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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
- funambulist: Dictionary.com Word of the Day March 30, 2015funambulist: a tightrope walker.
- funambulist: Dictionary.com Word of the Day March 30, 2015
- Poem of the Day: Enough March 30, 2015So many forget-me-nots, with their white centers, scattered, you'd say, if there weren't so many everywhere, as many as the stars last night in between the branches above the porch, behind the house. Was it an argument or were there just things they had to say? I could have faith in so many creatures— the old setter from the neighbor yard who follo […]Katie Peterson
- Poem of the Day: Enough March 30, 2015
- The Place for No Story By Robinson Jeffers March 30, 2015By Robinson Jeffers
- The Place for No Story By Robinson Jeffers March 30, 2015
- Blood Test Tells How Long Concussion Symptoms Will Last January 6, 2015 Ingrid Wickelgren
- Neuroscientists Break into the Brain to Expose Its Workings October 30, 2014 Ingrid Wickelgren
- Brilliance Often Springs from Boredom September 11, 2014 Ingrid Wickelgren
- Equality of Opportunity March 26, 2015[Revised entry by Richard Arneson on March 25, 2015. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] Equality of opportunity is a political ideal that is opposed to caste hierarchy but not to hierarchy per se. The background assumption is that a society contains a hierarchy of more and less desirable, superior and inferior positions. Or there may be several such hierar […]Richard Arneson
- Belief March 25, 2015[Revised entry by Eric Schwitzgebel on March 24, 2015. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] Contemporary analytic philosophers of mind generally use the term "belief" to refer to the attitude we have, roughly, whenever we take something to be the case or regard it as true. To believe something, in this sense, needn't involve actively reflectin […]Eric Schwitzgebel
- Developmental Biology March 24, 2015[New Entry by Alan Love on March 23, 2015.] Developmental biology is the science of explaining how a variety of interacting processes generate an organism's heterogeneous shapes, size, and structural features that arise on the trajectory from embryo to adult, or more generally throughout a life cycle. It represents an exemplary area of contemporary expe […]Alan Love
- Equality of Opportunity March 26, 2015
- Yablo Paradox March 22, 2015Yablo Paradox (draft: do not quote this article) (Formatter: Insert paragraphs for summary here.) The Yablo Paradox implies there is no way to coherently assign a truth value to any of the sentences in the countably infinite sequence of sentences of the form, ``None of the subsequent sentences are true.'' Specifically, the Yablo paradox arises when […]
- Hume, Imagination March 22, 2015David Hume: Imagination David Hume (1711–1776) approaches questions in epistemology, metaphysics, ethics and aesthetics via questions about our minds. For example, before addressing the epistemological question of whether we have any justification for our beliefs about unobserved states of affairs, Hume asks which of our cognitive faculties is responsible fo […]
- Anderson, John March 21, 2015John Anderson (1893-1962) Scottish-Australian philosopher John Anderson was a passionate defender of a philosophy typically described as Realism. Anderson exercised a significant and lasting influence over several generations of students, including such later philosophers as John Passmore, J.L. Mackie, and D.M. Armstrong. These students criticised and develo […]
- Yablo Paradox March 22, 2015
- The World at 7 PM: A Survey of Everyday Life March 28, 2015In the Journal of Personality, a new study reports on the uniformity of human experience around the globe: The World at 7: Comparing the Experience of Situations Across 20 Countries The research was an online survey of a total of 5447 people. Each participant was asked to think about what happened the previous evening at 7 pm. Then they were asked to describ […]
- Neuroskeptic On Bloggingheads March 26, 2015Over at Bloggingheads.tv, I've been interviewed by John Horgan, science journalist and author of books such as The Undiscovered Mind. We talked about whether neuroscience will be able to help diagnose mental illness; why we need to reform how science is published; the mess that is the Human Brain Project; and on a more personal note, about why I became […]
- The World at 7 PM: A Survey of Everyday Life March 28, 2015
- Saturday Science Links: March 28, 2015Robot butterflies, identical twin astronauts, and dark matter are some of the subjects covered in this week's edition.
- BioLogos Basics Video #6: How Evolution Works - Part 1The scientific theory of evolution does not claim that currently existing species have evolved from each other. Rather, the claim is that species today evolved from common ancestors.
- Saturday Science Links: March 28, 2015
- The State of Comparative Literature—and Arabic March 25, 2015 Alexander Key
- Terry Pratchett: "Not having battles, and doing without kings" March 23, 2015 Andrew Goldstone
- Shakespeare and Misgiving March 19, 2015 Ian Bickford
- CFP: Web Archives 2015: Capture, Curate, Analyze | U-M Library March 26, 2015
- Resource: Gender Gaps Around the World March 26, 2015
- ‘The war against humanities at Britain’s universities | Education | The Guardian’
- ‘Researchers Uncover Ancient Mask Of Pagan God Pan In Northern Israel’ — Huffington Post
- CNN’s ‘Atheists: Inside the World of Non-Believers’
- Architecture and engineering at the 9-11 Museum
- The neurobiology of religion: from ‘The friendly atheists next door’ – CNN.com
- Preventing a repeat
- ‘Priest arrested for exorcism on anorexic girl’ – The Local
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"
- Islamic State using cult brainwashing techniques
- Mark Driscoll's apology dealt with one set of evidence; a former colleague levels new plagiarism allegations
- 'The war against humanities at Britain's universities | Education | The Guardian'
- Woody Allen's 'Midnight in Paris'
- How can you know if a Buddhist amulet has been blessed? The Buddhist amulet market crashes in Thailand
- Why Jesus died on two different days, at two different times, according to the Scriptures
- Killing dreams as well as nightmares; Green Day explains 'Restless Heart Syndrome'
- Anglicanism, Thomas Cranmer and Richard Hooker in the context of Scripture, Reason, and Tradition
- How Martin Luther's translation of the Bible influenced the German language
- The sophistry of Hank Hanegraaff -- an examination of a defense of Teen Mania
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.