Cardinal “I spend a lot of time studying this stuff.” Pell has also said that greenhouse mitigation is a pagan ritual:

Some of the hysteric and extreme claims about global warming are also a symptom of pagan emptiness, of Western fear when confronted by the immense and basically uncontrollable forces of nature. … In the past pagans sacrificed animals and even humans in vain attempts to placate capricious and cruel gods. Today they demand a reduction in carbon dioxide emissions.

HG Nelson and Amanda Keller comment on Pell and pagan rituals:

Comments

  1. #1 Lars Karlsson
    April 27, 2011

    God gave us Earth to wreck. It is in the Bible … somewhere. Anybody who disagrees must be a pagan!

  2. #2 Lotharsson
    April 27, 2011

    Good grief, Pell’s been a climate change idiot for some time then – and seemingly scared of losing his followers, and/or struggling to fit the evidence of smart people concerned about climate change into his particular worldview.

    Or maybe he’s trying to subtly encourage those with more inquiring minds to leave his organisation?

  3. #3 Phillip IV
    April 27, 2011

    I’m time and again stunned by the level of intellectual compartmentalization some people are capable of. Pell correctly analyzes paganism, then completely passes over his own superstitions – the similarity of which to paganism must have SCREAMED INTO HIS FACE at that point – to transfer that analysis to environmentalism based on superficial similarities.

  4. #4 adelady
    April 27, 2011

    Did I miss his greatness’s references to the stated position of the Pope and the Vatican in that statement?

    I realise that contradicting the Pope on this issue does not amount to heresy or apostasy. But it’s not a good look for someone who counts himself as the country’s leading Catholic.

  5. #5 James Haughton
    April 27, 2011

    Gosh, it’s lucky we were saved from all that paganism by nailing a god made flesh to a tree and ritually drinking his blood.

  6. #6 Hans Erren
    April 27, 2011

    In Germany the greens and the evangelical church are extremely good friends. (Based on Luke 16)

  7. #7 jrkrideau
    April 27, 2011

    Is there something wrong with the link to Cardinal Pell’s pagan comments? I’m following it to an address entitled “Islam and Western Democracies” at http://www.sydney.catholic.org.au/Archbishop/Addresses/200627_681.shtml

    I was impressed to see that Cardinal Pell was quoting Christoph Luxenberg in that address, seemingly a linguistic equivalent of Dr. Plimer. I am eagerly awaiting for Cardinal Pell to use quotations from Velikovsky to help explain the Medieval Warming Period. Or has it already been done?

  8. #8 Lotharsson
    April 27, 2011

    > Is there something wrong with the link to Cardinal Pell’s pagan comments?

    No. Pell’s speech (on that page) includes the “pagan” quotes towards the bottom.

  9. #9 jrkrideau
    April 27, 2011

    @ 8 Lothersson

    Ah, got it. Thanks. I was just skimming the text when I got that far down and totally missed it.

  10. #10 adelady
    April 27, 2011

    jrkrideau, Velikovsky? Don’t know.

    But some things I’ve read indicate that von Daniken and the Jolly Green Giant have put in their two bobs’ worth. So Velikovsky and Tinkerbell might have a go as well.

  11. #11 Matt
    April 27, 2011

    He doesn’t care about being right. He cares about keeping the debate alive…

  12. #12 Gus
    April 27, 2011

    James Haughton (April 27, 2011 7:12 AM) take a bow!

  13. #13 Strider
    April 27, 2011

    Holy crap! Pot meet feckin’ kettle!!!!!!!!

  14. #14 Alan
    April 27, 2011

    I’m not surprised. Pell has a history of following cranks: he gets his advice on human sexuality from an 80 year old male virgin who wears red shoes and a white dress.

  15. #15 Patrick
    April 27, 2011

    While the discourse in the United States on climate change has been disapointing the Catholic Church has been on what I view as the side of reason. It was reported by the Voice of America (12 January 2011) that during his annual address to the ambassadors “accredited to the Vatican” that he “denounced the failure of world leaders to agree to a new climate change treaty in Copenhagen …”

    None of this in anyway excuses George Cardinal Pell’s misguided actions.

    In the United States the US council of bishops have made repeated statements which both encourage the acceptance of the notion that we are having a dangerous influence on the climate of the world, and that there is a moral duty to take appropriate action immediately.

