Hubris versus skepticism: The case of neurosurgeon Ben Carson

As a surgeon and skeptic, I find neurosurgeon turned presidential candidate Ben Carson to be particularly troubling. I realize that I've said this before, but it's hard for me not to revisit his strange case given that the New York Times just ran a rather revealing profile of him over the weekend, part of which included Dr. Carson answering criticism for the really dumb things he's said about vaccines, evolution, and the like. People like Ben Carson are useful examples of how highly intelligent people who are incredibly competent in one area can also demonstrate unbelievable ignorance in other areas. Ben Carson, having spent his life caring for patients with incredible dedication and skill, can't seem to go a day without saying something incredibly stupid now that he's running for President. Whether it's pandering to the antivaccine wing of the Republican Party, denying that he used to be a shill for Mannatech, a supplement company whose business practices have been less than ethical, or denying evolution, Carson's depths of scientific ignorance and willingness to lie have reached crank levels.

So, you might think, if Ben Carson is such a crank and there's considerable evidence that the views he's been espousing on the campaign trail are not new, why is it that no one seemed to realize this until Carson entered politics? It turns out that Carson was such a private man that few people knew:

When he was not in the operating room at Johns Hopkins Hospital, performing one of his 400 surgeries a year, Dr. Ben Carson could often be seen walking slowly through the hallways, hands behind his back, nodding, smiling and speaking softly to co-workers and students who approached.

“When he walked around Hopkins,” said Dr. Anthony Avellino, a former colleague, “he was like God.”

Patients and nurses asked him to sign his books. Medical students flocked to his occasional lectures or a campus showing of the TV movie version of “Gifted Hands,” Dr. Carson’s memoir.

One student, Dr. Jonathan Dudley, recalled that “Some of my friends had a big poster of him up in their dorm room.”

It seemed fitting, then, that in 2013, Dr. Carson, who was retiring as chief of pediatric neurosurgery, was chosen to give the commencement address for Dr. Dudley’s class. But that March, during a Fox News interview, Dr. Carson appeared to liken same-sex marriage proponents to pedophiles and “people who believe in bestiality.”

We learn a lot of things in this profile. During his years at Johns Hopkins, Carson was basically a rock star whom seemingly everyone admired. He did way more cases than the average neurosurgeon (around 400 a year compared to the usual 250 a year for a typical academic neurosurgeon at Hopkins), and he did some of the most difficult cases. He worked long hours and by all accounts was a good teacher. In the world of surgery, a surgeon who does a lot of cases, many of which are more difficult than average, does them well, and works very hard will earn a great deal of respect and good will. In fact, these are measures of status in the world of surgery, one way for a young surgeon to build a reputation. (Research is another, but, quite frankly, surgeons seem to admire technical skill and dedication more than they admire research, even in academic settings.)

Carson was also daring. he would undertake operations to separate conjoined twins. He revived an old operation for seizures, the hemispherectomy, which involves removing half the brain. Surgeons also admire this in other surgeons. So putting together Carson's work ethic, his technical skill, the number of cases he did, and his daring, it's not to surprising that he was so universally admired at Hopkins, the only complaints being from partners who had to cover for him so often when he traveled to give motivational speeches and do other events. Reading this profile, I couldn't help but wonder whether part of the problem was perhaps that, while Carson did have to engage in the rough-and-tumble given and take that normally occurs in a high-powered academic department of surgery over his surgical decisions, when it came to his crankier views, such as his belief in creationism and his promotion of cancer quackery, no one ever challenged him. After all, no one seemingly knew about them, and those who did seemed able to compartmentalize, just as Carson apparently compartmentalized. It's not hard to imagine a scenario in which Carson, as he became more and more famous based on his life story as told in his biography, his motivational speeches, and his increasing political activism, started to develop a touch of hubris and that that hubris carried over to his political campaign.

Think about it. Carson is a man who has never held elective office or even run a large organization, such as a company. The entire Johns Hopkins Pediatric Neurosurgery Program only has six surgeons and two physicians' assistants, which is actually a pretty big for such a program. Add ancillary staff, such as secretaries, nurses, and research faculty and staff and it's doubtful that there were more than 20 or 25 people in the entire department. This means that Ben Carson thinks himself capable of running the federal government after having only run a small academic department. Not only that, he thinks himself the best qualified person to lead the nation. (Every Presidential candidate thinks himself the best qualified person to lead the nation; otherwise he wouldn't run for President.) Also consider that Carson has no elective experience. As much as we like to delude ourselves that we don't want politicians as our President, running a country is an inherently political job. The two can't be separated. A President skilled at politics, who knows how the federal government works, how its departments work, how the legislature works, will be more successful than one who does not. So right there there's incredible hubris. So bad is Carson's lack of relevant skills for the presidency that even one of his campaign advisors gave an on the record interview to the NYT characterizing him as struggling to grasp foreign policy, leading one pundit to ask if there's a double agent in the Carson campaign.

And, as we all know, hubris is the enemy of skepticism. Hubris destroys skepticism because it interferes with the questioning of oneself, one's belief, and one's knowledge that must occur as part of critical thinking. Taken to an extreme, hubris can lead one to believe he is never wrong. Already, we see that in Ben Carson. When questioned about, for example, his long relationship with Mannatech, Carson basically lied through his teeth and denied that he was a spokesperson. Whenever questioned about anything, his first reaction is to double down and/or make excuses.

We see this in the interview published by the NYT. For instance, here is what Carson now says about vaccines:

Some people feel that I make the declaration and everybody has to march to my drum.

My point was that there are a lot of people who are so concerned about the load of vaccines that they are getting in a very short period of time that they may abandon the use of vaccines altogether, which would be a very significant public health issue for us. I think we have to be willing to talk with them and to look at alterations in schedule.

When you look at how many times the schedule has been altered by so-called experts, it tells you right there that whatever schedule they come up with is not necessarily the perfect schedule. Take into consideration the concerns of these people and let’s work with them, so that we can get people on the same page, rather than declaring: “I’m the great Oz. No one else could possibly know anything.”

Notice the straw men. No one was looking to Dr. Carson as the arbiter of whether vaccines cause autism and what should constitute the ideal vaccine schedule. However, because he is a pediatric specialist, his opinion does carry more weight to the general public than, say, that of Jeb Bush or Donald Trump. Given his past stance supporting school vaccine mandates, it was disappointing to see Carson change course and start to pander to the "health freedom" antivaccine wing of the Republican Party. It's even more disappointing to see that he is still pandering to them and still repeating antivaccine "concerns" wrapped in anti-establishment, anti-pointy-headed expert rhetoric.

He does it to the point of some seriously burning stupid:

There are some diseases where I think there is room for discussion. Chickenpox. Now, chickenpox is generally not a fatal disease by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, when I was a kid, they used to have chickenpox parties. Somebody would get it, and they’d bring everybody over so they would get it, too. And then everybody would be immune to it.

Oh,. My. God. Carson is actually parroting antivaccine talking points and blithely dismissing chickenpox parties as though they were OK. You'd think that a neurosurgeon would know the potential complications of varicella. Yes, such complications are uncommon, but they include pneumonia, coagulopathy, encephalitis, secondary streptococcal infections, and more. A doctor should know better. This doctor does not.

He also completely misunderstands the antivaccine movement:

The question for the antivaxers is, do the vaccinations create more problems than they solve? You are never going to convince them unless you are willing to sit down with the data and unless you are actually willing to listen to them and listen to their concerns. That’s been the problem.

I generally am very pro-vaccines and pro-vaccinations. I think they’ve saved a lot of lives and cut down on a lot of morbidity in our society.

I think the problem we are having now is we have an increasing number of antivaxers. I think they are being reactionary. And I think they are being reactionary because of the way things are being imposed upon them.

It is a microcosm of the bigger problems that we are having in our country right now where people try to impose things on everybody rather than sitting down and having an intelligent conversation and looking at the data, looking at the evidence.

This level of naïveté is painful to behold. What on earth does Carson think that vaccine advocates have been doing for all these years but showing the data and trying to convince antivaccine loons that vaccines are not only not dangerous but are safe and effective. Indeed, the very reason for vaccine mandates is because antivaccine activists can't be convinced with evidence, reason, and rational arguments. You can't have an intelligent conversation with them. It's certainly possible to have an intelligent conversation with the vaccine-averse parents (who are very different from the real antivaccinationists), but with hard core antivaccinationists? Not so much.

Then there's creationism:

I believe the Bible. I do believe it is the word of God. I do believe he created heavens and earth. It says in Genesis 1, in the beginning God created heaven and earth. Period. We don’t know how long that period is before he started the rest of creation. It could be a minute. It could be a trillion years. We don’t know. I have never stated that I have an understanding of how old the earth is. That’s something that a lot of people will ascribe to me.

Organisms, animals have the ability to adapt to their environment. But the evolutionists say that’s proof positive that evolution occurs.

I say it is evidence of an intelligent God who gave his creatures the ability to adapt to its environment so he wouldn’t have to start over every 50 years.

What is it with neurosurgeons and creationism? So Carson might not be a young earth creationist, as he has been accused of in some quarters, but he is clearly a creationist. The problem is that evolution is not only well supported by the existing scientific evidence but is currently the best explanation for the diversity of life.

I've said it before (many times). I'll say it again: Most physicians are not scientists, and highly intelligent people (like Ben Carson) are frustratingly all too often not skeptics.

As I've said before, every human being on this planet has the potential to believe the same nonsense the Ben Carson, or maybe nonsense on the same level as what he believes, if not necessarily the exact same beliefs. Add to that the considerable hubris that Carson has exhibited over the last three years, and you have a very toxic combination.

Hubris is the enemy of skepticism because skepticism begins with recognizing how our thinking can go awry, not just Ben Carson or other cranks but you, me, everybody. Critical to that recognition is having the humility to recognize that we all believe things without evidence and to begin to test our most deeply held beliefs against reality in order to determine which ones are supported by evidence and which ones aren’t, testing that must involve seeking out disconfirming evidence. Most importantly, we must have the humility to be able to admit when we are mistaken and be willing to change our minds when the evidence does not support our beliefs.

Ben Carson is a walking, talking, nonsense-spewing example demonstrating that a high level of knowledge and skill in one area does not necessarily make one a skeptic. As importantly, he also demonstrates how, no matter how soft spoken and seemingly self-effacing a person might seem, that does not mean that person is not full of hubris that destroys skepticism and critical thinking.

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Two points:

1) Carson's naive expectation that one can just "sit down and talk" with anti-vaxxers brings to mind a certain 2008 presidential candidate and his naive belief that one can just "sit down and talk" with certain world powers such as Iran and Russia.

2) It's not entirely clear, at least from the quoted portion of the interview, that Carson is expressing a policy rather than a religious belief. One can be religious, and believe in a god that created the universe billions of years ago, a god who designed the universe in such a fashion that it would give rise to life through the mechanism of evolution - and yet not think this is a legitimate subject of discussion in a science classroom.

