Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

Thomas Aquinas.

In debating Jerry Coyne, Michael Egnor tries philosophy…

Egnor: The Prime Mover argument is the most popular formal argument for the existence of God, and it is often misunderstood and, when understood, often misrepresented. Atheists, in my experience, never get it right. If they did, they wouldn’t be atheists. Read More ›

A definition of consciousness: “The intentional power of the mind”

Neurosurgeon Michael Egnor offers this definition by way of explaining that there is one sense in which consciousness IS an illusion: We are not aware of our consciousness; only of its objects. I believe that the most satisfactory definition of consciousness is the intentional power of the mind — the ability of thought to be “about” something. Consciousness is always directed to an object, whether that object is physical, emotional, or conceptual. If there is no “aboutness,” there is no consciousness. All intentionality entails two things: the process by which (1) we think about something, and the thing about which (2) we think. When I perceive a tree, I am perceiving (1) a tree (2). When I think about justice, I Read More ›

Why do Catholic intellectuals claim Thomas Aquinas would cozy up to Darwinism?

Especially when it comes to a Darwinian approach to human beings? Man, the universal, does not really exist. According to the late Stanley Jaki, Chesterton* detested Darwinism because “it abolishes forms and all that goes with them, including that deepest kind of ontological form which is the immortal human soul.” And if one does not believe in universals, there can be, by extension, no human nature—only a collection of somewhat similar individuals. Classical notions of ethics were radically dependent upon this notion of a real, knowable human nature. Aristotle and others often argued for what is ethical in terms of what leads to human flourishing and fulfillment. Yet if there is no human nature, how can we know what human Read More ›

Eric Holloway: ID as a bridge between Francis Bacon and Thomas Aquinas

Eric Holloway, an electrical and computer engineer, offers some thoughts on how to prevent science from devolving into “scientism.” For an example of scientism, see Peter Atkins’s claim that science can answer all the Big Questions. Here’s John Mark Reynolds’s outline of the general problem: Sometimes a culture takes a right road, sometimes it passes the right way and ends up a bit lost. Western Europe had a chance at the start of seventeenth century to get a few things right, but by the eighteenth century most had taken a worse way: Enlightenment or reaction. Enlightenment lost the wisdom of the Middle Ages, creating the myth of a dark age, and the main enlightened nation, France, ended the seventeenth century Read More ›

Catholic website counters anti-design claims made by some Catholic philosophers

Fr. Michael Chaberek author of Aquinas and Evolution, has built a website, Aquinas/Design to advance a philosophically responsible Catholic view on the question of design in nature: Thomistic evolutionists maintain that Aquinas’s philosophy/theology is incompatible with the modern theory of intelligent design (ID). At the same time they say it can be reconciled with neo-Darwinism. This may seem odd even for a non-Christian. There may be different reasons why Thomistic evolutionists chose to counter ID: Some may be ignorant of it, some may fear “the scientific community” and “the scientific consensus.” Still others may actually believe that arguments for ID somehow threaten the old Thomistic arguments for God’s existence known as the Five Ways. However, Thomistic evolutionists have never worked Read More ›