Friday, January 06, 2006

Croce had it right:

"You don't tug on Superman's cape, you don't spit into the wind..."

I am still in a state of euphoria. I haven't heard from Giz since Wednesday night, which leads me to believe that he ended himself after the single greatest night of our lives. Gotta go out on a high note, right?

The one thing that is bringing my mood down is any and all sports-related media. I am really disgusted by the pack of wolves that came out IMMEDIATELY after this game ended, licking their chops, and drooling over Vince. Hey, assholes, you're showing up to the party a little late; he was this good all season. Probably makes you think twice about using the Disney Sports Channel as your primary news source.

I'll cut you a deal - just try and go the rest of the week without the Reggie vs. Vince draft drivel, and then you can speculate all you want. Seriously, you gotta give us at least that much time to enjoy the victory before you taint everything with your dirty, dirty money.

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I finally watched the band video over there all the way to the end, so I figured out which game it's from. K-State, 2003, when Ell Roberson tried to do it dirty to us. Great game.

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Not sure how many of you follow and/or are interested in the whole evolution business, but there is a brilliant related article by the impeccable Schönborn in the latest issue of First Things.

Back story first.

Last summer, he wrote this article for the New York Times, of which the money quote was this:

Evolution in the sense of common ancestry might be true, but evolution in the neo-Darwinian sense - an unguided, unplanned process of random variation and natural selection - is not. Any system of thought that denies or seeks to explain away the overwhelming evidence for design in biology is ideology, not science.
This opinion piece was not meant as a formal defense of Intelligent Design, however. Inspired as a reaction against those dogmatic materialists who had hijacked papal quotes as evidence that their beliefs are accepted by the Church (e.g. John Paul the Great, that evolution is "more than just a hypothesis"), Schönborn not only set the record straight about official Catholic teaching, but he managed to do so in the context of an argument for the existence of a Creator.

As we shall see, many people misunderstood the argument itself. Inevitably, there was a firestorm of reaction from all sides. [Aside: Of course, as is often the case, because it came from a Catholic official, his opinions were taken by the ignorant masses to be somehow doctrinal or dogmatic, of which they were neither. The Church, 999 times out of 1000, will avoid choosing sides in scientific disputes.]

For example, Barr published a critique of Schönborn in October. Schönborn's error, he said, was one of definition. In defining neo-Darwinism as "an unguided, unplanned process or random variation," he had "slipped into the definition of a scientific theory... words... fraught with theological meaning." Barr goes on to argue that "random" and "unguided" are not necessarily synonymous in a scientific context, and that, more importantly, "random" and "divine causality" are not mutually exclusive terms. In other words, it is not difficult to reconcile a seemingly random world with the eternally active hand of Divine Providence.

Barr is correct. But as Schönborn notes in turn, Barr and many others have misunderstood the argument.

[M]y argument was based on the natural ability of the human intellect to grasp the intelligible realities that populate the natural world, including most clearly and evidently the world of living substances, living beings. Nothing is intelligible—nothing can be grasped in its essence by our intellects—without first being ordered by a creative intellect. The possibility of modern science is fundamentally grounded on the reality of an underlying creative intellect that makes the natural world what it is. The natural world is nothing less than a mediation between minds: the unlimited mind of the Creator and our limited human minds. Res ergo naturalis inter duos intellectus constituta—"The natural thing is constituted between two intellects," in the words of St. Thomas. In short, my argument was based on careful examination of the evidence of everyday experience; in other words, on philosophy.
For Schönborn, Barr's delicate, albeit defendable, position on Darwinism is only half-honest. Barr failed to shed light on the fact that the overwhelming majority of neo-Darwinian scientists don't see the issue as a delicate one at all, but instead use it to put forth their own unforgiving, theological assertions about the non-existence of a Creator. Schönborn agrees that while "there is a difference between a modest science of Darwinism and the broader metaphysical claims frequently made on its behalf," neo-Darwinism (with its interpretation of the words "chance," "random," etc. in an evolutionary context) is fully supportive of the notion of an unguided and unplanned universe.

These assertions are precisely those ignored by materialists in the evolutionary debate. Though I don't agree with their theory, I often sympathize with the proponents of Intelligent Design who try to get their views published in textbooks, or get qualifying stickers on books that make it clear that "Evolution is a theory" or attempt other such activities. It is only a natural response to the injustice done them, when one theory is allowed not only more exposure, but is also used to purport such odious theological claims as "we are nothing but particles in motion," or, more succinctly, "we have no Creator."

Back to the story, Schönborn goes on to masterfully expose the fallacy of modern science, which is a belief "that a complete description of the efficient and material causal history of an entity is a complete explanation of the entity itself—in other words, that an understanding of how something came to be is the same as understanding what it is." In this context, Barr's position becomes weaker and weaker. What seems possible - that true neo-Darwinism and a belief in final and formal causes are reconcilable - is, in fact, an ideal not attainable in the modern era.

If, then, science has been reduced to positivism and ideology, what have we to fall back on? The answer is precisely what Schönborn bases his argument on in the first place. Philosophy. While we should not be content to let science fall to the wayside and be cannibalized by ideologies antithetical to the human spirit and its sense of hope, neither must we allow it at any time to step outside it jurisdiction, and be the sole basis for teleological claims. It is the job of philosophy to interpret science's findings - not science's. I think I hinted at that earlier this week, but the point is probably worth repeating.

Anyway, the article is amazing. Give it a read.

5 Comments:

At 2:53 PM, January 06, 2006, Blogger mrshife said...

Wow, you cover both ends of the spectrum. I am more interested in sports so I will just go there. The same thing happened with UNC after they won it and all the talk was about who was turning pro. It didn't give the fans enough time to relish the culmination of a great season.

 
At 4:04 PM, January 06, 2006, Anonymous Cole said...

Vince Young is making me gay...

 
At 10:56 PM, January 06, 2006, Blogger Vince said...

I hear that, Shife. It's insane how quick they are to brush off analyzing and breaking down one of the great games in college football history for talking about the stupid draft, months away.

And I'm already gay with Vince. Don't tell anyone, though. It's a secret.

 
At 11:25 PM, January 06, 2006, Blogger coloradohurricane said...

The draft isn't until April. Why do people have to talk about it now, especially since the decision on who to draft won't be made until right before then anyway.

 
At 2:11 PM, January 08, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Theology, Darwinism, Science, Neo-Darwinism, Philosophy, seems all, take one back to where they began. Perhaps these disciplines were created to test ones faith; that is, believing in a creator. They do, however, stimulate cerebral function.

Perhaps, some folks simply need to hit Ctrl,Alt,Delete.

 

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