Sunday Suggestions

Well, it’s that time again — it’s been a prosperous week for web links, with loads of good stuff. Here’s a sample:

  • From the Cultural Cuisinart: Over at First Things, Francis Beckwith drops Richard Dawkins into the blender over the inherently contradictory worldview of his deterministic naturalism. Dawkins is taking to task a fellow scientist, Kurt Wise, who has embraced young-earth creationism, by criticizing him on a moral basis for rejecting pure science and wasting his talents for good:

    So the human being who wastes his talents is one who does not respect his natural gifts or the basic capacities whose maturation and proper employment make possible the flourishing of many goods. In other words, the notion of “proper function” … is assumed in the very judgment Dawkins makes about Wise and the way by which Wise should treat himself.

    But Dawkins, in fact, does not actually believe that living beings, including human beings, have intrinsic purposes or are designed so that one may conclude that violating one \'s proper function amounts to a violation of one \'s moral duty to oneself. Dawkins has maintained for decades that the natural world only appears to be designed. He writes in The God Delusion: “Darwin and his successors have shown how living creatures, with their spectacular statistical improbability and appearance of design, have evolved by slow, gradual degrees from simple beginnings. We can now safely say that the illusion of design in living creatures is just that — an illusion.”

    But this means that his lament for Wise is misguided, for Dawkins is lamenting what only appears to be Wise \'s dereliction of his duty to nurture and employ his gifts in ways that result in his happiness and an acquisition of knowledge that contributes to the common good. Yet because there are no designed natures and no intrinsic purposes, and thus no natural duties that we are obligated to obey, the intuitions that inform Dawkins’ judgment of Wise are as illusory as the design he explicitly rejects. But that is precisely one of the grounds by which Dawkins suggests that theists are irrational and ought to abandon their belief in God.

    Like a fine red wine: bold, but not arrogant.
    Beckwith does a follow-up post here which is also very worthwhile. Check it out.

  • More from the Cultural Cuisinart: First Things was hitting on all cylinders this week. Seems like the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA) is proposing “racial justice monitors” for its church meetings. Russell Saltzman responds with the whirling blade which leaves no lumps, just a smooth blend of sarcasm and irony.
    For my money, the ELCA should appoint “wacky theology monitors.” Seems to me if they figure out how Christianity really works, by transforming the heart rather than through inane political correctness, they might just find their racial problems slowly … melting … away — without the need for Orwellian overseers.
  • On Iraq: Dan Simmons gives an excellent overview of our options there. Realistic review with no B.S.
  • From the Auto Department: Buying a car? Here’s how to get the Technical Service Bulletins for your dreamboat. A Technical Service Bulletin, or TSB, is a notification by the manufacturer on how to fix a common, recurring problem in a vehicle, but it is not a full recall.
    And here’s where to find the manufacturers recommended service schedule for your car
  • From the “I’m Up All Night Thinking About My Health” Department: Here’s good news for junkies like me: coffee is good for you. Really good. Prevents cancer, Parkinson’s Disease, cirrhosis, and ingrown toenails. Big study, long-term follow-up: not junk science. And more is better.
    Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go organize the closets again… (HT: Chasing the Wind)
  • From the Weird, Scary, and Sicko Department: a local family is being stalked by perverted sicko(s) who have commandeered their cell phones. Outer Limits-type stuff here. If true, it’s time to ditch the cell and start sending smoke signals. But I strongly suspect a hoax here: there is simply no way to seize control of a cell phone which is powered down — any more than you can control a computer which is turned off (as opposed to hibernating). Let’s hope so, anyway.

That’s all for now – God bless, and have a great week.

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