Sunday, February 21, 2021

Tales from the links

An interview with philosopher William Simpson about Aristotle and quantum mechanics, at the Wolfson College Cambridge website.

Fr. John Naugle’s censored interview on the grave injustice of lockdowns.  Spiked on the damage that lockdowns have inflicted on the working class.  The BBC on the damage lockdowns have done to the education and mental health of children.  A new study finds that the more severe lockdowns have had no significant benefits.

At PREVIEWSworld, Grant Geissman discusses his gargantuan new book The History of EC Comics.  Mark Judge on EC Comics and the pulp takeover of American culture, at First Things.

Richard Marshall interviews philosopher Richard Swinburne at 3:16.

Helen Pluckrose has founded the Counterweight project to offer legal advice and intellectual resources to those under pressure from “Critical Social Justice” fanatics in the workplace and at schools and universities.  The Times reports that the organization has been inundated with requests for help.  Psychology Today identifies ten signs that you’re being canceled.

Heidegger in China, at the Los Angeles Review of Books.  Bishop Robert Barron on Foucault’s unwelcome return to France in American drag, at Catholic World Report.

At The American Conservative, Rod Dreher interviews the Hillbilly Thomists.

At Public Discourse, Gerard Bradley on Catholic schools and transgender students.  The University of Dallas resists activist pressure.  Spiked on the pushback among feminists.

At BackReaction, Sabine Hossenfelder on the pseudoscientific simulation hypothesis.  At Forbes, Ethan Siegel asks whether spacetime is real.

Jonathan Church’s book Reinventing Racism is reviewed at Quillette.  At Substack, John McWhorter on the racism masquerading as anti-racism.

Nautilus on why computers will never write good novels.

Theologian John Joy’s Zoom lecture on the assent owed to non-infallible teachings of the Magisterium, at YouTube.

James Hanink reviews The Cambridge Companion to Natural Law Ethics, at Lex Naturalis.

Vulture interviews the Doobie Brothers’ Michael McDonald.

Trevor Merrill on Milan Kundera, at The University Bookman.

The revolution in comics started by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, and Steve Ditko turns 60.  Collected Editions reports that Marvel will celebrate by reprinting every comic book they released in August 1961 in a single omnibus volume.  A new book on Lee publicizes the longstanding controversy over who deserves the bulk of the credit.  A new book on Ditko sheds light on the notoriously reclusive artist.

The Nation on the war over Christopher Hitchens’ biography.

Aeon on philosopher Susan Stebbing.

Los Angeles Review of Books on Ray Bradbury at 100.  Inverse argues that 1995’s Screamers is the most faithful Philip K. Dick movie adaptation.

Michael Lind on the new American ruling class, at the Tablet.  Glenn Greenwald on where the true threat of authoritarianism in the U.S. is coming from, at Substack.

At First Things, Stanley Payne on the road to the Spanish civil war. 

Modern family: Political scientist Scott Yenor on the long march from marriage to autonomy, at RealClearBooks.

Los Angeles’ most notorious unsolved murder.  CrimeReads on the case of the Black Dahlia.

National Review on Roger Scruton’s book on Wagner’s Parsifal. 

Denis Noble on evolution and teleology, at Inference.

Catherine Peters on Aquinas, Geach, and goodness, in the Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association.

The Guardian reports that after five decades, Harlan Ellison’s notoriously unfinished Last Dangerous Visions anthology may finally be published.  Neil Gaiman confirms Ellison’s famous dead gopher story

At The Orthosphere, Prof. Thomas F. Bertonneau says farewell to what remains of higher education: Part I and Part II.

58 comments:

  1. A new paper by Andrew Davison, "Machine Learning and Theological Traditions of Analogy". It applies scholastic accounts of analogy to consider how we might talk about capacities found in AI.

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  2. Fr. Naugle is, not to put too fine a point on it, full of sh*t.

    "There is no danger that is present and imminent, but rather untrustworthy mathematical models that tell a story about what the creators of the model assumed might happen."

    RIIIIIGHT. There is no basis for a conversation with anyone who says or thinks this. Yeah, I know Thomistic theology doesn't have anything directly to say about things like R0 or CFR/IFR, but still...

    Look, I'll be the first to say that some mitigation measures went way too far and weren't justified and caused harm.

    But I will also call out the hypocrisy of those who are NOW, all of a sudden, concerned about the right of a laborer to labor and receive a just wage, but we heard NOTHING AT ALL from this corner about asset stripping by private equity and the financialization of our economy by Wall Street, and for whom minimum wage and things like universal health care are "SOCHUALIZM!!!" and the myriad other things which prevent laborers from actually receiving a just wage.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. At least Fr. Naugle can make arguments for his position, unlike you.

