Pharyngula

Pope condemned by The Lancet

The Pope, under the spell of infallibility and religious delusion, recently declared that condoms “increase the problem” of HIV transmission in Africa. This would be news to the CDC.

Latex condoms, when used consistently and correctly, are highly effective in preventing heterosexual sexual transmission of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. Research on the effectiveness of latex condoms in preventing heterosexual transmission is both comprehensive and conclusive. The ability of latex condoms to prevent transmission has been scientifically established in laboratory studies as well as in epidemiologic studies of uninfected persons at very high risk of infection because they were involved in sexual relationships with HIV-infected partners.”

Now the Lancet speaks out.

But the London-based Lancet said the Pope had “publicly distorted scientific evidence to promote Catholic doctrine on this issue”.

It said the male latex condom was the single most efficient way to reduce the sexual transmission of HIV/Aids.

“Whether the Pope’s error was due to ignorance or a deliberate attempt to manipulate science to support Catholic ideology is unclear,” said the journal.

But it said the comment still stood and urged the Vatican to issue a retraction.
“When any influential person, be it a religious or political figure, makes a false scientific statement that could be devastating to the health of millions of people, they should retract or correct the public record,” it said.

“Anything less from Pope Benedict would be an immense disservice to the public and health advocates, including many thousands of Catholics, who work tirelessly to try and prevent the spread of HIV/Aids worldwide.”

Comments

  1. #1 MAJeff, OM
    March 27, 2009

    The CDC thing makes me giggle little. Those condoms work pretty well for us gay guys, too.

  2. #2 AnthonyK
    March 27, 2009

    “Whether the Pope’s error was due to ignorance or a deliberate attempt to manipulate science to support Catholic ideology is unclear,”

    Clearly this is an “and” rather than an “or” event.

  3. #3 Kel
    March 27, 2009

    Cue defenders of idiocy in 3..2..1..

  4. #4 william e emba
    March 27, 2009

    The Pope, under the spell of infallibility and religious delusion

    Delusion, yes. Infallibility, no.

  5. #5 diegopig
    March 27, 2009

    Catholic Church never protected life or health. It protect doctrine.

    As and italian satirist said some time ago:
    “We protect life from conception to birth. From then on we don’t give a s**t”

  6. #6 Jon Anderson
    March 27, 2009

    MAJeff,

    I assume that the reason that they make sure to say heterosexual multiple times is because that is what the effectiveness studies have focused on. Although they probably work as well for homosexual transmission, if they don’t have scientific evidence, they won’t say it.

  7. #7 Zeno
    March 27, 2009

    I hear that the pope is pretty upset at the Lancet and is demanding they send him a nice camera.

  8. #8 Nankay
    March 27, 2009

    “When any influential person, be it a religious or political figure, makes a false scientific statement that could be devastating to the health of millions of people, they should retract or correct the public record,”

    Yeah…don’t hold your breath…

  9. #9 extatyzoma
    March 27, 2009

    food for thought.

    the pope gets kidnapped in africa, hes raped by his 3 captors, the catholic doctor says ‘oh dont worry ratzy, as you said, if they had condoms on it would have been far worse for you’

    pope ratzinger needs to be put in the village stocks.

  10. #10 AL Jeremy
    March 27, 2009

    “When any influential person, be it a religious or political figure, makes a false scientific statement that could be devastating to the health of millions of people, they should retract or correct the public record,” it said.

    I’m sure the Catholic Church will get right on that and be back to us in a few centuries. That seems to be their average turn- around time.

  11. #11 Doubting Foo
    March 27, 2009

    Start the countdown, how long until Bill Donohue whines about scientists picking on the pope.

  12. #12 lo-rez
    March 27, 2009

    I can’t believe the pope actually believes that condom use exacerbates the aids/hiv problem. I think what he was referring to as the ‘increase of the problem’ is an increase in sex out of wedlock.

    And I don’t know what’s worse, a man with as much influence as the pope deliberately misleading the public about the effects of condom use on aids transmission or the pope seriously believing that sex outside of wedlock is a worse problem than the aids epidemic.

  13. #13 AJ Milne
    March 27, 2009

    I am at least seriously pleased to see (a) that people are calling the lying old sack of shit on this stuff, and (b) that they’re getting some coverage while doing so.

    Open letter to the media: you can do one better still, and just stop quoting Ratzi in the first place. As you should know by now, he’s beyond completely full of it anyway. Has never been, and will never be, a reliable source. If he tells you it’s foggy in London, you should probably get independent corroboration.

  14. #14 CS
    March 27, 2009

    An Italian Facebook group collected 60,000 condoms for the Pope.
    They will be delivered today at the Vatican.

  15. #15 KI
    March 27, 2009

    Hey, you’re supposed to knock off criticizing the RCC, didn’t you get the Kwok directive?

  16. #16 t3knomanser
    March 27, 2009

    In a facile assessment, abstinence seems more effective than condoms for preventing the spread of disease. After all, if you don’t have sexual contact, you can’t spread a sexually transmitted disease, right? Whereas condoms can fail. Ergo, abstinence must be better, right?

    Of course not. Condoms fail very rarely. Very rarely. Abstinence, on the other hand, fails pretty regularly. People are going to have sex. A very small part of the population may be able to entirely deny the act, but the rest of us? We’re going to have sex.

    The religious person would say, “But the failure of condoms is a statistical phenomenon, while abstinence is completely under and individual’s control.”

    That’s a canard. Our goal is to stop the spread of disease. If condoms successfully stop the transmission of an STD 99.9% of the time and only 66% of people actually practice abstinence (a generous number, I think), which one of these is actually effective at stopping the spread of disease?

    This isn’t a debate about the morality of sex (and I’d argue that sex is very moral, between consenting adults, and they should do it very often indeed, just to be as moral as possible). It’s about the practicality of an epidemic. Failure rates are failure rates, whether it’s a manufacturing flaw or human nature, we have to operate within the reality of the situation, not some idealized model of human behavior.

  17. #17 t3knomanser
    March 27, 2009

    In a facile assessment, abstinence seems more effective than condoms for preventing the spread of disease. After all, if you don’t have sexual contact, you can’t spread a sexually transmitted disease, right? Whereas condoms can fail. Ergo, abstinence must be better, right?

    Of course not. Condoms fail very rarely. Very rarely. Abstinence, on the other hand, fails pretty regularly. People are going to have sex. A very small part of the population may be able to entirely deny the act, but the rest of us? We’re going to have sex.

    The religious person would say, “But the failure of condoms is a statistical phenomenon, while abstinence is completely under and individual’s control.”

    That’s a canard. Our goal is to stop the spread of disease. If condoms successfully stop the transmission of an STD 99.9% of the time and only 66% of people actually practice abstinence (a generous number, I think), which one of these is actually effective at stopping the spread of disease?

    This isn’t a debate about the morality of sex (and I’d argue that sex is very moral, between consenting adults, and they should do it very often indeed, just to be as moral as possible). It’s about the practicality of an epidemic. Failure rates are failure rates, whether it’s a manufacturing flaw or human nature, we have to operate within the reality of the situation, not some idealized model of human behavior.

  18. #18 t3knomanser
    March 27, 2009

    In a facile assessment, abstinence seems more effective than condoms for preventing the spread of disease. After all, if you don’t have sexual contact, you can’t spread a sexually transmitted disease, right? Whereas condoms can fail. Ergo, abstinence must be better, right?

    Of course not. Condoms fail very rarely. Very rarely. Abstinence, on the other hand, fails pretty regularly. People are going to have sex. A very small part of the population may be able to entirely deny the act, but the rest of us? We’re going to have sex.

    The religious person would say, “But the failure of condoms is a statistical phenomenon, while abstinence is completely under and individual’s control.”

    That’s a canard. Our goal is to stop the spread of disease. If condoms successfully stop the transmission of an STD 99.9% of the time and only 66% of people actually practice abstinence (a generous number, I think), which one of these is actually effective at stopping the spread of disease?

    This isn’t a debate about the morality of sex (and I’d argue that sex is very moral, between consenting adults, and they should do it very often indeed, just to be as moral as possible). It’s about the practicality of an epidemic. Failure rates are failure rates, whether it’s a manufacturing flaw or human nature, we have to operate within the reality of the situation, not some idealized model of human behavior.

  19. #19 Teddydeedodu
    March 27, 2009

    CS @14
    “An Italian Facebook group collected 60,000 condoms for the Pope.
    They will be delivered today at the Vatican.”

    I guess, they have to be used condoms. Otherwise the Pope would never guess what they are for!

  20. #20 Nan
    March 27, 2009

    One reason CDC says “heterosexual” so many times is because the public health advisors in NCHHSTP are still finding many people believe only gays are at risk of HIV/AIDS through sexual contact.

    The Pope isn’t going to retract anything. Church doctrine says he’s infallible so even if he had any second thoughts, he’d never admit it.

  21. #21 Bostonian
    March 27, 2009

    The pope’s actual opinion, which has been somewhat overlooked in the press, is built on two underlying premises. One is that abstinence is more effective than than the use of condoms. That’s undoubtedly correct. The other is that the existence of condoms and other contraceptives encourages “immoral” behavior. That’s much more debatable.

    If he’d said that abstinence is preferable to the use of condoms and left it at that, this wouldn’t be news and we’d all be talking about Texas and cephalopods. Instead he brought in his own insecurities about sex (including an inability to accept that people enjoy doing it) which has seriously poisoned his arguments. In the end he made a statement that could cost a lot of lives, which is very unfortunate. Somebody get this guy laid, pronto.

  22. #22 Moses
    March 27, 2009

    But the Catholic leadership wants the spread of AIDs to continue. They use tragedy and suffering to further their goals of “saving souls” that don’t exist. Just like they flamed the fires of hatred in Rwanda. Or force people to convert to get medical-treatment/food-aid in India and SE Asia…

  23. #23 MarkW
    March 27, 2009

    Zeno @ #7 wins one (1) Internets.

  24. #24 Dreadnaught
    March 27, 2009

    Yes, the Pope is the problem. He is undoubtably the one who advocated the raping of virgin childern to cure AIDS. No, that great idea was started by Africans. The Pope’s point is that morality should be added to the mix, not just condoms, in battling AIDS in Africa. But, you find is easier to condem the Pope. Let us leave Africans to come up with a solution. They did have the idea of virgin rape, their next idea should be a great one.

  25. #25 aratina
    March 27, 2009

    Thank you for keeping on this, PZ. The lies about HIV/AIDS are almost just another insidious part of religion.

