Sunday, September 23, 2012

The Problem of the Soul

A similar uneasiness with this kind of distinction has appeared more recently within Roman Catholic theology, due no doubt in part to a sense that the notion of a self-subsistent soul is non-scriptural and/or that the notion of God's immediately creating each human soul does not fit easily into the continuum of living beings that marks the theory of evolution. We have already seen that Pope John Paul II alluded to this latter point by saying that the 'ontological leap' that marks the emergence of human beings with their spiritual souls is something beyond the ken of the observational sciences as such. One may readily grant his point that philosophical and theological issues cannot be adjudicated by the natural sciences and also agree with his evident desire to affirm a transcendent dimension to human beings against materialist denials of such a dimension and nevertheless wonder whether there may not be a way of arguing for this transcendence that is more in accord with what he calls the 'sciences of observation.' 
--James A. Wiseman, O.S. B. Theology and Modern Science, p. 83.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Deor in HD

I'm following up my Caedmon's Hymn video with this presentation of Deor.

This one took a lot longer to memorize. I wasn't going to dress in period costume, but it was fun to work simple wood structures into the background....

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Aquinas, Evolution and Double Agency

Here again, scientific work on the story of life has shown that it is a narrative permeated with stochastic processes governed primarily by serendipity. To put it another way, evolution is a sequence of chance events, a series of accidental intersections of two causal chains. For instance, a recent scientific paper published in the prestigious journal, Nature, argues that one or at most two genetic mutations in the FOXP2 gene that occurred sometime during the last 200,000 years of human existence is responsible for conferring upon human beings the physiological capacities to develop a proficient spoken language. Genetic mutations of the type associated with FOXP2, however, are usually caused by one of two processes: random errors in DNA synthesis or random errors in the repair of DNA damaged by chemical mutagens or high-energy radiation. Both processes are mediated by the error-prone molecule, DNA polymerase. Thus, it would seem that the appearance of language, an essential element of human nature, was a completely unpredictable event.

Rev. Nicanor Austriaco, In Defense of Double Agency in Evolution: A Response to Five Modern Critics

Sunday, June 10, 2012

They Pay People to Do This

Do corporate recruiters have to take an illiteracy test for their jobs? In the past couple of weeks I've received 4 pitch emails from HR 'specialists' claiming they've reviewed my resume at Monster and telling me that I would be a good fit with companies like Fidelity and Aflac. Seriously. Do they even bother to read? Or does some moronic search engine just flag my resume because the words 'project' and 'management' show up.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Friday, May 25, 2012

Monday, May 21, 2012

Quote of the Week

I know it's only Monday, but Jason Rosenhouse gets Quote of the Week:
If you ask a theistic evolutionist where eyes came from, he will reply that eyes evolved gradually by natural selection, just as scientists say. If you ask him what scientists should be doing differently in their professional lives he will reply that they shouldn't change anything they are doing. If you ask him whether his belief in God results from a straightforward inference from scientific data he will reply that it does not and then look at you funny.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Taking a Cue from Siris

As I have to devote so much time to the Forbes blog, I hate letting this one grow moss. So I'm going to take a page from Brandon Watson's playbook and post passages from noteworthy books, poems and quotes (and videos).

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Thoughts for the Week

Via David Hirst, erstwhile Facebook friend and no slouch in the philosophy dept:

I'm tempted to say that if one holds that there actually is a "problem of evil", one's already made a big step towards religious belief... and if one isn't, then one's faced with the Herculean task of passing from case-by-case 'intuitions' to some coherent understanding of "ethical behaviour". No-one said it was easy, but all too many so-called "liberals" behave as if it were.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Aerobics or Anaerobics in Martial Arts?

I had fun with this post at Forbes. Included a video of my instructor from the Malkin Athletic Center at Harvard.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Is This a Turning Point?

My post at Forbes on Pope Benedict's recent founding of a new institute dedicated to examining the implications of science for philosophy--and theology.

I think this is really good news. (Now, if I can just get some of the key players to talk about it some more ...)