    “Responses to global climate change should reflect our interdependence and common responsibility for the future of our planet. Individual nations must measure their own self-interest against the greater common good and contribute equitably to global solutions.” —U.S. Bishops

    The U.S. Catholic bishops have declared, “At its core, global climate change is not about economic theory or political platforms, nor about partisan advantage or interest group pressures. It is about the future of God’s creation and the one human family. It is about protecting both ‘the human environment’ and the natural environment.” (Global Climate Change: A Plea for Dialogue, Prudence and the Common Good, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, 2001, p.1).

    http://www.catholicsandclimatechange.org/church_teaching/us_bishops.html

    Prior to the U.S. invasion of Iraq the President of the United States Conference of Bishops made the following statement.

    We join with Pope John Paul in the conviction that war is not “inevitable” and that “war is always a defeat for humanity.” This is not a matter of ends, but means. Our bishops’ conference continues to question the moral legitimacy of any preemptive, unilateral use of military force to overthrow the government of Iraq. To permit preemptive or preventive uses of military force to overthrow threatening or hostile regimes would create deeply troubling moral and legal precedents. Based on the facts that are known, it is difficult to justify resort to war against Iraq, lacking clear and adequate evidence of an imminent attack of a grave nature or Iraq’s involvement in the terrorist attacks of September 11. With the Holy See and many religious leaders throughout the world, we believe that resort to war would not meet the strict conditions in Catholic teaching for the use of military force.

    I draw your attention to this statement to make a point. The statements of Cardinal Pell should not be taken as being representative of the Church as a whole. The Church has been far more reasonable then it is sometimes given credit for, and if the congress were not so thoroughly misguided it might have followed the lead of the church before granting licence to the war with Iraq, and before failing to take significant action on climate change, as has happened repeatedly.

  16. #16 Patrick
    April 27, 2011

    “I’m not surprised. Pell has a history of following cranks: he gets his advice on human sexuality from an 80 year old male virgin who wears red shoes and a white dress.”

    Well done Alan, always a bit of fun to mock the Pope isn’t it? No need to avoid offending the members of the worlds largest Christian Church. After all its not like it would be in anyway useful for the worlds one billion Catholics to be fighting for action on this issue now would it? No, of course not.

    Insulting potential allies is the way to win the fight.

    Keep up the good work.

  17. #17 Vince whirlwind
    April 27, 2011

    You see, Patrick, to some people, outrage at criticism of perverse sexual inclinations is more important than any effort at averting catastrophic climate change. It’s all about priorities.

  18. #18 marcusj
    April 27, 2011

    I’m not sure that Vince is fully aware of just how pervasive and insidious human irrationality can be.

  19. #19 anonyx
    April 27, 2011

    I’ve come into a habit of thinking the climate deniers as gays, possibly because ‘it’s against the nature.’

  20. #20 Bernard J.
    April 28, 2011

    Vince has the right of it.

    Pell is using (whether deliberately, or ironically) the “pervasive and insidious human irrationality” that marcusj mentions, to influence the (scientific and religious) lay public.

    As Patrick himself mentions Catholics are the largest Christian denomination in the world – that’s a fair chunk of Australia over which to have influence, and even the conservative atheists and agnostics of the country will hear sweet salvation in Pell’s anti-climate change words.

    And as much as Benedict XVI is a forward thinker on climate change, it is prudent to remember that the ambitious cardinal is to the Pope as Abbott was to Turnbull, although perhaps with not quite the overt Brutus overtone.

    Should he ever miraculously succeed B XVI, Pell is sure to sing in Latin from a mediæval hymnsheet, and with about as much relevance to contemporary society.

    And for what it’s worth Patrick, I have previously made the fairly much the same comment as Alan, except that [I mentioned a scarlet dress and sky fairies](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2011/03/cardinal_pell_embarrasses_hims.php#comment-3474620). The fundamental point of anachronistic and superstitious ritual rather more informs the matter than you appear to want to admit.

  21. #21 ChrisC
    April 28, 2011

    Just to dampen your fears a little, while I’m not Catholic, a number of people on my partner’s side of the family are. Real Catholic. Church goin’ Catholic. There’s even a cousin who’s a priest!

    And none of them, not a one, ever listen to what Pell says; be it on homosexuality, environmentalism, politics or Climate Change. The man is a buffoon, and in my experience, most Catholics realise this.

  22. #22 Dean Morrison
    April 28, 2011

    Cardinal Pell wrote:
    In the past pagans sacrificed animals and even humans in vain attempts to placate capricious and cruel gods.

    Genesis:
    8:20 And Noah builded an altar unto the LORD; and took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the altar.
    8:21 And the LORD smelled a sweet savour; and the LORD said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man’s sake; for the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth ; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done.

