Monday, November 28, 2011

Various good and not so good things...

‎"Whereas Belloc sang loudly and proudly of the European peasant, the man who went to Mass, worked in his fields, lived above his cows and horse, and delighted in ordinary living and the common tasks of sowing and reaping, baking and brewing, all rooted in the traditions of his ancestors, Jung was obsessed with the idea of the "superman," the type who ... would produce 'a new elite that would revolutionize human culture and lead it to a new utopia' -- a man to be made by reviving ancient occult practices."


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‎"[S]ome opportune remedy must be found quickly for the misery and wretchedness pressing so unjustly on the majority of the working class: for the ancient working-mens guilds were abolished..., and no other protective organisation took their place. Public institutions and the laws set aside the ancient religion. Hence by degrees it has come to pass that working men have been surrendered, isolated and helpless, to the hard-heartedness of employers and the greed of unchecked competition. The mischief has been increased by rapacious usury, which ... is nevertheless under different guise, but with the like injustice, still practised by covetous and grasping men. To this must be added that the hiring of labour and the conduct of trade are concentrated in the hands of comparatively few; so that a small number of very rich men have been able to lay upon the teeming masses of the labouring poor a yoke little better than that of slavery itself."

-- Leo XIII, Rerum Novarum §3, May, 1891

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"The [OWS] protestors are not mad because they are not rich, but because they can’t subsist. They stand against giving away their hard-earned money to the likes of Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Ben Bernanke, and the financial firms on Wall Street. ... Without plans for managing the OWS protest and what demands to sign onto, big business and big government will step in and choose the agenda for the protestors. ... What ought OWS to do? It needs to adopt a Distributist platform of local accountable government, local business, local infrastructure, local banks, and justice. The Distributist plan is the only one that cuts across liberal and conservative lines; it is the only plan that defends our sovereignty, encourages jobs of our own, and subsistence. Some people will be rich in a Distributist economy, but Distributism doesn’t aim on being rich. It aims on private, productive property."
-- "Occupy Wall Street" Posted By Ryan Grant On October 17, 2011 6:12 AM

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Atheism and autism: Controversial new study points to a link between the two

I've had this hypothesis for years. The (atheist and autistic) populations are roughly equally proportionate among humans. Both groups struggle with analogy and narrative, struggle with "seeing wholes" instead of mere parts, and struggle to recognize personal agency behind gross movements. And don't forget The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night, a fictional glorification of the autism that is atheism (or vice versa, in the protagonist's case). Article's worth a look. I was going only by rough demographic data, so a cognitive analysis sounds neat.

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A: If Natural Family Planning (NFP) is "just the same thing" as artificial contraception, why don't people who use contraceptives just use NFP?

B: Because natural family planning isn't as effective.

A: Nope, that's not the reason. NFP is certainly not as 'easy' as artificial contraceptives, but, when applied correctly, is just as if not more effective. Plus, it is a moral choice. Read this article about the effectiveness of NFP and this medical bulletin about NFP effectiveness.

B: I consider myself to be an expert in family planning. I assure you, it is not as effective.

A: I consider myself a lot of things, but I'll stick to professional research and sound moral doctrine.

B: I will not debate the moral doctrine with you. There is no point. But from a practical standpoint, not to mention a female standpoint, you are overreaching.

A: You can abstain from arguing morality, but first you need to remove your implicit moral pragmatism from your case. There are no amoral claims. Indeed, the point of my initial claim is to deflate a common canard against NFP, namely, that it is 'just like artificial contraception', or that it is 'just Catholic contraception', so, in an important sense, effectiveness is beside the point. Besides, what does the comment 'from ... a female standpoint, you are overreaching' mean? Is there a female standpoint? Is there only one female standpoint?

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Death. Skydiving. : Orgasm. Flirting.

If skydiving makes life richer because it sips from death, why not just guzzle from death, and be done with it? Adventure, as Maritain argued, is a species of argument for the immortality of the soul.

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The "rice gospel" gives way to the latex gospel.

Janet Smith, "Contraception: Why Not?" - Part 4 - Humanae Vitae

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Here's an idea: next time you have a question, ask your friend or spouse or family or, hell, even a guy on the street, before you ask the Internet.

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Higgs hunt enters endgame : Nature News & Comment by Geoff Brumfiel, 18 Nov. 2011

I have personally reviewed "the first 70 trillion collisions" mentioned in this article, and approve of the contents.

