Mark 9:24

Posts Tagged ‘out of the silent planet’

Admirable atheists and the schizoid man

In On Atheism on August 21, 2011 at 5:27 am

There are a few atheist personalities I admire with splagchnizomai, and because of their love for truth. Doctrinally, we know atheists can have truth because God is good and without God exists nothing and nobody, and this parallels the notion introduced to me by annotations in The Divine Comedy that every vice is a twisted virtue. Lewis confirms this, most notably in Out of the Silent Planet, where “evil”  has no closer analogue in the Martian language than “bent.”

Truth is always the priority.

I repeat myself: it is a plain fact that there is truth everywhere. Indeed, it is so plain that we need not resort to religious reasoning to make heads or tails of it, though I did take that liberty. Starting from the premise that no man is wholly without virtue or truth, here are at least a few admirable trends in what so many atheists call simply, “the movement.”

  • Fidelity to truth. Rejection of Christianity may often be the first religious experience an atheist has, if from a place of reverence for truth. If from a place of mockery and iconoclasm for the sake of iconoclasm, however, it is a hollow movement.
  • Believing firmly that belief matters. Fr. Robert Barron pointed out the now-obvious observation that atheists care about religion as much as the deeply devout.
  • They are very vocal. In an age when the Gospel is stifled by pseudo-evangelical compromises and platitudes and doing your own thing, atheism rings like a clear bell in a foggy swamp, to borrow a phrase.

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Chaos theories

In Lay Meditations on July 25, 2011 at 2:26 am

Being more a grammarian than a mathematician, and having more interest in what symbols convey than what they describe, the phrase, “chaos theory,” is wonderfully deep. Is it an absurd joke played on us by men smarter than we’ll ever be? I say this with the profoundest respect, keeping in mind the delightful oddity of mathematicians. Keeping in mind their particular character, however, we must reject this hypothesis.

To depict chaos in any way is to define it.

If mathematicians fool around in their jokes with concepts from mere calculus, when it comes to their work they are as much the monomaniac as any specialist. I decide, therefore, that they are serious in talking of chaos theory. I think this does a great credit to men of numbers that such a field can exist without self-contradiction, and, even if not, perhaps it describes a number of impulses of faith made by the mathematicians, at least some of them good. We must note that the idea that there can be any theory about chaos is a huge profession of faith on the part of a mathematician. It means that, “No matter how disorganized this seems, there must at least be some rules governing it.”

For emphasis: All things, even chaos, have some order. No science is possible without the belief that for what exists there is explanation. If scientists did not harbor this assumption, science would have no motive power. We would guess once and, failing, would settle for a mystery. God of the gaps indeed. On the other hand, perhaps it reflects a grim finality: This is really chaos.

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