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« Here are the ten greatest Catholic intellectuals in American history... | Main | Education and Witness »

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

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SDG

Perhaps the most catastrophic impact of Steve Jobs' worldview limitations on his life may have been to greatly shorten it:

"When he first learned he had cancer in the pancreas, this Zen buddhist, like many another California celebrity, rejected conventional wisdom and the near-unanimous opinion of the medicial community and pursued quack cures such as dietary adjustments. Nine months later, when he discovered the tumor had become enlarged (and apparently spread to nearby organs), he finally chose surgery. 'Think different' and 'follow your dreams' are said to be the lesson of Jobs' life. A wiser one might be, “Know what you don’t know.'"
Robert

Carl:

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

I worked in software for 29 years, and never quite
got used to the false gods my peers "worshipped"..
Jobs for example.

Nothing I (or Jobs) accomplished in technology matched
my experience in returning to the Roman Catholic Church.
Imagine my disorientation when Catholic bloggers and
Vatican figures began publishing their eulogies for this man.

Daniel Fink

All one has to know about misplaced "worship" is that Jobs commissioned former "Time" journalist Walter Isaacson to write his biography so that his children would "get to know me", to know why "I wasn't always there for them".

Thomas L. McDonald

I have to say I agree with many of your points, but I do have to defend my story in the National Catholic Register, which you single out for criticism.

First, I did not say that he was Thomas Edison. I (and Deacon Greg) said that he was "this generation's" Thomas Edison, and I stand by that. Edison had a large lab that employed many scientists. Edison was obviously more skilled as an inventor than Jobs was, but many of his achievements were the result of harnessing the talents of his employees and directing them with his unique vision and drive. I think that makes the Edison comparison apt. There has been NO Edison since Edison, but clearly the impact and vision of Steve Jobs, particularly in driving the home computer revolution, was considerable.

Lileks, I think, came closer when he compared him to Walt Disney. Disney was middling cartoonist who had superior artists working for him. Each of those artists left to do cartoons on their own, and none of those cartoons have that Disney magic. Disney provided a vision and coherency that went beyond his abilities as a draftsman. There is a gift to focusing, driving, and directing the talents of others.

Second, many of us who have written about Jobs in the immediate aftermath of his death have been criticized for not detailing his very obvious flaws. This is just silly. A 900 word encomium about someone not dead 24 hours is hardly the place to run through a litany of that person's sins.

Finally, I think my fairly mild observation about a life saved by adoption instead of ended by abortion hardly rises to the level of "disconcerting." Since I'm a pro-life writer writing for a pro-life newspaper, it would have been fair of you to assume both the Register and I value each of those lives regardless of their achievement. There is a point to be made, however, that we are murdering the unborn with such reckless abandon that we are not merely losing each, precious individual, but also that individual's achievement. In some cases, that achievement may have been world-changing.

Carl E. Olson

Thank you, Thomas, for your comments. I appreciate them. The comparison to Disney is an excellent one, from what I know of both men.

I want to point out that I, for my part, did not criticize you or any other Catholic reporters for not pointing out Jobs' flaws. I had written part of this post three days ago, but waited to post it because I think there is a proper time and place for criticisms, and they aren't usually (as you note) in the immediate wake of a death. But notice, also, that I didn't mention things such as Jobs having a child outside wedlock, or his well-known habit of dressing down employees, or his oft-demonstrated arrogance and so forth. My interest is in his beliefs about life and death, which I find (obviously) to be seriously flawed.

Finally, my use of "disconcerting" may indeed be a bit much, but I assure you I've never had any doubts about the integrity and pro-life stance of National Catholic Register and its authors. I've long had a problem with statements about, say, how we may have lost this generation's Lincoln or (insert name here) because while it makes a fair and logical point, it can, I think, detract from the deeper issue of the objective value of life, regardless of one's intellect, talent, achievements. It may be that we have to disagree on that point, but I want to assure you that I did not intend to cast doubts on your stance as a pro-life writer.

