reason

reason


Is It True That “Everything Happens for a Reason”?

everything happens for a reason November 18th, 2019

At first, this might sound like a foolish title, because in one sense of the phrase, everything does happen for a reason. The universe operates according to the laws of physics which posits that everything is determined and so on (well, quantum physics kinda is the fly in that ointment). I get determinism and physics’ position. However, in a different vein, the more commonly-used vernacular you hear is, “Everything happens for a reason.” But is that true? I would say the evidence does not point in that direction, though, as some are quick to point out, “God works in mysterious ways” and almost anything is possible. This post explores metaphysics and truth and other heady subjects.

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“Anti-Intellectualism”: A Rejection of Critical Thinking

anti-intellectualism December 13th, 2018

Attorney, activist, author and secular humanist David Niose writes about one of the fundamental issues underlying much of the social dysfunction we see every day now in America: anti-intellectualism. What does this mean? This snippet captures his thesis well: What Americans rarely acknowledge is that many of their social problems are rooted in the rejection of critical thinking or, conversely, the glorification of the emotional and irrational. What else could explain the hyper-patriotism that has many accepting an outlandish notion that America is far superior to the rest of the world? Love of one’s country is fine, but many Americans seem to honestly believe that their country both invented and perfected the idea of freedom, that the quality of life here far surpasses everywhere else in the world.

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Reason and Emotion: Integrating Passion and Intellect

reason and emotion September 9th, 2018

There is an interesting metaphor for living in the world: that we ride atop an elephant (our emotion, our instincts, and our desires) and that our rational mind is like the human who attempts to direct the elephant where one wants this beast to go. This blog is about the ability to integrate reason and emotion, and the positive effects it can have on creativity, habit formation (and habit-breaking), and living a fulfilling and happy life. And what does one need to cultivate in order to ensure that rational thinking enjoys the benefit of passion and emotions? As usual, the answer is: wisdom. The bulk of the following is really quotations about reason and emotion, as exemplified by this quote by the distinguished scientist, evolutionary biologist, and author, Edward O. Wilson: “Brain scientists have vindicated the evolutionary view of mind. They have established that passion is inseverably linked to reason. Emotion is not just a perturbation of reason but a vital part of it.”

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Does God Exist? The “Problem of Evil”

problem of evil August 26th, 2018

I was watching an episode of the psychological thriller “Dexter” last night (yes, I’m quite a few years behind), and a challenging scene came up. It was that of a woman who was held against her will as a sex slave. The same day, I at my wife’s (Catholic) Church, and the two really got me thinking. Specifically, about whether God exists and if so, how to deal with one of the main objections to the existence of God: the problem of evil. Unfortunately for us mere mortals, “It is incomprehensible that God should exist, and it is incomprehensible that he should not exist” (Blaise Pascal).

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Cultivating Virtue & Living Wisely

virtue August 2nd, 2018

Cultivating virtue helps us to live well, and within reason. But how are we to understand the kind of guardrails reason provides? Why suppose that reason can govern action and emotion in the way that modern Aristotelian theorists of virtue seem to suggest that it can? After all, there is an impressive body of empirical research suggesting that people frequently fail to live up to their own ideals. In this blog, Professor Candace Vogler writes about reason, virtue, and living wisely.

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35 Science Quotes from Many Great Scientists

science February 17th, 2018

Science is the preeminent method of knowing. It is true that intuition has merit, and much that is good and useful is not scientific per se. But if you want to understand the universe, yourself, your society, insect behavior, evolution, or any number of interesting questions, science is your method! It certainly is more reliable and insightful than religion, guessing, superstition, authority, and probably philosophy. In this blog you will find 25 science quotes by a diverse group of famous scientists. If you don’t have polio, ate food shipped in from Latin America, or are reading this blog right now, you can thank science!

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“What Does the World Say About God?”

what does the world say about God? October 2nd, 2017

This piece expresses my questioning of the existence and nature of God:

What should the reasonable person conclude about God?
If God is omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent, and benevolent,
Why do his creations – precious children, the tribes of Israel –
Face atrocity wrought by nature unbridled and humans malevolent?

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