Stephen Hawking is a brilliant physicist…

06/16/2010 Comments (31)

and an absolutely room temperature average member of the British intelligentsia when he stops talking about his field of expertise and starts talking philosophy and religion.

What particularly amuses me is “There is a fundamental difference between religion, which is based on authority, [and] science, which is based on observation and reason. Science will win because it works.”

Two things are funny about this.  First, is the suggestion that “religion” (and by that, members of the UK Chattering classes typically mean “Christianity and especially popery”) doesn’t “work”.  I have no idea what that is supposed to mean.  It’s true that religion doesn’t “work” if you are trying to use it to...READ MORE

Filed under intellect worship vs. intellect use

George Orwell once said

06/14/2010 Comments (34)

that some ideas are so foolish, only an intellectual could believe them.

Here is Peter Singer, Brilliant Philosopher, on the solution—one might even call it the “final solution” for climate change:

Here is a thought experiment to test our attitudes to this view. Most thoughtful people are extremely concerned about climate change. Some stop eating meat, or flying abroad on vacation, in order to reduce their carbon footprint. But the people who will be most severely harmed by climate change have not yet been conceived. If there were to be no future generations, there would be much less for us to feel to guilty about.

So why don’t we make ourselves the last generation on earth? If we would...READ MORE

Filed under sin makes you stupid

Ignorant Armies Clash By Night

06/11/2010 Comments (28)

Last week, the English press got all breathy about the “hint” that Titan, one of Saturn’s moons, might have some microscopic critters crawling about on or under its surface.  The hintiness of the evidence is very hinty indeed, but it was interesting enough to sell a little beer and shampoo (the true function of the media), so the editors went with the story and the commenters immediately came out of the woodwork to Tell Us What it All Means.

What fascinates me is how much exercise people get leaping to conclusions, constructing non sequiturs, and, of course, boasting about their superior faculties of reason (over religious people) or (a much smaller minority in the Country that Used to be...READ MORE

Filed under fundamentalists both religious and atheistic

Confirming Really Little Kids

06/09/2010 Comments (18)

A reader writes:

While you may not be the best source for my questions but in that your name came to mind first, so here goes.

I have been writing/publishing/developing the Little Flowers Girls Program ( for many years now.  I strive to develop a program that fits the needs of families while teaching the girls a bit about virtue life, etc.

Here’s the problem - one of our ‘wreaths’ is written for girls preparing for Confirmation and was developed for girls approx. 12 and up as I found (or thought I found) that was a pretty good median age for this sacrament.

However, I have been contacted by one woman whose girls will be getting confirmed in 3rd grade along with...READ MORE

Filed under mailbag

But I Learn So Much from Glenn Beck!

06/07/2010 Comments (229)

One seldom runs into Catholics who like to wade through books like The God Delusion for those valuable nuggets of truth they can glean from the ocean of Augean muck that are the atheistic diatribes of Richard Dawkins.  Most Catholics seem to figure out quickly that the signal-to-noise ratio makes the game not worth the candle.  If they want an education in science and religion, they realize, they had better apply to people like Fr. Stanley Jaki, who understood both rather well.

But rare is the day when I point out that Glenn Beck is as reliable a guide to matters of faith and the public square as Dawkins is to faith and science that I do not hear the complaining squawk, “But I learn so...READ MORE

Filed under pseudoknowledge

Police State Spirituality

06/04/2010 Comments (6)

Over at Catholic and Enjoying It, somebody sent me a link to a new movie about the Algerian martyrs and then jokingly asked if I had seen the action-packed film Into Great Silence.  (If you don’t know, Into Great Silence is a rich contemplative film that takes a long slow look at the lives of some Benedictine monks.  For a really great review of the film, see the Register‘s own Steven Greydanus, who loved it).

As I confessed to my reader, I’ve never seen the film.  However, I did have a small anecdote since a Dominican priest of my acquaintance had gone to see it and, with the cross town high school rivalry one sometimes sees exhibited among the various orders with their various charisms,...READ MORE

Filed under catholicity

Might as Well Face it, You're Addicted to Prayer

06/03/2010 Comments (21)

A reader writes:

My praying the rosary has become an “addictive” habit.  I only do it once a day, but now I feel compelled, in a virtually “addictive” way, to do it once a day, because otherwise I feel deprived.

(An intelligently ecumenical gloss:  I have some Sufi friends - of the Jerrahi Order, “apostolates” of Rumi who I think might actually be a Saint even though he was a nominal Muslim - who have told me that in THEIR order of Sufism, “to forget to pray is its own punishment, because if you forget to pray then you are depriving yourself of God’s company.”)

Anyway, the rosary has literally become a “habit” to which I feel “addicted”, although not in a compulsive way.  I simply feel...READ MORE

Filed under mailbag

Prochoice Mystical Rubbish

05/31/2010 Comments (35)

A reader from Australia writes:

Thought you might find this story interesting.

The parents of a 32-week-old (in utero) baby, who was killed when her mother was run over, are pushing for the driver to be charged with murder or manslaughter.

The second line of the story sums it up…

But according to New South Wales law, Zoe Ball was not a human being because, despite spending eight months in her mother’s womb, the baby did not take a breath.

I live in Victoria, the state south of NSW, which last year decriminalised abortion and effectively legalised it up to 40 weeks (on demand up to 24 weeks, with approval of two doctors after that).

Any changes NSW might make won’t impact on us, though...READ MORE

Filed under culture of death watch

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About Mark Shea

Mark Shea
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Mark P. Shea is a popular Catholic writer and speaker. The author of numerous books, his most recent work is The Work of Mercy (Servant) and The Heart of Catholic Prayer (Our Sunday Visitor). Mark contributes numerous articles to many magazines, including his popular column “Connecting the Dots” for the National Catholic Register. Mark is known nationally for his one minute “Words of Encouragement” on Catholic radio. He also maintains the Catholic and Enjoying It blog. He lives in Washington state with his wife, Janet, and their four sons.