Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Our Problem is

We have the attention spans of goldfish. If something is broadcast that confirms our beliefs or our suspicions we accept it without further thought. Actually investigating the basis for our beliefs and opinions risks disconfirmation, something we are ill-equipped to deal with.

The case in point is the Liberal/Moderate contempt for the Fox News network and it's viewers:

Are Fox News Viewers Misinformed?

This is a great example of
:

Are Fox News Viewers Misinformed?

This is a great example of how the internet undermines the biased academic class.



Via Roger Ho.




(Via Lex Communis.)

Friday, September 10, 2010

A Follow-Up Post

My mentor in the sixties and seventies was Larry Evans. He is a Grandmaster and an excellent teacher. I had the honour of watching him play against Bent Larsen in the 1972 tournament I referred to in the previous post. My teacher got taught.


In the after-game analysis Bent explained that he knew that Larry thought (and taught) in terms of concrete concepts. So he deliberately steered the game into complications where Larry's point-count style chess (from Bent's perspective) would not help him. Wow.


Bent Larsen, 1935-2010:

Danish chess legend Bent Larsen died yesterday in Buenos Aires, following a short illness, at the age of 75. He was a leading grandmaster from the mid-to-late 50s through the early 80s, and for a period from the mid-to-late 1960s until his 1971 Candidates match against Bobby Fischer was considered a genuine title contender and even at one point possibly the strongest player outside the Soviet Union.



Read the whole thing.

(Via The Chess Mind Blog.)

Bent Larsen dies at 75

In the glorious days of my youth the greats of chess did battle and we all stood in awe. Bent Larsen was one of those greats. I partly took up the Grand Prix Attack because he was one of the first grandmasters (that I knew of) to practice it.


He played in the Grandmaster tournament on San Antonio in 1972, following Fischer's victory over Spassky. I met him and his wife on a street corner there. They were both so gracious to me and left a positive impression. I am sad at his passing.


Bent Larsen dies at 75:


Bent Larsen photographed in January 2010 by Peter Heine Nielsen.


Hello Everyone,

It is sad news that the great chess player Bent Larsen is no more.


Read the whole thing.

(Via Alexandra Kosteniuk's CHESSBLOG.COM.)

Friday, September 03, 2010

A Rule For Reasoning

is to weight the expert's testimony based on his actual expertise and it's relevance to the topic under debate. So when a big-name sports player tell me to buy something that has nothing to do with his or her sport, I ignore the recommendation.

Enter Stephen Hawking on the subject of Natural Theology:

Fr. Robert Barron: "I confess that something in me tightens whenever I hear a scientist pontificating...":

... on issues that belong to the arena of philosophy or metaphysics. I will gladly listen to Stephen Hawking when he holds forth on matters of theoretical physics, but he’s as qualified to talk about philosophical and religious issues as any college freshman. There is a qualitative difference between the sciences, which speak of objects, forces, and phenomena within the observable universe, and philosophy or religion which speak of ultimate origins and final purposes. Science, as such, simply cannot adjudicate questions that lie outside of its proper purview—and this is precisely why scientists tend to make lots of silly statements when they attempt to philosophize.
Read all of Fr. Barron's piece,"Stephen Hawking & More Tiresome Atheism,"on WordonFire.org.


Read the whole thing.

(Via Insight Scoop | The Ignatius Press Blog.)

Global Warming

isn't what it used to be. The actual data and reasoning about long-term effects of humans on the climate remain opaque to me. But there's still something uncomfortably like the Chicken-Little panic about some of the claims that have been made, not least by Al Gore. So this is interesting news:

The Thing that Used to be Global Warming...:

...and then morphed into the much-harder to grip "climate change" is suffering from severe changes in the climate of public opinion. Happens when you get caught with your pants down.


Read the whole thing.

(Via Catholic and Enjoying It!.)

Friday, August 27, 2010

What Happened After Vatican II

and why? Here is an intriguing interpretation:

The Liturgical Experts’ Long Tassels:

Publicly owned corporations are more accountable to their shareholders than tenured bureaucracies, which may explain why it took the Ford Motor Company only two years to cancel its Edsel, and not much longer for Coca Cola to restore its “classic” brand, while the Catholic Church has taken more than a generation of unstopped attrition to try to correct the mistakes of overheated liturgists.


Read the whole thing.

(Via First Things: On the Square.)

Political Correctness

that I can agree with:

Toward a Jolly-Friendly Media:

In which we continue to discuss ways to make Amerika affirm the Jolly Lifestyle, as well as how to teach our children to practice safe eating.

Say it with me!: We're out and we're stout!


Read the whole thing.

(Via Catholic and Enjoying It!.)

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Probability of God

Wow. There's a 99% probability that God exists? Who knew that kind of calculation was possible?

The Probability of God:

Betrand Russell, famous for his agnostic views as much as for his theories on logic, was once asked how he would answer if he turned out to be wrong about God. Russell was delighted with the question and answered, “Why, I should say, ‘God, you gave us insufficient evidence.’”


I suspect that upon their meeting, God corrected the ol’ Brit, showing how the evidence was there and that Russell had simply chosen to ignore it. But it does raise the question of why different people when presented with much the same evidence, come to such varying conclusions about the existence of God.


Read the whole thing.

(Via First Thoughts.)

Monday, July 12, 2010

Persecution

isn't a subject in many sermons nowadays. (I'll omit ranting a out abortion, contraception and the other elephants in the room.) But my growing sense of unease in our culture of comfort and self is tweaked by little signs of a coming storm.


“Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you [falsely] because of me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven. Thus they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”
(Matt 5:10-12 NAB)

We are too comfortable, too sheep-like in the presence of the increasing hostility of the world elite towards Jesus, His teaching and His disciples. We need to prepare ourselves and our children for the troubles that are coming.


Ok, sermon over. Now to the news:


Catholic prof fired for giving Church teaching on homosexuality:

Our good friend and fellow Catholic convert, Dr. Kenneth Howell, who worked for St. John's Catholic Newman Center as Director of the Institute of Catholic Thought, and taught Introduction to Catholicisim and Modern Catholic Thought at the University of Illinois, Urbana, has been fired for relating the Catholic teaching on homosexuality in his class:


Read the whole thing.

(Via Musings of a Pertinacious Papist.)

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Thought and Prejudice

In this instance I'm struck by the reflexive approval of most, if not all, things homosexual. When I started on a reasoned argument (rant) about why homosexual unions should not be elevated to equality with marriage, my daughters, bless them, were embarrassed and demanded we stop talking about the subject. It didn't help this was in a public place (a restaurant for Sunday Brunch).


Their aversion to disagreements with the homosexual agenda puzzles me. They have or are getting a University education. Shouldn't reasoned disagreement be the heart and soul of their intellectual life? Even if they strongly disagree with me, I'm wanting reasoned arguments and facts. They seem to recognize no value to these things independent of achieving the results they have chosen to endorse. Is this how far the intellectual rigour has fallen at Universities?


Ok, rant mode off. Here is an interesting article about how research itself is produced and disseminated in a doctrinaire fashion to promote the ideology of the day:


Who could possibly have predicted this?:

Research showing the risks of lesbian and gay parenting is ignored in the race to make a political case




(Via Catholic and Enjoying It!.)

Friday, July 02, 2010

Philosophy and Chess

are sometimes close companions. Dennis M considers death and the arguments for survival beyond death:

Maroczy - Korchnoi ?:

The Hungarian grandmaster Geza Maroczy died in 1951, but on some reports, his chess career didn't end there. He took about 34 years off, and then, with the help of a medium named Robert Rollans, played a game against Viktor Korchnoi that lasted until 1993. (He lost, but hey - he was rusty. You can replay the game here.)


Read the whole thing.

(Via The Chess Mind Blog.)

Monday, May 31, 2010

Using Your Head

is necessary to solve problems. Here is a series of propositions that lead to the solution of whether or not abortion is justified in the case of rape:

Challenging a La Presse journalist on the logic of his pro-abort stance:


  1. Every species on Earth can only reproduce after its own kind (for example, rabbits can only give birth to other rabbits, dogs can only give birth to puppies, etc.).

  2. Therefore, a fetus is of human nature.

  3. The fetus is clearly alive, as witnessed by its continual growth, its need for nutrition and hydration, its beating heart, its brain waves, etc.

  4. From 2 and 3, we deduce that the fetus is alive and human.

  5. The fetus has a distinct and unique human DNA, different from its mother and from any other human being.

  6. The fetus has all the components to develop into a complete and independent human organism.

  7. From 4, 5 and 6, we deduce that a fetus is a living human being distinct from its mother.

  8. Intentionally ending the life of an innocent living human being is a grave injustice.

  9. Abortion ends the life of the fetus.

  10. From 8 and 9, we deduce that abortion is a grave injustice.

  11. While rape is a grave injustice towards the woman, this tragedy does not alter points 1 through 10.

  12. Therefore, we deduce that aborting a fetus conceived through rape remains a grave injustice, as per 10.


Q.E.D


Read the whole thing.

(Via SoCon Or Bust.)

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Six Impossible Things

to believed it you're an atheist:

Alice, Atheists, and the Ability to Believe Impossible Things:

“Alice laughed: “There’s no use trying,” she said; “one can’t believe impossible things.”


“I daresay you haven’t had much practice,” said the Queen. “When I was younger, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.” — Alice in Wonderland



Read the whole thing.

(Via First Thoughts.)

Friday, May 07, 2010

More Evidence

that the MSM is heavily filtering the news to promote their world-view:

:

I did not know this stuff....

...which, apparently, is the point of the news media's practice of suppressing news reports about leftist violence:

While the media is all over the recent bombing attempt in Times Square, they quickly swept the 2008 bombing of the Times Square military recruiting station under the rug. The hometown New York Times relegated the terror attack to regional news, even


Read the whole thing.

(Via Lex Communis.)

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Spiritual Alzheimers

That is a wonderful phrase from Cardinal Dias that you will find at the end of this post:

Traditionally-minded Anglican bishops ready to come to Rome:

Everyone should be calling Benedict XVI "The Pope of Christian Unity". 



His provisions for traditionally-minded Anglicans issued in the Motu Proprio Anglicanorum coetibus are concrete demonstrations of his desire to bring separated Christians into unity with the Catholic fold.


Read the whole thing.

(Via What Does The Prayer Really Say?.)

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Toyota Versus Gardasil

We have enjoyed our car for the last eight years. The panic over sticking accelerators hasn't affected our conviction that overall Toyotas are safer and more reliable. But where does Gardasil come in?

THIS IS STAGGERING! [Rachel Watkins]


4/30/2010


Are you ready to buy a Toyota yet? I'm not to sure.

