Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Dragging the net


My recent Claremont Review of Books review of Scruton’s Soul of the World and Wilson’s The Meaning of Human Existence is now available for free online.

Should we expect a sound proof to convince everyone?  Michael Augros investigates at Strange Notions (in an excerpt from his new book Who Designed the Designer? A Rediscovered Path to God's Existence).

Intrigue!  Conspiracy!  Comic books!  First, where did the idea for Spider-Man really come from?  The New York Post reports on a Brooklyn costume shop and an alleged “billion dollar cover up.”

Then, according to Variety, a new documentary reveals the untold story behind Roger Corman’s notorious never-released Fantastic Four movie.  (I’ve seen the new one.  It’s only almost as bad as you’ve heard.)

The notion of curved space has had predictive success.  But does it make metaphysical sense? At Philosophy Now, Raymond Tallis expresses his doubts.

At National Review, John O’Sullivan on Robert Conquest and his obituaries.

The famous 1968 televised duel between Bill Buckley and Gore Vidal is recounted in a new documentary, as reported by New York magazine and The Weekly Standard.

In New Statesman, John Gray on the F. A. Hayek he knew.

Did the making of the Planned Parenthood sting videos really involve lying?  At Crisis, Monica Migliorino Miller answers in the negative.  Some commentary on Miller from Brandon Watson at Siris.

The New York Review of Books gives two cheers for the Middle Ages.  And Atlas Obscura exposes the myth of the medieval chastity belt.

Atheist philosopher of religion William L. Rowe has died.

Whatever happened to the guys behind the greatly underrated, ahead-of-its-time movie Sky Captain and the World of TomorrowThe Telegraph reports.

At Salon, Camille Paglia attacks the myth of the open-minded and well-informed liberal.

Scientism: The New Orthodoxy, edited by Richard N. Williams and Daniel N. Robinson, is reviewed at Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews.

Massimo Pigliucci, at The Philosophers’ Magazine, on a false dichotomy that prevails in post-9/11 discussion of Islam.

42 comments:

Anonymous said...

But, but... what about the whole Harris-Chomsky email debate?

Anonymous said...

Michael Augros's book looks like a book-length defense of the First Way in completely non-technical jargon. Dr. Feser, weren't you working on a book-length defense of the First Way in completely non-technical jargon? Did he steal your thunder here?

Edward Feser said...

No, Mike didn't steal my thunder. The natural theology book I'm working on (a) is not about the First Way (though it does defend, among other things, an argument in that ballpark) but rather about a number of arguments for God's existence, several of which I have not defended at length elsewhere, and (b) is not completely non-technical. Rather, the chapters defending the various arguments start out as non-technical as I can make them in order to facilitate understanding, but introduce technical notions along the way as needed (as opposed to setting out a lot of general metaphysical background in earlier chapters, as The Last Superstition and my Aquinas book do). And in other ways too (e.g. when responding to objections) each chapter gets progressively more technical as it goes on.

Anyway, I'll announce more about this before too long.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for clarification. Is this book still the one from which this talk was distilled?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BAIHs5TJRqQ&list=PLc--K7LWyEvlOrnUTwjgG0Vr_z1v6xBYO

Incidentally, is Augros's book any good?

Anonymous said...

Considering Pigliucci's pathetic criticism of metaphysics which you wrote about here, I am not sure how seriously to take him.

Ulisse Di Bartolomei said...

http://weneedanewchristiancult.blogspot.it/

Let's be concrete! The italic social education, already “desperate", will be swept away by the migrant or clandestine Moslems (then almost all) and the best Christianity it will follow.

The guilt stay in the Catholic church without if and without but. It doesn't mean that if we had a reformed mysticism the problem would not exist, but we would have a really ethical/historical love to defend and we would be better prepared to manage the events without being overwhelms.

The Catholic church, indeed with this pope, is destroying really this! The Catholic "flock" has a shepherd that looks at the "wolves" with a benevolent eye, and he forgets his sheep... The wolves are hungry! The sheep find everywhere the grass but these, without the preys to be torn to pieces, they starve!

The traditional religions monotheists are by now to the terminal of the history! Been born when in Europe and in Africa thirty million people were leaving, they come out entirely inadequate in collectives imaginary of million of individuals.