      Delete
  3. Prof. Feser

    Did you hear about the death of the contemporary analytic atheist philosopher Quentin Smith? He tragically passed away recently. Both William Lane Craig and Bill Vallicella posted tributes to him. I remember you mentioned him on your blog frequently as a serious atheistic thinker who respected Theism deeply and whose work should be wrestled with. I'm sure you are aware of his landmark paper "The Meta-philosophy of Naturalism" where he launched an incisive critique against many of his fellow Naturalists and Atheists in philosophy for not taking Theism seriously in the philosophy of religion. His sentiments have echoed a lot of your work in the past about getting others to take the philosophy of religion seriously. One quote of his that I found entertaining:

    "If each naturalist who does not specialize in the philosophy of religion (i.e., over ninety-nine percent of naturalists) were locked in a room with theists who do specialize in the philosophy of religion, and if the ensuing debates were refereed by a naturalist who had a specialization in the philosophy of religion, the naturalist referee could at most hope the outcome would be that “no definite conclusion can be drawn regarding the rationality of faith,” although I expect the most probable outcome is that the naturalist, wanting to be a fair and objective referee, would have to conclude that the theists definitely had the upper hand in every single argument or debate."

    https://web.archive.org/web/20100109020933/http://www.qsmithwmu.com/metaphilosophy_of_naturalism.htm

    I was wondering if you were planning to write a brief tribute to him yourself, just as you did with Prof. J.H. Sobel? Your thoughts on Smith's work would be appreciated as well. Another question I had is that on your brief tribute to Sobel, you had written that "serious philosophical atheists seem very thin on the ground indeed". With Quentin Smith now passing away, I'm wondering which Atheist philosophers now left do you still consider serious thinkers. Are Graham Oppy and Paul Draper the only ones left now? If so, it does seem then that contemporary analytic atheist philosophy is pretty much in shambles.

    Smith's obituary is here:

    https://joldersma-klein.com/obituaries-archive/quentin-p-smith/1296/

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    Replies
    1. Hi Ben,

      Yes, I should have done that already. An oversight due to overwork. I will definitely write something up.

      Delete
    2. Prof. Feser

      Thank you for the response. As I noted at the end of my original comment, I'd love to see a brief tour of analytic atheist philosophy from your perspective as well. I know you've done a series of "Adventures into Old Atheism", but I'd really love to see what you think of sophisticated and formidable Atheists like Mackie, Sobel, Smith, Gale, Draper, etc. Which of these did you feel provided the most formidable critiques of Theism? Do you agree with Robert Koons that "Logic and Theism" is the best book defending Atheism, or would that title go to Oppy's "Arguing About Gods"? Just some general thoughts on sophisticated Atheism and where you think it is headed post Smith's death would be very much appreciated. Thanks.

      Delete
    3. Hi Ben,

      I'm curious but what about Herman Philipse? Would he be considered a leading contemporary atheist analytic philosopher? He wrote the book God in the Age of Science, where he criticizes contemporary theist philosophers, especially Swinburne. I also like to mention a less known atheist philosopher named Matt McCormick from Sac State University (A friend of mine once took one of his classes). He wrote Atheism and the Case Against Christ. I don't know if that book is good or not.

      Delete
    4. "With Quentin Smith now passing away, I'm wondering which Atheist philosophers now left do you still consider serious thinkers. Are Graham Oppy and Paul Draper the only ones left now?"

      Some years ago Prof. Feser had an online, multipart dialogue with atheist philosopher Keith Parsons. Parsons has said he doesn't do professional work on Philosophy of Religion anymore, though.

      Delete
    5. Hello Mysterious Brony,

      In my initial comment, I was only able to name a handful of contemporary analytic atheist philosophers, however there are a good deal of competent Atheist philosophers such as William Rowe, Stephen Maitzen, Adolf Grunbaum, Evan Fales, J.L. Schellenberg, Nicholas Everitt, Michael Martin, Michael Tooley, Robin Le Poidevin, Theodore Drange, with Herman Phillipse and Matt McCormick being among them. I'm sure there are more out there as well. This is why I was very interested in seeing a post from Prof. Feser on analytic atheist philosophy from Mackie to the present, as I believe he'd provide an interesting tour of the discipline from his perspective as a Thomist and a analytic philosopher.

      I've seen that Herman Philipse's book got a fairly good review here:

      https://philosophicaldisquisitions.blogspot.com/2012/06/there-are-certain-books-that-everyone.html

      Like you, I have not read Matt McCormick's book.

      Delete
  4. The John Joy lecture was great, worth every minute of the hour and a half. Even the after-lecture Q&A was good.

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    Replies
    1. It is great, he really set out a great explanation. I would like to see a paper from him going into even greater detail.

