Science

The Sexual Revolution Turns Ugly

How many intellectuals have come to the revolutionary party via the path of moral indignation, only to connive ultimately at terror and autocracy? ∼ Raymond Aron The Sexual Revolution is now out of control. Initially promising freedom, like all revolutions, it has entered something like its Reign of Terror phase and is devouring its own children. As with [...]

Hurricanes, Climate Change, Pope Francis, and the Poor

Never letting a serious crisis go to waste, climate change advocates seized upon hurricanes Harvey and Irma as evidence that climate change is real and happening, its effects devastating, and without drastic remedial measures global cataclysm is inevitable. Joining in was Pope Francis. While Irma was hammering the Florida coast, El Papa warned against inaction, [...]

Does Contemporary Technology Discourage Thought?

There is a current television show that close friends recently drew our attention to called The Carbonaro Effect. The main character of the show is a young illusionist named Michael Carbonaro who, with the aid of spy-cameras in everyday settings, is able to perform some rather incredible magic tricks. In one scene, he acts as [...]

Logan, Technocracy, and the Abolition of Man

The newly released film Logan, the final appearance of Hugh Jackman as Wolverine, the metal-clawed and brooding member of the X-Men, is indeed a film heavy on violence and profanity. It does, however, offer a fascinating view of what is possible when man uses technological advancement divorced from any conception of nature and the good. [...]

Unreliable Eco Forecasts Produce Unnecessary Fear

During this latest period of heightened environmental interest given by a new round of international conferences, hoped for treaties and now also a papal encyclical, there is a rather curious embrace of the predictions of environmental science as forecasts that are to be believed, virtually at face value. “Studies show…”, “predictions indicate…”, “the established science [...]

Stephen Hawking is an Atheist? Who Cares?

There are lots of atheists out there, but when Stephen Hawking denies the existence of God, headlines ensue and people take notice. They shouldn’t. The theological beliefs of leading scientists vary over time. Aristotle was a polytheist, Newton a monotheist and now, it seems, Stephen Hawking advocates for atheism. But this means nothing. To assume [...]

When Atheists Get Religion Wrong

What, in these benighted modern times, ought faithful Catholics to make of atheism? Robert Tracinski’s recent piece, "What Atheists Have To Offer The Right," gives us occasion for reflecting anew on this question. Tracinski is speaking primarily about politics, and in this realm, making common cause with atheists seems clearly warranted in our time. As [...]

A Vindication of Tradition

Modern times don’t like the authority of tradition, any more than they like prejudice or deeply rooted social stereotypes. We know more today than people did in the past, so why should we view the unreflective habits and attitudes they happened to fall into as somehow binding? People today believe in science, which relies on [...]

Curiosity, Science, and the Pope

How does a pope make it into a slideshow presented by an outspoken atheist? One would hope it was because a serious argument was being fairly addressed. Alas, we find it is instead because a papal quote is being taken out of context, misunderstood, and used to present a false picture of the relationship between [...]

The Science of Abortion: When Does Life Begin?

In a recent interview, Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) declared it is a scientific fact that "human life begins at conception." He also said that "leaders on the left" who "wag their fingers" about the "settled science" of global warming are hypocrites when it comes to science, and someone should ask them if they accept the [...]

Verbiest: The Priest Who Invented the Automobile

Even one who is as maladroit as I when it comes to the Internet, profits from “YouTube” with its cavalcade of some of the great people and events of more than a century. Would that it could go back farther, but there are many moving scenes to which we have access. One shows Father Georges [...]

Inclusiveness: Bad Religion and Bad Reason

In a recent piece in Crisis I argued that secular and rationalizing ways of thought applied to the social environment soon bring us to inclusiveness. Giving people what they want equally, which is the goal of a liberal technocratic society, includes giving them equal social positions. Inclusiveness is thus part of the modern effort to [...]

The Apocalyptic Nature of Environmentalism

Every few years a Christian preacher predicts imminent Armageddon, gains some followers and is thrust into the national headlines. Most recently, Harold Camping, the iterant Oakland preacher, announced the world would end on May 22, 2011. Camping prophesized this will be accompanied by massive earthquakes, chaos, death and destruction, just as described in the Book [...]

What Have Those Pesky Christians Ever Done for Us?

The Monty Python film, Life of Brian, has a scene in it where Reg, the leader of a group of Jewish rebels, asks what the Romans have ever done for the Jewish people. The assembled group chip in with ideas one-by-one, undermining the implication that the Romans have brought nothing by hardship to Israel. Reg [...]

The Humility of Science, the Arrogance of Scientists

According to Aristotle, the nature of investigation and the proofs we assert depend upon the object.  That is, we do not look for mathematical demonstration when the object of our study is not a mathematical object.  It is even a reduction to dissolve a simple inanimate thing, like a quartz crystal, into a mathematical model, [...]

Why Catholics Like Einstein

This article originally appeared in the March 1996 edition of Crisis Magazine. Science is mankind's great success story since the Renaissance. Only the most obdurate Luddite can regret the computer chip, the Hubble telescope, and the heart bypass. But these material triumphs have come at a philosophical cost. The scientific method has been so successful [...]

Never Apologize, Never Explain…

Remember the slogan “ethics is playing catch-up with science”? It was one of the trusty clichés of science journalists in the heated debates five or six years ago over embryo research, “therapeutic cloning” and embryonic stem cells. From a layman’s point of view, the nub of the issue was this: adult stem cells were ethically [...]

Climate Change, Galileo, and the New Inquisition

Four centuries ago Galileo was condemned by the Papacy for promoting the theory of a heliocentric universe, because the science was in conflict with Biblical beliefs. Recently, Australian prelate Cardinal George Pell rang the changes on the belief versus science theme in a lecture delivered at the 2011 Global Warming Policy Annual Forum, Westminster Cathedral [...]

Whispering Truth: Scientists and the (Un)Hidden God

Karl Marx said religion in general — and Christianity in particular — is nothing more than an opiate for the masses. How do we know Marx is not right? The mere fact that people around the world worship a divine being doesn't establish the existence or non-existence of any such thing — nor does it [...]

Stephen Hawking’s Fairy-Tale Heaven

  The Daily Telegraph reports that prominent English cosmologist Stephen Hawking has suggested that "heaven is a fairy story for people who are afraid of the dark." As I am both a lover of fairy tales and a believer in heaven, I am not sure whether this is an insult or a compliment. Although I [...]

Rowing Upstream: On Being Catholic in the Modern World

Many years ago I was attending my first faculty reception at my first formal faculty appointment, at Stanford, and was met at the receiving line by the sponsoring dean with a warm handshake and the baffling words, "I want to tell you that I have the greatest admiration for your Church." The two of us [...]

MENU