Man and Woman: Nature is Right!

In a fascinating and accessible book, Homme, femme. Ce que nous disent les neurosciences: La nature a raison! (Man Woman. What neuroscience tells us: Nature is right!) Professor René Écochard reaches into the contribution of neurosciences to explain how our biology influences our behaviors as men and women—contrary to what gender theory asserts.

The brain is a genius. It grows with us, shapes itself, operates, at each moment of life, with mechanisms, exchanges of fluids, release of hormones, so that it is at the same time a receptacle of our education and our evolution and a predisposed engine since our birth. We are born male or female. Our brain is marked, like a seal, with this quality; and an astonishing alchemy, a clever play of hormones, like a machine, is at work.

René Écochard is not a polemicist and this book, in a calm, sober, natural manner, asserts conservative ideas about the family, the couple, the function of woman and man, opposing their equality, supporting, on the other hand, their holy and beautiful complementarity, between love and war, Mars and Venus. Écochard is one of us, and consequently, opposed to the theory of gender, careful not to adhere to the progressive delusions, to the modern and deconstructionist theories, to the open world of Davos, and to wokism. If the reader is afraid of reading a book on neuroscience, he should rest reassured— the tone is simple, accessible, even though there is a substantial set of notes and a substantial biography at the end of the volume. But isn’t it the characteristic of a great scientist to allow lambda readers, like us, gain clarity of ideas and purpose, while also digesting a complex quantity of data?

The professor places the debate on the side of science, though the debate is now also informed by the political and economic challenges of a fragmented, liquid, liberal, too liberal, consumer society. So be it Also, it becomes necessary to restore the intellectual stakes of these last years. Societal progressivism claims, in the name of human rights, the absolute freedom of the individual, in the very name of his rights and even of his whims. Nothing should prevent the freedom of man, not even nature which, unjustly, works like fate. We are born a man, by chance, without having chosen. What misfortune! This kind of biological determinism is unsustainable for progressives.

Distinguishing Nature and Culture

Progressivism’s second fight is to try to distinguish nature and culture, to separate them drastically, as two things that have nothing to do with each other, and to make of the one something outdated, and of the other, a kind of a la carte menu from which one chooses everything as one pleases. Thus, a little boy can become a little girl, despite having a penis, if he decides to wear make-up. The father is a symbolic function. The family can, well, in the name of modernity and of rights, be constituted by two moms. The reign of the individual.

Professor Écochard’s book seeks to present three main points: born male or female, our biology determines part of our behavior; our education, our culture, our evolution in society are anchored to our sex disposed at birth, as if married to it. Man and woman are not undifferentiated but complementary: “The same hormones masculinize or feminize the body, but also the mind.” There is a coherence between a male body and a male personality; hence the deep distress of a society where we repeat that we are physically a man but not psychologically; that what is natural is a stereotype, therefore atrocious and oppressive, where we distinguish between gender and sex and, even more grotesquely, “gender identity” and “gender expression.” While modern society asks us, in the name of vague rights, to choose—nature takes the opposite view of Beauvoir’s famous phrase and enjoins us to observe this precept—one becomes a man because one is born a man.

Without talking about determinism, the professor well says that “human societies are not structured by genetics alone—free will enriches human life.” And to add that where progressives deny the importance of nature and the fullness of culture, it is necessary to consider a kind of concordance between biological determination and our way of being a man, a woman, based on our education and our personal trajectory: “The process of masculinization of the male brain is biological; but it is also educational; education participates in the development of the natural given which the Y chromosome establishes directly or through testosterone.”

The Evolution of Boys and Girls

The first part of the book is devoted to children and their evolution. Girls have a predominance of empathy. This is explained by the fact that boys and girls “have a natural foundation, linked in part to the higher level of testosterone in boys than in girls in the fetal period.” From childhood, we read, “the brains of girls and boys develop differently under the influence of the games that attract them, the interactions with their environment and the gaze of those around them, which indicates their horizon as women or men. All this contributes to the development of a personality whose feminine or masculine traits are gradually revealed.” It thus appears that everything is established from the conception of the child; that the child, girl or boy, is fitted by its sex with such or such characteristics which will influence its behavior, its tastes, its ideas. The mechanisms work! Let’s get on with the show!

The most relevant part of the book is the one that deals with the family. At a time when it is explained that a grandmother can be a father, at a time of the reconstituted family, single parent, model of perfect capitalism, and marriage for all in its version 2.0, the information of the professor is delightful. The family is the perfect illustration of a cultural, civilizational institution, anchored, copied in nature, sublimating the instinct of reproduction and the animal behavior of man and woman, by a sacrament and an institution. To understand that an alchemy at the level of the brain takes place between the married couple, between the mother and her child, between the father and his child, confirms and reaffirms the defense of the family according to natural law. A man tends to become a father—and the father, this changed man, chemically transformed, is irreplaceable. The conjugal bond, marriage, a cultural institution, is in perfect harmony with the natural feeling of love between a man and a woman, so much so that at the time of pregnancy “the greater the hormonal changes observed in the mother, the greater the changes observed in the father.” Amazing!

The Father Back in the Spotlight

The father resumes, under the professor’s observations, some meaning. Whereas he had been reduced to being a function, now the man who becomes a dad is transformed, “the hormonal balance of the father changes during the pregnancy of his wife; even the view of the newborn’s smile triggers a burst of oxytocin, the bonding hormone, in his parents.” How can that happen, even in the name of individual rights, with a surrogacy pregnancy? During the first months of the child, the father feels less testosterone, this drop encourages him to stay in the family nest, which has served, during evolution, to encourage the father to protect his child from threats. The model of the protective “Dad” is not just a stereotype, it is biologically posited. This is remarkable—becoming a father is not simply an apprenticeship by a method, a What-do-I-know-about-paternity, a Being-a-dad-for-dummies—but on the contrary happens naturally. “Even later, the man undergoes a kind of metamorphosis; seeing his wife breastfeeding, he also benefits from a hormonal shift that strengthens his attachment to his wife and their child. The same hormone therefore serves as a vector to nourish the child and to strengthen the bonds.”

This book will therefore be a necessary vade-mecum for all Catholic supporters of natural law and those who want to justify their principles with factual and scientific data that will reassure us about our ideas and our struggle.


Nicolas Kinosky is at the Centres des Analyses des Rhétoriques Religieuses de l’Antiquité. This articles appears through the very kind courtesy La Nef.


Featured image: “Das Stelldichein” (The Tryst), by Carl Schweninger d. J. Painted ca. 1903.

UFOs and Space Aliens: A Theistic and Catholic Perspective

For some two millennia, most Christians have believed that Earth was God’s sole habitat for rational animals in all creation. Moreover, the role of Christ as savior of all mankind was viewed as essential to healing the rift with divinity caused by the first parents of all true humans—a rift repaired by the death of Jesus on a cross, a fall from grace and divine reparation that happened once and for all time and nowhere else in all the cosmos.

Fast forward to today and we suddenly see taken seriously claims about UFOs that may contain intelligent visitors from other and distant parts of space – visitors whose theological relation to earthly humans is now very much in question. Indeed, many now are having doubts about Christianity itself, since they wonder whether the scientific evidence about intelligent life on other planets directly contradicts doctrinal truths essential to Christian revelation.

Today we hear increasing reports about UFO sightings, abductions to alien spaceships, ancient alien civilizations in places like Antarctica, interdimensional visitations, and human interactions with space aliens of diverse species, such as Reptilians, Pleiadians, and Greys. This plethora of reports from diverse sources make many people wonder whether one or more may actually turn out to be true.

My intent is to address directly the challenge that such extraterrestrial humanoid claims seem to pose to traditional Christianity, specifically, to Catholicism. Can one rationally believe that Catholicism would still be authentic divine revelation, if it turns out that such extraterrestrial intelligent humanoids actually exist?

Indeed, what makes this challenge even more daunting is our very lack of knowledge about the truth of these various extraterrestrial or interdimensional claims of alien intelligent life forms. Since we are not yet certain what accounts are true, or even if any of them are true, how can we offer a rational defense of traditional Christianity?

The method I will follow will be to examine the claims for the God of classical theism as well as attendant philosophical tenets presupposed by Christian revelation, specifically Catholicism. That is, some of the preambula fidei (Preambles to the Faith) will be tested for epistemic certainty.

I do not intend to offer a fully developed natural theology here. But, I do intend to show how the ultimate epistemic and metaphysical foundations exist on which to erect a natural theology with perfect certainty. Other foundational truths of philosophy of nature and philosophical psychology will also be shown, which, with like certainty, support Christian beliefs about man having a spiritual and immortal soul.

Metaphysical First Principles and Logic

The Christian metaphysics of St. Thomas Aquinas centers on the concept of being which is foundational to all metaphysical first principles, such as those of non-contradiction, sufficient reason, and causality. The transcendental validity of these basic truths is absolutely essential to the proofs for God’s existence and to all rational inquiry about reality.

To the metaphysician, “being” or “existence” is first known when the mind is confronted by something actually presented to it by the senses, that is, when it recognizes and affirms existence as actually exercised. As philosopher Jacques Maritain points out in his book, The Degrees of Knowledge (1959), being is first known in a judgment: “Scio aliquid esse” (71-81). That is, “I know something to be or to exist.” I may not know what it is that I have encountered in experience, but I know that it is “something real or existing” in some way.

On the contrary, the logician views existence only to regard it as a type of essence, that is, being as signified. The logician abstracts a concept of existence from actually encountered existence, treating it then as if it were a kind of essence. That is why the logician views existence or being as a univocal term, whereas being or existence as actually found in reality is exercised analogically, that is, as varying from being to being. Whether it be creature or Creator—both exercise existence, despite the incommensurability of their essences.

Since the process of abstraction by which we form concepts captures only essential likenesses between things, its predication is inherently univocal. The logician studies the proper relations between concepts, which are formed secondarily to the judgment in which the mind first knows being in a general manner. But, the being, which is first known in a direct judgment of something existing and which the metaphysician studies, is found in all things, regardless of nature or differences, and hence, is inherently analogous, that is, predicable of anything that has existence—even of things with radically diverse natures, such creatures and God.

Modern analytic logicians attack Thomistic philosophers’ use of “existence” as the first act of any being by claiming that “existence is not a first-order predicate.”

They will say that we directly encounter cows from which we can form a concept of “cow-ness,” which can then be licitly predicated of something, as when we say, “Daisy is a cow.” But then they say that we do not encounter “existence” in the same fashion, since it is not directly given in sense experience. Hence, they claim that Thomistic reasoning about the “existence” or “act of existence” of things is based on something that we do not directly encounter in experience. Since modern logic, indeed, all logic, studies second intentions and not first intentions, it is perfectly understandable why Fregeans insist that “existence is not a first-order predicate.”

But existence is encountered by all human beings in ordinary everyday life. We make judgments about things being real or not real, existing or not existing, all the time. Moreover, we have a very clear notion of being that is freely applied to all things, including what most people understand as a transcendent God. People do not run around enunciating the proposition, “Being cannot both be and not be.” Still, people understand perfectly clearly that nothing can both be and not be at the same time and in the same respect. No one has any real problem with these judgments and expressions about being or existence—save for those suddenly trying to do philosophy about such notions as technically expressed in modern logic.

Empirical judgments tell us that things are real in the physical world, but do not explain the sufficient reason why they are actually differentiated from nothingness. Moreover, existence in act cannot be the object of sense experience as such. But it can be known directly in an existential judgment, as when we say, “This horse exists.”

All this is precisely why human knowledge is not merely sensory, but rather is sensory-intellectual. Human experience is not restricted merely to sensation (as Hume assumes), but is simultaneously intellectual in nature.

That is why we say that existence (esse) is known in a judgment, NOT in sensation as such. When we say that “this horse exists,” the physical attributes of the horse are experienced through sensation, but the intellect alone pronounces that the horse and its properties have actual being or existence.

And because existence is known immediately in sensory-intellectual experience, it is, whether it be so in Fregean logic or not, a legitimate predicate of actual things. No, it adds nothing to the properties of the thing (to the essence, that is), but it pronounces the whole thing as real—as not nothing at all.

When we encounter real things, we not only experience their physical attributes, but we also judge that they, and whatever it is that has those properties, are real, that is, that they exist. They have something real in them that differentiates them from nothing at all. If we deny this evident fact, we lose all intellectual contact with reality.

In our first encounter with the existence or being of something – an encounter that is simultaneously both sensitive and intellectual, the intellect immediately forms the judgment that “being is.” From this we immediately combine it with its corresponding negative judgment, “non-being is not,” to form the principle of non-contradiction: “Being cannot both be and not be.” We then add the qualifiers, “at the same time and in the same way,” so as to make sure we are talking about the exact same being from the exact same perspective.

Hence is formed what is called the ontological principle of non-contradiction (PNC): A being cannot both be and not be at the same time and in the same way. It is a most basic metaphysical first principle that governs not only thought, but all of reality.

Maritain, in his book, A Preface to Metaphysics (1939), says that “the whole of logic depends upon the principle of contradiction” (34). You cannot be sure of the logical form of the principle unless you are first certain of its ontological form. That is, you cannot be sure that the same predicate cannot be affirmed and denied of the same subject universally, unless you are certain of this because of first presupposing the ontological form of the same principle. Otherwise, since propositions are part of reality, it might be possible to affirm and deny the same predicate of the same subject.

Indeed, the ontological principle of non-contradiction is absolutely required to establish the very intelligibility of every thought and every utterance and every logical proposition human beings make, since in affirming anything about any reality, even mental reality, it is implicit that one is affirming and not denying what is expressed. Absent that certainty, every thought or utterance or proposition might just as well express the opposite of what it intends to say.

Even the science of semantics itself would be meaningless and unintelligible, reduced to a pile of potentially self-conflicting statements that may or may not have any bearing on reality—absent the ontological PNC.

Moreover, the intelligibility of every judgment made in natural science presupposes the PNC, since otherwise, no judgment might comport with reality.

Some maintain that we say nothing absolute about things. We just make probability estimates of this or that being true or likely to happen. But this presupposes the absolute affirmation of the probability. Are we only 70% sure that we are 70% sure? Would that make us only 49% sure? And 70% probability of that 49% reduces what began as a 70% probability to a mere 34.3% possibility! Mere probability judgments, if applied to everything, would quickly asymptote to a near impossibility! This means, then, that even probability estimates must be made absolutely, and thus, presuppose the PNC in their declaration.

Given that the ontological PNC is undeniably given at the very starting point of all human knowledge, there is no “secondary level” philosophical system or theory that can disprove it, especially since all such alternative epistemologies presuppose the self-same principle of non-contradiction in their own initial premises and expositions. That is why the PNC is a metaphysical first principle foundational to all human knowledge and to all reality or being.

The Foundation of Certitude

If what I experience is merely subjective, like a hallucination, I still have perfect certitude that I have encountered something real in its own order. If I see pink elephants dancing on the ceiling, I may be wrong about their extramental reality, but I cannot doubt that I am experiencing something real. I still know something to be or to exist, even if it is only in my intramental, but real, experience.

Doubt requires a distinction between (1) what I know and (2) what is real, since doubt is fear of error. But to be in error, I must think I know something, which—it turns out—is not really true. So, doubt is the fear that what I think I know is not what is real.

But the reality of my experience is identical with the reality of the content of the hallucination, that is, pink elephants dancing on the ceiling. I can be wrong about a judgment I make that goes beyond the subjective experience itself, but I cannot be wrong about the fact that I am experiencing some form of reality.

It is in that first immediate certitude of being or existence as judged by the intellect that we realize that we metaphorically can “see” being, much like the sight naturally sees color. The mind also then realizes that being is not non-being—a law as universal as being itself. Applying to anything that possibly exists, this first principle is inherently transcendental. For, any possible thing that is real or exists already is being, whereas, any possible thing that does not exist is literally “nothing” to worry about.

The mind not only “sees” being, but it is also self-reflectively aware of its natural conformity to that being. That is, the mind is naturally constituted to know being. That is why we use it to know what is and what is not. Were the mind to lack such ability to know being or reality, it would be entirely useless as an instrument of knowledge.

The Principle of Sufficient Reason

Not only do we trust the mind as an instrument to know being, but we also use it as an instrument to judge all that is real. We engage in reasoning in order to come to know the truth about reality or being.

The mind demands reasons for anything that is not immediately evident. That is, if a thing does not have its own explanation within itself, we properly demand that “outside” or extrinsic reasons be supplied.

No one seriously holds that being can come from non-being. Some foolishly assert that quantum mechanics allows that photons can pop into existence in a quantum vacuum. But a quantum vacuum is not really the “nothing” that philosophers are talking about. Rather, it is merely the lowest possible energy state found in physical reality. We are talking about trying to make something from what is really nothing at all. It is impossible.

The mind demands that being can only come-to-be from being or something already there, which amounts to saying that being must be grounded in being, that is, in some foundation or sufficient reason for its existence.

Some have alleged that certain events or realities are simply “brute facts” for which there is no reason or explanation. But, if that were true, we could never know when anything lacks all explanation, which would make natural science as well as all human reasoning useless. To think something must be true with certitude means to think that is how it must be. But, if it must be in a certain way, that means that there is a reason why it is that way and not some other way. Or else, there is no necessity about what the intellect holds to be true, and hence, no certitude.

Because it thinks in terms of being, the intellect cannot think a genuine contradiction. So, too, the intellect cannot think of anything as real and true without having a reason to do so. If it thinks something is true with certitude, it is because it judges that there is a sufficient reason to do so.

The mind demands true premises and valid inferences in all its reasoning about reality. But premises are true and reasoning is valid solely because they keep the mind in conformity with reality or being. Hence, the mind demands a true foundation in being or sufficient reasons for any claim that does not explain itself by being its own sufficient reason for being. This means the mind demands a sufficient reason both for what it holds true, or, if something is not its own sufficient reason for being as it is, then there must be extrinsic reasons sufficient to make up for what something does not explain within itself.

