Wednesday, July 16, 2014

School to Prison Pipeline

Tolerance zero policy for schools end up treating children like criminals. This needs to change.

The goals of Ending the Schoolhouse to Jailhouse Track are:

To document and expose the use of zero tolerance and other harsh disciplinary policies and the “School-to-Prison Pipeline";
 To develop and implement school discipline reforms on the local level that will serve as models for other communities;
To strengthen the capacity of the youth and parents involved in this work to become engaged citizens and agents of change;
To impact the national conversation about this issue in order to facilitate broader reforms.

See more

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Understanding Orthodoxy

I have collected some links about Eastern Orthodox theology:

Scholarly Notes

a) The Filioque controversy and its implications. A very good technical text that helped me a lot to understand it. The full book from Laurent A Cleenwerck can be bought here.
(I may be wrong but I think Laurent was my teacher of an online greek course I took in New York!)

b) Perry C Robinson in his Energetic Procession blog on Orthodoxy explains why he chose Orthodoxy over Catholicism basing himself on systematic theology. I found it very interesting, and gave me food for thought. He has other interesting posts like this on Diothelitism.

c) Orthodox Teaching on Personal Salvation. A comprehensive text, and possibly a good review. The few introductory paragraphs maybe have a more negative view of the person that I think I found in other orthodox documents, though.  

Testimonials that choose Eastern Orthodoxy rather/or than Roman Catholicism:

a)  Robertbar finds the Catholic Church too medieval, with the papacy and the dogma of transubstantiation ad odds with the Early Church. He considers the Novus Ordo Mass an innovative major break in the Church liturgy, and worries that the Catholic Church is going too liberal.
b) Michael Whelton explains how he doesn't like liturgy innovations and the papacy.  
c) Nick explains why he is Catholic and not Orthodox. Ordodox don't agree of whether Catholic have valid holy orders or other sacraments. Some EO would even re-baptise a Catholic. He also find suspicious that Orthodoxy didn't manage to have an ecumenical council in a 1000 years.

Random documents
Website with links explaining or helping you to become Orthodox

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

War against homeless

I don't know where it is, but it could easily be New York, London or Barcelona. But notice as Mark Shea says:

At least one homeless person will come again to judge the living and the dead

Thursday, May 29, 2014

The significance of a plot without conflict

In the West, plot is commonly thought to revolve around conflict: a confrontation between two or more elements, in which one ultimately dominates the other. The standard three- and five-act plot structures—which permeate Western media—have conflict written into their very foundations. A “problem” appears near the end of the first act; and, in the second act, the conflict generated by this problem takes center stage. Conflict is used to create reader involvement even by many post-modern writers, whose work otherwise defies traditional structure.
The necessity of conflict is preached as a kind of dogma by contemporary writers’ workshops and Internet “guides” to writing. A plot without conflict is considered dull; some even go so far as to call it impossible. This has influenced not only fiction, but writing in general—arguably even philosophy. Yet, is there any truth to this belief? Does plot necessarily hinge on conflict? No. Such claims are a product of the West’s insularity. For countless centuries, Chinese and Japanese writers have used a plot structure that does not have conflict “built in”, so to speak. Rather, it relies on exposition and contrast to generate interest. This structure is known as kishōtenketsu.
You can read more here

Monday, May 19, 2014

Like a good summary?

Posted with permission. You can by a signed print here

Monday, May 12, 2014

Gödel's proof of God existence, does it work?

Kurt Friedrich Gödel (1906 – 1978) was an Austrian, and later American, logician and philosopher. One of the best mathematical minds of the 20th century. And he was brave enough to advance this ontological proof of God existence


\text{Ax. 1.} & \left\{P(\varphi) \wedge \Box \; \forall x[\varphi(x) \to \psi(x)]\right\} \to P(\psi) \\

\text{Ax. 2.} & P(\neg \varphi) \leftrightarrow \neg P(\varphi) \\

\text{Th. 1.} & P(\varphi) \to \Diamond \; \exists x[\varphi(x)] \\

\text{Df. 1.} & G(x) \iff \forall \varphi [P(\varphi) \to \varphi(x)] \\

\text{Ax. 3.} & P(G) \\

\text{Th. 2.} & \Diamond \; \exists x \; G(x) \\

\text{Df. 2.} & \varphi \text{ ess } x \iff \varphi(x) \wedge \forall \psi \left\{\psi(x) \to \Box \; \forall y[\varphi(y) \to \psi(y)]\right\} \\

\text{Ax. 4.} & P(\varphi) \to \Box \; P(\varphi) \\

\text{Th. 3.} & G(x) \to G \text{ ess } x \\
\text{Df. 3.} & E(x) \iff \forall \varphi[\varphi \text{ ess } x \to \Box \; \exists y \; \varphi(y)] \\
\text{Ax. 5.} & P(E) \\
\text{Th. 4.} & \Box \; \exists x \; G(x)
Godel's ontological proof of the existence of God (from wikipedia)

This proof uses modal logic and a very similar versions of it are explained in detail by Christopher Small here (with no previous background needed) and in this pdf.  Thanks a lot to Christopher for his good job in explaining the ontological proof.

Now, I have to say that I still need to get a deeper understanding of the proof as it is not clear to me if claiming that necessary existence is a positive property, as Gödel does (in Ax 5), is begging the question. But Gödel was a very clever guy so I need more time to think on this.

Extra notes:

St Anselm's ontological proof of God's existence is similar to Gödel's. To me, what St Anselm achieves is to clarify that, if it is possible for God to exist, then it necessarily exists.  This is basically what happens with platonic forms and mathematical theorems too. The hope is that Gödel would make a better case for the plausibility of God existence (as oppose to conceivability), and then apply Anselm's machinery to proof its existence. It is not clear to me however that Gödel have achieved the first part by means of introducing the concept of a positive property. This needs more investigation from my side.

In any case, at this stage I find Aquianas five ways far more convincing than Godel's. Aquinas doesn't go to ontological argument (and rightly criticises "Anselm's" way as a proof), instead he goes from physics, to metaphysics to God. Inductive method. Hurray for Aquinas.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Let the kids come near the Pope

This video is a divertimento, but a sweet one.