The other day, I went to a Thomistic Society talk about Aquinas’s views on the Problem of Evil and other topics. At one point, the presenter casually mentioned that humans engage in self-destructive behavior, like alcoholism, self-mutilation, drug addiction, etc., while non-human animals don’t. That made my  sense tingle, so I looked around. Among other… Continue reading Do You Even Science, Frater?
By now, you’ve all seen this T-shirt, which began circulating approximately several years before 17 people were killed at Stoneman Douglas High School, in Florida: As many people have pointed out, the implication is that, against all theology, God—or at least the God of sanctimonious T-shirt wearers—is not omnipresent. That a simple legislative measure is sufficient to… Continue reading Hell Is a School, Apparently
I’ve been called a Grammar Nazi. I don’t call myself that, but I will cop to “grammar cop”, “pedant”, “stickler”, and other descriptors and epithets in that vein. And one argument that I’ve run into over and over is that language evolves over time, an argument bolstered by the fact that most English dictionaries are descriptivist,… Continue reading Prescriptivist Christianity
Bill Donohue, aka Our Lady of Perpetual Aneurysm, has issued a statement in support of the Nashville Statement, a non-binding statement by the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood to say, in brief, that it intends to keep its sexual mores anchored in the 18th century for as long as humanly possible. BillDo writes: “Hateful,” “homophobic,” “anti-LGBT” are among… Continue reading Of Course BillDo Endorses the Nashville Statement. What Did You Expect?
It’s just come to light that Cardinal George Pell is going to appear in court in Australia on sexual assault charges. Good. It’s about damn time. But what I’m not seeing in all of the coversage I’ve read so far is any mention of the church cooperating with the investigation. They are not, as far… Continue reading What’s Missing in the George Pell Story?
Just a reminder that the Catholic Church’s child-abuse coverup scandal isn’t over. According to Le Monde (in French only; sorry. But here’s a story from last year about this case), lawyers are accusing the Catholic church of covering up child rape and abuse in Italy and Argentina, the current pope’s old stomping grounds. Not only… Continue reading Pope Accused of Covering Up Child Rape in Argentina
When I recently ran across yet another of BillDo’s rants against abortion, I was struck by an idea: during transubstantiation, a priest turns a piece of bread into living flesh. But surely this is a reversible operation, no? People turn living wheat into nonliving bread all the time. In addition, if there’s any kind of conservation… Continue reading A Modest Proposal for Anti-Abortion Catholics (and Some Others)
So now that we’ve come to the end of the book, what have we learned? There are two comments that stick in my mind. One is by Steve Watson: I think Aristotle systematized a lot of what we now call folk physics and folk biology, which was a good enough way to start, back then… Continue reading The Last Superstition: Conclusion
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
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