Saturday, September 8, 2018

New Post: Faith, Decision Making and Probability III:
Bayes' Theorem and the Anthropic Principle

Hello all.   New post on Catholic Stand: "Faith, Decision Making and Probability III: <br>Bayes' Theorem and the Anthropic Principle."  I  derive Bayes' Theorem and discuss two examples of how it is used to incorporate new knowledge into modifying probability as a measure of belief:  the Monty Hall problem (the three doors with a prize and goats), and a medical test for a rare disease.

Friday, September 7, 2018

New Post: "Faith, Decision Making and Probability II: How do we interpret probability?

Hello all.   Hope you're welcoming fall, and cooler weather.   A new post on Catholic Stand: "Faith, Decision Making and Probability II: How do we interpret probability?"   I talk about the various interpretations of probability--logical, frequentist and subjective--and how probability is conditional, based on evidence.

Friday, August 31, 2018

New Post:"Ex Opere Operato --A Convert's Reflection on Church Scandals"

Hello all, and a happy and relaxed Labor Day Weekend to you.    A new post on THE AMERICAN CATHOLIC: "<i>Ex Opere Operato </i>--A Convert's Reflection on Church Scandals."  I explore what I should think  about the recent scandals, try to put them in the context of a Church which has survived sinners in high places, and take comfort in the doctrine, "ex opere operato," that even though a priest is a sinner, his consecration of the Eucharist is valid and effective.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

New Post: "How and Why We Believe: Faith, Probability and Decision Making"

Hello all.   A new post on CATHOLIC STAND: "How and Why We Believe;  Faith, Probability and Decision Making."
I talk about how faith works, give a simple example of probability as a guide to action, and then link probability with faith by discussing Pascal's Wager.

Friday, August 24, 2018

New Post: "Abortion Politics and the Shabbos Goy"

Hello all.   A new post on THE AMERICAN CATHOLIC: "Abortion Politics and the Shabbos Goy.
I make an analogy between a Shabbos Goy, a non-Jew who does things on the Sabbath that an Orthodox Jew is not permitted to do, and Catholic Politicians who say I don't believe in abortion, but it's ok for others to exercise a freedom of choice, who use Planned Parenthood to do what Catholic teaching forbids. Senator Bob Casey is a prime example of this.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

New Post: "71 Accusations--How many are guilty?"

Hello all.  a new post on The American Catholic: "71 Accusations--How many are guilty?"  It's about Bishop Gainer's letter (Diocese of Harrisburg, PA) and the 71 male religious named as  childhood sex predators in Shapiro's Grand Jury investigation.  The actual numbers, on analysis, don't make that impressive a headline.

New Post: "What does it take to be human?
On the Genetic Modification of Animal and Human Embryos

Hello all:  a new post on Catholic Stand: "What does it take to be human--On the Genetic Modification of Human and Animal Embryos"

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

New Post: "Essay 7, Miracles"

Hello all.   The web-book, "Truth Cannot Contradict Truth," is nearing completion.  One more chapter (tying everything together--I hope) and the Science Background section remain.  The newest Essay, #7, is on Miracles.  It gives examples, tells how the Church judges whether something is really a miracle (and the standards of Mother Church are exceedingly rigorous!) and asks "Can a scientist believe in miracles?"    Guess what the answer to that question is.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

New Post: ESSAY 5: Evolution; No War between the Church and Science

Hello all, "Essay 5: No War between the Church and Evolution," is up.   It explores the position of the Catholic Church on evolution, refutes arguments by Creationists that we can't believe in evolution, common descent (not the neo-Darwinian model for evolution occurs), because it conflicts with a literal interpretation of the Creation account given in Genesis 1. 

Also the evidence for evolution, common descent, is outlined and various models--theories--for how evolution occurs are discussed.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

New Post: "Are We Special? The Anthropic Principle

Hello all.  A new post, "Are We Special? The Anthropic Principle." is finally published.  I talk about those unlikely conditions and events in cosmology,  planetary science, physics, chemistry and molecular biology that enable carbon-based life (and thus, us) to exist in this universe.  Read, Comment, Critique!

Thursday, June 21, 2018

New Post: ESSAY 3: Creatio ex Nihilo

Hello all.  ESSAY 3, Creatio ex Nihilo and Cosmology,  is published.  In this I show (or hope I show) that there is no conflict between the Catholic teaching of Creation, Creatio ex Nihilo, and what physics, cosmology tells us about the universe.

