Saturday, June 11, 2011

"Abortion and Incurred Responsibility"

Revealing and being

Anti-Trinitarians cite some Johannine verses to disprove the Trinity. For instance:

And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent (Jn 17:3).

There are several things wrong with citing this verse to undermine the Trinity:

i) In this verse, “God” is used as a proper noun, not a common noun. It functions as a synonym for the “Father.”

ii) If this verse were contrasting the Father and the Son, it would hardly be followed by a verse like 17:5 (“And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed”).

iii) This verse doesn’t set up a contrast between the Father and the Son. Rather, it stands in contrast to passages like the following:

How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God? (Jn 5:44).
So Jesus proclaimed, as he taught in the temple, “You know me, and you know where I come from? But I have not come of my own accord. He who sent me is true, and him you do not know” (Jn 7:28).

Jesus’ Jewish opponents prided themselves on following the “one true God.” But the point of Jn 17:3 is that you can’t have the sender unless you have the sent. If you reject the sent, you reject the sender, for the sent comes in the name of the sender.

So the contrast in Jn 17:3 is not between the Father and the Son, but between those who have both, and those who have neither.

It’s the same point John makes elsewhere when he says:

No one who denies the Son has the Father. Whoever confesses the Son has the Father also (1 Jn 2:23).

Another anti-Trinitarian prooftext is:

You heard me say to you, “I am going away, and I will come to you.” If you loved me, you would have rejoiced, because I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I (Jn 14:28).

One way of understanding this is to take to mean that the Father is intrinsically greater than the Son. However, a problem with that interpretation is that it violates the Johannine principle of transitive revelation. In the prologue we read this programmatic statement:

No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known (Jn 1:18).

This necessitates the essential symmetry between who does the revealing and what he reveals: like reveals like. (We have the same principle in 6:46.) 

And this stands in contrast to 1:17. Unlike the prophets, Jesus is what he says. God reveals God.

(Incidentally, the same logic extends to the revelatory role of the Holy Spirit in John.)

If, however, the Son were intrinsically inferior to the Father, then what’s inferior can’t fully reveal what’s superior. Like a bad imitation.

If the Father were inherently greater than the Son, then it wouldn’t be the case that seeing the Son is equivalent to seeing the Father (14:9), for in that event, Father and Son would be essentially unlike. If the Son is less than the Father, then whatever he reveals will be something less than the Father. His self-revelation will fall short of revealing the Father. 

An alternative interpretation is that the Father is greater than the Son insofar as he exercises greater authority within the economy of salvation.

On this view, he doesn’t exercise greater authority because he’s greater; rather, he’s greater because he exercises greater authority. To “send” another is (or can be) an act of authority.

Given the Trinitarian division of labor in the plan of redemption, the Father is greater than the Son. He takes on a greater role: the role of the sender.

But this doesn’t imply that he’s greater outside that particular assignment. In the economy of salvation, each divine party has a role to play. In theory that could be self-assigned, or one party could assign a role to another party.

Conversely, the entire arrangement could be by mutual consent. Within the arrangement, one party takes the initiative (e.g. “sending”), but that doesn’t mean one party takes the initiative in making the arrangement. 

To take a comparison, in NT ecclesiology an elder has authority appropriate to his office. But he’s not self-appointed. Given the office, he has authority–but his incumbency not a given. Rather, that's a result of a prior arrangement. 

The sent must return to the sender to complete the redemptive arc, where the inward upward motion complements the outward downward motion. So the Son goes forth, then comes back, to signify his successful mission. 

Friday, June 10, 2011

Politics of Guilt and Pity

"Beware the Believers"

Evil, Mystery, and Defeat

"Paul's Christology of Divine Identity"

Jack of all trades

Not only is Richard Carrier a probability theorist, he's also a NT textual critic!

Striking how often he appeals to what “most scholars” say without citing any comparative documentation. Where are the bibliographical references? Name, title, pagination?

The latter is surely authentic (it’s in 1 Cor. 11), not least since it's one of those things too strange to imagine any later Christian wanting to put it in. The context is that in the Middle East pious women were expected to wear head scarves (that wasn’t a modern invention)

Was Corinth in the “Middle East”? Is mainland Greece the Middle East?

Did only “Middle Eastern” women attend the church at Corinth? What about Greek women, Roman women, &c.?

What period evidence does he have about headscarves back then and there?