    Exodus
    20:24 An altar of earth thou shalt make unto me, and shalt sacrifice thereon thy burnt offerings, and thy peace offerings, thy sheep, and thine oxen: in all places where I record my name I will come unto thee, and I will bless thee.

    Deuteronomy
    12:27 And thou shalt offer thy burnt offerings, the flesh and the blood, upon the altar of the LORD thy God: and the blood of thy sacrifices shall be poured out upon the altar of the LORD thy God, and thou shalt eat the flesh.

    Genesis 22
    22:1 And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am. (22:1) “God did tempt Abraham.”

    22:2 And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.

    Numbers
    31:26 Take the sum of the prey that was taken, both of man and of beast, thou, and Eleazar the priest, and the chief fathers of the congregation:
    31:27 And divide the prey into two parts; between them that took the war upon them, who went out to battle, and between all the congregation:
    31:28 And levy a tribute unto the Lord of the men of war which went out to battle: one soul of five hundred, both of the persons, and of the beeves, and of the asses, and of the sheep:
    31:29 Take it of their half, and give it unto Eleazar the priest, for an heave offering of the LORD.
    31:40 And the persons were sixteen thousand; of which the LORD’s tribute was thirty and two persons.
    31:41 And Moses gave the tribute, which was the LORD’s heave offering, unto Eleazar the priest, as the LORD commanded Moses.

    Judges
    11:29-39Then the Spirit of the LORD came upon Jephthah … And Jephthah vowed a vow unto the LORD, and said, If thou shalt without fail deliver the children of Ammon into mine hands, Then it shall be, that whatsoever cometh forth of the doors of my house to meet me, when I return in peace from the children of Ammon, shall surely be the LORD’s, and I will offer it up for a burnt offering. … And the LORD delivered them into his hands. And he smote them … with a very great slaughter. … And Jephthah came to Mizpeh unto his house, and, behold, his daughter came out to meet him with timbrels and with dances. … I have opened my mouth unto the LORD, and I cannot go back. … And … her father … did with her according to his vow which he had vowed.

    Ephesians
    5:2 And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.

    It’s not recorded what Green Party Policy in Australia was at that time – but as for “Capricious and Cruel Gods” – it’s hard to beat the one in the Bible.

  23. #23 Chris O'Neill
    April 28, 2011

    And none of them, not a one, ever listen to what Pell says; be it on homosexuality, environmentalism, politics or Climate Change. The man is a buffoon, and in my experience, most Catholics realise this.

    And yet somehow, he became their leader and without them, he would be totally insignificant. What does that make them?

  24. #24 adelady
    April 28, 2011

    Chris. The Catholic church may be a lot of things.

    One thing it most certainly is _not_ is a democracy. I think we can all work out what the church’s position on several topics would be if it were a democracy.

    Pell’s main claim to leadership is his ability to latch on to influential people within the hierarchy and get their votes for whatever position he seeks. Ordinary priests and religious and parishioners don’t count.

  25. #25 Bernard J.
    April 28, 2011

    Ah, the fraught natures of politics and religion – especially when the two are hybridised and applied to matters of fundamental planetary importance…

    Pell would probably have rather a dim view of the ascerbic wit who coined this Urban Dictionary definition of Christianity as being a:

    …belief that a cosmic Jewish Zombie who was his own father can make you live forever if you symbolically eat his flesh and telepathically tell him you accept him as your master, so he can remove an evil force from your soul that is present in humanity because a rib-woman was convinced by a talking snake to eat from a magical tree.

    I’m sure that the good cardinal might even go so far as to accuse the Greens of harbouring the person who submitted the piece.

    Of course, if he accepts it as allegory, he has then taken a dangerous step on the path to the God of the Gaps, and somewhere along the way he will probably find that he is walking in the same direction as those Abominable Greenmen.

    The travails of an enquiring (or not) mind…

  26. #26 Patrick
    April 28, 2011

    Bernard J commented:

    And for what it’s worth Patrick, I have previously made fairly much the same comment as Alan, except that I mentioned a scarlet dress and sky fairies. The fundamental point of anachronistic and superstitious ritual rather more informs the matter than you appear to want to admit.

    Bernard I did notice your comment. At the end of the day what matters to me most is that we address this issue of climate change. I am a bit bemused by your comment, that I will not admit the “fundamental point” that “anachronistic” oppinion and superstition inform the matter at hand. I live in the United States. I have heard the statement of John Shimkus which he made before the Congress, that “the earth will end only when God declares its time to be over.”
    I have heard a lot of talk of that sort. It is appalling.

