Meme Watch: Economic Bullsh*t


I hate memes like the above with a deep and fiery passion. Not because it is untrue, because I have no idea whether its immediate claims are true or not, but because it's bullshit.The word "bullshit" is a technical term in the philosophical community these days. It means speech used to persuade and manipulate others, with no concern for whether the speech is true or not. A bullshitter doesn't necessarily lie to you; the essence of bullshitting is that he doesn't care whether he's lying to … [Read more...]

CT 8: Absence of Succession in God

Succession: One thing after another

We’re blogging through St. Thomas Aquinas’ Compendium Theologiae, sometimes called his Shorter Summa. Find the previous posts here.We’ve established that God is eternal and everlasting and unchanging; and now Thomas himself shows what that means: there is now this, and then this, and then that in God, not in the sense of things happening one after another in time. Clearly, therefore, no succession occurs in God. His entire existence is simultaneous. Succession is not found except in things t … [Read more...]

Lumen Fidei: The Ten Commandments, an Invitation to Love


The first thing that comes to most people's minds when you say, "The Ten Commandments," I think (aside from the obligatory nod to Charlton Heston for people of a Certain Age) is "Thou Shalt Not". The Ten Commandments are all of the things you aren't allowed to do: Thou Shalt Not Steal, Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery, Thou Shalt Not Even Covet. We see them as negative, as impinging on our American freedom to do whatever the hell we want to do.In paragraph 46 of Lumen Fidei, Pope Francis … [Read more...]

Quill: A Build System for TCL/TK

I'm taking a break from posting about Clojure this week, because a few weeks ago my study of Clojure inspired me to work on a non-Clojure project. That sounds odd, I suppose, but it's often the way: in studying some programming language I'm not familiar with, I get ideas for work in areas I am familiar with.In this case the inspiration came from the Leiningen build tool, which I gushed about a couple of months ago. To recap, a budding Clojure programmer need only download Leiningen; and it … [Read more...]

Stan Rogers: Watching the Apples Grow

I've finally got my Internet access back (at close-of-business on Thursday) and so I'm scrambling to get some posts up. And when I thought of what I should post as a song for Friday, this sprightly tune by Stan Rogers popped into my head: "Watching the Apples Grow". It makes me happy. … [Read more...]

Words I Wish I’d Written: On Using Magic

Oh, you could do it all by magic, you certainly could. You could wave a wand and get twinkly stars and a fresh-baked loaf. You could make fish jump out of the sea already cooked. And then, somewhere, somehow, magic would present its bill, which was always more than you could afford.That’s why it was left to wizards, who knew how to handle it safely. Not doing any magic at all was the chief task of wizards—not “not doing magic” because they couldn’t do magic, but not doing magic when they co … [Read more...]

Technical Difficulties

The internet has been broken at our house since yesterday morning. It isn't clear whether our DSL modem needs replacing, or whether it's the ISP's fault; but it's kind of irrelevant as I signed up with a different internet provider last week and they are coming to get everything installed tomorrow. With luck, I'll be completely back on the air as of tomorrow afternoon.In the mean time, have a nice day! … [Read more...]

Review: Going Postal


So last night I finished reading Terry Pratchett's Going Postal to my wife and kids. Going Postal is in an odd category: it's a full-fledge novel that I have only ever read aloud. I read it to Jane when it was first released, and now to Jane and my kids. Jane and I loved it on the first reading, and I'm glad to say that it held up on the second reading.In fact, I might go so far as to say that Going Postal is one of Pratchett's best, and it's certainly one of my favorites, in part because … [Read more...]

CT 7: The Everlasting Existence of God

We’re blogging through St. Thomas Aquinas’ Compendium Theologiae, sometimes called his Shorter Summa. Find the previous posts here.When I first read Chapter 7 of the Compendium, I rather thought that Thomas was repeating himself. In Chapter 3 he showed that God exists; in Chapter 5, he showed that God is eternal. Here in Chapter 7, he's showing that God exists "always". Hasn't he already done that?I think the key is the distinction between the words eternal and always. As I argued in … [Read more...]