Re: The Liturgically Ineffable

From First Thoughts

Nathaniel calls our attention to Bishop Trautman’s difficulties with the word ineffable as reported in the Erie Times-News . The same newspaper article relates the following: Trautman called parts of the proposed translation “archaic” and “just clumsy language.” One . . . . Continue Reading »

When Harmonizing Brings No Harmony

From First Thoughts

Last week Ryan Anderson called our attention to a new kind of moral analysis developed by Elizabeth Harman of Princeton University and announced at a conference recently held there. This is how Harman formulated her new discovery: “Things have moral status throughout their existence, just in . . . . Continue Reading »

Another Take On “A Muslim Converts”

From First Thoughts

I partially disagree with my friend Robert Miller on the matter of papal bird-flipping. Only partially, because I tend to agree with him about the quasi-apologies proffered by the Vatican after the Regensburg speech, but disagree about Cardinal Re’s remarks. Robert says, “if you intentionally . . . . Continue Reading »

The 2008 Templeton Prize

From First Thoughts

I was very pleased to hear this morning that the 2008 Templeton Prize has been awarded to Michal Heller (who publishes in English under the name Michael Heller), a Polish priest, physicist, philosopher, and theologian. Here is an excerpt from what I said about him in the October 2004 issue of First . . . . Continue Reading »

Crackpots and the Einstein Myth

From First Thoughts

I got an email Monday from a philosophy-professor friend asking what I thought of the new “theory of everything” (“TOE”) developed by one Garrett Lisi, who apparently is being talked up on the Internet and in some newspapers as a “new Einstein”. Lisi does not . . . . Continue Reading »

The Church and Intrinsic Evil

From First Thoughts

Bill Donohue of the Catholic League (of which I am a proud member) issued a press release yesterday attacking an idiotic column by one Joe Feuerherd that appeared in the Washington Post . In that column, Feuerherd blasted the Catholic bishops of this country for supposedly telling him who to vote . . . . Continue Reading »

Re: Nerds and Bigger Bangs

From First Thoughts

Anthony, I won’t comment on the putative geekiness of Neil Turok , given that many people, including some of my own children, would aver that I am myself a geek of the first water. I can say, however, that Neil has always seemed to me, on the few occasions I have met him, a very nice fellow. . . . . Continue Reading »

Re: Chess and Genius

From First Thoughts

I was just looking at the Wikipedia article on Capablanca, Anthony , and it quotes an interesting evaluation of Capablanca given by Bobby Fischer in a 2006 (!) radio interview. Here’s what Fischer said: Morphy and Capablanca had enormous talent, Steinitz was very great too. Alekhine was . . . . Continue Reading »

Chess and Genius

From First Thoughts

Bobby Fischer was one of my many childhood heroes. Of course, there is no getting away from the strange and, with the years, increasingly ugly side of his personality. And yet there was another side of Fischer that should not be forgotten, and by chess players never will be. He was the creator of . . . . Continue Reading »

An Opinion About Opinions

From Web Exclusives

I haven’t figured out whether I agree or not with Robert Miller on the prevalence of genuine relativism . He is certainly right that there are almost no consistent relativists out there. On the other hand, it is almost impossible to be an absolutely consistent relativist, as it almost . . . . Continue Reading »