"So the interesting question is, why did infidelity continue to rise even when divorce became available and accepted and nonstigmatized?"
--Esther Perel, Slate.com, March 27
Why, indeed? 'Tis a puzzlement.
From Where Else Might Such a Thing Erupt?
"Major Solar Flare Erupts From the Sun"
--headline, Space.com, March 31
The Suspense Ends
"Obama Endorses Dem. Senator in Hawaii Race"
--headline, Associated Press, March 31+ + +
Hey, Maybe We Should Do This More Often!
ISTANBUL, March 9 (Reuters) - Patriarchs of the world's 250 million Orthodox Christians ended a rare summit in Istanbul on Sunday calling for a peaceful end to the crisis in Ukraine and denouncing violence driving Christians out of the Middle East.
Twelve heads of autonomous Orthodox churches, the second-largest family of Christian churches, also agreed to hold a summit of bishops, or ecumenical council, in 2016, which will be the first in over 1,200 years.
A "summit of bishops," forsooth.
+ + +
Because You're Mine, I Walk the LineThe White House blog regales us with photographs of long lines of people waiting to sign up for ObamaCare, calling it a "Surge" and pointing to it as a sign that people love ObamaCare. Of course, there are often similar lines to be found at Motor Vehicle Registration and similar "surges" around 15 April in the filing of income taxes; but in neither case is it regarded as a sign that the public loves it.
(Then, too, long lines of people waiting to purchase the necessities of life is often a sign that a command economy, like Venezuela or the old Soviet Union, has mucked things up, supply-and-demand-wise.)
There are also long lines in department stores as 25 December approaches. The lines are more likely due to immanent deadlines than to any great surge of enthusiasm and support. The White House blog's analysis of the facts is no more expert than the construction of the web portal or the provisions of the Law itself -- now modified on the fly by ad hoc delays and exemptions that will almost certainly lead to implosion a few years down the road. The fate, as it were, of actuarial science deniers.
+ + +
Good Thing He Wasn't a Priest
Du Pont Heir Spared Jail
for raping his own 3 year old daughter.
-- International Business Times March 31
Meanwhile, a few years ago, a homeless man stole $100 to pay the fee to stay at a detox center. When the bank teller turned over all her cash, he pulled out the Benjamin, saying he didn't need more than that. The next morning, he returned the $100 out of shame. As far as TOF knows, he's still in jail serving his 15 year sentence.
-- Digital Journal, Jan 17, 2009
Too bad he was not the wealthy heir to a big fortune. Or perhaps the temporary theft of a C-note is that much more serious to our modern world than the rape of a 3-year old by a rich guy, at least when it cannot be used to cudgel the Church.
Chastek on the masculinism of abortion.
I’ve met a lot of women who want more kids but whose husbands won’t have it; others want to leave work to have kids but whose husbands don’t want to lose the income; and it’s just crazy to think that abortions never happen – or even that they don’t happen a lot – from male coercion.
-- The liberation narrative and the reality of the choice, Just Thomism (March 29, 2014)
Have You Found Jesus?
Giving New Meaning to the Expression "Finding Yourself"
On Saturday 25 August, 2012, a tour bus stopped near Iceland’s Eldgja canyon and the tourists spent some time hiking and sightseeing. After her excursion over this rocky terrain one of the women decided to to change her clothes and spruce herself up before getting back on the bus. When she returned, she learned that someone in her group had gone missing. The tourist group then spent the next three hours searching for the missing woman. Around 3AM, the woman who had changed her clothes suddenly realized that the woman they were looking for was her, described as wearing the clothing she had changed out of.
Denying the ObviousOne of the disadvantages of a faulty metaphysic is that it leads its holders into conundrums and paradoxes and the denial of the patently obvious. Slate magazine, oft a repository of such things, tells us in The End of Evil? that "neuroscientists suggest there is no such thing. Are they right?" The author wonders whether Science!™ has finally driven a stake through the dark heart of "evil," Or at least "emptied the word of useful meaning, reduced the notion of a numinous nonmaterial malevolent force to a glitch in a tangled cluster of neurons, the brain?"
The idea that people make conscious decisions to hurt or harm is no longer sustainable, say the new brain scientists. For one thing, there is no such thing as "free will" with which to decide to commit evil. (Like evil, free will is an antiquated concept for most.) Autonomous, conscious decision-making itself may well be an illusion. And thus intentional evil is impossible.Like a bad penny, the idea keeps turning up. Obviously, the "neuroscientists" could come to no such decision, since by the very decision they are incapable of making decisions. However, we must make allowance for the tendency of Late Moderns to exempt themselves from their own pronouncements. In this they are like the Mainstream Protestants in the opinion of Zev Chafets: Mainstream Protestants tend to locate sin in the moral malfeasance of others—slaveholders, colonialists, capitalists, settlers, oil barons, and the Bush administration.
But the turnabout is interesting, since previously free will denialists have always made sure to affirm their belief in crime and punishment. It might could be that the denial of evil, or rather of personal responsibility for evil, just is the justification for the denial of free will. It's always been aimed at 'anything goes,' hasn't it?
Certainly he pulled the lever that caused the explosion that launched the metal projectile that punctured the intervening soft tissues that caused a sudden decrease in blood pressure. But without referring to substances, you can't call it "murder."As Chesterton observed,
-- Lawrence Gage, RealPhysics
The determinist does not believe in appealing to the will, but he does believe in changing the environment. He must not say to the sinner, "Go and sin no more," because the sinner cannot help it. But he can put him in boiling oil; for boiling oil is an environment.Evil is defectus boni, a lacking or deficiency in a good. Unless the world is perfect -- and this is something that is easily empirically falsified -- then it must be imperfect and the existence of evil is proven ipso facto. That no one chooses evil thinking that he is choosing evil is also self-evident and long-standing doctrine. And that one's choices are often impaired by various obstacles from drunkedness to habit to that crypto-genetic predisposition called 'origin'-al sin is likewise ancient doctrine. The more the neuroscientists learn, should they ever think more deeply upon it, the more they affirm what was anciently known.
In the public realm, most biologists seem, all too often, like scientific geniuses and moral simpletons, applying rational rigor to their investigations of nature but relying on feeling as their only moral compass. And for all its appreciation of nature’s complexity, the scientific mind seems no rival for the Bible or Aristotle or Machiavelli in understanding human complexity. Next to the philosopher, the neuroscientist still looks, all too often, like a fool.So let's close with a quote from the Duke:
-- Eric Cohen, "The Ends of Science"
“Life is hard. It’s harder if you’re stupid.”
-- John Wayne
-- John Wayne