Carl E. Olson

By the way, I should add that I admire Jobs for refusing to cave in to the pornography industry (see his testy and on mark responses to a pathetic blogger who complained about this). But, again, my post is not so much about good or bad moral traits or actions, but about one's beliefs, or worldview.

Joe

Well said piece. Andy Crouch's piece over at Christianity Today is very good on this as well.

Thomas L. McDonald

Reading over my post, I see it probably sounds more testy than I felt. I think your critiques about his Stanford speech were particularly strong. I always found the "dogma" line trite and silly. In it a very basic way, dogma is received wisdom, and neither Jobs nor Wozniak sprang fully formed into existence. Each built on the work of others. His particular vision was itself inspired by the work being done at Xerox. I think his comments merely shows that he was a shallow thinker in areas outside of his metier, and probably didn't even understand the meaning of dogma.

Oddly enough, I've NEVER owned a Mac and am a lifetime PC loyalist, so I never quite understood the quasi-religious spell he cast on the acolytes. Man must worship, and if he will not have God, he will find something to fill that gap.

Joe

It is all very fascinating. I use and love Macs myself... and did so way before the iPod/iPad/iPhone. And the things do impact my life hugely. That said, it all seems very ... don't know, but somehow non-essential and also aimed at profit and pleasure versus improvement. A lightbulb seems world-changing in all sorts of ways an iPod just does not. Maybe I am being a curmudgeon, I know, but the changes pioneered and championed now seem in many ways to be much more in tune with the United States of Advertising... If all the iMedia were stripped of movies, music, and games, how popular would it be? I am unsure. What I am sure of is that the sight of a zillion people walking around with pod headphones is somehow not one that makes me want to sing Steve Jobs. Things like great Catholic websites and easy phone communication, on the other hand, do.

Larry

I wonder what Mr. Job's thought when he found himself face to face with Jesus. Jesus was most likely not wearing an ear bud nor was He typing on a Mac nor an iPad and yet...and yet "He told me everything I ever did! What kind of technology do they use up here anyway?" Maybe he then met my father-in-law, and agnostic who I am convinced said on his meeting Jesus..."Hey, how-about that!" May they both rest in peace.

Thomas L. McDonald

I think there are two general "revolutions" to which he contributed. The first is home computing, which has radically altered not just the cultural landscape, but the nature of labor itself. The home computer is the great friend of Distributism. I have worked freelance for 20 years because of home computers, and now I'm able to work on my Masters in Theology because of them. Arguably, they have impacted more areas of life and society than even the electric light bulb.

The other general revolution is one of media delivery, which is what all of the "i" products boil down to. This is a lesser achievement, but still important. Being able to access news, music, literature, art, and film provides the potential for us to have greater access to truth and beauty, and to communicate it to others. Pleasure and improvement don't need to be contradictory. Leisure, as Josef Pieper observed, is vital to our spiritual life.

There is danger, of course, of using these tools just to fill out idle moments with endless noise and aimless distraction that draws us away from God. But there is also an opportunity to connect more deeply with God through these tools. I use my iPod Touch now to pray the Hours wherever I am, listen to podcasts and music, read blogs, and handle email. I always tell my confirmation students that they need to unplug. They need to find silence to hear the "still small voice."

On a purely practical note, I drove all the way to Orlando and back (2000 miles total), navigating solely by my wife's iPhone, checking for the cheapest gas prices along the way, finding places to stay, checking weather and traffic, looking up mass times and churches, and doing about a dozen other little things that made the trip more pleasant. They may not have deepened my spiritual life, but they certainly made the travelling more pleasant.

Ricardo

Most, if not all, of the eulogies centered around the Job's technological vision and achievement which is appropriately so given that very few knew anything about his personal and spiritual life except maybe for some snippets concerning his child born out of wedlock and his love of his family. This article puts things in perspective... a deep perspective! As a huge influence in the business world, I wish he could have been remembered more as a man of faith than solely as a man of technological vision.