Notice that Carson is expressing the willingness to accept as fact the existence of evolution (as a mechanism through which god manages the development of living beings in the world). Perhaps, then, when he says - as he has in other interviews - that evolution was an idea created by "the adversary" [presumably Satan], he merely means evolution as a replacement for God.

To be fair, this is highly unlikely to be the case (cf. his idiocy with the pyramids). But on the off chance that it is, it's not really fair to label him a creationist in the "crank" sense.

By Yerushalmi (not verified) on 23 Nov 2015 #permalink

Dear friends, whom I love so,
This is a copy of an email I recently sent out
To a circle of bodhisattvas.
Please, please pay attention.

"Friends,

I have an urgent request to you.

First, read this article. h[]tp://http://washingtonspectator.org/donald-trump-and-the-f-word/

Pay attention to the news. Do not turn away.

Next, watch this video. h[]tp://http://www.ted.com/talks/carl_safina_what_are_animals_thinking_and_feel…

Now, educate yourself to the best extent you can on our factory farming practices.

And for the love of God, don't kill the f*cking mice that are pooping on the shelf where the towels are. Just trust me on this one.

Go back and read the Cain and Abel story and reflect upon the fact that I have a tattoo on my right arm, which I got done with a gift certificate from the Dharma auction a few years back which reads "Thou Mayest." It might also be good to look up the relevant part of John Steinbeck's East of Eden.

Thank you and good night.

Perhaps Carson has never seen a child die from a vaccine-preventable disease, though I'd think maybe as a neurosurgeon he might have put in some VP shunts on pediatric meningitis (Hib, pneumococcal, meningococcal infections--all vaccine preventable) survivors which would have impressed up him why vaccines are so important. I've seen one (unvaccinated) two-year old die horribly from Hib meningitis/sepsis, and the older pediatricians (this was in 2002) told me how they would see a case very month before Hib vaccination started. Lesson learned and forever burned into my cortex for me as a 2nd year pediatric resident.

At 64 years of age, maybe Carson is just "young" enough to have not seen a lot of vaccine-preventable diseases first hand, but the ignorance of what they used to be like is inexcusable for a physician.

One way (legislatively) or the other (after more VPD outbreaks with resultant death and morbidity) vaccine rates will start increasing in the US. Carson's views, depressingly, help to push things to the latter.

By Chris Hickie (not verified) on 23 Nov 2015 #permalink

Unfortunately, Carson’s answers will seem moderate and reasonable to a great many people, especially agnostics of the “who knows?” variety, and the great majority of at least marginal believers. To the average person, it probably seems not unreasonable to spread out the vaccine schedule. My own children, one in particular, had his vaccines spread out in the extreme because he always seemed to have a bad cold when they were due. No doctor ever explained to me any harm that this might cause, and I was blissfully unaware of the attendanst risk until finding this blog (in spite of being a long time atheist and skeptic).

Your concerns are real, but it would seem difficult to convey them to the masses.

By darwinslapdog (not verified) on 23 Nov 2015 #permalink

The vaccine thing, I'm convinced, is just to pander to far-right antivaxxers and to try and rope in some more liberal-leaning antivaxxers. I don't for a second think it's anything other than that, especially considering his very strong statements on mandatory requirements in the past.

Which makes it worse, actually. He's risking lives for a few votes. At least true antivaxxers really think they're right.

By Frequent Lurker (not verified) on 23 Nov 2015 #permalink

@ Chris Hickie / Yerushalmi

I'm afraid Ben Carson's position is more about pandering to as many niches of voters as possible, but especially to the various groups big on freedom, small on government.
His basic message, be it on religion or vaccines, could be summarized as: "government is providing guidelines, but feel free to do whatever you want".
In short, I don't know about being a neurosurgeon, but Ben Carson is definitively a politician: trying to appear reaching for a middle-ground position. 'Let's just sit and talk it out."

Left out of the window is, of course, the little issue of how much compromise is ethically acceptable in a given situation when following the other side's position is likely to result in avoidable harm.

That's why I'm not too thrilled by his half-mouthed acceptance of evolution. It sounds too much like "you call it evolution, I call it the Hand of God, but I will be a nice guy and let you call it whatever you want". To answer Yerushalmi:

he merely means evolution as a replacement for God.

I could buy that. He doesn't seem to be a young earth creationist, but the way he talks about "evolutionists", he seems to equate them with hard-line atheists. In other words, he does deny evolution, but as a standalone process.
That's still mixing up magical thinking and science, however.

By Helianthus (not verified) on 23 Nov 2015 #permalink

No need to post this comment, just wanted you to fix a typo in this excellent and much needed post.
no one seemingly new
should be " no one seemingly knew"

By Justa Retiree (not verified) on 23 Nov 2015 #permalink

Never forget the first principle.
"The first principle is that you must not fool yourself - and you are the easiest person to fool."
If you forget the first principle, then no matter how intelligent, educated and experienced you are - it's all useless.

@Yerushalmi: I agree with Helianthus on this point. Look at Carson's quoted words:

But the evolutionists say that’s proof positive that evolution occurs.

The term "evolutionist" is a code word telling creationists that he's one of them, not one of those evil scientist types who believe[1] in evolution. He claims not to have a position on whether the Earth is 6k-10k years old, or substantially older, but he is clearly stating his opposition to the theory of evolution.

[1]Yes, I know, scientists don't believe in evolution per se, they believe that the evidence in favor of the theory is overwhelming. But that's not how fundamentalist religious types see it--they need to believe in something, so they project that need on scientists.

By Eric Lund (not verified) on 23 Nov 2015 #permalink

He's in the ID camp, IOW a stealth creationist.

I wonder if the groundwork for hubris wasn't laid at an early age-- a combination of early issues with learning, religious training, and being raised his mother's precious nebbish.

Being treated as a god later in life would be enabling to say the least. Still can't get over that seriously weird painting of him with Jesus.

By Obstreperous A… (not verified) on 23 Nov 2015 #permalink

Organisms, animals have the ability to adapt to their environment. But the evolutionists say that’s proof positive that evolution occurs.

Isn't that basically the definition of evolution? I think what he really means is that he accepts evolution, but not common descent (or, as creationists like to say, "microevolution but not macroevolution.") This seems to be the crux of a lot of the "talking past one another" that inevitably occurs when creationists and "evolutionists" (for lack of a more accurate but equally concise term) get into it.

We don’t know how long that period is before he started the rest of creation. It could be a minute. It could be a trillion years.

Yes, we do know, Dr. Carson. It just doesn't fit the narrative that you need to win over the current Republican base. That's why you want to pretend that "we" don't know. But we do. Carbon 14 is a hell of a little atom. You should get to know it sometime.

Other than the extreme he has taken his hubris--running for president--I don't see that there is much difference between Dr. Carson and celebrities who attempt to cash in on their popularity to advance a cause that is dear to them, however misguided they may be. Ultimately, the common sense of most Americans prevail, but it can be painful to watch and disheartening to see so many swayed by ignorance, lies, and misinformation.

@Helianthus

He doesn’t seem to be a young earth creationist, but the way he talks about “evolutionists”, he seems to equate them with hard-line atheists. In other words, he does deny evolution, but as a standalone process.
That’s still mixing up magical thinking and science, however.

Let's say you believe in an omnipotent, omniscient god that created the universe.

Almost by definition, you have to believe that any process present in the universe is one that that god set into motion and/or actively maintains. Similarly, every outcome of that process, no matter how small, must have been part of that god's original intent. After all, being omniscient, he knows all the actual, real-world outcomes of the laws and initial conditions he set into motion; and being omnipotent, he had the ability to set up a different set of laws and initial conditions in order to create an identical universe except for that one undesirable outcome.

That means that, if you believe in an omnipotent, omniscient god, and you also believe that evolution is the mechanism by which humans arose on Earth, you *must* believe that evolution took the path it did because god set it up that way.

Nothing I have said so far is in any way anti-science. There is no "magical thinking" involved here, nor is there the denial of evolution as a "standalone process". "Magical thinking" only arises if you take that as your endpoint. If you say "God wanted it that way" and leave it at that. (This would also prevent you from jettisoning the theory of evolution if and when evidence emerged that presented a competing theory.)

But if you instead say, "God created this principle of how the universe works, and now I will investigate exactly what the parameters of this principle are" - there is no functional difference between this and saying "this is the principle by which the universe works, and now I will investigate exactly what the parameters of this principle are". The basic definition of science is not "there is no God" or "there is no magic"; the basic definition of science is the hunt for the rules by which the universe works. (Magic and science are not incompatible, as long as it's of this type: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/SufficientlyAnalyzedMagic.)

In conflating the generalized belief in God with "magical thinking", you are doing *exactly* the same thing Carson is doing in conflating "hard-core atheists" with "evolutionists", only from the other side. It might be *unscientific* to believe in god, but there's nothing that necessitates it being *anti-scientific*.

Consider that the Vatican has absolutely no problem with evolution or a 14-billion-year-old universe. Neither does Judaism.

I am an Orthodox Jew. The compatibility of Big Bang-like theories with Judaism, for instance, is established in rabbinical writings as far back as the 13th century, long before the actual Big Bang theory was created. Yet in the past fifty years there has been a surge of anti-scientific, anti-evolution attitudes among Orthodox Jews, mostly because of spillover in the war between anti-science modern evangelical Christians, and anti-religious atheist crusaders. A cultural attitude has emerged that says that science and religion are fundamentally incompatible, supported by the agendas of both sides in this war, and it's actually become quite damaging to Judaism. We've *never* had a problem with the basic principle of "God created a universe with a set of laws, and we can investigate and explain what those laws are", but all of a sudden this anti-science attitude has begun to emerge, and it makes me quite sad to see my religion trending in the direction of modern evangelical Christianity.

By Yerushalmi (not verified) on 23 Nov 2015 #permalink

You can slice, dice, and parse and philosophize about faith anyway you like. What's going on with Carson matters because of current American politics, the 800 lb. gorilla subtext of which is attempts to wedge religion into science classrooms (see Kitzmiller v. Dover).

In general for purposes of discussion here, I think this guy is on the right track:

“If scientific analysis were conclusively to demonstrate certain claims in Buddhism to be false, then we must accept the findings of science and abandon those claims.”
― Dalai Lama XIV

By Obstreperous A… (not verified) on 23 Nov 2015 #permalink

Yerushalmi #14,

You appear to be an educated and intelligent person, but you are stretching a bit here. It's one thing to say "God is just another name for the Big Bang, through which the laws of physics were established", and quite another to say "God is just another name for the Big Bang, and he really would prefer that you don't eat pork."

The latter represents the reality of Orthodox Judaism and Seventh-Day Advent-ism and so on. The former is something UU types might say, as one of the "least religious" religions.

Zebra, you are being divisive. Stop it. You are better than that.

I am saying neither.

I am saying that the belief in god does not preclude one from being a scientist and thinking rationally about the world. Believing in god doesn't prevent you from doing an experiment, reading the result, and changing your understanding of how the world works based on that result.