  26. #26 t3knomanser
    March 27, 2009

    @Bostonian #21: See my post before yours. Abstinence is not more effective at reducing the risks of STDs on any scale. It’s significantly less effective, since very few people actually succeed at doing it.

    On the scale of an individual, certainly, we can argue that abstinence is more effective than condoms. But we know that most individuals are not going to abstain for an extended period of time. So on the scale of a population, condoms are the best answer.

  27. #27 Somnolent Aphid
    March 27, 2009

    Clearly the pope’s goal, and the goal of that particular church is to create as much human suffering as possible, then wrestle them up, offer them a wafer and tell them it gets much better in the afterlife. 1) find the poorest on the planet, make them suffer by spreading aids amongst them 2) make them offer their suffering up to jesus 3) buttfuck their kids 4) make their kids offer up their suffering to jesus. 5) remind them that they are suffering. 6) find new ways to make them suffer so they can offer it up to jesus.

  28. #28 Rey Fox
    March 27, 2009

    “”Whether the Pope’s error was due to ignorance or a deliberate attempt to manipulate science to support Catholic ideology is unclear,” said the journal.”

    That’s a charitable assessment.

  29. #29 Reginald Selkirk
    March 27, 2009

    September 2007:

    HIV-infected condoms sent to kill Africans, claims archbishop
    Mozambique’s Roman Catholic archbishop has accused European condom manufacturers of deliberately infecting their products with HIV “in order to finish quickly the African people”.
    The archbishop of Maputo, Francisco Chimoio, told the BBC that he had specific information about a plot to kill off Africans. “I know that there are two countries in Europe … making condoms with the virus, on purpose,” he alleged. But he refused to name the countries.

    If the Vatican ever denied or corrected Chimoio’s statement, or disciplined him in any way, I never heard about it.

  30. #30 aratina
    March 27, 2009

    Hah! I just read part of the Kwokmail thread and now I understand what was so funny about Zeno’s comment (#7). :D Good one.

  31. #31 Richard Harris
    March 27, 2009

    Zeno @ # 7

    The Pope woke up early one morning with a huge erection. Thinking that it wasn’t very Catholic, he tried to get rid of it. Unfortunately, walking around the room, thinking about the Bible and even getting some fresh air on the balcony all failed to soften him up. With only one option left, he sat down on the balcony and did what needed to be done.

    Later, he was walking around Rome when a man with a camera approached him. “Hello, Mr Pope,” the man said. “Six o’clock this morning, on the balcony, I think you know what I’m talking about.”

    “I’m sorry, I don’t know what you mean,” the Pope replied.

    “Oh, I think you do,” the man retorted, “and 50 thousand will buy you the camera.”

    Worried and confused, the Pope paid up and took the camera.

    Back in the Vatican, one of the Pope’s aides asked about the camera. “A chap in town sold it to me for 50 thousand,” the Pope explained.

    “50 thousand?!” exclaimed the aide. “Wow, he must have seen you coming.”

  32. #32 Auraboy
    March 27, 2009

    The CDC comments are due to it’s reliance on approximately 3 recent meta-studies which are on heterosexual condom use and prevention of HIV transmission. Homosexual use and use for sex workers are generally studied in separation.

    Is it just me or did Darth Ratzinger’s face look particularly evil in his visit to Africa? Was it his deepening chasms that he claims are eyes?

  33. #33 Pete Rooke
    March 27, 2009

    This is a medical, not a journal of politics or philosophy or current events etc.

    On the one hand Science wants to claim, for itself, an impartial and empirical “view from nowhere” outlook and yet feels like it can comment on political and religious issues.

    The issue is whether or not increasing the availability of contraception in Africa is effective, more effective, than alternative methods of preventing HIV/AIDS.

    It is not in anyway clear that simply promoting, or giving away, condoms will make one iota of difference. Education is the solution. They tried giving them away in South Africa and failed hopelessly to make any impact. It was education and trying to change the way relationships are conducted that made the difference in SA – although there is a long way to go there still.

  34. #34 gingivitis
    March 27, 2009

    Religion: now a major purveyor of STDs.

  35. #35 Confused
    March 27, 2009

    Bostonian@27

    It’s not, actually. It’s based on examinations of the effect of countries like Botswana, where simply chucking condoms at people has actually made the situation worse. The reasons why are socio-cultural, specifically a tendency for long-term concurrent sexual partners.

    If the people at risk are having casual sex, distributing condoms works fine, but between long term partners people just don’t use them.

    The issue in Botswana is there has been absolutely no attempt to educate people about AIDS, and encourage lifestyle changes that will protect them – summarised by an “ABC” mnemonic – Abstain, Be faithful, use a Condom.

    Don’t get me wrong – I’m still pissed off that the Pope has hijacked this real and sticky problem in the fight against AIDS to proselytise and attack what is undeniably one of the main pillars of HIV prevention. But I’m also pretty pissed off that everyone (myself included, until I did a little background reading) has ignored the fact that once you strip off all the shitty dogma, the core of his message – that a condoms-only approach to HIV prevention can in some cases be as damaging as an abstinence-only approach – is actually true.

    The crime the Pope committed was promoting the idea that this is grounds for not promoting condom use. What is necessary is to take a balanced, education based approach to HIV prevention.

  36. #36 Mikael
    March 27, 2009

    Could this be considered a “Cardinal Error”?

  37. #37 puseaus
    March 27, 2009

    Bury the Vatican state in condoms.

  38. #38 Mikael
    March 27, 2009

    Perhaps it’s fault and not error

  39. #39 Feynmaniac
    March 27, 2009

    Rooke,

    On the one hand Science wants to claim, for itself, an impartial and empirical “view from nowhere” outlook and yet feels like it can comment on political and religious issues.

    If political or religious figures make false scientific claims scientist should just stay quiet?

    Seriously, Rooke, are you off your medication? You have reverted back to the Fundy we all loathed.

  40. #40 Mike K
    March 27, 2009

    @ puseaus, # 37:
    Check out this link and the picture:
    http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/0,1518,615820,00.html

  41. #41 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    March 27, 2009

    PR, please cite the scientific literature to support your arguments. Until you do, you have no arguement, as religion and religious dogma cannot refute science, except in the minds of the deluded.

  42. #42 catgirl
    March 27, 2009

    An Italian Facebook group collected 60,000 condoms for the Pope.
    They will be delivered today at the Vatican.

    They should send them to Africa, where they’ll actually do some good. This symbolic statement won’t make the Pope change his mind; he’ll probably just throw them away. It’s actually doing him a favor by taking some condoms out of circulation so people can’t use them. Send the condoms to the people who need them so that they don’t die.

  43. #43 Nikki
    March 27, 2009

    Forget Bin Laden – the pope is the most dangerous man alive.

    Many many thousands will die because of his ignorant advice. And to think these Catholic cretins were annoyed because you threw one of their crackers in the bin. It makes me want to weep tears of broken glass.

    Bastards.

  44. #44 Auraboy
    March 27, 2009

    Pope to Africa

    “Oi…I’m the only one who gets to wear the funny hats round here…”

    Basically.

    The Pope stated, quite simply, that condoms can make the HIV epidemic worse. He could have just stopped at ‘abstinence is best’ and saved himself from further scrutiny. When he starts contradicting actual research then we have a problem.

  45. #45 Confused
    March 27, 2009

    Rooke: This is a medical, not a journal of politics or philosophy or current events etc.

    Correct. And this is a medical issue. We are debating the efficacy of different forms of treatment for a medical condition. A prominent figure with both wide influence and an axe to grind has espoused a point of view which is misleading and damaging in the extreme. As the impartial and empirical “view from nowhere” it is our moral duty and obligation to comment on this kind of thing.

    The fact that he is religious makes absolutely no difference, except that demographically, religious people are more likely to have both wide influence and an axe to grind, so it’s worth flagging it up so people will know what the avoid.

  46. #46 Auraboy
    March 27, 2009

    The other point is El Popo has had plenty of time to ‘clarify’ his statement but has managed not to. He jumped to it with the Muslim row and then re-admitting the holocaust denial bishop, given enough pushing and he vaguely remembers that he didn’t quite mean what he said first time around.

    News just in – Pope says umbrellas are not the answer to rainy weather, staying indoors is. Well that’s fine but he also suggests that umbrellas can make the getting wet epidemic worse…

  47. #47 gdlchmst
    March 27, 2009

    Confused @#35,
    simply chucking condoms at people has actually made the situation worse.

    I’d like to see how you came to that causal conclusion.

  48. #48 NickG
    March 27, 2009

    “On the one hand Science wants to claim, for itself, an impartial and empirical ‘view from nowhere’ outlook and yet feels like it can comment on political and religious issues.”

    Actually science says that humans inherently can’t provide an impartial ‘view from nowhere’ so it uses tools to attempt to compensate for this fact.

    However, just because science looks at empirical evidence and tries to improve its level of impartiality, that doesn’t mean it can’t also speak to political and ethical issues. (And there is nothing to say that it can’t say religious beliefs are a load of flaming crap if the evidence points overwhelmingly toward that.)

    Your false dichotomy is what suggests scientists and scientific institutions should not speak out when evil happens, should not intervene with scientific knowledge when this will help ease the suffering of humans. Hell, for that matter every time I prescribe antibiotics for a kidney infection I am supposedly challenging your false dichotomy. I’m not giving antibiotics because I am a bacterial serial killer. Nor do I really care whether or not some woman’s left kidney is teeming with E. coli. What I concern myself with is the fact that without treatment she will suffer pain and eventually even possibly kidney failure and death.

    Nick

  49. #49 bademart
    March 27, 2009

    Try this link to see the South African take:

    South African Sunday Times 22 March 2009

  50. #50 Moses
    March 27, 2009

    Rooke: This is a medical, not a journal of politics or philosophy or current events etc.

    If Peter Duesberg (famous AIDS denialist) made the same claim, he’d get the same response. Ok, he wouldn’t, because Duesberg’s reputation is so far in the shitter that nobody listens to him. But if he were STILL a respected scientists instead of a crank, the letter would go out, but since he’s (basically) radioactive and poisonous at this point, we’ll have to look to history to get him into context:

    The Aids policies of the former South African president Thabo Mbeki’s government were directly responsible for the avoidable deaths of more than a third of a million people in the country, according to research by Harvard university.

    South Africa has one of the severest HIV/Aids epidemics in the world. About 5.5 million people, or 18.8% of the adult population, have HIV, according to the UN. In 2005, there were about 900 deaths a day.

