From the editor: November 15, 2013
Stunts & Inspiration
Last evening I spoke on Science & Faith and listed nearly a dozen ploys (I called them "stunts") made by materialists to avoid any possible evidence that suggests theism or design or human significance (e.g., the "tiny-speck-in-the-cosmos ploy").
In my comments I recounted something that Alasdair MacIntyre said in his lecture last week at Notre Dame ("What the Natural Sciences Do Not Explain"). He told a story about the Irish physicist, astronomer, and mathematician William Rowan Hamilton. According to Hamilton, on October 16, 1843 he was out walking along the Royal Canal in Dublin when an equation for quaternions just hit him suddenly. It solved a problem he'd been working on for years.
McIntyre cited Karl Popper, philosopher of science, who pointed out that such discoveries are unpredictable. No antecedent conditions can set them in motion—otherwise we'd know the discovery before it happened!
This reminds me of something I read today by Marilynne Robinson in her review of the Journals of Flannery O'Connor:
Every writer wonders where fictional ideas come from. The best of them often appear very abruptly after a period of imaginative drought. And, mysteriously, they really are good ideas, much superior to the contrivances of conscious invention.
The materialist has no clue about such things. Of course, none of us really do, but we accept these inspirations as mysterious gifts, coming from somewhere, from a source not reducible to matter.
We can be inspired and even renewed with the Mind of Christ. 'Insights' I've gained during prayer or worship often have little to do with the formal content of words being used at the moment, but speak to the heart. To truly pray in the presence of God, say the Desert Fathers, is to be a theologian, and not one who merely studies theology. It's a living encounter, accessible to all who are humble enough to allow it.
Those stuntmen who say that such experiences and thoughts arise from our neurons alone (or "memes"—a fantastically silly idea) seem intent on putting their thoughts into the heads of others. Do their neurons make them do it? I think they are just messing with your mind while refusing to submit theirs to the One who made them all. For those who submit, "You shall know the Truth, and the Truth shall make you free."
—James M. Kushiner