In assuming these are incompatible, hard-core anti-religionists do the cause of science a disservice by basically convincing the world that, in order to be religious, one *must* to stand in opposition to science. (The hard-core anti-science religious right does the exact same thing to their side, driving people away from religion by making them choose between being religious and being rational.)

As for eating pork, well, that's a matter of simply accepting upon yourself a legal and moral framework written by another. It has nothing whatsoever to do with science, neither for nor against it.

By Yerushalmi (not verified) on 23 Nov 2015 #permalink

@ Yerushalmi

That means that, if you believe in an omnipotent, omniscient god, and you also believe that evolution is the mechanism by which humans arose on Earth, you *must* believe that evolution took the path it did because god set it up that way.

Yes, but you missed part of my point: It's actually about the "god set it up that way" part of your answer: there is an underlying assumption here, you are using the past tense.
I emphasized how Ben Carson doesn't believe in a standalone evolution. As in, god is playing with it, right now.

I lack the philosophical/theological background to put it in exact words, but I wanted to distinguish between:
- a believer who sees god as a watchmaker: the old guy put the world together, cranked the spring, and now the watch is ticking all by itself. All of its moves may have been planned in details in advance, but right now, it's a standalone process, with strict relations of cause-and-effects between its gears.
- a believer who sees god still walking among us, shaping events on the go.

The 1st believer may only hope to be part of god's plan; the second may hope for the rules to be bend occasionally around him.
The 1st believer won't be tempted to pray for a personal intervention of god in his life. The second will; it may actually be part of his credo. Hence, magical thinking.
From your description, you are close to the first type (with all due respect, I'm not trying to offend).
Ben Carson is of the second type.

I agree I may be going a bit too far with pulling out "magical thinking" out of the bag (eh, now I can say that sometimes i veer off into "scientism"); on the other hand:

A cultural attitude has emerged that says that science and religion are fundamentally incompatible,

But they are.
It's not just science and religion. Similarly, most religions, down to most religion currents, are incompatible with one-another. Only one could be right.
Well, I guess a lot of them could be half-right. That's where the more ecumenical currents stand. To paraphrase Theodore Monod, we are all taking different paths to climb the mountain, and all we can hope is to meet again at the top.

To emphasize, two systems of visualizing the world are incompatible whenever they have different point-of-view on reality.
No matter how you cut it, young earth creationism is incompatible with paleontology, geology, astronomy, biology, archaeology...
And to some extend with theology itself :-)

People with different visions of the way the world is working may try to live side-by-side. Trying to work together may be more difficult.
But a single person having two of these systems coexisting in its head? It will need to compartmentalize, and some parts of each system will have to gave way for the other.
It will be easier if both systems in that person's head are very clear on their limits, and open to change and self-scrutiny. Science could be quite thick-headed with its quest for evidence and facts; any religion generally has a strong, unmovable dogma at its core. That reduces strongly the maneuver room.

tl;dr: when people's metaphysical beliefs collide with science, I would prefer the side with evidence and facts to win.

By Helianthus (not verified) on 23 Nov 2015 #permalink

– a believer who sees god as a watchmaker: the old guy put the world together, cranked the spring, and now the watch is ticking all by itself. All of its moves may have been planned in details in advance, but right now, it’s a standalone process, with strict relations of cause-and-effects between its gears.
– a believer who sees god still walking among us, shaping events on the go.

They are both true. We are G-d, or at least we are paving the way for Him/Her to come. I do not know what happens next.

Yerushalmi #18,

I assume you are responding to me.

Helianthus is making a similar point to mine, and I don't think you are addressing it. Of course one can compartmentalize, and perform scientific experiments while believing that one is communicating/interacting (through prayer or not eating pork or whatever) with a supernatural entity.

But then one must be acting outside either religion or science, which JP may (or may not) be trying to get at.

^ Preparing the way would be a much better choice of words.

A good song.

We have all been doing a good job at holding fast to the truths that we are suited to. Now is the time to work together, and to speak truth to power, and to no longer tolerate lies.

“If scientific analysis were conclusively to demonstrate certain claims in Buddhism to be false, then we must accept the findings of science and abandon those claims.”
― Dalai Lama XIV

I'll see your eastern mystic and raise you a Pat answer,

“You go back in time, you’ve got radiocarbon dating. You got all these things, and you’ve got the carcasses of dinosaurs frozen in time out in the Dakotas, They’re out there. So, there was a time when these giant reptiles were on the Earth, and it was before the time of the Bible. So, don’t try and cover it up and make like everything was 6,000 years....”

“If you fight science, you are going to lose your children, and I believe in telling them the way it was,”

-- Pat Robertson

By DevoutCatalyst (not verified) on 23 Nov 2015 #permalink

@ JP

They are both true.

Yes, I wanted to add that believers - and religions themselves - spread the full spectrum between full determination and free will, or whatever I was trying to say.
That worries me is that Ben Carson appears more and more as an extreme on this spectrum. Worse, even when he is in mild-mannered politician mode.

We are G-d, or at least we are paving the way for Him/Her to come.

Eh, careful, you are getting close to the omega point heresy, which almost resulted in the excommunication by the catholic church of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin.
OTOH, being compared to Chardin is a big compliment, in my book.

Sidenote: both Teilhard de Chardin and Theodore Monod were deeply religious men and successful scientists - I cannot quote them and not agree with Yerushalmi that it is indeed possible to be both.
Actually, I have worked in scientific labs with people of various religious sensitivity, from mild Catholic or Muslim to hard-line evangelical Calvinism, without much fuss. My misgivings are more about what will happen if my evangelical coworker was to become prime minister. He is very nice and polite and professional, but frankly, I'm not exaggerating by saying I would feel a strong urge to flee the country the day after his election.

I do not know what happens next.

Eh, no need to rush.

By Helianthus (not verified) on 23 Nov 2015 #permalink

#24
Touché.

By Obstreperous A… (not verified) on 23 Nov 2015 #permalink

@Helianthus
I take no offense at anything you're saying. But it's clear that so many of your beliefs about religion are shaped by the prevalence, either in the media or in your personal background or both, of one particular religion, and these criticisms do not apply to almost any other religion.

Most religions are incompatible with one another because they are in *direct contradiction* with one another. I do not argue with this. You either believe in one god or three or seven or seventy or zero.

But religions contradicting one another is not evidence of religion contradicting science; science offers no opinion on the number of gods because nobody has run an experiment with that number as an output.

Applesauce (#15) put up this interesting quote:
“If scientific analysis were conclusively to demonstrate certain claims in Buddhism to be false, then we must accept the findings of science and abandon those claims.”
― Dalai Lama XIV

This is a great quote because it very closely reflects my own beliefs with regards to religion. There's a saying in Orthodox Judaism: "If you think that science and Torah are in contradiction, then either you misunderstood the science, or you misunderstood the Torah." Christianity fought for centuries against the idea that the Earth was not the center of the universe, until eventually it was realized that such a belief wasn't strictly necessary to being a Christian. Similarly, almost every single one of the more ridiculous Jewish beliefs that I've encountered have turned out to come from medieval-era rabbis who based their beliefs on superstitions prevalent at the time. The Talmud at one point describes an argument between the Jewish rabbis and the Greek philosophers about where the sun goes at night, and the discussion in the Jewish religious text ultimately comes down on the side of the Greeks because, it concluded, "their words make [more] sense than our words". (Though, hilariously, the Greeks' reasoning is completely flawed even though they turned out to be right.)

You use young earth creationism as your example, and yes, young earth creationism stands in contrast to almost every branch of science known to man. But that's an example of *one* belief system: a belief system that follows neither the Buddhist principle from Applesauce's quote nor the Jewish principle from mine; a belief system that does not represent even the whole of its own religion, given the Vatican's (and many other Christian sects') lack of a problem with evolution or the scientific age of the universe; a belief system that, yes, is probably stubbornly hanging on to outdated imperalist dogm- sorry, I mean outdated unscientific beliefs not because it is antithetical to their religion but because of the *societal* rifts that cause them to believe that science, as they misinterpret it due to the anti-religious sentiments of its loudest and rudest proponents, is actively attempting to distance them from their religion.

Young earth creationism is infecting Judaism nowadays, for that same societal reason. But it's not part of our belief system, and it never was. I would not be surprised if modern Buddhism is having the same problem.

This is one of my favorite quotes:
https://twitter.com/loresjoberg/status/525035527225892864

By Yerushalmi (not verified) on 23 Nov 2015 #permalink

I love the Pat Robertson quote. A similar thing was said by Rabbi Natan Slifkin (I don't have the exact words):

"If God invested so much effort in trying to convince me that the universe is billions of years old, why should I believe He is lying?"

By Yerushalmi (not verified) on 23 Nov 2015 #permalink

“… was basically a rock star whom seemingly everyone admired.” Check.

“… he became more and more famous based on his life story as told in his biography.” Check.

“… started to develop a touch of hubris and that that hubris carried over to his political campaign.” Check.

“… a man who has never held elective office or even run a large organization, such as a company.” Half-a-check.

“… basically lied through his teeth.” Check.

“… even more disappointing to see that he is still pandering.” Check.

“… a walking, talking, nonsense-spewing example demonstrating that a high level of knowledge and skill in one area does not necessarily make one a skeptic.” Check.

That’s six and a half checks for Obama.

By See Noevo (not verified) on 23 Nov 2015 #permalink

SN, the article was not about Obama. You must be confused by the skin color of the subject of this article.

science offers no opinion on the number of gods because nobody has run an experiment with that number as an output.
Russel's teapot much? This is why I find theology so useless...

To Helianthus #19:

“The 1st believer won’t be tempted to pray for a personal intervention of god in his life. The second will; it may actually be part of his credo. Hence, magical thinking.”

Aren’t BOTH believers engaged in “magical thinking”, in your view?
...........
“I agree I may be going a bit too far with pulling out “magical thinking” out of the bag (eh, now I can say that sometimes i veer off into “scientism”)”

And your “scientism” is not science. It’s a philosophy, a world-view.
.........
“A cultural attitude has emerged that says that science and religion are fundamentally incompatible, But they are.”

No, they are not.
Fides ET ratio.
..........
“Similarly, most religions, down to most religion currents, are incompatible with one-another. Only one could be right.”

Agreed! THAT makes sense.

By See Noevo (not verified) on 23 Nov 2015 #permalink

@AdamG: I don't see what Russel's Teapot has to do with anything. I've never claimed that the lack of a disproof indicates that the existence of a god or gods should be assumed. All I'm saying is that the lack of a disproof indicates that the sum totla of our scientific knowledge to date is not actively incompatible with such a belief.

By Yerushalmi (not verified) on 23 Nov 2015 #permalink

To Yerushalmi #27:

“This is one of my favorite quotes:
https://twitter.com/loresjoberg/status/525035527225892864

I kind of liked the quote above it:
“If Darwinian evolution applies to religion, then religion must have some evolutionary value.”
.....
I'm a YEC who has sometimes said something similar:
'Don't get mad at me. I just "evolved" this way.' Or
'Don't blame me. Blame evolution.'

