Links roundup, 1.20

With the business of the new semester, I have not had time to post anything here. I wanted to catch up a bit with a links roundup.

Joe Carter offers some “unsolicited advice” to young conservatives. Good advice all around here.

Executives at MTV are concerned that their new show ‘Skins’ may violate child pornography laws. Every day I worry more about the culture in which my young girls will grow up.

Read about an extra-credit assignment where the professor asks students to go without their cell phones for a few days. It is shockingly difficult for his students. I might try to offer this in my classes sometime.

I have not listened to any of this yet (and it is 4 lectures that are each an hour or more), but a friend of mine passed this series called “Christ the Eternal Tao” along and called it “one of the more interesting engagements between the West and Eastern philosophy I have heard in some time.”

On a much lighter note: Though the effects are far from obvious, for the last 6 months or so I have been supplementing my running with “strength training” at a local gym. I found this review of the different sorts of characters you find at a gym to be both accurate and amusing.

Did modern physics begin with Galileo’s lectures on how Dante presented Hell in the Inferno? Physics professor Mark Peterson thinks so. In his lectures, Galileo applied mathematics to various widely held views about the structure of the Inferno to show that they were physically impossible.

Michael Novak reflects on Caritas and Capitalism.

Mark Shea offers a very thorough and thoughtful account of the Catholic Church’s teaching on the death penalty.

How did the Church Fathers explain the perpetual virginity of Mary? Jimmy Aiken provides an account.

Some major Muslim scholars and universities are breaking ties with the Vatican in response to Pope Benedict’s reference to “the discrimination endured by Coptic Christians in Egypt.” This is a discouraging bit of news for people interested in inter-religious dialogue. Benedict’s remarks seemed to me to be entirely justified and frankly unremarkable in the wake of the killing of 6 Coptic Christians on Jan 7 at a Christmas Mass. This attack was only the last and most dramatic in a long series of attacks. Reporting suggests that most people who kill Coptic Christians are rarely prosecuted and when they are they are given very light sentences in Egypt. All of this in the context of a middle east that is seeing Christians being killed or exiled in droves, with the possibility that Christianity may practically disappear from the Holy Land (Bethlehem once was 80% Christian and is now just 12%, Christians were once 30% of the population in Jerusalem but now only 1.5%).

An interesting discussion between Fr. Coyne and Richard Dawkins. Dawkins is here both a demanding questioner but also an eager listener, which makes for an excellent interview. I have some reservations about some things Coyne says (and he goes out of his way to say he is not speaking for the RCC here), but it is discussion worth listening to. To explain why he believes, I like this remark from Coynr: "The human being is more than what methodologically science can discover."

About Kleiner

Associate Vice Provost and Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Utah State University. I teach across the curriculum, but am most interested in continental philosophy, ancient and medieval philosophy as well as Catholic thought, all of which might be summed up as an interest in the ressourcement tradition (returning in order to make progress). I also enjoy spending time thinking about liberal education and its ends.
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