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- "When someone opposes me, he arouses my attention, not my anger. I go to meet a man who contradicts me, who instructs me. The cause of truth should be the common cause of both." -- Montaigne
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"Referee won't blow the whistle / God is good but will he listen?" -- U2
- "If your anger decreases with time, you did injustice; if it increases, you suffered injustice." -- Nassim Nicholas Taleb
- "And the missionaries, they tell us we will be left behind. / Been left behind a thousand times, a thousand times." -- Arcade Fire
Incapable of doubt, incapable of faithThe majority of mankind is lazy-minded, incurious, absorbed in vanities, and tepid in emotion, and is therefore incapable of either much doubt or much faith. -- T.S. Eliot, Introduction (1931), Pascal's "Pensees"
Wittgenstein on Kierkegaard
"Kierkegaard was by far the most profound thinker of the[nineteenth] century. Kierkegaard was a saint." - Ludwig Wittgenstein, to his friend Maurice Drury.
Read Wittgenstein and Kierkegaard: Religion, Individuality, and Philosophical Method by Charles L. Creegan free online.
Problem or Mystery?A problem is something which I meet, which I find completely before me, but which I can therefore lay siege to and reduce. But a mystery is something in which I am myself involved, and it can therefore only be thought of as a sphere where the distinction between what is in me and what is before me loses its meaning and initial validity. -- Gabriel Marcel
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- baleful: Dictionary.com Word of the Day October 30, 2014baleful: full of menacing or malign influences.
- baleful: Dictionary.com Word of the Day October 30, 2014
- Poem of the Day: October October 31, 2014October is when night guzzles up the orange sherbet sunset and sends the day to bed before supper and October is when jack-o'-lanterns grin in the darkness and strange company crunches across the rumple of dry leaves to ring a doorbell. October is when you can be ghost, a witch, a c […]Bobbi Katz
- Poem of the Day: October October 31, 2014
- Robinson By Weldon Kees October 30, 2014By Weldon Kees
- Robinson By Weldon Kees October 30, 2014
- Neuroscientists Break into the Brain to Expose Its Workings October 30, 2014 Ingrid Wickelgren
- Brilliance Often Springs from Boredom September 11, 2014 Ingrid Wickelgren
- Parents of Young Athletes: Protect Your Child’s Brain in 8 Steps August 5, 2014 Ingrid Wickelgren
- Structuralism in Physics October 28, 2014[Revised entry by Heinz-Juergen Schmidt on October 27, 2014. Changes to: Main text] Under the heading of "structuralism in physics" there are three different but closely related research programs in philosophy of science and, in particular, in philosophy of physics. These programs were initiated by the work of Joseph Sneed, Gunther Ludwig, and... […]Heinz-Juergen Schmidt
- Law and Ideology October 24, 2014[Revised entry by Christine Sypnowich on October 24, 2014. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] If law is a system of enforceable rules governing social relations and legislated by a political system, it might seem obvious that law is connected to ideology. Ideology refers, in a general sense, to a system of political ideas, and law and politics seem inextri […]Christine Sypnowich
- Charlie Dunbar Broad October 23, 2014[Revised entry by Kent Gustavsson on October 23, 2014. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] Charlie Dunbar Broad (1887 - 1971) was an English philosopher who for the most part of his life was associated with Trinity College, Cambridge. Broad's early interests were in science and mathematics. Despite being successful in these he came to believe that... […]Kent Gustavsson
- Structuralism in Physics October 28, 2014
- Locke’s Ethics October 26, 2014Locke: Ethics The major writings of John Locke (1632–1704) are among the most important texts for understanding some of the central currents in epistemology, metaphysics, politics, religion, and pedagogy in the late 17th and early 18th century in Western Europe. His magnum opus, An Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1689) is the undeniable starting point […]
- Truthmaker Theory October 26, 2014Truthmaker Theory Truthmaker theory is the branch of metaphysics that explores the relationships between what is true and what exists. Discussions of truthmakers and truthmaking typically start with the idea that truth depends on being, and not vice versa. For example, if the sentence ‘Kangaroos live in Australia’ is true, then there are kangaroos living […] […]