      One thing he might have hit a little more clearly is that religious assent of mind and will is capable of degrees, (like our assent to opinions in general). We can hold such propositions "very" firmly, or "somewhat" firmly, etc. This corresponds with the fact that the Pope (and the bishops in general) also PROPOSE these truths with varying degrees of firmness, regularity, and over shorter or longer times.

      For example, the Church taught clearly for many hundreds of years that "marriage is for the sake of children", and in the last 40 years has taught that marriage is "for the sake of children and for the unity of the spouses". We can respect the firmness with which JPII and Benedict asserted the latter, while still recognizing that it has been taught by the Church for such a short time compared to the former. This allows us to adhere to the newer proposition with a qualifier or reservation or caution not applied to the former.

      Delete
  5. The Counterweight Project is sure to have a booming business. Jodi Smith, a staffer at Smith College, wrote in her resignation letter:

    “In this environment, people’s worth as human beings, and the degree to which they deserve to be treated with dignity and respect, is determined by the color of their skin. It is an environment in which dissenting from the new critical race orthodoxy— or even failing to swear fealty to it like some kind of McCarthy-era loyalty oath—is grounds for public humiliation and professional retaliation.”

    Eventually more and more people, such as Gina Carano for example, will find out they don't need to fear the new woke racists.

    ReplyDelete
  6. For anyone following the current debates with Orthodox apologetics, Classical Theist on Reason and Theology is defending one Thomist articulation of an essence/energy distinction.
    I've also found some ancient blog posts by Crimson Catholic and Codgitator and Imo they have a more nuanced and knowledgeable view on the subject than most Catholics on youtube.

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    Replies
    1. Interesting findings! The type that take some dedication(ou tédio). The only one i feel i can comment right now is Codgitator, so:

      "
      (1) It lacks dogmatic force because Palamite theology is a theologumenon."

      To catholics, sure. But i think that not to the orthodox: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fifth_Council_of_Constantinople

      It seems like they can't abandon Palamas, but i could be wrong.

      "4) We truly know God in Christ, which also entails we know him in the manner of Christ (even if perhaps not in the same intensity). If Christ knew the essence of God, then we can too. If he did not know the essence of God, how can he be said to truly communicate God to us in the energies? Did Christ, as true man and true God, behold the divine essence? If not, what of his unity with the Father as the Second Person of the Trinity? If so, how could he, a human, know the unknowable essence of God? How could he, as God, be one with God without also, as man, being “swallowed” or nullified by that beatific vision (as I gather Palamists insist any mortal knowledge of the divine essence would bring about)? If Christ could and did know the divine essence, and if we are to be made like Christ, and if we are said to possess his very mind, and, one day, if we are to know God as we are known by him (in works, energies and essence), then what remains of Palamism?[3]
      "

      I know that orthodox say that Hesychasm only helps us get in contact with God energies, not the essence, but they extend that to heaven too?

      A interesting thing about this discussion is that even Aquinas says that the saints do not know God perfectly: https://www.newadvent.org/summa/5092.htm#article3

      I dunno, but i feel like these views are closer that they seems

      Delete
    2. "Interesting findings! The type that take some dedication"

      I knew CCatholic and Codgitator from old commboxes here and at Dave Armstrong's blog, but yes it took some patience. The subject is intriguing because on the surface it feels like there's a blind spot in Catholic apologetics, given how Palamist theology is presented as a decisive refutation.

      “I dunno, but i feel like these views are closer that they seem”

      I could be very wrong, but Scholastic metaphysics, sophisticated as they are, have pĺenty of room to formulate any valuable distinctions on its own terms, if that distinction isn’t already implied by those terms at closer inspection. Codgitator argues that the necessity of the energies simply take the place of the alleged necessity of creation. CCatholic disagrees and traces the distinction to the Eunomian problem, his own one and two cents are very interesting.

      The aggravating debate is ecclesiological and historical. I’m yet to find a comprehensive western response to the latter, but I’ve also found some interesting things about the former.

      Delete
    3. One book I have and have been meaning to read at some point before I die is called THE GROUND OF UNION:Deification in Aquinas and Palamas by A. N. WILLIAMS.

      I don't know if it will help but it could be a start?

      Delete
    4. Aizen

      "The subject is intriguing because on the surface it feels like there's a blind spot in Catholic apologetics, given how Palamist theology is presented as a decisive refutation."

      I suppose that this is so because, not trying to be mean with the orthodox, Palamism was mostly irrelevant on the past, this is changing nowdays with the internet and the orthobros presence on the intellectual arena. The catholics were, and still are, busy trying to combat protestants and all the crap the Enlightenment gave us, so the orthodox are taking us by surprise, you could say.

      If the catholic apologists have more time and dedication, i think they can manage to make this dispute more equal.

