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Patrick Sweeney 19711971
Patrick Sweeney 20032003
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Saturday, February 05, 2005
Official science welcomes skepticism except where it needs it the most

But Is It Science? The war over intelligent design : John Derbyshire, National Review (paid subscription required)

The famous “monkey trial” in Dayton, Tenn., happened 80 years ago this summer. John Scopes, a young schoolteacher, was found guilty of violating a state statute forbidding the teaching of evolution theory. Well, well, the wheel turns, and the other day I found myself looking at a newspaper headline that read: “Pa. School Board at the Center of Evolution Debate.” The story concerned the town of Dover, Pa., which was sued by the ACLU in federal court at the end of last year over its incorporation of “intelligent design” (I.D.) arguments in the public-school biology curriculum.

It is odd to be reminded that I.D. is still around. I had written it off as a 1990s fad infecting religious and metaphysical circles, not really touching on science at all, since it framed no hypotheses that could be tested experimentally. The greater part of I.D. is just negative, a critique of the standard model of evolution by natural selection, in which random mutations that add to an organismís chances of survival and reproduction lead to divergences of form and function and eventually to new species. This theory, said I.D. proponents such as Phillip E. Johnson (Darwin on Trial, 1991), Michael J. Behe (Darwinís Black Box, 1996), and William A. Dembski (The Design Inference, 1998), is full of conundrums and unexplained gaps ó the mechanisms of mutation, for instance, are poorly understood.

Biologists are not much impressed with this critique, since conundrums and gaps are normal features of scientific theories. Atomic theory was in considerably worse shape in this regard when Einstein published his three great papers. A few decades of research clarified matters to the point where the theory's practical applicability and predictive value could revolutionize human existence. Nor are scientists much impressed by the facts of Behe's being a biochemist and Dembski's having done postgraduate work in math and physics. (Johnson is a lawyer.) This just recalls Newtonís fascination with alchemy and Keplerís work on the Music of the Spheres. Scientists have all sorts of quirky off-duty obsessions.

I wrote to John Derbyshire at National Review last month when he was discussing Intellegent Design in The Corner
You wrote: “ID theory posits that certain features of the natural world CAN ONLY be explained by the active intervention of a designing intelligence”

That's overstating the ID claim which is certain features of the natural world CAN NOT be explained by the neo-Darwinism theories that are on the table now.

I think you've rigged the system by saying there's darkness and light. I would say that there's darkness illuminated by several colors of light. The neo-Darwinistís claim is when this area eventually is illuminated, it certainly will be illuminated by their own spectrum of random mutation/natural selection light, and not anyone elseís light.

I think some ID'ers are leaping to conclusions, but the ND'ists have been leaping longer and harder. They are the bullies of the schoolyard. They are weakest when they appeal to the ND'ists yet-to-be-born that they will be able to speak to the accumulation of evidence that current theories of macro-evolution cannot explain the apparent design of living things. No other “science” gets away with this appeal to future discoveries, but in the meanwhile take it all on “faith”.

While at the graduate school level, thereís some frank admissions that the theories lack power to explain some of the physical evidence Ė at the high school level, they are burning books, magazines, classroom handouts, and teachers who dare share this skepticism.

ND'ist refers to Neo-Darwinists. John didn't quote my letter - he quoted some intemperent and emotional ones that were ad hominems against him. A lot of this ND/ID dialog is ND'is dismissal and condescenion. I've come to think that they can't help themselves from seeing ID as a flat earth construction.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 10:31 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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If you're not confused, it's because you've not been paying attention.

Judge OKs discarded embryo lawsuit : AP

... In an opinion issued Friday, Cook County Judge Jeffrey Lawrence said "a pre-embryo is a 'human being' ... whether or not it is implanted in its mother's womb."
This idea that a pre-embryo is a human being (if upheld)- contradicts the idea that the embyro is has no rights and is subject to being murdered by “choice” of the mother.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 10:13 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Friday, February 04, 2005
Snow not shoveled in front of Church. Violent consequences result.

Stabs homeless man with sword cane: cops : New York Daily News

An impatient 75-year-old East Village man stabbed a homeless man in the throat yesterday after twisting apart a walking cane to reveal a long sword, cops and witnesses said.

Eugene Carlson allegedly attacked George Devol with the 22-inch blade after the homeless man blocked a narrow path along the snow-covered, trash-strewn sidewalk on E. Ninth St. and refused to budge.

As several horrified churchgoers looked on, Carlson hacked into Devol's neck with his stealth weapon and nearly severed the victim's jugular vein outside Trinity Lower East Side Lutheran Church, police said.

