Do we need Philosophy when we have Science?

So, I’m on holidays from my first term at university (sorry blog, will do better once I’m doing less economics) and as I’m studying Philosophy (among other things), I have been ever more regularly exposed to the view that Philosophy is Useless. Not that I hadn’t come across it before. The idea is a pretty common one: that we don’t need Philosophy, that it was an OK way of finding truth before we properly worked out the scientific method, but is now as out of… Read more

Understanding Pro-Lifers: An Open Letter to Una Mullally

I don’t want this to become just “Ben’s pro-life blog”, and I’ve got a post on the refugee crisis coming soon. But Una Mullally, a pro-choice Irish Times columnist who I’ve debated with several times in the past, just wrote a piece about abortion, and I wanted to write in response it. I’m not generally a fan of “open letters”, but it seemed to be the best way of writing this. Dear Una, You’ve just written a passionate piece in the Irish… Read more

Are pro-lifers sadder than pro-choicers?

I was blogging over at the Iona Institute, the think-tank at which I work, about euthanasia, and the tenor of the whole thing was rather sad. It ended like this: You can have a look through Anscombe’s evidence guide here. I don’t think that many people will. I don’t think very much of this will get reported. I suspect that at this stage, you either get it or you don’t. I’d love to be wrong. I felt pretty sad while writing… Read more

Abolishing Abortion: Why I fear the European Equilibrium

As the Planned Parenthood “fetal tissue resarch” videos were shining a spotlight on abortion in the US, putting abortion-rights organisations on the defensive and prompting queasiness and sometimes deep thought among pro-choice people, as the Republican Party were once more attempting to have Planned Parenthood defunded, and Marco Rubio was announcing his support for a complete ban on abortion, a very different narrative was unfolding across the Atlantic. Amnesty International in Ireland, which has become about as pro-choice an organisation as… Read more

The Tuam Babies and the Golden Age of Children’s Rights

  Does the modern west really put children first? Ross Douthat has just written a clear, powerful, and quite devastating analysis of the particular flavour of social liberalism that’s coming to dominate our culture. His take is that the new morality favours the rights and privileges of adults over those of children: … with the advance of social liberalism the balance between the rights of the child and the freedom of the parent has tipped in important ways toward adult autonomy, toward a… Read more

Irish Catholicism After Gay Marriage

As Samwise Gamgee once said: “I’m back.” For the past few months, I’ve been occupied – no, fairer to say “consumed by” – participating in the campaign for a No vote in Ireland’s referendum to legalise same sex marriage. I was very much a reluctant warrior on the whole question. As a friend put it to me: “I know the arguments, I know this is right, I know it’s important. But it just feels mean.” But I thought that it was… Read more

Stephen Fry and the Straw Man Theodicy

Stephen Fry recently had a bit of a go at God on Irish television, telling veteran broadcaster Gay Byrne that “The God who created this universe, if he created this universe, is quite clearly a maniac, an utter maniac, totally selfish.” He indicts the nonexistent God for creating a universe with bone cancer and flies that thrive only by eating children’s eyes. The video of him saying this has over five million hits, and counting. Here, give it a few… Read more

Fair play to Leo: quick thoughts on Ireland’s first gay minister

Ireland’s Minister for Health, Leo Varadkar, came out this morning in a radio interview, becoming Ireland’s first openly gay Cabinet Minister. Apparently Minister Varadkar was already out to people close to him, but hadn’t previously made a public statement on the matter. Thankfully, the response in Ireland to Varadkar’s announcement has been overwhelmingly positive.  About the worst he’s got is “shouldn’t make any difference to his job one way or another.” Which is true, but like most others I’d go… Read more

Why We All Need Faith (The Argument From Zombies)

Apologies, all, for my prolonged abscence: I’m still figuring out this whole work/life/blog balance business. Fortunately I was recently reminded of one of the things I always wanted to write about in the event that I one day started blogging, and was thus inspired to go forth and blog about it. What did I want to write about? The idea that faith is above reason. Cue Catechism! “Though faith is above reason, there can never be any real discrepancy between faith… Read more

Loving People In Their Particularity: Making it Easier NOT to Receive Communion

Leah Libresco ran a symposium last week on “Loving Parishioners in their Particularity” about concrete ways that the Church can welcome people in unusual or difficult circumstances. There’ve been a variety of excellent suggestions as to how to welcome specific groups of people – those suffering with depression, single people, or people with disabilities. My proposal (one that’s probably too late to be part of the symposium proper, but was certainly inspired by it) has more in common with Calah Alexander’s post on parish ministries… Read more


Browse Our Archives