      About the distinctions, yea, i feel like we could make it work out at the end, Aquinas view is only one, after all. I wonder if a lot of the problems do not just boil down to diferent language or something, the two sides used diferent languages and terms for a pretty long time, a lot of misunderstandings can happen...

      The idea of a distinction between God essence,completely ineffable, and energies, that we can know, do to me ring a bit like Aquinas idea of we having a pretty low knowledge of Our God by His effects but no real knowledge of His essence as it truly is. If we could make Aquinas and Palamas define the terms as clearly as they could, would they really disagree?

      This questions takes me to...

      Delete
    5. @Son of Ya'Kov

      Thanks for the tip! This book looks like what i'am looking for. I was plaining to my next philosophical reading being about Kant, but he can wait a little longer.

      Delete
    6. Son of Ya'Kov

      It'll definetely help. Thanks. I've also come across this paper titled "The Flexibility of Divine Simplicity: Aquinas, Scotus, Palamas" by Mark K. Spencer.

      Another potentially good resource is Dave Armstrong's vast experience debating the East. He also has a book about it. As he's very active in his blog, I e-mailed him and he said he might take interest in Ubi Petrus, which should be good if it ever happens.

      Delete
    7. There's also a STL thesis on the subject: The_Palamite_Controversy_A_Thomistic_Analysis

      I think the author's been interviewed on R&T as well as the Classical Theism podcast.

      Delete
  7. Hey Ed, if you're reading this, I'd be curious to hear your thoughts on Adam Wood's new book on Aquinas and the immateriality of the intellect if you've read it. He seems to endorse Ross's argument but doesn't think Aquinas's arguments are, by and large, successful. Any insight on this?

    ReplyDelete
  8. > Critical thinking is no defense against misinformation

    This article from the New York Times is beyond parody.

    https://web.archive.org/web/20210218102238/https://www.nytimes.com/2021/02/18/opinion/fake-news-media-attention.html

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    Replies
    1. Agnotology is real, because ignorance is not merely the absense of information but has a positive structure of its own. That means education alone cannot dispel ignorance.

      "One thing that humbles me deeply is to see that human genius has its limits while human stupidity does not." - Alexandre Dumas

      Also all ignorant people are necessarily liars.

      Delete
    2. Balanced,

      The article was talking about how individuals ought to outsource their thinking to Wikipedia. That the best way to understand someone's position is to engage in "lateral thinking" (i.e. you go find out what somebody else said about that person instead of looking at what that person said).

      Given agnotology, how effective do you think "lateral thinking" is?

      Delete
    3. Mister Geocon,

      Are you saying that evaluating the reliability of your sources is a bad thing? That one person can understand enough about biology, medicine, sociology, anthropology, theology, physics, chemistry, mathematics, geology, cosmology, etc. that they can distinguish between valid views and carefully crafted nonsense without ever needing to consult outside sources?

      Delete
    4. Well, the main thrust was rather that you should outsource your decision about whether to read a given source to La Wiki and other purveyors of "mainstream". But yes, it ends up having the same effect.
      Obviously, relying on the mainstream or the middle-of-the-road consensus to tell you whether a new source is worthwhile effectively is going to narrow your options to middle-of-the-road, consensus opinions. That may be useful in some contexts, but it can't be useful in regards to issues for which the heart of the question is whether the so-called consensus of opinions is actually reasonable. If the new source is, specifically, taking the consensus to task for its blinkered go-along-to-get-along groupthink, lack of critical thinking, then checking with the consensus to see if it a worthwhile source is kind of silly.

      Here's an example: for perhaps 3 decades, it was firm, unquestioned consensus that old people should take a baby aspirin a day, especially anyone with cardio-vascular issues. Some 15 or so years ago, there was a series of new medical studies that actually showed that such a regimen actually increased morbidity, health care interventions (and cost), and lost year-lives to various problems. A friend of mine (in his 70's) went to his cardiologist - who had been telling him to take baby aspirin - and told him about the studies and the new medical opinion, and the cardiologist's off-the-cuff response was to reject considering the new information precisely because it conflicted with the heretofore consensus. Whatever the merits of the new studies, that was a bad reason to refuse to consider them and think about them critically.

      Also all ignorant people are necessarily liars.

      BTO, that's really funny.

      Sometimes, though, it is hard to detect sarcasm / irony in a blog post, so it took me a second to see it.

      Delete
    5. One Brow,

      Are you saying that evaluating the reliability of your sources is a bad thing? That one person can understand enough about biology, medicine, sociology, anthropology, theology, physics, chemistry, mathematics, geology, cosmology, etc. that they can distinguish between valid views and carefully crafted nonsense without ever needing to consult outside sources?