"The old man was going to go after him again," said a witness, a homeless man who didn't want his name used. "I had to get involved."

The good Samaritan said he snatched the wooden cane and held Carlson until cops arrived about 1:40p.m.

"The old man was all confused," said the witness. "He was in a daze. He didn't know what he had done. You could tell."

Devol, 30, who had just left the church, between Avenues B and C, was in good spirits about getting a job at Con Edison before he was attacked, friends said.

He was rushed to Bellevue Hospital and was in critical but stable condition last night.

Carlson, who lives up the block near Avenue C, was charged with first-degree assault and criminal possession of a weapon, authorities said.

His neighbors were stunned by the charges against him. "It's hard for me to wrap my mind around it," said Mal Stein, 44. "He's an elderly man, relatively fragile," Stein added. "He's not in good health."

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 11:47 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Back to the FMA

Judge's Ruling Opens Window for Gay Marriage in New York : New York Times

New York State judge in Manhattan ruled yesterday that a state law that effectively denied gay couples the right to marry violated the state Constitution, a decision that raised the possibility that the city would begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples as soon as next month.

The ruling, by Justice Doris Ling-Cohan, was the first on the state level to side with proponents of gay marriage. In her 62-page decision, she wrote that the state's Domestic Relations Law, which dates to 1909 and limits marriage to unions between opposite-sex couples, deprived gay couples of equal protection and due process rights under the state Constitution.

Judicial tyranny comes to New York. They are unaccountable and become a permanent government.

I can't improve on the comment of Bill Donohue of the Catholic League:

What Judge Ling-Cohan did today will help enormously in the effort to secure a constitutional amendment limiting marriage to one man and one woman. The public is overwhelmingly against the bizarre idea of two men marrying: initiatives to legalize gay marriage lost in all 11 states that had this measure on the ballot in November. But what the public is reluctant to do is support a constitutional amendment as the right remedy. Their reluctance wanes, however, when they read about judges like Ling-Cohan. And that is why her decision will boomerang.

Some are already declaring Judge Ling-Cohanís decision “historic.” It most certainly is. Not one New York State judge in history who has read the New York State Constitution has ever been able to find a passage in it that okays gay marriage. Until today. This would seem to suggest that either all the judges who preceded Ling-Cohan on the bench, as well as her colleagues today, are hopelessly incompetent, or she is another out-of-control judge who is reading into the law what her politics dictate.

One thing is for sure: Her contribution to judicial imperialism will be duly noted by future historians.

Update:PDF of decision

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 11:16 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Resignation. Abdication.

Many MSM accounts have appeared claiming to have sources in the Church's hierarchy and in the Vatican that:

  • The Pope should resign because he can no longer effectively lead the Church. This Associated Press story is typical:
    Pope John Paul II's deteriorating health has churchmen wondering what might happen if he can no longer carry out his papal duties and doctors questioning when that might happen.
  • The conclave will vote(?) or extract a promise from the next pope to retire at age 80. As United Press International wrote
    Roman Catholic cardinals have been discussing a mandatory retirement age of 80 for future popes, The Times of London reported Wednesday.

One virture of the current system is that we never know when we need an election for the Pope, God calls the Pope home, and the cardinals are called to Rome.

In a mandatory retirement risky scheme, as a Pope nears 80, there would be politicing to see who would be elected. This happens all the time, but it's not a distraction to most of the cardinals.

I think the London Times report got rolled. There's no way a "senior Vatican official" could know the minds of over 60 cardinals scattered all over the world. Whatever feelings they have on this would only be revealed in the conclave, if at all.

On the question of abdication, I'm sure that the Pope has been aware of his personal mortality and has made sure that he's picked people he can trust to reflect his mind on many issues. I thank God this is not 2002 and we are dealing with the initial explosion of the sexual abuse scandal and global terrorism.

My guess is that if there were a crisis requiring immediate decisive action by the Pope, Pope John Paul II would feel the need to resign. Short of that, I think he's showing extreme spiritual strength in his weakened body by continuing in the role given to him by the Holy Spirit.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 9:04 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Thursday, February 03, 2005
Roger Bacon

This is someone that I want to meet in heaven one day. He was a bit too far ahead of this time. Unofficially known as Doctor Mirabilis, he is not named as a Doctor of the Church. He started the great movement forward of knowledge some directly from Greek and Roman sources, and much via Arab sources. The 13th century in when Europe starts to get interesting but still some centuries away from reaching the level of civilization which the Romans had.

(The Franciscan doctors of the Church are St. Anthony of Padua, St. Bonaventure, and St. Lawrence of Brindisi.)

