Good stuff from our friends around the web…
On “living in the present”
When history is bunk, so much else is too.
by James Schall SJ
. . . I now find out, with a “jolt”, that what I am seeing or smelling out there is my brain’s “best guess” about what the world is like. I never realized that my brain was somehow doing my thinking for me. Just where it gets its information on which to make an educated “guess”, I am not sure. I am trying to grasp this idea that, every time I meet a friend, I have to ask my brain to “guess” for me whether he is really there or not. Presumably, my friend is also trying to “guess” in return whether what his brain thinks it sees is really there. With such reflections, one is tempted to say, one hundred years after Henry Ford’s famous statement, considering what is being said about “rights”, autonomy, tradition, brains, and freedom, that there is more that is “bunk” in this world than merely history.
From The Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission:
Religious Freedom by the Numbers
by Matthew Hawkins
It’s remarkable, really. At the same time religious freedom appears both at a height of controversy in America and utterly collapsing in the Middle East, the world has at its fingertips volumes of research that affirm how good religious freedom is for every human on earth.
Most of us typically approach religious freedom through theology, philosophy, or history. Christians provide biblically informed arguments and learn from the history of our own tradition, both as martyrs and as oppressors. Similarly Judaism, Islam, and other religions provide their own rationale for religious freedom from within their traditions. And non-theists recognize their own self-interest in religious freedom when they are victims of theocratic oppression. We continue to need to cultivate and promote those reasons from within each religion and other worldviews.
But you may not have heard about the data-driven research that provide new tools with which to promote religious freedom. Sociologists and other scholars continue to find that religious freedom is a key ingredient to human flourishing around the globe. . . .
From Discovery Institute
Are Our Bodies the Product of “Unintelligent Design”?
by Ann Gauger
. . . he reviews two new books that describe the evolutionary mess that our bodies are — a hodgepodge, so this argument goes, of barely good enough solutions to physiological problems, a collection of compromises that leave us prone to injury and disease, according to the authors and according to him. I haven’t read the books in question, but Barash’s piece provides an occasion to examine the often-heard argument for “unintelligent design.”
There’s an undercurrent that runs through that argument, sometimes visible on the surface, sometimes below the water, tugging our feet out from under us. That ripple on the surface goes something like this: our design isn’t perfect. That’s the visible part. Then there’s the undercurrent: If there were an intelligent designer he would have made perfect things. Barash, ever frank, says this directly. Giving examples like the optic nerve and the prostate gland, he says, “An intelligent designer wouldn’t have proceeded this way.” Therefore we are the product of patchwork evolution and there is no designer. . . .