      The fact that you think that this is a profound "gotcha" to my position shows that this is obviously not my position, One Brow. But given your inability to formulate reasonable arguments or lack of charity (which you've demonstrated many times in the past), this is unsurprising. For your benefit, I will clarify for you why I have a problem with the article.

      The NYT article's topic is about how to deal with misinformation on the Internet, and the author claims that critical thinking - looking deeply into the source and judging whether the arguments seem credible or not - may not be helpful because these sources may be overwhelming for the average person. This is fair enough as far as it goes, but what is his solution to this? He tells us that we ought to rely on "lateral thinking" - checking another source to see whether the source you are looking at is accurate or not. But then, why should one trust what this source has to say? The author doesn't answer this question. The assumption is that if Wikipedia says someone is a conspiracy theorist or some other type of bad person, then you ought to take them at their word. The idea that Wikipedia may be unreliable is brushed off without an argument. This is what I meant when I asked "Given agnotology, how effective do you think "lateral thinking" is?"

      Delete
    6. Tony,

      There is a difference between relying on the consensus/mainstream and weeding out the unreliable opinions. Just because The Cato Institute and World Net Daily tend to the right wing does not make them equally reputable, nor would I equate the reliability of the Economic Policy Institute with The Huffington Post.

      Delete
    7. Mister Geocon,

      I am often amused when certain posters feel the need to type out the specks in the eyes of others. Thanks for the chuckle.

      No, I didn't think this was a "gotcha", which is why I phrased this as a question. Occasionally I do look for opportunities to bring in "gotcha"s, but those almost always in reference to older conversations that I feel were not quite concluded. I asked because I wasn't sure what you were saying.

      If you are saying merely that this lateral thinking technique is insufficient, I agree. However, even a 10% solution to a problem is better than a 0%. Tone is difficult to assess in text, of course, so I was not clear if you meant your reference to agnotology as an effort to wo even more (without suggestions as to how) or to give up and not worry about it.

      Delete
    8. One Brow,

      It's not even a 10% solution. It still runs into the same problem: how do I know that Wikipedia is a reliable source?

      Delete
    9. Mister Geocon,

      Well, there is the editing process. Pages on controversial topics are monitored by editors who make a commitment to reliability. I would trust the Wikipedia verbiage on, for example, evolutionary theory much more than those on Stoic philosophy, because people are much more motivated to comment on the former, so it is more closely watched by experts.

      I am still unsure on your position here. Are you saying that we need to put in more effort besides lateral thinking, that we need to use a different method, or that the entire attempt to evaluate sources is pointless?

      Delete
  9. Ed - would love to see you address this:
    https://churchlifejournal.nd.edu/articles/the-collapse-of-the-intrinsic-prudential-wall/

    ReplyDelete
  10. Virus jus gonna virus.

    Humanity will never give up on central planning, I guess. That persistent and pernicious belief that the “experts” know what to do. I suppose we could attribute it to pride.

    From the link on lockdowns: The states with the most draconian lockdowns appear to also have the highest community-transmission spread . . . Cases are increasing in places like Florida as well but on a much lower amplitude”.

    Florida is a problem for the lockdown/mask religion, but it doesn’t slow them down—nothing will. Look at the chart for case numbers on any country, state, county, whatever, and what you will **not** see is cases falling off after masks and lockdown requirements are implemented. Why? Cuz virus jus gonna virus.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Virus jus gonna virus.

      I guess that's why they never quarantined people with smallpox. Wait, they did, because quarantines work when people follow them.

      Florida is a problem for the lockdown/mask religion,

      While Floridas mask mandates were locally-derived as opposed state-derived, I haven't seen any evidence that people in Florida, as a whole, wore masks less often than those in California, as a whole. So, what's the problem?

      Delete
    2. One Brow,

      Smallpox was not cured by quarantining the healthy. As late as July 2019, the W.H.O. recommended against lockdowns (1). If lockdowns were such an obvious, and effective solution (and if it true that smallpox was cured by quarantining the healthy) the WHO was incompetent and derelict of its duty to recommend against lockdowns at that time.

      The flu is a seasonal respiratory virus with a comparable lethality rate to Covid-19 (and this even though we have had flu vaccines for decades but are only now getting a Covid-19 vaccine. Arguing this is because of endless variants is fine, but this does even more damage to the pro-lockdown claim). However, we have never considered locking people in their homes and destroying people’s livelihood for seasonal flu.

      Florida vs California:

      Florida has a much older population and has had no state-wide lockdowns. California, with a much younger population and draconian lockdowns, has worse numbers. White House Senior Advisor for Covid Response, Andy Slavitt, says that the virus is unpredictable and “just a little beyond our explanation” (2), which is a fancy way of saying “virus jus gonna virus”. I must admit thought that it is a refreshing change to hear an "expert" admit he doesn't know.