- Pejorative Language October 18, 2014Pejorative Language Some words can hurt. Slurs, insults, and swears can be highly offensive and derogatory. Some theorists hold that the derogatory capacity of a pejorative word or phrase is best explained by the content it expresses. In opposition to content theories, deflationism denies that there is any specifically derogatory content expressed by pejorat […]
- Locke’s Ethics October 26, 2014
- Announcing… PLoS Neuroskeptic! October 28, 2014I’m excited (and proud) to announce that I’m now a Contributing Editor at the new PLoS Neuro Community (neuro.plos.org). I’ll be contributing interviews with neuroscientists, and my first post is up now: A Neuroscience Correlate of Consciousness: Neuroskeptic goes in-depth with Srivas Chennu. If you have any suggestions, requests or ideas for future intervie […]
- Most Autistic People Have Normal Brain Anatomy October 25, 2014A new paper threatens to turn the world of autism neuroscience upside down. Its title is Anatomical Abnormalities in Autism?, and it claims that, well, there aren’t very many. Published in Cerebral Cortex by Israeli researchers Shlomi Haar and colleagues, the new research reports that there are virtually no differences in brain anatomy between people […]The […]
- Power Makes People Deliberate Less Over Emails October 19, 2014When it comes to emails, power makes people spend less time thinking and more time typing. So say German cyber-psychologists Annika Scholl and Kai Sassenberg in a new paper just published: Experienced Social Power Reduces Deliberation During E-Mail Communication In their study, they recruited 49 undergraduate students. Each participant was first randomly ass […]
- Announcing… PLoS Neuroskeptic! October 28, 2014
- From the Archives: What Is Scientism?Originally posted on June 11, 2012. Scientism is a rather strange word, but for reasons that we shall see, a useful one. Though this term has been coined rather recently, it is associated with many other “isms” with long and turbulent histories: materialism, naturalism, reductionism, empiricism, and positivism.
- John Calvin on Nicolaus Copernicus and HeliocentrismJohn Calvin really believed that the sun revolved around the earth, but we shouldn't dismiss the rest of his theology because of this error.
- From The Archives: Where are the Transitional Fossils?From the archives: A common argument leveled against the theory of evolution is that scientists have not been able to produce transitional fossils that show the change of one species into another. In this podcast, we address a common misconception about what transitional fossils actually are.
- From the Archives: What Is Scientism?
- A Country Disappeared October 30, 2014As Mexicans reach a breaking point in their tolerance for the drug war, the Mexican government reaps the legacy of presidencies lost to guns and drugs. A few months ago, 22 people were allegedly executed by Mexican soldiers in Tlatlaya, a small community southwest of Mexico City. They were told to kneel facing the wall,Esteban Illades
- Film Premiere: Masha Tupitsyn’s Love Sounds (11/4 + 11/5) October 29, 2014“Auditory landscapes can also be interpolations between space and time, space and reality, the psycho-social and the geographic, and temporality and memory. The act of listening involves a transitional state between attention and imagination, between sensual experience and understanding or seeking a possible meaning.” -Jean-Luc Nancy, Listening Cinema remain […]Willie Osterweil
- Life of Pie October 29, 2014You won't mind filling yourself in on the history baked into this dessertChristine Baumgarthuber
- A Country Disappeared October 30, 2014
- Beyond the Façade February 23, 2014Vladimir Putin's Fragile Empire Fragile Empire Ben Judah Yale University Press, 400 pages $30.00 As the Olympic festivities wind down in Sochi, western attention on Russia has been at levels unseen since the Cold War. As the most expensive Olympic games yet (the most recent estimate is $ 50-51 billion by the Washington Post), President Putin has in […]
- The End of the Line? September 26, 201325 years after Chrysler closed the AMC plant, how has Kenosha fared? The End of the Line? Twenty-five years ago, Chrysler closed its newly acquired plant in Kenosha, Wisconsin. The event made national headlines. Only a few months before, Chrysler chairman Lee Iacocca had announced that the company intended to buy out French automaker Renault’s control […]
- The Voice of Ireland June 15, 2013An Interview with Author Kevin Barry The Voice of Ireland My wife tossed The New Yorker on to the tabletop, You have to read this short story, she said. I did. And the rhythm of the language and the force of the story led me on the rampant search for more. The author was an Irish writer named Kevin Barry whose work consists of two short story collectio […]
