Given my recent preoccupation with "life" issues generally and with the pro-life / pro-choice debate generally, I thought it might be advisable to reprint this column from several years ago for the sake of the statistics it contains about the incidence of spontaneous abortions / miscarriages worldwide, and the theological implications of these numbers. Debates about abortion tend to get lost in the intricacies of theologies and ideologies at the expense of appeal to actual hard data. My intent in reprinting this "Skeptic's Collection" column is not to ridicule pro-life people or their religious convictions. Rather, my intent is simply to make possible an appeal to empirical evidence vis a vis various theological reflections on abortion. Facts matter.
Back in February of 2014, I publishe...
Mea culpa! Mea culpa! Mea maxima culpa!
I owe the Republican Party an apology. I have long believed and said, both verbally and in writing, that the Republican Party, supposedly tainted by its association with conservative-evangelical / -fundamentalist, anti-intellectual Christianity, culminating in essentially unanimous Republican support for Betsy DeVos as the Secretary of Education, has styled itself the anti-education Party, the Party that has become the political home of people like HUD Secretary Ben “Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Big Bang” Carson, and Energy Secretary Rick Perry who, fortified with a C grade-point average earned on the way to an animal husbandry baccalaureate degree from Texas A&M University (football cheer: “Whoop-Haw!”), assumes the custodianship of the Nation
If you have not yet seen the science-fiction movie Arrival, stop reading right now, and run – don’t walk – to the nearest theater where it is being shown. SPOILER ALERT: if you intend to see Arrival, read no farther than this first paragraph. Be assured that the movie is far more provocative than the following comments, which do not profess to do it justice. Specifically, Arrival (1) harks back almost 1500 years to a text, The Consolation of Philosophy, by the early-Christian philosopher Boethius; and (2) at the same time leverages some of the implications of the quantum “measurement problem”: the relationship between (what we once were pleased to call) “objective” reality and the consciousness of the observer. A lot has been written about both the latter, but Arrival’s twist is to r