      In the linked video (3), Dr. Genevieve Briand of John’s Hopkins demonstrates how she downloaded and assessed data from the CDC on COVID-19 deaths. In the presentation, she shows that death rates among the different age groups have not changed as a percentage of the total (a surprising find given the prevailing understanding that Covid effects the elderly the most, and the young almost not at all), and that deaths from all other causes have fallen sharply as Covid deaths have risen by the same amount. Her conclusion is that this should be studied further. I agree. She has been shunned for her trouble.

      (1) file:///C:/Users/nepta/AppData/Local/Temp/WHO-Pandemic-Guidelines-2019.pdf
      (2) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OF5d3z4UU94
      (3) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3TKJN61aflI&t=0s

      P.S. In your next post, you will argue about the plain meaning of words.

      Delete
    3. One Brow,

      I forgot to add this to may last post:

      Again, Look at the chart for case numbers on any country, state, county, whatever, and what you will **not** see is cases falling off after masks and lockdown requirements are implemented.

      Delete
    4. Sorry, here is the correct link for the WHO document: https://www.who.int/influenza/publications/public_health_measures/publication/en/

      Delete
    5. T N,
      Smallpox was not cured by quarantining the healthy. As late as July 2019, the W.H.O. recommended against lockdowns (1)

      With smallpox, there were no asymptomatic carriers.

      Everyone agrees lockdowns are a bad choice. You only use them when facing a worse choice.

      The flu is a seasonal respiratory virus with a comparable lethality rate to Covid-19 ...

      Since last March, covid19 has more than 10 times as many people as all but the worst seasonal flu years. Only the innumerate think an order of magnitude is "comparable".

      I agree Florida has no statewide lockdowns, and California did have some (that were in no way "draconian").

      I believe you understand the difference between de jure and de facto. California has millions of people flouting the lockdowns, and Florida has millions under local lock downs.

      It's also a selective comparison, as Florida has one of the lowest rates in the nation among anti-lockdown states, and and California one of the highest.

      https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#cases_casesper100k

      Dr. Genevieve Briand of John’s Hopkins demonstrates ... that deaths from all other causes have fallen sharply as Covid deaths have risen by the same amount.

      Then I already know she's massaging the numbers, since we have some 400K excess deaths in 2020. The same death rates would lead to very few excess deaths.

      Again, Look at the chart for case numbers on any country, state, county, whatever, and what you will **not** see is cases falling off after masks and lockdown requirements are implemented.

      It does take about a month or so.

      Delete
    6. OneBrow,

      We aren't talking about quarantining the sick, we are talking about quarantining the healthy.

      Its simply true that there has been no indication that lockdowns have worked to reduce spread:

      https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/eci.13484

      Delete
    7. One Brow,

      “With smallpox, there were no asymptomatic carriers.”

      You are unaware that smallpox has an incubation period? And during that time, they are contagious? You believe the WHO was unaware of this before August of 2019?

      “Everyone agrees lockdowns are a bad choice.”

      Au contraire, I think the bureaucratic Napoleons like them quite a lot.

      “Since last March, covid19 has more than 10 times as many people as all but the worst seasonal flu years.”

      Thus the presentation from Briand showing that is likely not the case. The one you ignore.

      “that were in no way "draconian"”

      Forcing people to lose their businesses is not “draconian”. Ok.

      “California has millions of people flouting the lockdowns, and Florida has millions under local lock downs.”

      Oh, Californians are rebels and Floridians are minions . . . because One Brow will have it that way. Oh, ok.

      “she's massaging the numbers, since we have some 400K excess deaths in 2020.”

      The WHO, Unicef, CDC, The U.N., et al. project millions of deaths from lockdowns because of delayed healthcare, unreported child abuse, drug abuse, suicide, etc., etc., etc. By comparison, 400K is small. I, like Brian, think we should find out why. I guess knowing more is not what some people are into.

      “It does take about a month or so.”

      Good, we have 11 months of data and . . . . again: Look at the chart for case numbers on any country, state, county, whatever, and what you will **not** see is cases falling off after masks and lockdown requirements are implemented.

      More charity work on my part for playing ONe Brow word games.

      Delete
    8. Billy,

      Narcissists (One Brow) must, of course, always be correct and they can never lack knowledge. Therefore, when their failings are exposed, their goal is to get their intended victim to question their own sanity by arguing about the meaning of words, or arguing that obvious truths aren’t true, etc. They do this so that they can maintain the feeling that they are in charge.

      Narcissist jus gonna narcissist.

      Delete
    9. Floridians are hunkered down from "local lockdowns"? Remember the Super Bowl Super Spreader event in Tampa, Florida that wasn't a super spreader event? No, of course not, because the media forgets all about their failed predictions of doom when they don't happen.