- Beyond the Façade February 23, 2014
- On some books in Edna St. Vincent Millay’s library September 25, 2014
- Omeka links for the University of Colorado July 24, 2014
- The 7 Best Links to Digital Poetry Projects from MLA January 14, 2014
- Job: Data Curator II at Institute for Defense Analyses October 30, 2014
- Announcement: Feminist Scholarship at the Leading Edge of Digital Tech October 30, 2014
- CFP: Personal Digital Archiving October 30, 2014
- Shaping (Digital) Scholars: Design Principles for Digital Pedagogy August 12, 2014
- Creating the Texas Digital Humanities Consortium April 23, 2014
- More Data, Better Learning? A Balanced Look at Adaptive Learning Systems October 5, 2013
- DH@WIT: Digital Humanities for Undergraduate Design, Engineering, and Management Students June 10, 2014 Christopher Scott Gleason
- Exploring and Designing Virtual Worlds April 25, 2014 The Editors
- An Introduction to Alex McDowell’s “World Building” April 25, 2014 Noah Wardrip-Fruin
- “World Building” April 24, 2014 Alex McDowell
- Media Systems – Envisioning the Future of Computational Media April 23, 2014 Noah Wardrip-Fruin
- Getting into Digital Humanities: A top-ten list August 18, 2014 Tom Scheinfeldt
- Innovation, Use, and Sustainability May 30, 2014 Tom Scheinfeldt
- The Dividends of Difference: Recognizing Digital Humanities' Diverse Family Tree/s April 7, 2014 Tom Scheinfeldt
- ‘Terminally Ill Woman Admits She’s Having Second Thoughts After Making Controversial Decision To End Her Life’ « CBS Philly
- Two easy ways to recognize social cohesion in church communities
- Irony and sighing — scandalous!
- Using the language I know
- Using Mark Driscoll and Robert Morris to teach the fallacy of false dilemma
- ‘still frantically concerned…to keep thought separate from the exigencies of the flesh’
- As Mark Driscoll resigned, no one mentioned ethical concerns
Liturgy For The PeopleThe liturgy is essentially not the religion of the cultured, but the religion of the people. If the people are rightly instructed, and the liturgy is properly carried out, they display a simple and profound understanding of it. For the people do not analyze concepts, but contemplate. The people possess that inner integrity of being which corresponds perfectly with the symbolism of the liturgical language, imagery, action and ornaments. The cultured man has first of all to accustom himself to this attitude; but to the people it has always been inconceivable that religion should express itself by abstract ideas and logical developments, and not by being and action, by imagery and ritual. --Romano Guardini, "The Awakening of the Church in the Soul"
- What are your favorite short stories?
- Two easy ways to recognize social cohesion in church communities
- Four Ways to Celebrate Reformation Day
- 'Terminally Ill Woman Admits She’s Having Second Thoughts After Making Controversial Decision To End Her Life' « CBS Philly
- How Martin Luther's translation of the Bible influenced the German language
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Arts and humansArt is the signature of man. -G.K. Chesterton
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The Anguished QuestionIf you really enquire about God, not with mere curiosity, not, as it were, like a spiritual stamp collector, but as an anxious seeker, distressed in heart, anguished by the possibility that God might not exist and hence all life be vanity and one great madness -- if you ask in such a mood as the man who asks the doctor, "Tell me, will my wife live or will she die?"-- if you ask thus about God, then you know already that God exists; the anguished question bears witness that you know. -- Emil Brunner, "Our Faith"
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The things — the beauty, the memory of our own past — are good images of what we really desire; but if they are mistaken for the thing itself, they turn into dumb idols, breaking the hearts of their worshippers. For they are not the thing itself; they are only the scent of a flower we have not found, the echo of a tune we have not heard, news from a country we have never yet visited. -C.S. Lewis, in “The Weight of Glory”
Following Lewis’s formulation and speaking for myself, my heart has been broken many, many times.
At the beginning of my Major American Writers class on Tuesdays and Thursdays, I open with a quote that I hope will help the students understand why we bother with literature and why literature matters.
I usually tap an American literary figure, but last week, a line by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow had me thinking about something C.S. Lewis wrote.