The preceding is simply a complicated way of defending and stating the principle of sufficient reason: Every being must have a sufficient reason for its being or coming-to-be either within itself or from some extrinsic sufficient reason or reasons. There can be no such thing as a “brute fact,” since that would be to deny the principle of sufficient reason which flows from the very nature of being itself.

Certitude in Proving God’s Existence

Why, then, are the PNC and PSR key to certitude in proving God’s existence?

Valid proofs for the God of classical theism rest squarely on these two metaphysical first principles. Valid proofs are a posteriori—starting with effects found in the sensible world and arguing back to the need for a First Cause Uncaused in whatever order of reality is used as a point of departure for the proof involved.

The key is to start with something whose sufficient reason is not totally intrinsic, which is what is called an effect. Every effect needs a cause, which serves as its needed extrinsic sufficient reason. That cause, in turn, is either itself uncaused or caused. (PNC) If it is uncaused, the Uncaused First Cause has been arrived at. If caused, then the question of infinite regress among causes arises. That was the central question dealt with in my book, Aquinas’ Proofs for God’s Existence.

Put as succinctly as possible, in any regress of intermediate causes, each cause contributes something to the final effect, but none explains the “thread of causality” which runs through the entire series. Hence, if there is no first cause, the entire series lacks a sufficient reason for its final effect. But that is to deny the PSR. Therefore, there must be a First Cause Uncaused.

It is true that an infinite regression in accidental causes is possible, for example, fathers begetting sons forever. But the past no longer exists to explain the present here and now. Fathers are causes of the coming-to-be of their sons, not of their being, once conceived. The father can die, while the son lives on. Present effects need present causes. So, any causal regress must be among proper causes—causes acting here and now to produce their effects. Among such a causal regress, regression to infinity is impossible, as shown above. Therefore, there must be a First Uncaused Cause.

While the above outlines the general format for valid proofs for the God of classical theism, perhaps the best known of these proofs is the First Way of St. Thomas Aquinas, which begins: “It is certain and evident to our senses that in the world some things are in motion.” (Summa Theologiae, I, q. 2, a. 3, c). Here, St. Thomas begins with an immediately evident truth given to us directly in sensation. He follows this with a general principle: “Now whatever is in motion is being moved by another” (Ibid.). Again, he is not talking about movers going back in time, but about movers acting here and now to effect the coming-to-be of new states of reality here and now.

The “Law of Inertia” does not explain Motion

Newton’s law of inertia tells us that a body in motion tends to remain in motion. Many falsely think that explains a cosmos in continuous motion. It does not. The law of inertia merely describes how bodies behave. It fails to explain how or why they act this way.

Even without using Aristotle’s famous terminology of “act” and “potency,” it can easily be shown that everything in motion requires an extrinsic mover, using only the first principles of non-contradiction and sufficient reason.

When a body undergoes motion or change (this applies to changes in energy states as well), either that change is real or not (PNC). It must be real, since inertia is claimed to explain all real change, even evolutionary progress, in the cosmos. If it is real, then there must be a real difference between the “before” and “after” of the change. That is, the state of things is really different after the change occurs.

It does not matter whether we are talking about changes in position of planets or particles, changes in energy states or of changes in any other hypothesized physical reality. What matters is that reality is different after the change than it was before the change—and the coming-to-be of that new state of reality must be explained.

But it cannot be explained by the “old” or “previous” state of things, since the prior state did not include the reality that comes-to-be. Otherwise, there would be no difference between the before and the after, and thus, change did not take place.

But, change did take place and, since the previous state of things did not include that which makes the subsequent state of things new and different, the previous condition of things cannot explain what comes-to-be. Yet, the PSR demands a reason for what comes-to-be. Therefore, something else than the previous state of things must explain the new state of things.

This something else, then, must have caused what is new in the new state of affairs after the change occurred. Applied to physical motion, this means that whatever is in motion must be moved by another—just as St. Thomas Aquinas and Aristotle insist. For, what is in motion is changing, and that change—even if it is merely one of physical location relative to some point of reference—still needs a sufficient reason for the newness of the “after,” which was not in the “before.”

The rest is easy. Since there can be no infinite regress among moved movers here and now moving things moved, there must be a First Mover Unmoved, just as Aristotle and St. Thomas conclude.

Now the entire physical universe is in constant motion according to the science of physics. Yet, all its components are finite in nature. That is, they are all limited beings, existing with only “these” specific qualities and/or properties here and now, such as space-time coordinates. The universe as a whole is finite, because it is composed of finite or limited things.

In such a cosmos, all things are limited at any point in space-time to just what they are now—prior to any further motion or change. That is the essence of them being finite.

So, where does the “newness” of what newly comes-to-be after motion or change come from—either considering a single submicroscopic physical entity or when taking the entire cosmic nearly-uncountable parts as a whole? Both are finite. Both are confined to the limited reality of the past. Where does the newness of the next moment in time come from?

Does the newness come from the prior state of all things in this finite universe? It cannot, since the prior state, precisely as prior, does not contain the different and new states of being, which specifically differentiate what is new from what was prior. Non-being cannot beget being. Nor can the new state of things beget itself, since its new properties are “new” precisely because they did not exist in the prior state of things.

But change or motion does occur. Foolish materialists at this point will blurt out recourse to Newton’s descriptive law of inertia. But we have just seen that inertia explains nothing in terms of showing a sufficient reason for the continued motion of bodies which entails continually new and different states of reality, even if they are merely changes in spatial position. After all, these changes claim to explain a progressively evolving cosmos. So, they must be real and, as such, demand a coherent sufficient reason for their coming-to-be.

What is left? We know the cosmos is changing, even down to the least subatomic physical entity, according to natural science. We know it needs a cause of its changes. We know nothing in the finite physical cosmos can be that cause. The sole remaining alternative is that there must exist some first mover or movers unmoved which are not themselves moving, and thus, are not part of the physical universe. We need an immaterial or spiritual First Mover to explain all the motion or change in the physical world.

Coming back to the theme of this article, I should point out that even UFOs, space aliens, and hypothetical interdimensional multi-verses belong to the realm of the physical world of limited or finite beings subject to change or motion. Hence, none of them qualify for the role of an Unmoved First Mover of all motion or change in the finite physical world.

Note also that no deity in the form of pantheism or panentheism can be the First Unmoved Mover, since both of these “theisms” include the physical world as part of the essence of God, and thus, would be subject to the same limitations that prevent any finite world from explaining the newness that is continually generated in it through motion or change.

In his Summa Theologiae, I, q. 2, a. 3, c, St. Thomas does not claim to have proven the existence of the God of classical theism through any of his Five Ways. Rather, at the end of each argument, he simply observes that what is concluded to is what all men call God. It takes him another ten questions as well as many diverse arguments before attesting that the demonstrated philosophical understanding of God is such that his nature fulfills the revealed biblical name of God. Finally, in the Summa Theologiae, I, q. 13, a. 11, he asks, “Whether this name, He Who Is, is the most proper name of God?”—a question he answers in the affirmative, “since the being of God is his very essence.”

Since one could easily write a book about Aquinas’s Five Ways alone, I have no desire to present all or most of the classical proofs for God here. Rather, my primary focus has been to reaffirm the certitude of the essential “legs” on which all such proofs stand, specifically, (1) the principle of non-contradiction and (2) the principle of sufficient reason. Beyond that, I have addressed some common misunderstandings concerning: (1) the validity of the analogy of being, (2) the principle that whatever is moved is moved by another, and (3) the question of infinite causal regression.

The purpose of the above is to reassure the reader that the proofs for God’s existence remain on sound footing even in the contemporary sci-fi world of UFOs and space aliens. Nothing has changed. As long as their metaphysical foundations remain secure, the general method of starting with some phenomena that needs explanation, such as motion in the world, the search for sufficient reasons inevitably lead us back through a chain of causes (or even directly to God) that must have a First Cause Uncaused in whatever intelligible order of dependent beings is being explored. Each of the famous Five Ways starts with something different to be explained: things in motion, series of causes of being, things whose existence is contingent, relative perfections found in things, and an order of governance in the world. Those who wish to see the most profound exposition of these Five Ways should read the entire first volume of Reginald Garrigou-Langrange’s God, His Existence, and His Nature.

Still, in examining the phenomenon of motion, we have already seen that there must be a First Mover Unmoved, which cannot be part of the physical world. This means that philosophical materialism has already been defeated. Even if UFOs and space aliens exist, it remains true that the ultimate explanation for motion in the space-time continuum transcends physical reality. A central theme of Christian belief remains true.

Other Themes of Christian Philosophy

One of the unhappy consequences of pure materialism is that its doctrine entails that nothing above the subatomic level actually exists. One need merely ask what happens when two atoms combine, say sodium and chlorine, when they join to form table salt or sodium chloride. Does this make one being, or, is it still two distinct atoms forming a temporary union? According to the materialistic philosophy of atomism, two atoms sharing an electronic link to form a molecule are no more one thing than are two people shaking hands a single organism.

The major historical alternative to atomism is Aristotle’s doctrine of hylemorphism, which says that all physical things are composed of matter and form, where form is an immaterial principle which makes a thing one substance of a certain nature. What is at stake is whether unified things with specific and diverse natures exist above the subatomic level. Are human beings single things of a same nature throughout? Are we just a pile of atoms or are we one thing of a unified nature? Common sense and experience says we are one single substance. Thus, if someone is punched in the stomach, we don’t say that just a stomach was punched. We say the person was punched, since we are human in every cell of our being from head to toe.

But how do we know that we are a single substance, such that the nature of all our parts is human—not a “foot nature,” “a hand nature,” and a “brain” nature? The evidence is abundant.

First, all parts of a whole function for the good of the whole, not just itself. That is, our stomachs do not just digest food for itself, but to feed the metabolism of the entire organism. Our feet sacrifice their comfort on long hikes for the sake of moving the entire person from one place to another.

Even more definitive is our actual experience of existential unity as we react to, for example, the attack of a mad dog. We simultaneously see and hear and feel the attack of the beast with all our senses in a single unified subjective painful and horrified experience. Then, we marshal all our psychological and physical powers to fend off this attack, keenly aware of our same self both as the central receptor of the incoming fire of all the senses and as the central agent of the outgoing actions of all our being to repel this dangerous attacker.

In this vivid experience we are directly and immediately self-aware of the unified nature of our person and all its senses and physical powers interacting with external forces in terms of a “unified command center.” This evident unity of our human person requires a real principle of unity, which accounts for our specifically human behavior—a nature or form (as Aristotle would call it), which makes a single, unified substance existing over and above the physical elements which compose it. This principle of life that makes us an individual human being is what is called the soul.

The Human Soul’s Immaterial Nature

This same self that enables the body to act in a unified manner also exhibits activities and powers that transcend the materiality of the body alone.

First, our senses apprehend the physically extended complexity of our environment in such manner as to grasp whole objects in a single, simple way that is impossible for purely physical things to do. Most clear is the instance of vision, where we can see both tops and bottoms of objects in a single act.

Electronic devices, like televisions, can represent objects physically extended in space solely by having different parts of the representing medium represent different parts of the object. For example, for a television to represent a tree on its surface, hundreds of thousands of pixels across its face are either illuminated or not, so as to depict the parts of the tree. No single pixel “sees” anything, since it is both inanimate and is either illuminated or not. It is only the pattern of illuminated pixels that represents the whole tree.

But a dumb canine, bounding into the room, instantly can see the whole image of the tree, top and bottom, in a single act of sight—unifying the physically extended and disparate parts of the image into a single subjective experience that cannot be itself physically extended in space. Why not extended in space? Because then one part would represent one part of the tree and a separate part would represent a different part of the tree and nothing would “see” the whole. That is the nature of material things. Different parts do different things.

But the act of seeing the whole tree in a single act requires that the sense power involved must not be itself extended in space. And to not be extended in space means to be immaterial.

Thus the sensitive soul, which enables an animal to experience sensation, must itself not be material, since it enables the animal to perform immaterial actions – actions not extended in space.

The Human Soul’s Spiritual Nature

Animals show evidence of immateriality in their simple apprehension of sense objects, as I have just shown. But, the problem for life in the animal kingdom is that even such “immateriality” fails to escape completely dependence upon the animals’ material bodies and organs. This is evident because both sense objects and sense images are always experienced under the conditions of matter, as we humans see in our own sense lives.

Sense experience is always “under the conditions of time and space.” This means that such experiences are always concrete, particular, singular, and have imaginable material qualities, such as specific size, color, shape, weight, sounds, and so forth. If one imagines a triangle or horse, it must always be with a particular color, size, shape, and so forth. Such images are always under such “conditions of matter,” and thus, fail to show complete independence of matter, that is, of material organs, such as the brain.

Like animals, man has sense powers. But, unlike animals, man also exhibits superior intellectual acts, such as understanding universal concepts, judging, reasoning, and making free choices. For present purposes, I shall focus on the first act of the mind: abstracting universal concepts.

Universal concepts or ideas are free of all material conditions and manifest the genuinely spiritual nature of the human soul. Thus, while it is easy to imagine a triangle or a horse, it is utterly impossible to imagine “triangularity” or “horseness,” since such an image would have to simultaneously contain the concrete shape and other qualities of every possible triangle and horse, which is impossible. I can imagine a particular triangle. For most people, this turns out to be an equilateral one! But triangularity can be expressed as well in concrete triangles that are acute, obtuse, and even isosceles. Yes, we tend to associate an image with a concept. But one person may imagine a mouse when thinking of “animal,” while another is imagining an elephant instead. That is why, when communicating with someone, we do not finish by saying, “Did you get my images?” Rather, we say, “Do you understand my meaning?”

Moreover, many universal concepts simply have no physically concrete instances, for example, such inherently spiritual ideas as justice, virtue, beauty, truth, or equality. Conceptual knowledge is radically different from, and superior to, mere animal sensory experience or imagining.

Universal concepts are neither extended in space nor do they manifest being under material conditions, which would, as in the case of images, imply dependence on matter. As such, they are spiritual in nature.

While this is not the only argument for the human soul’s spirituality, it is the most well-known one, dating at least as far back as Plato’s dialogue, Phaedo. Since the less perfect cannot be a sufficient reason for the more perfect, it is clear that merely material organs, like the human brain, cannot account for the formation of spiritual universal concepts. Since man can produce such spiritual entities as universal concepts, it is clear that he must possess such powers, not in his body, but in his soul – a soul, which must be as spiritual as is the concepts it produces.

Thus, philosophical proof exists of the spiritual nature of the human soul. Importantly, this rational truth casts further light on the nature of God.

The Spiritual Soul Must be Created

While the sense knowledge we share with animals is shown to be immaterial (meaning that it is not extended in space), still such knowledge is understood to be dependent on material organs. This is evident because both images and sense objects are always known under the conditions of matter, that is, with a particular shape, color, extension, and so forth. But our intellectual knowledge of universals is spiritual as is the human soul, because, not only are concepts not extended in space, but also they have no sensible qualities at all, which shows that they cannot be the product of sense organs. That is, unlike images, concepts exist independently of matter.

Because of this, the human spiritual soul is utterly superior to organic matter. Sense organs alone cannot produce what is spiritual. Thus, we have a problem as to the origin of the human spiritual soul. For, how can matter produce what is strictly immaterial? How can the lower or less perfect produce what is higher or more perfect? It cannot.

Bodily beings produce only more bodily beings. Spiritual entities exceed the powers of bodily beings to procreate. Since the human soul is not dependent on matter for its existence, it exceeds the procreative power of merely material organs. And a spiritual being cannot be changed into another spiritual being, since they lack the hylemorphic (matter-form) composition needed to explain change in physical nature. Since the human spiritual soul comes to be from neither bodily being nor from pre-existent spiritual being, it can only come into existence through creation, that is, from nothing that preexists its coming into existence (Summa Theologiae, I, q. 90, a. 2, c.).

Since it begins to exist at the beginning of human life, the human spiritual soul must be created by some spiritual agent extrinsic to the human beings, whose procreative activity occasions its creation at the moment of conception.

But to create means to make something without any preexisting material. It takes infinite power to create. St. Thomas Aquinas demonstrates this truth as follows:

“For a greater power is required in the agent insofar as the potency is more remote from the act, it must be that the power of an agent which produces from no presupposed potency, such as a creating agent does, would be infinite, because there is no proportion between no potency and the potency presupposed by the power of a natural agent, just as there is no proportion between non-being and being” (Summa Theologiae, I, q. 45, a. 5, ad 3).

What St. Thomas is pointing out here is that the measure of power is taken, not merely from the effect produced, but also from the proportion between what is presupposed by the agent in order to produce the effect and the effect produced. That is to say, while it takes a certain measure of power to make a horse from pre-existing horses, it would take far greater power to make a horse from merely vegetative life—not to mention the power required to make a horse from non-living matter. But, to make a horse, while presupposing nothing at all, requires immeasurably greater power.

As St. Thomas points out, there is no proportion between having nothing at all from which to make something and the thing produced, just as there is no proportion between non-being and being (Ibid.). But, what is immeasurable is literally “without limit,” or infinite. Hence, it takes infinite power to make something while presupposing nothing preexistent out of which to make it.

The Creator

Since we have shown that the human spiritual soul is created, there must exist a creating agent. But creation requires an infinitely powerful cause, as just shown. Therefore, an infinitely powerful creating cause must exist.

But infinite power cannot exist in a finite being. Hence, the infinitely powerful creating cause of the human spiritual soul must be an infinite being. Clearly, such a being must also be spiritual in nature, since physical things inherently have bodily limitations.