Dolly

The fact is that Steve Job had a gift, and he used it to benefit those who are into technology. Why find fault with someone who used that gift? And why be so judgmental about his statements, whether they are hallmark cliches or what not? He expressed something that he believed in; he might not have mentioned God as we all want to hear, but he acknowledged something that is in him, a giftedness that can come only from a higher source, for nothing belongs to man on his own. His religious belief might not be the same as mine, but I see God's hands in his giftedness and the way he lived and used it, and therefore, I respect him withour idolizing him, but only as a man who made use of his God-given talent. He inspired me to use my giftedness as a Christian and Catholic to manifest God in my own uniqueness and to believe that I, too, can use the little talent I have for the glory of God. And I do not need any further proof to firm up my belief that this man had left behind a powerful lesson and legacy. It is enough that I believe in God and that he used Steve Job to show me what I can do with the gifts he has given me. I admire deacon Keandra for his humility in acknowledging the giftedness of this man.

Carl E. Olson

Why find fault with someone who used that gift?

My gift is pointing out failures in logic, metaphysical confusion, and philosophical errors. Why are you finding fault with my gifts?

I admire deacon Keandra for his humility in acknowledging the giftedness of this man.

Fair enough. And to think I bashed Steve Jobs unmercifully by disparaging him as an "innovating genius". Perhaps you need to carefully re-read my post...

Carl E. Olson

The home computer is the great friend of Distributism.

I agree! Great comment; thanks!

Dolly

"And to think I bashed Steve Jobs unmercifully by disparaging him as an "innovating genius"."

I refrain from using the word "bash" but I think that is the reason why your gift of "pointing out failures in logic, metaphysical confusion, and philosophical errors" strikes a negative chord. I respectfully recommend that you also re-read your article, because the manner of expression matters greatly to one who is being taught. Thank you so much for responding.

Thanks you so much for responding.

Jay

I was very confused by the endless coverage and drama over his death. In sure he was a smart guy, but he made iphones, ipads and ipods. Actually he didn't, chinese laborers did making nothing in the process.

His legacy? Look around you next time you go to the mall, the park, our even a restaurant. People plugged into their portable music devices. What aren't they doing? Interacting with each other.

I think its pretty cool to carry dozens of cd's worth of music around on my pocket, but these devices are also driving us away from each other. if he composed something on the scale of beethoven's 9th (which, unlike his gadgets, is timeless) then I'd be impressed.

Tom

I didn't like Steve Jobs enough to take a long time to argue this point (and frankly I think his technological revolution may have--contrary to his intentions, of course--hurt the world more than it helped it), but I actually thought Jobs' Stanford speech was pretty good. It seems to me much of what he said could and probably should be read as far less superficial than is done here. I agree that the dogma line is a bit silly, of course, and it goes along with the irrational valuation of change that seems to appear just before that; I think that is a kind of illusion that technologically minded people tend to share. Other than that, though, I thought most of the speech was probably a pretty good thing for Stanford grads to hear, from a voice that they probably listened to more than most other voices who might be inclined to reflect in such a way.

Tminusfun

What exactly did Steve Jobs innovate? Apple products were always just less functional versions of existing technology. He was a salesman, not an inventor.

Mark Pilon

Carl,

I appreciated your article after the eulogies, especially the quotes from and comments on the Stanford address. It inspired me to go back to the excellent Russell Hittinger paper on Christopher Dawson on Technology and the Demise of Liberalism, which can not only be found in an Ignatius Press publication, but on the web from your home. I highly recommend it as a thought provoking piece very much related to this discussion.

Thanks,
Mark

Pedro Erik

Fantastic post. Congratulations.

Luke

Everything about this post and the follow up comments are in excruciatingly bad taste. Jesus people. No, seriously, you are supposed to be Jesus's people. Act. Like. It. Even if it's clearly sometime just that: an act.