Tell me if I’m off-base here.
In “A Psalm of Life,” Longfellow wrote, “Art is long, but life is fleeting”.
In “On Stories,” Lewis wrote, “In life and art both, as it seems to me, we are always trying to capture in our net of successive moments something that is not successive.”
I think I was fairly responsible with the comparison and contrast. I made it clear that I did not think there was a perfect critical fit between the two quotes. Even so, I wanted to use the quotes to draw attention to a couple of thoughts. One, while life moves along, in its chronological sequence, we still value certain things that seem eternal, that stand outside of ourselves and our time. Two, that art can sometimes open us up to a sense, feeling, or impression of something eternal, something beyond us.
A powerful example of that sense or impression was related by the poet (and Lewis friend) Ruth Pitter in one of her BBC broadcasts, entitled “Hunting the Unicorn,” which was aired decades ago now. Pitter said:
I was sitting in front of a cottage door one day in spring long ago, a few bushes and flowers round me, bird gathering nesting material, trees of the forest at a little distance. A poor place, nothing glamorous about it. And suddenly, everything assumed a different aspect, its true aspect. For a moment it seemed to me that truth appeared in its overwhelming splendor. The secret was out, the explanation given, something that had seemed like total freedom, total power, total bliss – good with no bad as its opposite, an absolute that had no opposite. This thing, so unlike our feeble nature, had suddenly cut across one’s life and vanished. What is this thing? Is it, could it be, after all, a hint of something more real than this life? A message from reality, perhaps a particle of reality itself? If so, no wonder we hunt it so unceasingly, and never stop desiring it and pining for it.
I did not include the above Pitter quote in our class discussion. While I was trying to explain the Lewis quote, however, I noticed some of the students were moved and surprised by what I was saying. My explanation probably had more in common with Platonism than Christianity, and yet just expressing the possibility of an impression from something beyond our material framework was stirring for me, and it felt counter-cultural to talk about such things.
-Colin Foote Burch
From the New York Times article about the Pope Benedict XVI’s visit to France and his meeting with President Nicolas Sarkozy:
In an interview in fluent French with reporters traveling with him on an Alitalia airplane from Rome, the pope was asked what his message was and replied that it “seemed evident to me that secularism in itself is not in contradiction with faith.”
Religion and politics, he said, “should be open to each other.”
Speaking before the pope at the Élysée palace, Mr. Sarkozy renewed his appeal for a “positive secularism” saying it was “legitimate for democracy and respectful of secularism to have a dialogue with religions.”
Earlier in the article, reporters Rachel Donadio and Alan Cowell also wrote:
In a private meeting with French Jews on Friday, the pope spoke vehemently about the church’s opposition to “every form of anti-Semitism, which can never be theologically justified,” according to a text of his remarks.
In reaching out to the community he also discussed the holocaust, saying, “God does not forget.”
NPR reported that France has the highest number of European Jews, as well as a growing number of Muslims.
Following the recent death of the great Nobel Laureate Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, I have been listening to David Aikman’s essay “One Word of Truth: A Portrait of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn” on a special MP3 edition of Mars Hill Audio.
Mars Hill Audio also has a 74-minute download entitled The Christian Humanism of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (also available for purchase on CD) featuring scholar Edward E. Ericson, Jr. Here’s a fantastic quote from Ericson’s 2006 book, The Solzhenitsyn Reader: New and Essential Writings, 1947-2005:
“Solzhenitsyn’s work and witness teach us that the true alternative to revolutionary utopianism is not postmodern nihilism but gratitude for the givenness of the world and a determined but patient effort to correct injustices within it.”
“And although you were dead because of your sins and because you were morally uncircumcised, he has made you alive with Christ.”
This image and many more images from historical anatomical atlases are available at http://www.nlm.nih.gov/exhibition/historicalanatomies/home.html.
“[I]f the New Testament is right, Christ did not come to pluck souls from an evil and worthless creation and transport them to an angelic existence; instead he came to announce the beginning of the world’s renewal.”
– from The Passionate Intellect: Incarnational Humanism and the Future of University Education by Norman Klassen of St. Jerome’s University in Waterloo, Ontario, and Jens Zimmerman of Trinity Western University in Langley, British Columbia