September 30, 2019

The idea that neuroscience disproves the existence of free will is prevalent in popular culture. At this point, it’s old news, something that you might hear in passing at a cocktail party or on a talk show. But has it? A closer examination of the literature shows that (1) the neuroscience experiments in question are full of problems and limitations and (2) this isn’t a scientific conclusion at all. The foundational neuroscience research Research in this area began in the... Read more

September 6, 2019

We are in the midst of an epidemic of gun violence in America. Every week seems to bring a new tragedy to the front pages of our newspapers. This year alone, there have already been almost twenty mass shootings. This problem has plagued the United States for decades, and doesn’t show any sign of slowing down. And, tragic as they are, mass shootings account for only a small fraction of all gun-related deaths. They’re only the tip of the iceberg.... Read more

August 31, 2019

Hello everyone, If you’re a regular reader, you noticed that I took a long hiatus this year. During the break, I gave my full attention to the completion of my senior thesis and my graduation from Notre Dame. I also spent my summer at a rural Benedictine Abbey. However, I really missed writing. So, I’ve decided to start blogging again. What’s next? I plan to focus much of my writing on mental health, spirituality, and wellbeing. But I’d love to... Read more

March 25, 2019

In this season, many of us are likely practicing some form of asceticism. The word ascetic comes from the Greek “askein,” which is translated as “to exercise.” Thus, its origin captures its true meaning: training in self-discipline. In our modern life, we have an aversion to such practices. But this attitude is grounded in a misunderstanding. We see asceticism as nothing more than penance, equating self-denial with self-punishment. But this is a misinterpretation. Ascetic discipline is not just to atone... Read more

March 10, 2019

Friday was International Women’s Day, a day that aims to end discrimination against women. This day is an opportunity to remember the extraordinary female trailblazers who have gone before us. Perhaps more importantly, International Women’s Day invites us to celebrate the experiences of ordinary women throughout the world. We all need to work for greater equality and respect for women. Our Church and our world have a long way to go. But reflecting on this day, I would like to... Read more

February 28, 2019

Here are four things that have challenged, informed, and fascinated me lately. 1. How Neuroscience Can Help Your Kid Make Good Choices, from Greater Good (here). Self-regulation is your ability to manage your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors according to what’s in your long-term best interest. A child’s self-regulation ability predicts later personal fulfillment, relationships and success. However, the qualities that support the development of this key characteristic have been declining in recent years. In this review of Erin Clabaugh’s Second Nature:... Read more

February 19, 2019

On Thursday, the Vatican is hosting a summit on preventing clergy sexual abuse. Presidents of bishops’ conferences from around the globe will meet for four days, to listen to survivors and discuss the Church’s response. The main themes of the meeting are responsibility, accountability and transparency. It is absolutely essential that women’s voices are represented at this meeting. Horrific atrocities perpetrated by Catholic priests have torn apart the wellbeing of families, of religious orders, of schools, and of parish communities.... Read more

February 13, 2019

“There is no place in the brain for a soul to be hiding.” I recently heard this phrase on a podcast by Sam Harris, who is an American cognitive neuroscientist and philosopher. Harris, one of the Four Horsemen of Atheism, believes that the self is an illusion that will disappear upon close examination. For Harris, this is a profound liberation, a “relief” akin to waking from sleep. Harris’ argument for this view, though, is based in error. Allow me to... Read more

February 7, 2019

Mental illness is incredibly prevalent in the United States, affecting more than one in five adults. However, those who suffer are often faced with stigma, and fail to receive proper treatment. The results – social, economic, medical – are severe. Not least of these is suicide, rates of which have rapidly increased over the past few decades. And over 90% of those who die by suicide show symptoms of a mental health conditions. When it comes to mental illness, no... Read more

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