Atheism · Religion

The Last Superstition: The Final Insult

Chapter 6: Irreducible teleology, cont. Having exoriated biologists over the fact that popular science writers use terms like “purpose” and “blueprint”, Feser moves on to nonliving systems, in which he also sees purpose and intentionality. For instance, the water and rock cycles (I’d never heard of a “rock cycle” before, but okay): The role of… Continue reading The Last Superstition: The Final Insult

Atheism · Religion

The Last Superstition: Ubiquitous Teleology

Chapter 6: Irreducible teleology We’re in the home stretch. In this penultimate section, Feser tries to make the case that teleology, or goal-directedness, permeates the world. To start with, he tells us that human minds deal with final causes all the time: we conceive plans and execute them, and we build things for specific purposes.… Continue reading The Last Superstition: Ubiquitous Teleology

Atheism · Religion

The Last Superstition: Great Gobs of Uncertainty

Chapter 6: The lump under the rug In this section, Feser argues that the existence of the mind is incompatible with materialism. Not only that, but materialist explanations of mind often refer, if only implicitly or subconsciously, to aristotelian concepts. But first, he has to dispel a misconception: to say that something has a final… Continue reading The Last Superstition: Great Gobs of Uncertainty

Atheism · Religion

The Last Superstition: A Slippery Slope to Sounding Weird

Chapter 6: How to lose your mind Feser opens the last chapter of his Refutation of the New Atheism by quoting a New Yorker article in which neurologist Patricia Churchland describes her mood to her husband and colleague Paul in neurochemical terms: Pat burst in the door, having come straight from a frustrating faculty meeting.… Continue reading The Last Superstition: A Slippery Slope to Sounding Weird

Atheism · Religion

The Last Superstition: Back to the Cave

Chapter 5: Back to Plato’s cave This last section of Chapter 5 is basically a long jeremiad against everything and everyone Feser doesn’t like, with paranoid rants about the motivations of those who prefer post-Thomistic philosophies: More precisely, their desire to re-orient human life toward this world and reduce the influence of religion led the… Continue reading The Last Superstition: Back to the Cave

Atheism · Religion

The Last Superstition: A Grab-Bag of Objections

Chapter 5: Universal acid Here Feser continues his earlier theme, listing more alleged problems caused by modernism. This is a grab-bag of philosophical problems, and while a lot of them are interesting in and of themselves, for the most part they have little or nothing to do with atheism — New or otherwise — and… Continue reading The Last Superstition: A Grab-Bag of Objections

Atheism · Religion

The Last Superstition: Material Brains, Immaterial Software

Chapter 5: The Mind-Body Problem After spending several pages, as is his wont, trashing Locke, Descartes, and other people he doesn’t agree with, Feser tells us why materialist explanations of the mind are doomed: the human mind is all about final causes: we plan, we imagine, we make mental images and so on. All of… Continue reading The Last Superstition: Material Brains, Immaterial Software

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The Last Superstition: The Essence of Opium

Chapter 5: Feser v. Molière In Molière’s play “Le Malade imaginaire” (The Imaginary Invalid or The Hypochondriac), there’s a scene between an oh-so-pretentious doctor and an equally pretentious medical student. The doctor asks the student, in dog Latin why it is that opium causes sleep. The student replies that opium has “virtus dormitiva” (Latin for… Continue reading The Last Superstition: The Essence of Opium

Atheism · Religion

The Last Superstition: Hedonism Killed Aquinas

Chapter 5: Descent of the Modernists This chapter deals with modern philosophers, i.e., René Descartes and later. The first part of it is pretty much philosophical inside baseball, of little interest to those who care less about how ideas have been developed than about which conclusions were eventually reached. I’ll only point out one passage… Continue reading The Last Superstition: Hedonism Killed Aquinas

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The Last Superstition: The Problem of Evil

4: The problem of evil This section deals with the problem of evil, a problem so big that, just as chemistry is divided into carbon (organic chemistry) and everything else, so I’m told theology is divided into the problem of evil (theodicy) and everything else. But first, Feser has to digress to lay some ground… Continue reading The Last Superstition: The Problem of Evil