But there cannot be more than a single infinite being. If there were two of them, they must differ in some way, or else, they would be the same being. But, if they differ in any way, one must have something the other lacks. In that case, the other, since it lacks some aspect or quality of being, cannot be infinite, since the infinite being is lacking in nothing. So, too, were there three such beings, only one can be truly infinite, since the others must be differentiated by lacking or having some quality that differentiates them. If they lack anything, they are not infinite. If they have something another lacks, then the other is not infinite. The bottom line is that it is metaphysically impossible that there should be more than one Infinite Being or Uncaused Creator. There is but a single Creator because there can be but a single Infinite Being and only an Infinite Being can create.

Once it is shown that solely the unique Infinite Being is the creative cause of all spiritual entities that come into being, it is but a short step to realize that this same Infinite Being must be causing by continuous creation the existence of all finite beings. For, a being that begins to exist through the creative power of God continues to exist through dependence on that same power, since it does not explain its own existence.

It does not take massive insight to realize that, if it takes infinite power to make something come-to-be, while presupposing nothing preexistent out of which to make it, infinite power is also required to enable something to continue to exist as opposed to being nothing. This is even more manifest in light of the fact that we have already proven that an infinitely powerful Creator of spiritual souls actually exists.

The power required to explain why beings exist is not measured by whether they happen to have a beginning in time. Rather, it is measured in terms of that power being the reason why there is being rather than nothing at all. For, as St. Thomas Aquinas points out, “…there is no proportion of non-being to being.” (Summa Theologiae, I, q. 45, a. 5, ad 3). Hence, the sufficient reason why any finite being exists is that infinite power is making it be and continue to be. Since the Infinite Being alone has such power, all creatures must be being continually held in existence by the infinite power of that unique Infinite Being, who is the God of classical theism.

Since it is now evident that God is the First Cause Uncaused and Creator of all finite things, we can use the basic fact that non-being cannot beget being in order to learn something about God’s nature and attributes. Put another way, a being cannot give what it does not possess. So, any perfection we find in creatures must somehow pre-exist in God. Moreover, since God is the First Cause, he can have no composition within his being, since what is composed presupposes a prior cause to compose it. This means that God’s nature is simple, so that whatever attributes he possesses must be identical with his nature, thereby making them infinite like his nature is.

For example, since some creatures are persons, God must be a person.
If some creatures have intelligence, then God must be intelligent. If there is goodness in the world, God must be good. If truth is a value found in creation, then God must be truthful. And all these attributes must be identical to his infinite nature to avoid any hint of composition in God. I am not trying to give here more than an outline of how such reasoning proceeds.

But we also find in creatures many imperfections and limitations, such as pain, sin, stupidity, limitations of space and time, evil, and so forth.

Since these are negations of perfections, the general answer is that non-being needs no cause. Thus, any aspect of creatures that entails imperfection or limitations need not be predicated of God. The most obvious issue posing difficulty here is the problem of evil. But, since contradictions in being are impossible, once we know that God exists and is infinitely good, it is immediately evident that the problem of evil can be resolved in some manner.

While most skeptics claim that the reality of evil in the world is incompatible with the divine attribute of God’s infinite goodness, this objection is easily defeated once we realize several simple truths. First, evil is not simple non-being, but rather it is a defect or perversion in something designed by God to be good. For example, a man lacking proper virtue is morally evil, or, a horse that is swayback lacks its proper skeletal formation.. For this reason, the measure of goodness itself is the natures of the things in the world created by God.

Second, it is morally licit to permit evil so that greater good may result, as when a father allows a young son to smoke a cigar and get sick so that he learns a lesson.

Third, as the divine lawgiver and maker of natural moral law, God has the right to punish those who violate that law—so as to restore the balance of justice. Unless we think we know more than God does, we cannot judge him for permitting certain moral and physical evils so that greater good may ensue.

Fourth, since pleasure and pain serve the good of sensitive organisms to preserve and promote their lives, even the role of pain in the moral development of man may be good for him. Indeed, even the existence of hell cannot be excluded as playing a major role in encouraging man to attain the greatest perfection of his last end and as a requirement of divine justice for the stubbornly reprobate.

Other attributes of the God of classical theism can be established, but that would exceed both the limits and the needs of this paper. From what has been discussed above, it should now be evident that robust evidence and proofs exist to support the essential parts of Christian revelation about God, the world, and man’s spiritual soul and personal immortality.

The key conclusion I propose at this point is that, even were somehow Catholicism and Christianity not true divine revelation, irrefutable reason still shows that the God of classical theism exists. Moreover, since UFOs and space aliens are usually presented in a context of materialistic worldviews, such philosophical views have now been ruled out.

If space aliens exist, they will have to be interpreted in light of a metaphysics that comports with Christian revelation in terms of a good, truthful, infinitely-powerful Creator, who is the God of classical theism, and of a human spiritual soul that has personal and immortal life.

Catholicism’s Clearest Modern Proof

In no way do I intend to denigrate the fine work of Christian and Catholic apologists, who offer overwhelming evidence in support of divine revelation occurring in and through the person of the Lord of History, Jesus Christ.

While the greatest miracle of all time is the Resurrection of Christ, the unfortunate fact for many people today is that that event, which took place some two millennia ago, requires careful historical research in order for them to be convinced of its reality. But, we live in an age of high technology, where even the least newsworthy incidents get recorded for broadcast on the evening news in a clip from some bystander’s cellphone. This makes it difficult for many to be convinced of an event that took place long before today’s “eyewitness” proof of a cellphone video.

Fortunately, for contemporary man, God has deigned to give us a modern miracle that offers undeniable proof of its authenticity and divine origin in terms designed to disarm present-day skeptics. It is set in a time so recent that modern means of electronic communication, photography, and newspapers existed, but not so recent that GCI or other high tech fakery was yet developed.

The whole world knows that, on 25 March 2022, Pope Francis publically consecrated Ukraine and Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary—thus manifesting Catholicism’s intimate connection to events that took place at Fatima, Portugal in 1917.

The Fatima story is well known – even to many unbelievers. Indeed, movies have been made about it, including The Miracle of Our Lady of Fatima (1952) and Fatima (2020). For those who know nothing of it, the story begins in May of 1917, when Pope Benedict XV made a direct appeal to the Blessed Virgin to end WWI. Just over a week later, three children, tending their flock of sheep in Fatima, Portugal, suddenly saw a lady bathed in light, who told them not to fear and that she came from heaven. She asked them to return on the 13th of each month at the same hour for the next six months. The lady also asked them to pray the Rosary, which the children began doing fully each day thereafter.

Over time, others joined the children at the appointed time each month and, by July, numbered two or three thousand people. During the September 13th visit, the lady promised that in October she would tell the children who she was and would perform a miracle “so that all may believe.” The apparitions occurred each month on the 13th, except for August, when the anti-religious authorities seized the children and threatened them with death, thereby preventing them from attending the scheduled apparition. By 13 October 1917, predictions of a public miracle had become so widely known that literally tens of thousands of people, believers and skeptics alike, converged on Fatima from all directions.

The Miracles of Fatima

The message of Fatima, which led to the 25 March 2022 consecration of Ukraine and Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary by Pope Francis and all the bishops, is not my primary concern in this essay. Rather, my intent is to show that the miraculous events at Fatima could have been affected solely through the power of the God of classical theism and that they prove with certitude the authenticity of Catholic religious revelation.

While many focus on visual aspects of the “sun dancing in the sky” on that day, I shall examine three diverse phenomena, any one of which might be considered a contender for the category of a miracle: (1) the prediction, (2) the solar observations, and (3) the sudden drying of the people’s clothes and of the ground. We should remember that the term, “miracle,” means, “by God alone.” A true miracle is an event, outside the order of nature, that nothing less than the Infinite Being, who is the God of classical theism, can cause. No lesser phenomena meet the qualification for the term.

The oldest child, Lucia, tells us that the lady who appeared to them on 13 October 1917 said, “I am the Lady of the Rosary.” In all six apparitions, the lady told the children and the world to pray the Rosary. This confirms the specifically Catholic nature of this private revelation. If any genuine miracles took place that day, they confirm the truth of the Catholic religion.

1. The Prediction Miracle

The tens of thousands of witnesses appearing from all over Portugal show, without doubt, that the prodigies which occurred at Fatima on 13 October 1917 were the result of a clear prediction. This is evinced by the very fact that such a multitude expected some sign from heaven that many traveled even large distances to Fatima to witness the events. The miraculous phenomena were predicted as to date, hour, and location—by three children, the oldest of whom was just ten. And the prediction was stunningly fulfilled.

Some have claimed that spiritualists predicted ahead of time that something amazing and good for humanity would happen on 13 May 1917, which turned out to be the day of the first vision at Fatima. Since Catholicism condemns such superstitious and possibly demonic practices as spiritualism, it has been argued that this might suggest the whole Fatima story is the work of the devil or even space aliens.

We must recall that the children reported the appearance of an angel who gave them Holy Communion in 1916. If that is true, then demonic estimates of future events could have been triggered, making the nature and date of a subsequent contact from heaven well within the paranormal powers of demons. After all, just by doing merely human software data mining, Clif High has made some amazing predictions of future events. The preternatural powers of demons should far exceed such human abilities. While Catholicism condemns spiritualism, this does not mean that authentic information could not be given by demons to certain spiritualists. There is no need for space aliens to explain these spiritualist predictions, even assuming they are true.

In any event, the very public nature of the children’s predictions of a miracle, “so that all may believe,” was widely known before the fact and stunningly fulfilled in a manner and scope unique in human history. Since I shall show later that the miracle of the sun itself could not have been produced either by space aliens or demons, the only adequate cause of this uniquely exact prediction of such a massive miracle must solely have been the God of classical theism.

2. The Visual Solar Miracle

The number of people – skeptics as well as believers – who gathered at the Cova da Iria at Fatima, Portugal, on 13 October 1917 is estimated to range from 30,000 to as high as 100,000. While many books and articles have been published about Fatima, of special interest is a small work by John M. Haffert, Meet the Witnesses of the Miracle of the Sun (1961). He took depositions from some 200 persons, thereby offering us eyewitness testimony some four decades after the miracle, but still within the lifetime of many witnesses. This book contains detailed eyewitness recounting of events by over thirty persons.

The book summarizes seven significant facts widely documented. They include that (1) the time, date, and place of the miracle was predicted in advance, (2) an extraordinary light that could be seen for many miles sending out “shafts of colored light” that tinted ground objects, (3) what looked like a great ball of fire fell toward earth, causing tens of thousands to think it was the end of the world, (4) the prodigy stopped just before reaching earth and returned to the sky, (5) it left and returned to the place of the sun, so that viewers thought it was the sun, (6) the mountain top where this happened had been drenched with rain for hours, but was completely dried in minutes, and (7) tens of thousands witnessed these events over an area of six hundred square miles (Haffert, 15).

Some online sources also give detailed eyewitness accounts.

It was quickly pointed out by skeptics that no such solar behavior could have actually occurred, since no observatory detected it and, following the rules of physics, such actual solar movements would have caused mass destruction on planet Earth!

Although the vast majority of witnesses reported seeing something they took to be the sun performing roughly similar amazing movements—even though some observers were miles away from the Cova da Iria, it should be noted that multiple sources report that some people at the Cova said that they saw nothing unusual at all.

The fact that the people saw amazing solar displays and even frightening movements of a silver-pearl disc that began its movements from the actual location of the sun—while the real sun could not have actually been so moved in space, demonstrates that massive visions were being experienced by tens of thousands of people simultaneously. This is reinforced by the reports that “…others, including some believers, saw nothing at all.” Certainly, any real extramental visual phenomena—even if they were not from the real sun itself—would have been seen, not just by some, but by all present.

While it is possible that some visual phenomena that day may have followed the normal laws of nature, what is clear is that the most extraordinary Fatima visual phenomena appear to have been in the nature of visions – possibly even “individually adjusted” to fit the sometimes diverse experiences of different observers.

Since the “solar” phenomena were not all reported to be the same and since not all present even appear to have seen it at all, it must be that whatever took place was not extramentally real as visually apprehended. Rather, it is evident that the phenomena was seen as extramental, but must have been caused by some agent able to produce internal changes in the observers, such that they believed they were witnessing actual external events. This is essentially what marks the experience of a vision. One writer calls it a “miracle of perception.”

Also, purely physical explanations based on some sort of optical phenomena fail to account for the overwhelming fear induced by seeing the “sun” appear to be about to crash into the earth, causing many to fall to their knees in the mud and some to actually call out their grievous sins for all to hear, since there were no priests available!

What critics badly miss is that variances in accounts actually strengthen the case for a miracle, not weaken it. Such a rich diversity of reports supports the case for all the visual aspects being visions that differ in each person. Like the fact that some were said to see nothing at all, this would support the claim that no external physical changes actually took place in the “dance of the sun.” Rather, this must be a case of massive individual visions – making the case for an extra-natural explanation only greater.

The plain fact is that tens of thousands of people do not make up a “collective lie,” especially when they cannot even get their story quite straight. Moreover, the plain fact is that the vast majority of those tens of thousands of people experienced analogously similar extraordinary behavior by the sun or by a silvery disc that emanated from the sun. Tens of thousands of people do not have collective hallucinations or anxiety attacks—especially, when the sea of humanity present included believers and non-believers, Catholics and atheists, secular government officials and skeptics alike.

However one explains one of most massively eyewitnessed events in recorded history, it must be accepted that the vast majority of those present experienced what surely looked like the greatest public miracle in history – even as reported in the atheistic secular newspapers in Lisbon, including O Seculo, whose 15 October 1917 edition published a front page headline, reading, “Como O Sol Bailou Ao Meio Dia Em Fatima,” that is, “How the sun danced at noon in Fatima.”

Could such massive phenomena have been caused by natural agents, space aliens, or even demons? Physicist and theologian, Stanley Jaki, S.J., offers an explanation based on the natural formation of an “air lens” at the site of the solar phenomena. But his explanation immediately confronts multiple difficulties. Even looking directly at the sun through an air lens would damage the eye, and no reports of ocular damage were recorded after the event. Moreover, I have already pointed out that the existence of somewhat conflicting descriptions of the phenomena as well as the fact that some saw nothing unusual at all, prove that the solar experiences must have been internal visions of externally experienced events—not the result of Jaki’s air lens hypothesis.

Finally, Jaki claims that the heating effect of the lens could have dried the people’s clothes and the wet ground. Unfortunately, while this may work in theory, the amount of energy needed to produce such rapid drying in a natural manner would have simply incinerated everyone involved! Instead, the people only felt comfortably dry. Jaki’s hypothesis appears to be simply false.

This “drying” miracle alone so contravenes the laws of nature that neither space aliens nor even demons could have produced it.

Natural agency of the visual “sun miracle” is ruled out because the phenomena were not external—as I have just shown, but rather, these were visions caused by internal changes in the witnesses. While space aliens might have mastered the technology of holograms, so as to produce some external physical display, that does not explain the number of witnesses who clearly saw nothing abnormal at all. The effects had to be internal and individualized in order to explain variances in what was seen, and especially, what was totally not seen by a number of people. Thus, the effects were not produced by visiting space aliens. Indeed, they were at least preternatural, if not, supernatural in nature.

On the dubious hypothesis that these effects were preternatural, and not supernatural, could they have been produced by angels or demons? Here, a moral analysis suffices. If somehow done by angels, then they were at the direction of God anyway. But, if done by demons, one is confronted with a message to humans to stop sinning, repent, and pray. I don’t think any further proof is needed to show that demons did not do this.

Finally, while preternatural effects are accomplished by producing a natural effect in an unnatural way, such as a body levitating with nothing seen to be lifting it, these optical phenomena entailed changing the internal vision experiences of tens of thousands of persons simultaneously. Whether merely preternatural powers could produce such an effect is highly debatable. In any event, the previously-given demonstrations show clearly that the “dance of the sun” at Fatima could have been produced solely through the infinite power of the God of classical theism, since it clearly exceeds the power of either man or space aliens to produce such individualized internal visions and moral analysis excludes the agency of spiritual agents other than, possibly, those following God’s command.

3. The Sudden Drying of Everything

Some critics, who were not themselves eye witnesses, try to explain away aspects of what happened at Fatima that day over a century ago by saying that, while certain things were physically real, they were not all that abnormal and were merely over-interpreted by those present.

The problem with such explanations is that they simply do not fit the actual experiences of those present at the time. For example, facile explanations of the sun’s behavior as being merely natural phenomena fail to note the reactions of those who fell to their knees in the mud, thinking it was the end of the world, or of those persons who cried out their personal sins before everyone, since there were no priests present!

Similarly, for hours before the sun miracle it was raining and soaking both ground and those present—as evinced by the sea of umbrellas seen in some photos. Suddenly, the clouds withdrew and the various shocking movements seen by the people as being from the sun took place. As the brilliant silvery disc finally drew back to the original position of the sun, many suddenly noticed that they, their clothes, and the ground were completely dry.

Later critics challenge this interpretation of events. They claim that photos do not appear to show so much water or that evaporation may have taken place as the sun bathed them for some ten minutes of its “dance” or that not all reported this alleged “miracle.”

But the critics were not there. First, there are photos of a sea of large umbrellas, covering the entire crowd at one point. Further, many witnesses affirm the essential facts: the initial soaking rain followed by sudden and complete drying. For one example, Dominic Reis of Holyoake, Massachusetts, in a television interview, made these selected remarks: “And now it was raining harder.” “Yes, three inches of water on the ground. I was soaking wet” (Haffert, Meet the Witnesses, 7). After the sun miracle occurs, he continues: “…the wind started to blow real hard, but the trees didn’t move at all. … in a few minutes the ground was as dry as this floor here. Even our clothes had dried.” “The clothes were dry and looked as though they had just come from the laundry” (Ibid., 11). Many other witnesses make similar statements: “I was all wet, and afterward my clothes were quite dry” (Ibid., 69). Understandably, some remembered nothing about the drying: “I was so distracted that I remember nothing but the falling sun. I cannot even remember whether I took the sheep home, whether I ran, or what I did” (Ibid., 41).