    But from the late 1990s Mbeki turned his back on the scientific consensus that Aids was caused by a viral infection that could be fought ? though not cured ? by sophisticated and expensive medical drugs. He came under the influence of a group of maverick scientists known as Aids denialists, most prominent among whom was Peter Duesberg from Berkeley, California.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/nov/26/aids-south-africa

    Which is how it should be on the Pope about everything, really. That is, treated like a toxic, radioactive piece-of-crap.

  51. #51 puseaus
    March 27, 2009

    Pope Medicius Dawkinius I: A condom or two will Probably protect you from venereal diseases.

  52. Here’s a fun game: Let’s all hold our breath until Joey Ratz admits he was wrong.

  53. #53 Marcus Ranum
    March 27, 2009

    Let’s see… If enough of them listen to the pope, then they’ll die off. Along with a lot of the people they have sex with. So eventually the survivors will learn:
    - don’t listen to catholics
    - don’t have sex with catholics
    Since our sex drives are pretty strong, that’ll pretty much do for catholocism. The collateral damage is unfortunate, but believing in bullshit is a “lifestyle choice.” Think of it as evolution in action.

  54. #54 Science
    March 27, 2009

    On the one hand Science wants to claim, for itself, an impartial and empirical “view from nowhere” outlook and yet feels like it can comment on political and religious issues.

    I rarely comment on human affairs, in fact – especially not at the moment, as it’s supernova day on galaxy M348 (don’t worry, you’ll all be extinct before the light gets to you!) – but Mr Rooke’s attack persuaded me to do so. I am utterly indifferent to opinion in general and religion in particular. I’d just say that, obviously, not using condoms is perfectly sensible if one wants the “sinful” – and anyone else – to die of AIDS in great numbers. The pope’s pronouncement is therefore perfectly logical, from his point of view.

    As for Pete Rooke, he lives his life in constant fear of Hell. Well, don’t worry Rookey, there isn’t one, but you have a mental condition that will make you live your life in its shadow; sadly, it’s incurable. The only advantage is that should you be prey to Senile Degeneration in later life its onset will be masked for years.

    Back to the cosmos…

    Oh, and the view from nowhere? In fact, it’s the view from everywhere!

  55. #55 Confused
    March 27, 2009

    @41 PR, please cite the scientific literature to support your arguments. Until you do, you have no arguement, as religion and religious dogma cannot refute science, except in the minds of the deluded.

    Given we were arguing similar points (although I’m an atheist, so I’d really rather distance myself from Rooke) I’ll stand up and say that the underlying literature that’s being mangled here appears to be the work of Helen Epstein. There’s an interesting interview here and a guardian article here if you like.

    The example cited in the article are the statistics on Uganda, where a “zero grazing” approach (a livestock term, it doesn’t mean “nothing” but “0 shaped”, encouraging fidelity rather than abstinence) caused infection rates to fall, and when that approach was phased out in favour of condom distribution (which was, incidentally, strongly encouraged if not mandated by countries giving money in aid), that decline plateau’d. Interestingly, when the authorities tried to reverse the trend by instigating an abstinence-only plan (backed by the Bush administration), infection rates rose. The message is clear – Condoms only doesn’t work, Abstinence only doesn’t work. What is needed is a balanced education campaign that is well matched to the sociocultural mores of the country in question.

    At the risk of using a quotemine (please read the full article!):
    “…a lot of the evidence for what had worked in the very few places where HIV rates had fallen, for example the gay community in the United States, or in Uganda, has actually been distorted ? and continues to be ? by a lot of people whose intentions might have been perfectly good but who didn?t want to look clearly at the evidence. It is a very emotional issue for a lot of people, and there were probably other, financial motives as well.”

    I haven’t looked into Helen Epstein too deeply, but she seems to be a reasonably reliable source – Molecular Biologist turned science journalist, used to work on a HIV vaccine and witnessed the suffering caused by HIV and AIDS in Africa – if she turns out to be a crazy Catholic, please let me know, I’ll happily retract my support. :)

  56. #56 AJ Milne
    March 27, 2009

    simply chucking condoms at people has actually made the situation worse.

    I’d like to see how you came to that causal conclusion.

    Well, see, if you’re not looking, and someone chucks a condom at you, and it catches you in the eye…

  57. #57 fiisi
    March 27, 2009

    “Mozambique’s Roman Catholic archbishop has accused European condom manufacturers of deliberately infecting their products with HIV “in order to finish quickly the African people”.
    The archbishop of Maputo, Francisco Chimoio, told the BBC that he had specific information about a plot to kill off Africans. “I know that there are two countries in Europe … making condoms with the virus, on purpose,” he alleged. But he refused to name the countries.”

    Considering the tendency for the religious nutters to project their own misdeeds onto their perceived enemies, would it be worthwhile to investigate whether or not Catholic priests and missionaries in Africa are HIV-positive and spreading the virus?

  58. #58 Kaddath
    March 27, 2009

    Sorry for OT but his is the kind of poll that actually makes sense: Duchebag Tournament

  59. #59 W. Kevin Vicklund
    March 27, 2009

    The issue in Botswana is there has been absolutely no attempt to educate people about AIDS, and encourage lifestyle changes that will protect them – summarised by an “ABC” mnemonic – Abstain, Be faithful, use a Condom.

    Confused, Botswana’s official policy since the late 1980′s has been ABC (and the data suggests that the population is familiar with the message). Sure you’re not erecting a strawman?

  60. #60 Morsky
    March 27, 2009

    The idea that condoms cause “immoral” sexual promiscuity is equivalent to saying that designated drivers cause alcohol consumption.

    The idea that condoms somehow make the AIDS crisis worse is, as has been pointed out above, flatly in contradiction to the established scientific facts. I think the issue might be that the religious cannot see a “plague” of such Biblical proportions as anything other than God’s punishment for sinners – the consequence of breaking “natural laws”. Sexual transmission during an act of intercourse sans protection (i.e. for the proper purpose of making new Catholics, not for sinful and selfish pleasure) kind of breaks that interpretation. Admitting condoms prevent (in nearly all cases) the transmission of HIV would mean a challenge to long standing Thomist notions about sex, and they’d apparently rather make a global health crisis even worse than review any church doctrines.

  61. #61 Kaddath
    March 27, 2009

    .. and of course I can’t even spell Douchebag correctly…

  62. #62 Klokwurk
    March 27, 2009

    The issue in Botswana is there has been absolutely no attempt to educate people about AIDS, and encourage lifestyle changes that will protect them – summarised by an “ABC” mnemonic – Abstain, Be faithful, use a Condom.

    From http://www.avert.org/aidsbotswana.htm

    “Botswana’s first AIDS case was reported in 1985. At that time AIDS was seen as a disease that affected male homosexuals in the West and people from other African countries.

    Botswana’s response to the HIV and AIDS epidemic can be divided into three stages. The early stage (1987-89) focused mainly on the screening of blood to eliminate the risk of HIV transmission through blood transfusion. The second stage (1989-97), and the first Medium Term Plan (MTP), saw the introduction of information, education and communication programmes, but the response was still quite narrowly focused. During this stage, in 1993, the Government adopted the Botswana National Policy on AIDS.6

    During the third stage (1997 onwards), the response to HIV/AIDS was expanded in many different directions to include education, prevention and comprehensive care including the provision of antiretroviral treatment. The second Medium Term Plan (MTP II) aimed to involve many stakeholders who had previously been excluded, with the overall goal of not only reducing HIV infection and transmission rates, but also reducing the impact of HIV and AIDS at all levels of society.”

  63. #63 T_U_T
    March 27, 2009

    I think that the main underlying issue here is whether the people are there for the rules, or the rules for the people.

    If the people are there for the rules, then you would make violation of the rules as dangerous as possible, and prevent any means that reduces harm caused by violating the rule. Thus condoms, and educating people to use them is evil because they foster violation of the rules of sexual conduct

    If rules are there for the people, then you would like to make a rule to prevent something bad, but you would equally use all other means to reduce the harm as well.
    Thus condoms, and educating people to use them are good because they prevent the damage even if people don’t obey some strict sexual mores.

    Of course, most people taking the first approach would never admit it even to themselves. So, they rationalize that anything other than obeying the rule would not work, often to the point of deliberately getting it wrong to show it does not work (like showing that condoms don’t work by selectively pointing to cases where they were given to people with zero knowledge about their use and limitations ).

  64. #64 shonny
    March 27, 2009

    Hey, what the fuck else is to be expected from pope siegheil 2, the vicious head of arguably the world’s most evil institution??
    This is fully in line with the RCC practice of pedofilia and wishful thinking.

  65. #65 Confused
    March 27, 2009

    #62

    Apparently my source was inaccurate, and I’m sorry. My first post was largely based off this article. I did try and do some digging around to see if it was reliable (mostly not a catholic/abstinence only advocacy group), obviously not enough.

  66. #66 Krystalline Apostate
    March 27, 2009

    I did a little ditty about this – for once, to my extreme displeasure, KKR may have a point

  67. #67 shonny
    March 27, 2009

    Posted by: CS | March 27, 2009 9:22 AM
    An Italian Facebook group collected 60,000 condoms for the Pope.
    They will be delivered today at the Vatican.

    Hope they all were used ones!

  68. #68 Woody
    March 27, 2009

    FYEIEIO:
    As a lapsed Catholic, I must say the pretensions of the Church do not exend to granting infallibility to every Papal utterance.

    They claim him to be infallible only on matters of faith and morals, when speaking “ex cathedra.”

    Papal infallibility is the dogma in Catholic theology that, by action of the Holy Spirit, the Pope is preserved from even the possibility of error[1] when he solemnly declares or promulgates to the Church a dogmatic teaching on faith or morals as being contained in divine revelation, or at least being intimately connected to divine revelation. It is also taught that the Holy Spirit works in the body of the Church, as sensus fidei, to ensure that dogmatic teachings proclaimed to be infallible will be received by all Catholics. This dogma, however, does not state that the Pope cannot commit sin in his own personal life.

    The key here is “speaking to the Church,” not just flapping his yap atop his pretty red Pradas, as he apparently was doing in Africa recently…

    just sayin…

  69. #69 RayB
    March 27, 2009

    AIDS in Africa is a complex issue, one that cannot be intelligently discussed without knowledge of cultural practices in the region. The Pope’s emphasis on abstinence is arrogant and shows a deep ignorance of the culture.