His body is fresh in the ground. Perhaps you could all redeem some of your lost time sitting in judgement over him by simply praying for the happy repose of the man's soul instead.

c matt

And it promises nothing it cannot deliver

Mainly because it doesn't really promise much. It is hard to read his speech less superficially when it is, basically, superficial. He just was not a very deep thinker on matters meta-physical regardless of how accomplished he was in technology. Heck, I don't fault him for that - few people really are accomplished thinkers in meta-physics, which is the whole point of "living with the results of other people's thinking." But in his defense, the speech was no less vacuous than most commencement addresses.

Jay

Luke- I'm not aware of a lot of judgements or attacks on him on this page. There are people puzzled by the awe this man inspired in others, the hoopla surrounding his death, the crazy things said about him since he died etc. We're talking about this company he built, the things he did/didn't do, and worldview he advanced in the public forum. I don't think anything was said judgemental about the man, unless I missed something in the article or the comments.

Carl E. Olson

Perhaps you could all redeem some of your lost time sitting in judgement over him by simply praying for the happy repose of the man's soul instead.

Yawn. I get it, Luke: you get upset when people offer thoughtful criticism of a person's beliefs, so you counter with thoughtless rants against actions not taken. For my part, I never said a word in my post about the eternal destination of Steve Jobs' soul; that is God's business. As for praying for Jobs, are you aware that "R.I.P." stands for "Requiescat in pace", which is a short prayer in Latin: "Rest in peace"? My only regret is that I didn't spell it out, as I usually do when writing about someone who has recently died. Your comments, oddly enough, are more judgmental (that is, thoughtlessly antagonistic and critical) than what I wrote. Bad taste, indeed.

christine

very insightful article. thank you for the thoughtful analysis.

Rick

I like the article. I tend to categorize Steve Jobs with the more unusual and gifted people in our current life. Stephen Hawking is another such person. They are both very bright. How is it they never understood/understand the plain logic of a creator, and us as created, or creatures. Do they really believe this is just an accident and function of evolution from the primordial slime? I hardly think so. This explanation for our existence is rather weak in the face of real science. Did they consciously reject God and His revelation? At some point in their life, or many times over, they must have. It is after all, that lingering question that will not go away. Why did they not listen to friends that desparately tried to lead them to the "living water."

Steve Jobs may see Jesus. The real question is, who will he see after that?

Russell

You should rejoice in those 50 million aborted fetuses! According to your religion, those souls are assured an eternity in heaven. Whereas Steve Jobs will spend an eternity in hell.

And that's the most important thing.

Right?

bill bannon

Rick
Council of Trent, sixth session, 12th chapter:
" for except by special revelation, it cannot be known whom God hath chosen unto Himself."
Scripture...Sirach 11:21..." It is easy for the Lord in an instant to make a poor man rich."
Is God lazy for souls such that He is just waiting for them to perish without intervening constantly up til the last minute as when He sent sorrow to Judas right near the end such that he gave the money back but later distrusted anyway. Christ noted the opposite in Jn 5:17, " My Father works until now and I work."....even on the
Sabbath. A baby out of wedlock?...Augustine and Thomas Merton did that as did four Renaissance men who later became Popes.
But your point was the non belief. Still....none of know that which God sees in a man who rejects Christianity but also rejects porn. People have much different historical judgements of the Church in history.
Read Pope Leo XIII on the Church fighting slavery and then read John T. Noonan Jr. on the same topic...very different estimations.
I'm not saying Jobs is Heaven bound or hell bound I'm saying we must avoid
innuendos either way unless as Trent says...revelation is present. For example I think Herod in Acts 12 went to hell because the worm detail is extreme and not apposite for one heaven bound. But outside the Bible, we are ignorant even of the last ten seconds of life of a person....even if we are there at their death.

Luke

Yawn. I get it, Luke: you get upset when people offer thoughtful criticism of a person's beliefs, so you counter with thoughtless rants against actions not taken.

Carl, you are incorrect. I take issue with you're appalling timing.

Carl E. Olson

Luke: Steve Jobs said, "And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition." I simply took his advice.