Have you gotten a Gardisil vaccination for yourself, your daughter? I have not but have received some pressure from some who think I should.
I will not feel any guilty any more -

Toyota 52 deaths, Gardasil 49. Toyota recalled.

There is no press, no ongoing meetings before Congress, no fines being levied.

Women are seemingly less important to our country than we imagine.


(Via Heart, Mind & Strength.)

Friday, April 30, 2010

Quote of the Day

Bob Dylan is a Phony, Unlike Joni Mitchell:


I just want to take this opportunity to point out that there is no such thing as “spirituality.” Doesn’t exist, has no meaning. It’s just a name for “doing what I want to do and feeling that the universe somehow smiles on me for doing it.


Alan Jacobs doesn’t think much of spirituality.



Read the whole thing.

(Via First Thoughts.)

Another Solution

to the difficulty about EMHC's giving blessings:

Blessings from lay people?:

My post yesterday about deacons giving blessings prompted a reader to write: My question is, as a eucharistic minister, would you have in your repertoire a short blessing that we can use when a non-Catholic or child comes up for a blessing during communion? I use, " May the Lord's blessings come down upon you in abundance" Acceptable? Well, actually...


Read the whole thing.

(Via New Advent World Watch.)

Saturday, April 24, 2010

A Summary

of the sex-abuse scandal in the Church and the MSM coverage of it:

Media's deadly ammunition of half-truths:

A retired Hollywood actor and Catholic convert whom I had the honor of sponsoring, regularly sends me clippings about the Catholic sex scandals from newspapers and news magazines -- his only source of news other than television, since he fastidiously eschews the world of computers. I do not know how much help he finds from his priest in sorting out fact from fiction in the daily media onslaught. One feels considerable sympathy for our priests, who doubtless feel besieged and confused by the anti-Catholic onslaught in the media and may prefer to ignore the issue in their homilies. The result, however, is the reinforcement of an unhealthy fortress mentality, where the Faith is increasingly isolated from the issues of the day and rendered irrelevant. Legions of parishioners like my actor friend need answers. Hence, the issues must be addressed.


Read the whole thing.

(Via Musings of a Pertinacious Papist.)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Taboo

topics in RCIA certainly included contraception. I managed to persuade some to attend a viewing of Dr. Smith's video "Contraception: Why Not?" in the Mystagogia period of formation. The reactions were enlightening to say the least.

Contraception, deception, and retrospection:


The feature story for the May 2, 2010, edition of Our Sunday Visitor newspaper is titled, "Uncovering a string of lies"; it was written by Dr. Janet Smith to mark the 50th anniversary of the FDA's approval of "The Pill." An excerpt:
That the Father of Lies should be using lies and subterfuge to promote contraception should not be surprising.


Read the whole thing.

(Via Insight Scoop | The Ignatius Press Blog.)

Just A Brief Rant

about Catholic Update, a publication I loved to hate during my RCIA days: Bland, confusing, uninformed, uninspiring. Ok, rant over:

God is other, people:

My award for "Worst Theological Point Inspired by Earth Day" goes to the following e-card from St. Anthony Messenger Press:



Holy people
such as Sts. Francis and Clare
remind us that
we are not separate
from the natural world
but part of it
in one sacred earth community.

Catholic Update


This one is a close second.

More Earth Day-themed greetings can be found here.



(Via Ten Reasons.)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Two Points of View

on the brief Oxburgh report; I'm unable to evaluate the differences between the two. First, Global Warming:

Second CRU inquiry reports:

The Oxburgh report on the science done at the CRU has now been published and….. as in the first inquiry, they find no scientific misconduct, no impropriety and no tailoring of the results to a preconceived agenda, though they do suggest more statisticians should have been involved. They have also some choice words to describe the critics.


Carry on…


(Via RealClimate.)



Now the opposition:

Oxburgh’s Trick to Hide the Trick:

The Oxburgh report ” is a flimsy and embarrassing 5-pages.


They did not interview me (nor, to my knowledge, any other CRU critics or targets). The committee was announced on March 22 and their “report” is dated April 12 – three weeks end to end – less time than even the Parliamentary Committee. They took no evidence. Their list of references is 11 CRU papers, five on tree rings, six on CRUTEM. Notably missing from the “sample” are their 1000-year reconstructions: Jones et al 1998, Mann and Jones 2003, Jones and Mann 2004, etc.)


Read the whole thing.

(Via Climate Audit.)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Any Stick to Beat a Dog With

seems to be the operating principle of the MSM these last few weeks:

Anti-Benedict Campaign Jumps Shark Again:

Okay, so today's headline in the "Benedict is a Stoopid Doodyhead" shark attack is "Vatican forgives The Beatles for 'bigger than Jesus' comment ". Some variations of this hot hot HOT story tell us the Pope or Rome or somebody "finally" forgives the whole "bigger than Jesus" remark.

Don't these guys even read their own copy? What about the *last* time the Vatican/pope/Rome/some guy in L'Osservatore Romano (they are all one and indistinguishable) forgave the bigger than Jesus remark? Heck! I wrote a whole piece about it at the time! And now they are playing that tape again? What? Are they running out of material?



(Via Catholic and Enjoying It!.)

Whack-A-Pope

continues with interesting results. Now that the Vatican push-back is impossible to ignore, the MSM tries to fan the flames of a Catholic-Queer smackdown. A potentially entertaining tangle of absurdities results:

Card. Bertone in Chile strikes some sparks, MSM puffs on the fire:

From CBS/AP ... yes.. AP again…



My E & C.