Wouldn’t we also expect dress codes to vary according to the social class of the woman in question?

Later Christians chucked that as being too liberal minded (Tertullian, for example, harrumphed at this notion and insisted women will remain subordinate in heaven, in fact in his eyes that's why their flesh had to be raised, to ensure their inferiority would be perpetuated).

I'm not a patrologist, but wasn’t Tertullian a Montanist? And wasn’t Montanism fairly egalitarian, what with leading prophetesses like Prisca and Maximilla?

Which means if experts can’t agree and all are wrong about many things (as must they be), then we can't trust their reconstructed text either (since it's a product of the same fallible opinions and meets with all the same disagreements)...

Doesn’t Carrier claim that Greek historians like Herodotus are more reliable than Luke? But if Carrier is that sceptical about the NT text, surely the text of Greek historians like Herodotus is far less well attested.

...except with varying shades of probability, none of which is enough to overcome any natural probabilities (so you can't use any NT passage to prove a miracle occurred, because textual corruption is always more probable).

What a bizarre comparison. I could understand, from his viewpoint, why he’d say a naturalistic alternative is always more probable than a miracle. But what sense does it make, even from his perspective, to say a textual corruption is always more probable than the urtext reporting a miracle?

Doesn’t he believe the Bible reports miracles? He doesn’t believe the reported miracles actually happened, but presumably he doesn’t deny that Scripture reports the occurrence of miracles. Surely he doesn’t chalk up all Biblically attested miracles to mistranscriptions.

He’s apparently confusing the probability of an actual miracle with the probability of a reported miracle (i.e. the probability of somebody reporting a miracle). And thereby reasons that if an actual miracle is always less probable than a naturalistic alternative, then a reported miracle is always less probable than a garbled report.

But that’s hardly a logical inference. He thinks Bible writers were superstitious. Or simply made things up whole cloth.

So how is it improbable for a Bible writer to say a miracle happened?  

Arianism redux

Dale Tuggy wrote the entry on the Trinity for the Stanford encylopedia. That's unfortunately inasmuch as Tuggy is an anti-Trinitarian. As he explains elsewhere:

This is all a lot to digest. But the main effect all this had on me was to drive me back to the New Testament, to see if what Clarke says about it is true. I found that all the New Testament authors very clearly distinguish between God, a.k.a. the Father, and Jesus. With a few exceptions, “God” refers to the Father, and generally in Paul, “the Lord” is Jesus. (This last can be confusing to us.) But what could hardly be clearer is that Father and Son there are different selves. Clarke also shows that for just about any favorite proof text supposedly showing that Jesus “is God,” in the immediate context, we find that the author seems to assume them to be two.
Now the standard answer to Clarke’s point that Father and Son are different selves is this: Sure, they are two persons, but that’s compatible with their being one God. But Clarke explodes this defense numerous times. A “god” in the Bible is always a self – not a substance, nature, or whatnot. Thus, if Father and Son were the same god, they’d also be the same self, which Clarke would explain, is unacceptable modalism, and just makes nonsense of the New Testament. Just to take one point, the Son can’t be the same person he mediates for – if he’s the mediator between God and man (which the NT says he is), then that precludes his being the same self as God.Further, if you think that “sharing a substance” (whatever that amounts to) makes them one god, you need to say why it is that two gods couldn’t share one substance – and Clarke bets that you can’t show this. Keep in mind that he agrees with the claim of Nicea (325) that Father and Son are homoousios – but he argues that we should accept just the original meaning, which is, essentially, that the two are similar, i.e. both divine. Indeed, that very document plainly assumes them to differ, and so to not be numerically identical. (So, not one self, and not one god – for in either case, they would have to be numerically identical.)

I agree with him that in a conflict between Scripture and catholic tradition, Scripture wins. However, Tuggy/Clarke's linguistic analysis is naive.

i) It fails to distinguish between ordinary language and technical language. Tuggy/Clarke act as if ordinary (Biblical) usage maps isometrically onto dogmatic/systematic/philosophical usage. I'm surprised Tuggy would make that elementary mistake.

We have to begin with concepts, not words. We then find suitable words to label the concepts.

ii) There's no reason to equate Yahweh with God the Father. That's highly anachronistic.