Patricio Ortega

I have to agree with some of your comments. I think,however, if one has to contribute to change this world for better, you will not get too far. Steve´s words were said to protect us from dogmatic persons like you.
Patricio Ortega

peter l

Carl's post has certainly caused quite a stir but i fail to see why some people have taken it badly.I see it as an honest assessment of a life that has been given a lot of attention in the media recently and rightly so.He was a person who achieved great things,business wise.

Having praised his business acumen,i also feel he lived his life in a blinkered fashion,focused on his self created empire but surely missing out on the very value's that make us human.Being a multi billionaire is one thing but as surely as money can make life easier to live it should in no way be what we live for.That is the way Steve seemed to live.

To make a point,whose life was greater and bore more fruit,someone who achieved great riches and neglected his son in the process or someone who devoted their lives to their family?.

Rest In Peace,Steve Jobs.

Andrew Karl

Jobs created a company that directly employs 50,000 people and indirectly supports 10 times that number. He faced death gracefully and courageously. The time period between the fall of the Roman Empire and the Protestant Reformation is called the "Dark Ages" for good reason. How exactly did banning (or worse) Galileo, Voltaire, Hume, Aristotle and anyone else that challenged Church dogma help science? The US Government was greatly influenced by Deism and our Constitution was written by Deists who, like Jobs, rejected the supernatural and embraced reason. “Don’t be trapped by dogma” perhaps you should take his good advice.

Carl E. Olson

Jobs created a company that directly employs 50,000 people and indirectly supports 10 times that number.

Impressive and laudable, like many things accomplished by Steve Jobs. Did I say differently in my post?

The time period between the fall of the Roman Empire and the Protestant Reformation is called the "Dark Ages" for good reason.

For reasons, but not good, sound, historical reasons. The "Dark Ages" is the creation of polemicists--Protestant and Enlightenment-era skeptics--and this idea was certainly in vogue in the 1800s, but is long gone among the learned. In other words, you are about a hundred year behind the times and the scholarship, as few historians, especially not reputable ones, will refer to that thousand year period as the "Dark Ages".

Which is why, for example, historian Christopher A. Snyder, in his book, "An Age of Tyrants: Britain and the Britons A.D. 400-600" (Pennsylvania State University Press, 1998), writes: "Historians and archaeologists have never liked the label Dark Ages ... there are numerous indicators that these centuries were neither 'dark' nor 'barbarous' in comparison with other eras." See my article, "Dark Ages and Secularist Rages: A Response to Professor A.C. Grayling" for an introduction to the main points.

How exactly did banning (or worse) Galileo, Voltaire, Hume, Aristotle and anyone else that challenged Church dogma help science?

Goodness, where to begin? First, take a short course in the facts about Galileo. Second, what does "worse" mean? Galileo was under house arrest, but he eventually left his house; he was never harmed. The Church did nothing to Aristotle, as far as know, since the Greek philosopher died before the Church was founded. But you do know that Aristotle was not only given a very positive reading by Thomas Aquinas, but that Aquinas (a Church Doctor and arguably the greatest philosopher of all time) referred to Aristotle's work in the Summa Theologica? Again, a short course in basic facts

The US Government was greatly influenced by Deism and our Constitution was written by Deists...

Some of the founding fathers were indeed Deists. Most were not. The vast majority were Protestant of some sort: Episcopalian, Presbyterian, Congregationalist, Church of England, etc. I agree that Deism was influential; the debate over its exact influence during the American Founding is a fascinating one.

All men hold to dogmas. The question is: what is good and true dogma and what is false and harmful dogma? I suggest the dogma that provides me the freedom to honestly assess historical facts without fear or distortion is the good and true dogma.

Keith

Patricio and Andrew....

I think you both are being dogmatic about the need to be non-dogmatic.

Great article Carl... It is difficult to please everyone, isn't it?

Rae Williams

As I read the comments about Steven Jobs, it appeared to me that some people are quick to make assumptions about others. True assessments are done with more than surface information that's almost presented like it's the Gospel. We all wear mask. We are human and we make mistakes. I guess I'm saying that we need to stop focusing on the mistakes, sins etc. of others and judge and check out ourselves.

