Saturday, January 10, 2009
If it ain't random, it ain't Darwin
My comment (which echoes Jim's)
Matt left out a critical word -- "random" in "nudging forward descent with modification." I don't and I don't know of any engineer I know who works with random modification -- rather is it is intelligently directly modification.
Labels: intelligent design
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 7:04 PM Permalink
First Things: Born Toward Dying By Richard John Neuhaus (February 2000)
We are born to die. Not that death is the purpose of our being born, but we are born toward death, and in each of our lives the work of dying is already underway. The work of dying well is, in largest part, the work of living well. Most of us are at ease in discussing what makes for a good life, but we typically become tongue-tied and nervous when the discussion turns to a good death. As children of a culture radically, even religiously, devoted to youth and health, many find it incomprehensible, indeed offensive, that the word “good” should in any way be associated with death. Death, it is thought, is an unmitigated evil, the very antithesis of all that is good....You may have seen this linked elsewhere. I am happy to share it with you again.
Labels: guest theologian
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 6:52 PM Permalink
Friday, January 09, 2009
A Catholic Bernie Madoff? Not quite
U.S. prosecutors and market regulators accused a Buffalo, New York-area investment adviser of operating a Ponzi scheme that targeted Catholics, including priests.
I wish that priests, religious orders, etc. all sought the advice of independent and skeptical financial advisers and invest in insured institutions rather than hedge funds or unregistered fund managers. Mathematically, Madoff's fraud was about 3,000 times greater.
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 11:03 PM Permalink
Fr. Richard John Neuhaus has passed away.
Facebook: Father Richard J. Neuhaus, RIP's Wall (my post there)
Remember this priest when you recall the great priests you have known. I met him only once in person and thanked him for his work in First Things but I have read the Naked Public Square, Death on a Friday Afternoon, and Catholic Matters, and tried to see each of his appearances on EWTN. He was holy, smart, funny, and inspiration to all of us who want to proclaim that Jesus is Lord to a world growing ever more hostile to that good news.
Please read some of the other tributes there and at the official memorial site.
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 9:51 PM Permalink
Is this a Catholic prayer?
Dear friends, let us remind ourselves in this special place, on this special day, that we are in the presence of God.I had 500 chars in make a comment on the over at Catholic Culture
(1) "...the merciful, the compassionate" is frankly, a typical Muslim invocation of the name of the One-God-who-is-not-the-Holy-Trinity.
(2) The jump from the Constitution which doesn't mention the role Congress in remembering the hungry and the homeless is breathtaking. Charitable giving in Catholic experience has always been a matter of private choice and not the government's mandate.
(3) "Lord..make us proud" better spoken as "Lord...make us humble -- and always be in awe of You"
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 9:38 PM Permalink
Wednesday, January 07, 2009
Three atheists and an agnostic bus: Ariane Sherine, Richard Dawkins and Polly Toynbee. (Photo: Leon Neal/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images)
We have 2,000 years of experience with our version of the "Good News"
This campaign is as lame as those of Julian the Apostate and the French revolutionaries such as Robespierre. At least they were trying to create a virtuous society. When the Marquis de Sade and Nietzsche arrived they were both anti-God and anti-morality as well (at least as Christians understood conscience and the moral obligations among all people). The ideological descendants of the latter two have launched their very own propaganda fide.
...And then she thought, how about putting some atheist messages on the bus, as a corrective to the religious ones?
I believe in the free expression of religion, so let them even say "There is no God." and let there be a good exchange of views about the meaning of life and all those transcendent questions and see which version of the "Good News" is going to win the hearts and minds of the world.
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 9:50 PM Permalink
Fox News New York:An unholy theft happened in Brooklyn.
Officials of the Diocese of Brooklyn said someone stole the Social Security number and birth date of its bishop and used the information to apply for credit cards.
I am entirely in sympathy with the bishop. My name is rather common, and along the way linked in some databases to some deadbeats, so I get someone else's collection notices often.
It will be interesting to see how much schadenfreude it engenders on the net.
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 9:12 PM Permalink
Tuesday, January 06, 2009
A false dichotomy
As I get up to speed with the other Catholic bloggers in 2009, I will mention a few blogs I have read and some comments I have posted.
Unam Sanctam presented what I thought was a false dichotomy.
It is common enough to lay out here and I also have some space to explain where I am in the middle of this.
On one hand, there's Catholic Monarchism -- from Constantine to Blessed Charles I, Emperor of Austria. This is the ideal government is one that it Catholic from the top down and able to establish the Catholic Church as a state religion, and to encumber or even suppress the spread and practice of non-Catholic religions. When it comes to papal observations I take the insights of Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict VI over that of Pope Pius IV who, in office from 1559 to 1565, would know nothing but monarchy. Excessive zeal -- seeking a short cut to establishing the Kingdom on earth as it is in heaven -- is its driving force.