By See Noevo (not verified) on 23 Nov 2015 #permalink

Carson has simply realized that to get noticed in today's anti-science and pro-racist republican party you have to say things they like: state that what is believed to be established science really isn't, that what people who don't worship the way the masses do are evil and need to be tracked and kept out of the country, and that facts don't matter (saying you met with someone who wasn't in your city about a scholarship that doesn't exist is good since the subject was a military academy: the fact that it was entirely made up doesn't matter and really is just a "gotcha" question).

In short: to have a chance as a republican candidate, you have to lie through your teeth. That's what makes him appealing to so many on the right: he's one of them.

Also, AdamG, it is precisely that dismissive and condescending attitude towards religion that is contributing to the great science vs. religion rifts in modern American society. I come and say that I represent an example of how the two sides need not fight, and you answer by telling me how useless my beliefs are.

If you instead respect my beliefs, especially seeing as I am in no way trying to convince you to share them, you will demonstrate that you don't have the active hostility towards religion that the religious right in America always assumes the atheist left has.

By Yerushalmi (not verified) on 23 Nov 2015 #permalink

All I’m saying is that the lack of a disproof indicates that the sum totla of our scientific knowledge to date is not actively incompatible with such a belief.

Isn't that the whole point of burden of proof though? I don't see it as being all that far off from an antivaxer saying 'science has no opinion on autism and vaccines because [insert impossible study here] has not been conducted'

I emphasized how Ben Carson doesn’t believe in a standalone evolution. As in, god is playing with it, right now.

The only clear meaning I can extract from Carson's tergiversation is that 'evolution' is something that 'evolutionists' believe in, but only because they're misinterpreting the evidence. He accepts 'adaptation' but not evolution.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 23 Nov 2015 #permalink

it is precisely that dismissive and condescending attitude towards religion that is contributing to the great science vs. religion rifts in modern American society.

I've seen this tone argument play out a thousand times. No evidence for this statement, as usual.

And I'm out.

I don’t see it as being all that far off from an antivaxer saying ‘science has no opinion on autism and vaccines because [insert impossible study here] has not been conducted’

Science has expressed opinions on autism and vaccines because literally dozens of studies have been done. Waiting for the imaginary perfect study (or using its absence as an excuse) is nowhere near the same thing as expressing an opinion on something that, virtually by definition, cannot be tested. Show me a study that purports to prove the nonexistence of god, and then we'll talk; until then, I'm free to believe what I like, and so are you.

Isn’t that the whole point of burden of proof though?
Where did I set out to prove the existence of god? Why are you making that assumption of me?

By Yerushalmi (not verified) on 23 Nov 2015 #permalink

Yerushalmi @36:
I come and say that I represent an example of how the two sides need not fight

I have nothing intelligent to contribute on that broader issue, but on the narrow question of Carson's own beliefs and statements, you seem to be offering an excessively charitable reading of his words.

Carson is *not* accepting a kind of divinely-guided evolution, or "evolution as the workings of the divine clockwork". He presents his belief in contrast to what "evolutionists" believe (i.e. that adaptation to the environment is "proof positive" that new species can arise).

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 23 Nov 2015 #permalink

#36 Yerushalmi,

"If you instead respect my beliefs..."

But we have no idea what your "beliefs" are, Yerushalmi.

If you follow the various quoted instructions about accepting scientific proof over traditional religious views of the physical universe, then what is it that anyone here is "not respecting"?

If you say that e.g. not eating pork is a choice independent of the claim that God doesn't want you to eat pork, what exactly qualifies you as "religious"? It sounds much more as if you are a Jewish version of Cafeteria Catholic, which is fine, but it is more a choice of cultural identity than a matter of "belief".

Yerushalmi - what does "respect my beliefs" mean in this context? What different actions or statements would be required to show sufficient respect? How do you reconcile that with your previous statements which, if I may be so bold, claim that anyone who says their religious beliefs conflict with science are incorrect?

FWIW, like Stephen Jay Gould I believe that religion and science are non-overlapping magisteria. However, there are those who clearly disagree with me on this.

By Mephistopheles… (not verified) on 23 Nov 2015 #permalink

Some of my best friends are Hubris, and they are not opposed to skepticism.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 23 Nov 2015 #permalink

@herr doktor bimler:
The last paragraph of my very first post (#1) here makes it clear that the differences between our opinions on Carson are not very great:
To be fair, this is highly unlikely to be the case (cf. his idiocy with the pyramids). But on the off chance that it is, it’s not really fair to label him a creationist in the “crank” sense.

@zebra, Mephistopheles:
I was referring to my belief in god in the most general sense. You don't need to know the details about my belief - beyond the fact that it exists - to see that why phrasing "Russel’s teapot much? This is why I find theology so useless…" would be construed as dismissive and condescending.

I will say that I've thought Stephen Jay Gould is an idiot ever since I was twelve years old, when I read the introduction he wrote to one of the Far Side books and noticed that in one of the strips he referenced he utterly failed to get the joke.

By Yerushalmi (not verified) on 23 Nov 2015 #permalink

Thank you for your conversation.

And please, continue. With dignity and good humor.

Yerushalmi,

I will say that I’ve thought Stephen Jay Gould is an idiot ever since I was twelve years old, when I read the introduction he wrote to one of the Far Side books and noticed that in one of the strips he referenced he utterly failed to get the joke.

I'm surprised by that; are you sure you didn't misunderstand him? I've thought Stephen Jay Gould was brilliant since I too was twelve years old, when my brother bought me a copy of 'Ever Since Darwin'. I loved it, and then read my way through everything he had written that I could get my hands on. My impressions were only reinforced when I attended a lecture he gave in London circa 1989 (about spandrels as I recall), in which he displayed a well-developed sense of humor. I don't agree with him on everything, but I love his style of thinking; I think you may have dismissed him prematurely, which would be a shame.

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 23 Nov 2015 #permalink

@ Yerushalmi

But religions contradicting one another is not evidence of religion contradicting science; science offers no opinion on the number of gods because nobody has run an experiment with that number as an output.

I agree, at least in general terms. It was my point about each system needing to know its limits in order to coexist with the other one.
You forget to mention that, in all most known religions, god(s) are notoriously difficult to coerce into cooperating with some scientific experiment...
This is fine by me. Religion is about belief, and beliefs, by definition, is about thinking something is true without evidence of it being true (and also without evidence of it being false - if there was such evidence, it's not a belief, but a delusion).

Connoisseurs will speak about religious beliefs being unfalsifiable: you cannot prove they are wrong. Or right.

On specific terms, religion - well, people talking under the guise of their religious beliefs - does contradict science from time to time, like when Carson talked bout the pyramids being Joseph's granaries.
That's an assertion which could be assessed scientifically. Heck, forget the scientists in a labcoat, anyone with some knowledge on how to store grains can go and check by itself. Pyramids aren't designed for grain storage.
That doesn't make Carson's religion wrong; but it does make him wrong and him using his religious beliefs wrongly.

Again, my misgivings are about when facts and beliefs collide.

but because of the *societal* rifts that cause them to believe that science, as they misinterpret it due to the anti-religious sentiments of its loudest and rudest proponents, is actively attempting to distance them from their religion.

Yerushalmi, please don't school me on "anti-religious sentiments". You get it easy.
All your non-fully secular countries (US, Israel...) got are "loud and rude proponents" for a little less religion in the streets. (and unfortunately, the occasional gunman on a rampage)
But you still have freedom of religion. And your countries are still religious countries. You can go to your church of choice whenever you want. Nasty atheists are not running around blasting themselves to smithereens.
What atheists (and mild agnostics like myself) want is freedom from religion. You don't get the right to tell me the lie that the Earth is 4000 years old or that the Garden of Eden is East of the Himalaya; you certainly don't have the right to lead a policy based on any of this.

That my country had, a little more than a century ago, was an anti-clerical government who went out of its way to separate church and state.
They had some good reasons for this; notably it had more to do about the secular activities of the Catholic church than its theological message.
Still, during this period, the state was actively suppressing religious freedom. There is no other word.
I'm pretty sure any historian can come with dozens of tales of anti-religious oppression in other countries.

So, when you complain about "anti-religious sentiments", give me a break. Newflash: the world is a large place, and you cannot expect everybody to like you. People have the right to think this whole religion thingy is sh!t. Even if I think they are id!ots for annoying people publicly with their opinion.

You spend a lot of text explaining to me how religious people - or at least your coreligionists - can still make good scientists, because they are not afraid of confronting their beliefs, and vice-versa. As it happens, I agree that this is possible and that it is happening.

I will leave you with another pearl of wisdom from a religious friend of mine: when a relationship is going sour, both parties are responsible for it.
I will grant you that the atheist movement certainly has its share of imbeciles in its ranks. Human nature is the same everywhere.
But when you complain about these rude atheists disgusting your fellow believers from science, it sounds to me like they still have trouble having their beliefs questioned. They may misinterpret science because they want to.

And frankly, these weeks are a bad time to tell me that religious people are fair-minded. Do some effort to clean your ranks of your crazies, and we will clean ours. Deal?

By Helianthus (not verified) on 23 Nov 2015 #permalink

I’m saying is that the lack of a disproof indicates that the sum totla of our scientific knowledge to date is not actively incompatible with such a belief.

Well, the smart religions have all moved on to making unfalsifiable claims, so science can say nothing about their validity. With that, it all comes down to a matter of what you find interesting and what sorts of priors you find plausible.

And I find the idea that some unphysical intelligence created the physical universe to be very implausible, and it leads to a nasty recursion problem. To me, the universe simply exists, and the great and probably unanswerable mystery is why there is something rather than nothing. Anthorpomorphizing this mystery seems childish to me.

And that, for once, is all.

By palindrom (not verified) on 23 Nov 2015 #permalink

To Yerushalmi:

I don’t know what complement of religious beliefs is considered orthodox for an Orthodox Jew, but what do you believe about this verse from the Jewish scriptures (i.e. Old Testament)?

“And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.” Daniel 12:2.

By See Noevo (not verified) on 23 Nov 2015 #permalink

Yerushalmi #45,

"...beyond the fact that it exists..."

But that is not a "fact" at all. That is simply your assertion.

Yerushalmi, I'd like to apologize for being so flippant before. It was entirely unnecessary and driven by my previous unpleasant experiences surrounding this topic.

All movements for social change are composed of people with wildly differing philosophies, and the least effective strategy for change is infighting.

See Noevo

Shut up, you piece of shit!

By Christopher Mankey (not verified) on 23 Nov 2015 #permalink

zebra 52 -- The "it" in Yerushalmi's post refers to his belief, which evidently exists

Although I don't believe in an extraphysical God, there is no question that God exists as an idea that many people believe. My own reconciliation with religion is to consider God to be a placeholder, so to speak, for the sense that many of us have that there are important things that are bigger than any of us, and for the instinct to empathize with others. Or something like that.

I dismiss the silly claims of religion, but I sure don't dismiss those overarching ideas.