SANTIAGO, Chile, April 12, 2010

Pope’s No. 2: Sex Abuse Tied to Homosexuality

Cardinal Bertone’s Remarks Cause Uproar; U.S. Priest Slams Vatican for "Incompetence and Irresponsibility"



(CBS/AP)   Updated at 7:15 a.m. Eastern.  [The original title seems to have been "Sex abuse not tied to celibacy"]



The Vatican’s second-highest authority says the sex scandals haunting the Roman Catholic Church are linked to homosexuality and not celibacy among priests. [There are the two points… homosexuality and celibacy.  But they shifted the title of the story.]


Read the whole thing.

(Via What Does The Prayer Really Say?.)

Fair and Balanced

coverage of the Climategate issue is my goal. So here's a response from the "Yes there is potentially catastrophic anthropogenic global warming going on" side:

The Economist does not disappoint:

The March 20th -26th cover story of The Economist, “Spin, science and climate change,” deftly bypasses the politics surrounding ‘climategate’, to tackle the more important issue: whether any of this has any bearing on climate change science and policy. This is a refreshing bit of journalism that everyone should read.


Read the whole thing.

(Via RealClimate.)

Monday, April 12, 2010

Defrocking

doesn't, strictly speaking, have any meaning in Catholic usage. "You are a Priest Forever" actually means what it says for the Church. There are two ways of leaving the ministry: by ejection, as a penalty ["degradation" in the old usage or "dismissal from the clerical state" (1983 CIC 1336.1, n. 5)], or by having a request for dispensation granted [laisization]. These distinctions do not register with those in the MSM who would be teaching us, though:

Mt. Rainier, Puyallup and Defrocking:

One of the ways that Out of Staters periodically embarrass themselves when they visit Washington (the New England of the West Coast) is by making casual knowing references to things they know little about. So, for instance, when somebody insouciantly declares that they are going to take a drive out to "Renyay" or visit "Poo yall up" Washingtonians smile cryptically and look at the floor. (Hint: It's "Pew al up" and "Rayneer" and you aren't from around here, are you stranger?)

When I read the hysteria in the daily installments of the Get Benedict Campaign that the media has ginned up, I feel the same way. Everybody keeps screaming about "defrocking" and seems to think they know what they are talking about about. So we were breathlessly informed us that Benedict refused to punish a pervert California priest with "defrocking". The mob shouts in righteous indignation!


Read the whole thing.

(Via Catholic and Enjoying It!.)

A Priest Can Dream, Can't He?

Father Z goes on a reverie that warms the cuckolds of this old heart:

Is Benedict XVI a “better Pope” than John Paul II? A couple views and then Fr. Z really rants.:

[...] If I were Pope, I would form a small corps of monsignori tasked to obtain some resignations…  I think I would recruit them from, say, Sicily.  They seem to know how to do this sort of thing quietly, with a smile.  "Eccellenza… our Holy Fadher isa greatly concerned fora your healt." One sits down a little too close to the bishop. The other, still standing, opens his jacket, reaches in and draws out a beautiful Waterman fountain pen and thick, folded sheet of paper.]


Read the whole thing.

(Via What Does The Prayer Really Say?.)

Fisking

is an art form, best left to practioners with intelligence and insight. I give you Father Z on an AP hack writer:

Another ridiculous AP article deconstructed:

AP, which unprofessionally has declared open season on Pope Benedict – engaged in a relentless ad hominem – has a piece which cites as the mainstay non other than Richard McBrien. They drag in a 'conservative' for reasons of ballast, but they crack on upon their course.



My emphases and comments.

Pope's ivory tower past adds to his detachment



By VANESSA GERA, Associated Press Writer Vanessa Gera, Associated Press Writer [AP's correspondent in Poland] - Sun Apr 11, 1:41 pm ET



VATICAN CITY - Long before entering Vatican life, Pope Benedict XVI won renown as a theologian and a German university professor, penning more than 40 books and winning a devoted following of students who respected his prodigious memory and brilliant mind.



One thing absent from his resume? Significant time as a parish priest. [I think what we are about to see here is a common liberal trope: when you want to discredit someone or something, say that it or he isn't 'pastoral'. Personal anecdote: I was once told by a chancery hack in a diocese where an ultra-liberal bishop was in charge that their concern about me was that I was conservative but I was intelligent. I am not making this up. If I were 'less intelligent', and, say, more 'pastoral', well... then.... First, liberals only think liberals are really intelligent. But when they run across [FILL IN BLANK] on the other side which is smart, effective, successful, etc., they label that thing or person 'not pastoral'. A perfect example is what Bp. Trautman says about the new translation. I already have the sense that that is what you are going to see in this article.]


Read the whole thing.

(Via What Does The Prayer Really Say?.)

Saturday, April 03, 2010

What He Said

I noticed some of the MSM touting the "Papal Scandal" alongside the NYT. For example, there were complaints in the blogosphere about the London Times just before the American Times resumed covering itself with shame. The BBC, which I like to watch for international news was following lockstep. And I join those who are curious about the timing of the "demonstration" organized in Saint Peter's Square that just happened to coincide with the Times latest assault on the papacy. So I'm in agreement with this:

Birds of a Feather:

Ruth Gledhill of The Times in London seems to be vying with Maureen Dowd for the 'Dumb Attacks on the Catholic Church' award. In this article she leapfrogs from Archbishop Rowan Williams snide comments about the Catholic Church to the sermon by Fr Raniero Cantalamessa quoting a Jewish friend who recognized elements of the persecution in the present campaign against the Catholic Church that...


