1) Mind Science
Benforado (of the Situationist) let’s us know after the fact of the interdisciplinary embodied cognition conference at Columbia University in NYC. Or maybe he did let us know. I’ve been too busy writing my book the last three weeks to be checking up on these things. But crickets! Gallese, Barsalou, and Lakoff, three of my favorite mind researchers, were there. And here is a list of the others with links to their websites.
So far coming to 50 chapters and 380 pages.
I completed Christopher Hitchens’ Memoir Hitch-22. I think I am going to frame the last three pages for my . . . well, for walls of willing hosts? . . . makes a nice metaphor anyway.
4) Making of Law, Science, and Prop 8
Dahlia Lithwick writes in Slate magazine on the “Brilliant Ruling” of Judge Vaughn R. Walker:
It’s hard to read Judge Walker’s opinion without sensing that what really won out today was science, methodology, and hard work. Had the proponents of Prop 8 made even a minimal effort to put on a case, to track down real experts, to do more than try to assert their way to legal victory, this would have been a closer case. But faced with one team that mounted a serious effort and another team that did little more than fire up their big, gay boogeyman screensaver for two straight weeks, it wasn’t much of a fight. Judge Walker scolds them at the outset for promising in their trial brief to prove that same-sex marriage would “effect some twenty-three harmful consequences” and then putting on almost no case.
Walker notes that the plaintiffs presented eight lay witnesses and nine expert witnesses, including historians, economists, psychologists, and a political scientist. Walker lays out their testimony in detail. Then he turns to the proponents’ tactical decision to withdraw several of their witnesses, claiming “extreme concern about their personal safety” and unwillingness to testify if there were to be “recording of any sort.” Even when it was determined that there would be no recording, counsel declined to call them. They were left with two trial witnesses, one of whom, David Blankenhorn, founder and president of the Institute for American Values, the judge found “lacks the qualifications to offer opinion testimony and, in any event, failed to provide cogent testimony in support of proponent’s factual assertions.” Blankenhorn’s credentials, methodology, lack of peer-reviewed studies, and general shiftiness on cross examination didn’t impress Walker. And once he was done with Blankenhorn, he turned to the only other witness—Kenneth P. Miller—who testified only to the limited question of the plaintiffs’ political power. Walker wasn’t much more impressed by Miller, giving his opinions “little weight.”
. . . The real triumph of Perry v. Schwarzenegger may be that it talks in the very loftiest terms about matters rooted in logic, science, money, social psychology, and fact.
“Abusive”. “Tyrannical”. “Judicial arrogance”.
The Mormon church, on the other hand, says (from Rawstory.com):
”There is no doubt that today’s ruling will add to the marriage debate in this country and we urge people on all sides of this issue to act in a spirit of mutual respect and civility toward those with a different opinion,” church spokeswoman Kim Farah said, as quoted at the Associated Press.