Given that the people attest to the truth of the ground and themselves being very wet, and yet, completely dry in the space of a few minutes, it is evident that some force beyond normal physics obtained here. It is possible to dry objects that quickly, but so intense a heat would doubtless kill the people in the process. This extra-natural character of this sudden drying exceeds the natural physical laws, which limit both the ability of space aliens and even the preternatural powers of demons.

This third miracle of Fatima—the sudden drying—is uniquely important, since it provided a more lasting and evident physical corroboration of events that the witnesses might otherwise think was simply a brief visual experience. Once again, we see a true miracle, something that could be effected solely by the God of classical theism.

Findings

Fatima’s miracles are unique in history because of the immense number of witnesses combined with three distinct simultaneous events that meet the definition of the miraculous, that is, something that solely the God of classical theism could effect. Nor can be ignored the intimate connection between these public miracles and a message from heaven that is clearly and intimately intertwined with the presence of the “lady of the Rosary,” who asks for the consecration of Russia to her Immaculate Heart. The miracle of Fatima is clearly a divine approbation of the Catholic religion.

This unique historical event demonstrates divine approval of Christian revelation in general and of Catholicism specifically. Moreover, it confirms the divine message given to the visionaries, concerning the need for prayer and repentance and even of a special instruction of what would be necessary for God to give the blessing of the conversion of Russia and world peace.

The whole point of this article so far has been to establish two basic and unchangeable truths: (1) that the God of classical theism can be known to exist with certitude through the use of unaided natural reason, and (2) that Christianity in its specifically Catholic form can be shown with objective certitude to be the authentic revelation of the God of classical theism.

No future discoveries or revelations can alter or diminish these two fundamental truths that undergird human existence on this planet.

UFOs and Space Aliens

Now we come to the much delayed and truly fascinating part of this article. What about the UFOs and space aliens? Do they really exist as extraterrestrial biological intelligent beings or as non-bodily intelligences? I hate to let the reader down, but I intend to suspend judgment on most of this intriguing topic for the simple reason that the truth about space aliens is not yet publicly acknowledged one way or the other. There are those who claim that the military knows that extraterrestrials from other planets exist, but that they hesitate to inform the public for fear of its reaction to the news.

On the other hand, there is talk about something like Project Blue Beam existing. This would entail a false space invasion being foisted on an unsuspecting public. The means would be based on use of new-technology holograms, which are so convincing that people would think that they are seeing the Second Coming appearing the heavens or, alternatively, a fleet of spacecraft hovering over us and prepared to wipe out humanity.

The latter space threat could be used to intimidate all mankind into submission to a one world government in order to meet this alleged “threat.” This new global government would then turn out to be part of the Great Reset, which aims to impose tyranny on the entire human race, combined with a program of depopulation.

We need not entertain all these speculative and controversial claims and theories in order to point out something basic that is true regardless of what we finally may discover about extraterrestrials, namely, that nothing we discover can undo the eternal truths already known with certitude through unaided natural reason or infallible divine revelation.

We already know that the God of classical theism eternally exists and that Christian revelation in its Catholic expression is the authentic revelation of God.

Do extraterrestrials exist? Of course, they do! We know this, because it is part of Christian revelation. But these “extraterrestrial” creatures are pure spirits, directly created by God in the form of the angels. Those who fell from grace, we call devils or demons.

What we usually mean, when we ask if extraterrestrials exist, is, “Do intelligent bodily creatures originating from other planets in the cosmos exist? Or, perhaps, do such creatures exist in interdimensional physical reality (whatever exactly that may mean!)? In either event, the answer remains the same as far as our belief systems are concerned, namely, what we know from reason about God and from revelation about religion remains unaltered—since truth is eternal.

When we know that 2 + 2 = 4, we do not lay awake nights worrying that tomorrow the sum might change to 5. The same is true here. What has already been established by reason and revelation with objective certitude cannot be changed by new data. One might add to what is already known, but the basic truths about an eternal, omnipotent, infinite, all-good God, the spiritual and immortal nature of the human soul, and the dogma of the Catholic Church cannot and will not change their objective truth and meaning.

Wherever interpretations may be required in order to integrate the fact of alien species existing with existing revealed doctrine, that is for theologians to discuss and the Church to decide. This is much like what happened when the explorers first found the native peoples of the New World. Catholic theologians had to explain (1) that these people were human beings, just like the European explorers were, (2) that they had spiritual and immortal souls, and (3) that they needed conversion and baptism as Christ commanded for all men. That is why all of Latin America right up to the southern American border eventually became Catholic. At the same time, this new recognition of the humanity of these New World “aliens” changed nothing in the basic truths of the Faith as previously held.

If alien intelligences exist, the very fact that they have spacecraft capable of interplanetary travel alone would demonstrate that they are intellectual, rational bodily beings. Since man is a rational animal, they would be, by philosophical definition, part of humanity—maybe not Earthly humanity, but human beings nonetheless, philosophically speaking. We might call them by some other name, but they would still have spiritual and immortal souls, as simply evinced by possessing such intellectual abilities as judging and reasoning.

Recall, too, it is not a question of degree of intelligence that determines possession of an intellectual, spiritual soul. Any ability to understand the nature of things at all is sufficient to demonstrate possession of an intellectual soul.

How they are to be theologically integrated with humans native to Earth is, again, a speculative and practical problem for the professional theologians and the Teaching Authority of the Church to determine.

From the above discussion, it should now be evident that we have nothing to fear from any potential encounter with space aliens with respect to either what we hold philosophically or believe theologically, since the essential truths about human nature and God and religious revelation will remain forever unchanged and unchangeable.


Dr. Dennis Bonnette retired as a Full Professor of Philosophy in 2003 from Niagara University in Lewiston, New York, where he also served as Chairman of the Philosophy Department from 1992 to 2002. He received his doctorate in philosophy from the University of Notre Dame in 1970. He is the author of two books, Aquinas’ Proofs for God’s Existence, and Origin of the Human Species, as well as many scholarly articles.


Featured image: “Coming Through,” by David Huggins.

Covid: Punishing the Unvaccinated

As you read this, in the frozen country to the north of us, there is a gigantic Covid protest, newly disbanded. A “Freedom Convoy” of truckers, which started out in British Columbia (near Seattle), arrived in the Canadian capital, Ottawa (near New York State) to protest that country’s vaccine policies. Additional support for this initiative now exists in most major cities in that country. The U.S. usually the leader in these sorts of things, is now emulating our cousins to the north. As well, copycat protest of this sort have taken place in many other countries.

However, according to Howard Stern, hospitals should turn away would-be patients who are unvaccinated. He stated, “At this point, they have been given plenty of opportunity to get the vaccine.” He continued, in the inimitable way we have come to expect from him, when challenged on the ground that mandatory vaccinations or punishments violate freedom: “F— their freedom. I want my freedom to live.”

Then, too, there is an attack on the unvaccinated emanating, of all places, from the esoteric area of bioethics. For the uninitiated, the be all and end all in this discipline, at least for most practitioners, is that past behavior is irrelevant for sick patients. When someone comes to the hospital, he is treated just like anyone else, based only on the symptoms presented. In other words, doctors should not stint in their treatment of the obese or heavy smokers on the ground that their present ailments are self-induced. If they would have behaved better, more rationally, they would not likely be in the hospital in the first place, unfairly taking up valuable medical resources that could have been used for more worthy ill people.

This principle went so far as to treat in the exact same manner a suicide bomber in Israel who failed to kill himself — and his victims,: the past is the past and is irrelevant; only the medical status of the patient, right now, is of relevance for treatment. Triage of course can take place; but only based on the present and the future likelihood of success, not on what occurred beforehand.

However, thanks to Covid, even this primordial principle is now under attack by medical ethicists. Practitioners, many of them kicking and screaming in protest since they are so deeply mired in this philosophy, are now very reluctantly reconsidering this basic and long-standing view of theirs.

What are we to make of all of this?

It is easy to see the point of Howard Stern and his fellow philosophers. The non-vaccinated do pose a threat, not only of contagion and spreading infection, but also of hogging up hospital beds and forcing doctors to turn away needy folk such as stroke victims, sufferers from heart attack and kidney failures, and this is the most important point, through no fault of their own on the part of the latter.

Let us argue by analogy. Suppose that Typhoid Mary refused to be taken out of circulation. Posit that she had insisted upon returning to her job in the food dispensary, where she could continue to infect others. Would we have treated her with kid gloves as some people still insist the unvaccinated be dealt with? Of course not. So, if they are akin to her, then we have to take our hats off to Howard Stern, and applaud this new direction in bioethics.

However, there is a disanalogy. When Typhoid Mary was put out of commission, it was based on the best scientific evidence then available. She was an asymptomatic carrier, and that was the end of the matter. Disagreeing with this assessment was akin to denying the earth is round, or that 2+2=4.

Do we have the same level of confidence nowadays regarding Covid? We do not. The powers that be claim scientific support – over and over again — for their claim that the vaccines are efficacious in preventing Covid, and have no serious negative repercussions.

But these claims cannot be made with the imprimatur of science. For that is a deliberative institution, where all opinions are welcome and decisions are made on the basis of evidence, nothing more and nothing less.

In the event, however, doctors have been threatened with the loss of their licenses and epidemiologists and virologists with the loss of their jobs for questioning the official analysis and supposedly spreading “misinformation.” That is not science. That is the absence of the scientific method.

Further, the burden of proof rests not with those who wish to defend practices stemming from time immemorial, but with those who wish to radically change them. Unless otherwise proven guilty of a crime, you are supposed to be innocent. The unvaccinated have not been proven guilty of anything, at least not by science, and thus should not be treated as criminals. Yet threats against them abound: not only being triaged out of hospitals, but losing their children, even being compelled to vaccinate, at the point of a gun.

Not kosher; not at all kosher.


Walter


Featured image: “Triumph of Science,” by Jordan Henderson; painted in 2022.

Michel Henry: The Knowledge Of Life Against The Barbarism Of Galileo

In La barbarie (Barbarism), Michel Henry warns us against the pretensions of modern sciences: the objectivity they claim is nothing but an impoverishment of reality. According to him, the fundamental knowledge of man, the one which allows all the others, is not scientific knowledge but the knowledge of life.

One usually associates the development of scientific knowledge with that of civilization. A society that reaches a high level of technicality, a better geometric and mathematical knowledge of material nature is an exemplary society from a civilizational point of view. The advent of modernity, marked by the Galilean revolution, radically changed the conception of the world that we had in traditional societies. This rupture, this great upheaval is, in the eyes of Michel Henry, a terrible danger for the culture which he defines as “the self-transformation of life.”

In Barbarism, the Christian phenomenologist describes “a fight to death” between knowledge and culture and worries about a possible victory of the first over the second. For Henry, scientific knowledge is thus not a part of the culture, but rather its negation. For the Galilean revolution is, strictly speaking, a “reduction” insofar as it attempts to describe the objects of the world by voluntarily ignoring the sensible qualities that compose them.

The Galilean method is a pure objectification of the world and a disregard of subjectivity. Consequently, it denies the very condition of possibility of the perception of objects, i.e., the lived experience. “It is thus this life, such as it is felt in us, in its incontestable phenomenality, this life which makes us living, which is stripped of any true reality, reduced to an appearance. The kiss that lovers exchange is no more than a bombardment of microphysical particles.” writes Henry. There is culture only if there is life, because there cannot be experience without perception, of object without subject. The only reality to which we have access is that of perceived things. The real experience of the world is never a disembodied experience. When a subject looks at an object, he applies his sensitivity, his taste, his mood of the day, his physical state, his concentration of the moment.

Taking Life Out Of The Picture

Modern scientific knowledge has the particularity of presenting itself as rigorous and unquestionably true knowledge. The result is an arrogance: it refuses the appellation of “knowledge” to all the traditional sciences which are not based on the Galilean principle of objectification and are incapable of equivalent material results. “The illusion of Galileo and of all those who, in his wake, consider science as an absolute knowledge, was precisely to have taken the mathematical and geometrical world, destined to provide a univocal knowledge of the real world, for this real world itself, this world that we can only intuit and experience in the concrete modes of our subjective life,” summarizes Henry.

In his eyes, “any culture is a culture of life, in the double sense where life constitutes at the same time the subject of this culture and its object.” Culture, as Henry defines it, is nothing other than the perpetual movement of life working to its own development. It is a setting in motion of the totality of the subjective consciences towards the spontaneous accomplishment, or not, of high achievements. Art art, as for him, is par excellence part of culture since it is the discipline which takes most into account the activity of sensibility. Artistic production proceeds fundamentally from the interiority of human experience, an interiority which does not interest the scientist who claims to overlook the world. On the other hand, Galilean scientific knowledge is barbaric because by it, “it is the life itself which is affected, it is all its values which falter, not only the aesthetic but also the ethics, the sacred—and with them the possibility of living each day.”

In La phénoménologie de la vie (The Phenomenology of Life), Henry defines living as that which is capable of experiencing itself under the modality of “self-affection.” “Self-affection” is the primitive consciousness of man, a non-reflective consciousness which, rather than thinking that it thinks, feels that it thinks. It is, par excellence, the proof of the union of soul and body. Modern scientific knowledge is based on the attempt to deny this primordial subjectivity, which it refers to the particularism and relativism of individual experience. However, this “feeling of oneself,” this “experiencing oneself” refers to “the deep nature of experience and of the human condition.” For Henry, the fundamental knowledge, that is to say the knowledge which allows all the others, the knowledge which is also a power, is the knowledge of life.

In Barbarism, Henry takes the example of a biology student. When the latter studies a book in order to assimilate knowledge, he is, as a subject, faced with abstract scientific knowledge contained in the volume that he has before his eyes. Between the subject, the student, and the object, the biology book, remains an intentional gap that would be impossible to bridge without the knowledge of life unfolding in pure immanence, without ekstasis. Without knowing from life, the student would remain motionless, contemplating his book. Thanks to this knowing, the student can turn the pages of the book with his hands and read the lines by moving his eyes. “The capacity indeed to unite with the power of the hands and to identify oneself with it, to be what it is and to do what it does, only possesses a knowledge which merges with this power because that it is nothing other than his constant test of himself—his radical subjectivity,” Henry explains. In other words, the knowledge of life is man’s ability to make body movements and intentionality coincide in pure immanence. It is a practical knowledge which is the condition of possibility of all theoretical knowledge.

Scientific knowledge is a knowledge that represents the world in front of it in a purely abstract knowledge but never experiences it. And yet, the only reality is experienced reality. The world of Galilean science is a cold and objective world. Whereas the knowledge of life proceeds from the meeting of the subject and the object; scientific knowledge refuses to take into account the reality of subjectivity and presents us an object which is the product of no glance, which is not apprehended by any conscience. “Point of interior: nothing which is alive, which can speak in its own name, in the name of what it feels, in the name of what it is. Only of “things,” only of death”, stresses Henry.

Between Man And The World Stand The Robots

To the objectification of the things of the world by Galilean the response is the objectification of action through the ever-greater rise of technology. We have seen that the fundamental knowledge of life was defined as a know-how, as a praxis. However, with the industrial age, the living work of man was replaced by devices, by tools which reduce our relation to things to simplifying and disembodied mechanisms. Between man and the world, robots now stand in place of life. This leads to an “atrophy of the quasi-totality of the subjective potentialities of the living individual and thus [to] a malaise and a growing dissatisfaction.”

Henry opposes here the work of the craftsman who is a perpetual creation and a perpetual mobilization of the knowledge of life to that of the worker who is only the repetition of “stereotyped” and “monotonous” acts. The craftsman is in a carnal relationship with the world; his subjectivity is at work to deploy in immanence the knowledge of life. The cabinetmaker chooses the wood he will work on; evaluates its quality, its resistance, its grain and its veining. When he sands, polishes and then varnishes his wood, when he assembles the parts to make a piece of furniture, he performs unique work that involves his subjectivity and his life to the core. On the other hand, the worker who works on a production line is in a cold and mediatized relationship where the instrumental device comes to replace know-how. Pressing a button, operating a lever is a minimal task that can be performed by all in an identical way. For Henry, technology is nothing other than “nature without man;” that is to say “abstract nature, reduced to itself” and “returned to itself.” “It is barbarism, the new barbarism of our time, in place of culture. Insofar as it puts out of play life; its prescriptions and its regulations. It is not only barbarism, under its extreme and most inhuman form, that it was given to man to know, it is the madness,” emphasizes Henry.

The rise of technology at the expense of life leads to a radical change, to an ontological “revolution,” namely the appearance of a new reality—of an economic order. Henry aims here at “the inversion of the vital teleology that occurred at the end of the 18th and the beginning of the 19th century when the production of consumer goods that characterizes every society ceased to be directed… towards ‘use values;’ to aim henceforth at obtaining and increasing exchange value; that is to say, money.” This is what is, par excellence, barbaric for the philosopher: the emergence of a reality that is produced neither by nature nor by the body itself. The reign of money as an exchange value corresponds to the advent of a pure virtuality within Being itself. Money determines our existence today, even though it is not the product of any life and serves no purpose except its own. The barbarism described by Henry is thus, in the last instance, a usurpation—that which is dead—technology and money—comes to pass for Being.


Matthieu Giroux is a Dostoyevskian sovereignist and the editorial director of PHLITT. This article appears through the generous courtesy of PHLITT.


Featured image: Portrait of Galileo, by Justus Sustermans, painted in 1636.