By palindrom (not verified) on 23 Nov 2015 #permalink

I will reprise a point I made on Dave original Facebook post when he commented on the New York Times article: What seems to have happened to Dr 'Gifted Hands' is that he has indeed developed a severe case of hubris, brought on, in my view, by too many people saying how great he was for too long, and starting too early in his life. His age has only accentuated these difficulties, as when we age, our basic personal traits often become even more ingrained. And not only that, he has also spent too much time in revival meetings and other such stops on the Praise the lord circuit; he now - literally - thinks he sits at the right hand of Jesus Christ himself. He has, in short, been creating his own bullshit for so long, he actually believes it.

Of course I couldn't stay out of this one, if only to change the topic back to Ben Carson.
I also read the Times profile, and I was impressed by the loyalty he inspired in his PA. That AAPA wanted to honor him shows that he must be a strong ally of and contributor to the PA profession, and that this was cancelled suggests his opinions were well beyond the pale - PAs are politically and philosophically a very mixed bunch or people. PAs are like that old joke about Jews that if you ask two you'll get three opinions.
Getting back to his hubris, which I don't doubt is the correct word, and in spite of his sedate(d) appearance, an observation by Hunter S Thompson applies to him. As the good doctor said, every politician has to have a little kinky streak of Mick Jagger in him, and it's there in Carson too. He loves the adulation of the crowd, and he's got a kind of counter-political appeal that I think he cultivates to make himself stand out. This inner Mick Jagger lives very nicely alongside quiet hubris, just as it does with Donald Trumpery's self-aggrandizement and megalomania, or Chris Christie's crassness (or should we just call him Chrass Christie?).

By Old Rockin' Dave (not verified) on 23 Nov 2015 #permalink

#49 "People have the right to think this whole religion thingy is sh!t. Even if I think they are id!ots for annoying people publicly with their opinion."

I'm not entirely clear why it seems to be okay for believers discuss their beliefs but, should one thing the whole thing is a pile of horse pucky, it's some how rude or not nice or insensitive to state that.

Carson's religious beliefs are deeply disturbing to me. I suppose I should be grateful he is so public about them as it means I know he's not a man I'd trust with the running of my country. As if the anti-vax stuff wasn't enough.

@Krebiozen
You shouldn't take that statement *THAT* seriously :)

@Helianthus
Wow. You just brought in a LOT of straw-man arguments:
* What does anti-religious *oppression* have anything to do with my assertion that our culture has created an environment of religious opposition to science and vice versa? I'm not saying "religious people have it bad". I'm only saying that an environment has been created in which religious authorities and rationalists seem to believe their two groups cannot intersect.
* Why do you bring that "pearl of wisdom" into this discussion? I've said multiple times in the earlier posts of this thread that modern evangelical Christianity is responsible for much of the attitude that religion must be in opposition to science; my later posts, which lack this even-handedness, are addressed to the hostility towards religion expressed by people *in this thread*.
* What does Islamic terrorism have anything to do with my assertion that you can be religious and yet be rational? And in the context of that terrorism, telling somebody *Jewish* to "clean my ranks of the crazies" is a low blow.

@palindrom
The smart religions have moved on to making *mostly* unfalsifiable claims, yes. But almost every religion has a history that can at least in part be verified. For instance, it is fashionable to claim that many things in the Bible are metaphorical and not literal, and to claim that god's omnipotence allows him to weasel out of any test you might conduct that is designed to reveal his existence. You can say that god, being omnipotent, wrote the Torah in such-and-such a fashion so that it would fool later generations of linguistic investigators, for example. But there is only so far one can move the goalposts before anybody's faith snaps under the strain, including mine. So while the core belief in an omnipotent being may be unfalsifiable, the surrounding beliefs that support it certainly can be.

@See Noevo: I'm not familiar enough with the book of Daniel, I'm afraid.

@zebra: palindrom has it right. My belief is something that exists; I make no assertions to you about god.

@AdamG: Apology accepted. Thank you. I certainly believe that those of us who are rationalists - regardless of our positions on religion - ought to fight together against the irrationality that is sweeping modern religion. (And, before the obvious objection is brought up, I will remind you that I am Jewish, not Christian; my religion has *always* had a rich vein of rationalism, and it is only recently that some authorities have begun to reject its legitimacy.)

@Meg: I have no problem with people telling me they think my beliefs are stupid, but there are ways to say it without being condescending, dismissive, or offensive. Palindrom's objections to religion, for example, are a good example of how to express it.

By Yerushalmi (not verified) on 23 Nov 2015 #permalink

Please, tell your truths proudly. We have all done very well, and we have much to be grateful for - from each other. Don't forget to be excellent to each other. I think I might go on holiday for a while, but I'll be dropping in and out to hang our with all you lovely, intelligent people.

@ Yerushalmi

Wow. You just brought in a LOT of straw-man arguments:

Maybe.
Although I think that , due to a bit of cultural difference, we are talking past each other.

What does anti-religious *oppression* have anything to do with my assertion that our culture has created an environment of religious opposition to science and vice versa?

- I over-reacted, thinking how atheists/free-thinkers movements in US are framed as "war on Christianity".
- I also wanted to put things into perspective. A local group of vocal anti-religious people is not the same threat on religion as a state-enabled anti-religious policy.

Let me put it this way: your paragraph about rude anti-religious goons gave me the impression you were playing the oppressed minority card. It riled me up.
You weren't, and I apologize for this.

At the same time, I was trying to tell you that, from my little experience in USA, we in France went a lot further into separating religious expression and public life. A French president who "prays for his enemies" while declaring war will be laughed out of office.
(although, recently, there have been a surge of "France has Christian roots" politicians; but it's disguised racism rather than religion bigotry)

In this context, what you see as rude anti-religious expression may be considered normal in my country and doesn't stop us from being religious. We are expected to heavily compartmentalize our religious beliefs and our professional life and accept it as routine.
In short, you may see your country as secular, but for me, you country is still deeply religious. So we don't have the same reaction to people saying "bring less religion in professional/public life".

What does Islamic terrorism have anything to do with my assertion that you can be religious and yet be rational?

Religious-based violence is not the monopoly of Islam.

And in the context of that terrorism, telling somebody *Jewish* to “clean my ranks of the crazies” is a low blow.

Should we let the discussion veer off into Israel politics? Not so long ago, Ariel Sharon's government was entertaining the idea of expanding current borders to match the Old Testament borders (the Great Israel).
Sharon since recanted on the idea, but still. There are still hyper-religious Jews to entertain the idea (along with a few hyper-religious US Christians, who see the restoration of Jerusalem temple as a necessary step before the second coming of Christ),

I see it as a prime example of religion driving (bad) politics.
The Israel-Middle Eastern conflict is a lot more complex than just a religious war. Just the geo-politic aspect of resources access is a diplomatic nightmare.
But the local interactions of the three Abrahamic religions are not helping. And I am sorry, but each side does have its share of crazies.

But I agree my shot was a bit dirty.
If anything, you are not responsible for anyone I deem "crazy" and on "your" side (emphasis on "I deem" - my opinion, my biases).

By Helianthus (not verified) on 23 Nov 2015 #permalink

Yerushalmi (and also for Palindrom),

This is one of those concepts that must be spelled out very carefully, I suppose:

I am not questioning an assertion that God exists.

I am questioning your assertion that you believe God exists.

It is no more possible to prove or disprove the latter than the former.

The point is, Y, that you are claiming some authority based on this untestable internal state, which is not much different from someone telling me that he knows the truth because God speaks to him.

If you want to make a case in the context of a nuanced, psycho-social, scientific analysis of human behavior, by all means have at it. I would argue, for example, following on from Helianthus' point about the ME, that you could explain suicide bombers without invoking religion at all.

But I don't think your personal philosophical viewpoint, whatever it might be, is at all relevant to the actions and reactions of the groups in question.

I appreciate the apology, Helianthus. I will also point out that I don't actually live in the US; religious Jews in Israel are certainly not an "oppressed minority".

The reason I said you were talking about Islamic terrorism is because you said I shouldn't discuss being religious and fair-minded in "these weeks", and you're from France. It wasn't that much of a leap. :)

I don't want to get into a discussion of Israeli politics either, but I should just point out that hyper-religious Jews are not the ones who espouse Greater Israel philosophies; in fact, the more hyper-religious they are, the less they support (and, after a certain threshold, the more they *actively oppose*) the existence of the State of Israel. Some links:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edah_HaChareidis
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Satmar_%28Hasidic_dynasty%29#Satmar_and_t…
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neturei_Karta

There are other misconceptions in your post as well but I *really* don't want to get into the discussion.

@zebra
All I said is that it's not hard to imagine how somebody who believes in god, such as me, might find a particular phrasing condescending or offensive. I have no idea what you're trying to say in disputing that I believe in god.

By Yerushalmi (not verified) on 24 Nov 2015 #permalink

# 27 Yerushalmi
Christianity fought for centuries against the idea that the Earth was not the center of the universe

Excuse me but this is nonsense overall. The Catholic Church, at least, did not fight against this the idea but rather refused to change a earth-centred model for a helio-centered model without adequate proof. Certainly the Catholic Church had no real problem with the idea as long as it could be convincingly demontrated and for a good century or so it could not be untill future research showed that the helio-centric proposition was a better explanation of the data.

In fact, the Church's position was just the same as the Dalai Lama's that you posted.\If scientific analysis were conclusively to demonstrate certain claims in Buddhism to be false, then we must accept the findings of science and abandon those claims.”
― Dalai Lama XIV

By jrkrideau (not verified) on 24 Nov 2015 #permalink

"Stop badmouthing and lying about our future president Ben Carson! It's mean! And it makes you all seem ridiculous. Obama is much worse! The worst, bloody communist muslim immigrant."
"We're not lying, we're just asking him to explain what he said." says someone from the audience.
"You liberals are trying to smear him! It's all lies!"
"There's recordings of him saying those things, evidence-"
"Bah! Evidence, shmevidence, who believes in those things anyway. Bible says it all, the age of the Creation and how even Jews belive in the afterlife!"
"Somehow it doesn't surprise me that guy is a young earth creationist..." whispers one spectator to another, while holding the camera.
"It's not his fault, it's just that he was createth dumb."

(pause)

Irritated by the giggling from the audience, See Noevo stomps the stage hard in anger. "Now listen!" he shouts, before to muster a calmer demeanor and an air of reasonable discussion. "I took time off my busy and incredibly important schedule of studying the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact to be here for you people, so you should accept what I have to say without questions."

(pause)

"And when you think about it, isn't that what honest debate is all about?"
"No." answers the audience.
"Shut up, I wasn't asking!" shrieks See Noevo.

@ Yerushalmi

Two points I would like to clarify, because I feel I was not clear enough, and it's bugging me since yesterday it could have been seen as offensive:

In conflating the generalized belief in God with “magical thinking”

Actually, I was trying not to:
- by magical thinking, I meant the act of believing that the universe will make an exception for the believer.
Believing in an afterlife or that some supernatural entity is watching over you is not.
Believing that you can jump off a cliff and said supernatural entity will catch you is magical thinking.*
I guess I could have just said religion-based hubris. Or just hubris: magical thinking is not necessarily linked to a given religion, or to any religion.
Note that I am not judging on the existence - or non-existence - of miracles; just on the belief that a miracle will happen.

