Joined: May 2006
I suspect that, were I to read Shermer's book, I would agree with much of Sandefur's review, as I have found some of Shermer's writing lacking in the same ways he does. I have no interest in addressing Sandefur's economic or political philosophies, but there is a point that I would like to see addressed by others.
Sandefur's disallowing of comments to his posts grates me to no end. That is what the Discovery Institute does. What has always impressed me about "our side" is its willingness to engage with, well, let's just say skeptics, and how it requires a truly bad act to be banned from PT or ATBC. Sandefur has the right to disallow comments if he wishes, but it strikes me as an act of someone belonging to what Michael Shermer calls "the unlikeliest cult," that of the followers of Ayn Rand. By disallowing comments, Sandefur establishes himself as an unquestionable authority, unwavering in his stance as he, and perhaps a select few others, pronounce The Truth. This is a tactic practiced by a diversity of opinion-holders, from Maoists to Baptists to Randists to most talk-show hosts in America, and I object to it being practiced at The Panda's Thumb. I am not a POMO scientific relativist, like Dembski et al., and he can ignore all comments if he wishes, but I think that Sandefur should allow people to talk about what he says, where he says it.
Full disclosure: I have never commented on PT, but I have found the comments sections on many posts enormously valuable.