On the other hand, there is spiritual sloth -- Indifferentism, Syncretism, false Ecumenism -- it has many names. I don't think it's important to make a major argument against this now, just identify it.
There's a big middle in the middle of the two. When I am, I am a big believer in the principle of subsidiarity and accountability. Small, visible local charities -- where people can give up all three: time, talent, and treasure. Uncoupling it all -- creates two evils: powerful politicians who control the flow of other people's money and a class of people becoming dependent on the government.
I am likely the first (and perhaps only) blogger to declare admiration for both Dorothy Day and for Cardinal Spellman. In many ways, the inability for these two to work out some accommodation is the legacy we have contend with today.
The sloth aspect of it comes in when you believe that you need to eliminate war, poverty, economic instability, and deadly disease before you can share the gospel. Those four, you might recognize as the Four Horsemen of Rev 6. The right sort of balance between the corporal works and spiritual works of mercy is "DOMINUS JESUS" written by Pope Benedict when he was prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 7:43 PM Permalink
Monday, January 05, 2009
Catholic League: Gays Vandalize San Francisco Church
So this is the new tolerance.
The Catholic League thinks a share of the blame for this outrage goes to San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom and the San Francisco Board of Supervisors for ignoring the routine insults the Catholic Church has in the public life of San Francisco.
When vandalism like this happens, there's a tendency to hush it up, lest others get ideas of their own and Churches get targeted more frequently.
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 11:01 PM Permalink
Best article I have read on the Gaza War so far
To start with, Hamas does not have to win this war. It can lose and still win. As long as no other political group can replace it in power, even as some of its diehards can continue to lob missiles, however ineffectually, into Israel, it achieves a moral victory of sorts. Moreover, if Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah movement tries to replace Hamas in power, Fatah will forever be tagged with the label of Israeli stooge, and in the eyes of Palestinians will have little moral legitimacy. Israel’s dilemma is that it is not fighting a state but an ideology, the postmodern glue that holds together Greater Iran.It's a power vacuum that something other than Hamas has to fill when its over.
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 9:36 PM Permalink
Sunday, January 04, 2009
Update: Caroline Kennedy -- adding 2 items:
Princess avoided the routine financial disclosure required by NYC employees. Even the people who worked under her filed the disclosure but she got a pass. And the excuse undermines her so-called qualifications -- she had no influence on policy and priorities at the city Department of Education.
A personal observation from me -- who waits until they are 51 to decide, getting appointed to the Senate is what I really have wanted to do all my life, and, I haven't prepared a resume that would get me elected to the New York City Council?
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 10:17 PM Permalink
Today's extreme search is "Catholic urine"
As you might expect the usual suspects are going into their silly happy dance over a report appearing in L'Osservatore Romano that found a connection between the urine of female consumers of oral contraceptives.
One source gave it the absurd headline: Fairfax Digital (Australia): Pill link to infertile men: Pope
The pill "has for some years had devastating effects on the environment by releasing tonnes of hormones into nature" through female urine, said Pedro Jose Maria Simon Castellvi, president of the International Federation of Catholic Medical Associations, in the report.A more local account is from Fox which quotes AFP which quotes L'Osservatore Romano which doesn't have online text.
The contraceptive pill is polluting the environment and is in part responsible for male infertility, a report in the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano said Saturday.I don't think they are referring to a direct ingestion on the urine but to the urine going through the sewers and then somehow remaining biologically active in the next loop through the food chain.
I don't think that that's a significant source. The real mother lode of estrogen is in additives they give to animals to fatten them or accelerate growth. I think the greens generally own that issue.
The bigger problem is not impotence or instability but a whole set of cultural signals and economic disincentives given to women not to marry and to raise children.
It's not an exclusively Catholic concern but natural law issue that a family is not only the incubator for children but for the whole continuity of the society from which the mother and father originate, hope for the future, and economic security for the people living beyond the years where they can work.
The future, as always, belongs to families.
Consider Italy, it ranks 204 out of 220 countries (and other regions) with 1.3 children born to each woman of child-bearing age. In other words, today there is 1 grandchild for every 3 grandparents -- in two generations, there will be only 1 Italian for every 4 Italians now of child-bearing age. Self-genocide.
Clearly, the science behind oral contraceptives causing male fertility is not rock solid but rather wild speculation. I think it was imprudent for LOR to print it -- if only to stop the anti-Catholics from again using the Vatican a pinata as examiner.com does here:
Those Roman Catholics are at it again. It seems they will stop at nothing to stop the production and use of contraceptives.
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 9:27 PM Permalink