September 2, 2014

Why Scientists Have a “Particle Fever”

LHC

 Many scientists, especially those in physics and biology, hate any explanation for natural phenomenon that includes the word God. This is often derisively referred to as the “God of the gaps,” meaning that any gap in our knowledge is filled with God as an explanation. That just will not do, nor should it. Science properly understood answers empirical questions, not philosophical or metaphysical questions. This is a huge problem for modern atheists because many are trying to make science a branch of metaphysics, and it was simply not designed (oops, sorry) to answer those questions. However, everybody who does science …continue reading

Why Scientists Have a “Particle Fever”

LHC

 Many scientists, especially those in physics and biology, hate any explanation for natural phenomenon that includes the word God. This is often derisively referred to as the “God of the gaps,” meaning that any gap in our knowledge is filled with God as an explanation. That just will not do, nor should it. Science properly understood answers empirical questions, not philosophical or metaphysical questions. This is a huge problem for modern atheists because many are trying to make science a branch of metaphysics, and it was simply not designed (oops, sorry) to answer those questions. However, everybody who does science …continue reading

Battle of Houdinis Begins Tonight: History Channel vs. Classic-Era Hollywood

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 History Channel’s four-hour miniseries Houdini, about the celebrated American stage magician and escape artist, begins tonight, with part 1 airing from 9 to 11 p.m. EDT. Oscar winner Adrien Brody stars as the title character. The Hollywood Reporter provides a convenient summary of critics’ reactions to the series. Here is my even more convenient summary of their summary: Brody is quite good, the visual effects and direction are entertaining, the screenplay is weak and historically inaccurate, and the psychological disturbances attributed to the title character are dubious at best. Conclusion: I’ll give it a look, but I’m not counting on it not …continue reading

Art, Architecture, and the Sacred

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 Writing at NewGeography.com, Dallas architect Julien Meyrat explains why modern architecture fails to connect with the sense of sacredness that religious institutions have customarily tried to convey in their structures: Outside a few rare examples such as Ronchamp, I sense that Modernism has failed to deliver an architecture that connects with most Catholics and other traditional Christians. Much of this has to do with fact that Modernism as a cultural movement is inherently atheistic as it is based on a secular materialist philosophy. Even Renzo Piano admits as much, describing his client from the convent: “She has a profound love of architecture, …continue reading

Melville Davisson Post’s Mysteries: Relief for Those Weary of Excessive Darkness

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 Many readers find modern genre fiction to be excessively “dark” and depressive, and for good reason. There is much, much good in the contemporary American culture, but even the works with sound foundations tend to have to obey the current desire for jaded bleakness. Thus even popular mystery TV series that foreground humor and distinctive, charming, characters must dwell on images of death and decay and explorations of perverse psychologies and diseased social milieux, as in NCIS and Castle. Some curiosity about the biological and psychological hazards found around us is a good and healthy thing, but too much interest in such matters suggests …continue reading

Stossel: End the EPA

WMON_Green_Monster

 Award-winning journalist John Stossel is devoting his program tonight on the Fox Business Network (FBN) to slaying what he calls the “Green Monster”: the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The episode prominently features Heartland Institute Science Director Jay Lehr, author of a recent Policy Study titled “Replacing the EPA.” (It’s available for free at the link.) [Full disclosure: I edited the study.] In his study, Lehr, who was one of the key figures who originated the EPA during the early 1970s, argues that the agency has outgrown its usefulness: the nation’s air, water, and land are far cleaner than when the agency was created, and …continue reading

Yes Liberals, Families Do Matter

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 It seems like there isn’t a weekend in Chicago this summer where we don’t hear about horrific shootings in the city and more innocent, usually young people dying. The July Fourth weekend was an especially violent one for the city. As the article linked to asserts in its title, the city has become a war zone. That’s quite a statement. Chicago isn’t Iraq, but I’m sure walking some streets in certain parts of the city at night might feel like it. What could cause such a cultural breakdown that civilization itself seems in peril? I would argue the answer is …continue reading

An Above-Average Superhero Story

JOE AVERAGE COVER

 Duncan MacMaster is the proprietor of The Furious D Show, one of the most interesting movie blogs in operation. His focus is not movie art or movie personalities, but movie business. In other words, his focus is a particular brand of insanity. And that’s always entertaining. He’s also written a novel which isn’t bad at all. Joe Average is a satire in the form of a superhero story. Ken Burton is pretty much Superman, but less romantic. Overweight and physically unimpressive, he was nevertheless struck by a meteor as a teenager, and acquired incredible strength and the ability to fly. (He lacks x-ray vision.) The only …continue reading

Koontz’s Latest: Lyrical, Tragic, and Brilliant

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 After you have suffered great losses and known much pain, it is not cowardice to wish to live henceforth with a minimum of suffering. And one form of heroism, about which few if any films will be made, is having the courage to live without bitterness when bitterness is justified, having the strength to persevere even when perseverance seems unlikely to be rewarded, having the resolution to find profound meaning in life when it seems the most meaningless. One of the many things I love about Dean Koontz is the breadth of his artistic pallet. Your average bestselling writer (and I …continue reading

Can the Romantic Drama Be Rescued?

