Thursday, October 24, 2013

"Then there are the fanatical atheists whose intolerance is the same as that of the religious fanatics, and it springs from the same source. . . . They are creatures who can't hear the music of the spheres."

     Albert Einstein to an unidentified person, 7 August 1941, as quoted in The ultimate quotable Einstein, ed. Alice Calaprice (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2011), 337.  Calaprice cites Einstein Archives 54-927 (Hebrew University, Jerusalem).
     Einstein was of course not a believer in any traditional or confessional sense.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

"Physical Science is the richer, Theology the more exact; . . ."

     John Henry Newman, The idea of a university defined and illustrated, Discourse VII.6, "Christianity and physical science:  a lecture in the School of Medicine" (ed. I. T. Ker (Oxford:  Clarendon Press, 1976), 356).
     "richer" in the sense of having "its own [(I hesitate to say more)] exuberant sylva of phenomena" "to handle, weigh, and measure"; "more exact" in the sense that Theology operates via deduction from "certain truths, communicated directly from above" ("The argumentative method of Theology is that of a strict science, such as Geometry, or deductive; the method of Physics, at least on starting, is that of an empirical pursuit, or inductive" (355-356)).
     Cf. this with, say, the more complicated account of "Physics" given by Ernan Mcmullin.

"Resist the devil", and he will make his presence known

"A brother told some elder:  'I do not see any battle in my heart.'  'You are a building open on all four sides', the elder said to him.  'Whoever wishes comes in and out through you and you are not aware of it.  If you have a door and close it, refusing entry to wicked logismoi through it, then you will see them standing outside and doing battle.'"

     Anonymous saying of the Desert Fathers no. 270 = N.57/11.101.  The anonymous sayings of the Desert Fathers:  a select edition and complete English translation, ed. & trans. John Wortley (Cambridge:  Cambridge University Press, 2013), 183.

Non-overlapping magisteria

"we may wait in peace and tranquillity till there is some real collision between Scripture authoritatively interpreted, and results of science clearly ascertained, before we consider how we are to deal with a difficulty which we have reasonable grounds for thinking will never really occur."

     John Henry Newman, The idea of a university defined and illustrated, Discourse VII.5, "Christianity and physical science:  a lecture in the School of Medicine" (ed. I. T. Ker (Oxford:  Clarendon Press, 1976), 355).

"Polytechnic utiliversity" (Hütter)

"In the current situation, as far as I can see, one could make a case that the faculties of the secular university are divided roughly along the lines of the Kantian antinomy between determinism and freedom. Predictably, the proponents of determinism are by and large at home in the hard sciences, the defenders of freedom by and large in the humanities.
"The proponents of determinism are increasingly embracing a posthumanist outlook (especially in the biological sciences) in that they see the human being as a highly developed animal bent on maximizing the success of its species (an endeavor driven primarily by the study and technical application of the natural sciences). The proponents of freedom are increasingly embracing a transhumanist outlook by epitomizing freedom in the existentialist sense of freely designing one’s own essence with the assistance of biotech­nology. Thus, human beings become their own designer choices. Human nature is subjected to techne, a Promethean liberation from our own nature—an exercise of a most radical freedom.
"And here the extremes meet. For transhumanism is nothing but the most consistent instantiation of posthumanism, especially when the design is collectively applied and socially enforced. . . . It is a dire picture, which also Aldous Huxley, in Brave New World, Hans Jonas in The Imperative of Responsibility, Jürgen Habermas in The Future of Human Nature, and Pope John Paul II in his encyclical Evangelium Vitae have warned against."

Theology as a scientia

"such a compromise between religious parties, as is involved in the establishment of a University which makes no religious profession, implies that those parties severally consider,—not indeed that their own respective opinions are trifles in a moral and practical point of view—of course not; but certainly as much as this, that they are not knowledge.  Did they in their hearts believe that their private views of religion, whatever they are, were absolutely and objectively true, it is inconceivable that they would so insult them as to consent to their omission in an Institution which is bound, from the nature of the case—from its very idea and its name—to make a profession of all sorts of knowledge whatever."

     John Henry Newman, The idea of a university defined and illustrated, Discourse II.1 (ed. I. T. Ker (Oxford:  Clarendon Press, 1976), 35).