The sidelight graphic is intriguing: "Do you believe [in an entity that can only be observed at extremely high energy levels]?"

In a different dialect: "Do you believe [in an entity that can be known only at an infinitely high energy level]?"

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‎"Right now, China's economy is based on exporting to wealthy, developed countries. For that export-driven system to work, China's economy needs to remain weaker than those of its buyers. One of the biggest reasons that China sells so much stuff is because it can produce that stuff cheaply. But as China's growth accelerates and European and American growth slows due to financial crises, China is catching up with the developed economies faster than anyone had anticipated. If and when China gets too wealthy to continue exporting cheap products -- or if the developed economies become too weak to keep buying them -- it will be in big trouble."

-- "Crisis in Europe, Transformation in China" by Max Fisher, The Atlantic NOV 17 2011

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"The operating assumption for both neuroskeptics and neuro-believers alike … has to do with evil being exclusively a matter of conscious or freely-chosen thoughts or actions. This limited conception ignores, of course, the vast sea of human brokenness that lies beneath the surface of conscious awareness, that informs so many of our impulses and dreams and desires. Would that they would consult the Christian tradition! They might hear the unfathomable claim that people are both bound in their actions … and morally culpable. … [E]vil is not a construct or illusion, [but] runs deeper than any of us would care to admit, and that there is such a thing as living under a curse. They might also hear about the God who [redeems] those who can’t redeem themselves, people stuck in patterns that are no less destructive by virtue of their compulsiveness. They might hear, in other words, about the God who is both empathetic and just."

-- "That Simplistic but Somehow Indispensable Word: Neuroskepticism and the Replacement of… Evil" by DAVID ZAHL on Oct 4, 2011

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Walker Percy Interviews Himself by DAVID ZAHL on May 4, 2011 - From his piece “Questions They Never Asked Me,” collected in Conversations with Walker Percy.

Q: What kind of Catholic are you?

A: Bad.

Q: No. I mean are you liberal or conservative?

A: I no longer know what those words mean.

Q: Are you a dogmatic Catholic or an open-minded Catholic?

A: I don’t know what that means, either. Do you mean do I believe the dogma that the Catholic Church proposes for belief?

Q: Yes.

A: Yes.

Q: How is such a belief possible in this day and age?

A: What else is there? ... This life is too much trouble, far too strange, to arrive at the end of it and then to be asked what you make of it and have to answer “Scientific humanism.” That won’t do. A poor show. Life is a mystery, love is a delight. Therefore I take it as axiomatic that one should settle for nothing less than the infinite mystery and the infinite delight, i.e., God. In fact I demand it. ... I asked for [the gift of faith], in fact demanded it. I took it as an intolerable state of affairs to have found myself in this life and in this age, which is a disaster by any calculation, without demanding a gift commensurate with the offense. So I demanded it. No doubt other people feel differently.

Q: But shouldn’t faith bear some relation to the truth, facts?

A: Yes. That’s what attracted me, Christianity’s rather insolent claim to be true, with the implication that other religions are more or less false.

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24 Nov. 2011 Australia inquiry after wrong twin foetus terminated

"An Australian hospital has launched an inquiry after staff treating a woman carrying twin boys accidentally terminated the wrong foetus.
"Doctors had told the woman that one of her babies had a congenital heart defect that would require numerous operations, if he survived.
"The woman chose to abort the 32-week foetus but staff injected the wrong twin." 
It gives me great piece of mind that in most abortions, the right baby gets sniped with accuracy. It would be a horrible thing to imagine numerous otherwise viable babies getting aborted for no good reason. Oh, wait....


One Brow said...

I haven't noticed any difficulty analogy or narrative among atheists generally, nor a struggle to see wholes, although they do tend to call out theists on their pareidolia and perhaps that feels to theists like a lack of recognition; rather it is specificaly when responding to the Biblical fundamentalism that also has issues with analogy and narrative. In the US, such fundamentalists are much more vocal than Catholics, so they get the responses.

Roller coasters also sip from death.

Christianity’s rather insolent claim to be true, with the implication that other religions are more or less false.

What a refreshing change from all those religions that claim to be false.

Codgitator (Cadgertator) said...


You missed Percy's point. It is not that Christianity alone says it is true (though that argument could be made), but that, contrary to his interviewer's accusation, Christianity claims to be true, and not merely beautiful or useful or esteemed or powerful. Whether that is a trait shared by other worldviews, is moot. The point is the Christianity makes realist claims.