Tuesday, March 15, 2016

St. Thomas on the limits of physics (contra the anthropic principle), the distance to the stars, and the anisotropic distribution of matter in the universe

From St. Thomas Aquinas's Commentary on Job cap. 5 l. 2:
Est autem sciendum quod illi qui providentiam negant omnia quae apparent in rebus mundi ex necessitate naturalium causarum provenire dicunt, utpote ex necessitate caloris et frigoris, gravitatis et levitatis et aliorum huiusmodi. Ex his ergo potissime providentia divina manifestatur quorum ratio reddi non potest ex huiusmodi naturalibus principiis, inter quae unum est determinata magnitudo corporum huius mundi: non enim potest assignari ratio ex aliquo principio naturali quare sol aut luna aut terra sit tantae quantitatis et non maioris aut minoris; unde necesse est dicere quod ista dispensatio quantitatum sit ex ordinatione alicuius intellectus, et hoc designat in hoc quod dicit qui facit magna, idest qui res in determinata magnitudine disponit. Rursus si omnia ex necessitate principiorum naturalium provenirent, cum principia naturalia sint nobis nota haberemus viam ad inquirendum omnia quae in hoc mundo sunt; sunt autem aliqua in hoc mundo ad quorum cognitionem nulla inquisitione possumus pervenire, utpote substantiae spirituales, distantiae stellarum et alia huiusmodi; unde manifestum est non procedere omnia ex necessitate principiorum naturalium sed ab aliquo superiori intellectu res esse institutas, et propter hoc addit et inscrutabilia. Item quaedam sunt quae videmus quorum rationem nullo modo possumus assignare, puta quod stellae disponuntur secundum talem figuram in hac parte caeli et in alia secundum aliam; unde manifestum est hoc non provenire ex principiis naturalibus sed ab aliquo superiori intellectu, et propter hoc addit et mirabilia: sic enim differt inscrutabile et mirabile quod inscrutabile est quod ipsum latet et perquiri non potest, mirabile autem est quod ipsum quidem apparet sed causa eius perquiri non potest. Note that those who deny providence say that everything which appears in the world occurs from the necessity of natural causes, for example, the necessity of heat and cold, of gravity and lightness or something like this. Divine providence is most powerfully demonstrated by those things which cannot be explained by natural principles like these, one of which is the determined quantity of the bodies of this world. For no reason can be assigned from some natural principle why the sun or the moon or the earth should be a certain mass (quantity) and not a greater or lesser one. Thus it is necessary to say that this determination of masses is from the ordering of some intellect and he [Job's friend, Eliphaz] discusses this when he says, “He does great things,” i.e. he puts order in a thing by determining mass. Further, if everything were to come about from the necessity of natural principles, since natural principles are known to us, we would have a way of investigating everything in this world. There are some things in this world however, the knowledge of which we cannot arrive at by any investigation, for example, spiritual substances, the distances of the stars, and other things like this. So everything clearly does not proceed from the necessity of natural principles, but is instituted by some superior intellect and so he [Job's friend, Eliphaz] says, “unsearchable.” Likewise, there are also some things which we see whose nature we can in no way discuss, for example, that the stars have a certain configuration in this part of the heaven and another in another part of the heaven. Hence it is clear that this certainly does not arise from natural principles, but from some higher intellect, and he adds, “and wonderful things.” For the unsearchable and the wonderful differ in that the unsearchable is hidden in itself and cannot be investigated, but the wonderful is indeed seen, though its cause cannot be investigated.

Constitutional Flaws

The Bill of Rights (1791) was modeled off the French Revolution's Déclaration des droits de l'homme et du citoyen (1789), and Thomas Jefferson influenced both. Two major defects in them are:

1. religious indifferentism (that all beliefs are equal under the law):

Déclaration des droits Article X:
No one may be disturbed for his opinions, even religious ones, provided that their manifestation does not trouble the public order established by the law.
There are people (e.g., Muslims) who believe killing infidels is a virtue. Why should such a Muslim not "be disturbed for his opinions," even though the "manifestation" of his beliefs does indeed "trouble the public order established by the law"?

2. freedom of press:
Déclaration des droits Article XI:
The free communication of [true and false!*] thoughts and opinions is one of the most precious rights of man: any citizen thus may speak, write, print freely, except to respond to the abuse of this liberty,** in the cases determined by the law.
*Why should one have the freedom to spread falsehoods and lies?
**"[R]espond[ing] to the abuse of this liberty" is exactly what anyone who criticizes the dictatorship of the mainstream media does, yet this Article says they should be silenced! The Liberal press, lead by the Freemasonic philosophes (revolutionary French philosophers like Voltaire), is what instigated the French Revolution in the first place.

These Articles X and XI are combined in the U.S.'s 1st Amendment:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, …
These documents are far more tyrannical and revolutionary than the kings and queens (e.g., King Louis XVI and Queen Marie-Antoinette, who the French Revolution guillotined) supposedly were. Yes, there are some good parts of these documents (like real natural rights, etc.), but religious indifferentism (which says beliefs don't matter) and freedom of press (which gives way to a dictatorship of the mainstream media, Hollywood, textbook publishers, et al., who know beliefs do matter and yet inculcate falsehoods) is the "drop of poison in the well."

Monday, March 7, 2016

St. Thomas Aquinas (March 7)

Guéranger, Dom Prosper. The Liturgical Year: Septuagesima. Fitzwilliam, NH: Loreto Publications, 2000.

St. Thomas Aquinas's "littera inintelligibilis" or "unintelligible lettering" in a manuscript he wrote and autographed
Manuscript page showing “littera inintelligibilis,” written and autographed by St. Thomas Aquinas."St. Thomas Aquinas," New Catholic Encyclopedia

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Physique de croyant

French original of Pierre Duhem's 2-part Annales de philosophie chrétienne (a scholastic/apologetical periodical ed. at the time by R P Laberthonnière) 77th Year, 4th series , Vol 1 (Oct & Nov 1905) pp. 44 & 133 article:

Physique de croyant (part 1, part 2)

(English translation)