God, Jesus and a “spirit” world are not here in discussion, but the rites that arrogate to manage its human approaches. A rite what the Catholic church is. Also we must consider again the religion achieves, before their bugs overwhelm us.

Scott said...

I rarely if ever flat-out disagree with Ed, but in this instance I feel I must speak up; it will be worth it if I can save just one person. I have seen the new Fantastic Four film too, and it is every bit as bad as I had heard, and then some.

I probably also disagree with the post above mine, but I'm not sure. I do agree (as who wouldn't?) that it's just good, sound policy to be prepared to manage the events without being overwhelms, and I certainly have no objection to considering again the religion achieves, before their bugs overwhelm us. But that surely raises the question (a question that in fact is asked forthrightly on the very page to which that URL takes us): which are the ill-omened pre-Christian bug, that the Christianity Catholic indeed, carrying to us fully ignoring the message of the Christ?

I confess I don't know the answer. I'm not sure anyone knows.

Edward Feser said...

I have seen the new Fantastic Four film too, and it is every bit as bad as I had heard, and then some.

Oh it's very bad -- don't get me wrong. But it's a little less bad if you don't think of it as an FF movie and instead just think of it as a science fiction movie. It's got some interesting ideas here and there -- e.g. the Cronenberg-style "body horror" segment after they get their powers is effective, as is Doom's blowing guy's heads up (again, a la Cronenberg). But even then it's still a complete mess. And considered as an FF movie it's simply awful.

iwpoe said...

Is it less bad than the last FF movie set?

Edward Feser said...

No, it's much worse.

iwpoe said...

How is that even possible?

iwpoe said...

@ Ulisse

Has anyone really decided as to even go that far in wanting to do to look more like so?

Daniel said...

@Ed,

Re Rowe, you probably know this (I assume there were obituaries in philosophical journals) Richard Gale died recently too.

Doug said...

Excellent review(s) over at Claremont -- thanks for those!

Scott said...

iwpoe:

How is that even possible?

I don't know, but it's true. It's not even a good movie, let alone a good FF movie.

Ed's right, of course, that it has its occasional not-awful bits. For example, the guy who plays Morgan Freeman isn't bad.

Anonymous said...

In case anyone missed it, here's some humor someone posted in the previous thread:

http://theskepticzone.blogspot.com/2015/08/the-big-problem-with-thomism-edward.html

Daniel said...

To provide confirmation on the Gale front:

http://dailynous.com/2015/07/21/richard-gale-1932-2015/

- - - -

Let it be known someone is maintaining the philosophical high-ground and refraining from making a certain joke about Rowe.

Peter Smith said...

Anonymous said,
"Incidentally, is Augros's book any good?"

I would think if it warranted a mention from Edward Feser then it must be good.
Here is a good review of the book:
https://www.catholicculture.org/commentary/otc.cfm?id=1314

On the basis of Ed's mention and this review I am buying the book. I am looking for something to use in our parish discussion groups.

And yet another Anonymous said,

"In case anyone missed it, here's some humor someone posted in the previous thread:"

Is this a case of astroturfing?
No way of knowing, but in any case, when the masthead proclaims "Speaking out against bullshit", it is a pretty good indicator that it is authored by a self-important demagogue, thus not worth bothering to read any further.

Crude said...

Is this a case of astroturfing?

Does astroturfing mean 'some low-IQ atheist is desperate for attention'? Yep. Pay him no mind, this atheist is an unintentionally comedic nobody. :D

And agreed about Ed's endorsement. I still have to reread Pure, which I'm pretty sure came at his recommendation. I read it once, but don't think I properly absorbed the details.

Scott said...

Pure is excellent, and I read it at Ed's endorsement too. I've already ordered the Augros book, based partly on Ed's mention, partly on a quick skim of the sample, and partly on the fact that I recognize one chapter title as a reference to Sherlock Holmes. Monsignor Knox would have been pleased.

Daniel said...

An intro level volume which explains the Principle of Proportionate Causality in depth would be nice - I have to confess though they title repulses me. I mean it's almost so bad one would feel ashamed to have it on public display.

Daniel Joachim said...