    Many people in sub-Saharan Africa believe in a form of “ancestor worship”. One of the beliefs is that one’s “spirit” survives only as long as one has living descendants. If one dies without living descendants, not only does your spirit cease to exist, but so do the spirits of any ancestors for whom you are the only surviving descendant. Thus one has a moral duty to have many children, especially in an area with high mortality rates. Married couples may have children with other partners with no sense of shame or impropriety. In fact, such children are welcomed into both families as vital links to the ancestors.

    Thus insisting on abstinence is futile, and distributing condoms will not promote more promiscuity. BTW, these superstitious beliefs also hamper efforts to control population growth.

    To be fair to those who criticize promoting condom use, wide spread poverty in the region means reliance on condoms can be less effective than in more prosperous countries. To be successful at reducing the spread of AIDS condoms must be widely available and cheap (or free). Teaching people to use them and handing out a few freebies will fail unless there is a sustained effort to make them widely available and affordable.

    Reliance on superstitious beliefs, whether of Christian or African origin, is not the answer. Only education and improved helath care will improve the situation.

  70. #70 10channel
    March 27, 2009

    “London-based Lancet said the Pope had ‘publicly distorted scientific evidence to promote Catholic doctrine on this issue.’”

    … is this anything new?

  71. #71 Matt
    March 27, 2009

    He is such a vile human being.

    You want to see pure evil? Forget Hannibal Lecter, see the most pious and costumed one…

    wanker.

  72. #72 Zach
    March 27, 2009

    Having grown up Catholic (but thankfully no longer), the Pope is only “infallible” when speaking ex cathedra, which they very rarely do.

    That being said, yeah, this is a giant shitstorm. It’s pretty reprehensible that someone (unfortunately) in a position of authority would deliberately lie about this, or at the very least misrepresent the facts to push an agenda when so many lives are at stake. I can only hope as the Church stays so ridiculously outlandish and becomes ever more outrageous in their claims in the face of evidence that more people end up like myself and happily free of the idiocies of religion.

  73. #73 marilove
    March 27, 2009

    Pete, you are correct that education is key. But so is contraception, namely condoms. They work hand-in-hand. You can’t have one without the other.

  74. #74 Matt
    March 27, 2009

    So there’s an article on the National Catholic Register saying the scientific data supports the Pope’s egregious claims.

    http://www.ncregister.com/daily/condoms_aids_and_research/

    Condoms, AIDS and Research

    Posted by Tom Hoopes (http://WWW.NCREGISTER.COM/DAILY/AUTHOR/TOM%20%20HOOPES)

    Tuesday, March 17, 2009 4:35 PM

    To continue last post (http://www.ncregister.com/daily/push_condoms_worsen_aids/): The research backs up the Pope, too.

    Last year, the Register spoke with secular experts who said that, in many places, condom promotion actually increases AIDS.

    We explained, in Grace Candiru?s recent story (http://www.ncregister.com/site/article/17429) about Uganda:

    Edward Green is director of the AIDS Prevention Research Project at the Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies. He wrote Rethinking AIDS Prevention: Learning From Successes in Developing Countries and reported that, between 1989 and 2001, the average number of condoms per male ages 15 to 49 in African countries skyrocketed. So did the number of those infected with HIV. South Africa, Botswana and Zimbabwe had the world?s highest levels of condom availability per man. They also had the world?s highest HIV rates.

    Having not looked at the studies I have a few questions/criticisms. One, has Green proved causality to ?average condoms per male? and ?HIV infections? in the date range provided? Two, the data come from ?African countries?, are the data more granular than this seemingly sweeping study? Three, the last two sentences attest to ?condom availability? in South Africa, Botswana and Zimbabwe but not sex education and proper and consistent use of condoms.

    Norman Hearst is a family physician and epidemiologist at the University of California, San Francisco.

    UNAIDS, the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS, asked Hearst to do a scientific review to see if condom promotions had reversed HIV/AIDS epidemics. His review found the contrary was true. Countries with the most condoms per man tended to have the highest HIV rates. UNAIDS refused to publish Hearst?s findings.

    Failure to establish causality. Maybe people are buying more condoms because there?s a higher incidence of HIV/AIDS, but Hearst does explicitly not say (at least here) one way or the other.

    ?Condom promotion in Africa has been a disaster,? Hearst said.

    And the Pope?s not helping.

    Nearly every country on the continent has vigorously promoted condoms to stem the tide of the AIDS epidemic there. But the epidemic has only grown larger.

    Uganda, on the other hand, has experienced the greatest decline in HIV prevalence of any country in the world, according to the Heritage Foundation. The Ugandan public education campaign against AIDS mentioned condoms, but emphasized abstinence.

    Studies show that from 1991 to 2001 HIV infection rates in Uganda declined from about 15% to 5%.

    ?Mentioned??

    Personally, by view of abstinence is that of course you?re not going to get an STD if you don?t do the S part, just as you won?t be shot if no one if the world used guns. But people have sex all the time because it feels good, because of societal norms of male dominance, because you need to have a lot of kids in a developing country if you expect to have grandchildren, etc. People are going to play with their guns, whether you like it, ignore it, or not.

    Studies show that from 1991 to 2001 HIV infection rates in Uganda declined from about 15% to 5%.

    ?The Ugandan model has the most to teach the rest of the world,? said Green. ?This policy should guide the development of programs in Africa and the Caribbean.?

    Jeff Spieler, chief of the research division in the U.S. Agency for International Development population office, said, ?It just happens to be where the evidence is pointing.?

    Fail.

  75. #75 SteveM
    March 27, 2009

    I can accept that it is probably true that just plopping a barrelful of condoms in the center of every village in Africa will not stem the epidemic and may even make it worse by giving the appearance of condoning promiscuity. But I also can’t believe that any health organization would do that. Condom distribution must be coupled with education so the people understand what the nature of the disease is and how condoms protect you from it.

    So, yes Papa Ben is correct that “just throwing condoms at the problem” is not a solution, but the lie is that it is a straw man. No one is just throwing condoms at it. What you want is to teach people to want condoms and then be able to provide them on demand.

  76. #76 azqaz
    March 27, 2009

    Now MAJeff, are you trying to give the Pope a heart attack? Mentioning that condoms work, and homosexuality, in a single post may make his head ‘asplode. Nice work Doc,

  77. #77 shonny
    March 27, 2009

    Posted by: Dreadnaught | March 27, 2009 9:45 AM #24

    Want to know what a feeble fuckwit looks like, D?
    Have a look in the mirror!

  78. #78 T_U_T
    March 27, 2009

    So, yes Papa Ben is correct that “just throwing condoms at the problem” is not a solution, but the lie is that it is a straw man. No one is just throwing condoms at it. What you want is to teach people to want condoms and then be able to provide them on demand.

    I don’t think this would help. If the pope had to acknowledge the education part, he would just instantaneously create other strawmen like ‘sex ed encourages promiscuity’. and “prove” it by showing correlation between use sexual education and levels of promiscuity in carefully selected groups of countries and presenting it as evidence for (sex ed -> promiscuity) causal relationship, willfully ignoring the more real explanation (more promiscuity -> more AIDS -> more urgent need of sex ed -> more sex ed).

  79. #79 Vic
    March 27, 2009

    This comes at a nice time. It’s just a few weeks after the Pope demanded that Bishop Williamson apologizes for his false statements about the holocaust. Now Lancet is demanding the Pope apologizes for his false statements about condom use. He’ll look like a smuck if he doesn’t. Not that that has ever stopped him before. Personally, I don’t think he will retract his statement. He cares too much about the sinful nature of latex.

  80. #80 10channel
    March 27, 2009

    “Only education and improved helath care will improve the situation.”
    Christianity has some following in Africa, but I do think that this is a little due to poor well-being. Hopefully, as they become better off, that they will shake off their religiosity. Can we count on that?

  81. #81 Paul Lundgren
    March 27, 2009

    “An Italian Facebook group collected 60,000 condoms for the Pope.”

    That. Is. Beautiful.

    And I’m sure a blatant closet-case like Ratzinger knows how to use them.

  82. #82 10channel
    March 27, 2009

    “This comes at a nice time. It’s just a few weeks after the Pope demanded that Bishop Williamson apologizes for his false statements about the holocaust. Now Lancet is demanding the Pope apologizes for his false statements about condom use. He’ll look like a smuck if he doesn’t. Not that that has ever stopped him before. Personally, I don’t think he will retract his statement. He cares too much about the sinful nature of latex.”

    I don’t think that the pope cares much about his standing amongst “western” countries, although he does enjoy high popularity amongst people in the U.S. for some odd reason (that is, despite his excommunication of everyone involved with some raped girl’s abortion in Brazil). A sad thing is that probably there are many people, at least in the U.S., who would agree with him – that abstinence-only is the way.

  83. #83 Klokwurk
    March 27, 2009

    Krystalline Apostate:

    I did a little ditty about this – for once, to my extreme displeasure, KKR may have a point

    Hmm… that research scientist works for a project funded by the Templeton Foundation and has this as it’s mission:

    “The AIDS Prevention Research Project at the Harvard University Center for Population and Development Studies was established to support evidence-based research on the impact of behavioral approaches in reducing the transmission of HIV worldwide.”

    Sorry, but he doesn’t seem like a good source.

  84. #84 Susan
    March 27, 2009

    I really enjoyed your headline, PZ!

  85. #85 W. Kevin Vicklund
    March 27, 2009

    I think that we can (almost) all agree that an ABC campaign that is culturally sensitive is the best method. However, the Pope’s claim is that a culturally insensitive AB campaign is better than any campaign that includes C, and the data clearly demonstrates this to be wrong. Even worse for the pope, the data so far presented is that a C only campaign is in fact better than an AB only campaign.

    Again, a culturally sensitive ABC campaign should be the gold standard, and it is unfortunate that a great portion of the foreign aid has missed the “culturally sensitive” part.

  86. #86 Ian Too
    March 27, 2009

    Has anyone seen Ratzinger and GW Bush in the same room?

    Just checking.

  87. #87 10channel
    March 27, 2009

    “Again, a culturally sensitive ABC campaign should be the gold standard, and it is unfortunate that a great portion of the foreign aid has missed the ‘culturally sensitive’ part.”

    Does the Catholic Church carry out its own abstinence-only campaigns?

  88. #88 60613
    March 27, 2009

    I do not believe for a single nanosecond that this madman of a pope spoke out of ignorance: It was a deliberate attempt to manipulate science to support Catholic ideology.

    As for a papal retraction – I think the second coming will happen sooner.

    Finally, this particular pope is himself an immense disservice to humanity.

  89. #89 10channel
    March 27, 2009

    “I do not believe for a single nanosecond that this madman of a pope spoke out of ignorance: It was a deliberate attempt to manipulate science to support Catholic ideology.”

