Of Beauty and Consolation with Richard Rorty

This video occupied my mind a good portion of the summer.

Faith and Reason

As a follow-up to Prov's recent Faculty Forum ("How Do You Know? Doubt, Certainty, and Faith") , the following short article might be of interest to Philosophy Foosballers: "When Atheists Believe: The confounding attraction of the Christian worldview," by Chuck Colson with Catherine Larson (Christianity Today, October 22, 2009). Whatever one's view is concerning the relationship between faith and reason, the article should provide some ideas to kick around.

Dr. V


At the philosophy club supper Jordan brought up the philosophical question pertaining to God's foreknowledge and the issue of randomness in the evolution of biological life. I and a fellow bearded philosophy foosballer argued that the term random appeared to have an ideological function in which it assumed atheism and therefore no teleology. This then came to discussing the mechanisms of evolution and whether they were truly random. Maybe we should have sifted out a better understanding of randomness, but anyways I brought to attention the ideas of Simon Conway Morris, a christian palaeontologist, who has a sort of view that says that given the laws of physics and the structure of carbon, carbon based life forms are inevitable. The idea behind this was that it would call the whole idea of randomness into question and introduce the question of design.

So I said I would link all of you to video so here it is. A big part of this documentary is concerned with Extra-terrestrial life. You see pretty quickly how Morris' ideas apply to these questions. Morris begins to discuss his ideas a little after 10:00 in the video. I suggest we continue this subject at the next philosophy meeting.

- I have also found a documentary on Stephen Hawking's A Brief History of Time. I should put it up in the future.

- Also, a good book which discusses Morris' ideas is Why There Almost Certainly Is A God: Doubting Dawkins by Keith Ward. I read it this summer and thought it was one of the better critiques of Dawkins. The chapter of interest would be chapter 2, "Large Aeroplanes and God."

First Ever Philosophy Foosball Club Dinner a Success!


The evening of Thursday, October 8 2009, was the first ever Philosophy Foosball Club Dinner (see photos below). Assuming that there exists a Platonic form of The Good Dinner which we can use as a standard of excellence, the PFC dinner was excellent—a success!

Here are some details:

1. The dinner was held at Dr. V's home in Steinbach. Excellent catering was provided by Carla (Dr. V's wife) and Thomas (Carla's and Dr. V's son, who that evening also had to go to the Steinbach Regional Secondary School to receive a Culinary Arts Award). (Tom was congratulated at the PFC dinner with three loud cheers from the Philosophy Foosballers.)

2. Joining the PFC event were Carla's parents from Medicine Hat, Alberta. (It was learned later from Carla's mother that Carla's mother and student Clayton Swan danced in the kitchen, but that's a story for another time.)

3. Joining the PFC event too was a special guest from Thunder Bay, Ontario: Elizabeth Busby! We're glad you made it, Elizabeth. To paraphrase Anselm (sort of), you are a Philosophy Foosballer than which it’s extremely difficult to conceive of one greater!

4. In total, 14 students/former students from Providence College attended the dinner. (Extra thanks go to Carla for the fine—and large—meal.)

5. After dinner, we engaged in several deeply interesting philosophical discussions, ranging from the nature and efficacy of argument, to the question of what it means to have a "common ground," to the question of the whether randomness and God's foreknowledge are logically consistent, to the question of how many earlobes Aubrey Dyck actually has. (Regarding the earlobe question, see photos below. Be sure to notice how far Mark Jensen has gotten by counting carefully on his pinky. Notice too the deep concentration shown by Marilyn Peters as she counts Aubrey's earlobes by hand. Yes, that's Marilyn's head on the TV tray table.)

6. After the philosophical discussions, numbers were drawn (in honour of Pythagoras?) and students were allowed, in an orderly fashion, to (a) enter the tiny hallway to Dr. V's sacred space (a.k.a. his basement office/cellar), (b) sift through a large pile of books (which no longer fit in Dr. V's office/cellar), and (c) take home some favourites.

7. Also after the philosophical discussions, and during the "book crawl," the Philosophy Foosballers broadened their horizons by playing some video games—high speed auto racing—and some hard-shooting Crokinole. Happily, nobody was injured. (Well, perhaps the egos of Jeremy Gerbrandt and Mark Gareau were slightly injured when they lost so miserably to the excellent team work of Clinton Enns and Dr. V.)

Again, the first ever Philosophy Foosball Club dinner was excellent—a wonderful success. Thanks to all who attended.

- Dr. V

First Ever Philosophy Foosball Club Dinner - Photos!