Friday, June 8, 2018

New Post:"Essay 2: How We Believe; How Science Works"

Hello all.  Essay 2 in the Web-book "Truth Cannot Contradict Truth" is published: "How We Believe; How Science Works."   I discuss Faith and Reason,  Rational Inquiry (Deductive Logic, Inductive Reasoning, Abductive Reasoning--Inference to the Best Explanation, Retroductive Reasoning--Using Models to Explain Observations), How Science Works, and The Limits of Science--What Science Can't Do.   Please Comment!

Saturday, June 2, 2018

New Post:"Last Things: C.P. Snow Revisitied

Hello all.  Another new post about C.P. Snow's "Strangers and Brothers" chronicle.  This one is on Catholic Stand: "Last Things: C.P. Snow Revisited."  It's about how atheists face death.

Thursday, May 31, 2018

New Post: "Bring back the times of civil discourse; C.P. Snow revisited"

Hello all.   A new post on "The American Catholic:" 
"Bring back the times of civil discourse; C.P. Snow revisited."
I think back to before the 1960's, when one could have friends of a different political persuasion, and put this in the context of C.P. Snow's "Strangers and Brothers" 11 volume chronicle of a young man's rise to power and fame in Great Britain (1920's to 1960's).

Saturday, May 19, 2018

New Post: Artificial Intelligence and the Vatican: the Vision of Science-Fiction

Hello all; I hope the sun is shining where you are.  It's not in North-central PA, and I'm looking for Noah.   

A new post on The American Catholic website: "Artificial Intelligence and the Vatican; the Vision of Science-fiction"  I discuss (mainly) what science fiction has to say about the Catholic Church and give links to various articles I've published on the "Theology of Science-Fiction."

New Post: "Hard-wired for Faith: the Religious Experience and the Brain

Hello all, hope somewhere where you all are there's sun and not rain.  New post on the Magis Faith and Reason website: "Hard-wired for Faith: the Religious Experience and the Brain."  It's about the SPECT experiences of Professor Dr. Newberg that show differences between atheists and religious in brain activation during prayer and contemplation.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

New Post "Can Computers Have a Soul?"

Hello all!  And on this day of the Lord's Ascension, summer is almost here!   Less important:  I have a new post on the Magis Center of Faith and Reason site: "Can Computers Have a Soul?"   Comments sought and welcomed, but be nice!  Thanks.

Monday, May 7, 2018

New Post: "Is there a Probability for the Universe...?"

Hello all.  Spring has sprung and summer is almost here!  A new post on Catholic Stand: "Is there a Probability for the Universe? New Thoughts about the Anthropic Coincidences" I discuss the anthropic coincidences, those unlikely features in cosmology, physics and chemistry that are required for the existence of carbon-based life in this universe.  Since ordinary (frequentist) interpretations of probability aren't appropriate in assessing these, I present a different interpretation of probability--Bayesian, based on measure of belief.

Friday, April 27, 2018

New Essay in Web-book, "Truth Cannot Contradict Truth:" "Can Computers Have a Soul"

Hello all, here's the next essay in my web-book, "Truth Cannot Contradict Truth:" "Can a Computer Have a Soul?"   I discuss Catholic teaching about the soul, what philosophers have to say about computer consciousness and intelligence, some science-fiction tales about "intelligent" computers and robots, and a science background with elements of neuroscience.

Please read and comment. 

Many thanks

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Web-book, "Truth Cannot Contradict Truth,
Essay 1: The Catholic Church, Midwife and Nursemaid to Science

The first Essay in my forthcoming web-book, "Truth Cannot Contradict Truth," is now available.   Here's the homepage for the web-book. 

There are all sorts of bells and whistles:

  • big-bang video (from EESA),
  • slider linked to blog posts covering topic in the web-book,
  • preface telling what the book is all about, 
  • link to Essay 1: The Catholic Church, Midwife and Nursemaid to Science
In Essay 1 I discuss science in the Greek World, how physics and the scientific method were developed by Catholic clerics in Medieval Europe, what Galileo did (and didn't do), and that there is no war between science and Catholic teaching, as Pope St. John Paul II showed in his effecting a rapprochement between Catholic teaching and science.

There is also a section in Essay 1 on background science, the physics of motion, with neat animations (very little math and that simple).


The Table of Contents and my brief bio are linked in footers at the bottom of the page.

Please comment (good, indifferent or bad).   I  hope to put in a utility that will solicit contributions to defray web-hosting and software licensing costs, maybe a buck per person and 200 viewers would do that.   Whaddya think?