    The time when the Catholic church condemned the Copernican idea that the Earth revolved around the Sun was the time when everybody already subscribed to the Copernican idea, and when the Ptolemetic idea was decisively killed dead.

  90. #90 Vic
    March 27, 2009

    I do think when the Pope said that condoms only worsen “the problem” he wasn’t referring to the spread of AIDs, per se, but rather to sex outside of marriage. When it comes down to it, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Pope subscribed to the “AIDs is a punishment from God” crowd. He’s always pretty vague when he speaks, most likely to cover up how primitive his thinking actually is.

  91. #91 Stewart Paterson
    March 27, 2009

    Fundies at Rapture ready are trying to vote bomb a MSNBC poll to rate Obama’s performance. They’re all voting F and encouraging each other to clear their cookies so they can vote multiple times.
    http://www.rr-bb.com/showthread.php?t=86530
    I don’t give a rat’s arse about Obama but it’s always great to see rapture ready folk confounded.
    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/29493093/

  92. #92 Clemens
    March 27, 2009

    Roflmao. That study should have looked if the guys actually using condoms were the ones to get AIDS. I doubt that.

    Relating the education issue, I once heard this sad story: Health workers were giving a talk to an african village about the use of condoms. To demonstrate how to put them on, they used a broomstick.

    After a couple of weeks they came back to ask if the condoms worked, but the villagers said that the women got pregnant anyway. It turned out, however, that they didn’t use the condoms properly: They just pulled them over a broomstick while having sex.

    This is exactly where superstition gets you.

  93. #93 Glen Davidson
    March 27, 2009

    To be fair, there are weasel words around “increase the problem,” as in “which can even increase the problem.” It doesn’t get him off of the hook at all, but it would be better to acknowledge the weasel words than to leave them off, so no one can accuse for misquoting.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/6mb592

  94. #94 anon
    March 27, 2009

    If the Church kept its nose out of science and stuck to serious matters of public morals, the world would be a lot better off.

  95. #95 SteveM
    March 27, 2009

    This is exactly where superstition gets you.

    No, this is where prudish squeemishness gets you. They should have shown them where to put the condoms, not just how to unroll them.

  96. #96 Nathan Schroeder
    March 27, 2009

    The Catholics are closing facilities all over the US. Maybe they will just go out of business before the end of the century. They could have a great going-out sale.

    Nate

  97. #97 Alyson Miers
    March 27, 2009

    I do think when the Pope said that condoms only worsen “the problem” he wasn’t referring to the spread of AIDs, per se, but rather to sex outside of marriage.

    Is Pope Ratzi aware of all the married women contracting HIV from their husbands, who aren’t faithful and refuse to use condoms? I’ll bet he is. Does he have any concern for those women? Or the children they leave orphaned? I’ll bet he doesn’t.

    Either way, it takes religion to say that people having sex outside of marriage is a worse problem than multitudes of people dying young from a preventable disease.

  98. #98 Nanahuatzin
    March 27, 2009

    Just for the record…

    The papal infalibility dogma, is only applied to special declarations, when he speaks ex cathedra: “that is, when in the discharge of his office as shepherd and teacher of all Christians, and by virtue of his supreme apostolic authority… etc etc etc.. in a special ceremony…

    the last time it was used, has been for the Marian Dogma of Assumption in 1950 …

    soo..

    since no pope has spoken ex cathedra in the case of condoms..

    It is perfectly ok to catholics to say he is nuts …

  99. #99 Matt Heath
    March 27, 2009

    Dreadnaught @24:

    The Pope’s point is that morality should be added to the mix, not just condoms, in battling AIDS in Africa.

    That’s not true. I mean really not true. He said condoms make the problem worse. Even the council of RC bishops here in Portugal (as Catholic a country as you’ll find) came out and said that the pope should have said something like you said he said. That’s because he didn’t say that; he made a false claim about the science of public health. He one step away from Archbishop of Maputo’s bollocks about rubbers (and antivirals) being deliberately infected to kill Africans (for which AFAIK he was never punished by the Vatican).

    Other Catholic commentators have pointed out he’s have better just talking about something else (we all already know the RCC stance on condoms, and it’s been a while since we’ve heard from the Vatican on social justice). I’m yet to hear anyone of any note defend him (the one thing which in a very small way makes the church come out of this less badly).

    If he’d said “Whether or not condoms help, they are wrong” I could have some respect for intellectually, though not morally. As it stands he is a total scumbag (if you’ll excuse the pun).

  100. #100 SteveM
    March 27, 2009

    I don’t think Benny is afraid of all the extra sex that’ll go on if condoms are freely available. He’s afraid they will discover they are also useful for birth control. Fewer babies being baptized into the Church is the real crisis he’s worried about.

  101. #101 Guy Incognito
    March 27, 2009

    It turned out, however, that they didn’t use the condoms properly: They just pulled them over a broomstick while having sex.

    Your anecdote is in actuality a popular urban legend. A similar legend tells of women who sue pharmacies because they get pregnant after eating contraceptive jelly on toast. They probably have no basis in reality and only serve to reinforce stereotypes about crazy darkies and dumb broads. Even on the off chance what you said was true, the enlightened WASP who taught those villagers how to use condoms would be just as much to blame as those silly Africans with their nutty superstitions.

  102. #102 Paul
    March 27, 2009

    Just for the record…

    The papal infalibility dogma, is only applied to special declarations, when he speaks ex cathedra: “that is, when in the discharge of his office as shepherd and teacher of all Christians, and by virtue of his supreme apostolic authority… etc etc etc.. in a special ceremony…

    the last time it was used, has been for the Marian Dogma of Assumption in 1950 …

    soo..

    since no pope has spoken ex cathedra in the case of condoms..

    It is perfectly ok to catholics to say he is nuts …

    Just for the record…

    If the Pope put on his funny hat, sat in his funny chair, and stated by his supreme authority that condoms put people at higher risk of AIDS than no condoms, it would not be “perfectly ok to catholics to say he is nuts”?

    …do you see how the concept of Papal infallibility makes no rational sense, even when you qualify it by saying it requires certain pomp and ceremony? If he’s trusted to be infallible at one point, why not always? If he’s not always infallibile, why does wearing a special hat, sitting in a special chair, and claiming special authority make it any different?

  103. #103 Clemens
    March 27, 2009

    @Paul #102

    This just shows how shrewd the pope is: Speak ex cathedra on matters that really don’t upset anyone who buys into religion in the first place so you can somehow demonstrate power and claim infallability, but be careful not to give those deluded masses something to argue against. I am pretty confident that a lot of catholics in the western world do use contraceptives and would turn away if the pope made it a “real” dogma.

  104. #104 Nanahuatzin
    March 27, 2009

    Paul @102

    If the Pope put on his funny hat, sat in his funny chair, and stated by his supreme authority that condoms put people at higher risk of AIDS than no condoms, it would not be “perfectly ok to catholics to say he is nuts”?

    No it would not be ok… at least for catholics.

    (and this would not prevent that some catholics claim he is nuts)

    It is religion…and unfortunatelly, it does not need to make sense or be rational to people.

    But it is good that catholics should remember that the catholic church has only dare to use the Papal infalibility dogma in only a few cases.

    I live in a mainly catholic country, so it is a good argument to use. In an mainly protestant country, you can only point to the sillines of catholics dogmas…

  105. #105 Sili
    March 27, 2009

    Well, it goes a ways to make up for the Wakefield disaster.

    I hope they keep it up.

    Please don’t let anyone make them ‘apologise’.

  106. #106 Nanahuatzin
    March 27, 2009

    Clemens @103

    Exactly.. in Mexico a mainly catholic country, 60% of the populations aproves and uses anticonceptives and many support abortion.

    they can accept he Marian Dogma of Assumption that has not real impact on their lives… but…. I do not think they could tolerate something more intrusive.

  107. #107 Dreadnaught
    March 27, 2009

    RayB ? You mention that the culture encourages having children outside marriage. Thus, these people are trying to get pregnant and accordingly would not want to use condoms. Remember, that is their culture. The answer: Africans will continue to get AIDS until they stop with their cultural beliefs.

    If anyone disagrees with this, than what was your position on female genital mutilation? Remember that was just their culture.

  108. #108 Paul
    March 27, 2009

    That was my point. Infallibility is an empty doctrine used when it really doesn’t matter, because otherwise it would reveal what a sham the Pope is. Ridiculous.

    I am pretty confident that a lot of catholics in the western world do use contraceptives and would turn away if the pope made it a “real” dogma.

    Disagree. They would simply not realize it was “real” dogma, or pretend they do not use contraceptives while in the presence of fellow church members. When abortion was banned (driven by the RCC) in Nicaragua even to save the mother, was there a mass exodus of Catholics?

    For many people, church is just a comforting habit, much like smoking a cigarette. This seems to be doubly true for cultural catholics. It would take much more than severely out of date clergy to drive people out of church. Education and well-functioning social structures seem paramount.

  109. #109 Michael
    March 27, 2009

    If the Pope put on his funny hat, sat in his funny chair, and stated by his supreme authority that condoms put people at higher risk of AIDS than no condoms, it would not be “perfectly ok to catholics to say he is nuts”?

    No it would not be ok… at least for catholics.

    @104

    Actually, it would be ok to say he’s nuts. And probably heretical, since the Pope doesn’t just need to put on his funny hat and sit in his funny chair but he has to be discussing doctrine regarding faith or morals. And I’m pretty sure something as mundane as condom use doesn’t make the cut.

  110. #110 Krystalline Apostate
    March 27, 2009

    @ 83:

    Sorry, but he doesn’t seem like a good source.

    Sorry, but if you read my whole post, you’d see that I did research elsewhere.
    Factoring in the equation is that most folks (especially those left uneducated) tend to view cures/preventative measures as license to indulge in risky behavior.
    That’s just the human condition, regardless of WHO the source is.

  111. #111 David Marjanovi?, OM
    March 27, 2009

    I am pretty confident that a lot of catholics in the western world do use contraceptives and would turn away if the pope made it a “real” dogma.

    You bet.

    BTW?

    If you were grading Barack Obama on his performance as president, what would he get? * 989245 responses

    He gets an A
    52%
    He gets a B
    9.2%
    He gets a C
    3.5%
    He gets a D
    7.9%
    He gets an F
    28%

  112. #112 AnthonyK
    March 27, 2009

    Ratzinger really is turning into a POPE FAIL, isn’t he?