Read the whole thing.

(Via New Advent World Watch.)

Mea Culpa

It's the Catholic thing to acknowledge one's guilt. In the Latin (curiously changed in the present-and-soon-to-be-replaced translation) we start each Mass by confessing our sinfulness: Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa ([through] my fault, my fault, my most grievous fault--replaced with "through my own fault, in my thoughts and in my words, in what I have done, and in what I have failed to do;"). So it is good for us to consider how we have been complicit in the Long Lent that we are still suffering through:

Happy Hour Links:


(Via Campaign Standard.)

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

A Nice Summing Up

of the "The Pope Should Resign" party and it's malcontents:

Murphy Case: NYT Never Talked to Judge:

In a remarkable piece, we get a sense of confirmation, that the New York Times and the mainstream press are doing their best -during Holy Week, as usual- to (at the very least) foment disgust at the Pontiff and the Catholic Church and/or (at worst) create a climate that "demands" a papal abdication. But curiously...


Read the whole thing.

(Via New Advent World Watch.)

Monday, March 29, 2010

Oh Good

Another reason to doubt Global Warming:

Settled Science Based on Unsettled Data:

Science requires the collection and interpretation of data. Consensus, therefore, requires that there be no significant dispute on either the data (e.g., its relevance) or it interpretation. The debate over whether there is a “consensus” about anthropogenic climate change has tended to focus on the interpretation of the data.


But what if the data is fatally flawed?


Read the whole thing.

(Via First Thoughts.)

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Internal Politics

in the Church?

“using the victims of clerical child abuse to fight internal political battles”:

Some analysis from the UK by Damian Thompson with my emphases and comments:





Some liberal Catholics are thinking: It’s payback time, Ratzinger!



By Damian Thompson



There is still no good evidence that Pope Benedict XVI is seriously implicated in the atrocious child abuse scandals that are – rightly – blackening the reputation of the institutions of the Catholic Church. But still the attempts to join the dots continue. To put it bluntly, there is an increasingly frantic media campaign against the Pope in which headlines are being written first and then facts shaved to fit them[What’s on the masthead of Hell’s Bible again?  "All the news that fits"?]


Read the whole thing.

(Via What Does The Prayer Really Say?.)

Saturday, March 27, 2010

New York Times & Facts

Here's a link to a summary of the facts:

New York Times Smears:

From Father Raymond J. de Souza, a response to the New York Times.



The story is false. It is unsupported by its own documentation. Indeed, it gives every indication of being part of a coordinated campaign against Pope Benedict, rather than responsible journalism.


Read the whole thing.




(Via Catholic Light.)

A Catholic Perspective

on the controversy:

The poisons that lurk in the mud:

In Robert Graves I, Claudius, the old emperor decides to let Nero be his heir knowing well that Nero will be so bad that people will cry for reform and the Republic to return.  In his cups, the old Claudius rumbles:



"It will be bad, exceedingly bad…worse even than Caligula but they have to have the whole terrible truth about just how bad it can be before they come to their senses.



Let all of the poisons that lurk in the mud, hatch out."


Read the whole thing.

(Via What Does The Prayer Really Say?.)

A Useful List

of links for those inclined to investigate the current media storm over the Vatican:

Wisconsin, Irish, German, and Other Catholic Sexual Abuse Scandals and Pope Benedict XVI: Collection of Factual, Non-Agenda-Driven Articles and Posts:

[ source ]


(Via Cor ad cor loquitur.)

Perspective

Objectivity is difficult to attain. Catholicism and the Papacy in particular evince emotional responses that reflect our prior commitments, beliefs and life history. So the current news media assault on the papacy needs some distancing before reaching judgement.


There is no reason for a Catholic to assume that every decision made by a bishop who later becomes Pope is infallible. And given the history of the papacy, serious moral defects much be considered possible in the abstract. Criticism of Church leaders may be necessary for their own good as well as that of the Church as a whole.


But the Church is a Family which means that public humiliation of one's own family including parents and other family authority figures is only moral if there is no other way of achieving their salvation. So we must not refuse to consider the possibility of failure, even serious moral failure in the successors of the Apostles, even of Saint Peter himself. But neither must we engage in public speculation or condemnation unless as a very last resort.


So read the following and consider what merit, if any, these current news stories really have:


Keeping the record straight on Benedict and the crisis:

Intense scrutiny is being devoted these days to Pope Benedict XVI's history on the sex abuse crisis. Revelations from Germany have put his five years as a diocesan bishop under a spotlight, and a piece on Thursday in The New York Times, on the case of Fr. Lawrence Murphy of Milwaukee...


Read the whole thing.

(Via New Advent World Watch.)

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Justice as Therapy

Maybe what's needed for pædophile and pæderast priests is a trial:

Interview with the CDF’s “prosecutor” of priests who commit “graviora delicta”:

Q: What happens when a priest is accused of a "delictum gravius"?



A: If the accusation is well-founded the bishop has the obligation to investigate both the soundness and the subject of the accusation. If the outcome of this initial investigation is consistent, he no longer has any power to act in the matter and must refer the case to our Congregation where it is dealt with by the disciplinary office.