In most OT usage, Yahweh (as well as Elohim) is simply the name of the divine character in the story, just as the human characters (or angelic characters) are also given names. You can't write a narrative without naming some of the characters–especially major and/or recurring characters. The divine character has to be called something.

That's a basic feature of storytelling. It's hardly intended to draw ontological, intra-Trinitarian distinctions.

And it overlooks the way in which certain NT passages assign "Yahweh" passages to Christ.

iii) Tuggy/Clarke fail to distinguish between common nouns and proper nouns. In Pauline usage, "God" is generally a proper name for the Father, while "Lord" is generally a proper name for Christ.

The NT also uses "God" as a common noun when it isn't distinguishing the Trinitarian persons.

iv) I don't know if Tuggy has read any of the standard monographs on NT Christology, viz. Bauckham, Fee, Gathercole, Harris, Hurtado. 

To amplify one of my points, in a sacred historical narrative like much of the OT, the narrator will have a "God" character who plays the role of the divine agent. He's the primary protagonist, and the normative character in the story. A named individual who plays that part. That's the level at which "Yahweh" (or "Elohim") generally operates in the OT.

This would involve an individual characterization, whether or not the underlying theism is unitarian or Trinitarian. Rather, that's a narrative representation. As a rule, we'd expect a single character to play that role. The role of the divine actor or speaker. 

Other agents play other parts. Human, angelic, demonic, diabolical. Lesser protagonists or heroes, as well as antagonists, villains, and foils. The Devil is the main foil to God. That's how narrative theology works. 

These established characters may carry over into other genres (e.g. prophetic oracles, psalms).

But "Yahweh" doesn't stand for God the Father. That's a level-confusion. That's not the narrative function of "Yahweh" in the OT story. Rather, "Yahweh" is simply the divine character, in contrast to various creatures.

It is, of course, possible for the narrator to draw Trinitarian distinctions. Is the Angel of the Lord a Christophany?

However, it's not merely the use of "Yahweh" that differentiates one divine person from another.

Moreover, at the narrative level of tangible actors, these might as well be separate individuals. How they're ontologically related is not something the narrative action can explicate, for the narrative action operates at the level of discrete, concrete physical manifestations.

Trinitarian distinctions ultimately subsist behind-the-scene, outside time and space, whereas a narrative is set in time and space.  

Life in himself

For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself (Jn 5:26)

This verse is often cited to establish the ontological subordination of the Son to the Father, according to which the Father is the fons deitas. However, “in himself” doesn’t carry that connotation in Johannine usage, and the “life” in question is hardly synonymous with the divine essence. As one commentator explains:

The form of Jesus’ next pronouncement echoes that of verse 21: “For just as the Father has life in himself, so too he gave to the Son to have life in himself” (italics added). What does it mean to “have life,” and what does it mean to have it “in himself”?…“In himself” [en heauto] adds little to this and should not be overinterpreted…To have “life in oneself” is not something only the Father and the Son share, but something believers can claim as well. Those who “eat the flesh of the Son of man” can be said either to “have life in themselves” [echete zoen en heautois] (6:53), or simply to “have eternal life” (v54). The two expressions mean the same thing: eternal life is theirs as an assured present possession, and that is all Jesus is saying here about himself and the Father.

J. R. Michaels, The Gospel of John (Eerdmans 2010), 318. 

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Revolution in Rome

L'Osservatore Romano
Jun 8, 2012

It’s been a year since the Vatican came under new management. Readers will remember the precipitating event, when Catholic Answers elevated John Bugay to the Pontificate.

As a golden parachute, Pope Bugay offered Benedict XVI the Archdiocese of Detroit. However, that offer hit a snag when Dave Armstrong said Metropolitan Detroit wasn’t big enough for him and the pope.

But Benedict XVI cut a backroom deal with Armstrong in which he offered customers a plenary indulgence for every hot tub they bought from Armstrong.

Gerry Matatics declared Bugay to be the anti-anti-anti-anti-anti-anti-anti-anti-Pope, which–if you didn’t lose count of the double negatives–made Bugay the true successor to St. Peter.

Matatics pledged all of his supporters (consisting of his wife, mother-in-law, 4-year-old son, and two third-cousins) to the new regime in Rome.

There was a personnel shakeup at the Vatican City after Pope Bugay took the reins. Robert Sungenis asked the Holy Father to make him astronomer of the Vatican Observatory, where he hoped to reinstate Dantean geology and cosmology, but Peter Pike had already been offered the top slot at the Vatican Observatory.