The European Discovery Of Time

Geology, a seemingly innocuous field concerned with the study of rocks and minerals, is the field responsible for the discovery of time. European geologists were the first to realize that the Earth had a history, that it came to be in the course of time, and that humans could discover this history by studying the rock strata and fossils of the Earth’s crust. Don’t confuse the measurement of time, which began with the invention of sundials in ancient Egypt, with the discovery of time. Neither calendar nor chronology was worked out with the intention of discovering the Earth’s time.

Every mythical account of the origins of the world postulated that the Earth was either formed through an initial “moment of creation” or that it was part of an “eternal order” embedded in a “cyclical cosmos”. Newtonian physics had nothing to say about the development of nature, but assumed that once God created the universe it had remained the same. The task of the scientist was to understand the “universal laws of nature at work” that ordered the repetitive movements of the world and its parts. God, in Newton’s words, was “like a watchmaker” who may occasionally tinker with the motions of the planets “to ensure that it continued operating in good working order,” but scientists essentially dealt with the world as it had been set in motion by God. The reigning consensus prior to 1750 accepted the Biblical narrative that the Earth was 6,000 years old. The notion that natural objects were formed over the course of millions of years was inconceivable—until the science of geology came into its own in the 1800s.

The Consolidation Of Geology As A Science

While evidence was accumulating about strange rocks with fossilized marine shells found inland in stratified layers, these anomalies were explained within the Creation-story and the accepted time-scale. Robert Hooke (1635-1703) reasoned that the Earth had a history characterized by earthquakes, floods, deluges, eruptions, which had altered the earth and its living organisms, but this history, he insisted, was explainable within the Biblical narrative. Thomas Burnet (1635-1715) argued in Telluris Theoria Sacra that the Earth was hollow with most of the water inside until Noah’s Flood, at which time mountains and oceans appeared, as the sun’s rays dried up the Earth and the crust was split open into continental land masses.

John Woodward in his Essay Towards a Natural History of the Earth (1695) argued that the ‘whole Terrestrial Globe was taken all to Pieces, and dissolved at the Deluge”. The existence of fossilized remains confirmed the Mosaic Flood as described in the Bible. New rock strata came to be formed, after the Flood, by a process of sedimentation, with the remains of animals and plants relegated to the deepest strata. This emphasis on the action of water through the Flood in the formation of fossilized rock strata came to be known as the “Neptunist” view of the Earth’s history. Other geologists like John Ray advocated the “Vulcanist” view that the mountains and dry land had been raised above the oceans by the internal fires of the Earth at the command of God.

While the Neptunist view tended to sit comfortably with the Flood cataclysmic narrative and the view that it was possible to explain the appearance of rocks, fish, animals, and man, in the order presented in the Book of Genesis, the Vulcanist view became associated with a more gradual process occurring over a longer time scale. John Whitehurst, in a daring book published in 1788, Inquiry into the Original State and Formation of the Earth (1778), argued that the geological record suggested a much older history of the Earth than the Noachian Flood. The Italian Giovanne Arduino (1714–1795) even denied the Flood and contended that the rock strata of the earth, which he classified with the names Primitive, Secondary and Tertiary, also pointed to a much older Earth.

The beginnings of the idea of an older Earth, however, is associated with Georges Louis Leclerc (the legendary Comte de Buffon), who was less a geologist than a historian of nature and encyclopédiste. Buffon hypothesized that the Earth originated from a collision of a comet and the sun, much earlier than the Biblical 6000 year account. He suggested this argument in his multivolume work, Histoire naturelle, générale et particulière (1749–1788), and in his Introduction to the History of Minerals (1774), although it was in his The Epochs of Nature (1778) that he formulated in explicit terms the idea that “the surface of the Earth has taken different forms in succession; even the heavens have changed, and all the objects in the physical world are, like those of the moral world, caught up in a continual process of successive variations”. He inferred the age of the Earth experimentally by heating a small metallic globe and measuring the rate at which it cooled, which yielded an estimate of 75,000 years old.

While scriptural geologists attracted to the Neptunist view, such as Alexander Catcott in his Treatise on the Deluge (1768), would try to defend the Genesis account of a recent Creation by arguing that a global Flood could account for the geological record, the growing scientific temperament in Europe pushed the Neptunist view in a more secularized direction. The German geologist Abraham Werner (1749-1817) thus proposed that in the beginning the Earth was covered by a primeval ocean which gradually receded to its present location, depositing by a process of crystallization and chemical precipitation almost all the rocks and minerals in the Earth’s crust over the course of about one million years. In his estimation, heat was not an important initial geological force; volcanic heat from the interior of the earth was a late and a secondary rock-forming agency after the main strata had been consolidated through slow sedimentation. In the spirit of science, Werner devised a comprehensive color scheme for the description and classification of rock strata according to their mineral content and age. His Neptunist theory, however, could not account for the disappearance of the original ocean after the strata had been formed.

John Playfair, a Scottish clergyman, popularized Hutton’s ideas in his Illustrations of the Huttonian Theory of the Earth (1802) and defended Hutton against the charge of atheism by arguing that uniformitarian geological processes were like Newton’s laws of regular planetary motion. Hutton’s theory, however, was not widely accepted by a British geological world unwilling to break altogether with the Biblical narrative. Meanwhile, the French Georges Cuvier, known as the “founding father of paleontology,” countered uniformitarianism with another geological hypothesis called “catastrophism,” which argued that the geological features of the earth, along with the history of life, could be explained by catastrophic events, not a single catastrophe, but several, causing the extinction of many species of animals and resulting in the sharp lines of demarcation between the successive strata and the presence of distinctive fossil remains in each layer of rock.

But soon a new perspective known as “uniformitarianism” came on the horizon thanks to the Scottish James Hutton (1726-1797), identified by some as the first student of the earth who may properly be called a geologist. In his The Theory of the Earth, or an Investigation of the Laws observable in the Composition, Dissolution, and Restoration of Land upon the Globe (1788), he provided a rigorous explanation, grounded in scientifically acceptable principles and based on the existing geological data, why the age of the Earth was indefinitely long. The same geological forces that are seen to be in operation in our present-day, he argued, should be used to explain the past geological formation of the Earth. “The past history of our globe,” in his words, “must be explained by what can be seen to be happening now… No powers are to be employed that are not natural to the globe, no action to be admitted except those of which we know the principle.”

The powers of nature act uniformly through time, rather than suddenly through cataclysms. This is the uniformitarian principle. While stressing the internal heat of the Earth, he did not neglect the geological effects of water, observing two sorts of rocks in the Earth’s crust, one of aqueous origin and the other of igneous origin. The intense internal heat of the Earth was responsible for uplifting mountains to form land masses, bending and stilting strata, where they would then be subjected to erosion, re-deposition and volcanism; and these processes acted over a very long time scale.

In time, however, the uniformitarian school gained the upper hand, particularly after Charles Lyell published his celebrated three volume work, Principles of Geology (1830-33), which synthesized thirty years of geological discoveries in favor of Hutton’s uniformitarian theory. Although Lyell did not argue in favor of the transmutation of species, some in the geological community felt ill at ease with the notion that the succession of fossils in the rock strata pointed in the direction of the evolutionary succession of species.

The Anglican priest Adam Sedgwick (1785–1873), notwithstanding his proposal of the Cambrian and Devonian period of the geological timescale, thought that a uniformitarian history of the earth could be harmonized with the Bible, though he never explained how, other than objecting to the evolution of new species. It was not until Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution (1859) was widely accepted that Lyell’s theory ceased to be widely opposed.

We often hear that Darwin obtained the idea of the mechanism of evolution from Thomas Malthus’s famous essay on population. We rarely hear that it was Lyell’s theory, in Darwin’s own words, that led him to the theory of evolution itself. Once the Biblical time barrier on the history of the Earth was broken by geologists, a historical revolution was precipitated in biology, leading to Darwin’s theory of natural selection about how species form and change over time. The current geological consensus today is that the Earth’s history is a slow, gradual process punctuated by occasional natural catastrophic events.

Every participant in these debates was a European. The rest of the world was oblivious about this revolution in geology, as it was about Newtonian science, and the amazing revelation that the Earth’s history was very old and could be explained with the powers of the human mind.

Chinese “Geology”

Be on guard about the multicultural claim that geology began in ancient China. Joseph Needham, in his exhaustive work, Science and Civilization in China, offers a section with the title “The sciences of the earth: Geology and related sciences,” arguing that long before the “largely modern, post-Renaissance science” of geology emerged in the West, the Chinese in the eleventh century already “understood those conceptions which, when stated by James Hutton in 1802, were to be the foundation of modern geology” (293). However, no actual Chinese treatises on geology are brought up by Needham, for none existed. What we get instead are isolated passages from various Chinese “masters” which supposedly amounted to explanations of the “origin of mountains, uplifting, erosion, and sedimentary deposition”.

Here is one passage from Shen Kua written “about the year 1070” supposedly explaining “how the earth formed as a deposit from the water”:

Now I myself have noticed that Yen-Tang Shan is different from other mountains. All its lofty peaks are precipitous, abrupt, sharp and strange; its huge cliffs, 300 metres high, are different from what one finds in other places…Considering the reasons for this I think that the mountain torrents have rushed down, carrying away all sand and earth, thus leaving the hard rocks standing alone (292).

This is followed by another passage where Shen Kua explains the origins of “uplifted strata”:

…Naturally mud and silt will be carried eastwards by these streams year after year, and in this way the substance of the whole continent must have been laid down.

Needham provides pictorial representations of fossil animals along with descriptive passages to show that the Chinese anticipated modern European geology. He mentions “the most famous text” on the origins of the earth, namely, the “Collected Works of Master Chu Hsi” (1130-1200):

I have seen mountain conchs and oyster shells, often embedded in rocks. These rocks in ancient times were earth or mud, and the conchs and oysters lived in water. Subsequently everything that was at the bottom came to be at the top, and what was originally soft became solid and hard. One should meditate deeply on such matters, for these facts can be verified” (290).

These are the best passages provided by Needham. They are intelligent descriptions for their time, but nowhere near a science of geology. Isolated descriptions, without principles and without a theory, do not constitute a science. Geology became a science in the West in the wake of the Galilean-Newtonian science of mechanics, the theory of universal gravitation, the theory of the circulation of the blood, along with the consolidation of the science of chemistry, botany, paleontology, and evolutionary biology.

The Chinese believed that the Earth was flat until the Jesuits taught them otherwise in the seventeenth century. None of the geologists Needham mentions wrote a treatise that can be classified as “geological” in dealing with the origins of the Earth. If the Chinese were so advanced in their geological reflections back in ancient times, anticipating Hutton, how come no further insights came out of China in the next thousand years? After Hutton, Europeans would go on to develop techniques to date the rock strata of the Earth as well as a variety of methods to understand the Earth’s structure and evolution, including field work, rock description, geophysical techniques, chemical analysis, physical experiments, and numerical modelling.

The Treatises Of Theophrastus, Agricola, And Steno

As it is, the ancient Greeks were already writing treatises that were more theoretical in their geological insights than the descriptive passages of the Chinese. Theophrastus (372-287 BC) in his treatise On Stones, classified rocks and gems based on their behavior when heated, grouping minerals by common properties, and writing about the fossilized remains of organic life. The Wikipedia page on Shen Kuo (1031-1095) portrays him as a scientist in all the fields of human knowledge:

He was a mathematician, astronomer, antiquarian, meteorologist, geologist, entomologist, anatomist, climatologist, zoologist, botanist, pharmacologist, medical scientist, agronomist, archeologist, ethnographer, cartographer, geographer, geophysicist, metallurgist, mineralogist, encyclopedist, military general, diplomat, hydraulic engineer, inventor, economist, academy chancellor, finance minister, governmental state inspector, philosopher, art critic, poet, and musician.

Clearly, the multicultural establishment has lowered the criteria of what constitutes a science in their eagerness to be inclusive; yet they can barely hang on to China as a viable intellectual competitor. The etymology of all the sciences are European, because Europeans originated all the sciences; and so is the idea of logos, of making an argument through reasoned discourse, not through mere assertions and descriptions, but on the basis of explicitly stated principles.

The etymology of geology tells us that the root of this word is very recent; only in 1795 do we find explicit statements about geology as a “science of the past and present condition of the Earth’s crust,” from Modern Latin geologia “the study of the earth”. German Geologie is attested in 1785. The word-forming element meaning “the Earth” comes from the Greek term geo-, and the word-forming element meaning “discourse, treatise, doctrine, theory, science” comes from the Greek term -logia.

The Chinese did not write a single treatise on geology because they lacked a notion of writing treatises, doctrines and theoretical scientific works. Whereas Shen Kuo left us with no scientific treatises, we have two surviving botanical works by Theophrastus, Enquiry into Plants and On the Causes of Plants, which are recognized as the first systemization of the botanical world with plants classified according to their modes of generation, their localities, their sizes, and their practical uses.

Before Hutton, we have the German Georgius Agricola (1494-1555), who wrote full treatises, including De Natura Fossileum, De Ortu et Causis Subteraneum, and De Re Metallica, where he attempted to explain the existence of mountains, volcanoes, and earthquakes, recognized the power of wind and water as an erosive force, associated the hot interior of the Earth with volcanoes and earthquakes, and put together a classification system of the mineral kingdom. De Re Metallica remained the standard textbook on mining and metallurgy for over two hundred years. Herbert Hoover, a mining engineer before he became U.S. President, translated De Re Metallica into English in 1912, believing that Agricola was “the first to found any of the natural sciences upon research and observation, as opposed to previous fruitless speculation.” If anyone deserves to be celebrated for making an essential contribution to the beginnings of the science of geology, it is Agricola.

Then we have the Danish Nicholas Steno (1638-1686), who went beyond mere description to formulate path breaking geological principles in an actual treatise, Dissertationis prodromus, published in 1669. This treatise is acknowledged today for establishing, on the basis of inductive reasoning, four of the foundational principles of the science of stratigraphy: the law of superposition, the principle of original horizontality, the principle of lateral continuity, and the principle of cross-cutting relationships.

The Earth Is 4.54 Billion Years Old

I left other names from this account of the discovery of geological time, such as William Smith, who published three works from 1815 to 1817, gave geology a descriptive methodology for assigning relative ages to the various strata of the Earth, and provided the first geological map of England and Wales. After the 1830s, geology became a professional vocation with many names making important contributions and reaching ever more accurate estimations of the Earth’s age with the assistance of European physicists and chemists.

In 1896 radioactive isotopes were discovered by the French physicist Henri Becquerel showing that heat from their decay pointed to an Earth hundreds of millions of years old. Between 1903 and 1906, the renowned New Zealand physicist Ernest Rutherford (1871–1937) determined that isotopes could be used to date rocks. By the 1930s, through the efforts of Arthur Holmes, the age of the earth had expanded to about 2 billion years. In 1946, Willard Libby proposed an innovative method, radiocarbon dating, which allowed for the dating of organic materials by measuring their content of carbon-14. This method provided objective age estimates for carbon-based objects that originated from living organisms. The “radiocarbon revolution” finally allowed Europeans to reach the conclusion that the Earth was 4.54 billion years old.


Ricardo Duchesne has also written on the creation of the university. He the author of The Uniqueness of Western CivilizationFaustian Man in a Multicultural AgeCanada in Decay: Mass Immigration, Diversity, and the Ethnocide of Euro-Canadians.


Featured image: “The Geologist,” by Carl Spitzweg; painted ca. 1860.

Science Proves The Existence Of God

We are highly honored to present this conversation with Olivier Bonnassies, who is the co-author (with Michel-Yves Bolloré) of the recent and truly magisterial work, Dieu, la science, les preuves (God, Science, the Proofs). The work is a 600-page tour-de-force proof of God, drawing upon rational arguments and scientific evidence. The book throws down the gauntlet to atheism, leaving it little room to maneuver.

Olivier Bonnassies is a graduate of Polytechnique (X86), HEC (HEC start up institute) and the Institut Catholique de Paris. As an entrepreneur, he has created several companies. A non-believer until the age of 20, he is the author of some twenty books and videos and of several shows, scripts, articles, newsletters and websites on subjects often related to the rationality of faith.This interview comes through the kind generosity of our friends at La Nef.


La Nef (LN): How did you come to embark on the writing of such an imposing work on the current knowledge of the origins of the Universe and its consequences? And what skills do you have for such a work?

Olivier Bonnassies (OB): When I was 20, I was not a believer. I had studied science and was at the École Polytechnique. Then I set up my first company, which was starting to do well. But soon enough, I asked myself what it was all for. I asked myself the big questions: what is the meaning of life? What is its purpose? Where do we come from? Where are we going? I thought there were no answers to these questions, but I came across a book by Jean Daujat, a brilliant normalien, entitled, Y a-t-il une vérité (Is there any truth?) I was very surprised to find that he gave serious and very rational reasons to believe in God. I expected to find some flaw quickly. But, no. So, I decided to work seriously on the subject by doing four years of theology at the Institut Catholique de Paris to deepen my understanding. I became a Catholic, even though my family was very reluctant for me to do so. And in the years that followed, I continued along this path, trying to set up projects that made sense. That’s how I met Michel Yves, who helped with two intense projects: the construction of the Mary of Nazareth International Center in 2003, which has been one of the very first places of attraction in northern Israel for the past ten years, and the creation of the Aleteia news website in 2010, which has become the first Catholic website in the world.

Olivier Bonnassies.

In 2013, I gave a presentation on these topics to a senior high school philosophy class where my daughters were, which I recorded: it resulted in the video, ” Démonstration de l’existence de Dieu et raisons de croire chrétiennes” (Demonstrating the Existence of God and Christian Reasons to Believe)” which has 1.5 million views on YouTube. Michel Yves saw it and sent me an e-mail to tell me that it was very good, but that we could do much better, and that he had also been working on the subject for thirty years. So, we brainstormed about a collaboration, and then got to work in 2018. We dug into the subject again and again, with the help of about twenty good specialists. I hope that the surprise I had at 20 will be the surprise of the book’s readers—because there is indeed a body of converging, rational, and independent evidence that God exists.

