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Exorcizing the Ghost from the Machine?

Not too long ago Patrick Schultz wrote a most interesting article for StrangeNotions.com on the nature of the “self” (or rather, the lack of one) if we attempt to describe human beings in material terms. Specifically, he says, when materialists try to explain the human person, “something quite puzzling (and frightening) occurs—human subjectivity disappears; that which makes humans human is explained away. The personal pronoun ‘I’ is swallowed up.” Shultz then illustrates... Read More

Atheism and the Personal Pronoun

The overwhelming majority of atheists today are also materialists. Ousting God implies an evacuation of all things “spiritual,” leaving behind only blind, brute, bits of matter. Whichever one arrives at first—whether materialism or atheism—is really inconsequential; one usually follows the other. Concerning galaxies and stars, materialism seems unthreatening. After all, these are material, natural phenomena that we can understand, explain, and model according to material causes;... Read More

Science Reveals Who We Are is Determined by How We Are

According to scientific orthodoxy, all living things were entirely determined by their genetic code. Hence the neo-Darwinian motto: DNA is destiny. But the latest news from researchers is that DNA is not destiny. As an article in Discover Magazine makes clear, the science of epigenetics has some humbling news for predestination scientists of genetics. Neither human beings nor any other animal is reducible to the nucleotide sequence in DNA. Instead, who we are is also determined by how... Read More

Monogenism or Polygenism?: The Question of Human Origins

NOTE: Today we finish our two part series by Dr. Edward Feser exploring questions about evolution, creation, faith, and human origins. You can read the first part here.     How can the doctrine of original sin be reconciled with what contemporary biology says about human origins?  For the doctrine requires descent from a single original ancestor, whereas contemporary biologists hold that the genetic evidence indicates that modern humans descended from a population of at least... Read More

Knowing an Ape from Adam

NOTE: Today we begin a two part series by Dr. Edward Feser exploring questions about evolution, creation, faith, and human origins. We'll share the second part on Friday.     On questions about biological evolution, both the Magisterium of the Catholic Church and Thomist philosophers and theologians have tended carefully to steer a middle course.  On the one hand, they have allowed that a fairly wide range of biological phenomena may in principle be susceptible of evolutionary... Read More

What is a Soul?

What is a soul? Or to be more precise, what is a human soul?  Or to be even more precise, what is a human being?  For that is really the key question; and I sometimes think that the biggest obstacle to understanding what the soul is is the word “soul.”  People too readily read into it various erroneous notions (erroneous from an Aristotelian-Thomistic point of view, anyway)—ghosts, ectoplasm, or Cartesian immaterial substances.  Even the Aristotelian characterization of the... Read More

Pascal in “The Rum Diary”

The Rum Diary is a rollicking farce based on Hunter S. Thompson's novel of the same name written in the early 1960s. It focuses on a young American journalist named Paul Kemp who ventures into sweaty, inebriated San Juan, Puerto Rico to write for an ill-fated newspaper, and stumbles into the middle of a major land acquisition deal.Thompson said that his "long lost" novel (which wasn't published until 1998) had "a romantic notion," and that it was simply "a good story." I haven't... Read More

Chesterton, Shaw, and the Effect of Laughter on Insult

The Internet hath done wondrous deeds, but raising the intellectual bar cannot counted among them. This became clear when I realized the question man alone has the dignity to ask—Am I a creature or an accident?—is being answered by taking screenshots of our oppositions’ Facebook statuses, rebutting them in Impact font, and posting them in a forum appropriated for the caress of our preconceived notions and the heavy petting of our unexamined faith. In this climate of awful,... Read More

Seven Proofs for the Natural Immortality of the Human Soul

The late Dr. Antony Flew—perhaps the greatest atheist thinker of the last hundred years—came to faith in God largely through his studies in philosophy and, most especially, science, as he recounted in his book written with Roy Abraham Varghese, There is a God: How the World's Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind. It was in 2004 that Dr. Flew rocked the world with his confession that he had come to believe in God. He made clear that he accepted deism, and not the God... Read More

What Makes a Person Special?

A while back my kids were watching the Nick Jr. cartoon Ni Hao, Kai-Lan, and I happened to see something that has troubled me ever since. Kai-Lan is a little girl with a friend named Rintoo, and in this particular episode Rintoo isn’t feeling special. Kai-Lan and her other friends seem to have an instinctive feeling that Rintoo must be special somehow, and spend most of the episode trying to figure out why that is. After some searching, they finally figure it out. At the climax of... Read More

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