Read the whole thing.

(Via What Does The Prayer Really Say?.)

Therapy

is the magic mantra of our age. We have therapies for everything. But if something can't be treated with a therapy, is it a disease? Is it a human failing that needs to be fixed?


Homosexuality, for example, was removed from the APA's list of mental disorders in 1973. So now the controversy is, is it possible or desirable to "treat" homosexuality?


In light of this it's interesting to observe that pædophilia may be going down the same road. First, the idea that it involves a mental disorder is being challenged. And it is certainly resistant to therapy:

A number of proposed treatment techniques for pedophilia have been developed. Many regard pedophilia as highly resistant to psychological interference and have dismissed as ineffective most "reparative strategies."[38] Others, such as Dr. Fred Berlin, believe pedophilia can "indeed be successfully treated," if only the medical community would give it more attention.[23] The reported success rate of modern "reparative" treatment on pedophiles is very low.[38]


So are these attempts to "treat" pædophile priests doomed to failure? Are the elite trying to prepare us for a future Pædophile rights campaign? Curious, first we vilify the Church for sheltering them, then we decide there's nothing wrong with them after all.


And since eighty percent or more of the sexual abuse done in the Church is, in fact, Pæderasty there is little chance of interest in therapy for that condition.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Pope Bashing

is in high season now. I opened the paper while half-awake this morning to catch the lead "Pope helped house suspected pedophile" with a large colour picture of the current pope greeting the head of the German Bishops' Conference. The article is buried in Section B ('Canada & World'), page 8, with a header of "Religion".


There's a holy grail for pedophile-abuse lawyers--the incredible wealth of the Vatican. This is an idea that will not leave the popular imagination, facts be damned:

To put it bluntly, the Vatican is not rich. It has an annual operating budget of $260 million, which would not place it on any top 500 list of social institutions. To draw a comparison to the nonprofit sector, Harvard University has an annual operating budget of a little over $1.3 billion, which means it could run the equivalent of five Vaticans. This is to say nothing of the corporate world. Microsoft in 2002 spent $4.7 billion on research and development alone and has annual sales of $293 billion. On the scale of the world's mammoth enterprises, the Vatican doesn't rate.

John Allen


Greed will not believe anything less than billions, if not trillions, of dollars of wealth hidden somewhere by the opulent Vatican. And the Pope is the CEO and Chairman of the Board of this incredible treasure-trove. So, tagging a current pope to alleged misconduct directly then becomes the all-important tool to gain access to this booty.


I get the need for journalists to have no special friends who are above suspicion. And I understand that allegations like this need to be fully aired. Imagine my confusion when I read the article and come away with 'the current pope, then archbishop, arranged for housing for an accuse priest while he sought counselling and therapy'.


Where's the beef? Did the pope do something that was improper, illegal even? Did he fail to do something that he should have, morally or legally? No answers to these questions are to be found in this article. Did the Vancouver Sun edit the submission to eliminate these issues? Or did the author (Gina Doggett) think these wouldn't be germane to her story? She threw in enough hot-button issues in the article, with only a slender thread of relevance to the lead story. Why weren't the key questions asked and answered?


There is, alas, a possible explanation for these omissions. Read this for more.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Self-Discernment

In my brief stint in RCIA, one of the stumbling blocks was my perception that the candidates (Christians seeking full communion with the Church) and catechumens (the unbaptized seeking that sacrament and full entry into the Christian Life) were self-selecting themselves. Given that they started the nine-month process with that intention and endured to the point of being asked what they thought, the answer was almost universally "Yes, I'm ready". No chance of a misjudgement there, right?


Yet it must be admitted that a certain amount of self-awareness and conscious choice must be involved for each person in the process. So consider this quote in that context:


Couldn't Have Said it Better Myself:

"Conscience formation comes first. A person with a well formed conscience is equipped to engage in fruitful discernment. But when someone whose conscience is not well formed tries it, the result is likely to be self-serving and not God's will."


Read the whole thing.

(Via Intentional Disciples.)



Which then lead naturally into my other major issue: catechesis...

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Global Warming and Science

The following citation is an interesting breakdown of the issues surrounding global temperatures over the last sixty or so years. It identifies five different issues with the 2007 IPCC claim which attributes most of the rise of 0.7 ° C over that period to human GHG.


This article identifies five different issues with the Hadley ("Climategate") data which is the basis for the IPCC claim. These five issues break down into two different types: those which modify the original 0.7 ° C itself and those which attribute a different cause. Of those which suggest different causes, some are not anthropogenic, but one is (soot).


So let's correct the original number to 0.47 ° C by eliminating the sea surface temperature errors and the non-climatic signal change ("urbanization"). We then identify four possible causes contributing to this change. Two are anthropogenic and two are not. Those causes we are not responsible for are Stratospheric water vapour and the Sun. Stratospheric water vapour contributes about 0.06 ° C. The Sun's contribution is more problematic.


We don't actually know what, if anything, the sun contributes to our climate variations. The seasons themselves seems to indicate a large role--less sunlight equals colder temperatures. But what about longer-term changes in climate? The scientist cited comes up with different hypotheses that range from no contribution to 65% of the observed warming over the last sixty years. He then cited plumps for 33% for no reason cited. Yet the graph only drops 0.1 ° C. So something is being done with these successive graphs that I'm not understanding.