LN: Formally, science explains the “how,” not the “why,” a role that belongs to philosophy. As such, science cannot “prove” the existence of God. Isn’t there a risk of confusion of genres and a methodological problem in using science to “prove” God?

OB: This is a question that often comes up, and it is important to take the time to answer it properly, even if there is the question of vocabulary and definition behind it.

For some people, the word “science” has been understood progressively in a more and more restrictive way, up to Popper’s criteria, which claim to exclude from it everything that is not falsifiable. But for the general public and in classical logic, science is first of all what scientists practice in a field of knowledge, and it is above all logos (rationality) applied to this field of knowledge, as the etymology of the name of most of the sciences clearly shows (in “-logy”). [Biology is rationality (logos) applied to the living; as well as cosmology, archaeology, geology, psychology, paleontology, ecology, oceanology, oncology, cardiology, dermatology, neurology, pharmacology, climatology, criminology, futurology, graphology, demonology, epistemology, ethnology, eschatology, theology, ontology, ophthalmology, etc.
The basis of science is the logos. And this is also true of logic!]

Today, there is also something new: it is the fact that many modern scientists feel the need to talk about God at the end of their scientific practices, especially when they explore the beginnings of the Universe and its fine tuning. This is how we were able to gather in our book dozens and dozens of quotes from Nobel Prize winners and great contemporary scientists who naturally come to talk about God in direct connection with their scientific research and discoveries. This is why it is difficult to say categorically on the basis of purely theoretical arguments that God is not within the scope of science and that it does not encounter Him.

Here is the summary, in two points, of the argument about the beginning:

  1. There was certainly an absolute beginning to time, space and matter, which are linked as Einstein showed. This is established by rationality (page 61 and page 91 and pages 515-517 of the book), thermodynamics (pages 55-72) and cosmology (pages 100, 165, 206, 210, 214, with in particular the Borde-Guth-Vilenkin theorem), the Big Bang not necessarily being this absolute beginning even if it constitutes a very good illustration of it;
  2. The cause at the origin of this radical emergence is thus by definition non-temporal, non-spatial and non-material (page 91-92) and it had the power to generate everything and to regulate everything infinitely, precisely so that the atoms, the stars and man could exist.

With this very simple reasoning, we arrive quite exactly at the definition of what all philosophies and all classical religions call God. But at what point did we leave science? If you say that it is at point 2, isn’t it the characteristic of science to look for an explanation to emerging phenomena? Isn’t the principle of causality really part of science, the foundation of science?

From moment point on, the concrete problem for scientists, who want to remain atheists, is that they have to contest one of these two points, but it is not easy:

  • Some like Andrei Linde will try to deny the first one by imagining an “eternal inflation of bubble Universes.” But this is very speculative, unverifiable, and quite flawed, especially because it is increasingly clear, thanks to mathematics and physics, that infinity does not exist in the real world (see note on page 206).
  • Others like Stephen Hawking and Laurence Krauss will try to explain the cause or absence of cause by reasoning that is also very flawed, as is jokingly recounted in the book (page 168).

But beyond the fact that the atheist position is very hard to defend, it should be noted that the protagonists of these debates on the existence of God are neither philosophers nor sorcerers, but that they are all scientists who think they are looking for solutions within science.

It is therefore not right to make too tight a separation between science and philosophy. Plato, Aristotle, Newton, Leibniz and so many others did not set up such barriers between science, philosophy, metaphysics or theology. The separation of genres has only existed since the 17th century; but most of the early Greek philosophers were scientists. They all worked from this fundamental Logos; and their opponents were not the scientists, but the poets, who were interested in the Pathos. And it is on this Logos that all the sciences were established, including philosophy, which for a long time was called the “queen of sciences.”

[Science is rationality (Logos) applied to a field. Physics is rationality applied to the material world. Biology is rationality applied to the living world. The same goes for the other sciences: cosmology, archaeology, geology, psychology, paleontology, ecology, oceanology, oncology, cardiology, dermatology, neurology, pharmacology, climatology, criminology, futurology, graphology, demonology, epistemology, ethnology, eschatology, theology, ontology, ophthalmology, etc. Ditto with ideology, oenology, astrology, parapsychology, mythology, ufology… and logic (from Logos).]

Secondly, we must understand that science itself is full of philosophical principles. For example, if we remove the idea that the world is logical, rational and understandable, or the principle of causality, which is also a philosophical principle, or the principle of stability of laws, which is also a philosophical principle, we cannot do science anymore. Science stops.

Thirdly, it is necessary to see that, in their practice of science, the great scientists cheerfully mix theories, figures, equations and interpretations which belong, in all rigor of the term, to the domain of philosophy. But wouldn’t it be absurd to separate this from science? When Newton talks about “force,” when Maxwell talks about “field,” or when Bohr or Einstein discuss interpretations of quantum mechanics, they are in a way doing philosophy within science—but they are doing it in a very legitimate way, of course.

Fourthly, it is more and more clear that modern science, in all fields, opens up to a beyond of science, of which it cannot say anything—except that it exists. Everything that is tangible, calculable, observable, leads, within its own rational analysis, to the existence of something that is intangible, unobservable—but nevertheless necessary. This is explained on page 92, note 56: “If one analyzes footprints on sand, one can, within physical science, affirm that there is a cause for these footprints that do not come from the natural interactions of physical forces.

In the same way, when Alain Aspect’s experiment concludes that there is an entanglement between two particles that are 14 meters away from each other and that dialogue instantaneously, we demonstrate within physical science that there is something outside our space-time. It is still the case when Gödel, inside logic and the mathematical logics, concludes that there are necessarily non-demonstrable truths, which refer to an exterior of mathematics. The same type of “apophatic” reasoning also applies to the Big Bang, within cosmological science itself.”

Finally, it is very important to acknowledge the fact that today, science has invaded the field of metaphysics and that it is no longer possible to do serious philosophy without taking into account what science has brought about time, space, matter, vacuum, mass, atoms, reality, the beginning and the end of the universe, etc. For example, the word “atom” comes from the pre-Socratic atomists, Leucippus and Democritus, and then from the Latins like Epicurus; and it has been taken up by many philosophers after them.

But when, in 1905, Jean Perrin discovered the atom experimentally in Paris, and then its profound reality was revealed, we saw that the atom did not resemble at all that of the Greeks and of all the philosophers, who imagined it to be unbreakable, compact, etc. The atom of the real world has none of the properties that the ancients had attributed to it. A little later, science showed that time is relative to gravity and speed. This is now a proven reality, but no philosopher of the past had ever imagined this either. Can we therefore continue to do philosophy without science or outside of science? No!

In a letter from 1936, Einstein explains that there are many situations in which physicists today are led to enter into philosophy and do the work of a philosopher, because philosophers themselves cannot do it: “It has often been said, not without reason, that natural scientists are poor philosophers. If this were so, would it not be better for the physicist to leave philosophizing to the philosopher? This may be true in times when physicists believe they have a solid and unquestioned system of fundamental concepts and laws, but it is not so in times when the whole foundation of physics is being questioned, as it is today. In such an age, when experience forces him to look for new and unshakable foundations, the physicist cannot simply leave to philosophy the critical examination of the foundations of his science, because he is the best placed to know and feel where the problem lies.”

So, scientists naturally do philosophy within science. This is a fact; and it is wrong to say that science cannot prove anything. Concerning the beginning of the Universe and its setting in particular, science leads to three very clear conclusions:

There was a Big Bang. It is certain. It is possible to describe precisely what happened from 1 second (CERN has made it possible to go that far).
To describe positively what happened before is not possible at present. It may even remain forever impossible and outside our experience before 10-43 seconds: there are only very speculative hypotheses on these subjects, on which there is no consensus.

On the other hand, it is possible, on the basis of rationality, thermodynamics and cosmology (according to the Borde-Guth-Vilenkin theorem—the Big Bang not necessarily being the absolute beginning), to affirm that there was an absolute beginning to time, space and matter; and therefore that the cause at the origin of this emergence is transcendent, non-material, non-spatial, non-temporal, endowed with the power to create and adjust everything. Now, this third conclusion is very important, because it is very close to what all philosophies and classical religions have always called “God.”

Science can therefore contribute to giving proofs of the existence of God.

These are real proofs, but they are “apophatic;” that is to say that we are talking about realities whose existence can only be deduced indirectly and which we can only qualify in a negative way, without having any direct positive knowledge of the nature of the causes in question. In spite of this, we can affirm with certainty the existence of these causes.

And we must also agree on the word “proof” which has a clear definition. A proof is, in a trial, “what serves to establish that something is true” (Google/Robert), a “material element” (Larousse) that allows to accredit a thesis and to invalidate its opposite; or “a fact or a reasoning that can solidly establish the truth” (Wikipedia). Thus, real-world evidence is never “irrefutable” or “absolute.” They are elements that accumulate in favor of a thesis with more or less strength. One can demonstrate that someone is guilty or innocent with such evidence; but it is not a matter of mathematical demonstration, nor of logical evidence, nor of certainties of the “checkmate-in-three-moves” type. On the other hand, when strong, convergent, rational evidence from independent fields accumulates, we arrive at a certainty “beyond all reasonable doubt,” as we say in the legal world.

This is exactly what we arrive at in our rational inquiry, which deals with a dozen independent fields, some of which are scientific, others not.

In short, the a priori theoretical distinctions do not hold; and, to see this, we must look at the real world. There are many a priori, prejudices, preconceived ideas. We have to be careful with these too-theoretical positions which are not right and which are upset by reality, such as: “Science is the “How?” and religion the “Why?” No, science and religion or philosophy are not “two separate magisterial,” as Stephen Jay Gould theorized with his “NOMA” (Non-Overlapping Magisterium). This is not true, as are many other preconceptions such as “science cannot say anything about God;” “it is impossible to prove God;” “if God could be proved, there would be no room for faith;” “if God could be proved, it would be the death of religions;” etc. All these preconceptions are not true. All these preconceived ideas are false.

The only people who believe them are materialists and fideists, for opposite reasons. Materialists think that religion has nothing to say about the real world, and fideists doubt natural reason and its reliability. But all this does not hold. Why not? Simply because if religion claims to speak about the real world and claims to be embodied in history, then there are many places where it interacts with science. If the Gospel says that there is “in Jerusalem, near the Sheep Gate, a pool called Bethzatha in Hebrew, which has five colonnades” (Jn 5:2) and that archaeology confirms this, this is not concordism, it is simply the fact that the Gospel is based on historical realities. And if the Hebrew people say that they believe by revelation that the universe began, that it was created out of nothing, that there are no demigods or sub-humans, and that no god dwells in springs, forests or pieces of wood, this is important because these are indispensable truths for men to have a true relationship with God. But of course, for this relationship to God to be true, it is important that all of this be consistent with reality.

LN: Some of our fellow citizens do not believe in God, not so much out of deep conviction as because they live in a materialistic context that does not encourage it. Do you think that recourse to science can convince these people? What audience, precisely, is your book aimed at?

OB: This book is not only for the curious: it is for everyone, because the question of the existence of God is one that everyone asks themselves one day or another. Nowadays, there are really good reasons to reopen the file rationally, to discover all its elements, to think about it. This book is an invitation to reflection and debate.

LN: You bring us to recognize the existence of God by showing that the Universe, having a beginning (the Big Bang), was created. In what way does a created Universe oblige us to postulate the existence of God?

OB: To say that everything has a cause is perfectly false—there is necessarily at least one necessary being who gives cause to everything that exists. It is easy to realize this by considering the whole of all the beings that exist. This whole cannot have a cause outside itself. Now, to be the cause of oneself is not possible. It is therefore that there is necessarily at least one necessary being. This is true at every moment, to give existence to everything that exists (vertical causality) but it is also true in time (horizontal causality). This is how all atheistic materialist doctrines, from Parmenides, Heraclitus, Democritus or Lucretius (author of the famous formula “ex nihilo nihil”) to Marx, Friedrich Engels, Lenin, Mao and Hitler, through Friedrich Nietzsche, Arthur Schopenhauer, Ludwig Feuerbach, David Hume, Jean-Paul Sartre and all the atheistic philosophers of the 19th century—or Baruch Spinoza, Auguste Comte, Ernst Mach, Svante Arrhenius, Ernst Haeckel, Marcelin Berthelot, Bertrand Russell, Francis Crick and all the atheist scientists of the pre-1960s—all of them always imagined that matter was somehow eternal in the past and that the Universe had never begun. But this position, which has never been rational, is less than ever tenable after modern scientific discoveries (thermodynamics, cosmology and the Big Bang illustration). Only God remains if we want to remain reasonable.

Note 54 on page 91 of the book shows why an infinite time in the past is impossible. Because if we count 0, 1, 2, 3… without ever stopping, we go towards infinity, but it will always remain a potential infinity that we will never reach. Thus, in mirror image, for the same reason that we cannot reach infinity in the future starting from today; we cannot start from infinity in the past to reach our time either: an infinite time in the past is therefore impossible (see the third point entitled “The Creator of time” in chapter 22). Today, science confirms this point that scientists did not accept one hundred years ago. Science has shown that space, time and matter had an absolute beginning. Through Relativity, Einstein showed that space, time and matter are inseparably linked and that one cannot exist without the other two. Thermodynamics has shown that entropy increases and leads, after a certain time, to the thermal death of the Universe, which cannot be infinite in the past. Cosmology, with the Borde-Guth-Vilenkin theorem, which is based on the work of Penrose and Hawking on singularities, shows that there is necessarily an absolute beginning to the Universe. But the Big Bang, now confirmed, is not the proof of the beginning. It is only a good illustration of this absolute beginning.

LN: If science demonstrates the fact of the creation of the Universe, what does it teach us about how this creation took place, including, for example, the controversial question of evolution?

OB: This question is controversial, as you say. That is why we did not deal with it in our survey, which needed to select the discriminating questions, i.e., those on which one can easily make a decision. On evolution, there are two visions: the vision of Darwin and his (numerous) followers, according to which natural selection explains everything; and the vision of those who think that this principle is valid but that it does not explain everything. Those who are interested can read Life’s Solution by Simon Conway Morris, who presents seventy examples of convergence of complex organs, such as the human eye, and who concludes in a very convincing way that the laws of the Universe program the coming of man since the Big Bang.

LN: The second part of the book chooses to seek concordance between the Bible and science, insisting on coherence when there is any, and explaining, when there seems to be a contradiction; that it is necessary to depart from the literal meaning. Is there not a risk of concordism here, and would it not have been preferable to center this part on the astonishing fact that the Jewish people were the only people of antiquity to affirm a faith in a unique God transcending a physical universe created by Him?

OB: If we assume that creation and revelation have the same origin, then “concordism” is more likely to bring us closer to the truth than an overly “discordist” approach. But two things must be kept in mind which may seem to be in opposition. First, it is true that the purpose of the Bible is not primarily to give us a scientifically accurate account or a historical account in the modern sense of the term (which would not be of much interest), but to allow for a strong and truthful relationship with God. But secondly, Revelation speaks of the real world; it passes through truly historical events; and it is embodied in history. There are thus naturally many interactions between faith and reason which must concur on these points.

Why then this choice to speak about the Bible?

It is very strange to see that the Bible states truths that the Hebrew people knew but that all the other peoples—much more learned—were unaware of about God, men, nature and the Universe. It is also curious to see that the Jewish people are the only people of antiquity still present on Earth; or that a young man of 30, Jesus, who wrote nothing and died on a cross, became the one who had the most influence on the history of humanity, as Himself and the prophecies proclaimed. In this book, rationality is interrogated.

LN: The chapter on Fatima seems a little out of sync with the rest of the book. Why did you choose to devote a chapter to a Marian apparition?

OB: The miracle of Fatima (in 1917, in Portugal) is also, as we show in the book, a real, rational question about the existence of God. How is it that children announce, three months in advance, a miracle that everyone will be able to observe, at a very precise time? This well-documented event raises the question of whether it can be explained within a framework of materialist thought; that is, without a supernatural hypothesis.

LN: Doesn’t the great diversity of ethical systems throughout the world contradict the affirmation of the existence of a transcendent moral law common to humanity? Do not the consequences of original sin, which distort our moral judgment, prevent unanimity on this subject?

OB: Yes, but beyond this diversity, if there is no absolute outside the material Universe to found good and evil, then nothing can be sacred, absolute, good or intangible. In the case of a world without God, we are ultimately just an agglomeration of atoms, and crushing a child or a mosquito is ultimately equivalent: it is a simple reorganization of matter. Consistent atheists must believe this; but it is not easy.

LN: The answer to the objections of the materialists is particularly hurried on two of them, especially on the problem of evil. Why, in a book of nearly 600 pages, did it not go into this objection, which is the one usually put forward against the existence of God? Is it not because there is no totally satisfactory answer, since it remains a mystery?

OB: The objection “if there is a good and all-powerful God, evil is impossible” does not hold, either logically or in terms of probability. For the presupposition “if God is love, He must create a world without evil” is false. Serious atheists readily acknowledge this. To quote a few: “We may concede that the problem of evil does not, after all, demonstrate that the central doctrines of theism are logically inconsistent with each other” (John L. Mackie, atheist, 1982, The Miracle of Theism, Oxford University Press, p. 154). “Some philosophers have held that the existence of evil is logically inconsistent with the existence of a theistic God. No one, I think, has succeeded in establishing such an extravagant claim” (William L. Rowe, atheist, The Problem of Evil and Some Varieties of Atheism, 1979, p. 135). “It is now recognized on (almost) all sides that the logical argument is bankrupt (William P. Alston, “The Inductive Argument from Evil and the Human Cognitive Condition,” Philosophical Perspectives, Vol. 5, 1991, pp. 29-67).