    I also find you and like minded folk a bit of an enigma, in so far as it seems as though you are more concerned with pointing out what to you is the inexcusable fault of not agreeing with you each and every day in each and every way about what is proper in terms of morality and belief or disbelief as the case may be, than with perhaps taking some time to make note of the fact that some of these people that you hold such scorn for actually do agree with you on climate change, and can be counted on to continue to do so. Perhaps I am mistaken?

    A man who in fact I respect in many ways, and who is an atheist, once characterized Pascals thought on religious belief as “intellectual bankruptcy.” I do wonder how he regards his seminal work as a mathmatician. That is does he regard Pascal’s religious belief as somehow contaminating the remainder of his thought. Does he in some way dismiss his worth as a human being because of his religious belief? I will have to ask him about that.

    There might be something about babies and bathwater that someone said once, that might have some relevance.

  27. #27 luminous beauty
    April 28, 2011

    Patrick,

    Though it may be prudent not to throw out the baby with the bathwater, that does not therefore behoove one to preserve the bathwater. If you catch my drift.

  28. #28 Alan
    April 28, 2011

    To Patrick at 8:26

    I think this illustrates why we working scientists are at a disadvantage in the climate change street fight. The mindset of scientists leaves them at disadvantage when it comes to manipulating emotions. Politically, it probably is a good thing that the Catholic church recognises and promotes the reality that climate change is caused by burning coal and oil.

    The idea that my enemy’s enemy is my friend doesn’t come naturally to me. It is like an erroneous mathematical “proof” that blunders to the right conclusion despite incorrect reasoning.

  29. #29 Vince whirlwind
    April 28, 2011

    @MarcusJ, 18:
    Careful – any further along those lines and you run the risk of lapsing into defeatism.

    I see that the Federal Government wishes to make irrationality even more pervasive: in a news article on the weekend, I read that they are not content with only 40% of children obtaining University degrees, they want even more of the intellectually feeble to waste 3 years on worthless studies where the irrational ideas of Arts departments get imprinted on them.

  30. #30 Vince whirlwind
    April 28, 2011

    Incidentally, the very interesting and important theme that Patrick raises is explored in depth in some recent shenanigans involving Creationidiots, Atheists, and the British Centre for Science Education :

    http://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2011/04/23/a-bright-spot-at-the-chronicle-and-an-open-letter

    http://www.forums.bcseweb.org.uk/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=2629

    If you’ve got some significant minority who are happy to go to Church every Sunday, but who don’t necessarily agree with Pell (or the Pope for that matter), why offend them? Why bring in their organisation’s attitude to condoms, homosexuality or whatnot into a discussion of their organisation’s attitude to climate change?

    Far more constructive would be to help inform these people how they can give feedback/criticism through their organisation’s hierarchy on how Pell’s views on climate change diverge both from the Pope’s as well as from reality.

  31. #31 Patrick
    April 28, 2011

    “Though it may be prudent not to throw out the baby with the bathwater, that does not therefore behoove one to preserve the bathwater. If you catch my drift.” –Luminous beauty

    I do catch your drift. I don’t argue that you are obliged to regard the Catholic Church or its leaders with sympathy or fondness. I don’t argue that anyone is so obliged. It would be in some sense a rather idle thing to do. Nonetheless I do assert that it would be useful to acknowledge the Church’s stance, and that it is something less than helpful to indulge your distaste for the Church and its leadership in the context of this issue.

  32. #32 Patrick
    April 28, 2011

    @ Alan

    For what it is worth it does not strike me as impossible or even improbable that a person or organization could be correct on one subject while being wrong on another. It may not be particularly comforting but it seems a common enough thing.

    Kerry Emanuel, a professor of meteorology at MIT might (from your point of view) be a case in point. Mr Emanuel gave some sensible testimony recently before the US House of Representatives. It is my understanding that Mr. Emanuel is a devout christian. His belief in God and indeed what I understand are his conservative politcal opinions have not been a hinderance to his acceptance of the neeed for action on climate change. Richard Alley, a University of Pensilvania scientist, recently made the point in public that he attends church and is a Republican. He did so to give emphasis to his arguement that the when it comes to the physics of the atmosphere this aught not be a political issue, although it has been made one.

    A decent regard for the truth of how the physical world functions, and concern for the future welfare of humanity, are not contradicted by religious belief. It is as true to say that the opposite state of affairs is as true. That is to say that atheists can be good neighbors, scientists, and citizens. To me both these propositions seem self evident.

