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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
- emblem: Dictionary.com Word of the Day March 1, 2015emblem: an object or its representation, symbolizing a quality, state, class of persons, etc.; symbol.
- emblem: Dictionary.com Word of the Day March 1, 2015
- Poem of the Day: After great pain, a formal feeling comes – (372) March 1, 2015After great pain, a formal feeling comes – The Nerves sit ceremonious, like Tombs – The stiff Heart questions 'was it He, that bore,' And 'Yesterday, or Centuries before'? The Feet, mechanical, go round – A Wooden way Of Ground, or Air, or Ought – Regardless grown, A Quartz contentment, like a stone – This is the Hour of Lead – Remembered […]Emily Dickinson
- Poem of the Day: After great pain, a formal feeling comes – (372) March 1, 2015
- continental divide March 1, 2015
- continental divide March 1, 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
- Experiment in Physics February 27, 2015[Revised entry by Allan Franklin and Slobodan Perovic on February 27, 2015. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography, app7.html] Physics, and natural science in general, is a reasonable enterprise based on valid experimental evidence, criticism, and rational discussion. It provides us with knowledge of the physical world, and it is experiment that provides the ev […]Allan Franklin and Slobodan Perovic
- Implicit Bias February 27, 2015[New Entry by Michael Brownstein on February 26, 2015.] "Implicit bias" is a term of art referring to relatively unconscious and relatively automatic features of prejudiced judgment and social behavior. While psychologists in the field of "implicit social cognition" study "implicit attitudes" toward consumer products, self-estee […]Michael Brownstein
- Compatibilism February 25, 2015[Revised entry by Michael McKenna and D. Justin Coates on February 25, 2015. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography, notes.html, supplement.html] Compatibilism offers a solution to the free will problem, which concerns a disputed incompatibility between free will and determinism. Compatibilism is the thesis that free will is compatible with determinism. Because […]Michael McKenna and D. Justin Coates
- Experiment in Physics February 27, 2015
- Thoreau, Henry David February 27, 2015Henry David Thoreau (1817–1862) The American author Henry David Thoreau is best known for his magnum opus Walden, or Life in the Woods (1854); second to this in popularity is his essay, “Resistance to Civil Government” (1849), which was later republished posthumously as “Civil Disobedience” (1866). His fame largely rests on his role as a … Continue reading T […]
- Filial Obligation February 24, 2015Filial Obligation The question of what one should do for one’s parents is often urgent; a parent needs care in the near future, and the grown child must decide what kind of care to provide, whether and to what extent to finance the provision of care, and to what extent the child ought to sacrifice … Continue reading Filial Obligation →
- Geometrical Method February 18, 2015The Geometrical Method The Geometrical Method is the style of proof (also called “demonstration”) that was used in Euclid’s proofs in geometry, and that was used in philosophy in Spinoza’s proofs in his Ethics. The term appeared first in 16th century Europe when mathematics was on an upswing due to the new science of mechanics. … Continue reading Geometrical […]
- Thoreau, Henry David February 27, 2015
- What are the Unsolved Problems of Neuroscience? February 28, 2015In an interesting short paper just published in Trends in Cognitive Science, Caltech neuroscientist Ralph Adolphs offers his thoughts on The Unsolved Problems of Neuroscience. Here's Adolphs' list of the top 23 questions (including 3 "meta" issues), which, he says, was inspired by Hilbert's famous set of 23 mathematical problems: Pro […]
- Right-Wing Brain Surgeons: The Case of Surgical Neurology International February 22, 2015Last week we learned about the strange goings-on at two journals edited by the autism researcher, Johnny Matson. Matson and his team 'stepped down' after accusations of improper peer review processes. This reminded me of another case of unusual behavior at an academic journal: Surgical Neurology International (SNI), published by Medknow/Wolters Klu […]
- Does Science Produce Too Many PhD Graduates? February 18, 2015In a new paper, a group of MIT researchers argue that science is producing PhDs in far greater numbers than there are available tenured jobs for them to fill. The authors, engineers Richard C. Larson, Navid Ghaffarzadegan, and Yi Xue, start out by noting that The academic job market has become more and more competitive... nowadays, less than 17% of new PhDs […]
- What are the Unsolved Problems of Neuroscience? February 28, 2015
- Saturday Science Links: February 28, 2015The biggest science stories of the week are reviewed.
- I Have a Friend Who Believes Science Disproves Faith, Part 2Is Christianity anti-science? Can Christians be good scientists? Is science the only source of true knowledge? Pastor Dave Gustavsen of Jacksonville Chapel addresses these issues.
- I Have a Friend Who Believes Science Disproves Faith, Part 1Is Christianity anti-science? Can Christians be good scientists? Is science the only source of true knowledge? Pastor Dave Gustavsen of Jacksonville Chapel addresses these issues.
- Saturday Science Links: February 28, 2015
- Shadow Games February 28, 2015"It's a kind of military climatology springing virtually out of nothing"Maryam Monalisa Gharavi
- Wall, Ground, Air February 28, 2015Colonized everythingMaryam Monalisa Gharavi
- This Week in Art Crime February 27, 2015A forged Goya is purchased with counterfeit money, a cartoonist works for the CIA, and more, this week in Art CrimeThe New Inquiry
- Shadow Games February 28, 2015
- Emotion and the evolution of intersubjectivity (Literary Need: V) February 10, 2015 William Flesch
- Toward an Epicurean Scholarly Practice February 9, 2015 Eleanor Courtemanche
- White Happened to You January 28, 2015 David Shih
- 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: Digital Scholarship Services Manager, Brown University February 26, 2015
- Job: Digital Archivist February 26, 2015
- CFP: Workshop on Semantic Web for Scientific Heritage February 26, 2015
- Update on the Texas Digital Humanities Consortium December 2, 2014
- Shaping (Digital) Scholars: Design Principles for Digital Pedagogy August 12, 2014
- Creating the Texas Digital Humanities Consortium April 23, 2014
- Review of The Johns Hopkins Guide to Digital Media (2014) November 5, 2014 Alex Christie
- Digital Contexts November 5, 2014 The Editors
- On the Origin of “Hack” and “Yack” November 1, 2014 Bethany Nowviskie
- Digital Historiography and the Archives November 1, 2014 Katharina Hering
- Using Computer Vision to Increase the Research Potential of Photo Archives October 14, 2014 John Resig
- Elevator Pitch November 18, 2014 Tom Scheinfeldt
- What The New Yorker Got Wrong About Lawrence Lessig November 5, 2014 Tom Scheinfeldt
- Getting into Digital Humanities: A top-ten list August 18, 2014 Tom Scheinfeldt
- If you need to leave baggage behind
- Ancient Imagination: A Roman griffin in the Vatican Museum
- Additional thoughts about healing and personal growth
- Monday morning students
- Caution flags in healing and personal growth
- American Christianity: Older and less educated
- Danish attitudes toward multiculturalism soured years ago, says The Economist
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"
- Killing dreams as well as nightmares; Green Day explains 'Restless Heart Syndrome'
- How Martin Luther's translation of the Bible influenced the German language
- Additional thoughts about healing and personal growth
- Reason and imagination
- The small things mean everything: Luke 16:10 and Chesterton explain the real crisis
- Warriors invert Gospel on CNN
- Have you been 'fully briefed'?
- About this blog
- James K.A. Smith: How we view the body determines political and social structures
- If you need to leave baggage behind
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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