Indeed, if God is love and if He seeks love, this presupposes free will. In reality, outside of Revelation, we are not in a position to judge whether God has or does not have good reasons for temporarily allowing suffering to exist in the world. Logical or intellectual arguments fall away, but the emotional issue remains very powerful. However, this is not the subject of our book, which does not talk about who God is, but only deals with one question: is there a creator God? And from only one angle: rationality.

LN: You devote a chapter to recalling the philosophical proofs of God’s existence (which have not changed since St. Thomas Aquinas), beginning by saying that they “have never interested anyone.” Why then devote space to them, and why are they of no interest to anyone if they are really convincing?

OB: Personally, the evidence I prefer is that of contingency. It seemed obvious to me that everything that exists must at every moment receive its existence from a cause; and that at every moment there is a first, necessary cause that maintains everything in existence. But after my conversion, I experienced that this proof did not convince many people. These philosophical proofs are very valid, but they don’t “make much of an impression;” i.e., they are not enough to convince. This is an observation. On the other hand, in addition to other elements, and in convergence with them, they are in my opinion very useful and contribute to establishing a rational and independent body of evidence.

LN: People often accuse believers of credulity; but you conclude, on the contrary, that it is materialism that is an irrational belief. Could you explain why?

OB: A coherent and rational materialist must believe that the Universe has always existed contrary to all evidence; that it is infinitely well-regulated by chance; that there is no good and evil; that the Bible, the destiny of the Hebrews, Jesus and the predictions of the children of Fatima, as well as the thousands of miracles and apparitions, the thousands of saints and the testimonies of personal encounters with God are also explained by illusions or by immense strokes of luck. This is really a lot to ask, and it is more than irrational. Everything converges. We must take the time to try to evaluate the probabilities. All this is actually impossible. It takes a lot of credulity to remain a materialist.


Featured image: “Creation of the Animals,” by Tintoretto; painted ca. 1551-1552.

Chemistry: The Western Invention

Chemistry is a relatively young field, becoming a science between the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. One can’t speak of a “science” unless it is a discipline with “its own concepts, its own techniques, and its own applicability” (Hall, p. 303). Whereas sixteenth century physics (mechanics/astronomy) was a “highly organized, mathematically sophisticated, theoretical science” (Rossi, p. 139), with a long line of great scientists going back to ancient times and the Renaissance, backed by figures like Euclid, Archimedes, Ptolemy, and Copernicus, modern chemists were preceded by alchemists, druggists, iatrochemists, and sorcerers. It was only during Robert Boyle’s (1627-91) generation that chemistry started to become conscious of its own distinctive field of study with its own specialized concepts.

Some believe that chemistry came into the light only when the investigation of gases proceeded rapidly in the hands of Henry Cavendish (1731-1810), the theologian Joseph Priestley (1733-1804) and Carl Scheele (1742-1786), when chemists came to see that air was an active ingredient in chemical reactions and not the only sort of gas; when Joseph Black showed in the 1750s that “fixed air” (CO2) was distinguishable from normal air, and when Antoine Lavoisier’s oxygen theory of combustion was confirmed in 1772, and his book, Traité élémentaire de chimie, was published in 1789, the first modern chemical textbook with a new nomenclature, in which precise terms came to identify the nature of the substances, with hydrogen, for example, replacing the vague term “inflammable air, and oxygen replacing Priestley’s “eminently respirable air” term.

It was then, some argue, that a new scientific paradigm emerged in the study of matter deserving the name of chemistry. Today we can say that chemistry is the science that studies the properties and behavior of matter, or the way the atoms and molecules that make up the ultimate elements of nature interact and adopt new combinations to create compounds.

It would be a mistake, then, to have headlines about “Chemistry in the Ancient World” or “Alchemy and the Birth of Chemical Science,” as books on the history of chemistry, or chemistry books for high school students, are increasingly doing to be more “inclusive”. The science of chemistry was developed by Europeans. This does not mean that researchers in mineralogy, pharmacology and alchemy did not play a significant role in the eventual development of chemistry. A.R. Hall, in his classic book, The Scientific Revolution, 1500-1800: the Formation of the Modern Scientific Attitude (first published in 1954), goes too far claiming that “it is almost useless to look to them [the alchemists] for the beginnings of a chemical attitude” (p. 307). It is true that alchemists had no criteria for distinguishing factual knowledge “from the products of their own extravagant imaginations” and believed they were searching for the ultimate elixir, an alchemical substance capable of turning base metals like mercury into gold, or affording immortality to humans. Everywhere in their writings there were invisible forces, vital agents, mysterious spirits inside matter.

Yet, in fairness, alchemists did explore and greatly expand our knowledge of substances and their reactions, including the Islamic alchemist Jabir ibn Hayyan (721-815), who identified two elements, sulphur and mercury, and synthesized ammonium chloride. It may be an exaggeration to say that Paracelsus (1493-1541), a Swiss physician, took alchemy “on the road to becoming chemistry,” but he did forge a new field, iatrochemistry, which endeavored to unite medicine with chemistry; and he offered descriptions of the properties of mercury, zinc, cobalt, potassium and other metals. The nobleman from Brussels, Jan Baptist van Helmont (1580-1644), despite his believe in vital animistic forces in matter, developed iatrochemistry in a more quantitative direction, adopted the theory of void space, and advanced an explanation of digestion as the action of acid as an agent in the transformation of foods.

Hall is far more sympathetic to the “empirical knowledge of the phenomena of chemistry” rooted in glass-making, the metallurgical industry of smelting and refining of metals, the pharmacological preparation of medicaments and the discovery of alcohol, including the differentiation of saltpetre from soda (which made gunpowder possible)—knowledge which emanated from a Hellenistic tradition centered in Alexandria, and from India, China and the Islamic peoples. The mineralogical and pharmacological knowledge of the Chinese, as Joseph Needham has documented, was considerable, their distinction between saltpetre, alum, and their knowhow in tanning, dyeing, painting and fire-work-making, but this scattered knowledge was descriptive and for practical uses, unguided by any scientific principles. It would also be a mistake to say that the origins of chemistry are to be found in the ancient Greek idea that everything on earth was made up of four foundational elements (earth, water, fire, and air) or that indivisible particles “generate all composite things”.

Perhaps the best candidate to represent the beginnings of the science of chemistry is the Anglo-Irish Robert Boyle. Boyle, a devout Anglican who sponsored missionary activities and wrote theological treatises, was a prominent figure in the articulation of the modern science of mechanics, with its idea that natural phenomena operated according to mechanical laws. He actually sought to integrate chemistry with physics as the two sciences that are seeking to explain the properties of matter. His book The Sceptical Chymist (1661) attacked the ancient doctrine of the four elements, proposed a clear definition of element as a “perfectly unmingled body, which not being made of other bodies…are the ingredients of which…mixt bodies are immediately compounded”—which anticipated the modern theory of molecules and atoms. He is known for his famous “Boyle’s law” which states that there is an inverse relationship between pressure and volume of gas, and for promoting the idea that air played a vital part in combustion. From this point on, there is a consensus among historians that the following names were critical in the consolidation of the science of chemistry: G. E. Stahl (1660-1734), Cavendish, Priestly, Black, and Lavoisier.

The Periodic Table

Once Lavoisier, who was raised in a pious Catholic family, set chemistry on a firm scientific footing, and established a good working definition of an element as a substance that cannot be broken into more fundamental constituents, it was a matter of time before new elements would be discovered. Don’t believe the incredibly deceptive Wikipedia claims about how the elements of gold, iron, copper, lead, silver, and tin were discovered in the ancient Middle East and Africa. These metals were used but not consciously discovered as chemical “elements.” It was only as the science of chemistry came into its own that elements came to be progressively discovered. Phosphorus in 1669, cobalt in 1735, nickel in 1751, magnesium in 1755, hydrogen in 1766, oxygen in 1771, nitrogen in 1772—by European names.

The big question in chemistry soon became how to classify the elements. This effort led to the development of the Periodic Table, one of the greatest scientific accomplishments in human history. John Dalton, teacher at a Quaker boarding school, played a crucial role in the classification of elements with the publication of his book, A New System of Chemical Philosophy (1808), with its observations that the atoms of different elements differed in size, weight and number per unit volume, and that when two elements combined to form a compound each atom of the first element united with one atom of the second element in a series of whole numbers. The studies by Swede Jakob Berzelius (1779-1848) and the Belgian Jean Stas (1813-91) on the atomic weights of the elements, and the law of isomorphism, which allowed Berzelius to determine the formulae of many salts and the atomic weights of their constituent elements, were also important steps in the classification of the elements in a scientifically accurate way.

The making of the Periodic Table included an all-European cast, consisting of Johann Wolfgang Döbereiner, John Newlands, Lothar Meyer, and Dimitri Mendeleev. Newlands showed how if the elements were listed in order of atomic weight, each element shared properties with those eight and sixteenth places later. The German Lothar Meyer also noted the sequences of similar chemical and physical properties repeated at periodic intervals. The Russian Mendeleev is the one immortalized for drawing up the Periodic Table in 1869, spelling out systematically how the characteristics of the elements recur at a periodic interval as a function of their atomic weight. Meyer had produced a similar, if less systematic, version of the Table in 1868, but it was Mendeleev who applied himself to the elaboration and defense of his Table, predicting the properties of five unknown elements and what their compounds would be, even before their discovery.

Today the periodic table outlines each element’s electron configuration, the atomic number of the element, and the chemical properties of the element. Many great chemists would come in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. Sometimes it is difficult to distinguish chemists from physicists. Ernest Rutherford, for example, was awarded the Nobel Prize for chemistry in 1908 “for his investigations into the disintegration of the elements, and the chemistry of radioactive substances” even though he was a physicist who believed that his main contribution was in the pioneering of the nuclear structure of the atom. Marie Curie, on the other hand, a highly gifted chemist, was awarded a Nobel Prize in physics in 1903 for her work on radioactivity.

I could go on listing great chemists by naming Nobel Prize winners during the 20th century. Most of the names are European, though Jews do start winning prizes during the 1970s, a high number in the 1980s, and some afterwards, along with some non-Europeans. Nevertheless the basic thesis of this article stands: Europeans originated the science of chemistry, pioneered all the fundamental ideas, from the seventeenth until the twentieth century, created the research centers and university departments that would transform chemistry into an institutionalized field with thousands of scholars and researchers, working less as individuals than as members of research teams funded in the millions, and making new contributions, but relatively minor, and none in the macro scale of the pioneers listed above.


Ricardo Duchesne has also written on the creation of the university. He the author of The Uniqueness of Western CivilizationFaustian Man in a Multicultural AgeCanada in Decay: Mass Immigration, Diversity, and the Ethnocide of Euro-Canadians.


Featured image: “The Alchemist,” by Newell Convers Wyeth, painted in 1937.

Mathematical Fraud: The Diabolical Motive Behind Vaccinating Children

Those who maintain an honest and detached approach to reality now know very well that giving the Covid vaccine to children (and young people in general) makes no medical or health sense. Sweden is one of the few states that has said it openly: there is no benefit from vaccinating children against COVID-19. But Sweden has certainly not reinvented the wheel. It just had the political courage to speak openly.

Anyone who keeps up to date on the pandemic and the pseudo-vaccines from official and reliable sources knows that young people have practically no risk from COVID-19; but, on the contrary, run many known and unknown risks from the use of these products that until 2021 were not even definable as “vaccines.” Calling them “vaccines” was another major fraud of this sad period in human history.

The well-known Report 9, which in 2020 gave governments around the world the first reliable international data on the pandemic, said that children aged 0-9 had a 0.1% chance of hospitalization and 0.002% mortality; the 10-19 range, respectively, 0.3% and 0.006%; the 20-29 range, 0.1% and 0.03%. But even the older groups, up to at least 60 years were certainly not at high risk. In the 40-49 range, for example, the hospitalization rate was 4.9% while the mortality was 0.15%. Report 9 is easily available on the internet and, for those wishing to learn more, I also talk about it in my books on the ethics of anti-COVID vaccines (also easily available online).

The studies on minors used for the authorization of COVID vaccines are not significant because above all of the very small number of subjects involved (from two thousand to three thousand in the various studies, with half in the vaccine group and half in the placebo group). These numbers (a thousand vaccinated children)—combined with the insignificant ratio of serious effects of the disease in the age groups involved—obviously cannot give any sensible statistical meaning for the efficacy and benefits of the vaccine. These trial data are also readily available from government agency websites and scientific literature. The authorizations of experimental anti-COVID products for young people are a mathematical fraud against informed consent. This too is an evident fact to anyone who can read reality honestly and detachedly.

The utilitarian argument is that young people must be vaccinated to protect the elderly from contagion. Even for those who profess the utilitarian ethical faith, however, this argument does not hold up in light of the fact that there is no scientific evidence relating to an alleged efficacy of the pseudo-vaccines on the circulation of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. This is not interpretative data nor dependent on the latest scientific investigations but data that has always been visible in this way even in the FAQs of the major world agencies, from FDA to EMA.

For example, here is the answer in the FDA FAQ on Pfizer vaccine: “Most vaccines that protect from viral illnesses also reduce transmission of the virus that causes the disease by those who are vaccinated. While it is hoped this will be the case, the scientific community does not yet know if Comirnaty [the supposed commercial name of Pfizer’s vaccine] will reduce such transmission.”

And this is what the European Medicines Agency (EMA) writes regarding the Pfizer vaccine and regarding all other vaccines currently approved in Europe: “The impact of vaccination with Comirnaty [Nuvaxovid, Spikevax (Moderna), Vaxzevria (AstraZeneca), Janssen] on the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in the community is not yet known. It is not yet known how much vaccinated people may still be able to carry and spread the virus.”

So why the fanatical insistence by many governments around the world on the importance and urgency of vaccinating children? On the part of the cynical pharmaceutical companies, of course, there is the god of money to rule over the game of motivations. But what is the excuse of governments? From my point of view, ignorance and incompetence were among the possibilities until recently. But now the exchange of information and the opposition by serious experts have become too intense. I no longer believe that governments are simply ignorant and incompetent. The explanation must lie in bad faith. Even bad faith, however, requires reasons. So, what motivations can governments have for promoting a vaccination campaign that is totally useless and harmful to children?

A somewhat fanciful first answer is that, to hide one’s past responsibilities, it is good to erase the traces, as any self-respecting criminal knows well. As long as there are large unvaccinated population groups it will be possible and easy in the future to make statistically adequate comparisons between who received the vaccine and who did not. If all or virtually all have been vaccinated, the traces of the crime will be erased. I believe that this motivation, albeit a little fanciful, is fully part of the possible explanations of political fanaticism about vaccines for children. Indeed, the most striking fantasy is that of criminals worried about getting caught. They are the best conspiracy theorists, the ones who ponder spasmodically on any possible clue to their crime. The political and legal responsibilities in the management of the pandemic, in the elimination of the safety protocols of new drugs, in the falsification or manipulation of public information and in the corresponding violation of informed consent could be immense and involve genocide and various crimes against humanity.

There is another motivation, however, simpler and more mathematical. Vaccine fanatic governments absolutely must prove to the world that vaccines have been effective in fighting the epidemic and the more serious effects of COVID-19. How do you mathematically increase the effectiveness of vaccines? Simple, by vaccinating all those people who risk nothing or almost nothing from COVID-19. I recently read a good article that exemplified this reasoning in a mathematical way. I summarize it here in a purely logical way, to understand it better.

If in a population vaccinated “V” there are a certain number of deaths or intensive care hospitalizations from COVID equal to “D/ICU” which equals a percentage “P,” and we double the number of vaccinated “V” with people who do not increase the mortality and intensive care value “D/ICU,” we obtain (even if the number of deaths or ICUs does not vary) a percentage of deaths and intensive care “P” that is halved. At the same time, we obtain the opposite effect in the unvaccinated population, which now have double the percentage of deaths or ICUs even if the real or absolute number of deaths and ICUs has remains unchanged.

It is important to understand that for this mathematical fraud to work, it is necessary to vaccinate precisely those subjects who have no real benefit from the vaccine. The goal is in fact to attract the positive effects of the natural immune system to the group of vaccinated subjects so that these effects can be mathematically attributed to the vaccine and not to nature. For the purposes of this fraud, getting adults and seniors vaccinated is less important.

There is no doubt, in my opinion, that this mathematical fraud is the primary reason for the Jacobin fanaticism of many governments around the world who know they have done many, too many things wrong. It is not strange, from this point of view, that governments that have not accepted this demonic game on children’s health are the very ones that have the least “fanatical” faults to hide in regards to the pandemic and vaccines, such as England and Sweden. This mathematical fraud also explains why a government like the Italian one, which has probed new and unexplored horizons in human negligence, ignorance, and immorality, is the most fanatical of all in pushing for the vaccination of its children without caring about their health and the possibility of their death. I can’t imagine anything more evil and immoral than risking the death of children to hide one’s sins.

God help them!


Fulvio Di Blasi is the author most recently of The Death of the Phronimos: Faith and Truth about anti-Covid Vaccines and Vaccination as an Act of Love? Epistemology of Ethical Choice in Times of Pandemics. He is a practicing lawyer who holds a Ph.D. in the philosophy of law. He is an expert especially in Aristotelian Thomist thought and natural law theory.


Featured image: “Brighter Future,” by Jordan Henderson.

Vaccination As An Act Of Love?

We are very pleased to provide this excerpt from Fulvio di Blasi’s forthcoming book, Vaccination as an Act of Love? which appears through the kind courtesy of Phronesis Editore.