  33. #33 luminous beauty
    April 28, 2011

    >…it is something less than helpful to indulge your distaste for the Church and its leadership in the context of this issue.

    That is pretty much Pascal’s argument, but in the context of the possibility of Eternal Damnation. Given such is arguably intellectually bankrupt, wouldn’t it be that trite and trivial to boot in the context of possibly alienating such an inconstant ally?

  34. #34 jakerman
    April 28, 2011

    While I appreciated the humour in [Alan’s joke](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2011/04/steaming_toad_with_hg_nelson_-.php#comment-3726818), I found the case put by Patrick a useful reminder of the need to foster allies.

    Frustration with inaction on carbon mitigation can at times leave me with the consolation of humiliating deniers by exposing their stupidity. This can be a trap, in the culture war that has enveloped the climate war, the ‘merchant’s of doubt’ recruit from a group who see themselves as against a cultural elite. Hence making fun of peoples’ poor science and religious traditions is playing into the game plan of the merchants of delay.
    Given the problems with communicating sometimes complex science, the cultural battle is perhaps with one with greatest potential to sway opinion from its current balance.

    We might do more harm in pushing people from a culturally conservative identity into the arms of denialist and delayers by fighting the climate war along the current alliances established in the culture war.

  35. #35 Chris O'Neill
    April 29, 2011

    adelady:

    Chris. The Catholic church may be a lot of things.
    One thing it most certainly is not is a democracy.

    That still doesn’t answer the question of what does it make the members of the Australian Romain Catholic church.

  36. #36 adelady
    April 29, 2011

    Chris “what does it make the members of the Australian Roman Catholic church”?

    By and large, the ones I know are nice, well-intentioned people. Some are a bit self-consciously pious which makes people like me a bit uncomfortable. A very few are self-righteous pains in the neck – the kind that writes to the Vatican to complain that the choir sang a hymn that they think is inappropriate for the liturgy and look down their noses at anyone who doesn’t spend their time worrying about other people’s morals.

    The great majority are just ordinary people. Atheists like me find their beliefs just as illogical and futile as the people who run their lives according to astrology or feng shui or wicca or any other mysterious inexplicable force. But that doesn’t matter.

    The best approach is just to focus on the good in everyone – and maybe bite the tongue when the belief subject comes up. There’s a lot of goodwill, goodness, intelligence and common sense to be found everywhere.

    Make the most of what you’ve got. Ignore the stuff you disagree with. (A bit like putting the undercooked potato to one side of your plate and still thanking grandma for a nice meal.)

  37. #37 Bernard J.
    April 29, 2011

    Bernard I did notice your comment. At the end of the day what matters to me most is that we address this issue of climate change. I am a bit bemused by your comment, that I will not admit the “fundamental point” that “anachronistic” oppinion and superstition inform the matter at hand.

    Patrick.

    As you note, addressing the causes of global warming is what matters.

    The problem is that in the case of clerical commentary such as Pell’s, spiritual philosophy is being used to inform scientific discussion, rather than the empirical fact and analysis of the matter – regardless of Pell’s fatuous claims that he has studied the science.

    I have no issue with myth, ritual, superstition and spiritual thought in their own contexts. I am in fact avidly interested in these subjects, not only from intellectual curiosity but for how they inform personal identity and philosophical development. However spiritual philosophy is a very different human endeavour in understanding the world than is rational, objective scientific method and logic.

    Bringing dogmatic and doctrinal religious thought into the scientific arena simply debauches the inherent and valid spiritual worth underpinning the religious system. In this they are oil and water, and any impartial consideration of these different epistemological approaches will reveal the cognitive dissonance inherent in much religious thinking, in the context of what is objective truth.

    My references to what is no more than a banally humourous framing of this dissonance were an impatient attempt to point out the problem.

    And I acknowledge jakerman’s point about not putting people off-side, but I think that this really isn’t about walking on egg-shells. Avoiding certain truths because feelings might be hurt doesn’t change the truth… there comes a point where playing politics with subjective feelings needs to be put aside, in order to acknowledge unassailable scientific truth.

    Frankly, as an abstractly spiritual person myself I take no joy in mocking another’s religious beliefs, but when that other person is using his or her religious beliefs to substitute for scientific truth, then they need to have the tenuous empirical nature of that belief highlighted, however cruelly that might have to be done.

    And none of this is to say that there is not a place for religious/spiritual input into the matter of human impact on global climate. There is, and very much so. But the place is in framing the ethics underpinning society’s response to the truth, rather than in attempting to define the scientific truth itself.

