Last week from around the Internet

2 06 2010

A very concise comment in the comments:

I think there’s some difference between how prophets and casuists respond to hard cases. For moral casuists, and common lawyers, “hard cases make bad law.” They need to be dealt with, and decided fairly, but they ought not to be publicized or talked about too much, because they give a distorted picture of the general moral system and the social life it organizes.

For prophets, exactly the opposite is true. Hard cases are to be welcomed, and proclaimed, because they provide an opportunity to demonstrate radical commitment to a particular overriding value.

The only thing people nowadays do worse than being a casuist is being a prophet. Modern prophets usually get people killed or imprisoned, though none do it with the style or romantic insanity of the good ol’ days. Which means none of it is worth it.

Found this one via Titusonenine:

A while back, in the course of a public lecture, I offered a simple five-part refutation of the new atheism, based as it is on neo-Darwinian principles: the Universe is blind, life merely evolves, there is neither transcendent God nor transcending purpose, and so on. I repeat it here because it’s worth genuine reflection. It goes like this:

The first point: if you are a Darwinian, what matters is reproductive success. The rest is mere froth. Forget God, faith and the other relics of a believing age. We are here to pass on our genetic heritage to the next generation. A person is just a gene’s way of making another gene. The bottom line is reproduction.

I have nothing personal against atheists, but this reminded me of a discussion I was in recently about human consciousness. My thoroughly secular interlocutors were hung up on the “hardware issues” of why our brains are wired the way they are. None, however, touched upon the “why”. Why are humans conscious? What is the point of knowledge? Perhaps that is why it is so hard for me nowadays to take an atheist seriously.

And finally, one from me.



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