Paul Boire

I think your points were well founded. A secular saint who achieved the ephemeral grail. This is not meant too harshly on my part, as my moccasins have left a crooked trail. The call to balance and perspective is appropriate. May God rest his soul.

Deacon Jim Stagg

Amen! Amen!

breathnach

Excellent article. The focus is the icon made of "Steve Jobs". The secular cultural elites are using the idea of a "secular saint" to promote a deadening ideology. This false idol must be critiqued, as Carl has ably done here. We have no idea of the state of Steve Job's (person) soul and can only pray that he found something more than a "virtual reality" at the last.

Gabriel Austin

It is improper to write about a man who is dead if you write about his faults. De mortuis nil nisi bonum.

Howmsoever .. there are problems with his inventions. I have ever found MAC to be a poor tool. One reason: it insists in presenting a text in a certain typeface before the text is written. This is called putting the cart before the horse.

Andrew Karl

Thank you for allowing my post.

1) Regarding the Dark Ages "In other words, you are about a hundred year behind the times" I would argue you are 4,000 years behind the times as you accept selective Bronze Age mythology on faith. I'd also resist the term Dark Ages if my world view once facilitated them. Below is a chart of scientific discovery through history. http://www.nullifidian.net/2007/10/23/where-would-we-be-if-the-dark-ages-hadnt-happened/

2) "Second, what does "worse" mean? Galileo was under house arrest, but he eventually left his house; he was never harmed." Worse than being banned and unjustly imprisoned for life (he was only allowed to go to Church which is pretty ironic) would be, for example, burning "heretics" at the stake, or torturing Jews and Muslims into conversion. Also, your infallible (LOL) pope imprisoned an innocent man who he suspected was right.
"The Church did nothing to Aristotle" - except burn his books and excommunicate people who read them. Did the Church burn "Pagan" libraries (and Pagans) and ban books by great philosophers, scientist, theologians, mathematicians etc. until 1966? How exactly did those actions help Steve Jobs?
I never considered Aquinas to be one of the greatest, (my best philosophy professor / mentor was a ND grad who loved him) but always thought he made Augustine less terrible. I researched multiple surveys and polls from philosophy departments, general public etc. and Aquinas generally ranks @ 10th greatest philosopher of all time. The majority of the philosophers that scored higher than him were banned by your Church.
4) Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson and Ethan Allen were certainly Deists who rejected revelation and all the supernatural elements of the Christian Church. John Adams was a Unitarian who in private was more deist than Christian. George Washington and James Madison also leaned toward deism, although neither took much interest in religious matters. The Protestant preachers of the day routinely attacked Thomas Jefferson, by far the most important figure in forming our government, for his beliefs.

Naturally, those who live by dogma chose to redefine it! Anyone can challenge any beliefs I hold with logic and facts, as I have no delusions of infallibility. "Dogma demands authority, rather than intelligent thought, as the source of opinion; it requires persecution of heretics and hostility to unbelievers; it asks of its disciples that they should inhibit natural kindness in favor of systematic hatred".
-- Bertrand Russell,
Steve Job's brilliance and hard work paid off because he was born in a free, capitalistic country. He succeeded because he rejected dogma certainly not because of it.

Ann Applegarth

Thanks, Carl. I've been watching for this.

w Lewis

I thought it was a fake name and think
God plays a little joke with such vacuity
served up as if it is of real substance.

Sad the Wall Street Journal also joined
in the emptiness.

fr. richard

I looked up the graphic chart of the history of "scientific discovery" that Andrew Karl suggested (above), which shows that, as the chart designates, the "Christian Dark Ages" took the world back 1,000 years in terms of science!

Unfortunately there is no data to back up the claims of the chart, as even many of the unbelievers note in the comments section, and therefore I do not see where the "science" is in this example.