If-I-Stay

 A popular film genre that has seldom received much respectful attention from critics and scholars is the romantic drama. Such “women’s films” were a mainstay during Hollywood’s golden age of the 1930s and ’40s, as female stars such as Greta Garbo, Bette Davis, Kay Francis, Joan Crawford, and Jane Wyman performed in a steady stream of such films, including classics or near-classics such as Camille, Jezebel, Romeo and Juliet, Dark Victory, Letter from an Unknown Woman, Magnificent Obsession, and All That Heaven Allows. Since the 1950s, however, the romantic drama has not fared well, and in recent years such films have been saddled …continue reading

The Origin of Specious Thinking: Public Schools

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 Writing in Canon and Culture, Prof. Colin Garbarino of Houston Baptist University poses an interesting and accurate critique of the common notion that the nation’s colleges and universities indoctrinate a generally conservative or at least politically and culturally neutral incoming student population into advanced progressive leftism and political correctness. They do impose such an agenda, he notes, but the overwhelming majority of students they are indoctrinating have already heard and adopted its fundamental premises upon arrival. In other words, Garbarino argues, the colleges and universities are building on a foundation laid for years in the student’s life by the public education establishment and the …continue reading

Marathon Celebrates Quarter-Century of ‘The Simpsons’

Stonecutters

 Fire up your DVR, and be prepared to make some tough choices: the FXX Network begins its Simpsons marathon tomorrow at 11 a.m. EDT, to mark the fact that the show will now be broadcast regularly on the channel after years of syndication on local broadcast TV stations (where it will continue to be shown as well). Soon to enter its 26th season of production, The Simpsons is obviously one of the most successful TV series of all time, earning loyal viewership over the years through its combination of wild humor and occasional heartfelt moments, plus characters and places audiences felt comfortable …continue reading

Don’t Fear the Data-Reaper?

data-mining

 Two articles today show how the Internet economy tends to be like the overall economy but much, much faster. Innovation is faster, the rise of new companies is faster, and maturing and death of those firms is likewise faster than in the industrial and service sectors that preceded it and remain in place beside it. The incredibly rapid rise of sales of smartphone apps, for example, has topped out and is likely headed for a precipitous decline, the Financial Times reports: Almost a third of smartphone users do not download any apps for their devices in a typical month, according to a …continue reading

Pol Pot & Associates, LLP

polpot

  The stage setting for this latest play by Kathleen Akerley (who also directs it) is the inside of a rural house. It has many windows offering many perspectives.  All around it, the stage is black.  This is fitting  because the six residents have largely moved there to withdraw from the world for which they have distaste, perhaps even disdain,   They were all working at a law firm in an unidentified city. Two were lawyers, the rest performed other roles from office  manager to making photocopies. Now they do things like teach, fix automobiles, and perform acupuncture Their commune is based upon equality and a return …continue reading

Bogie, Bacall, and Communism

Actor Humphrey Bogart protests at a hearing of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Un-American Activities, as Lauren Bacall watches

 Paul Kengor, one of the top contemporary experts on the infiltration of the United States by Communists under the control or influence of the Soviet Union in the 1940s and ’50s, writes in today’s American Spectator a fascinating summary of Communist involvement among Hollywood actors during that period, which was real, pervasive, and which claimed Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall as prominent and influential supporters for a time. Kengor writes, in part: The facts are that Lauren Bacall herself learned the truth about communism in Hollywood. She admitted to being badly duped by bad guys. She learned her lesson, even …continue reading

Why We Love Woody Allen

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 Well, I can tell you why Christians love Woody Allen, being as I am one and I know this fondness among our kind isn’t unique to me. The title of a piece at Real Clear Religion gives us a hint: “Woody Allen’s Bleak Vision.” Which seems like a strange thing to consider lovable, but if you know Allen’s work and have an interest in metaphysical realities, you might be able to guess where I’m going with this. Woody Allen’s face gives away his general disposition about his worldview. It’s an amalgam of sad, perplexed and tired; you might say bleak. …continue reading

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