  113. #113 Peter
    March 27, 2009

    azqaz: “Mentioning that condoms work, and homosexuality, in a single post may make his head ‘asplode.”

    I’d pay good money to see that. Under the Bernini baldachino (the thing in the middle of St Peter’s that looks like it’s been designed on acid), the Papal head explodes and his mitre soars into the dome of the Basiilica like some kid’s toy.

  114. #114 prettyinpink
    March 27, 2009

    Ha! Reminds me of that Daily Show..

    “And other news from the Pope…smoking cures cancer! And if you need a pick-me-up in the mornings, try heroin!”

  115. #115 David Marjanovi?, OM
    March 27, 2009

    Disagree. They would simply not realize it was “real” dogma

    Impossible. When a pronouncement is declared infallible, an enormous amount of fanfare is made around it.

    No wonder it has only been invoked twice in total (immaculate conception of Mary, Mary’s ascent to heaven which “logically” follows from her immaculate conception ? and the doctrine of the immaculate conception was declared infallible 16 years after it was proclaimed).

    Just read the Wikipedia article?

    You mention that the culture encourages having children outside marriage.

    Right on! As we all know, after all, there is a single culture all across southern Africa.

    Yeah, right.

  116. #116 CalGeorge
    March 27, 2009

    A “tragedy that cannot be overcome by money alone, that cannot be overcome through the distribution of condoms, which even aggravates the problems.”

    The Pope is obviously too stupid to realize that he is aggravating the problem with his irrational condom hatred.

    His words inevitably will lead to needless death. He should be ashamed of himself.

  117. #117 Nanahuatzin
    March 27, 2009

    Michael @109

    Right.. probably it would be heretical… but fortunatelly people does not longer care about that…

    Currently all the legislator form Mexico city are considered “excomunicated” and heretic… because they aproved the abortion laws (of mexico city)… but nobody cared…

    That is not to say that the pope unfortunatelly has still weight…

  118. #118 Qwerty
    March 27, 2009

    I guess you cannot propagate the faith if the propagator is wearing a condom. Leave it to the Pope to poop on Africa.

  119. #119 Paul Johnson
    March 27, 2009

    Fine but what he said is not infallible. It is important to understand that christians are not meant to take it as infallible even by catholic standards

  120. #120 Mark
    March 27, 2009

    There is no possible way the Pope mis-stated his point. There is no possible way it was mis-translated either. The Vatican is extremely clear about their Bulls, edicts and any utterance from the Pope’s mouth. The Pope meant what he said. All the Catholic apologists on this blog are just that: apologists. How dare anyone tell us ‘what the Pope meant to say’. Apologists don’t have that luxury or that right. The Vatican has that right. ONLY the Vatican tells us what the Pope ‘meant to say’.

    The Pope means that he is absolutely clear that doctrine trumps science on this issue. Absolutely clear. The Vatican has issued no retraction, no clarity, no change to what the Pope meant. Condoms, with respect to doctrine, are anathema to the Catholic Church. Period.

    Abstinence fails far more than a condom. And for the record, just because the Pope is celibate, it is entirely unrealistic to even consider that the rest of the planet is going to be celibate, too. That’s just another fantasy in the pantheon of fantasies called the Catholic Church.

  121. #121 Paul
    March 27, 2009

    Impossible. When a pronouncement is declared infallible, an enormous amount of fanfare is made around it.

    I was referring to rank and file members, not the clergy (many of whom are different shades of atheist anyway). They’re not known for much more than being able to recite their confession of faith and some “Hail Mary”s. Maybe they’d go out to drink and celebrate that the Pope did something official sounding, but they wouldn’t think of how to apply it to everyday life.

    No wonder it has only been invoked twice in total (immaculate conception of Mary, Mary’s ascent to heaven which “logically” follows from her immaculate conception ? and the doctrine of the immaculate conception was declared infallible 16 years after it was proclaimed).

    Just read the Wikipedia article?

    I have. I was talking about how these thing affect everyday churchgoers (read: none at all), not how the event is framed in the Catholic hierarchy.

  122. #122 grasshopper
    March 27, 2009

    So, a proctologist probing prostates whilst wearing only a latex glove is almost guaranteed to catch HIV.

    Who knew.

  123. #123 Michael
    March 27, 2009

    How dare anyone tell us ‘what the Pope meant to say’. Apologists don’t have that luxury or that right. The Vatican has that right. ONLY the Vatican tells us what the Pope ‘meant to say’.

    And clearly the Pope meant to say “you can’t resolve [the AIDS epidemic] with the distribution of condoms. But the Lancet makes a logical leap that the Pope does not. The Pope is effectively saying that curing AIDS (i.e. resolving the AIDS epidemic) cannot happen by the distribution of condoms. He did not say, as the Lancet counters, that male latex condom use is not an effective method for preventing transmission of HIV during sexual intercourse. The pope’s position is that distribution of condoms leads to a condoning of extramarital sex which exacerbates the transmission of HIV, not that given you put on a condom when you f*ck you aren’t going to get HIV.

    Data the Lancet should have provided would be a study showing that increased access (i.e. distribution) to condoms is correlated with a decrease in rates of HIV infection. That may be the case; I don’t know. But if a premiere medical journal is going to refute the supposed scientific claims of a religious figure, you’d think they’d be smart enough to provide the right counter-data.

    That said, does anybody know of a study demonstrating a correlation with condom availability in Africa and changes in infection rates?

  124. #124 norzoc
    March 27, 2009

    diegopig (#5) said:
    “We protect life from conception to birth. From then on we don’t give a s**t”

    you are not fair they also protect life of coma patients

  125. #125 PeterKarim
    March 27, 2009

    The pope will probably apologize… in 800 years… if the crusades are any reference.

  126. #126 Steve_C
    March 27, 2009

    Obot. You’re an idiot.

  127. #127 norzoc
    March 27, 2009

    @ RayB #69: “these superstitious beliefs also hamper efforts to control population growth”

    The pope always hampers population groth efforts explicitly.

    Be fruitful and multiply

  128. #128 'Tis Himself
    March 27, 2009

    Obot 356660798-002 #125

    The Lancet is another shill for the condom manufactuing lobby.

    I read this and thought the post was going to be a snarky attack on Pope Benny Ratzi. Further reading showed the guy actually means it.

    I then went to the website linked in Obot’s name. It’s a far right place called “Prison Planet” with articles like “Senate Rubber Stamps National Enslavement Bill.”

  129. #129 T_U_T
    March 27, 2009

    I hope, obot that you don’t have eletric fuses in your house, because if one does not cause any short circuits nor uses any faulty devices, then fuses are completely redundant.

  130. #130 T_U_T
    March 27, 2009

    Whiskey Tango Foxtrot ?

  131. #131 raven
    March 27, 2009

    obot the crack brained troll:

    Lancet is proving itself to be a traitor to truth, and an enemy of potential AIDS Victims.

    Obot is proving itself to be incredibly stupid. Sentencing tens or hundreds of millions of people to abstinence and celibacy may make you feel all powerful and intelligent.

    Fortunately, you have as much influence and credibility as anyone pushing a shopping cart around the park while clutching a bottle shaped brown paper bag and ranting and raving.

    People are people and will have sex regardless of what anyone tells them. Even the popes have been known to. Innocent VIII died of old age and left behind a mistress and a bunch of kids. At one time, the office of pope was hereditary.

    Catholics in the first world are used to not paying attention to the popes and priests. The family size of US RCC’s is identical to the national average. You think they aren’t having sex? Or are they using contraceptives?

    FWIW, I know a few catholics. They are now attending a protestant church. One data point but not a surprising one.

  132. #132 Seth Kalichman
    March 27, 2009

    Moses (Comment #50)
    You are unfortunately only part right. True, UC Berkeley Professor Peter Duesberg has no credibility in science and medicine. But he has a large following of people who turn away from science. The anti-science pro-creationism era of 2000-2008 fostered an atmosphere in which all kinds of denial, denialism, truth-seeking, and quackery flourished. Peter Duesberg remains active in AIDS denialism and perhaps even worse, if that is possible, he has turned his pseudoscience to cancer which is feeding a cancer denial.

    For more on Peter Duesberg and AIDS Denialism there is a new book called Denying AIDS: Conspiracy Theories, Pseudoscience, and Human Tragedy published by Copernicus/Springer books. The royalties are being donated to buy HIV meds in Africa. For more info visit http://denyingaids.blogspot.com

  133. #133 Twin-Skies
    March 27, 2009

    @Obot

    Oh I’m sorry, were you saying something? I’m afraid I don’t understand MORON.

  134. #134 Obot 356660798-002
    March 27, 2009

    TRUTH useless here. Going elsewhere place….

    http://bible.cc/proverbs/27-22.htm

  135. #135 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    March 27, 2009

    Yawn, bible verses are worthless here.

  136. #136 amhovgaard
    March 27, 2009

    #122:
    I’d be more worried about being arrested and losing your license to practice medicine…

  137. #137 Jolene Cassa
    March 27, 2009

    Is this pronouncement by the same Lancet beset by scientific fraud and political bias?

    1) The Lancet which, in 1998, published a bogus article by a scientist paid by class-action litigants, suggesting a link between the MMR vaccine and autism?

    2) The Lancet, which, In 2006, published a study with fabricated data by the Norwegian cancer researcher Jon Sudbø and 13 co-authors ?

    3) the same Lancet which, before the US mid-term elections, published a “bombshell” report funded by anti-Bush partisans and activists posing as objective researchers? A study estimating that casualties in Iraq had exceeded 650,000 since the U.S.-led invasion, which, it turned out, was wildly exaggerated and politically motivated? (actual casualties: 151,000)

    you mean THAT Lancet? Sorry, that formerly great medical journal has been swirling down the toilet of bias and mediocrity for at least a decade. The Pope has infinitely more credibility on this issue than these Che-lovin’ losers.

    Edward C. Green, director of the AIDS Prevention Research Project at the Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies, in response to papal press comments en route to Africa this week said:

    “?We have found no consistent associations between condom use and lower HIV-infection rates, which, 25 years into the pandemic, we should be seeing if this intervention was working.?

    ?The pope is correct…? said Green ?…or put it a better way, the best evidence we have supports the Pope?s comments. He stresses that ?condoms have been proven to not be effective at the ?level of population. ?There is,? Green adds, ?a consistent association shown by our best studies, including the U.S.-funded ?Demographic Health Surveys,? between greater availability and use of condoms and HIGHER (not lower) HIV-infection rates. This may be due in part to a phenomenon known as risk compensation, meaning that when one uses a risk-reduction ?technology? such as condoms, one often loses the benefit (reduction in risk) by ?compensating? or taking greater chances than one would take without the risk-reduction technology. Green added: ?I also noticed that the pope said ?monogamy? was the best single answer to African AIDS, rather than ?abstinence.? The best and latest empirical evidence indeed shows that reduction in multiple and concurrent sexual partners is the most important single behavior change associated with reduction in HIV-infection rates.”