Of the two anthropogenic causes Black Carbon (soot) contributes 0.1 ° C or about twenty percent of the total. The remainder includes GHG and any other causes as yet unidentified. This apparently amounts to about 0.2 ° C or about 40% of the total. In other words, we seem to be contributing more than twenty percent to current warming, but possibly less than sixty percent. That still seems pretty serious to me, so I'm at a loss to explain the articles conclusion which reduces GHG's contribution to less than a third (which it may, in fact, be) by merging all the various issues indiscriminately.


Most of the Observed Warming since the Mid-20th Century Likely Not from Human GHG Emissions?:

A few weeks ago, over at the blog MasterResource.org, WCR’s Chip Knappenberger took a look at just how confident one should be regarding the amount of warming that anthropogenic greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions have caused since the mid-20th century.
The IPCC claims that it is “very likely” that “most” of the warming since then has been [...]


Read the whole thing.

(Via World Climate Report.)

Climategate

may be getting some uncomfortable exposure over the pond. I'm still agnostic. But the behaviour attributed to some of these scientists seems completely normal given Original Sin.

Opening Night Reviews in the UK Press:

Richard Drake sent in an interesting selection of opening night reviews for the Parliamentary Inquiry from UK parliamentary reporters, most of whom seem to be new to the climate wars and offering a relatively fresh perspective.


Read the whole thing.

(Via Climate Audit.)

Monday, March 01, 2010

Are We Being Manipulated

by the MSM when it comes to gender?

Down the Memory Hole

This Classical Values post, and the video below, raise some good points about the disparate treatment of men in post-modern Western culture.  Add to this disproportionate differences in homelessness and suicide, the disproportionately greater expenditures on women's medical issues, and you have a sense that if these factoids didn't favor women, they would be considered a


Read the whole thing.

(Via Lex Communis.)

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Realsim and the Resurrection

Oswald Sobrino has some interesting things to say on these subjects vis-a-vis an atheist friend of his:

Who Is the Realist?:

One of my favorite friends and conversation partners is the "village atheist" where I live. He is an eminently decent and pleasant man. One of his main concerns is not to live under the allegedly false illusion of religious belief.


Read the whole thing.

(Via Catholic Analysis.)

Saturday, February 27, 2010

An Exercise in Moral Reasoning

especially in light of Catholic Moral Teaching:

More on Thiessen’s Moral Muddles:

For those interested in a detailed discussion of the flaws in Marc Thiessen’s use of double effect to justify “enhanced interrogation techniques,” as well as a sober overall judgment about the moral status of our interrogation policies after 9/11, see Christopher Tollefsen’s analysis on The Public Discourse.



Read the whole thing.

(Via First Thoughts.)

Friday, February 26, 2010

You Decide

This is an opportunity to see an actual debate between ACC(GW) proponents and critics. How many university courses do I need to take to confidently reach my own conclusions?

Quick Response to Ben Santer’s Comments at RealClimate:

Ben Santer has an article over at RealClimate defending himself against some claims made recently by Fred Pearce in a series of articles Pearce did for the U.K.’s Guardian in recent weeks.
In particular, Santer discusses a 1996 paper that he (and colleagues) published in Nature magazine in which they reported to have identified a human [...]


Read the whole thing.

(Via World Climate Report.)

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Global Warming

remains a concern for me. Is it happening? How fast? Are we responsible for it? What, if anything, can we do about it? These are important questions that need to be answered.


But it's difficult to answer when information is being offered by experts that is questionable:

Update on Global Drought Patterns (IPCC Take Note):

We are sure you have heard that global warming is causing more frequent and intense droughts throughout the world. Right? The claim is easy to make – higher temperatures increase evaporation rates, soil moisture is depleted, and drought conditions result. Indeed the Technical Summary of the most recent IPCC assessment includes “More intense [...]


Read the whole thing.

(Via World Climate Report.)

Let's Engage in a Thought Experiment

What if the unborn were as important as rain forests?

The Satanic Inversion of Values Gets Pwned:



H/T: Brutally Honest


Read the whole thing.

(Via Catholic and Enjoying It!.)

Archaeology

is an enduring interest for me:

New Discovery in Jerusalem:

The AP is reporting some big news about important new find in Jerusalem: JERUSALEM - An Israeli archaeologist said Monday that ancient fortifications recently excavated in Jerusalem date back 3,000 years to the time of King Solomon and support the biblical narrative about the era. If the age of the wall is correct...


Read the whole thing.

(Via New Advent World Watch.)

Monday, February 22, 2010

Catechesis and Discernment in a Year-Round RCIA Process

These were important themes for me by the end of my brief (three-year) stint on the Team. We were still a September-to-May type of process. This is an interesting take on these issues:

Integrating a Systematic Catechesis with a Year-Round R.C.I.A. Process:

This presentation was given by Dino Durando and Stacy Phillips from St. Joseph Catholic Church in Modesto, CA at the Diocese of Sacramento’s Catechist Ministry Day on September 26, 2009 in Sacramento, California.



Read the whole thing.

(Via The Blog That's All About R.C.I.A..)

Saturday, February 20, 2010

What is the New Media?

I can see how blogging plays an important new role in trying to keep the MSM somewhat honest. (Hello, New York Times. Welcome to the Climategate controversy.) What other medium is part of that process? Or are we using the plural (-ia) as a singular? Maybe medium has confusing and irrelevant connotations in English. Let me check my crystal ball...

