The great danger that bedevils any powerful heuristic or interpretive discipline is the tendency to mistake method for ontology

Quote of the Day for Friday, September 30th, 2011: David Bentley Hart, from an On The Square article today over at First Things, on the inherently epistemologically-limiting nature of intellectual methodology, and the dangers of ignoring that fact: The great danger that bedevils any powerful heuristic or interpretive discipline is the tendency to mistake method for ontology, and so to mistake a partial perspective on particular truths for a comprehensive vision of truth as such. In the modern world, this is an especially pronounced danger in the sciences...

The go-to tool for a go-to method of simply killing as many jihadis as possible

Quote of the Day for Tuesday, September 27th, 2011:   J.E. Dyer, posting over at HotAir’s Green Room, on the implications of the increasing and expanding reliance of the United States’ military efforts in the Middle East on assassination via drone strike: To use this kind of force, the implication is that you don’t need to have a traditional-warfare justification.  Alternatively, you could say that this kind of force – drone-targeting; anti-personnel tactics untethered to the idea of securing a “better peace” – is now a way war can be defined....

It is hard to imagine zero-tolerance bullying prevention without schools becoming mini-bureaucratic-police states

Quote of the Day for Wednesday, September 14th, 2011: Mary Rose Somarriba, writing yesterday at Public Discourse, on the recent anti-bullying legislation recently enacted in New Jersey (hewing closely to Obama administration policies), in an article called “A Bully-Free World?”: Why, one might ask, would the president lead a conference on preventing something like bullying, which is ultimately impossible to prevent? It could be, perhaps, because bullying is something that everyone agrees is wrong, and it is something that everyone can relate to, because...

A Final Note on Hvistendahl’s Incoherence

Prior to my summer blogging hiatus, I had posted a couple of entries on some responses to Mara Hvistendahl’s recent book on the social consequences of widespread sex-selection abortions in Asia. I ended up requesting the book from my local public library, and checked it out in mid-July. I couldn’t get past the prologue; it was dreadful. As Hvistendahl laid out her project in the prologue, it was hard not to detect something like a sadness for a great hope gone bad; a belief that abortion should have been not just a means for individual women to “gain con...

It is by their gods that human beings are shaped and known

Quote of the Day for Monday, May 9th, 2011: A second helping from the wonderful essay by David Bentley Hart: John Paul II Against the Nihilists: For the late pope, divine humanity is not something that in a simple sense lies beyond the human; it does not reside in some future, post-human race to which the good of the present must be offered up; it is instead a glory hidden in the depths of every person, even the least of us – even "defectives" and "morons" and "genetic inferiors," if you will – waiting to be rev...

There are no negotiable or even very perplexing issues regarding our moral obligations before the mystery of life

Quote of the Day for Sunday, May 8th, 2011: David Bentley Hart, in an excellent essay posted on a remarkably robust “Religion & Ethics” section of the website of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, which highlights the irremediably divergent visions of God inherent in the worldviews of modern, materialist “transhumanists,” and orthodox Christianity – particularly as expressed in Pope John Paul II’s Theology of the Body: To one who holds to John Paul’s Christian understanding of the body, and so believes that each human being, from the ver...

Through obedience, we become who we really are

Quote of the Day for Tuesday, April 26th, 2011: David Mills, from an On the Square post over at First Things, from an interesting, if somewhat bizarrely sensationalist, reflection on the moral significance of being true to the self: No one objects to being told to live like Jesus. But to live the way St. Paul says to live, or the way the Catechism of the Catholic Church says to live, that we dislike. Being chaste, or giving alms, or stifling our desire for profit, or going to confession, or watching our language, or suffering a fool gladly, that rankles...

Teens don’t even have an authority to rebel against

Quote of the Day for April Fools’ Day, 2011: Townhall.com columnist Kathryn Lopez, writing last week on the appalling apparel that dominates the American teen girl’s consumer environment: Two generations, in other words, are feeling the pain of the feminism that has wreaked havoc on the sexes, leaving us with a boundary-free horizon where teens don’t even have an authority to rebel against. I grabbed this quote not because I thought the article was all that interesting, but because Lopez nails a tremendously important point here about the reperc...

They couldn’t help noticing the disgusting conditions, the dazed patients, the discarded fetuses

Quote of the Day for Thursday, January 20, 2011: From page 8 of the Grand Jury report of the First Judicial District of Pennsylvania concerning the long-unfettered illegal practices of abortionist Kermit B. Gosnell, M.D: Pennsylvania is not a third-world country. There were several oversight agencies that stumbled upon and should have shut down Kermit Gosnell long ago. But none of them did, not even after Karnamaya Mongar’s death. In the end, Gosnell was only caught by accident, when police raided his offices to seize evidence of his illegal prescriptio...

On the Need to Call Evil Good

Quote of the Day for Wednesday, December 8th, 2010: Robert R. Reilly, concluding a smart essay originally published by the National Review in November 1996, entitled “Culture of Vice”, which discusses the psychological origins of moral disorders that threaten whole cultures: Controversies about life, generation, and death are decisive for the fate of any civilization. A society can withstand any number of persons who try to advance their own moral disorders as public policy. But it cannot survive once it adopts the justification for those moral disorder...

Public Health Leaders Should Be Carefully Scrutinized

Quote of the Day for Sunday, November 5th, 2010: Matthew Hanley over at The Catholic Thing on Thursday, commenting on the public reaction to Pope Benedict’s recent statement on condom use in the Peter Seewald book, in a post entitled Misrepresenting Benedict’s Bravery: The New York Times tells us the pope’s words, in the newly published book Light of the World, were received with “glee from clerics and health workers in Africa, where the AIDS problem is worst.” The pope as anachronistic obstacle to global health has long been a fashionable narrative. B...

The Great Retreat of Pederasty

I picked up a link from Hot Air a few days ago to a disturbing but fascinating (English-language) article in Der Spiegel Online, The Sexual Revolution and Children: How the Left Took Things Too Far. The article explores the history of post-1968 views on human sexuality, specifically its role in the “liberation” politics of the left wing in the non-communist world, and how that was translated into pedagogy at the Kinderladen (nursery school) level in the more left-leaning communities in Germany. The results, it should come as no surprise, are chilling: D...