"In case anyone missed it, here's some humor someone posted in the previous thread:"

I remember im-skeptical from the combox of Victor Reppert. Even there, he was in the bottom fifth among atheists in sophistication there as well. Would never have guessed he wrote a blog as well.

"But the state of empirical knowledge has not remained static since the days of Aquinas. Our powers of observation have improved dramatically, and physics has been thoroughly revolutionized. No longer do we cling to some of the basic assumptions upon which Aristotle's physics was built. The teleological basis of movement has been replaced by mechanics, thermodynamics, chemistry, and biology. No longer do we believe that an object in motion must always be acted upon by another object. We observe inertial motion. We observe spontaneous change due to thermodynamics or quantum mechanics. No longer do we see purpose in every event. There is order in natural law, but there is no apparent goal. In fact, by our current understanding of natural laws, the universe will eventually become cold, dark, and devoid of structure. This is a departure from the Aristotelian teleological view of nature, and antithetical to the Thomistic view."

Oh, this just hurts to read. He even uses Burtt in the next paragraph to support his view. Burtt would be rolling over and having a tantrum in his grave.

I certainly love how village atheists often name Aquinas a "brilliant philosopher", like Dawkins also did in The God Delusion. Gives the impression of respect and actually having, well, read Aquinas, even though they're about to "tear him apart".

David Marcoe said...

Roger Corman’s Fantastic Four movie, though cheesy and low-budget, apparently achieved what other FF iterations did not: it told an actual story, and effectively. It has a plot you can follow, motivations you can understand, and a follow-through on its character arcs.

Crude said...

Daniel,

Would never have guessed he wrote a blog as well.

It's not even his own place, so hey.

Oh, this just hurts to read. He even uses Burtt in the next paragraph to support his view. Burtt would be rolling over and having a tantrum in his grave.

I can practically guarantee that everything in his post is the result of single google searches, copy-pasting, and vaguely rewording things without understanding them.

Regarding the talk of the Fantastic Four movie - I've just heard that the most recent one is pretty terrible. And supposedly they did something ridiculous with the 'It's clobberin time' phrase.

Scott said...

Crude:

And supposedly they did something ridiculous with the 'It's clobberin time' phrase.

Yep.

Peter Smith said...

Well, I bought Michael Augros' book "Who Designed the Designer? A Rediscovered Path to God's Existence". First indications are good and I look forward to some enjoyable reading.

Crude said...

Yep.

If what I heard about it was accurately represented, it's right up there with a Superman movie where Superman applies a suppository while saying 'up up and away!'

Scott said...

Well, I don't think I'm spoiling much in revealing that Ben Grimm himself never says it; his brother says it while knocking young Ben around. So it's more like Martha Kent applying a suppository to young Clark while saying, "Up, up, and away!"

Anonymous said...

"Is this a case of astroturfing?"

Does astroturfing mean 'some low-IQ atheist is desperate for attention'? Yep. Pay him no mind, this atheist is an unintentionally comedic nobody. :D



Another possibility: some insecure theist is simply trying to smear im-skeptical's name by linking to his site in a Thomist hotbed

Crude said...

Another possibility: some insecure theist is simply trying to smear im-skeptical's name by linking to his site in a Thomist hotbed

Yeah, sure. Here's another theory: 'It's agents of Mystery Babylon at work!'

If we're going to dream, dream big.

Anonymous said...

Wow, I just looked at Im-skepitical's blog and he's a real village atheist. He just asserts the claim that Feser is irrational and he and other Thomist are only Thomist because they want to validate their religious beliefs and unlike other "modern" day atheist philosophers do not seek an objective true view of reality. What makes it worse is that his sidekick Papalinton cites a survey saying most philosophers are atheist/agnostic today and he says because of this Thomism must be false because these philosophers have probably heard of Thomism and reject it for being irrational and stupid, which IS repeats as well(strangely they have no evidence for this claim and keep asserting it). I think it's time for Ben Yachov to suit up.

grodrigues said...

@Anonymous:

Take it from someone who has wasted more time than it's healthy with this character: calling him a "village atheist" is flattering. Crude is exactly right.

Anonymous said...

