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.

Thursday
Oct272005

A new creation

Now, to cheer you up, something beautiful.

Thursday
Oct272005

Decadence

Peggy Noonan is usually quite perceptive of trends in American society. If there is any unifying source to her melancholy, it may be the perception of a progressive weakening (starting among the elites) of the shared Protestant/progressive ideals that gave America its identity and its historical energy.

Sunday
Oct232005

Anne Rice's new career

This sounds somewhat interesting.

Sunday
Oct232005

Pragmatism or Originalism?


The nomination of Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court has heated the debate on the future of the Court. Two books can help to understand better how the Court works. One is a biography of Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, who "run the nation for nearly two decades as a majority of one".
The other is an essay by Stephen Breyer, "the first extended defense of judicial pragmatism by a sitting Supreme Court justice".
The Los Angeles Times review is worth reading.

Thursday
Oct202005

Hapless Dupes?

The New Republic assesses the relationship between the Bush presidency and "social conservatives." The upshot is that it is foolish to entrust one's hopes for a better society to politics ``in a vacuum" while neglecting the fundamental task of education.

Thursday
Oct202005

Logical vs. reasonable

The nature of ideology is to take rigorously logical steps starting from partially true premises, while ignoring any input from experience. The result is always an amazing level of violence.

Monday
Oct172005

No freedom in education

By all accounts Schools of Education play a very destructive role in American society.

Sunday
Oct162005

Rabbi Dalin's new book

Rabbi David Dalin's new book on Pius XII has come out. Have you seen the long review in the NYTimes? Neither did we.

Sunday
Oct162005

Ideologues

One can disagree with Mark Steyn on many things, but he is good at ridiculing the liberal pieties of the media.

Saturday
Oct152005

An ordinary man

The inventor of the food bank passed away. A very ordinary guy who ended up feeding 10% of Americans.

Friday
Oct142005

Bioethics and ideology

Among secular journalists who write about bioethics William Saletan is one of the more thoughtful.

Monday
Oct102005

Living in Mogadishu

Reports like this remind one of the deep drama of history: that the human impulse for good is powerless in front of the violence of sin unless Christ is recognized. It is a problem of education.

Monday
Oct102005

Cardinal Schoenborn and Darwin


"I see no problem combining belief in the Creator with the theory of evolution, under one condition -- that the limits of a scientific theory are respected," said Vienna Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn in a conference in Paris.
Read more on Reuters.

Monday
Oct032005

Intelligent design

For interesting commentary on the "intelligent design" controversy, read this Salon interview with Michael Ruse, this op-ed by Kenneth Woodward in the NYTimes and above all the piece by Msgr. Albacete here below.

Monday
Oct032005

TEMPI Column

by Lorenzo Albacete

Many have asked me to comment on the debate concerning the ability of science to detect an "intelligent design" in its study of nature, particularly the evolution of the species culminating in man. Religious conservatives (mostly Protestant Evangelicals and some Catholics) are insisting that the "scientific" view of "intelligent design" be taught to students in the public school. This is of course being resisted by those who see it as an intrusion of religion in the public school curriculum, as well as those who appeal to science to justify a cultural agenda hostile to faith.
The debate on intelligent design in the United States is thus more a political struggle than a scientific or religious debate. It originates in the efforts of Protestant Christian believers to resist the political power of the radical secularists who appeal to neo-Darwinism to justify their political policies. It would seem that, at least theoretically, Protestant fideism would not care what science holds or does not hold, since for fideists faith and reason are split. But what to do when an anti-faith ideology with a cultural agenda gains political power and appeals to science to support its view of what it means to be human? "Intelligent Design" is an attempt to respond to this cultural challenge. It represents an attempt to reconcile science with the Protestant view of faith and in some way escape from the limitations of fideism. Ironically, this response surrenders too much to science by letting science be the norm of what is ultimately affirmed as the ultimate, defining truth about man's origin and destiny.
The Catholic approach to this issue starts from a completely different point. Catholics insist that there is no opposition between properly understood views of faith and reason. Reason does not clash with faith, provided we do not equate reason to the method of scientific inquiry. The scientific method is a particular application of reason that seeks to understand the relations of causality between events that are purely material and measurable. The spiritual or non-material dimension is excluded from this method from the very beginning of the inquiry. Reason, whose power lies in its openness to the totality of all the factors that constitute reality, is thus restricted in its scope. An event or a series of events examined from this limited perspective will show no evidence of intelligent design, since intelligent design betokens freedom and purpose. The Catholic affirmation of the ability of reason to grasp an intelligent design behind reality does not depend on the results of such a scientific method. We do not require that science understood this way show evidence of intelligent design in order to affirm that a reasonable gaze at reality points to design or purpose and providence. The current debate is framed within a view of reason that is not our view.
Reason can grasp intelligence behind reality, but our Catholic faith grasps Love as the ultimate ground of all that exists and man as the creature created to freely respond to that creative Love as the "self-consciousness of the universe," so to speak. However, it is not to science that we appeal to make this affirmation, but to reason enlightened by faith.