But, for me the difficult part in his posts is that he does not really take up anything of substance from the article for discussion, but instead simply uses it as an occasion to criticize Christian faith, and the Church. I'm not sure why non-believers think this style of response is effective in any way, except, perhaps to bolster the positions of some other non-believers (but certainly not all of them.)

Andrew Karl

I really don't care what anyone writes about "faith", "spirit", "holy ghosts" or theology and unless you write about science again, I will probably not read your posts (I am sure you won't lose sleep over that). But your claim "Historically, the technology that Jobs helped develop and further was made possible because of philosophical and theological beliefs that are distinctly Christian personal computers and iPods exist today because of dogmatic beliefs about God.." inspired my comment. You can ignore FACTS presented regarding the history of intellectual persecution, censorship, book burning, etc. You can believe your Church can do no wrong- I don't care. Your attempt to usurp great HUMAN achievement speaks for itself as do 3,000 banned books! I encourage anyone to fact check my points. Unlike your dogma, facts are true whether you believe them or not.

Carl E. Olson

So, Andrew, you will only talk about "science", while I will talk about science and theology, and this somehow makes you the open-minded, logical, and reasonable one. Got it.

My comment is not only correct, you've not even attempted to refute it. You are simply raging. That's your right, of course, but it isn't the least bit convincing.

The English philosopher Alfred North Whitehead (d. 1947) had a complicated relationship with Christianity (he was agnostic for many years), but he readily admitted that modern science came into being because of Catholic theological beliefs. In Science and the Modern World (1925), he wrote:

I do not think...that I have even yet brought out the greatest contribution of medievalism to the formation of the scientific movement. I mean the inexpugnable belief that every detailed occurrence can be correlated with its antecedents in a perfectly definite manner, exemplifying general principles. Without this belief the incredible labours of scientists would be without hope.... My explanation is that the faith in the possibility of science, generated antecedently to the development of modern scientific theory, is an unconscious derivation from medieval theology.

Or, as sociologist/historian Rodney Stark, professor at Baylor University (Stark is Lutheran, by the way), states in his book, The Victory of Reason (2005):

For the past two or three centuries, every educated person has known that from the fall of Rome until about the fifteenth century Europe was submerged in the "Dark Ages"--centuries of ignorance, superstition, and misery--from which it was suddenly, almost miraculously rescued, first by the Renaissance and then by the Enlightenment. But it didn't happen that way. Instead, during the so-called Dark Ages, European technology and science overtook and surpassed the rest of the world!

Yes, Catholics have done bad things; one would be shocked if an organization that has been around for 2,000 years didn't have its share of murderers, despots, liars, thieves, and egotistical jerks. But, speaking of human achievement, if you won't admit the good things done by Catholic down through time, why not take us on a tour of those regimes most thoroughly founded on non-Christian, "pro-human" beliefs, namely Communist countries such as the Soviet Union and Communist China? Please tell us about how good those countries, freed from dogma and superstition, did such a wonderful job of creating perfection and utopia, to the tune of killing tens of millions of innocent citizens.

Yes, facts are indeed true. Which is why I keep referring to them. Why don't you consider doing the same?

Michael

A distinction must be made between science and the ideology of scientism.

The physicist and Benedictine Father Stanley Jaki has demonstrated the central role of Christianity in the history of Western science. Eric Voegelin has destroyed the intellectual pretensions of scientism and positivism.

Voegelin has also critiqued dogma. However his critique substantively debunks the scientistic and positivistic dogmas of the so called progressive ideologues and haters of religion.


Manwe

Just wanted to make a comment about something Carl Olsen just said. When you said Stark was a Lutheran, well it's a bit more complicated then that. According to wiki, he was raised Lutheran, then spent most of his life as an agnostic, incable of religious faith. It was just recently in his life (2007ish) that he now describes himself as an "independant" Christian. So Carl you were not totally off so much as Stark was all over the place.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rodney_Stark?oldid=0

Carl E. Olson

Thanks, Manwe; I knew that Stark, who has written some very interesting books, had a complicated religious background, but wanted to mostly indicate that he was not a Catholic.

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