Sungenis then asked to be appointed to the Commission for religious relations with the Jews, but that post had already been promised to Alan Kurschner.

Rhology became Cardinal Archivist of the Vatican Library, while Turretinfan took over as Cardinal Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith

In other appointments, Jason Engwer chaired the Pontifical Biblical Commission, Bernabe Belvedere chaired the Pontifical Commission for Latin America, Evan May chaired the Pontifical Commission for Sacred Archeology, Matthew Schultz chaired the International Theological Commission, and Dustin chaired the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelization–while Paul Manata headed the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem.

Patrick Chan presided over the Pontifical Academy of Sciences–when he wasn’t moonlighting as a concierge physician in the Hamptons.

For his part, Matthew Bellisario was made commandant of the Swiss Guard–because he looked so darn cute in the pleated gorget, white gloves and pale grey metal morion with the ostrich-feather plume.

In his capacity as Curator of the Vatican Secret Archives, James Swan discovered a long lost letter from Leo X to Luther, in which Leo admitted that Exsurge Domine was all a big misunderstanding, and preemptively excommunicated anyone who denied sola Scriptura or sola fide.  

In other news, Steve Hays retired to the Maldives to write his memoirs.

Habemus Papam!

L'Osservatore Romano
Jun 8, 2011

In a surprising turn of events, Catholic Answers let slip its conclavist sympathies when it elevated John Bugay to the papacy.

Re: How not to do apologetics - curtesy of John Bugay and the Triablogue
John is not an historian. He is a fisherman.

The Fisherman's ring is placed, by the cardinal camerlengo on the finger of a newly elected pope. It is made of gold, with a representation of St. Peter in a boat, fishing, and the name of the reigning pope around it.

In a press release, Karl Keating made it official:

Annuntio vobis gaudium magnum:
Habemus Papam!
Eminentissimum ac reverendissimum Dominum,
Dominum Johannes,
Sanctæ Romanæ Ecclesiæ Cardinalem Bugay,
Qui sibi nomen imposuit Petrus II. 


When writers like Randal Rauser and Roger Olson deny that God ever commanded the execution of the Canaanites on the grounds that such a God would be evil, and when they contrast that with Jesus, what they’re doing is to repristinate the Marcionite heresy. There’s the evil God of the OT, exemplified by Yahweh, then there’s the good God of the NT, exemplified by Jesus.

At this point, writers like Rauser and Olson forfeit any claim to be Christian. They don’t believe in the OT God. They find the OT God morally repugnant. And this is despite the fact that Jesus and the NT writers treat the OT God as the one true God. The God of the OT is the God of the NT.

Writers like Rauser and Olson don’t believe what Jesus believed. They don’t believe what other NT authors believed.

They come to Scripture with a preconception of what God, if there is a God, must be like. When they don’t find what they’re looking for in the Bible, when they encounter depictions that challenge their preconceptions, they revile and deny the offending depictions. 

"Rationalizing Genocide"

Noam Chomsky has observed: “Among the most elementary of moral truisms is the principle of universality: we must apply to ourselves the same standards we do to others, if not more stringent ones...”
The alleged rationale for the Canaanite genocide fails the criterion of extraordinary exceptions, for what could be more extraordinarily exceptional than the claim that one has a special license to bludgeon babies? But it also fails the criterion of common origin as becomes evident when we consider the typical elements in the narratives that are always invoked to justify genocide. There are commonly three elements in such justifications: (1) divide: first you distinguish between an in-group and out-group while attributing a superior authority or ontological status to the former; (2) demonize: next you accuse the out-group of promoting an injustice, inequality, or threat over against the in-group; (3) destroy: finally, you implore the in-group to redress the injustice, often with a divine or transcendent imprimatur.