  138. #138 MadScientist
    March 27, 2009

    What really infuriates me is the load of crap the Vatican press office pushed out the door to defend Pope Hitler’s ignorant remarks. When the stupid bastard grows half a brain I’ll stop calling him Pope Hitler – but I’m betting that I call him Pope Hitler ’til the day he becomes worm food.

  139. #139 Twin-Skies
    March 27, 2009

    @Jolene Cassa

    I was about to rebuke you on the matter of The Lancet, but it seems you have a point with their recent slips of judgement. That, and that their “It said the male latex condom was the single most efficient way to reduce the sexual transmission of HIV/Aids,” phrase hinted too much of agneda-pushing for my taste.

    On the matter of Green however, given he’s published heavily in Christian and Catholic papers, I’m still very suspicious of his intents.

  140. #140 Twin-Skies
    March 27, 2009

    Dumbs question:

    Is it safe to say at this point that use of contraceptives and lifestyle changes (abstinence, etc.) are not mutually exclusive concepts in AIDS prevention in Africa, and that a proper program will use both?

    Just clarifying before pursuing this matter any further.

  141. #141 Twin-Skies
    March 27, 2009

    Apologize for the slurred spelling and grammar. Five hours of sleep does not agree very well with my cognitive abilities.

  142. #142 raven
    March 27, 2009

    I then went to the website linked in Obot’s name. It’s a far right place called “Prison Planet” with articles like “Senate Rubber Stamps National Enslavement Bill.”

    Oh, Prison Planet. This is a site popular with paranoid schizophrenics and lunatic fringers. Jones proves that all conspiracies are interlinked and the UN and the Illuminati will take over the world and kill 80% of the world’s population.

    Sounds like a credible site.

    If you have a niggling suspicion that global warming is a scam, that 9/11 was an inside job, that the UN and World Bank are out to take over the world, that a shadowy group called the Illuminati control the world, that rich bankers want to microchip us all, that in the New World Order we’re all about to be killed or put in concentration camps then Prison Planet is the site for you. Hours of conspiracy-laden rants that stretch back to 2001, plus audio and video. Lots of accusations, lots of unconnected and unverified facts and occasionally some nuggets of truth that may surprise.

  143. #143 j.t.delaney
    March 27, 2009

    So, is the Pope really that into raw-dawgin’ it? That’s kinda freaky.

  144. #144 Fl bluefish
    March 27, 2009

    Someone observed the other night that if the Pope went to Africa and spent all day every day just walking around shooting men, women and children in the head …He would only be able to kill 10,000 or so a year….
    From the Pulpit he can kill millions..

    An exaggeration?

  145. #145 JamesR
    March 27, 2009

    I wonder how many Africans will die because of Asshole Pope’s misguided comment?

    Could he be held liable?

    What an asshole.

    Proof, Religion Poisons Everything.

  146. #146 DCN
    March 27, 2009

    “ALL the available research concurs that; “provided that they are used consistently and correctly” the BEST RESULTS reported for condom use is a 10% HIV transmission rate.”

    You’re wrong ? or a lying piece of shit.

    http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/abstract/331/6/341

    A total of 304 HIV-negative subjects (196 women and 108 men) were followed for an average of 20 months… Of the 256 couples who continued to have sexual relations for more than three months after enrollment in the study, only 124 (48.4 percent) used condoms consistently for vaginal and anal intercourse. Among these couples, none of the seronegative partners became infected with HIV, despite a total of about 15,000 episodes of intercourse.

    Isabelle De Vincenzi, “A longitudinal study of human immunodeficiency virus transmission by heterosexual partners”. The New England Journal of Medicine, Vol.331, No.6, August 11, 1994.

  147. #147 Jolene Cassa
    March 28, 2009

    Nice try DCN… Why don’t you include the whole abstract? Maybe because it supports the Pope’s presentation of Truth?

    256 couples TOTAL.
    48% Used condoms correctly and consistently: negative seroconversion.
    47% Used them incorrectly: their rate of seroconversion was 4.8 per 100 person-years.
    The risk of transmission increased with advanced stages of HIV infection in the index partners and with genital infection in the HIV-negative partners

    Conclusion: About half of HIV victims will use condoms incorrectly and/or inconsistently-ergo, Catholic teaching is correct. Condoms, in non-theoretical, real world use don’t work and in fact accelerate the epidemic. Chastity within and without marriage renders the virus powerless. My husband and I are married, chaste and happy. We are healthy and we have healthy children. Not only is chastity possible, but it is worthy, desirable and an inestimable gift from our Lord.

  148. #148 SuzieGirl
    March 28, 2009

    Well it’s about time that the Vatican be called out on it’s willful ignorance and/or vindictive manipulation of reality.

    *sigh* I would happily wait for the slippery little fucker to die, but last time that happened, they just elected a new one.

  149. #149 Twin-Skies
    March 28, 2009

    Condoms, in non-theoretical, real world use don’t work and in fact accelerate the epidemic.

    Where in the study does it states this conclusion?

  150. #150 Fl blu, Custer had it coming
    March 28, 2009

    Posted by: Jolene Cassa | March 28, 2009 12:32 AM
    Nice try DCN… Why don’t you include the whole abstract? Maybe because it supports the Pope’s presentation of Truth?

    The Pope wants your prepubescent son to play with…God willing.

  151. #151 raven
    March 28, 2009

    Jolene the delusional:

    Conclusion: About half of HIV victims will use condoms incorrectly and/or inconsistently-ergo, Catholic teaching is correct. Condoms, in non-theoretical, real world use don’t work and in fact accelerate the epidemic. Chastity within and without marriage renders the virus powerless. My husband and I are married, chaste and happy. We are healthy and we have healthy children. Not only is chastity possible, but it is worthy, desirable and an inestimable gift from our Lord.

    Not really. Not getting the virus renders it powerless. There are 300 million people in the USA. Only 800,000 are HIV positive, about 0.3%. The vast majority of our population knows about HIV and knows how to avoid it.

    Not only is chastity possible, but it is worthy, desirable and an inestimable gift from our Lord. This is an opinion, not a fact. It isn’t even a xian much less a catholic doctrine. Your life, your business. Most people have a sex drive and enjoy sex. What in the hell gives you the right to tell anyone else how to live their life and what to do with their genitals. Nothing of course.

    Condoms used correctly cut the HIV transmission rate down very low. Sure, some people don’t use them consistently and suffer. How well does telling people to be abstinent and monogamous work. Hint: It doesn’t work very well either. Some will take that advice, many won’t. To be more exact, right now 35 million people worldwide are HIV+, about 2 million will die of AIDS this year and 2 more million will be infected.

    There is a lot of experience now with fighting AIDS. Several countries have beat it back, the USA, the Western Europeans, Uganda, Thailand. There is no magic bullet. Current thinking is HIV testing, sex education, clean blood supply, pointing out the virtues of abstinence and monogamy in areas where 30% of the breeding age population are HIV+, sterilizing and not sharing needles, perinatal drug treatment of pregnant females, and early treatment with HAART which renders patients way less infectious.

    This worked well in the USA where HIV is now mostly a disease of poor and uneducated people like many others. Condoms aren’t the only solution but they are a proven and important part of a comprehensive solution.

    So Jolene, what is your solution to driving down the HIV death rate? Near as I can tell, it is sitting on the bleachers, eating popcorn, and yelling at people not to have sex. While this may make one strange lady feel good, it isn’t going to stop anyone from dying.

    I would call doing nothing when humans can do something and in fact, do a lot, evil.

    Fortunately most catholics are very good at ignoring the pope and the priests when they plan their lives.

  152. #152 Fl blu, Custer had it coming
    March 28, 2009

    Fortunately most catholics are very good at ignoring the pope and the priests when they plan their lives.

    It’s fun to ignore the Pope when he’s killing darkies….Thank the powers that be he’s not killing 14 year old white males….

  153. #153 raven
    March 28, 2009

    Jolene the math dropout:

    256 couples TOTAL.
    48% Used condoms correctly and consistently: negative seroconversion.
    47% Used them incorrectly: their rate of seroconversion was 4.8 per 100 person-years.
    The risk of transmission increased with advanced stages of HIV infection in the index partners and with genital infection in the HIV-negative partners

    Conclusion: About half of HIV victims will use condoms incorrectly and/or inconsistently-ergo, Catholic teaching is correct.

    Not very good at simple math are you? In the real world, condoms work half the time according to the study. Therefore within that 256 couple sample, with no condom usage the HIV+ seroconversion rate would have doubled.

    Cutting the infection rate in half is far better that doing nothing. The pope is just wrong and anyone who can do simple math and read knows it.

  154. #154 Fl blu, Custer had it coming
    March 28, 2009

    Is Mark Foley Catholic ??

  155. #155 Twin-Skies
    March 28, 2009

    Fortunately most catholics are very good at ignoring the pope and the priests when they plan their lives.

    Thank you for not demonizing the community as a whole. I may no longer be part of the RCC, but lot of my friends and relatives still are, and they’ve proven to be loyal, level-headed folks who were just as shocked at the Pope’s recent episodes of stupidity.

    Then again, they’re not attending church as much lately, so I surmise they’re Catholic only in name, for community’s sake.

  156. #156 Fl blu, Custer had it coming
    March 28, 2009

    However, you may purchase male or female slaves from among the foreigners who live among you. You may also purchase the children of such resident foreigners, including those who have been born in your land. You may treat them as your property, passing them on to your ……

    (Leviticus 25:44

    Child slavery as righteous ?

  157. #157 Twin-Skies
    March 28, 2009

    @SimoN

    You lie. Money is my god.

  158. #158 fl blu, Custer had it coming
    March 28, 2009

    Hmm..Honey is my Dog

  159. #159 clinteas
    March 28, 2009

    There seems to be a problem with basic reading comprehension here:

    only 124 (48.4 percent) used condoms consistently for vaginal and anal intercourse. Among these couples, none of the seronegative partners became infected with HIV, despite a total of about 15,000 episodes of intercourse.

    Thats like,ahem,all of the couples that consistently used condoms.

    Jolene,
    you wont let facts get in the way of your ideology hey?
    Your god will be so proud.