- dogma: I was using the term in a non-pejorative way. I meant by it the core beliefs and rituals of a given religion/set of beliefs; the ones by which one identifies itself and its fellow coreligionists.

* If someone is already on the way down, I certainly won't blame it for hoping for a magical rescue.

By Helianthus (not verified) on 24 Nov 2015 #permalink

@ Yerushalmi

There are other misconceptions in your post

Oh. Fair enough.
Eh, I'll have learned something today.

By Helianthus (not verified) on 24 Nov 2015 #permalink

jrkrideau #66,

It might be more accurate to say that many in physics were reluctant to embrace a position that, given what was generally accepted as Church doctrine, might alienate a powerful entity and its followers. You can hardly suggest that there were not factions within the Church (as there are today) less open to change.

But you are quite correct that the numbers were still with epicycles for a while there.

@Helianthus
I saw nothing wrong with the use of the word "dogma". As for "magical thinking", I don't entirely see how prayers for intercession relate to evolution, which was when the first term was brought up.

By Yerushalmi (not verified) on 24 Nov 2015 #permalink

Yerushalmi #65,

You have no idea what I am trying to say? How could I be any more clear than saying that "God exists" and "I believe God exists" are equally empty statements?

It may be that you empathize with people who profess belief, but your claim that the empathy is because you Believe is unsupported. And that's what you are claiming.

I have no idea what you're trying to say *in this context*.

p = I believe God exists.
q = I found statement x to be hurtful.

How does the verifiability of p in any way change your ability to evaluate the statement p->q?

By Yerushalmi (not verified) on 24 Nov 2015 #permalink

Yerushalmi,

Let's dispense with trying to use logical symbols, which is really a form of distraction. The validity of

"I found statement x to be hurtful because I believe God exists"

obviously depends on the validity of the second part.

If I say "I found this racist comment offensive because I'm an African American", it would not be true.

Do you really not understand that?

As Carson tries to wiggle out from the flaps over fabricating stuff in his autobiography, some of what he HASN'T made up shows more hubris than the his inventions or stretching of the truth..

His oft repeated claim he was offered a scholarship to West Point caps a narrative arc of extraordinary boot-strapping, in which he takes control of his of life, and transforms himself from the young 'thug' who stabbed a friend and only escaped being a murderer by the hand of God's belt-buckle into a thoroughly disciplined and respected young-man-headed-for-great-things. He says he received the 'scholarship offer' after having dinner with William Westmoreland on Memorial Day 1969, having been selected to attend dinner with the General by virtue of being "the highest student ROTC member in Detroit." Here's how he describes this momentus day in Healing Hands:

"I felt so proud, my chest bursting with ribbons and braids of every kind. To make it more wonderful, we had important visitors that day. Two soldiers who had won the Congressional Medal of Honor in Viet Nam were present. More exciting to me, General William Westmoreland (very prominent in the Viet Nam war) attended with an impressive entourage. Afterward, Sgt. Hunt introduced me to General Westmoreland, and I had dinner with him and the Congressional Medal winners. Later I was offered a full scholarship to West Point.

Lets forget about the 'scholarship, as it's merely a footnote to the paragraph, and focus on what no one's disputing:
• In 1969 Carson was the highest ranked Junior ROTC candidate in Detroit.
• He was more excited to meet William Westmoreland than to meet Medal of Honor winners.
• He knew Westmoreland had recently returned to the U.S. and a Pentagon post after having been the commander of U.S. forces in Viet Nam during the height of the war.
• He was very impressed by Westmoreland's entourage.
By 1969, only utter tools were proud of being in ROTC. After Tet and Chicago, revelations about body-counts and possible atrocities, anyone with an ounce of critical thinking skills and/or intellectual humility was rethinking the Vietnam War and American militarism and imperialism in general. Parading in front of a ROTC group bursting with pride at your chest full of non-combat) medals took considerable hubris.

But not as much as recounting the incident the way Carson did in his book. He writes about how "wonderful" it had been to meet Westmoreland? The general who said:

The Oriental doesn't put the same high price on life as does a Westerner. ... We value life and human dignity. They don't care about life and human dignity.

...while instituting 'kill anything that moves' tactics that resulted in massive civilian casualties, and then covering-up the atrocities like My Lai that inevitably followed? It was bad enough he couldn't manage critical thinking on Vietnam in 1969. That his head could be so far under the sand in 2003 boggles the mind

But that's probably indicative of why Carson is polling up there with The Donald:

Here is the thing. The central and sacrosanct tenet of 21st century conservatism—the core ethic against which to judge a Republican politician’s fidelity and consistency—is not fiscal prudence, or the preservation of social tradition, or even cold post-human market rationality. It’s flailing, entitled hostility toward the very notion of reason. Trump and Carson are at the middle of the debate stage, Fiorina and Rubio and poor Rand Paul on it at all, because what they say is ridiculous, because them saying things about policy and policymaking is itself ridiculous, because they rather obviously are the most ridiculous people to take seriously when they say pretty much anything at all. They’re there to express an idea: Refusal.

Do you want to stay here and play some more?
No!
Okay, well, then, let’s pack up our stuff and head home.
No!
Uh, well, sweetie, we have to either stay or go.
I don’t want to!
You don’t want to what?
I don’t know!

Tired and cranky, arms crossed, glassy eyes pinched shut, heads swiveling back and forth in simple stubborn refusal. You can’t make me! I don’t wanna! Refusing everything. The point is refusal...

The thing those eight clowns were put there to conserve isn’t money, or tradition, or individual liberty, or some proud American heritage. The constituency... empirically and emphatically does not give a fuck about any of those things. The thing being conserved is a fantasy, and a privileged, childish one: that the universe bends itself to the pieties and self-assurances and red-faced insistences of the entitled; that truth comes from authority and not the other way around; that I don’t give a good goldang what some fancypants “math” book says, under my roof two plus two equals five and don’t you forget it. – Albert Burneko

jrkrideau #66
The Church certainly did fight the heliocentric model.
You often hear the woo-ful say "They laughed at Galileo." They did no such thing. He scared the living piss out of the Church. It had a major investment of intellectual and moral capital in geocentrism. At the same time they had nothing to refute him with. They allowed him to publish, but only if he cast it as an intellectual exercise. He failed to do so to their satisfaction, and instead put his ideas in a dialogue in which the Church positions were defended by a character intended to be seen as a fool and simpleton. This led to his trial and so forth.
At least that's how I learned it, to the best of my recall (I have no fear that any error I have made will go uncorrected (although I do fear that things I've gotten right will also be corrected)).

By Old Rockin' Dave (not verified) on 24 Nov 2015 #permalink

Excuse me but this is nonsense overall. The Catholic Church, at least, did not fight against this the idea but rather refused to change a earth-centred model for a helio-centered model without adequate proof.

Ah, well, that explains why the Inquisition ordered Galileo to abandon "the opinion that the sun stands still at the center of the world and the earth moves, and henceforth not to hold, teach, or defend it in any way whatever, either orally or in writing." The banning of all books about the Copernican system (including Kepler's) was merely a courtesy detail.

By Mephistopheles… (not verified) on 24 Nov 2015 #permalink

@zebra
I'll start with the really tiny picture objection and move on to the big-picture objection.
1) You are objecting to this statement:
You don’t need to know the details about my belief – beyond the fact that it exists – to see that why phrasing “Russel’s teapot much? This is why I find theology so useless…” would be construed as dismissive and condescending.
All that's said in this statement is that, if you assume that somebody believes in god, they would find that statement dismissive and condescending. Arguing against the assumption doesn't argue against the logical progression that follows from the assumption. "Unicorns don't exist" is not an argument against "if a unicorn had wings, then it could fly".

2) Think about what you are ultimately asserting here: that you have the right to disregard somebody's feelings absolutely, just because it cannot be proven that those feelings are genuine. That is not a good model of interpersonal interactions.

By Yerushalmi (not verified) on 24 Nov 2015 #permalink

“If Darwinian evolution applies to religion, then religion must have some evolutionary value.”

Of course, Darwinian evolution doesn't apply to religion...

Yerushalmi #78,

I think I've been quite clear about my point, starting with my pretty benign and non-controversial first comment, and have no interest in repeating myself.

You are misinterpreting it for whatever reason-- perhaps you have doubts about your faith and my observations make you uncomfortable, so you are trying to change the subject. That's OK, it's all part of the journey.

You are misinterpreting it for whatever reason

Yes, you complain about this often. It's an outstandingly stupid example in this case.

It says in Genesis 1, in the beginning God created heaven and earth. Period. We don’t know how long that period is before he started the rest of creation. It could be a minute. It could be a trillion years. We don’t know. I have never stated that I have an understanding of how old the earth is.

Carson seems to be making it clear that he is not interested in any scientific evidence.

He is only interested in what is written in his Bible.

How does this make him any different from Ken Ham?

.

By Rogue Medic (not verified) on 24 Nov 2015 #permalink

At least we have a current president who’s knowledgeable about science, and even uses it to fight the biggest worry on people’s minds:

“Next week, I will be joining President Hollande and world leaders in Paris for the global climate conference. WHAT A POWERFUL REBUKE TO THE TERRORISTS IT WILL BE, when the world stands as one and shows that we will not be deterred from building a better future for our children.”
– Barack Obama

http://www.climatedepot.com/2015/11/24/obama-says-paris-climate-confere…

I feel so much better.

By See Noevo (not verified) on 24 Nov 2015 #permalink

See Noevo, if you don't wake up and get over yourself, you are going to go to Hell.

SN, I just read the comments on that climate depot page you made reference to. Nice bunch of friends you have there.

SN, I just read the comments on that climate depot page you made reference to.

At least S.N. recycles.

Old Rockin' Dave #76:

The Church certainly did fight the heliocentric model...
At least that’s how I learned it, to the best of my recall

That's what everyone "learns", but in reality it's more complicated than that.
The church was mostly neutral on the matter. At that time, the evidence, as it was, supported geocentricity better than heliocentricity. It was only with the advent of better telescopes that the evidence swung towards the latter.
The problem the church faced is that it didn't want to be seen to flip-flop. If it endorsed heliocentricity and then later data proved geocentricity, that could damage its image, or so it feared.
Another problem was that even though Galileo was ultimately correct, he was a jerk about it. The church wanted him to frame the discussion as a "thought exercise" and include a line because of the aforementioned weakness of the data. Galileo did so, but put the line in the mouth of a character who was written to be a fool.
Of course, it's even more complicated than what I've written, but it's not as simple as "church fixated on geocentrism".

By Julian Frost (not verified) on 24 Nov 2015 #permalink

Julian Frost,

Another problem was that even though Galileo was ultimately correct, he was a jerk about it.

Galileo lived the rest of his life under house arrest to shut him up.

It took the church hundreds of years to admit the mistake.

You, and other defenders of the Church, pretend that Galileo was the jerk.

All Galileo did was educate people about science.

