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Letter to the Editor: Block's column lacks evidence, valid argument

In response to “Several fatal flaws mar the feminist movement” from the March 2 issue of The Maroon

By Kevin Wm. Wildes, S.J.
On March 9, 2012

Dear editor,

I was deeply disappointed in the column published last week by Professor Walter Block. There were many reasons for my disappointment, but I will name just one. The column was totally lacking in any argument whatsoever. It was filled with assertions but with no argument.

Let me cite two examples:

First Block says, "Most people — how shall I say this delicately — have an IQ akin to comfortable room temperature. If they favor something — anything — it is probably immoral, fallacious and wrong-headed. In the case of feminism, this is true in spades." This statement is an empirical claim of fact. Block claims to know that "most people" have a particular IQ. Yet he does not offer one shred of evidence for how "most people" think or, more importantly, how he knows this.

Later in the column the author makes another set of assertions with no evidence to support his argument. Block claims that "Feminists are typically socialists, communists, liberals or, ugh, ‘progressives.'" Again, this is an empirical assertion but there is not one shred of evidence for the claim.

I have consistently defended the idea that a university worthy of the name "university" ought to be a place of where positions can be argued and explored. However, a university ought to also be a place where people can critique arguments. If this column by Professor Block was submitted to me as a paper in my philosophy class, it would earn the grade of F for its total lack of argument. It is a string of empirical assertions without one piece of evidence.

Thank you,

Kevin Wm. Wildes, S.J.

University president and a feminist


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