    King Canute’s possibly apocryphal demonstration, in the face of a rising tide, that royalty has no command over nature applies as much to how religion and science interact, and if religious institutions cannot accept it then their robes will end up as soaked as Canute’s.

  38. #38 PB
    April 29, 2011

    So. What did we all think of HG and Amanda’s effort? I found it deeply, deeply offensive.

    Tasmania is a nice place.

  39. #39 David Horton
    April 30, 2011

    Was inspired by this post Tim to [write a spin-off (think Torchwood and Dr Who)](http://davidhortonsblog.com/2011/04/30/peter-principle/). It compares religious leaders and science leaders, for example, to pick two names at random, Dr Pell and Dr Hansen.

    Plot spoiler (offensive content) – religious believers on this thread might find the post a little of-putting in the nicest possible way. Although I don’t mention the incest in Tasmania. At all.

  40. #40 Patrick
    April 30, 2011

    In response to my previous comment:

    “…it is something less than helpful to indulge your distaste for the Church and its leadership in the context of this issue.”

    Luminous Beauty said:

    “That is pretty much Pascal’s argument, but in the context of the possibility of Eternal Damnation. Given such is arguably intellectually bankrupt, wouldn’t it be that trite and trivial to boot in the context of possibly alienating such an inconstant ally?”

    Which ally do you mean? The Church? The Pope? God?

    My friend, I don’t follow you at all. My comments have all revolved around the assertion on my part that certain tactics are silly. To wit: mocking a Pope who agrees with you on the topic of climate change. If there is any sort of analogy to be made to a wager it would be a “faith” that the church is not going to flip flop on this issue. The only way that I could see that happening would be if all the various scientific academies (Royal Society, US National Academy and so forth) took back their words of warning, but there is nothing like that to be hoped for or feared. Why? Because the science is sound. So I think that this particular Pope isn’t going to change his mind on climate change, and my own judgment is that the next one will not repudiate Benedict.

    I am not wagering my soul that the Church is or is not going to change its public position. I am responding to what IS the present position. No faith involved in that proposition. None at all.

    In my understanding the Church is responding to the judgment of the scientists. The notion that action is needed is advanced in the context of the Church’s concern for social justice. The Church is concerned with the material well being of human beings. The leadership of the church and the Pope still has this idea about helping the poor, and healing the sick. Preventing the harm that seems likely from the effects of climate change, is the motive.

    This seems reasonable enough too me.

  41. #41 zoot
    April 30, 2011

    My comments have all revolved around the assertion on my part that certain tactics are silly. To wit: mocking a Pope who agrees with you on the topic of climate change.

    Is it ok with you if we mock a cardinal who is vociferously denying climate change? Particularly since the Pope won’t bring him into line with the Church’s public position.

  42. #42 Hampy
    May 1, 2011

    New Catholic church, solar heating, PV panels, rain water capture:

    http://www.waterlooville-catholic.org.uk/

    Bishop Crispian said, “When completed, this church will be among the most eco-friendly churches for miles around.”

    Maybe Aussie Catholics need to get on message.

    Cafod and climate change:

    http://www.cafod.org.uk/resources/policy/climate-change

    “CAFOD believes that mobilising public finance for mitigation in developing countries is critical to ensure we stay within a 2 degree C scenario.”

  43. #43 Paul UK
    May 1, 2011

    adelady: “Chris. The Catholic church may be a lot of things.
    One thing it most certainly is not is a democracy.”

    Indeed, the whole concept of authority in the context of publishing and media control was largely invented by the Catholic church. It was responsible for creating a top down control system through the printing press.

  44. #44 Chris O'Neill
    May 1, 2011

    The best approach is just to focus on the good in everyone – and maybe bite the tongue when the belief subject comes up. There’s a lot of goodwill, goodness, intelligence and common sense to be found everywhere.
    Make the most of what you’ve got. Ignore the stuff you disagree with.

    I don’t care about the belief part of it. The problem is when they are being useful fools for a nasty, ugly consequence such as Pell pushing his agenda. That’s something I just cannot ignore.

  45. #45 luminous beauty
    May 1, 2011

    >Which ally do you mean? The Church? The Pope? God?

    In the context of this comment thread on this science blog, it would be some lurking lay Catholic, so upset by his/her religion being mocked that it would turn him/her against science and reason. Surely you don’t think the Pope is so sensitive and naive about being mocked by anonymous atheists, do you, Patrick? Really?

    To withhold one’s true feelings for the fear that they would alienate someone of such delicate sensitivities would seem to me a lack of faith in the robustness and resilience of human goodwill such persons profess.

