- John Wilson, editor of Books and Culture, has an editorial in the Wall Street Journal on faith and science:
What is at stake in these disputes is not a choice between following biblical authority on the one hand or science on the other, as the matter is often misleadingly framed. Rather, we see rival theological commitments, rival understandings of how to read Genesis.I think this puts it nicely, though Wilson goes on to understate the consequences of adhering to reading Genesis as a literal description of the origins of the world. Young Earth Creationists have to explain how the scientific community gets things so wrong, and so it seems rather common to consider the scientific establishment as mendacious, incompetent, or ideologically biased to a terrifying degree. If the scientists are so bad at geology, how could they do any better on climatology? So while Young Earth Creationism is not essentially a "disdain for science," such disdain tends to follow.
- In the New York Times, an essay on David Foster Wallace's prose style, and those on the internet who learned all the wrong lessons from it:
I suppose it made sense, when blogging was new, that there was some confusion about voice. Was a blog more like writing or more like speech? Soon it became a contrived and shambling hybrid of the two. The “sort ofs” and “reallys” and “ums” and “you knows” that we use in conversation were codified as the central connectors in the blogger lexicon. We weren’t just mad, we were sort of enraged; no one was merely confused, but kind of totally mystified.That's a stew I like making more than eating. This is worth thinking about.
How we arrived at the notion that the postmodern era is the first ever to confront the tension between sincerity and irony despite millennia of evidence to the contrary is no mystery: every generation believes its insights are unprecedented, its struggles uniquely formidable, its solutions the balm for all that ails the world. Why so many of our critics are still, after all these years, making their arguments in this inherently self-undermining voice — still trying to ward off every possible rejoinder and pre-emptively rebut every possible criticism by mixing a weird rhetorical stew of equivocation, pessimism and Elysian prophecy — is another question entirely.