"Kate Zernike...are you in the room?":

Here is Part 1 of Andrew Brietbart 's speech upon receiving an Accuracy in Media award for his work as 'whistleblower' against mainstream media bias. At 6:05 find his comments about Zernike's venom spitting attack , posing as a NYT 'journalist'. You don't have to be conservative to be scandalized by obvious lying and proselytizing by bankrupt journalists, but it helps if you're not a liberal...


Read the whole thing.

(Via island breezes.)

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Torture and Definitions

John DaFiesole asks some pertinent questions for those who are still on the sidelines about torture:

:

Some questions for those whose need for a definition of torture has not yet been met

  1. What are you going to do with your definition once you get it?

    I ask this because lexicographers, moral theologians, legislatures, courts, governments, and international bodies all have definitions that meet their needs.


    Read the whole thing.

(Via Disputations.)

Friday, January 22, 2010

Humour-Challenged

is what I sometimes think people are about some subjects. Read the disclaimer at the bottom of this to get the context:

37th Anniversary of legalized baby killing ...:

... and Robert George says he's "moderately pro-choice"!!:

I am personally opposed to killing abortionists. However, inasmuch as my personal opposition to this practice is rooted in sectarian (Catholic) religious belief in the sanctity of human life, I am unwilling to impose it on others who may, as a matter of conscience, take a different view. Of course, I am entirely in favor of policies aimed at removing the root causes of violence against abortionists. Indeed, I would go as far as supporting mandatory one-week waiting periods, and even non-judgmental counseling, for people who are contemplating the choice of killing an abortionist. I believe in policies that reduce the urgent need some people feel to kill abortionists while, at the same time, respecting the rights of conscience of my fellow citizens who believe that the killing of abortionists is sometimes a tragic necessity--not a good, but a lesser evil. In short, I am moderately "pro-choice."


Read the whole thing.

(Via Musings of a Pertinacious Papist.)

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Abortion and Economics

The other night a friend mentioned the Freakonomics hypothesis that Roe v. Wade had led to a decrease in the crime rate. The idea is that crime comes from the poor and abortions tend to reduce the number of the poor, ergo a decrease in the crime rate.


I couldn't remember the details on that one, but I did suggest a counter example: the decrease in the population from abortions may be having a devastating impact on our economy. Lo and behold:


Researcher: Abortion is $38.5 Trillion Drag on the Economy:

In its latest estimate on the economic impact of abortion, the Movement for a Better America is reporting that the abortion toll is projected to climb to a new high of 52,333,000 as of January 22, 2010, the 37th anniversary of Roe V. Wade.


Read the whole thing.

(Via Catholic Exchange.)

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Can Anyone Remember the Shoe-Bomber?

Because if you can this looks scary stupid:

Kristol: Dennis Blair vs. the Intelligence Community:



We can and we must outthink, outwork and defeat the enemy's new ideas.



Read the whole thing.

(Via Campaign Standard.)

Framing the Question

sometimes determines the answer you get. In the abortion debate (to the extent there is one) the philosophical analysis frequently ignores the obvious biological relationship the two parties have: mother and child:

The Right Way to Think About Unborn Children:

I give you a wonderful quote from Francis Canavan's excellent book The Pluralist Game:

If
we take the principles of liberal individualism as axiomatic, we find it
possible to think of the fetus and the woman as the parties of the first and
second part arguing over their respective rights.  We are then able to blind ourselves to the
natural fact that they are related as mother and child and that the child is in
the only natural place for him to be, his mother's womb
(italics added).




(Via Touchstone Magazine - Mere Comments.)

Really Scary People

are marching boldly into moral chaos:

Denying Intrinsic Human Dignity in Bioethics:

An article in the journal Bioethics proposes dumping intrinsic human dignity as a basis for determining bioethical principles and policies.  But that would expose the most defenseless among us to the worst forms of exploitation, which the author, Alasdair Cochrane, acknowledges. From his article “Undignified Bioethics” (link to abstract):


…if all individual human beings possess dignity, then they should not be viewed simply as resources that we can treat however we please.


Read the whole thing.

(Via First Thoughts.)

Mark Shea

saves me the trouble of writing and thinking (hopefully not in that order) about the Christmas bomber and reactions to him:

A rather sensible and sober take:

on the security issues raised by the Christmas bombing attempt.

Me: I don't think we are serious--and I say that about both a) the fools who think we should subject blue-haired old Lutheran ladies to the exact same scrutinies as single male Nigerian Muslims with a documented history of crazy Islamic opinions and b) the idiots who think that Dick Cheney's policies of torture and terror are Manly Realism.


Read the whole thing.

(Via Catholic and Enjoying It!.)

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

ID and Enthymemes

What is an Enthymeme? It's an argument that fails to state all it's premises and which is defeasible because of that. (Gee, I miss college-level philosophy.) All of which is an excuse to point out this well-reasoned post:

A Walk to the Moon:

As Jim Croce once sang, “You don’t tug on Superman’s cape, You don’t spit into the wind, You don’t pull the mask off the old Lone Ranger, and you don’t match wits with David B. Hart.” (At least I think those are the lyrics, its been awhile since I heard the song.) Hart’s commanding intellect and depth of knowledge are so daunting that only the foolish would rush to disagree with him. While I’m naturally reticent to disagree with anything he writes, he made a claim about intelligent design theory (ID in his review of Richard Dawkin’s latest book that I believe is worth challenging.



Read the whole thing.

(Via First Thoughts.)