      I'm not saying Covid is no bid deal. I'm saying we do not have nearly the control over it that we think we do. And I'm also saying (along with Naomi Wolf) that there are plenty of people capitalizing on the event for their own advantage.

      The more deadly a disease is, the slower it spreads; the less deadly it is the faster it spreads (for obvious reasons). They start out really bad, and then taper off over time. By next year Covid will be like the common cold.

      In any case, it isn't going to go away, ever, so we are not going to stay locking in our broom closets forever. That's just stupid.

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    10. Billy,

      We aren't talking about quarantining the sick, we are talking about quarantining the healthy.

      I don't think that point has been in dispute.

      Its simply true that there has been no indication that lockdowns have worked to reduce spread

      In that article you quote, the introduction refers to other studies that did find a benefit to lock downs in reducing spread (while saying they felt a different type of analysis was still needed). Your own study proved you wrong.

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    11. T N,

      Thank you for making clear that you want us to exchange our opinions of each other.

      I appreciate that you feel entitled to decide who is worthy of participating in a discussion, and that only the topics you feel worthy of discussion should be discussed, but really, you don't understand a lot of what you read and no one hear has to care about who or what you think should be discussed. If you are looking for the narcissist, perhaps you should start in the mirror.

      As for me, I am often wrong, and one of the great joys of my life is learning how and when. I realize that you have not yet offered me that opportunity, but there is always hope.

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    12. T N,

      You are unaware that smallpox has an incubation period?

      Every disease does. However, the lack of asymptomatic carriers eases the contact tracing and allows for the quarantining of the exposed who are not yet symptomatic. Do you understand the importance of contact tracing in disease prevention and selective quarantining?

      Au contraire, I think the bureaucratic Napoleons like them quite a lot.

      Well, that's your paranoid fantasy.

      Thus the presentation from Briand showing that is likely not the case. The one you ignore.

      How does Briand address the 400K excess deaths in 2020 in the US? Does she even mention them? If so, then I'll watch the video. If not, then I know beforehand it is misinformation.

      Forcing people to lose their businesses is not “draconian”. Ok.

      People lose businesses every year. It's not ideal. I would have thought a pro-life person would have thought 'letting people die' was even more draconian, but I guess not.

      Oh, Californians are rebels and Floridians are minions . . . because One Brow will have it that way. Oh, ok.

      There are rebels everywhere.

      However, your notion that county and city governments who implement lock downs are "minions" is quite telling. If they are the minions, who is their master?

      The WHO, Unicef, CDC, The U.N., et al. project millions of deaths from lockdowns because of delayed healthcare, unreported child abuse, drug abuse, suicide, etc., etc., etc.

      In the US?

      I guess knowing more is not what some people are into.

      I just prefer genuine knowledge to cherry-picking states and misuse of statistics.

      Good, we have 11 months of data and . . . . again: Look at the chart for case numbers on any country, state, county, whatever, and what you will **not** see is cases falling off after masks and lockdown requirements are implemented.

      https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/27/1/20-2114_article

      More charity work on my part for playing ONe Brow word games.

      You can stop, anytime. I won't object.

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    13. One Brow,

      And yet, here you are on an A/T discussion board, the Apostle of Cynicism, arguing about every word on every post. Tomorrow you'll come back for more and with the usual hubris and feigned indignation.

      Delete
    14. T N,

      Were I cynical, I would not be here.

      Delete
  11. The article by Bishop Barron refers, in it’s final sentence, to “intellectual virus”. Gad Saad’s new book “The Parasitic Mind” uses the term “idea pathogens”. Either way, I like the idea: people are running around like the undead spouting drivel they think is intellectual because it is in vogue.

    Saad’s take is more from the evolutionary psychology perspective and the book is okay—though he is a bit quirky. However, Joshua Mitchell’s “American Awakening” is a great primer for understanding the intellectual/philosophical background of the current “woke” crisis and how it owes much, as the Bishop Barron piece points out, to Foucault.

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  12. The William Simpson interview is refreshing but sad at the same time. He wants to marry up hylemorphism with quantum theory by making "the whole universe" the one, single substantial thing with an integral form. Every"thing" else would be, then, merely "parts" of THE one thing.

    While this might salvage hylemorphism in some sense, it kind of cuts the rug out from underneath any reason why we want hylemorphism to begin with. For, it rejects outright all of our naive and ordinary intuitions that people and trees and animals are "things" properly, each one substantial and its OWN being. And if we have to pick between a modern materialist science that demands that the only thing "real" is protons, neutrons, and electrons (or the quarks that precede them), (and that a human is "just" a collection of them in a pleasing arrangement), or a modern hylemorphist who demands that the only thing "real" is "the universe" (and that a human is "just" a part, not a whole), I am not sure there is much benefit in picking one over the other.

