The After Dinner Scholar

Lecture: “Beauty is Truth: Shattering the Medieval Vision” by Dr. Jim Tonkowich

August 25, 2020

Duke University professor and philosopher Alex Rosenberg began an essay on Scientism with a series of questions and his answers:

  • Is there a God? No.
  • What is the nature of reality? What physics says it is. 
  • What is the purpose of the universe? There is none. 
  • What is the meaning of life?
  • Why am I here? Just dumb luck. 
  • Does prayer work? Of course not. 
  • Is there a soul? Is it immortal? Are you kidding? 
  • Is there free will? Not a chance! 
  • What happens when we die? Everything pretty much goes on as before, except us.
  • What is the difference between right and wrong, good or Bad? There is no moral difference between them. 
  • Is abortion, euthanasia, suicide, paying taxes, foreign aid, or anything else you don’t like forbidden, permissible, or sometimes obligatory? Anything goes. 
  • Does history have any meaning or purpose? It’s full of sound and fury, but signifies nothing. 

At this year’s Wyoming School of Catholic Thought, Dr. Tiffany Shubert began by talking about the Medieval cosmos, a cosmos full of meaning, harmony, and truth. And last week’s After Dinner Scholar podcast was her lecture about the Medieval cosmos.

Next, we held a seminar discussing Alex Rosenberg’s essay “Scientism Versus the Theory of Mind” with its opening series of questions and answers. Before the seminar began, to avoid unnecessary intellectual whiplash, Dr. Jim Tonkowich spoke about how we got from a reality filled with the presence of God and with purpose to Rosenberg’s comment that, “Reality is the forsightless play of fermions and bosons producing the illusion of purpose.”

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