Another possibility: some insecure theist is simply trying to smear im-skeptical's name by linking to his site in a Thomist hotbed

Well sure, but it's pretty damn hard not to smear im-skeptical's name. That post is one of the worst I've ever seen. He makes Krauss and Hallq look like philosophers. I mean seriously.

Gottfried said...

Papalinton! I'd assumed that guy had spontaneously combusted by now. Sounds like a charming website.

Gottfried said...

I suppose I shouldn't make fun. I have a feeling Linton may be genuinely insane, and not just in the usual gnu atheist way.

Anonymous said...

Seriously is just ticks me off that internet atheist like IS claim to be on the top of rationality when all they do is blindly follow their atheist gurus such as Dawkins, and present false caricatures of Thomism, Aristotelianism, and other philosophies behind God.
Reading these articles shows this further:
https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/logical-take/201402/why-62-philosophers-are-atheists-part-i
http://io9.com/what-percentage-of-philosophers-believe-in-god-485784336

Crude said...

Reading these articles shows this further:

I see we've reached the 'They correctly called Skep out as hilariously out of his league so it's time for some passive aggressive atheist whining!' part of the festivities. ;)

That said, Skep's not worth it. Seriously, we're not even at 'detritus from PZ Myers' atheist-blog-carnival' level with him. May as well be someone with the name angryatchristians1992 yammering on twitter about how Christ didn't exist and was invented in 300AD as part of a roman plot.

So, on to other topics.

At Salon, Camille Paglia attacks the myth of the open-minded and well-informed liberal.

Paglia's always stood out as someone who, at the least, had actual original opinions on things. I think she's off-base about Sanders - I could have gotten behind some of what she said before he basically shrank on stage with the protesters - and I question her dance of 'respecting all religions'. But at least she manages to be interesting, the sort of person who makes it easy to read their interview from start to finish.

Anonymous said...

But seriously if skeptics like to play the "most modern philosophers" are atheist card, than they need to show that these philosophers have actually understood the philosophies behind the existence of God, and offered sound reasons/criticisms for not believing in these philosophies, instead of just asserting it or giving a quick pass of what Hume/Kant said as they so often do. But then again if you ask this they respond with a strawman version of these philosophies, and then you have to correct them, and they ignore your corrections, and continue with the strawman, and then you have to correct them again, and..... wait what was I was talking about?
(But seriously gnu's should really understand philosophy before making this claim, and quote philosophers who understand said philosophies, unlike Stephen Law with his evil god crap)

Crude said...

Anon,

But seriously if skeptics like to play the "most modern philosophers" are atheist card, than they need to show that these philosophers have actually understood the philosophies behind the existence of God,

The pattern of those arguments tend to be typical.

'Most of the philosophers in the philpapers survey are atheists!'

"Right. And the majority of those specializing in philosophy of religion are theists."

'That doesn't count! There's probably cultural reasons for that!'

"Then we can say the same for the atheists. Also, endorsement of 'naturalism' is just shy of approaching 50% among all philosophers, so I guess we've got good reason to reject that too?"

'No!! Naturalism is just plain right! It gave you a computer and cars somehow!'

Etc, etc.

Anonymous said...

"Philosophy of religion is not a real philosophical field"

"How much philosophy of religion do you and those who you cite know"?

"Hume and Kant refuted all philosophical claims about religion"

"Is this something you actually know or just repeated from someone. Have you ever considered and investigated that these 2 were wrong?"

"Science is the only way to get knowledge"

"You just made a philosophical claim, what was that about science being the only way to get knowledge"?

"Religion are fairy tales"

"What does this claim have to do with the conversation"?

It's impossible to reason with gnu's. They already think that they've won and get angry when someone insist otherwise. So much for their claims of being free thinkers and going against the majority.

Crude said...

Anon,

It's impossible to reason with gnu's. They already think that they've won and get angry when someone insist otherwise.

I've got a different view on that. I don't think they think they've won. It's that many of them know they're out of their league, but also regard admitting that they're out of their league as equivalent to defeat.

Gene Callahan said...

By the way, Ed, Eric Voegelin is dismissive of the idea that Plato and Aristotle were doing something that should be called "natural theology," and insists that they were just as much the recipients of revelation as, say, Moses.