Russell and Duenes

Does It Matter Whether Josh Fox is Lying? And Other Musings

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joshfoxgaslandI have always wondered why people who think they’ve got the truth on their side are not willing to defend that truth in a straightforward manner. One example is Josh Fox, the maker of Gasland. I’ve seen Gasland, and now having taken two Oil and Gas Law classes at school, I have some opinions about it from the standpoint of its claims about Oil and Gas production. But even had I never known anything about gas production in this country, I would still have questions about Josh Fox. That’s because I recently watched the film FrackNation, which is a direct reply to Fox (By the way, even if you have virtually no interest in the energy sector, I think you’d find it stimulating and educational to get Gasland and FrackNation, and then watch them back-to-back, which only takes about three hours. It’s no fool’s errand, believe me.). I’m convinced that FrackNation puts the lie to some of Fox’s claims, but more importantly, it properly shows Fox to be an obscurantist, motivated by many things to which I am not privy, but certainly not motivated by finding the truth about fracking. Anyone who is interested in the truth is also interested in facing the hard questions and the counterexamples. They are interested in addressing their most pointed critics, assuming those critics are also dealing in good faith. But to my knowledge, and from watching these two films, Josh Fox has virtually no such interest. And that’s too bad, because as my Oil and Gas law professor says, energy policy in this country is being decided based on claims that Josh Fox is making, and “that’s scary!”

Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto no. 2, mvt. 2 is perhaps one of the most beautiful pieces of music I have ever heard. I think I first heard it back in my undergrad days some twenty years ago, but I have been listening to it recently with more attention to its nuances; and each time, I am just stunned. It is a testament to so many things: The creativity and intelligence of human beings displayed by their invention of various instruments and their composition of music, the inexplicable way in which such music touches our emotions, the fact that we are moved at all by music, the reality of beauty, and the reality of God over it all. As one stares at a gorgeous painting for hours to take in its depth, I commend Rachmaninov’s piece to your listening with attentiveness. See if you are not also awestruck.


I intend for all three of my boys to grow up with a love for scientific discovery. I want them to have an appreciation for the beauty and mystery of all that surrounds us in God’s creation. I hope they will find the natural world inviting and compelling. I also hope that these words by Francis Beckwith, or something like them, will be the banner that flies over all their love of science: “The question of whether Methodological Naturalism is necessary for natural science is a philosophical claim that must be justified philosophically; if cannot be justified by natural science, if it is alleged to be a presupposition for the practice of natural science. No doubt natural science assumes certain preconditions, some of which appear to be essential to its practice. But none of them is derived from science; they are philosophical presuppositions that make science possible.” Public Education, Religious Establishment, and the Challenge of Intelligent Design, 17 Notre Dame J.L. Ethics & Pub. Pol’y 461, 469 (2003). Keeping in the mind the proper distinction between scientific discovery and the philosophy of science which makes such discovery possible will allow them cut through a lot of shenanigans while also wholeheartedly embracing scientific discoveries in the natural world.

My ears always perk up when people start talking about “how things would have gone if X hadn’t happened.” Prognostications about how historical events “would have gone” quite obviously make for speculation, but I always find them interesting to ponder nonetheless. For example: What if Lincoln hadn’t tried to keep the United States together and had let the Southern states secede? Doubtless some guesses are more educated than others, but I wonder who would have settled the West first. Would there ultimately have been war at a later time over such territory? Would continued slavery in the Confederate States have led ultimately to economic and social ruin? Would the United States have adopted rigid trade tariffs with the Confederate States? If slavery turned out to be ruinous, would the Confederate States have abolished it themselves? On what timetable? Or would they have been content to remain a pariah nations, assuming slavery was profitable. After all, Britain had already outlawed the slave trade, and it would be hard to imagine western nations that would long have been willing to do business with the Confederates. Or take the Kennedy presidency. Would Kennedy have won a second term? If so, would Nixon have been able to win the presidency in ’68? How might Kennedy have handled Vietnam? Would the “conservative backlash” which led to the Reagan presidency have been as pronounced? Or take something like Roe v. Wade. What if the Supreme Court had kicked the abortion issue back to the States? Would there be any States today still making abortion illegal? In other words, would we have just as many abortions, but have them more concentrated in certain places? What would be the effect on illegal abortions? Would the cultural discussion about abortion be more or less contentious? Would the regionalisms we see today in the U.S. be even more pronounced? I just wonder.



Written by Michael Duenes

April 5, 2013 at 8:26 am

Posted in Duenes, Reflections

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