Chapman’s News & Ideas

Darwin, Marx, and Something Called Political “Science”

The materialist influence of 19th-century thinkers still chills 21st-century thinking. It is true in biology, economics, culture, and government. In much of  the popularization and misuse of the claims of natural science and in much of modern German philosophy, tendencies toward atheism and gnosticism (searching for hidden meanings) are found. So are economic determinism and a serene resolve to change human nature. It was considered foolish by many 19th- and early 20th-century intellectuals to believe in God or self-evident truths, but “advanced” to aspire to the perfectibility of man. Progress, you would have thought as an intellectual in that period, must proceed on “scientific” principles. Max Weber’s “fact/value” distinction meant that facts alone could be submitted to scientific inquiry, while issues of Read More ›


From Darwinism to Dataism: Will We Lose Our Representative Democracy to Techno-Religion?

Science fiction writers have long understood that when tyranny comes it often is introduced as some improvement, or as the correction of some perceived problem. C. S. Lewis, for example, warned of the therapeutic state that wants what is best for us, whether we ask for it or not. It starts as science, becomes scientism, then demands obedience. Jeremy Rifkin is a philosopher of Big Data in our own time who has a Marxist view of human good, organized in the “Commons,” whose space, according to his book “The Zero Marginal Cost Society: The Internet of Things, the Collaborative Commons, and the Eclipse of Capitalism,” is “more basic than both business and the market.” He writes that “The very purpose Read More ›



Don’t Increase Loans, Decrease Tuition

The country faces over a trillion dollars of student loans that in many cases will not be repaid because the millennials who took them on cannot do so. In Indiana, President Mitch Daniels of Purdue has shown how to hold the line on tuition by cutting costs. In Washington State, the GOP Senate was able to get a 20 percent tuition reduction — rather than increased loans — through the Legislature and to gain the governor’s signature. In any bureaucracy it always seems impossible to cut costs rather than increase expenses — until you have to. Universities have to now, even though there will be protests. There especially is no excuse for high endowment private institutions and state universities that Read More ›




Fr. Michael Chabarek on Thomas Aquinas and Theistic Evolution

The works of Thomas Aquinas are marshaled by some Catholic scholars in defense of theistic evolution, the idea that Darwinian evolution can be reconciled to Christian faith. In a new paper, Fr. Michael Chabarek makes the case that the great medieval scholar and “doctor of the Church” cannot be put to this purpose without contorting his views. Fr. Chabarek, a Phd. In theology from Poland and a Dominican priest, follows the same style as Aquinas in giving the best arguments for reconciling Christianity with Darwinian evolution, and then in refuting those arguments.


Continue to Watch Venezuela

It is hard to know whether the current US Administration would really like to see the Maduro government in Venezuela fail. With the acknowledgment of an inflation rate of 64 percent and with supermarkets frequently looted for scarce food, and the beer workers on strike (beer is the drink of choice in Venezuela and much of Latin America), the government is letting off steam by calling a parliamentary election for December 6. One would like to think the the Obama Administration would be rooting for change. Maybe it does, but the evidence is not obvious.

Does an election in a few months offer hope for the masses who are suffering? Or does the Cuba-dominated regime have plans to rig the election? By now, it is probable that even the Chavista base of poor people are turning against the regime. After all, without high oil prices, Venezuela has little to sell and socialism doesn’t work domestically. For the elites, there is little left to steal. Read More ›


Washington StateTuition Cut Success Should be Emulated Nationally

Washington State Republicans control only one house of the state legislature — the Senate. Yet this year they used skillful politics and diplomacy to get a new state budget that does not raise major taxes (a separate budget does raise the gas tax to pay for roads and bridges). It lives within the revenues of the current economy — and it cuts tuition for debt-burdened college students by some 20 percent. That is a milestone in education reform nationally and a tremendous boost for young people. Read More ›


George Gilder and the Scientific Foundations of the Gold Standard

Discovery Senior Fellow George Gilder’s recent monograph on gold and the economy, commissioned by the American Principles Project, continues to attract curiosity and praise, especially in light of the debt crises in places like Greece, China—and the USA one day. At Forbes, Ralph Benko praises Gilder’s monograph and traces the gold standard from its inception—crediting both Sir Isaac Newton and Nicolas Copernicus—to modern-day, writing that “Gilder reveals anew the gold standard’s deep scientific foundation.” This week, George Gilder will keynote the Innovation Summit in Silicon Valley, followed by several talks at Freedom Fest in Las Vegas, then the Money Show in San Francisco. There will be media following all of them. While at Freedom Fest, Gilder also will be involved Read More ›