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    Replies
    1. So, I think he is proposing it as a good way of making "sense of the ‘Bohmian’ interpretation of quantum mechanics that originated in the work of the physicists Louis de Broglie and David Bohm."

      But furhter on, he says:

      "I think there are other interpretations of quantum mechanics, besides the Bohmian interpretation, for which Hylomorphic Pluralism may offer a better fit. I am currently thinking about a recent non-standard interpretation put forward by the physicist Barbara Drossel and the cosmologist George Ellis, which recognises the irreducible role played by macroscopic, thermal properties in any practical applications of quantum mechanics, inviting a possible philosophical interpretation in terms of macroscopic substances. I am sympathetic to this view of nature, in which things at the macroscopic scale – such as you and me – make a causal difference to how the world unfolds."

      So I don't think he is suggesting that this is the only way to apply hylemorphism to the various interpretations of quantum theory. Just one way that fits rather nicely with the Bohmian one.

      Also, since he contributed to Neo-Scholastic Essays where Ed's article appears called "Actuality, Potentiality, and Relativity's Block Universe" where Ed defends the possibility of applying the concept of substance to both A and B theory of time, that would suggest that he is at least sympathetic to alternative ways of applying hylemorphism.

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    2. Interestingly, Simpson's argument accepts many of Schaffer's ideas. Chapter 6 of Neo-Scholastic Perspectives includes Tuomas Tahko's essay "Disentagling Nature's Joints" which discusses one of Schaffer's arguments from quantum entanglement.

      He doesn't reject Schaffer's monism whole sale, but he does think that it does not succeed in getting "any other very clear ontological picture: the jury is still out on quantum ontology." He goes on to say "To be sure, pluralism will need to be qualified at the end of the day, but if we can trace the source of incompatibility to quantum ontology, then there is at least some hope to settle the macro-object problem in a manner that preserves the key aspects of Neo-Aristotlelian pluralist substance ontology."

      I don't pretend to understand all the arguments though. Just thought I would point out this chapter.

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  13. I was trying to wade through the Simpson article. Its dense! One of the issues with this overarching Scholastic metaphysics that unifies all the sciences under its framework, is that unless you are a specialist in the various fields of engagement, its hard to properly evaluate the arguments. I just purchased "Neo-Aristotelian Perspectives on Contemporary Science", which has an article from Ed and from Simpson in it. I'm so lost!! I need about twenty intro books just to start getting the ideas straight in my mind! :)

    I guess this is a side effect of having intro books that lead to intensely academic and specialized books. You will eventually lose a majority of your audience at many points in the more complex articles.

    Cheers,
    Daniel

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    1. Daniel,

      Is that an indictment of the Scholastic approach to things, or an indictment of how modern academics approach problems?

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    2. It's an indictment of poor writing

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    3. If only all philosophers could write as well and as clearly as Ed.

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    4. Learning is hard! I think it boils down to that. :)


      OK, so just trying to break the Simpson Abstract down to manageable chunks.

      1.He starts off by describing the primitive ontology approach to quantum mechanics. It seeks to account for quantum phenomena [such as quantum entanglement among other strange things] in terms of
      A - distribution of matter in three dimensional space.
      B - A law of nature that describes its temporal development. [daniel - the temporal development of matter in three dimensional space or quantum phenomena in general?]

      2-He then states that this approach is compatible with either Humean or Powerist accounts of laws. [daniel - by this I take it he is referring specifically to the law of nature that describes temporal development (like A or B theory of time that Ed talks about?)]

      3-Now he specifies the purpose of his paper which is to offer a “powerist ontology in which the law is specified by Bohmian mechanics for a global configuration of particles.”

      4-He then distinguishes his powerist ontology from those grounded in structure power instantiated by global configuration. His powerist ontology is based on Aristotle’s doctrine of hylomorphism such that the cosmos itself is a substance with an intrinsic power to choreograph the trajectories of particles. [daniel - By intrinsic power, I think of matter/form, or material cause and formal cause. ]

      Just did a quick key word search. It looks like he provides definitions for what he thinks the material and formal causes should be:

      “By supplying a persisting substrate with the potential to bear causal powers, the Power-Atoms serve as the material cause of the cosmic whole. “

      OK. Now what the heck is a power-atom? LOL

      “Likewise, in my model, the Cosmic Form is analogous to the Aristotelian concept of substantial form, although there is only a single form. By grounding the physical powers of the Power-Atoms, the Cosmic Form acts as the formal cause of the Cosmic Substance.”

      Next to define is Cosmic Form.

      So power atoms and cosmic form make up the cosmic substance. Cool. And the intrinsic powers of this cosmic substance help to explain quantum entanglement.

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    5. Median Joe
      Yes! Unfortunately, much philosophical writing is just philosophers writing for other philosophers.

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