Friday, December 06, 2013

The Pretense of Knowledge

Friedrich Hayek won the 1974 Nobel Prize in economics. This is from his acceptance speech:
To act on the belief that we possess the knowledge and the power which enable us to shape the processes of society entirely to our liking, knowledge which in fact we do not possess, is likely to make us do much harm. In the physical sciences there may be little objection to trying to do the impossible; one might even feel that one ought not to discourage the over-confident because their experiments may after all produce some new insights. But in the social field the erroneous belief that the exercise of some power would have beneficial consequences is likely to lead to a new power to coerce other men being conferred on some authority.
Later in the same speech:
The recognition of the insuperable limits to his knowledge ought indeed to teach the student of society a lesson of humility which should guard him against becoming an accomplice in men's fatal striving to control society - a striving which makes him not only a tyrant over his fellows, but which may well make him the destroyer of a civilization which no brain has designed but which has grown from the free efforts of millions of individuals.
HT: The Wall Street Journal.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Sam Rocha’s Strange and Startling Philosophy of Education

Stephen H. Webb's review of Sam Rocha's Primer for Philosophy and Education, in which Rocha
goes to some length to distinguish painting from priming, and as you read him, you realize that he is describing not priming but educating. He is showing his readers how education works by describing an analogous activity.

Monday, November 18, 2013

The Christian Intellectual

In The Christian Intellectual, R.R. Reno considers
How, then, should the Christian intellectual proceed? What should be our approach to higher education and academic work? More broadly, how should we view our distinctive vocation as intellectuals?
Among his conclusions is the following observation:
A genuine intellectual serves truth, a Christian intellectual all the more so. The truth, moreover, is sought by other people as well, which is why the intellectual life means participating in a conversation rather than embarking on a solo voyage. A loving intellect therefore seeks to advance the intellectual lives of others.

Saturday, November 09, 2013

The End of Protestantism

The article The End of Protestantism classifies Christians outside the Catholic Church into two types:
A Protestant exaggerates his distance from Roman Catholicism on every point of theology and practice, and is skeptical of Roman Catholics who say that they believe in salvation by grace. A Reformational Catholic cheerfully acknowledges that he shares creeds with Roman Catholics, and he welcomes reforms and reformulations as hopeful signs that we might at last stake out common ground beyond the barricades.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Christopher Columbus, the missionary

According to Robert Royal,
Columbus believed that the Church urgently needed to travel to and evangelize all nations so that Christ could return in triumph.
Hat tip: First Thoughts.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

The interview with Pope Francis

The complete interview with Pope Francis from America Magazine. HT: Archbishop Lori. Some quotes:
“I see the holiness,” the pope continues, “in the patience of the people of God: a woman who is raising children, a man who works to bring home the bread, the sick, the elderly priests who have so many wounds but have a smile on their faces because they served the Lord, the sisters who work hard and live a hidden sanctity."
“I see clearly,” the pope continues, “that the thing the church needs most today is the ability to heal wounds and to warm the hearts of the faithful; it needs nearness, proximity. I see the church as a field hospital after battle."

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Unoriginal Weddings

Anna Williams discusses unoriginal weddings:
One blessing of getting married in the Catholic Church is this unoriginality.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Bryce Harper's swing

In The Washington Post, Adam Kilgore lauds Bryce Harper's "swing of beauty."

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Medical Diagnosis Tool

This Seasonal Allergies or Bubonic Plague Diagnostic Tool is very appropriate, especially since I just gave my students a quiz today that covered the expected value of imperfect information. I'm estimating the expected value of this tool as $0.