  160. #160 Twin-Skies
    March 28, 2009

    Guys, what happened to the last wretched soul that threatened soul that made such lewd remarks to PZ’s family?

  161. #161 Twin-Skies
    March 28, 2009

    Guys, what happened to the last wretched soul that threatened soul that made such lewd remarks to PZ’s family?

    what happened to the last wretched soul that threatened PZ’s family with such lewd remarks ?

    Damn, sleep deprivation’s really kicking in now.

  162. #162 Jolene Cassa
    March 28, 2009

    Raven,

    If your Xian-derangement syndrome will brook no argument from those who believe, then you still have to revisit The AIDS Prevention Research Project at the Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies. Again…their conclusion from meta-analyses of the best studies, including the U.S.-funded Demographic Health Surveys is this: The greater the availability and use of condoms, the HIGHER the HIV-infection rate. In the lab and in the field, your position is simply false.

    A tale of two countries:

    1) Cameroon, where annual sales of condoms increased from 6 million in 1992 to 15 million in 2001 experienced a rise in HIV from 3 percent to 9 percent of the total population.

    2) Uganda in 1991, had one of the highest rates of HIV in the world at 15%. HIV/AIDS in the world. By 2001, it was 5%, the biggest reduction of HIV in the world. The direct result of the introduction of a nationwide program to teach abstinence before marriage, and marital fidelity afterwards.

    The phrase “Condoms when used correctly” has about as much relevance in the real world as your OTHER winner theories, like “Marxism, when applied correctly” or “Eugenics, when applied humanely”

    Plug Original Sin into your golden ideas and they turn to dross: wishful thinking and theoretical conjecture with no basis in the real world. The few studies on “condoms when used correctly” describe a fictional state in the real world. Point to one real world condom success story ( a significan’t reduction in HIV rates which even approaches the Catholic Model.

    I can see by your emotional investment here that it about more than science or reason. Prevalent today is a distorted view of human freedom: hoping for that quixotic pass from Almighty Science for the immorality in our lives. Pride, not science, is what fuels the peddling of this falsehood to Africa’s poor.

    Chastity works in the trenches, with real people. It has a track record going back thousands of years. Your condoms CAN’T work because they treat symptoms, not first causes.

  163. #163 raven
    March 28, 2009

    Jolene the religious fanatic:

    The greater the availability and use of condoms, the HIGHER the HIV-infection rate. In the lab and in the field, your position is simply false.

    The Harvard center didn’t say that. You are simply lying. For example, even they admit targeted condom usage programs in high risk communities such as gays and sex workers has been highly effective in cutting the HIV infection rate. And even they admit that condoms are part of a comprehensive AIDS prevention program.

    And the Harvard center is a small and minor part of the world wide medical community and something of an outlier. Some people claim Green has a religious axe to grind. Most anti-AIDS researchers and workers disagree with him.

    Religious fanatics always lie, and we are used to that. Routine.

    More to the point, you ignored my central question. We can beat HIV back. We’ve done it in the USA, Europe, and several other countries. I posted above how it worked here.

    There is a lot of experience now with fighting AIDS. Several countries have beat it back, the USA, the Western Europeans, Uganda, Thailand. There is no magic bullet. Current thinking is HIV testing, sex education, clean blood supply, pointing out the virtues of abstinence and monogamy in areas where 30% of the breeding age population are HIV+, sterilizing and not sharing needles, perinatal drug treatment of pregnant females, and early treatment with HAART which renders patients way less infectious.

    This worked well in the USA where HIV is now mostly a disease of poor and uneducated people like many others. Condoms aren’t the only solution but they are a proven and important part of a comprehensive solution.

    So Jolene, what is your solution to driving down the HIV death rate? Near as I can tell, it is sitting on the bleachers, eating popcorn, and yelling at people not to have sex. While this may make one strange lady feel good, it isn’t going to stop anyone from dying.

    I would call doing nothing when humans can do something and in fact, do a lot, evil. Someone is evil here and it isn’t those trying to fight a huge epidemic of a terrible disease.

    Forget your lies about condoms which you are emotionally bonded to for your own reasons. How would you reduce the numbers of HIV+ people worldwide, 35 million, several million die each year, and several million infected each year?

    Having dealt with fanatics before, Jolene will most likely repeat the lies a few times, change the subject, tell everyone they are going to hell, and then leave. But there is a very slim chance that it is different this time. Jolene, how would you end the worldwide HIV/AIDS epidemic? Simple question, my answer from the US experience which worked was posted above.

  164. #164 Jolene Cassa
    March 28, 2009

    Raven, We each have to uphold what we believe to be the Truth. You appear to be going with the position that concepts like morality, chastity, abstinence are invalidated in HIV containment because they are, in your mind, associated with Christianity.

    I reject your position that HIV is some random external plague which one “goes to war “with, like the polio or ebola. I reject atheism’s lies about the nature of human sexuality. The standard boilerplate….that Christians are pathetic and “repressed” and to be sophisticated, cool and post-modern means accepting the normalization of pornography, promiscuity, homosexuality, adultery, brothels and bath houses. Your crotch-centric world is not only boring, Raven, but it’s ugly as well. Your “model” has not beaten back HIV in USA or Europe-the disease is here to stay. The western gay community is probably the most medically educated, resource rich group in this epidemic and what do we see? A huge dichotomy between positives and negatives. The HIV negatives strain under safe sex, disclosure, anxiety and latex barriers. The POZ community gets everything, money, housing, goverment assistence, free medical care, and guilt free, condom free, “intimate” sex. That’s why so many disease-free gay men yearn to be positive. Your methods have been tried and they have been rejected. The people are bored with safe sex. The people want meth, circuit parties and barebacking. They want sex without condoms with prostitutes. They want to rape infants and babies in South Africa in the hope such an evil act will “cure” them of AIDS.

    The AIDS epidemic is an outer sign of an underlying spiritual poverty, where sex divorced from it’s purpose. Sexual objectification has become a substitute for Love. Look to were the family is rejected and scorned, and there you will find AIDS. I support the Catholic Church’s tried and true approach: Shine Christ’s light into the darkness in world. We educate people on the value of abstinence prior to marriage and fidelity within marriage and the true meaning of love. In Africa, Catholics, despite their tiny presence, care for 25% of all persons with AIDS, aacountribution which dwarfs the contribution of any single country. Having been a mid-life convert and seen both sides of the story, I have the direct experience which you lack, Raven. I know about the value of chastity, I know it is possible, that in a Christian community, there is help, support and encouragement for it, and I know it worked for me. So it’s not a question of “beating HIV back.” It’s a question of witnessing the Truth about marriage and fidelity-Like Jesus did at Cana. Neither HIV nor any other STD has any power over those who follow Christ’s teachings.

    If you really cared about premature child deaths you wouldn’t be so fixated on AIDS or what the Catholic Church teaches. Think for a minute. Of the 10.6 million premature child deaths worldwide per year:

    2,014,000 die of pneumonia (19%)
    1,908,000 die of diarrhea (18%)
    1,600,000 die of neonatal sepsis (10%)
    1,600,000 die of pre-term delivery (10%)
    848,000 die of malaria (8%)
    848,000 asphyxia at birth (8%)

    380,000 die of AIDS (3%)

    In other words, the simplest and cheapest, low tech field medicine could easily save 60% of African children from dying, because the main causes of infant morbidity and mortality in children are due to factors other than AIDS. But because sepsis and diarrhea are not liberal “celebrity diseases” like AIDS, the strong will continue to victimize the weak. But no. We’re not going to actually save the lives of children. We’re going to throw billions of dollars directly into the coffers of multinational pharmaceutical companies which will unload their impossibly high-priced HAART therapies on poor African populations.

  165. #165 astrounit
    March 29, 2009

    Jolene Cassa #166 says, “I reject atheism’s lies about the nature of human sexuality.”

    That’s easy enough to do. I reject that atheists lie about the nature of sexuality too. I reject you have shown anywhere any evidence that atheists as a group tend to lie about sexuality.

    How do you arrive at your conclusion? Can it possibly be that your disgreement isn’t based upon a matter of fact but rather a matter of opnion? Can it possibly be that your opinion is based on an emotional revulsion orchestrated by years of indoctrination? Can it be that you are simply intolerant of others who just aren’t aligned to the same sexual orientation as you are? Can it be that you regard all atheists as liars simply because many (if not most) atheists happen to be entirely capable of the kind of tolerance you are not?

    Do some atheists lie? Absolutely, sometimes with as much enthusiasm as you are obviously capable of, if the shameless twists and turns you’ve written are any indication.

    Does that mean all atheists lie about sexuality? If you imply, as you clearly do in your statement (and in many others based on it), that the answer is “yes”, then you are lying.

    That clearly makes you are a liar. Simple as that. And you are deep in the habit of it, as the many shameless twists and turns you’ve written testify.

    What I’d like to know is why you think many atheists don’t practice abstinence or value chastity. What makes you think virtues like self-control and personal denial are the exclusive domain of your peculiar religion of choice? What makes you think you have an exclusive monopoly on ANY virtue? What exactly compells you to stick your nose into other people’s private business and declare that they don’t do it right? What makes you the authority? If you think your religion gives you all these ‘rights’ to judge, not only are you a liar, you are deluded and astonishingly self-centered as well. Delusion means your lying is not restricted to statements made to others, but is as well directed to yourself. The self-centeredness only prevents you from asking yourself if you are wrong. But WAIT! You can’t be wrong: GOD CAN’T BE WRONG?

    WRONG. People can’t know what God knows, even in principle, even if God exists, and even if people imagine they do. If anybody does, well, by Golly-Gosh, they’d be “God” then, wouldn’t they?

    And I’d like to know why you fixate on “premature child deaths” (and don’t give us any baloney about that issue being raised): you fixate on sexuality, and you fixate on something you laughably characterized as PREMATURE child deaths. You know, I’m fairly confident that atheists as a group can smell the rank stench of the agenda you spout coming from a billion light-years away, but I’ve never ever seen a
    fart so defeaning that accompanies the aroma when you reflexively (and quite mindlessly) qualify child death as “premature”. That was a
    dandy resoundingly roaring rip. Best fart I’ve ever heard. I’ve never ever in my life considered the possibility that any child’s death could be TIMELY, as you suggest…

    But then, I suppose if God says so, well…then it must be okay, right?

    You’ve obviously lost the ability to think rationally. Look at the picture in:
    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2009/03/we_arent_going_to_kiss_and_mak.php
    for a clue as to what your basic problem is.