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Joe Heschmeyer

About

Until May 2012, Joe Heschmeyer was an attorney in Washington, D.C., specializing in litigation. These days, he is a seminarian for the Archdiocese of Kansas City, Kansas, and can use all the prayers he can get. Follow Joe through his blog, Shameless Popery or contact him at joseph.heschmeyer@gmail.com.

   
 

Demons, Playing Cards, and Telescopes

In 1949, Jerome S. Bruner and Leo Postman asked a group of 28 students at Harvard and Radcliffe to perform a simple task: identify playing cards. There were just two catches. First, these cards were shown very quickly: for 10 milliseconds at first, but increasing up to 1000 milliseconds if they struggled to identify the card. Second, the researchers were using a deck of four ordinary playing cards and six “trick cards” in which the card's color and suit were incongruous (red spades, black hearts,... Read More

Neurology and C.S. Lewis’ Argument from Desire

One of the most popular arguments for God comes from C.S. Lewis' argument from desire. Peter Kreeft explains it very well here, and structures the argument in a Thomistic fashion like so: Every natural, innate desire in us corresponds to some real object that can satisfy that desire. But there exists in us a desire which nothing in time, nothing on earth, no creature can satisfy. Therefore there must exist something more than time, earth, and creatures, which can satisfy this desire. This something... Read More

4 Things You Probably Have Wrong About the Hobby Lobby Decision

Today I'd like to focus on the topic of religious liberty, a topic relevant to both Catholics and atheists. On Monday, the Supreme Court issued its decision in the Hobby Lobby case (Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc.), siding with Hobby Lobby. It was a 5-4 decision, with Justice Alito writing the opinion (Justice Kennedy, who joined the majority, also wrote a concurring opinion). The Court's decision, holding that the HHS Mandate violates Hobby Lobby's religious freedom, has already been seriously... Read More

Moral Relativism, Conscience, and G.E.M. Anscombe

G.E.M. Anscombe

What should we make of the proposal that there's no such thing as objective morality, that morals are just determined by cultures or by individuals? That's what I'd like to address in this post. I specifically engage the cultural relativism advocated by Ruth Benedict, who claimed that “good” and “evil” are socially determined. I argue instead for the moral absolutism advocated by the British Catholic analytical philosopher Elizabeth Anscombe (G.E.M. Anscombe). This post will proceed by considering... Read More

The Five-Fold Argument for the Resurrection

The New Testament consists of first-century, seemingly first-hand accounts of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It also claims to be an eyewitness account and makes some mighty bold claims about what the authors saw and heard. Yet a first-century audience (that is, an audience which would have been able to call "shenanigans" if the authors were just making things up) believed these accounts, copied them, and spread them both textually and orally throughout the entire Roman Empire... Read More

Nothing’s the Matter with Atheistic Materialism

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Filed under Atheism

The central problem with atheistic materialism is nothing, really. Metaphysical nothing, to be exact. Any worldview, including atheism, should be able to give some sort of coherent answer to the rudimentary question of why the universe exists. I don't mean “why does this universe exist rather than another?” I mean, “why does there exist anything, rather than nothing?” Dr. Victor Stenger, in a recent Huffington Post piece on how to debate religion, claims to have an answer. It turns out... Read More

Is Sam Harris Right About Drugs?

Sam Harris's anti-religious book, The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason, begins with a premise that he admitted to be false in the endnotes: the idea that most suicide bombings occur because of religion generally, and Islam specifically. In fact, most suicide bombings occur at the hands of the Tamil Tigers, a Marxist ethno-political movement with no ties to any religion. But later in the book, he makes an even more puzzling insinuation, that religion is responsible for drugs... Read More

Why God is the Ground of Objective Morality

EDITOR'S NOTE: Today continues our eight-part debate on the resolution, "Does objective morality depend on the existence of God?" We'll hear from two sharp young thinkers. Joe Heschmeyer, a Catholic seminarian in Kansas City, Kansas, will argue the affirmative view. Steven Dillon, a gifted philosopher and a former Catholic seminarian, will argue the negative. The eight parts will run as follows: Monday (11/4) - Joe's opening statement (affirmative) Tuesday (11/5) - Steven's opening statement (negative) Wednesday... Read More

God vs. ‘Just Because’: Two Explanations for Objective Morality

EDITOR'S NOTE: Today continues our eight-part debate on the resolution, "Does objective morality depend on the existence of God?" We'll hear from two sharp young thinkers. Joe Heschmeyer, a Catholic seminarian in Kansas City, Kansas, will argue the affirmative view. Steven Dillon, a gifted philosopher and a former Catholic seminarian, will argue the negative. The eight parts will run as follows: Monday (11/4) - Joe's opening statement (affirmative) Tuesday (11/5) - Steven's opening statement (negative) Wednesday... Read More

Does Objective Morality Depend Upon God?

EDITOR'S NOTE: Today kicks off an eight-part debate on the resolution, "Does objective morality depend on the existence of God?" Over the next eight days, we'll hear from two sharp young thinkers. Joe Heschmeyer, a Catholic seminarian in Kansas City, Kansas, will argue the affirmative view. Steven Dillon, a gifted philosopher and a former Catholic seminarian, will argue the negative. The eight parts will run as follows: Monday (11/4) - Joe's opening statement (affirmative) Tuesday (11/5) - Steven's... Read More

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