Because science exposed the problems with the Church's mandated "Christian science," Galileo was confined to his house for the rest of his life.

If Galileo had been less famous, the church might have burned him at the stake, as they did with others they convicted of heresy.

Yet, you claim that Galileo was a jerk for advancing science. Brilliant!

.

By Rogue Medic (not verified) on 24 Nov 2015 #permalink

Rogue Medic:

Yet, you claim that Galileo was a jerk for advancing science. Brilliant!

No, I claim he was a jerk because he was obnoxious towards geocentrists when the evidence wasn't yet definitive. The fact that it's definitive now doesn't change the fact that back then it wasn't.
Nice ad hominem, by the way.

By Julian Frost (not verified) on 24 Nov 2015 #permalink

Dudes, chill out.

Entirely OT: That is an extremely flattering picture of Dr. Carson. So much so that if people were into electing physicians and I was in his camp, I'd recommend using it for his campaign.

By Not a Troll (not verified) on 25 Nov 2015 #permalink

Julian Frost, # 87
You say "...The church was mostly neutral on the matter".
Well, I think it is inaccurate. Catholic Church had a vested interest in saying that Sun revolved around Earth, because this is what its Holy Book had said (Joshua 12 f). And no Holy Church can admit errors in The Book.
As Karl Popper says (Three Views Concerning Human Knowledge), "... There was no objection to Galileo's teaching the mathematical theory, so long as he made it clear that its value was instrumental only , as Cardinal Bellarmino put it; a kind of mathematical trick, invented and assumed in order to abbreviate and ease the calculations.... Galileo himself, of course, was very ready to stress the superiority of the Copernican system as an instrument of calculation. But at the same time he conjectured, and even believed, that it was a true description of the world; and for him (as for the Church) this was by far the most important aspect of the matter".

By perodatrent (not verified) on 25 Nov 2015 #permalink

Julian Frost,

No, I claim he was a jerk because he was obnoxious towards geocentrists when the evidence wasn’t yet definitive.

Being obnoxious toward people who lock up the people they disagree with is not being a jerk.

Being obnoxious toward people who kill the people they disagree with is not being a jerk.

But you will probably keep claiming that Galileo was the jerk, not those who persecuted scientists.

.

By Rogue Medic (not verified) on 25 Nov 2015 #permalink

To perodatrent #93:

“Well, I think it is inaccurate. Catholic Church had a vested interest in saying that Sun revolved around Earth, because this is what its Holy Book had said (Joshua 12 f). And no Holy Church can admit errors in The Book.”

Where does Scripture say the sun revolves around the earth?

By See Noevo (not verified) on 25 Nov 2015 #permalink

To Julian Frost and jrkrideau:

Thanks for the Galileo posts.

Is it also true that Galileo was proposing the false idea that the sun was the center of the universe, not just the center of our solar system?

By See Noevo (not verified) on 25 Nov 2015 #permalink

But you will probably keep claiming that Galileo was the jerk, not those who persecuted scientists.

Lovely strawman there. I never said that the Vatican weren't jerks. Oh, and please stop presuming to tell me what I am or am not thinking. You have no idea how wrong you are about me.
And remember what I said about the evidence for geocentrism? Galileo was being a jerk to everyone who believed in geocentrism. Until he and Copernicus came along, the majority viewpoint was geocentrism and he insulted everyone.

By Julian Frost (not verified) on 25 Nov 2015 #permalink

“If Darwinian evolution applies to religion, then religion must have some evolutionary value.”

Of course religion – or rather the mental character that seems to establish a 'preference' for religious belief – has evolutionary value, serving a variety of functions that help get the 'chosen' genes into the next generation. That doesn't mean there's a God, or that any piece of dogma is necessarily correct. If anything, the proliferation of so many different religious beliefs among the species shows that while belief has an evolutionary function, the content of that belief is essentially irrelevant, as long as it serves the socio-behavioral functions of natural selection for creatures inhabiting a specific environment.

Keepin' it cool, sadmar.

“If Darwinian evolution applies to religion, then religion must have some evolutionary value.”

Bull. First of all, define religion. Second, evolution is an ongoing dynamic process. We're not looking at perfect end states, but adaptations to conditions that may or may not be successful to varying degrees for varying populations in the long run. It should be trivially obvious to anyone paying attention to politics that as a group, humans are chock full of buggy software.

By Obstreperous A… (not verified) on 25 Nov 2015 #permalink

Julian Frost,

Lovely strawman there. I never said that the Vatican weren’t jerks.

Locking people up and killing people for discussing science is far worse than being jerks.

Science depends on criticism of hypotheses, not on manners.

Being a jerk is how science progresses, but you object to that when you state that any scientist was a jerk for explaining his thinking about the evidence.

Oh, and please stop presuming to tell me what I am or am not thinking. You have no idea how wrong you are about me.

Will you keep claiming that Galileo was a jerk?

I expect that you will, even though that is not telling you what you are thinking. I am just making a prediction based on the evidence you have provided.

Let's see if you continue to call Galileo a jerk.

And remember what I said about the evidence for geocentrism? Galileo was being a jerk to everyone who believed in geocentrism.

I was right.

You are the one creating straw men, but you accuse others of what you are doing. Either you don't know what you are doing or you are completely dishonest.

It would be wrong for me to pretend that I know which applies to you, because that would be pretending to read your mind. I don't do that, no matter how much you claim otherwise. Anyone can look at our discussion and see the truth.

Go ahead.

Until he and Copernicus came along, the majority viewpoint was geocentrism and he insulted everyone.

Promoting an alternative hypothesis is insulting to those who have not yet been persuaded by the evidence?

Providing evidence to support that alternative hypothesis is insulting.

We need to stop learning, because it will be insulting to those with entrenched faulty beliefs!

A reasonable person might conclude that we need more jerks like Galileo and fewer people like you.

.

By Rogue Medic (not verified) on 25 Nov 2015 #permalink

Guuuuuys, relax. Keep it cool. Be excellent to each other.

Maybe it's time for a nice cold beer, or whatever it is you like. No need to worry about time zones; you can drink at 7 AM if you want to. The Beastie Boys fought for that kinda thing.

Julian Frost - By the time of Galileo, geocentrism had been in increasing trouble for hundreds of years. Proponents had been forced into ever more intricate rationalizations in the attempt to keep it alive in the face of better observations and better math. Galileo's telescopic observations of Jupiter's moons was pretty much the coup de grace.The Church was aware of this, and was unable to refute him and knew it. Various Church fathers came to look through his telescope; most were impressed, though at least one claimed that the view through his telescope was nothing but an elaborate trick (and who more than a clergyman would know about elaborate trickery?).
There are numerous verses in the Bible that are not only geocentric, but flat-Earth:
1 Chronicles 16:30: “He has fixed the earth firm, immovable.”
Psalm 93:1: “Thou hast fixed the earth immovable and firm ...”
Psalm 96:10: “He has fixed the earth firm, immovable ...”
Psalm 104:5: “Thou didst fix the earth on its foundation so that it never can be shaken.”
Isaiah 45:18: “...who made the earth and fashioned it, and himself fixed it fast...”
The Church of course was heavily invested in Biblical inerrancy, so could not in the end endorse a finding that overturned it, no matter how powerful the evidence.
This article on the Bible as a source for flat-Earthers gives a good idea of the Biblical conception of the skies: https://www.lhup.edu/~dsimanek/febible.htm

By Old Rockin' Dave (not verified) on 25 Nov 2015 #permalink

To Old Rockin’ Dave #105:

The verses you quote have nothing to do with a stationary earth but rather with a lasting earth.

Unless you think the Bible is saying the wicked shall never change physical positions:
“In the pride of his countenance the wicked does not seek him; all his thoughts are, "There is no God."
He thinks in his heart, "I SHALL NOT BE MOVED;
throughout all generations I shall not meet adversity."
[Psalm 10:4,6]

Or you think the righteous are physically frozen in place:
“who does not put out his money at interest,
and does not take a bribe against the innocent.
He who does these things SHALL NEVER BE MOVED.” [Psalm 15:5]
…………..
I’m not aware of any place Scripture says the sun revolves around the earth or vice versa.

By See Noevo (not verified) on 25 Nov 2015 #permalink

See Noevo:

Chill, man. Go drink a beer or walk the dog or smoke a reefer or something. Whatever helps you. We've all been real tense for a long damn time. Just relax.

The verses you quote have nothing to do with a stationary earth but rather with a lasting earth.

Lasting is good. We're gonna last a looooooong time, friends and neighbors.

See Noevo,

The verses you quote have nothing to do with a stationary earth but rather with a lasting earth.

That is one of the many problems with the Bible.

It can be used to justify whatever you want, depending on which verse you quote and what interpretation you use.

The Ku Klux Klan appear to be just as sincere in their interpretation of the Bible as Pat Robertson or Mike Huckabee.

They all use their interpretations to promote immorality.

The Bible is the vaguest, most relative book in history.

There is nothing that all Christians agree on - except that there was something special about Jesus.

God thinks like the believer, because there isn't any credible source to tell us what the people who wrote the Bible meant and they probably had very different beliefs, but they ended up in the same series of books with no editor.

.

By Rogue Medic (not verified) on 25 Nov 2015 #permalink

The Bible is the vaguest, most relative book in history.

There's a reason for that.

JP, you are doing the good work here! I lift my stone-cold cup of tea to your persistence and calm demeanor.

Maybe everyone just needs a nice cuppa.

By JustaTech (not verified) on 25 Nov 2015 #permalink

I lift my stone-cold cup of tea to your persistence and calm demeanor.

Some of the chillest amongst us are a bit Asian in demeanor. ;) The tea ceremony is a real nice thing... lovely manners.

Although JP #84 also says in holiday jest that I’m self-absorbed and going to hell.

Happy Thanksgiving!

By See Noevo (not verified) on 25 Nov 2015 #permalink

Although JP #84 also says in holiday jest that I’m self-absorbed and going to hell.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Different truths are appropriate for different times. Please come along with us. This is an honest plea. It just won't be as much fun without you. And I, for one, would be very sorry if you missed the boat.

Let’s see if you continue to call Galileo a jerk.

Galileo was a jerk; I don't think that was in dispute. It is the one point on which his contemporaries could agree.
But Julian Frost is hardly offering an exculpation for the Catholic Church of the day by arguing that the Pope silenced Galileo and placed him under house arrest primarily for being a jerk, rather than primarily for being a heliocentrist.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 25 Nov 2015 #permalink

Promoting an alternative hypothesis is insulting to those who have not yet been persuaded by the evidence?
We need to stop learning, because it will be insulting to those with entrenched faulty beliefs!

Another strawman. Casting the believers in geocentrism as ignorant simpletons was insulting. And yes, your comment is presuming to tell me what I am or am not thinking.

A reasonable person might conclude that we need more jerks like Galileo and fewer people like you.

A reasonable person would realise you're replacing arguments with logical fallacies.
With regards to what I said about the evidence at the time favouring geocentrism:
http://scienceblogs.com/startswithabang/2010/09/13/geocentrism-was-gali…

In fact, by even the late 1500s, 50 years after Copernicus, this geocentric explanation was far-and-away the most superior way to predict what the positions of the planets would be.

