68 Chapter 5
ONE MODERN PESSIMISM
"godless modern science." It is an example -- an all too vivid one -- of
the intellectual bankruptcy of Catholic theology. Mr. Minsky, who is
not a Catholic, has, in effect, done some of the work Catholic theology
should have been doing -- discovering that Catholic theology has made
major scientific mistakes, so much so that its intellectual foundations
have largely disintegrated.
To remain intellectually respectable within its own intellectual
commitments, what present-day Catholic theology should do, of
course, is abjectly accept Mr. Minsky's conclusions -- for they are the
logical conclusions of any dehistoricized cosmology, whether
'scientific' or 'theological.'
What Catholic theology instead does with Mr. Minsky's questions
is give answers that make us embarrassed to be Catholic. Catholic
theology simply denies the given, or ignores it:
There just "has to be" free will -- so, it exists. Q.E.D.
Ironically, the very acceptance of "has to be" -- a necessary reason
--as the foundation for the argument actually proves Mr. Minsky's
point instead. For what a truly modern man like Mr. Minsky argues is
precisely that 'free will' doesn't have to be. 'Free will,' says Mr.
Minsky, is not necessary to explain anything.
Thus what really clinches Mr. Minsky's argument is an argument
he doesn't make, and perhaps doesn't see: you don't need a familiarity
with the intricacies of modern cognitive science to assign 'free will' to
Cause or Chance. Since absolutely everything gets assigned to Cause
or Chance in any dehistoricized cosmology, all you need to assign 'free
will' to Cause or Chance is any dehistoricized cosmology whatever.
All you need are:
"obligations antecedent to choice, rules that bind us
whether we like it or not"
1. McInerny R. (1998) Opposition to the death
penalty. Catholic Dossier 4(5), p. 6.
which happens to be (and I am not making this up) the definition of
"natural law," according to one highly-regarded present-day Thomist.
"What holes?" Catholics to this day happily claim that 'free will'
exists because freedom itself is necessitated by "rules that bind us
whether we like it or not"! As I said, I am not making this up.
We have choice because we are bound whether we like
it or not?
This is the conclusion of 800 years of 'scientific' work by Thomists?
Even more, isn't this exactly Mr. Minsky's message: that we are bound,
N.B. This is an html-ized copy of a page from the pdf file, The Knucklehead's Guide to Covenantal Theology.