    To put it in more concrete terms, though Pope Rat’s superficial obiesance to the Church’s traditional concerns for the suffering of the poor and downtrodden is admirable and affectingly touching, his career as a cardinal was invested in rooting out and stamping down Liberation Theology within the Church.

  46. #46 Alphonse
    May 1, 2011

    @Patrick
    Fear not. Pell is more sincerely and eloquently bemoaned and derided by his despairing flock than by flip outsiders like Alan.

  47. #47 Patrick
    May 2, 2011

    Good

  48. #48 Patrick
    May 2, 2011

    “Is it ok with you if we mock a cardinal who is vociferously denying climate change?”

    Yes.

    “Particularly since the Pope won’t bring him into line with the Church’s public position.”

    Yes.

  49. #49 Wow
    May 4, 2011

    > I realise that contradicting the Pope on this issue does not amount to heresy or apostasy.

    Unfortunately, it is. The Pope IS The Word Of God On Earth.

    To a roman catholic.

    If you’re not RC, but are nonetheless a christian, then you’re already a heretic as far as the Pope is concerned.

    PS to Patrick et al. I think it better to ask why, when it comes to their religion and faith being impugned and people dying, why are we supposed to seek the company of those who would rather people died to punish people who took the piss out of their faith?

    That is not any different from the mindset of many denialists who proclaim that since “the faithful” were rude, they decided that mitigation of AGW should not be done. Or those who say “just because of that, I’m going to drive my SUV around!”.

    Personally, I don’t think this happens. Denialists proclaiming “you were rude, so I decided against you” had decided against the science before.

    It is just a way of scaring people into not confronting denialism of whatever sort.

    Bully-by-proxy. “if you’re mean, OTHER PEOPLE will do the wrong thing!”.

    Yeah. Right.

  50. #50 Vince whirlwind
    May 4, 2011

    WoW – please be more specific: Patrick says Pell should be taken to task for his Denial of climate science.

    What other Denials do you think it is useful for us to tack onto this project of reforming Pell?

  51. #51 Wow
    May 5, 2011

    > Patrick says Pell should be taken to task for his Denial of climate science.

    Fact Check:

    > After all its not like it would be in anyway useful for the worlds one billion Catholics to be fighting for action on this issue now would it? No, of course not.

    > Posted by: Patrick | April 27, 2011 8:26 PM

    Now please be clear: where did I say that Patrick wanted us to lay of Pell? Given the above statement from him, you won’t find anything that could be misconstrued as implying such that isn’t more directly attributable to a refutation of the statement of April 27.

  52. #52 Vince whirlwind
    May 5, 2011

    So, just to be clear;
    you’re indifferent to the stand the world’s one billion catholics take on climate change?

  53. #53 Vince whirlwind
    May 5, 2011

    This is Patrick’s point, in a nutshell:

    “I do assert that it would be useful to acknowledge the Church’s stance, and that it is something less than helpful to indulge your distaste for the Church and its leadership in the context of this issue.”

    This seems like commonsense to me, I find it difficult to understand why anybody would need to discuss it, let alone argue about it.

  54. #54 Vince whirlwind
    May 5, 2011

    Maybe politics aren’t so obvious to some people: if you have a beautiful big wedge (climate change) to drive between Pell and the Pope, why negate the value of that wedge by pulling it out in order to insult the lot of them holus-bolus?

  55. #55 adelady
    May 5, 2011

    Vince, I think you’re right about this. Take your friends where you find them.

    For those of my age, the memory of burly BLF members lined up with uber-respectable North Shore ladies in pearls and hats to defend a bit of Sydney bushland should still be vivid. These groups may have had nothing else in common, but their passion to save something they both valued paid off.

    (And in passing, we should note that this stance supposedly “cost” jobs for building workers. But they knew that any jobs to cover this area in concrete and suburban housing were not worth it.)

  56. #56 Wow
    May 6, 2011

    > So, just to be clear;

    Nope, that wasn’t my opinion. Maybe YOURS.

    Lets be clear: you can’t see anyone else’s arguments except in straw.

    Lets be clear: Are there catholics who would rather the earth burn and humanity die in an extended death throe just because someone said the Pope was a mean-spirited SOB?

    Lets be clear: are you saying that roman catholics don’t care whether children die from starvation.

    Or is that not true and that the catholics DO care more about humanity than one person.

    Maybe you’re maligning them worse than any complainant about the Pope.

  57. #57 Wow
    May 6, 2011

    PS, Vince, I notice you couldn’t give me an answer. You had to dive off again into “Look! Flying Monkeys!!!” distraction.

