Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Crony capitalism, croniest capitalism

I read this article over the weekend, and it is very illuminating, one of the best reflections on the structural problems we face in the ongoing financial crisis. The lack of obvious solutions to the problem of oligarchic capitalism suggests to me that the west is headed in a direction that Latin American societies have known for a long time. The rich grow richer, the poor, poorer.

Monday, March 30, 2009

The Pope and Africa

Yes, I know - everyone has been over and over this.... But is there a perspective or two that we haven't heard from?

These two articles are among the best I've seen: social, even left-wing liberals who want us to take Pope Benedict XVI very seriously:

1) Edward Green, the now famous Harvard medical researcher.

2) Michael Czerny, a Canadian Jesuit and former head of the Faith and Social Action Office here in Canada , and now Director of the African Jesuit AIDS Network (AJAN).

Read and enjoy the calm, reasonable but not utterly defensive analysis, as opposed to the rest of the "commentary" out there.

Update: Here is a nuanced response to responses by Ross Douthat. Again, balanced and not defensive.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Odd Passion of Bart Ehrman

Never heard of him? Think of Christopher Hitchens working in a Religious Studies department with a promotion agency working full time on his behalf, and that's more or less Ehrman. Well, here's an unbridled critique that is worth a good chuckle even if it could be more substantial.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Title & Abstract for May Conference

For this conference:

Pride, Envy and Human Nature: Beyond Darwinian Conservatism

This paper outlines a theological anthropology that responds to an evolutionary portrait of human nature in dialogue with Darwinian conservative moral theory and natural law theory. This paper outlines an approach with affinities to Darwinian conservatism, a contemporary political natural law theory. However, it offers a corrective to this and other moral theories which rely too readily on human desire instead of value. Through reference to the work of Pope, Porter and Lonergan, this paper claims that a theological interpretation of human nature is both a plausible and a necessary supplementary account. The acknowledgement of human sin, especially pride and envy, is the key connection between natural law theory and a theological anthropology. Sin is a theological category that responds to traditional and Darwinian natural law without being an imposition on evolutionary theory. Christian redemption is founded as a response to sin, mindful of the need to critically assess any natural law theory in the light of God’s revelation.

I'm finishing it up in April. Any comments?

Friday, March 20, 2009

The Lowest of the Low

In Journalism, that is... Canada's "national" newspaper, The Globe and Mail, went haywire the other day in a screed against Canada's Minister for Science and Technology, who apparently gave some vague indication or other that there is a problem with the theory of evolution. While he has since clarified his agreement with the theory (me: whew... good), the anti-religious 'journalism' that unleashed the predictable online torrent of atheist attacks was appalling. Despite his otherwise untrustworthy editorial line on a range of issues, this piece by David Asper, he of Canwest Corp., is absolutely bang on.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Stem Cells...

Time does not permit me to begin the necessary analysis of Obama's lifting of restrictions on U.S. government funding of embryonic stem cell research. This was inevitable for all the reasons that others have mentioned in the political press. But, I could not see any analysis in the tv / newspaper reports on the advances in adult stem cell research that have made embryonic stem cell research redundant, or at least overstated. The media coverage of the past few days appeared to overlook 5 years of exponentially more important advances in adult stem cell research. But maybe you saw analysis that did take this into consideration.

At any rate, here is Ross Douthat, America's most articulate young political conservative on the matter, in characteristically sharp style.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Understanding the recession. Take 2.

Can't resist Tom Friedman's post on the links between the recession and the ecological dimensions of its' causes. Read it yourself. It's not depressing, not panic driven and well done. It simply sums up what many of us have been noticing for years.