Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Seductive Science

VATICAN CITY — Pope Benedict warned Monday of the "seductive" powers of
science that overpower man's spirituality, reviving the science-versus-religion
debate which recently forced him to cancel a speech after student protests.


More seductive that alter boys in choir robes? Well, now we know how to solve THAT problem. We'll just send a subscription to Popular Science to every priest in the world.

"In an age when scientific developments attract and seduce with the
possibilities they offer...

POPE: Don't mind the man behind the curtain...it's God, I tell you! He can help you with all your problems...not science!
,
it's more important than ever to educate our contemporaries' consciences so
that science does not become the criterion for goodness," he told scientists.

And, forget science, since when did Catholicism become a criterion for goodness? I've had about all the Catholic education I want, thankyouverymuch.

Scientific investigation should be accompanied by "research into
anthropology, philosophy and theology" to give insight into "man's own mystery,
because no science can say who man is, where he comes from or where he is
going", the Pope said.


Science should be accompanied by theology? In what world? Science doesn't claim to tell man where they come from (evolution has a great theory, though) or where they're going. Interestingly enough, Catholics do try to tell you where you're going...I demand answers and evidence from the Pope. If he knows where we're going, then he should treat his own claims with the same expectation of evidence that he wants from science.

"Man is not the fruit of chance or a bundle of convergences, determinisms or
physical and chemical reactions," he told a meeting of academics of different
disciplines sponsored by the Paris Academy of Sciences and Pontifical Academy of
Sciences.


Nah. It's more likely we're the sock puppets of a big man in the sky with a great big book of multiple choice and that there are half-human entities with wings that fly around and do God's business and a bunch of dead people who are looking after us and pumping sales for their medals and holidays. OH! And, Mary was a virgin. Yeah...far more likely.

The Pope reiterated a plea, made in many speeches since his election in
2005, for mankind to be "respected as the centre of creation" and not relegated
by more short-term interests.

Short term interests like church?
The conservative German-born Pope's public stand on issues such as abortion and
embryonic stem-cell research has led critics to accuse him of holding antiquated
views on science.

If the pointy-hat fits, then for Buddha's sake...wear it!

Students and teachers at Rome's La Sapienza university – which was founded by a
pope more than 700 years ago – cited such views when they protested so loudly
during a papal speech scheduled for Jan. 17 that it had to be cancelled.
In particular, they criticized his views on science, saying a speech he gave in
1990 showed he would have favoured the church's 17th-century heresy trial
against Galileo.


Exxxxxxcelent. *does my Mr. Burns impression* Shall we release the hounds?

The Vatican said the protesters misunderstood that speech, made about 17 years
ago when he was Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger.


Wha'? Cuz'...like, now he's Darth Vader or something? Is this one of those screwy SAT questions where Cardinal Joseph : Anakin Skywaler what The Pope: Darth Vadar?

15 comments:

keely said...

The only semi-correct thing the pope said in that entire thing was that theology can give us insight into "man's own interest." But I'm not taking that statement the way he means it. Religious beliefs and religious institutions are interesting to study because they tell us a lot about how people think and interact--not always particularly flattering things, of course, but religion is part of humanity for many reasons. My favorite reason? Because human minds are imperfect and prone to being deceived.

Kevin L. said...

No, not Anakin/Darth Vader. More like Palpatine/Emperor. The resemblance between The Emperor and Ratzinger is uncanny.

I read on what I vaguely recall as being one of the ScienceBlogs that the 1990 speech in question really is misinterpreted. What Ratzinger was supposedly saying was that the Church-drive trials and tribulations of Galileo were rational and sensical based on the science of the day, which contradicted Galileo's theories.

Of course, that rather smells like a big stinkin' pile as well, and given the views that Ratzinger has otherwise expressed, I get the impression that he is that much of a scumbag anyway.

Beauzeaux said...

So the pope breaks radio silence once again -- as usual about three or four centuries too late.
Does anybody still care what the pope says?
You'll find him in the dictionary under irrelevant.

JS said...

Perhaps one should do the public a service and translate Herr Ratzinger's remarks from Fundyese into English:

"In an age when scientific developments attract and seduce with the possibilities they offer, it's more important than ever to educate our contemporaries' consciences so that science does not become the criterion for goodness," he told scientists.

Translation: Science (or in this case medicine) should not be allowed to develop stem cell research, because this will weaken the our ability to maintain repressive policies vis-a-vis reproductive rights. The good wrought by medical advances to humanity (which I am sufficiently politically savvy to not dismiss outright) must not be allowed to reduce the good wrought by my beliefs to my pocketbook and personal power.

