Friday, April 20, 2018

"If you want to know who actually has the power in our society and who is actually marginalized, ask which ideas get you sponsorships from Google and Pepsi and which get you fired."

Friday, March 2, 2018

I am also miffed by the use of "person" for "man," since it denies rational thought to women and reserves it exclusively to weremen. (cf. in English men-tal, min-d, also mankind, etc.; in German mann as the genderless pronoun. Hence, "a rational being.") Adult males were once referred to as "wera," see also Latin vir, Irish fir, words like vir-ile, vir-tue, etc. Instead of changing every word with the suffix -man, just give males back their prefixes and give them a unique designator of their own.
-Mike Flynn
Our understanding of the medieval period has changed dramatically in the last fifty years. Although one occasionally still hears a self-important scientist speak of the Dark Ages, modern views have long since overthrown such simplicities. An age that was once thought to be static, brutal and benighted is now understood as dynamic and swiftly changing: an age where knowledge was sought and valued, where great universities were born, and learning fostered; where technology was enthusiastically advanced; where social relations were in flux; where trade was international; where the general level of violence was often less deadly than it is today. As for the old reputation of medieval times as a dark time of parochialism, religious prejudice and mass slaughter, the record of the twentieth century must lead any thoughtful observer to conclude that we are in no way superior.

In fact, the conception of a brutal medieval period was an invention of the Renaissance, whose proponents were at pains to emphasize a new spirit, even at the expense of the facts. If a benighted medieval world has proven a durable misconception, it may be because it confirms a cherished contemporary belief- that our species always moves forward to ever better and more enlightened ways of life. This belief is utter fantasy, but it dies hard. It is especially difficult for modern people to conceive that our modern, scientific age might not be an improvement over the prescientific period.
-Michael Crichton (Acknowledgements", Timeline, 1999)

Thursday, February 22, 2018

One death is a tragedy; a million is a statistic"
That can be turned into today's world:
"School shooting is a tragedy; baby killing is a statistic"
-Commenter Darrin on this article

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Meanwhile, the religious world little thinks whither its opinions are leading; and will not discover that it is adoring a mere abstract name or a vague creation of the mind for the Ever-living Son, till the defection of its members from the faith startle it, and teach it that the so-called religion of the heart, without orthodoxy of doctrine, is but the warmth of a corpse, real for a time, but sure to fail.
-John Henry Newman

Monday, December 4, 2017

"How can you discuss what is due to natural processes independently of the creator, since the creator is the author of those same natural processes? Those who say the world looks just as we would expect it to look if it were not designed by a creator miss the point, for if it were not so designed we would not expect it to exist at all."
-Mike Flynn

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

"A good thought experiment: how long would it take Orwell to get banned by Twitter?"
-Patrick Coffin

Friday, October 13, 2017

I believe that the men of this age [...] think too much about the state of nations and the situation of the world [...] We are not kings, we are not senators. Let us beware lest, while we torture ourselves in vain about the fate of Europe, we neglect either Verona or Oxford. In the poor man who knocks at my door, in my ailing mother, in the young man who seeks my advice, the Lord Himself is present: therefore let us wash His feet.

-The Latin Letters of C.S. Lewis (March 27, 1948)

Thursday, October 12, 2017

For starters, let’s take Aristotelian-Thomistic (A-T) hylemorphic dualism. The A-T view is that the intellect is immaterial, but that sensation and imagination are not. Hence it is no surprise at all that neuroscience has discovered various neural correlates of mental imagery and the varieties of perceptual experience. Moreover, A-T holds that though intellect is immaterial, its operation requires the presence of the images or “phantasms” of the imagination. Hence it is no surprise that neural damage can affect even the functioning of the intellect. Most importantly, the soul, of which intellect, sensation, and imagination are all powers, is not a complete substance in its own right in the first place, but rather the form of the body. The way intellectual and volitional activity relates to a particular human action is, accordingly, not to be understood on the model of billiard ball causation, but rather as the formal-cum-final causal side of a single event of which the relevant physiological processes are the material-cum-efficient causal side. That alterations to the body have mental consequences is thus no more surprising than the fact that altering the chalk marks that make up a triangle drawn on a chalkboard affects how well the marks instantiate the form of triangularity. It is important to emphasize that none of this involves any sort of retreat from some stronger form of dualism, as a way of accommodating the discoveries of contemporary neuroscience; it is what A-T has always said about the relationship between soul and body. There is absolutely nothing in modern neuroscience that need trouble the A-T hylemorphic dualist in the slightest.
-Edward Feser [source]

Monday, October 9, 2017

From a blog post by Edward Feser:
To be sure, Walters also appeals to the role “higher biblical criticism” has had in leading some theologians away from identifying the God of the Bible with the God of the philosophers, though he suspects that I “would probably see it as yet another symptom of the modern malaise.” Exactly right. I consider much of modern biblical “scholarship” totally worthless. Bad enough is the false methodological naturalism it simply takes for granted without any serious philosophical argumentation whatsoever. (Bultmann’s famously glib dismissal of supernaturalism as out of place in the “age of the wireless” has long been an object of ridicule among Christian philosophers, and the philosophical acumen of biblical scholars since his time hasn’t gotten any better.) But there is also the ludicrous methodology of boldly reconstructing hypothetical texts, indeed hypothetical texts within hypothetical texts, identifying hypothetical oral traditions and the like underlying these hypothetical texts, reconstructing the theology and ethos of the “communities” who allegedly produced these purported traditions and texts, and then confidently claiming to have discovered on the basis of this set of fantasies what e.g. the historical Jesus (and/or the original “Jesus movement”) “really” believed. What is amazing is not that traditional Christian belief has survived in the face of this “challenge”; what is amazing is that this preposterous pseudo-historical method ever survived the laugh test in the first place. To paraphrase Rowan Atkinson, I wouldn’t trust the average modernist biblical scholar to sit down the right way on a toilet seat.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Note that on the classical theist view of ultimate explanation, there are no inexplicable “brute facts.”  Things that require causes require them because they have potentials that need to be actualized and parts that need to be combined.  To say of a thing that it has parts and yet lacks any cause which accounts for their combination, or has potentiality yet lacks any cause which actualized that potentiality, would be to make of it a “brute fact.”  But that is precisely what the classical theist does not say about the ultimate cause of things.  It says instead that, since it is purely actual (and thus devoid of potentials that could be actualized) and absolutely simple (and thus devoid of parts that could be combined), it not only need not have a cause but could not in principle have had one.  It, and it alone, has its source of intelligibility in itself rather than in some external cause.
-Edward Feser

Thursday, June 8, 2017

“When a politician boasts that he loves the poor, find out how much of his capital he has given to the poor.”

-Archbishop Fulton Sheen (On Being Human)