  58. #58 Patrick
    May 6, 2011

    “Take your friends where you find them.”

    That is a key point.

    “Are there catholics who would rather the earth burn and humanity die in an extended death throe just because someone said the Pope was a mean-spirited SOB?”

    No. I don’t think that sort make up a significant number. However there are a any number of catholics who either don’t know the Pope’s opinion on the suubject of climate change, and/or are generally uniformed on the subject.

    The point of what I have said is that we can not afford to offend potential allies because before you can persuade your target audience they must be LISTENING to you.

  59. #59 adelady
    May 6, 2011

    May we all presume that Pell’s next homily will be based on the Vatican supported paper just released about climate and urges us to “Reduce worldwide carbon dioxide emissions without delay”, cough, pagan ritual, cough ?

    http://arstechnica.com/science/news/2011/05/anthropocene-vatican-climate-change-group-coins-name-for-our-era.ars

    Or will it be up to those outside the church to give the faithful access to Vatican sponsored reports?

  60. #60 zoot
    May 6, 2011

    However there are a any number of catholics who … don’t know the Pope’s opinion on the suubject of climate change, …

    Well the Pope had better get off his backside and inform them. He is the head of the church is he not?

  61. #61 Lotharsson
    May 6, 2011

    > However there are a any number of catholics who either don’t know the Pope’s opinion on the suubject of climate change, and/or are generally uniformed on the subject.

    So if I can restate my understanding of the thesis, it is that Deltoid(s) should studiously avoid offending Catholics because there are a bunch of Catholics who:

    a) Generally uninformed on the subject of climate change, despite

    b) being Catholic, and thus presumably somewhat interested in Papal pronouncements, him being God’s press secretary on earth and all, said pronouncements include some covering the subject of climate change, and

    c) hanging out on Deltoid, which is probably known predominantly for discussing climate change science and the media coverage thereof?

    If that’s your thesis, I’m not buying.

    If you were talking about how to cover climate science in (say) the mainstream media, then that’s a different proposition. But [your original complaint](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2011/04/steaming_toad_with_hg_nelson_-.php#comment-3727352):

    > Well done Alan, always a bit of fun to mock the Pope isn’t it? No need to avoid offending the members of the worlds largest Christian Church. …

    …was in response to a Deltoid commenter, and it contains no hint that it’s about communication with a wider audience.

  62. #62 Lotharsson
    May 6, 2011

    Doh! “who:” => “who are:”

  63. #63 John
    May 7, 2011

    >Well the Pope had better get off his backside and inform them. He is the head of the church is he not?

    Yeah, the Church Of….*AGW*!

  64. #64 Patrick
    May 7, 2011

    “If you were talking about how to cover climate science in (say) the mainstream media, then that’s a different proposition. But your original complaint:

    Well done Alan, always a bit of fun to mock the Pope isn’t it? No need to avoid offending the members of the worlds largest Christian Church. …

    …was in response to a Deltoid commenter, and it contains no hint that it’s about communication with a wider audience.”

    My hope was that my point would be understood to have a bearing on all discussion of climate change, not only at Deltoid or in the mass media. It seemed to me as if this would be a point that would be easily understood.

    My bad.

  65. #65 Lotharsson
    May 8, 2011

    > It seemed to me as if this would be a point that would be easily understood.

    It seems to me that you hoped readers would read your mind and discover that you didn’t mean what your context strongly suggested you meant. Oh well, there’s always next time.

    In the case of mainstream media communications, I agree with you. There’s no need to pick a fight with Catholicism on unrelated grounds. That said, I don’t recall too many people advocating climate change action who are doing that either, so it may be a moot point.

    However, picking a fight with Pell’s idiosyncratic view of “climate science” is not only fair game, but highly worthy.

  66. #66 SteveC
    May 13, 2011

    From the Vatican Pontifical Academy of Sciences a Report that says:

    “We call on all people and nations to recognize the serious and potentially reversible impacts of global warming caused by the anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases and other pollutants… If we want justice and peace, we must protect the habitat that sustains us.”

    “Oi George, the boss wants a word wiv yer”

  67. #67 Wow
    May 13, 2011

    > “Take your friends where you find them.”

    > That is a key point.

    However, if they are willing to see the death of millions just because their baseless faith was mocked or one single person of their faith was mocked, why the hell do we want friends like that?

    It’s like cosying up to a mass murderer because you want to borrow the car.

  68. #68 Jimmy Nightingale
    May 17, 2011

Current ye@r *