Paper Clippings The Blog of The Crossroads Cultural Center

Paper Clippings, more than a classical blog, is a service providing valuable reading material in order to help readers reach a judgment about current affairs. Comments and discussion are more than welcome.


Urban privileges

The New Republic has what sounds like a convincing analysis of the New York MTA strike.


The designs of science

A new intervention by Cardinal Schonborn on evolution and intelligent design.


Utter confusion

This discussion of the comically named phenomenon of polyamory has a couple of good points: 1) the so-called "crisis of marriage" is really a crisis of fatherhood; 2) as civil marriage loses every significance, real families will lose state support, but it will also become clear that marriage does not originate from the state and does not belong to it.



Zenit has a story on Dr. Bellieni.


"Did we see only what we yearned to see?"

The New York Times reports on the big Korean stem-cell scandal. It is remarkable how "science" has an almost religious value for certain people, as if it were the only method of knowledge that is exempt from the weaknesses of human freedom (including social pressure, greed, unhealthy ambition, wishful thinking etc.). On the contrary it is very much a human affair, and desperately in need of "salvation."

For an interesting discussion on these issues, we invite you to attend the upcoming Crossroads Conference on regenerative medicine.


Robert Kaplan

makes a few interesting observation in the course of this interview.


You shall be alone

One may think that the problem of widespread nihilism is some kind of philosophical concern, until one realizes that one of the most violent ways to crush a human being is by destroying his/her affectivity.


Meet the Amari family, in Baghdad

Like other 15 million Iraqis, the Amari family yesterday went to the polling station.
The Amaris live a life that they say could not tolerate a descent into balkanization. Shiites who have sometimes married Sunnis, they also have a few relatives who are married to Kurds. Their story is a symbol of a new Iraq.
"God willing, I hope that all Iraqis will turn into a family like ours and have the freedom to chose."


Capitalism and Christianity

We have already published an excerpt from 'The Victory of Reason', the new book by Baylor sociologist Rodney Stark. In today's New York Times, columnist David Brooks (a Jewish, by the way) exalts the book and the importance of the Catholic Church in the economic history of the world.


Remember the Balkans

Ten years ago, on December 14, 1995, the signing of the Dayton Accords marked the end of the war in the Balkans. Here are some Magnus Photos to remember that tragedy.


The future of newspapers

This is a blog, that is an electronic media. So we shouldn't be worried about the future of newspapers, right? Wrong. Peter Johnson, UsaToday media reporter, tells why everybody should be worried. "My son is a junior in college and I've seen him pick up a newspaper maybe three times in his entire life."
Do you want more? "You don't save papers by cutting newsrooms", say Todd Gitlin and Olivier Sylvain.
Finally: Is there a liberal bias in the media? You bet there is, says Neil Cavuto.


The real spirit of Christmas

Pope Benedict XVI: "In today's consumer society, this time (of the year) is unfortunately subjected to a sort of commercial 'pollution' that is in danger of altering its true spirit, which is characterized by meditation, sobriety and by a joy that is not exterior but intimate".
"The Nativity scene helps us contemplate the mystery of the love of God, which is revealed to us in the poverty and simplicity of the grotto in Bethlehem."


Why the West won

Here is an excerpt from The Victory of Reason.


A TEMPI column

By Marco Bersanelli*

Since the “Intelligent Design” (or rather I.D., as they call it) neo-creationist movement started spreading in the United States, the debate about evolution has grown more and more heated. This is an important step for the traditional American creationist environment: till now the debate was shaped by protestant fundamentalist groups, who claim that the Bible should be used as a scientific treatise to be taught in schools, and in this way help those who are trying to ridicule the Jewish and Christian faith about the creation of man and the world.
On the contrary, those supporting I.D. are serious scientists, coming from the best American Universities and well-equipped to keep the level of the debate high. Everybody should acknowledge this as a merit.
The scientific debate around neo-Darwinist theories has grown as well, and this is a positive development because, while biological evolution is a fact supported by many genetic and fossil proofs, neo-Darwinism on the contrary is just a theory, not universally accepted, that tries to explain its mechanism. From a scientific point of view the debate is still open.
In addition to that, it [neo-Darwinism] is being proposed as an ideology. The word itself “neo-Darwinism” has become more and more ambiguous, a philosophical theory more than a scientific hypothesis as the article by James Watson on the September 29th issue of “Il Corriere della Sera” sadly shows: he says "One of the greatest gifts science –and especially Darwinism- made to the world is the ongoing elimination of the supernatural." The same intolerance of creationists here is supporting scientism’s materialistic dogma.

Free From Prejudice

But watch out. Some of the ID theories are looking for evidence of an “intelligent design,” guiding the evolution of biological complexity, inside the gaps of contemporary scientific theories. They somehow remind us Newton’s position, postulating God’s intervention to compensate gravity in order to prevent the collapse of the solar system. It is a new form for the old temptation to “prove” the existence of God on an experimental basis. Let us ask ourselves: is the role of God to fill the gaps of science? Does not gravity, like other things that science can somehow “explain”, also come from God? And by the way, if we fill the gaps, what happens to God? And even more important, who are we to judge how the Creator should have created reality? Free and rational man is not afraid of God’s freedom, he doesn’t impose Him conditions. If he’s not blinded by prejudice, such man can instead admire His work, even through science.

*Professor of Astrophysics - University of Milan (Italy)


The happiness lobby

The Guardian informs us that "research has established more clearly than ever what the most likely predictors of happiness are, and there are now proven methods to treat unhappiness...The huge ambition of the small but growing happiness lobby is that the state resumes a role in promoting the good life."

Talking of "happiness," here are some statistics.