"Scientific investigation should be accompanied by "research into anthropology, philosophy and theology" to give insight into "man's own mystery, because no science can say who man is, where he comes from or where he is going."

Translation: We must ensure that all scientists are sufficiently indoctrinated in our own narrow-minded version of "ethics" that they taylor their research (and/or data) to our pre-conceived world view.

"Man is not the fruit of chance or a bundle of convergences, determinisms or physical and chemical reactions," he told a meeting of academics of different disciplines sponsored by the Paris Academy of Sciences and Pontifical Academy of Sciences.

Translation: I know that supporting Creationism will make me look like a complete idiot, but it's politically valuable to throw the yahoos the occasional, carefully worded hint. Wink-wink, nudge-nudge.

The Pope reiterated a plea, made in many speeches since his election in 2005, for mankind to be "respected as the centre of creation" and not relegated by more short-term interests.

Translation: A fetus is more important to me than the life and well-being of a born human.

Oh, and can we have a link, please?

- JS

fdqpink/Baal's Bum said...

We have got very used to "the pope" being a tired old man waving at people he doesn't remember if he knows or not and kissing the odd runway. The trouble with this one is he believes his own publicity, with a vested interest in distracting from the focus on the pervert priest publicity that has been so prominant since his taking on the role. So send out exorcism squads, demonise science, aggrevate other religions and create a furrour to keep the media busy so preists can get back to their usual business of humping young boys.

Asuka said...

I've had this icky bad feeling about the man ever since he became the pope. His ideas are so frighteningly backward I wonder what the other cardinals were smoking when they elected him. This is a man who has an extraordinary amount of influence over an extremely large number of people (1.1 billion) who are more than willing to follow his words and ideas without even attempting to think for a moment wether or not they should because he is "the voice of god." Our only consolation is that he's 80 and more than likely will kick the bucket soon......or so we can all hope....

Midnight_RN said...

He's talking out of fear. The church as a whole is losing power and he's focused on science as what is taking people away from the church. Personally, I don't understand why God and scientific exploration can't co-exist. But that's me.

Saurian200 said...

Pope Benedict warned Monday of the "seductive" powers of
science that overpower man's spirituality...


To steal a line from the Skeptic's Guide To The Universe, "Show me on the doll where science toached you."

Gila said...

"Sock puppets of a big man in the sky"

Niiiiiice! Great post!

Gila

Eamon Knight said...

This is a man who has an extraordinary amount of influence over an extremely large number of people (1.1 billion) who are more than willing to follow his words and ideas without even attempting to think for a moment wether or not they should because he is "the voice of god."

Are they, though? I was never RC, but from what I've heard a fair number of that 1.1G (especially in North America) are quite happy to ignore a lot of what the funny hat in Rome says (eg. w.r.t family planning -- Catholics no longer have families much bigger than their Protestant or other neighbours).

The Papacy is becoming irrelevant even within the institution it supposedly governs.

John said...

The fact that Catholics do not have larger families than Protestants is proof that natural family planning works just as well as artificial birth contraceptives.

Karen said...

asuka said:
Our only consolation is that he's 80 and more than likely will kick the bucket soon......or so we can all hope....

Dream on, mate. Benny the Hex (Hat tip to Zeno -- (http://zenoferox.blogspot.com -- for the moniker) was chosen because his twelfth-century views are welcomed outside the U.S., Canada, and Europe -- a heckuva big Catholic herd.

Burying one's head in the sand has always been popular with most of the world's people, and I don't mean to be condescending when I say that. Unless you've had the luxury of some extended experience that challenged you to think logically (college, among other experiences, provides this for some but not all partakers) it is horribly difficult to sort through ultimate causes for your own slings and arrows of outrageous fortune. If your church provides a framework for those answers, you sleep better at night if you just accept them, spend your nights sleeping, and spend your waking hours on something immediately practical.

Eamon Knight said...

The fact that Catholics do not have larger families than Protestants is proof that natural family planning works just as well as artificial birth contraceptives.

You're joking, right? Like, that would explain why my devout Catholic friends who use (and teach!) NFP have seven kids.

Seriously, FWIW it's frequently reported on the news that Canadian and American Catholics tend to ignore the ban on artificial contraception.

John said...

Yes, I'm joking.

But I did once hear a Catholic priest seriously say that.

smellincoffee said...

I love this guy. It's like a rationalist infilitrated the RCC, successfully rose to the top in the power structure, and is now trying his damndest to turn the RCC into a bigger laughingstock than it is.