaospet, see the comment just above yours.

Anyway, I'm sure this sudden zeal of yours for going only by someone's exact words, interpreted literally, means that you and Mike will be rushing over to this guy's blog to chide him for calling me an "apologist for murder," right? Yeah, right.

And re: "making stuff up," I know it can be done - you, Ben, and Leiter prove it!

re: comment just above mine

No - I don't think that's a reasonable inference to make, which should be clear if do a little more than count the number of words in Ben's post. It's pretty obvious that all he's up to is a fairly mundane exploration of a semi-interesting semantic issue raised by your using the term 'logician' derisively. Even given a less-than-literal reading of your rant here, you are completely off the mark.

Mm-hmm. Okey-doke. Thanks for that.

BTW, Mr. Exegete, if you check out the definition of "rant" in any dictionary you'll find that it bears no resemblance to what I wrote. A rant is angry, you see. I was being sarcastic. So, pedant, heal thyself.

Meanwhile, we're still waiting for your earnest, chin-pulling correction of the "apologist for murder" libel.

Strain out a gnat, swallow a camel. You guys are absolutely surreal.

Ed, it's sort of ironic, the same folks who believe it is a requirement to be skeptical of design in nature or the normative complementarity of gender seem to think that minds have proper functions, and moral ones at that. I wish for once they would critique our point of view without borrowing so promiscuously from it.

Just goes to show you that even the boy who runs out of church can't run the church out of the boy.

He now refers to you as a 'doctor-killing enthusiast'

Yup - "doctor-killing enthusiast."


Interesting to see Brian Leiter himself showing up in the comments thread, congratulating this hopeless light-weight for sucking up to him.


I noticed that, Matt. He's just a nasty, shameless, unrepentant, bald-faced liar. Just like some other bloggers we all know and love. They have no interest in genuine discussion or debate with those they disagree with, and only ever really talk amongst themselves, reinforcing each other in their evil.

Harsh words, I know, but the shoe fits 'em, so they can wear it.

Anyway, my outrage over these fools has turned to boredom...

Missed that, Steve. A helpful lesson in self-satire there from Big Bad Brian, which no one should miss. Unless, of course, one is sick to death of this sophomoric schoolyard stuff, which I think I will be in three... two... one...

'doctor-killing enthusiast'

Wow, that means if Ed receives death threats or is harmed we can blame it on Brian Leiter.

But aside from that, I guess, given the recent petition, we can now refer to Leiter as a "Christian college hating enthusiast."

This, of course, is all just so ridiculous. I didn't become a philosopher in order to join a "fraternity" that requires a political litmus test that imparts one with the power to call disagreeing colleagues wicked names. When did philosophy shift from the sort of thing experienced by Lydia in Belgium?

But maybe it really hasn't. Several days ago I received a warm invitation from a gay philosopher to participate in a panel on the APA petition at the upcoming Eastern Division Meeting. I really wish I could have accepted the invitation, but, as I told the gentleman, my parents' 50th wedding anniversary is soon after that and we have a lot of planning of preparation to do. So, I declined. I got the impression from this gentleman that it was going to be the type of serious discussion that these sorts of issues deserve in the profession.

In any event, Leiter's rabid meanness may be an aberration. And, of course, we should pray for the man, for if the grace of God can touch me, it is certainly able to touch the heart of Brian Leiter.

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