Benjamin Studebaker

Yet Another Attempt to Make the World a Better Place by Writing Things

Tag: Catholicism

A Critique of Sam Harris

Over at Current Affairs, Nathan Robinson and Eli Massey have written the critique of Sam Harris. Robinson offers a magisterial, detailed overview of the rhetorical sleights of hand Harris uses to give relatively weak, unoriginal positions the imprimatur of “science” and “reason”. I want to add something to this discussion–something Robinson touches on but which I want to stay with for a minute. There is a core problem with the way Harris thinks which necessarily generates bad takes on Islam and the Muslim world.

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The Thing Scaramucci Gets Right

From time to time, we get famous speakers at Cambridge. Yesterday brought us Anthony “The Mooch” Scaramucci–President Trump’s briefly tenured communications director. The Mooch had some low points. When asked about climate change, Scaramucci claimed that the phenomenon is 60% human caused, but 40% caused by “natural cycles” which affect “the earth’s position relative to the sun.” This drew audible laughter from the audience. I learned in middle school about the Milankovitch cycles–the problem for the Mooch is that they take tens of thousands of years and move much too slowly to account in any significant way for changes in the climate that occur over just a couple hundred years. But while the man has his flaws, he did make one point that bears repeating–for some reason, it’s still okay in American politics to pick on Italian-Americans.

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The Next Pope

So Pope Benedict XVI (whom I have written about previously) has decided to resign on account of declining health and old age.  This poses an interesting question–who should the catholic church next select for its highest office? Naturally, I have a few ideas.

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Pope Benedict XVI and Homosexuality

“Is the pope catholic?” is a common sarcastic response to a question to which the answer is obvious. “Does the pope oppose homosexuality?” is a question with a similarly clear answer. So it comes as little surprise to people that the pope chose to use his Christmas address to the Vatican bureaucracy, one of the seminal speeches on the papal calendar, to denounce homosexuality and gay marriage. This opinion should shock no one; it certainly does not shock me. It does, however, illustrate a deep problem with the moral philosophy of the church and of religious moral philosophies more broadly.

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