Tag Archives: psychology

Aquinas and Superstition: Thomist Philosopher Edward Feser Is An Aquinastitionist. What Is That?

Aquinastition. When you mix Aquinas with superstition you get Aquinastition. So an Aquinastitionist is an intellectual Thomist who makes apologies for religious superstition. Thomist philosopher Edward Feser is an example, as displayed in his recent essay, “Religion and Superstition,” in The Routledge … Continue reading

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Three Things I Think Are True

At this point in my life, I think there are three things that are true–the first one being rather obvious: I am a limited being, embedded in the system I’m trying to explain. This means I cannot be wholly confident that … Continue reading

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The Terrible Toos (Too Fat, Too Poor, Too Old…)

Too this, too that. Theatrical, but moving. Might bring tears. __________ Watching Jade Beall’s TED talk on body hatred recalled for me the general problem of human suffering described by John Koller in Asian Philosophies (2007, p. 9, fifth edition): … Continue reading

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How Global Warming Denialists Are Likely to “Reason” about Berkeley Physicist Richard Muller’s Findings

I suppose Berkeley physicist Richard Muller is a fool for putting together a team that included a Nobel Prize winning scientist, revisiting all the data on climate change to date, and coming to the same conclusion as the current scientific … Continue reading

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The Evolution of Kindness and Sympathy

A really good evolution education video via the University of California at Berkeley. We’ve evolved to be more like bonobos than sharks, and it’s one reason why I’m not worried that the decline of religion will lead to deteriorating moral … Continue reading

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Seven Reasons I’m an Antitheist

I’m an antitheist. I don’t think, on balance, that religion functions as a force for good in the 21st century. Seven reasons: Religion perpetuates women’s inequality. One element of religion that is quite bad, and that makes me an antitheist, … Continue reading

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Camus in a Nutshell: God is Not Good, Nature is Not Good, and We are More Moral Than God or Nature

God didn’t prevent the Holocaust, but we would have. And God didn’t prevent the 2004 Christmas tsunami that killed over 100,000 people, but we would have. And Nature doesn’t care if death is the engine of evolution, but we do. … Continue reading

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Human Nature vs. Human Institutions: Camille Paglia on Sex and Rape on Campus

Since abandoning her monthly Salon gig a few years back, Camille Paglia hasn’t had much of an Internet presence, but when, beyond her book writing, she does surface, she writes thought provoking things. Here’s a bit of what Paglia recently … 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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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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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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Your Genes Made You Do (Half) Of It

Relax a bit. Much less than we probably imagine is really under our control. Note this quote, for instance, from two psychologists recently summarizing at Slate some findings on genes vs. environment: “Genes influence not only our abilities, but the environments we … Continue reading

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What I Believe

I’m an agnostic. No superstitions. No spooks. I think there’s one world. No evidence for minds apart from brains. The form of theism that seems vaguely plausible to me is simple deism. I think it’s logically possible that there is … Continue reading

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Un-Fricken-Believable

Seriously. __________ Okay, I have to comment. First, before you can even get this sort of logic going, Adam and Eve would need to have actually existed in a garden in Mesopotamia 10,000 years ago. They never did. Second, you’ve … Continue reading

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Between Gods And Animals, The Sweet Spot

From the vantage of the Greco-Roman pagans, because we’re neither gods nor exclusively animals, human beings are in a very, very sweet spot. Arguably the best spot. Think about it. The gods can make choices; they can fight and have … Continue reading

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From the Neuron to the Coffee House to the Internet: Steven Johnson’s TED Talk on How Ideas Have Sex

Great, great TED talk. From the neuronal network in your skull to the coffee house to the Internet, the idea world is rhizomatic.

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Absent Good Reasons and Evidence, Trust No One

I don’t like this t-shirt. It cheer-leads obfuscation, mystification, authority. A better statement would be, “I’m a professor. If I make a claim, doubt it and ask for the reasons and evidence I have in support of the claim. I … Continue reading

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Technology Bad for Thomists?

Should Thomists shun technology? At his blog, Thomist philosopher Edward Feser wrestles with the question of whether technology–playing with Promethean fire–is a good thing, and I think it’s telling that, by the end of his essay, his question shifts away from the … Continue reading

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