Lumen Fidei: Remounting My Hobby Horse

man watching galaxy

One of my hobby horses is the relationship between faith and reason in general, and between faith and science in particular. God is truth; the cosmos (the universe, the multiverse, the succession of Big Bangs and Big Crunches, or whatever else it turns out to be in its entirety) is God's creation; God's revelation and our observations of objective reality cannot, in the end, be in conflict. Our scientific theories are not perfect; there is always the possibility of going deeper, of … [Read more...]

Coming to a Clojure


I'm a software engineer at my day job, and I'm a long-time programming language junkie. Every so often I find that I need to spend time learning a new programming language, just to keep my brain working freely. Just recently I've been experimenting with a language called Clojure.Fair warning: the remainder of this post is going to be mondo geeky.Clojure is yet another variant of LISP, which is itself one of the oldest computer languages in the world. I've never written any production … [Read more...]

Celebrating the Full Orchestral Grunt

Or, another chapter in the long-running series, "Odd Things from Pandora". So across Pandora one day came streaming the song "Whatever Lola Wants," recorded by Carmen McRae in the mid 1950's. It's from the show Damn Yankees, in which Lola isn't simply a femme fatale, she's the Devil's assistant. The recording is typical non-rock-n-roll '50's pop: a singer backed by a brass orchestra. Now, I'd never heard the song before; I only recognized the name because once in a while my dad would say, in … [Read more...]

Word I Wish I’d Written: Sweaters

Monkey Typing

It really was an awful garment, that pullover. It had a queasy zigzag pattern, in many strange, unhappy colors. It looked like something knitted as a present by a colorblind aunt, the sort of thing you wouldn’t dare throw away in case the garbage collectors laughed at you and kicked your trash cans over.— Terry Pratchett, Thud!Now that's an awful sweater! … [Read more...]

The Long and the Short of Infinite Regressions

Father and Son *

One of my favorite philosophy bloggers is James Chastek at Just Thomism. I find his posts more challenging than Ed Feser's (one of my other favorites); Feser's usually going out of his to explain Thomism (and Scholastic philosophy in general) to those outside the tradition, while Chastek's posts are more usually reflections or even meditations on something he's been pondering. As such they take longer to read and appreciate, and far too often I don't make the attempt. I've long thought that I … [Read more...]

Review: Killing Rommel, by Steven Pressfield

Field Marshall Rommel

Most of Steven Pressfield's war novels take place in the distant past; Killing Rommel takes place more recently, in the North African desert during the World War II British campaign against the Germans.  Germany's Afrika Korps was commanded by Field Marshal Erwin Rommel, the "Desert Fox"; a highly decorated veteran of World War I, Rommel was one of the most skilled commanders on either side of the war, and defeating him took the combined efforts of General George S. Patton, Field Marshall Mo … [Read more...]

CT 3.4: The End of the Causal Chain


In which we see what's at the end of the causal chain. Continuing my look at Chapter 3 of the Compendium Theologiae. The complete series is here.In the previous posts on this chapter, we saw that when Thomas uses examples, he's illustrating a principle, not offering evidence for it; that even obsolete science had some sense to it, and can still be useful as an illustration; and that there are two kinds of causal chains. In one kind of causal chain we have a sequence of "movers", each of … [Read more...]

Lumen Fidei: When Practice and Theory Don’t Match

Angry man with knife

There's an old joke that's not really a joke: Q: What's the difference between theory and practice? A: In theory, there's no difference; and in practice there is.This is actually the best description of the difference between theory and practice that I've seen, and it gets to the heart of it. Theory is clean, pure, and ideal; practice is real, messy, and human. Practice can approach theory in the best of us...and then, there's the rest of us.Last week, I wrote that Christian truth is … [Read more...]

A Voyage to Mars, by Sea-Plane

The Marshall Mars

In December of 2004, scientists from the Hawaii Underwater Research Lab discovered the sunken hulk of a seaplane called the Marshall Mars, one of six giant seaplanes built for the U.S. Navy by the Martin Corporation during World War II. After Pearl Harbor, industrialist Henry J. Kaiser responded to fears of Japanese submarines preying on American shipping by suggesting that his shipyards turn out a fleet of flying boats. He eventually teamed up with Howard Hughes to build the Spruce Goose. The … [Read more...]