And thanks for looking.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

New Post: "Three Cheers for Sister Jean and the Loyola Chicago Ramblers"

Hello all.   A new post on the American Catholic: "Three Cheers for Sister Jean and the Loyola Chicago Ramblers."   It's about the Cinderella team (besides Syracuse) of the NCAA tournament, the Loyola at Chicago Ramblers and their 98 year old assistant coach and scout, Sister Jean Dolores-Schmidt.   Enjoy!  (And is your bracket still unbroken?)

Monday, March 19, 2018

New Post: "A Speaker for Stephen Hawking (1942-2018)" on "The American Catholic"

Hello all!   A new post on "The American Catholic:"  A Speaker for Stephen Hawking (1942-2018).   This is a review of (mainly) Stephen Hawkings scientific career and, as a sideline, of the change of his views on how science is done and on belief in God.  The title comes from Orson Scott Card's "Speaker for the Dead," in which the hero, Ender Wiggins ("Ender's Game") travels the galaxy giving talks about the dead that are not conventional eulogies but honest appraisals of the deceased, talks that ultimately give more comfort to the grieving than a eulogy.

Friday, March 9, 2018

New Post in Catholic Stand: Lent: Join Our Suffering to that of Christ

Hello all:  a new post on Catholic Stand: Lent: "Join Our Suffering to that of Christ."  The post gives examples of what the saints have said about suffering as a road to Christ.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

New Post: "God's Gift to Molecular Biology: the Hydrogen Bond"

Hello all.   Here's a new post on the Magis Center for Faith and Reason: "God's Gift to Molecular Biology: the Hydrogen Bond."   It's about DNA and how the hydrogen bond enables it to do its thing.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

New Post: "The Theology of Water" on Magis Center for Faith and Reason.

Hello all--another new post (actually a rewrite of an earlier one on this blog): "The Theology of Water" on the Magis Center for Faith and Reason web site.

New Post: "Fr. George Rutler's analysis of 'The Innovative Mathematics of Father Antonio Spadaro" on The American Catholic

Hello all!   A new post on The American Catholic: "Fr. George Rutler's Analysis of 'The Innovative Mathematics of Father Antonio Spadaro' ".   In addition to a scathing analysis  of Fr. Spadaro's attempt to supervene logic with feeling, Fr. Rutler gives a very nice account in his Crisis article of what mathematics is all about.   Use the link in the post to go to the Crisis article.

Monday, February 19, 2018

New Post: "Preparing for Easter--50 Devotional Readings by C.S. Lewis"

Hello all.   A new post on The American Catholic: "Preparing for Easter--50 Devotional Readings by C.S. Lewis, Session 1, Ash Wednesday to 18 September.
C.S. Lewis is my favorite Christian apologist.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

New Post: "Lenten Prayer: Stay on Hold for God"

Hello all:  a new post on The American Catholic: "Lenten Prayer: Stay on hold for God."   I discuss St. Teresa of Avila's "Prayer of Recollection" and "Prayer of Quiet."  And to all of you: a blessed and fruitful Lent.

Monday, January 22, 2018

New Post: "Catholics: Fight Pro-abortion Intolerance!:

Hello all.   A brief "hiatus" while I recovered from a cold (in the 10th day, now).    There's a new post on The American Catholic: "Catholics: Fight Pro-abortion Intolerance!"

Friday, January 12, 2018

New Post: "Why Catholics should know about science"

Hello all.   60 in NE Pennsylvania yesterday!    Here's a new post, about I'm writing: "Why Catholics should know about science."   It tells why such a book is needed and how I propose to make it effective.   Please comment!

Sunday, January 7, 2018

New Post: "Sages, leave your contemplation..."

Hello all!   A new post on The American Catholic:  "Sages, leave your contemplation...", a reflection on the third verse of "Angels from the Realms of Glory", the entrance hymn at our Church today for the Epiphany Mass.

About Me

My photo

Retired, cranky, old physicist.   Convert to Catholicism in 1995.   Trying to show that there is no contradiction between what science tells us about the world and our Catholic faith.   Intermittent blogs and adult education classes to achieve this end (see http://rationalcatholic.blogspot.com/   and http://home.ptd.net/~rkurland)

Extraordinary Minister of Communion volunteer to federal prison and hospital; lector, EOMC.
Sometime player of bass clarinet, alto clarinet, clarinet, bass, tenor bowed psaltery for parish instrumental group and local folk group.

And, finally, my motivation:
“It is also necessary—may God grant it!—that in providing others with books to read I myself should make progress, and that in trying to answer their questions I myself should find what I am seeking.
Therefore at the command of God our Lord and with his help, I have undertaken not so much to discourse with authority on matters known to me as to know them better by discoursing devoutly of them.”
St. Augustine of Hippo, The Trinity I,8.