An obvious flaw in Rauser’s analysis is that, as a matter of fact, the “in-group” (i.e. Israelites) were not exempt from the same liabilities while, on the other hand, the “out-group” (i.e. Canaanites) were sometimes exempted. As one scholar points out to the contrary:

The Israelites are to purge the land of anything that might cause them to sin against God. This, however, ought not to be interpreted as being directed only against the foreign nations living in Canaan; the same attitude was to be adopted towards fellow-Israelites (Deut 13:1-18; 18:9-22; cf. Exod 22:20)
…It is noteworthy that the book of Joshua gives special attention to those non-Israelites who do not come under the herem. For assisting the Israelite spies to escape from Jericho, Rahab and her family are rescued when the city and its inhabitants are destroyed (Josh 2:1-24; 6:25)…Interestingly, the book of Joshua contrasts the non-destruction of these groups with the destruction that befalls the Israelite family of Achan (Josh 7:1-26).
…we should not lose sight of the fact that the Israelites themselves eventually suffer a similar fate at the hands of the Assyrians and Babylonians. So Yahweh can hardly be accused of adopting double standards.

T. D. Alexander, “Beyond borders: the wider dimensions of land,” P. Johnston & P. Walker, eds. The Land of Promise (IVP 2000), 47-48.

"The Dispensational-Covenantal Rift"

Comparative credentials


Do you honestly believe that one Young Earth creationist ancient historian, Noel Weeks, who writes for ‘Answers in Genesis’ is on par with the scholars I mentioned in my blog reply (and in my chapter) whose specialties are ANE cosmologies?

Let’s see. Ed cites no fewer than six different writings by Paul Seely in TCD. Yet as Peter Enns, who’s sympathetic to Seely, points out:

One reason for this, I suspect, is that Seely is not a professional academic with a recognized teaching post. He is a seminary graduate (Westminster Theological Seminary, 1968, B.D.) who has taken upon himself a life of continued self-education, part of which includes a patient reading of the entire Christian Bible in the original languages along with secondary sources. Absence of doctoral work at a research university cannot easily be overcome…

Compare that to the credentials of Noel Weeks:

Dr Noel Weeks earned a B.Sc. (Honors in Zoology) from the University of New England, Armidale (Australia), a B.D. and Th.M. from Westminster Theological Seminary, and a Ph.D. (Mediterranean Studies, dealing with some of the Nuzi texts) from Brandeis University, Massachusetts. He is a Senior Lecturer in Ancient History at the University of Sydney, and is an Associate of their Department of Classics and Ancient History, with an interest in the Ancient Near East, specializing in Mesopotamia and Israel, and the Akkadian Language.

So if we measure Paul Seely and Noel Weeks by Ed’s own yardstick, guess which one comes up short?

Ed tries to play the credentials card to dodge having to engage the arguments of Noel Weeks. Having lost the bet, will Ed now engage the argument?

God's Canon redux

In a new format:

History and Faith

This is from George Eldon Ladd, “A Theology of the New Testament”, Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Revised Edition © 1993, pgs 177-178:
Our conclusions [“there is good reason to accept the gospel portrait as basically sound” historical accounts] raise the question of the relationship between history and faith. Does historical and critical study prove the transcendence of Jesus? How can faith really be faith if it is established by historical and critical findings? Bultmann is the outstanding advocate of the position that faith must be faith in the Word of God alone. If faith rests upon historical verification, it is no longer authentic faith but is reduced to good works — of the historian.

However, it has not been our purpose to verify faith by critical findings. Our purpose has been to try to discover the historical situation in which Jesus taught and lived, for it is the first task of biblical theology to be a descriptive discipline. It is difficult to agree with Jeremias that the final result of critical study of the historical Jesus is “always the same: we find ourselves confronted with God himself.” History does not necessarily lead to God. A rationalistic orthodoxy could give intellectual assent to the findings of the present study and not be confronted by God. Theology and history are intellectual pursuits; faith is commitment of the whole person. The historian might possibly conclude that Jesus claimed to be the incarnate Son of Man, the unique Son of God, and yet laugh at his claims. History is studded with those possessed of a Messiah complex. Faith is a second step to historical research and is not necessarily demanded by it.

While history does not prove the validity of my faith, history is essential to true faith — at least to the individual who is concerned about history. Most people come to faith in response to the proclaimed Word of God without critically testing the historicity of the events that Word proclaims. But when one has believed the Word and then becomes aware of history, if he or she is compelled to conclude that the alleged events are unhistorical, it is difficult to see how faith can sustain itself. In this sense we agree with Moule: “Neither is blind faith real faith. For belief it is necessary to see — at least something. The decision to accept Jesus as Lord cannot be made without historical evidence — yes, historical — about Jesus. If it were a decision without any historical evidence it would not be about Jesus (a historical person) but only about an ideology or an ideal.”