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 11:41 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Saint Valentine, February 14

There isn't a single Saint Valentine. Three martyrs have their feast celebreated on this day. Saints Preserve Us reports that eight complete bodies and one head are given the veneration of Saint Valentine in the Roman Church.

The association of Saint Valentine with lovers is as a Christian replacement for the pagan Lupercalia and a medieval belief that birds chose their mates on this day.

In 496 A.D., Pope Gelasius named February 14 in honor of St. Valentine as the patron saint of lovers. In 1969, Pope Paul VI dropped it from the calendar of the Church. However, florists, card shops, lingerie stores, etc. love to celebrate this day.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 11:13 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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st-blaise St. Blaise

Throats are blessed on his feast day.

He is described as "Bishop and Martyr. Date unknown."

Blessing of Candles

V: Our help is in the name of the Lord.
R: Who made heaven and earth.
V: The Lord be with you.
R: May He also be with you.
Let us pray.
God, almighty and all-mild, by your Word alone you created the manifold things in the world, and willed that that same Word by whom all things were made take flesh in order to redeem mankind; you are great and immeasurable, awesome and praiseworthy, a worker of marvels.

Hence in professing his faith in you the glorious martyr and bishop, Blaise, did not fear any manner of torment but gladly accepted the palm of martyrdom. In virtue of which you bestowed on him, among other gifts, the power to heal all ailments of the throat.

And now we implore your majesty that, overlooking our guilt and considering only his merits and intercession, it may please you to bless + and sanctify + and impart your grace to these candles.

Let all men of faith whose necks are touched with them be healed of every malady of the throat, and being restored in health and good spirits let them return thanks to you in your holy Church, and praise your glorious name which is blessed forever; through Christ our Lord.

R: Amen.

They are sprinkled with holy water.


This is one of the most popular blessings. St. Blaise was bishop of Sebaste in Cappadocia, and was martyred by beheading about A.D. 316. Not much more can be affirmed of him with any degree of historical accuracy, but legends about him are numerous.

One day--so goes the legend--Blaise met a poor woman whose only pig had been snatched up in the fangs of a wolf but at the command of the bishop the wolf restored the pig alive to its owner. The woman did not forget the favor, for later, when the bishop was languishing in prison, she brought him tapers to dispel the darkness and gloom. To this story may be attributed the practice of using lighted candles in bestowing the blessing of St. Blaise.

While in prison he performed a wonderful cure on a boy who had a fishbone lodged in his throat and who was in danger of choking to death. From this account we have the longtime custom of invoking the Saint for all kinds of throat trouble.

After blessing the candles on the feast of St. Blaise, the priest holds two candles fastened like a cross to the throat of the person kneeling before him, and says:


By the intercession of St. Blaise, bishop and martyr, may God deliver you from every malady of the throat, and from every possible mishap; in the name of the Father, and of the Son, + and of the Holy Spirit.

R. Amen.

Blogger Credit: Roman Rite

His symbol is also the lamb's wool comb. He was tortured with this before being beheaded. The term used for removing the wool from a lamb with a sharpened steel comb is carding.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 9:43 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Wednesday, February 02, 2005
former Catholic Evidence Guild member on EWTN this week

Nick Alexander - The Catholic Weird Al is own EWTN this week. He will be on Life on the Rock

Listen to sound clips!

(A few years ago The Catholic Evidence Guild was featured on the news program The World Over.)

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 9:51 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Pray for the Pope

Please take a moment from reading blogs to pray for the Pope if you've not done so. I will be going to St. Patrick's Cathedral myself shortly.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 9:12 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Monday, January 31, 2005
Expect to see this as a evidence the Pope is the Anti-Christ at an anti-Catholic web site near you

Pope Loses Battle With Peace-Symbol Dove : AP

Pope John Paul II shooed a dove - a symbol of peace - out his apartment window Sunday, chuckling with children who watched in delight as the bird flew back into his room overlooking St. Peter's Square.

The pontiff was addressing thousands of young people from an Italian Catholic organization who marked January as a month to promote peace.

He was flanked at his studio window by a pair of 8-year-olds - a boy and girl - who urged the world to remember children who live in countries wracked by war.

John Paul prayed that young people, "who so desire peace, become courageous and tenacious builders" of peace.

Each of the children at his side sent a dove flying, but the white birds, perhaps alarmed by Rome's unusual cold spell, almost immediately darted back into his studio.

Laughing, the 84-year-old ailing pontiff seemed determined to set the symbol free. He grabbed one of the doves as an aide returned the birds to the window sill, and he shooed it out the window and playfully patted the boy on the head.

After a quick flight over the square, the bird quickly fluttered inside again as the pope grinned.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 9:03 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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