Monthly Archives: November 2014

What’s God’s Sufficient Reason for the Evil in the World? And If You Can’t Think of Any, Should You Still Believe in God?

The principle of sufficient reason (PSR). God must have a sufficient reason for withdrawing and withholding his protection from the descendants of Adam for so tortuously long; for allowing them to encounter the full force of a psychopath’s or nature’s … Continue reading

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Foxy Sex vs. Hedgehog Sex: Free Will, Edward Feser, and Evolution

Thomist philosopher Edward Feser has a curious way of defining free will and what it’s for, writing in a recent blog post the following: “[O]n the conception of free will as ‘freedom for excellence,’ which is endorsed by Aquinas, the … Continue reading

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Arguing about Gay Marriage with Thomists: Love vs. Reproduction

The premises underlying Thomistic arguments against gay marriage are four: sex’s goal should be directed ultimately to reproduction; marriage is for the rearing of children and the union of man and woman; marriage is naturally a social institution for promoting … Continue reading

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What’s a Penis, and What’s It for? Thomas Aquinas vs. Ludwig Wittgenstein

What’s better: to see a thing as having both essential and accidental features, and placing it in a genus-species hierarchy (Thomas Aquinas’ view), or to drop hierarchy and essentialism in definition altogether, and just see a thing as sharing “family … Continue reading

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Potency, Act, and the Withdrawal of Grace: Thomas Aquinas on Original Sin

Here’s Thomas Aquinas in Summa Contra Gentiles, Book IV, ch. 52: “[We Christians] affirm that man was, from the beginning, so fashioned that as long as his reason was subject to God, not only would his lower powers serve him without … Continue reading

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The Aztec Sun God and Jesus the Son of God Bled for You. Feel Guilty? Ready to Sacrifice Your Life to Them? Then the Stories Worked!

The Aztec worship of their sun god was rather barbaric because humans were sacrificed to the god. The rationale for this sacrifice had to do with Aztec myth, which held that the sun god sacrificed his very own blood to … Continue reading

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David Berlinski defends God’s role in the Holocaust: “God did not protect his chosen people…[but] did…smite their enemies, with generations to come in mourning or obsessed by shame.”

Here’s David Berlinski defending God’s role in the Holocaust (from page 31 of his book, The Devil’s Delusion): “[T]he thousand year Reich…lies buried in the rubble of German cities smashed to smithereens,…[I]f God did not protect his chosen people precisely … Continue reading

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Charles Darwin vs. Thomas Aquinas: What Follows from Our Nature?

At his blog recently, Thomist philosopher Edward Feser wrote the following: “For Aquinas, what is good for us is necessarily good for us because it follows from our nature. As such, even God couldn’t change it, any more than he … Continue reading

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If God is Rational, Whence the Holocaust and Competing Goods (Such as the Pursuit of Beauty over Ethics)?

Thomist philosopher Edward Feser prefers intellectualism (reason leading the will) to voluntarism (the will leading reason). He thinks that neither desire nor imagination should lead our wills, and claims that God, as the supremely rational being, ought to be our example: … Continue reading

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Whatever Works: Pierce’s Abduction, Darwin’s Evolution, Entropy, Bayes’ Rule, and Rorty’s Pragmatism

I’ve recently been struck by the similarity between Charles Sanders Pierce’s notion of abduction (reasoning to the best hypothesis; “may the best hypothesis win”), Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution (survival of the fittest; “may the best organism win”), entropy (what … Continue reading

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What Does It Mean To Be An Agnostic?

I’m an agnostic, which for me means the following: I take it that there is only one way the cosmos actually is, and I don’t know what that one way is. There are a gazillion logically possible ways it could … Continue reading

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Thomas Aquinas on Exterminating Heretics

In the Summa, Thomas Aquinas says that you can reason with someone who holds a different doctrine from yours so long as that person is open and searching. On the other hand, if the person persists in his view, and does … Continue reading

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The Principle of Sufficient Reason and the Holocaust

Here’s the problem concerning the principle of sufficient reason. If one posits that God has a good and sufficient reason for having allowed the Holocaust, the follow-up question obviously becomes, “Well, what is it?” Any particular answer proves woefully inadequate, ludicrous … Continue reading

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Who Is William Blake, Really?

William Blake is a poet, not a metaphysician. When someone writes with aphorism, irony, and wild and flamboyant system building (as Blake and Nietzsche did), they are mocking essentialism; they’re showing that language is infinite; that there are a gazillion … Continue reading

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What are Sex Organs “For”? Thomism vs. Evolution

We know that evolution high-jacks organs all the time to different purposes depending on context. The first tongue may have had the singular purpose of tasting, then it got used by the cat for cleaning the pelt, then by humans … Continue reading

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What Love Is (A Definition)

What is love? I’d basically put it among the very broad family of “the better angels of our nature,” and in the genus of “seeking connection, harmony, and cooperation in a non-zero sum way.” As to the species of this … Continue reading

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Thomistic Essentialism and Sex in the Real World

Virtually every healthy human adult on the planet has a sex life of some sort, and the effect of Thomistic sexual ideology (use sex organs for procreation only), were it to be seriously followed everywhere, would be the generation of … Continue reading

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Sex, Thomistic Essentialism, and the Demographic Maintenance of the Catholic Church

With regard to sex, Thomism is a question-begging exercise that puts a veneer of essentialist metaphysics over the question, “Why is God upset if humans don’t make use of their sex organs in accord with their primary and essential function?” … Continue reading

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