Why Is There Anything At All? It’s Simple

From Web Exclusives

I thank John Leslie and Robert Lawrence Kuhn for their gracious and substantive response to my recent comments on their fine anthology The Mystery of Existence: Why Is There Anything At All? In the course of my earlier remarks, I put forward a “friendly criticism” to the effect that John and Robert had paid insufficient attention in their book to the tradition of classical theism … Continue Reading »

Fifty Shades of Nothing

From Web Exclusives

Nothing is all the rage of late. Physicists Stephen Hawking and Lawrence Krauss have devoted pop science bestsellers to trying to show how quantum mechanics explains how the universe could arise from nothing. Their treatments were preceded by that of another physicist, Frank Close (whose book Nothing: A Very Short Introduction should win a prize for Best Book Title)… Continue Reading »

Kurzweil’s Phantasms

From the April 2013 Print Edition

How to Create a Mind: The Secret of Human Thought Revealed by Ray Kurzweil? Viking, 352 pages, $27.95 What goes into making a human mind? Two key elements, distinguished by Aristotle and Aquinas, are phantasms and concepts ”a distinction entirely overlooked by pop-science writer Ray Kurzweil . . . . Continue Reading »

A Christian Hart, a Humean Head

From Web Exclusives

In a piece in the March issue of First Things, David Bentley Hart suggests that the arguments of natural law theorists are bound to be ineffectual in the public square. The reason is that such arguments mistakenly presuppose that there is sufficient conceptual common ground between natural law theorists and their opponents for fruitful moral debate to be possible… . Continue Reading »

Conflict Resolution

From the December 2012 Print Edition

Where the Conflict Really Lies: Science, Religion, and Naturalism by Alvin Plantinga Oxford, 376 pages, $27.95 “Naturalism” is a slippery term. In one common usage, it is the methodological thesis that the only rational forms of inquiry are those using the methods of natural science. In . . . . Continue Reading »

Aristotle, Call Your Office

From Web Exclusives

To untutored common sense, the natural world is filled with irreducibly different kinds of objects and qualities: people; dogs and cats; trees and flowers; rocks, dirt, and water; colors, odors, sounds; heat and cold; meanings and purposes. A man is a radically different sort of thing from a rose, which is in turn no less different from a stone… . Continue Reading »

Scientia ad Absurdum

From the November 2011 Print Edition

The Atheist’s Guide to Reality: Enjoying Life without Illusions by Alex Rosenberg W. W. Norton, 368 pages, $25.95 The Atheist’s Guide to Reality is refreshingly and ruthlessly consistent. It is also utterly incoherent”and precisely because it is so consistent. In drawing out its . . . . Continue Reading »