Over on Catholic World News, there is this fellow who calls himself Diogenes, aka Uncle Di. He is, how we shall put it, unsparing. There is, for instance, this :

“Your Uncle Di fondly remembers those days of undergraduate study in cosmology and causality, parsing the tight packaging of St. Thomas’ proofs for the existence of God, such as his Fifth Way .

The fifth way is taken from the governance of the world. We see that things which lack intelligence, such as natural bodies, act for an end, and this is evident from their acting always, or nearly always, in the same way, so as to obtain the best result. Hence it is plain that not fortuitously, but designedly, do they achieve their end. Now whatever lacks intelligence cannot move towards an end, unless it be directed by some being endowed with knowledge and intelligence; as the arrow is shot to its mark by the archer. Therefore some intelligent being exists by whom all natural things are directed to their end; and this being we call God.

“Well much has come our way since this demonstration, including Hume, Darwin, Huxley, and Dawkins. But how could we foresee the genius of George Coyne, (registration required) the Vatican’s own cosmologist, who has found a way to bundle Teilhard and our inner child’s best friend, Carl Rogers, all into a warm fuzzy little cosmological package:

The universe has a certain vitality of its own like a child does. It has the ability to respond to words of endearment and encouragement.

“All the boys and girls do remember well those days of pet rocks. Coyne expounds further:

You discipline a child but you try to preserve and enrich the individual character of the child and its own passion for life. A parent must allow the child to grow into adulthood, to come to make its own choices, to go on its own way in life. Words that give life are richer than mere commands or information. In such wise ways does God deal with the universe ¯ the infinite, ever-expanding universe.

“At first, your Uncle Di thought that he had accidentally popped a web-link to a vendor of cribbed papers for that neopagan metaphysics course on the inner child at the College of Metaphysical Studies (founded in 1986).

“But it wasn’t so, after all. Indeed, we were reading the inscrutable thoughts of that intellectual giant who spends his summers watching stars at Castel Gondolfo. And despite the unintelligibility of this metaphysics of the inner child, we rest assured that his heart is, after all, in the right place.

“He writes: ‘That is why, it seems to me, that the Intelligent Design Movement, a largely American phenomenon, diminishes God, makes him a designer rather than a lover.’

“And there was light.”


In addition to which :

In the forthcoming issue of F IRST T HINGS , Robert P. George of Princeton evaluates the inestimable contributions of the philosopher G.E.M. Anscombe. Anscombe was deeply committed to the defense of the unborn, but she thought there was a question about the individuality of the embryo prior to the possibility of “twinning.” Robert George suggests there should be no puzzlement on that score. He writes,

"The fact that a human individual in the embryonic stage can divide or be divided into two individuals is no cause for doubting whether the individual is a human being. Consider the parallel case of division of a flatworm. Parts of a flatworm have the potential to become a whole flatworm when isolated from the present whole of which they are part. Yet no one suggests that prior to the division of a flatworm to produce two whole flatworms the original flatworm was not a unitary individual and a whole living member of the species." For the full discussion, become a subscriber to F IRST T HINGS by checking out the “Subscribe” button above.


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Articles by Richard John Neuhaus

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