If the construct “the historical Jesus” is the product of philosophical presuppositions about the nature of history, is not the construct “the biblical Christ” the product of faith? The answer is No. the biblical portrait of Christ is the product of the apostolic biblical witness. My faith does not create that construct but my faith that the nature of God and history has room for such a Jesus as the Gospels picture makes it possible for me to accept the biblical witness. For the person aware of history, history must provide an adequate foundation for faith. But in the last analysis, faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God (Romans 10:17)
If you take the phrase “the historical Jesus” and then you look at how “the biblical portrait of Christ is the product of the apostolic biblical witness. There is a real Jesus Christ there in whom to have faith. The real Jesus is not the product of a philosophical presupposition.

On the contrary, Roman Catholicism, having looked at its own history of the papacy, has discovered that for the years 33-155 ad (or somewhere thereabouts) there is no one there “in whom to have faith”.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

The Economy Is Worse Than You Think

Manning up or wimping out?

If and when temptations come to turn our backs on Jesus and/or turn to some other religion, philosophy or world view, others have the right and responsibility to ask us, “Are you a person of your word?  Are you a promise keeper?  You made a sacred oath; are you the kind of person that can be trusted even when the hard times come to be faithful to your covenants?”

When one studies church history and sees what Christians have endured for their faith, even to the point of martyrdom, and what many still endure in our world today, the reasons pampered Westerners give for reneging on their baptismal vows are just plain pathetic in comparison.  “The church hurt me.”  “God didn’t give me the kind of life I was counting on.”  “I just didn’t feel him nearby for the longest time.”  “Skeptics gave me arguments that I couldn’t answer.”  And so on, ad nauseum.  As if no one in other times and places ever had these kinds of experiences before but remained faithful nevertheless.

A strange expression recurs on websites that describe people’s “deconversion” from Christianity, particularly to atheism.  Over and over I’ve read that so-and-so “manned up” and faced the facts.  For one thing this is astonishingly sexist.  Worse still, it’s exactly the opposite of what it really means.  People actually “wimped out” when the going got tough.  They reneged on their promises instead of showing their true grit.  Remind me never to trust such people with anything I couldn’t bear to lose.  If they can’t be faithful to the commitment that is the most important one anyone could ever make now or for eternity, why should I trust their word in any less significant context?

We are home from the hospital

The blood count is up to about 9.2. (Had been 5.7). Thanks for your prayers.


Some flowers are heliotropic. According to evolutionary psychology, this reflects a telltale throwback to their primitive Darwinian origins. Natural selection fostered a geocentric outlook in sunflowers, arctic poppies, snow buttercups, and other faith-based flora. Unfortunately, solar-tracking plants haven’t outgrown their backward, superstitious faith in the motion of the sun across the solid dome of a stationary earth.

Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, and Christopher Hitchens have condemned heliotropism as a dangerous delusion. They are calling for reeducation camps where heliotropic flowers will be quarantined from the general population. 

Bad boys

The popular media tends to focus on the failings of men. Men addicted to internet porn. Men with roving eyes. Couch potatoes. Men who don’t communicate their feelings. Men who only love women for their bodies. And so on and so forth.

Weinergate plays into a familiar narrative. However, Weinergate draws attention, not only to the familiar narrative of the cad, but the equally familiar narrative of the woman who stands by her man.

Not only do many men need to reexamine their priorities, but a certain percentage of women (I can’t put a figure on it) need to reexamine their priorities as well.

For it’s not just a male problem. Yes, some men are creeps. But you also have decent men who are passed over because some women don’t value decent men.

There are variations on this formula. There’s the familiar narrative of moth-like women who are irresistibly drawn to the flickering flame of the bad boy:

On a related note, you have women who marry up. The babe who marries the aging tycoon.

But you also have the phenomenon of women who don’t need to marry up. Rather, they can’t bring themselves to marry down. 

Why did Maria Callas or Jackie Kennedy throw themselves at Aristotle Onassis? What did Ann Counter see in Bob Guccione, Jr.? What did Laura Ingraham see in Robert Torricelli?  

There are also studies which indicate women (at least some women) can be just a shallow as the stereotypical man in sizing up the opposite sex:

What’s the average guy supposed to think of this? The ordinary, decent, devoted, hardworking, conscientious schlump who’s looking for a mate, but doesn’t have movie star good looks, a dangerous streak, or the seven-digit income?