God and Infinite Choices

William Rowe, in Can God be Free? (2004), gives us three propositions

A) There necessarily exists an essentially omnipotent, essentially omniscient, essentially perfectly good being who has created a world.

B) If an omniscient being creates a world when there is a better world that it could have created, then it is possible that there exists a being morally better than it.

C) For any creatable world there is a better creatable world. (pg. 120)

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Freedom and Obedience

Brian McDaniel, the blogger at Ora et Labora, has been spearheading an effort to put together an electronic petition of 4000 “signatures” in support of the decision by the Board of Trustees of the University of San Diego (a Catholic university) to rescind its offer of a senior, chaired position to radical heterodox theologian Rosemary Radford Reuther. I have signed the petition and I hope that others will as well, but the issue raises the question of what the relationship is supposed to be at a Catholic University between academic freedom and obedience to Church teaching.

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Are Non-Catholics Blind?

Alvin Plantinga has argued that Christian beliefs such as the existence of God, incarnation, etc. can be warranted in a properly basic way. Those who do not believe in the existence of God have some kind of impairment in their cognitive faculties which is a result of original sin. In other words, there is something wrong with those who do not believe in God; they are blind. Can we apply them to the Catholic Church and other religions? Suppose that the Catholic Church is the true Church of Christ. The Church proposes:

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Criticizing the Church

Every Catholic, every human person, was affected by the scandal made here in by priests and bishops. The ugliness and evil we saw committed by people who were supposed to be holy, supposed to be an example for the world, are intolerable. Those who thirsted for justice criticized, rightly, the Church. There is, then, an appropriate criticism of the Church. There is also the question of doctrine and disciplines. How can the Church proclaim a dogma such as the Assumption of Mary when the evidence seems to be lacking? How can the Church require men to be celibate simply because they have the vocation of priesthood? How come the Church does not support and affirm homosexuals properly? Why did the Church propose the new mass? The questions are endless and they need to be endless.

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The Flynn Effect

At Mike’s suggestion I adapt, below, a post that has already been published at my other blog, An Examined Life. The overall substance of the post is the same, but I have made a few minor alterations to reflect the change in venue.

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Just what is transubstantiation, anyway?

Fr. Al Kimel recently wrote a post that got me thinking about transubstantiation again. Its title is a question: Is Transubstantiation Bodily Enough? The long discussion sparked by that post over at De Cure Animarum stimulated anew my thinking about this topic. As with such questions as “Were you a zygote?“, which Scott addressed in the previous post here, much hinges on how we understand the hoary metaphysical concept of “substance.” As a simple matter of fact, there is no one metaphysical concept of substance that all philosophers, even all Catholic philosophers, agree on; so, the question arises which concept of substance, if any, is best. In order to understand Catholic dogma to the extent it can be understood, some account of substance can and ought to be given; for a certain understanding of substance, however hard to pin down, underlies said dogma. That’s what I want to bring out here.

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Me and My Zygote

Bill Vallicella of Maverick Philosopher has asked for assessments of an argument by Barry Smith and Berit Brogaard to the effect that zygotes are not substantially the same as the successor entitites that they (apparently) develop into. Bill summarizes the argument as follows:

1. The unicellular zygote is predestined to undergo fission.
2. Whatever undergoes fission ceases to exist at the moment of fission.
Therefore
3. The unicellular zygote will cease to exist at the moment of fission.
4. If a substance S ceases to exist at time t, then no substance S* existing at a time later than t is transtemporally identical to S.
5. The unicellular zygote is a substance.
6. A post-birth human being is a substance.
Therefore
7. No post-birth human being is transtemporally identical to a unicellular zygote.

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