The advent of the so-called “anti-Covid vaccines” was marked by the largest institutional fraud in history, to the detriment of informed consent: a fraud made easier and more disturbing by the power that finance and politics wield today in the world of global communication.

This fraud triggered a time of unprecedented violence, hatred, and persecution against all those who expressed doubts, sought the truth, and never tired of defending their freedom. The schizophrenic and almost demonic paradox of this campaign of hatred and violence is that it was carried out under the banner of terms, such as “love” or “civic duty,” now devoid of any meaning other than the demagogic use (typical of totalitarian systems) of the terminology of good to carry out evil policies. Transforming good into evil and evil into good is the most the Devil could wish for; it is his greater enjoyment. For those who believe, it is easy to see the Devil’s hand in these times.

Vaccination as an Act of Love? retraces the foundations of the analysis of the moral act to rediscover what it means to do good or evil, both in the Christian tradition and in that of Western thought. The ethical choice presupposes adequate knowledge of all the relevant factors of the action.

Fulvio Di Blasi is a practicing lawyer who holds a Ph.D. in the philosophy of law. He is an expert especially in Aristotelian Thomist thought and natural law theory. He has taught at several universities, including the University of Notre Dame (USA), The John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin (Poland), the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross (Rome), and the LUMSA (Libera Università Maria Ss. Assunta, Italy). He has more than 200 publications, including articles, editorials, books chapters, edited books, and translations.


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From The Pandemic To This Book

Since the pandemic began, I have resigned myself like everyone else to everything we all had to resign ourselves to. The first lockdown, the second lockdown, curfews, masks, hand sanitizers, work and family difficulties, the rules for going to Mass and to the supermarket, the abolition of travel and holidays, the new waves, the hopes for vaccines that, perhaps, would save us; and, again, the economic crisis, the monopolization of existential and mass media news, focused every day on the bulletin of deaths and infections, on new outbreaks, on new yellow or red areas, on the latest rules to follow, on the reactions of individual states, but also on some new TV show personalities, especially virologists and epidemiologists or those presumed to be such.

I’ve become familiar with things that I almost didn’t know existed before, at least from an existential point of view, but which have forcefully entered my daily sources of interest and information. Things like drug agencies, the World Health Organization, their protocols and conflicts of interest, emergency approval procedures, journals, and university departments of medicine. I reluctantly agreed to read and discuss all these things every day in social networks. I have also lived through new experiences of which I have a positive or still uncertain balance.

My young children have had contact with their parents that few children have ever had in our busy world. My baby girl was born just before the first lockdown. Thank God, we had just managed to repair the house from serious mold problems and to return there between the end of January and February 2020. I and my wife, who is also a lawyer and scholar passionate about culture and everything else, had never imagined spending such long periods of monastic isolation, work, and intimacy.

We too, at home, have had our waves and regulatory changes. There was that of pizza and homemade desserts. There was that of sports played with children on the terrace (also to work off sweets and pizza). There was that of the camping on the terrace, where we set up a large family tent on an artificial lawn for Christmas 2020, surrounded by solar-powered Christmas lights (the holiday budget was spent in 2020, and with better results, in this way). There was that of the giant terrace nativity scene, with water pump and waterfalls and real ornamental plants, built at home with the children by carving and painting polystyrene and wooden boards for the stable. There have been attempts at homeschooling, also with the help of heroic grandparents who have come over as much as possible, despite the curfews and occasional swab tests, also to allow us to isolate ourselves from time to time in a room to get some work done. There have been such beautiful and genuine family experiences that, at times, with my wife, we even were thankful for the pandemic, roughly with that spirit with which, in the Easter Mass, since St. Augustine, we refer to original sin in terms of felix culpa.

Smart working and the development of new online work options are certainly among the positive aspects of the epidemic. Today we have learned more about how many things can be done remotely with the technologies we have available. Smart or remote working allows many people, in many ways, to better reconcile their professional life with their personal and family life. Let’s hope there is no turning back in this area, after the emergency is over.

I think back on all this, not without ardor, to say that, even in the worst moments of the pandemic, I had never thought of making a professional effort to talk about it. Even when, taking seriously some of my wife’s perplexities, I had a second thought about vaccines and government policies, and when I began to study relevant sources of information with greater professional attention and to listen to online lectures and specialized conferences on the subject, I didn’t think even for a moment of writing a book about it. Even when the witch hunt against the so-called anti-vaxxers began, when the mass media and politics started to treat me, my wife, and many of our friends and colleagues who had doubts about vaccines and about the decisions to be made about them as if we were fools and idiots to mock and publicly insult…. Even in this predicament I didn’t think about writing a book on the subject. In fact, my initial reaction was the opposite. I decided to stop reading many newspapers or watching television and instead to concentrate on other books I was writing. Unfortunately, hateful excerpts of pseudo-journalistic talk shows conducted in the name of ignorance, arrogance and insult still tormented me through the clips that inevitably populated social media. Still, not even this additional pressure incited me to the point of turning everything I had studied and found out about the pandemic into a book. Posting some occasional ironic, outraged, or staggered comments on social media was enough to distract me so I could let it out and go back to my regular work.

There was one thing that broke the camel’s back, though, and it was not about my professional life but about my life of faith. Political institutions had breached their fundamental duty to respect the truth and freedom of their citizens. They violated the right of every free person to receive correct and honest information. They had tried demagogically to bend and control people’s will, intelligence, and conduct. Physicians, after the first wave of heroism, so charged with magnanimity and exemplarity, had finally allowed themselves to be harnessed and standardized downwards by a political power that wanted them to be bureaucrats who stayed far away from patients, at least until hospitalizations. They had allowed themselves to be replaced by sloppy and generic directives from impersonal government agencies, reduced to paper pushing, thus mortifying the exercise of a profession that always begins and ends with care and attention for the patient. Scientists had also failed by letting a generic, magical, and mystical reference to a higher and nonexistent entity called “Science” take the place—in the common feeling and in the demagogy of ignorant and unscrupulous politicians and journalists—of serious and real discussion among scholars and of critical thinking. Journalism had died, replaced by the will to power of those who have the media in their hands and decide to use the media only and exclusively to convince everyone of their prejudices and to make the masses conform to the decisions of the political class. But shouldn’t journalism be the bulwark of investigation and real democracy precisely in times when politics risks having too much free rein and too much power?

Yet, despite everything, despite all these failures, it was still enough for me to turn off the TV, close the online pages of the new regime’s newspapers, and concentrate on my family, my research, and my books.

One thing, as I said, finally stopped me from simply closing the door and staying at home doing my own thing: the failure of the church. I am referring, of course, not to the true Church, that is, to the Mystical Body of Christ, which lives in the mystery of His People, and which walks in history assisted by the Spirit of Truth. The true Church is the humanity of Christ, God incarnate who becomes a sacrament, who becomes the mystery of God’s presence among us. When God becomes man, matter becomes direct contact with the supernatural: “Philip said to him, “Master, show us the Father, and that will be enough for us.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you for so long a time and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?” (John 14: 9-10).

The Incarnation does not end with the ascension of Jesus into Heaven. The Incarnation remains until the end of time. It’s just that, after the Ascension, the sacramental mystery doubles. While two thousand years ago, we saw Jesus and, by touching His humanity, we really and mysteriously touched God, now we don’t see Him, but we really and mysteriously touch God by touching His sacramental humanity, which is truly present in His People. Whoever does not understand that the Church is the Body of Christ incarnate which continues to walk and act mysteriously in history with the legs and arms of His faithful has not understood anything significant about the Church. This Church, for a believer, can never fail. Men, however, are fallible and sinful. Even the righteous sins seven times a day, which is an important warning against any presumption and idolatry of personalities. Here on earth, no one is holy, and we all must always be very careful. Only the People of God as a whole are Holy, because they are the Body of Christ.

The church as a human institution is made up of men who are all fallible, starting with the Pope (except of course for those very rare times in history in which he speaks ex cathedra on matters of faith and morals). The Church as a militant People (that is, without considering those in Purgatory and Paradise) is made up of three types of faithful, all called to be saints in the same way and all cells of the Mystical Body of Christ: there are clerics (deacons, priests, and bishops), there are the religious (who make vows and who could also be clerics at the same time), and there are the lay faithful. Nobody is in the big-league team, and nobody is in little, or very little, leagues. The dignity of every believer is rooted in the call to communion with God and in letting Christ work in him to impact the history of the world. Clerics have an institutional responsibility, but if some or many clerics make a mistake, Christ will work more through other faithful, because the true, sacramental Church is never in the hands of any single person or group of mere men.

When I talk about the failure of the church in these times of pandemic, I am therefore referring to the failure of many clerics (not all, thank God), who should be talking about the saving message of the Gospel and the truths revealed by God and who instead talk about vaccines and of the green pass as if these things belonged to the depositum fidei. I speak of the failure of a church that generates ethical doubts about things that belong to the conscience and prudential reasoning of every faithful individual. I am speaking of a church that aligns and allies itself with political or economic power, mistaking its supernatural ministry for assistance to the dubious or questionable policies of the rulers of the moment. I speak of a church that remains silent in the face of demagogy and disinformation. I speak of a church indifferent to the persecution of so many righteous. I am speaking of a church that discriminates and generates conflicts among its own faithful for the benefit of the transitional policies of utilitarian rulers. I’m talking about a church that has turned its priorities and value hierarchies upside-down. Where are the atheists and anti-Catholics, who always scream at alleged medieval obscurantism, in these days when spiritual power and temporal power seem to inexplicably walk hand in hand?

When the “churchmen” praise politicians too much or rejoice too much in their attention or seek them too much or manifest too many inferiority complexes with respect to political institutions or no longer know how to distinguish the freedoms of the Church from the freedoms of politics, I become particularly worried. Clerics are no more intelligent than the lay faithful. It is often the other way around. And this is the reason why they make themselves so often ridiculous with the politicians and the powerful on duty. Many clerics have an inferiority complex because they do not feel equal to the world. Economics, politics, and science are too high for them, too unreachable, and, without realizing it, they end up kneeling facing the wrong way, no longer in the direction of the Altar. We lay people do not have these problems. We are the politicians, the scientists, and the economists. We cannot have any inferiority complex towards ourselves. And I am convinced that it is also for this reason that, in times like the present ones, in which the church of clerics is the victim of its own inferiority complexes and generates too much confusion and division among the faithful, the Mystical Body tends to inspire the laity more to the responsibility of distinguishing the boundaries of the depositum fidei, on the one hand, and of what belongs to Caesar, on the other.

The straw that broke the camel’s back, and that led me to this book, was hearing the greatest religious authority in the world say that getting vaccinated is an act of love, thus providing an assist to the political authorities who sought to proclaim that vaccination is a civic duty. At this point, the poor faithful Catholic who has doubts about the vaccine, and that he is also a good citizen, is surrounded. Is his doubt then an act of selfishness? Is it a temptation from the devil? Is it an act contrary to the common good? In addition to his own religious and political authority, he is at the same time discriminated against and persecuted by all with the complicity of the mainstream media. He has become the villain to be ridiculed as the selfish enemy of the common good, with the blessing of the Pope and the Presidents. All this is unacceptable and, in my own little way, it required me to at least put my professional skills to use in the service of the persecuted righteous.


Featured image: “Lucifer devouring Judas Iscariot, Brutus and Cassio.” Opere de Dante. Woodcut printed by Bernardino Stagnino, ca.1512.

Human Evolution, Behavior And Intelligence: A Conversation With Helmuth Nyborg

We are so very pleased to present this interview with Helmuth Nyborg, the Danish psychologist, who has been leading the field in developmental psychology, with his work in polygene adaption and traditional behavior, with a focus on hormones and intelligence. He is a retired professor of developmental psychology at Aarhus University, Denmark, and has authored several notable books. Professor Nyborg is here interviewed by the French philosopher, Grégoire Canlorbe.


Grégoire Canlorbe (GC): How did you move from Olympic canyoning to an academic career? Which of those two activities was the most physically and mentally demanding?

Helmuth Nyborg (HN): The change was easy. Preparation for the 1960-Olympiad in Rome took five years in advance with three hours training from 6-9 am. and again from 6-9 pm – before dinner was an option – and year-round. Such a program taxes social, family, metabolic, and intellectual life considerably. So, as I shared a room in the Olympic village with gold medalist Erik Hansen, with whom and two others I won the bronze medal, I simply told him that my career in kayak ended at 3:08 pm. when we passed the goal line. He found it hard to believe, but I kept my promise and entered the academic world instead.

Helmuth Nyborg.

GC: You are currently working on a thermodynamic approach to the biocultural evolution of intelligence. How do you sum up your theory as it stands?

HN: Actually, already back in 1994, I wrote a book, Hormones, Sex, and Society: The Science of Physicology, where I argued that science would advance by skipping much abstract philosophical thinking about Man’s nature, and instead turn to the study of Molecular Man in a Molecular World. The jump from there to thermodynamics is short.

Currently I am trying to quantify 275.000 years of prehistoric competition between individuals in the struggle for capturing and transducing available energy (Wm-2), survival, and procreation, in a retrospective, pseudo-experimental design; that is, to redefine classic Darwinian thinking along the lines suggested back in the 18th century by the two famous physicists, Ludwig Boltzmann and Alfred Lotka.

GC: When it comes to intelligence, what does the second law of thermodynamics imply? (Namely, that the entropy of an isolated system, as is allegedly the universe, is necessarily increasing). Do you believe the universe’s average intelligence is necessarily decreasing?

HN: The second law of thermodynamics is about isolated systems and is therefore not of great use for understanding the way humans work, because they are open systems. We therefore need to call upon a fourth thermodynamic model for open non-equilibrium systems. It is easy to understand why global intelligence has been declining steadily since 1850: Low IQ people become more numerous and have more surviving children than high IQ people.

GC: A line of criticism occasionally heard against the coevolution idea (i.e., the idea that gene and culture are influencing each other in their mutual evolution) is that cultural patterns in a population are indeed influencing genes in said population—but that genes do not have the slightest influence on cultural patterns in turn. Thus, any population subject to the influence of a certain culture is allegedly led to becoming biologically adapted to said culture at the end of a few generations. That is how, for instance, the Berber, Afghan ethnicities, and various populations who were conquered by the Islamic Arabs allegedly ended up becoming culturally Arabized—and biologically adapted to the Arabic culture. What is your take on such claims?

HN: The whole idea of biocultural coevolution assumes that cultural aspects can be measured and quantified as accurately as the biological aspects. This is not the case, and this makes, in my opinion, the whole idea of biocultural coevolution untenable, as previously argued by me, in 1994.

As said above, we better entirely circumvent stubborn problems based on how more or less abstract culture works, for example, by trying to retrospectively define and quantify the prehistoric circumstance under which different peoples around the world have evolved; which polygene adaptation they were forced to make in order to survive and prosper, and which left surprisingly lasting polygene traces reflected in existing global differences in traditional behavior, which even the naked eye can see so readily today. The recent failing attempts to make Afghanistan democratic illustrate the point well in blood, violence, tradition, and despair

GC: An early investigator of the evolution of intelligence, Hippolyte Taine expressed himself as follows in 1867: “The man-plant, says Alfieri, is in no country born more vigorous than in Italy; and never, in Italy, was it so vigorous as from 1300 to 1500, from the contemporaries of Dante down to those of Michael Angelo, Cæsar Borgia, Julius II., and Machiavelli. The first distinguishing mark of a man of those times is the integrity of his mental instrument. Nowadays, after three hundred years of service, ours has lost somewhat of its temper, sharpness, and suppleness…. It is just the opposite with those impulsive spirits of new blood and of a new race [that were the Italians of the Late Middle Ages and of the Renaissance].” Do you sense that analysis is grounded at a thermodynamic level?

HN: The mathematician and physicist, Lord Kelvin (1824-1907), said in 1883 something to the effect that, if you cannot measure a phenomenon and express it in numbers, you don’t know what you are talking about. You may be at the beginning of knowledge but have certainly not advanced to the state of science, whatever the matter may be.

This problem is not only Taine’s, but has been with us since the dawn of time. People think of a phenomenon, say “impulsive spirit” or “motivation;” then they reify it and ascribe it causal value. Suddenly they have an explanation. Why did I do it? Well, I was motivated. They don’t see that this is a circular explanation: How do you know you were motivated? Well, I did it.

This kind of muddled thinking was common in the past and is still widespread today. One current widespread form is Social Constructivism, exemplified by, say, unsubstantiable theories of “systemic racism,” or the “glass ceiling” in “Gender research” (where Gender is loosely what you feel; a lived cultural proxy for real, measurable, biological sex differences).

GC: Thank you for your time. Please feel free to add anything else.

HN: It worries me to think that the political scientist Charles Murray (2003) has a valid point, when he concluded that Western thinking has been decaying since 1850. This most likely has to do with declining global and local average IQ.

In that connection, it hurts to watch the numerally quantifiable left-oriented political activist overtake of many modern universities and media, with their associated unprofessional “Cancel Culture,” “Critical Race Studies,” and politically motived data-poor gender and LGBTQ+++ activist reports.

Gregoire Canlorbe and Helmuth Nyborg.

It is terrifying to realize that so many weak academic administrators today carelessly allow left-oriented student hooligans to attack, and have sacked serious researchers they have a political distaste for – instead of furiously defending free speech and independent research in the Academy.

It is saddening to see that so many modern universities seem to have completely forgotten the Humboldtian ideals of a free University; and instead have allowed their organizations to degrade into mindless mass-producing institutions, where political correctness all too easily overturns rational science; and IQ research(ers) are tabooed.

All this bodes well neither for the future of European democracy nor the sustainability of enlightened societies.

O tempora, o mores!


The featured images shows the funerary stele of Lysistrata, ca. 350-325 BC.