Links

After I missed the last two weeks’ posts:

  • Some reasonable takes on the Trump victory: from Mark Cuban’s twitter, and from Van Jones on CNN (unfortunately it cuts off the end where he says both the Democrats and the GOP have problems they have to look at).
  • At Semiduplex, there is a post containing a little-known speech from Pius XII, which concerns whether it is moral to remove functioning body parts for the sake of the health of the entire person.
  • The philosopher of science John D. Norton has a series of webpages called Einstein for Everyone. It is written with such great research that it clears up many common misconceptions about Einstein’s theories.
  • Eric Scerri shares his philosophy of science (h/t Whewell’s Ghost – lots of interesting stuff there!). Scerri likens the development of science to natural selection. While I appreciate the focus he gives to lesser-known scientists, this part of the article puzzles me: “But I reject any notion of teleology in my version. Science is not heading towards some objective “Truth” and here I agree with Thomas Kuhn who always insisted on this point.” I have a hard time seeing how one can deny that science is out to discover truth. This also conflicts with the fact that natural selection has as its end certain goods, as De Koninck shows here, so it would seem that his own model suggests that science has as its end a good (such as truth).
  • Managing mental illness in certain parts of Africa. I first learned about this from a presentation by a pharmacist who worked in Uganda for a few months, which included a photo of a bearded man tied up to a pole because of his mental health problems. It reminds me of the Gerasene demoniac: “And when Jesus had stepped out of the boat, immediately a man out of the tombs with an unclean spirit met him. He lived among the tombs; and no one could restrain him any more, even with a chain; for he had often been restrained with shackles and chains, but the chains he wrenched apart, and the shackles he broke in pieces; and no one had the strength to subdue him. Night and day among the tombs and on the mountains he was always howling and bruising himself with stones” (Mark 5:2-5).

And so, isolating themselves in the “deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth”, to quote St. Paul, and having chosen unbroken silence, they set themselves to the task of uncovering in a positive, exact fashion, the original causes of the passions and eradicating them […] Just as those interested in physiology determine bodily properties by means of countless instruments and after numerous experiments, chemical analyses, and multifarious tests, in similar fashion these men of God experienced countless temptations, carried out trials and experiments over numerous years (for it could take these men up to fifty years to test a single principle), and discovered, by the illuminating guidance of the Holy Spirit, the depths of moral philosophy, refining these virtues out of their respective excesses and deficiencies.

St. Nikodemos seems to show good knowledge of the study of physiology!

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