Chapman’s News & Ideas

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 ›

Put Your Head Back on Right this July 4

It is easy to get distracted by all the forebodings in the news today, so I want to offer Discovery Institute friends a “read” that will re-inspire you and also assert some of the personality and philosophy that I hope animates this organization and its fellows. It should encourage a different version of Independence Day enthusiasm as it is quintessentially American.

My Uncle Berlin B. Chapman was raised literally a hundred years ago in the hills of West Virginia, put himself through college and Harvard Graduate School (Phd.), and taught history the rest of his life in Oklahoma–producing some of that region’s first histories. He once told me that in his opinion “the greatest commencement address” ever made was “Acres of Diamonds,” by Baptist preacher and Temple University President Russell Conwell. I asked Uncle Berlin for the gist of it–that the opportunities in life are found in one’s own backyard–and was more or less satisfied with that truism. But I finally got around to reading a version of the address itself today because I wanted to recommend it to a young political friend of mine. Read More ›

Time to Sue the Parents?

The Obama Administration is frustrated that the kids getting government financed school lunches are not eating them. Huge piles of uneaten foodstuffs are being thrown out daily. Worse, a Congressional Committee has learned that there is black market among the kids for salt and pepper, since Michelle Obama is trying to keep these dangerous chemicals out of the food our youth consume. The situation has grown so bad that some parents are sending their kids to school with their own lunches. That of course should be prohibited and the contraband seized as evidence by the Justice Department. Other parents–even poor ones!–are taking their kids out of school and feeding them lunch at home. Why, that’s almost un-American. Kids eating lunch Read More ›

Why “Gold in the 21st Century”?

GilderDiscovery Sr. Fellow George F. Gilder delivered his monograph, Gold in the 21st Century, today at the Princeton Club in New York City. The book length paper was the product of the American Principles Project and represents a next step in George’s thinking on the issue of money as it changes in our time. His next book, Life After Google (working title), will incorporate his insights on gold into a discourse on fulfilling the Internet’s promise–and resolving its ailments.

Among the topics I hope he covers in the future are what we can do about the maddening array of pop-up ads and 30 second commercials that get in the way of enjoying a particular YouTube video or newspaper article. He also needs to address the appalling spams and scams of Internet and email gangsters that prey on the gullible. The gullible also include many of us who thought we were opening a legitimate news article and found instead that our computers had been taken over by “ransom ware” or malware and that the only way to get free was to pay off the pirates (or spend an afternoon, as I have done recently, at an Apple store getting the computer de-loused).

The answer probably is some variation of Bitcoin, the monetarization of material we now obtain only after punishing advertising assaults. What will you pay to be free of these? Is the future Internet not like a toll-road that one takes to avoid the congestion and eye-attacks of billboards and blight? If so, there probably will be a way for free-loaders to continue to get content for nothing more than a stream of ads and risks to one’s serenity. Read More ›

Obama’s Distraction Syndrome

Generally speaking, it is a bootless enterprise to try to psychoanalyze a President, or any politician. But it certainly appears that President Obama must be frustrated by his failures in the fight against ISIS and other terrorists, not to mention his looming catastrophic and bogus deal to deter Iran’s nuclear ambitions (they really do want and will get a nuke soon). So perhaps he feels that the thing to do in this circumstance is to change the subject to something more manageable. That would be climate change. The extent to which he can go is found in his strange address to the Coast Guard Academy.

Well, of course, the Coast Guard has almost nothing imaginable to do with causing or curing any climate change, to the extent there is much human caused climate change. Indeed, it is hard to see that President Obama, after six and a half years in office, has done anything significant to improve the world’s climate, despite 2008 campaign promises. But he certainly does have the authority and the power to talk about it. And talk about it.

The President told the Coast Guard Academy graduates, “Climate change constitutes a serious threat to global security, an immediate risk to our national security, and, make no mistake, it will impact how our military defends our country…And so we need to act — and we need to act now.”

The graduates must have mentally scratched their heads trying to figure out the relevance to them. So the President helped them: the kidnappings of Boko Haram in Nigeria were triggered by “crop failures”! There has been flooding in streets in South Carolina and Florida. Really. Setting aside the tenuous nature of the connection these matters to “climate change”, just what the Coast Guard was supposed to do about it the Commander in Chief did not say. Read More ›