Thursday, February 14, 2013

Benedict, Dawkins, and the Fullness of Reason

That's the title of my latest entry over at The Catholic Thing. Here are some excerpts:
Within hours of Pope Benedict’s announcement that he would resign the papacy, confirmation of the truth of those  theological insights [from his Regensberg address] came rushing through cyberspace in a variety of comments issued by the Holy Father’s most hostile critics. It would be a mistake to say that the irony was lost on these pundits, since the irony was never within their grasp to begin with....

Although I could provide several examples, one stands out as that than which no greater irony can be conceived. Soon after Benedict announced his abdication, the eminent science writer and Oxford professor, Richard Dawkins, sent out this tweet: “I feel sorry for the Pope and all old Catholic priests. Imagine having a wasted life to look back on and no sex.”...

But given his diminished understanding of reason, Dawkins must deny that even he can issue such judgments by means of his rational powers. Consequently, on Dawkins’ own account of reason, his verdict on the pope’s life is the cerebral equivalent of covert flatulence gone terribly wrong: not silent and not deadly.

Read the whole thing here.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

New word: Posligence

The opposite of negligence. With negligence, someone acts in a way inconsistent with his duty and that results in a harm to another person that the actor did not intend. With posligence, someone acts in a way, consistent or inconsistent with his duty, that nevertheless results in a good to another person that the actor did not intend. An example:  Jones, while driving recklessly, crashed on the property of Smith. The crash causes Smith to attend to the accident, whereupon he finds a buried treasure and becomes exceedingly wealthy. Another example: Jones visits Smith in the hospital to comfort him. Smith improves as a consequence of Jones' charity, but Smith's wife is also moved by the Jones' act, even though Jones did not intend that end for Smith's wife.

I invented this word over the weekend while reading about the Principle of Double Effect.