Monday, November 26, 2018

Opening the thread

It’s the latest open thread.  This is the time to get your off-topic comments off your chest, and to give your threadjacking impulses free rein.  From iPhones to I, Claudius, from D-list celebs to Eugene Debs, from the A-theory to Blossom Dearie – discuss whatever you like, within reason.  Just keep it civil, classy, and troll-free.

I should perhaps clarify for some readers that these open threads are not “Ask Ed anything” posts.  Sorry, I just don’t have time to respond to most questions.  Think of them instead as “Ask each other anything” posts.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Byrne on why sex is binary

At Arc Digital, philosopher Alex Byrne defends the proposition that there are only two sexes, while suggesting that this has no implications one way or the other for transsexuality, gender dysphoria, and related issues.  Let’s consider both claims.

Byrne argues that it is a mistake to suppose that one’s sex is fundamentally a matter of what chromosomes one has or even what sorts of genitals one has.  Hence it is also a mistake to point to examples such as individuals who have male chromosomes but female external genitalia, or people who have only an X chromosome or XXY chromosomes, as evidence against the thesis that sex is binary.  In fact, Byrne suggests, chromosomes and genitalia are reflections of a deeper distinction, and the nature of that distinction is not captured by a mere description of the chromosomes and genitalia:

Friday, November 16, 2018

The latest on Catholicism and capital punishment

At First Things, Joseph Bessette, Michael Pakaluk, and Fr. Brian Harrison comment on Steven Long’s recent article on capital punishment and the change to the catechism, and Long responds.

Parkland shooter suspect Nikolas Cruz has assaulted a prison guard, illustrating the continuing danger murderers pose even after incarceration.

In the October 2018 issue of the magazine New Directions, Fr. Richard Norman reviews By Man Shall His Blood Be Shed: A Catholic Defense of Capital Punishment.  Fr. Norman says that he is “prudentially opposed” to the death penalty, yet still judges that:

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Thomas Pink on “official theology” (Updated)

At the National Catholic Register, Edward Pentin recently interviewed philosopher Thomas Pink on the subject of the failure of the Church’s leaders to teach and defend her doctrines.  (The interview is in two parts, here and here.)  Pink is interesting and insightful as always, and in general I agree with the substance of his analysis.  However, it seems to me that the way he expresses his main point is potentially misleading and could needlessly open him up to unfair criticism.