RE: America: Encounter the Pope
I don't know what else Pope Bendict XVI could do. Perhaps the priests themselves, who committed the atrocities, should be the ones apologizing. Maybe some of them have, but so far as I've seen, the media hasn't taken notice.
RE: Christian Witness in the Aftermath of Hate
God forbid that all of the university money shouldn't go to athletics. Professor Myers' blog sounds like a hybrid Bill Maher and Richard Dawkins diatribe.
RE: Tom Wolfe and a cognitive neuroscientist discuss status, free will, and the human condition
Fascinating piece. Like a good journalist, Wolfe largely only hints at his own opinions. He plays with ideas. As he said himself, he doesn't have an agenda. (And his novels "have no themes.") Interesting idea for a "linguistic" free will.
RE: Secrets of storytelling
This reminds me of efforts to understand the biological bases of humans' love for music. In This is Your Brain on Music, neuroscientist Daniel Levitin posits that music, rather than being a "spandrel" (byproduct) of evolution as some scientists suggest, preceded language and probably served several functions, including display of sexual fitness (e.g., women, when in their peak stage of fertility, are generally more drawn to creative than financially affluent men, perhaps because they display resourcefulness such that they have "time to waste" on developing creative skills); social cohesion (the modern concert and jam session being an extension of the ancient "dancing and singing around the campfire"); and cognitive development (higher IQs, heightened spatial skills, and greater abundance of "mirror neurons" in musicians). And like stories, music is universal and prevalent among all cultures, and perhaps even among other species - as the "singing" of songbirds. I remember Ennio Morricone described melody as "dialogue with God." To me, a good movie or book (whether of Dickens, Tolkien, or Peter Weir) feels like reading, or rather sensing, the mind of God.
RE: The Ugly Truth
"Kaufman’s (or at least Cotard’s) world is death, decay, illness, pessimism, disappointment, brutality." Was this movie based on a Philip Roth novel?