Getting back to my point...
Geocentrism predates the church by centuries. To cast the events as "church sticking to a ridiculous viewpoint and shutting up Galileo" is a monumental and grotesque oversimplification of what actually happened.

But Julian Frost is hardly offering an exculpation for the Catholic Church of the day by arguing that the Pope silenced Galileo and placed him under house arrest primarily for being a jerk, rather than primarily for being a heliocentrist.

herr dokter bimler gets my point.

By Julian Frost (not verified) on 25 Nov 2015 #permalink

Julian Frost@87:

The church wanted him to frame the discussion as a “thought exercise” and include a line because of the aforementioned weakness of the data. Galileo did so, but put the line in the mouth of a character who was written to be a fool.

Even worse, Galileo's Simplicio was not just any old fool, but a detectable parody of Pope Urban himself. He was damn fortunate in being old and famous enough that this was only a career-ending move: questioning Biblical infallibility is one thing, openly insulting the Vicar of Rome quite another.

And I, for one, would be very sorry if you missed the boat.

You're talking about someone who can't even find the pond, here.

By shay simmons (not verified) on 26 Nov 2015 #permalink

While I'm giving thanks for Orac and my fellow Orac-minions, I still have more to say on Galileo.
Obviously the Church was heavily invested in geocentrism - they put him on trial for heresy, for pity's sake, for contravening Church doctrine. Clearly it wasn't merely a polite difference of opinion. The went so far as to show him the instruments of torture, the last step before actually using them, so clearly they took a serious view. That has nothing to do with whether or not he may have been a jerk. Being a jerk is not heresy, or the Church would have disappeared long before, and not usually a capital crime or maybe our ancestors would have exterminated each other while still in the trees.
Now, SN, you may read biblical verses any way you choose, which is what you and everyone else will do anyway, but however you read them has nothing to do with how the Church read them.
Besides, the Church had adopted the geocentric cosmology of Ptolemy as doctrine. Cosmology was serious business in those days.

By Old Rockin' Dave (not verified) on 26 Nov 2015 #permalink

Today I give thanks that JP is here, and shillin' for chillin'. We're all passengers on that boat going across the Styx, but the ride is gonna last a looong time, so we should indeed relax and have some fun before we reach the other shore.

Yes, "be most excellent to each other". But I'm not a SoCal dude, so I have a different film reference to invoke based on where I grew up. In A Serious Man Danny goes through his Bar Mitzvah stoned on weed, and then is taken to see the aged Talmudic-scholar senior Rabbi Marshak. Danny could care less, though his troubled father Larry has desperately sought to speak to Marshak about the meaning of the series of calamities that have befallen him. He wants Marshak to explain what Hashem (God) is trying to tell him, but Marshak has no time to see him.

Danny sits down, and Marshak pulls out the transistor radio one of the Hebrew school teachers had confiscated from Danny in one of the opening scenes:

MARSHAK:
When the truth is found. To be lies. And all the hope. Within you dies...
Then what?
Grace Slick. Marty Balin. Paul Kanta. Jorma ...something. These are the membas of the Airplane. Interesting. Here.
[He gives Danny back the radio]
Be a good boy.

Throughout the movie, as Larry suffers one indignity after another, he protests again and again, "I haven't done anything wrong!" And he hasn't, But he hasn't done anything right either. He's a physics professor, but his brother Arthur is deep into bizarre mysticism. The film suggests both the scientist and the woo-ist have chosen the wrong path, trying too hard to plumb all the answers in a universe that refuses to explain itself or give up all its mysteries. 'The parable of the goy's teeth' is actually the film's 'message', (though presented as a joke, as the Coen's are wont to do with 'the point'): peace and happiness depend on giving up the quest for answers at some point, and just caring for other people, being a mensch.

The truth – whatever you think it is – will ALWAYS turn out to be some form of lie.

Then what?

Be good.

I'm off for a cuppa with old friends. All sinners. All who have been good to me. Le chaim, y'all.

To Old Rockin’ Dave #121:

“Obviously the Church was heavily invested in geocentrism…”

Really?
Why?
What Scripture verses and what Catholic dogma necessitated geocentrism?
..........
“Now, SN, you may read biblical verses any way you choose, which is what you and everyone else will do anyway, but however you read them has nothing to do with how the Church read them. Besides, the Church had adopted the geocentric cosmology of Ptolemy as doctrine.”

No.
Unlike with Protestants, if I read/interpret the Scriptures in a way the Church condemns, then I change my read/interpretation so that it is not in conflict with the Church, the body which formed the Scriptures.

But again, where did the Church adopt the geocentric cosmology of Ptolemy as *doctrine*?

By See Noevo (not verified) on 26 Nov 2015 #permalink

I asked a question earlier and no one here has answered:

Is it also true that Galileo was proposing the false idea that the sun was the center of the universe, not just the center of our solar system?

By See Noevo (not verified) on 26 Nov 2015 #permalink

“The truth – whatever you think it is – will ALWAYS turn out to be some form of lie.
Then what?
Be good.”

What a bunch of new age garbage.
Go smoke another "cuppa" joints, and maybe that mindless garbage will smell better.

By See Noevo (not verified) on 26 Nov 2015 #permalink

I asked a question earlier and no one here has answered

@SN:

I asked a question earlier and no one here has answered

Maybe because said question, namely...

Is it also true that Galileo was proposing the false idea that the sun was the center of the universe, not just the center of our solar system?

...is totally irrelevant to the discussion.

By Julian Frost (not verified) on 26 Nov 2015 #permalink

SN, for detailed evidence of the Church's position of heliocentrism, there is quite a lot of well-sourced material here, ironically on a site devoted to geocentrism: http://veritas-catholic.blogspot.com/2005/08/geocentrism-101-part-iii-s…
Ptolemaic cosmology as dogma:
http://csep10.phys.utk.edu/astr161/lect/retrograde/aristotle.html
Now go forth and read and learn, and remember, you could have found this out as easily as I did.

By Old Rockin' Dave (not verified) on 26 Nov 2015 #permalink

I think it is inaccurate to see the Church wanting to defend the geocentric cosmology by reference to the Bible. Actually, the authority of the Church was based on "knowledge" and "knowledge" was aristotelian philosophy at this time. And the power of the Catholic Church was threatened by a much more serious issue than earth revolving around the sun, it was bread being changed in the body of Christ. Transubstantiation https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transubstantiation was supported by aristotelian philosophy and "heretics" did not believe in it.
So, the position of the Church was close to what we see now in contemporary issues involving knowledge and power, and not to that of backward people believing in creation.

By Daniel Corcos (not verified) on 26 Nov 2015 #permalink

To Julian Frost #127:

Me: “Is it also true that Galileo was proposing the false idea that the sun was the center of the universe, not just the center of our solar system?”

You: “… said question …is totally irrelevant to the discussion.”

I don’t see how it’s “totally irrelevant” to the discussion that the theory proposed by Galileo was not only unprovable at the time, but was in fact false.

By See Noevo (not verified) on 26 Nov 2015 #permalink

I asked a question earlier and no one here has answered

I asked a question earlier and no one here has answered

^ Rats, should have been two blockquotes. Selah.

I don’t see how it’s “totally irrelevant” to the discussion that the theory proposed by Galileo was not only unprovable without resorting to scientific instruments and complex math at the time, but was in fact false. better at explaining the observations and for making predictions.

Fix'd.

Unlike with Protestants, if I read/interpret the Scriptures in a way the Church condemns, then I change my read/interpretation so that it is not in conflict with the Church, the body which formed the Scriptures.

So how do you reconcile this with your stance on evolution, which, i believe, directly contradicts the Catholic Church's acceptance of evolution?

To TBruce #135:

Me: “Unlike with Protestants, if I read/interpret the Scriptures in a way the Church condemns, then I change my read/interpretation so that it is not in conflict with the Church, the body which formed the Scriptures.”

You: “So how do you reconcile this with your stance on evolution, which, i believe, directly contradicts the Catholic Church’s acceptance of evolution?”

No need to “reconcile” anything, as my stance is NOW, and has always been, acceptable by the Church. In fact, for over 90% of the Church’s existence, my stance was virtually unanimously held by the Church and its Fathers.

I think “acceptance” (i.e. of evolution) is too strong a word as far as the Church is concerned. The Church has NOT said evolution is true, and it has NOT said it is false.

By See Noevo (not verified) on 27 Nov 2015 #permalink

Julian Frost (117),

You continue to promote the logical fallacy that whether Galileo was a jerk is relevant in science.

You add to this with -

A reasonable person would realise you’re replacing arguments with logical fallacies.
With regards to what I said about the evidence at the time favouring geocentrism:
http://scienceblogs.com/startswithabang/2010/09/13/geocentrism-was-gali…

In fact, by even the late 1500s, 50 years after Copernicus, this geocentric explanation was far-and-away the most superior way to predict what the positions of the planets would be.

You make it seem as if the author stopped there. Do you also use the Darwin quote about the impossibility of an eye developing, but omit what he wrote after that?

Here is the rest of what the author you cited wrote -

So which was better? Was Galileo, the most passionate of all the heliocentric proponents, justified in his adamant rejection of geocentrism?

Up until the early 1600s, I would have said “no.” But right around 1609, something remarkable happened that scientifically settled the issue.

He explains the way the telescope changed everything and how after 1609 the evidence was clear. Galileo's trial was decades later.

The Church didn't admit its error until 1992.

Here is the final paragraph -

But the idea that “Galileo was wrong” is now 401 years out of date, and very, very easy to disprove. The geocentric model has yet to come up with an explanation for the apparent size of Venus in its different phases, and the scientific conclusion is that’s because it’s wrong. But perhaps someone out there knows better… any ideas?

But it is easy to excuse threatening to kill a scientist because he was a jerk.

Recant or we will burn you alive.

That's horrible.

The guy we are threatening is a jerk.

Oh. That's completely ethical and exactly what we expect from people who brag about being moral paragons.

.

By Rogue Medic (not verified) on 27 Nov 2015 #permalink

A model that puts the Sun at the center of the entire universe with the Earth in orbit around it is less false then one where the Sun orbits the Earth.

By Mephistopheles… (not verified) on 27 Nov 2015 #permalink

The truth – whatever you think it is – will ALWAYS turn out to be some form of lie.

I could go on about nihilism but what's the point.

OT: Does anyone know why scanners (at multiple arprts) flag my right ankle for a pat down when it's my left ankle that contains the plates, screws and tightrope?

By Not a Troll (not verified) on 27 Nov 2015 #permalink

139 NaT, OT

Don't know, but some guesses.

Perhaps it's "the other left." If the imagery is taken from the back and screener reads the image as facing front...

Or do ankle monitors usually end up on the right leg?

Or perhaps the screeners, if they face you, routinely work from their left to their right.

By Obstreperous A… (not verified) on 27 Nov 2015 #permalink

"No need to “reconcile” anything, as my stance is NOW, and has always been, acceptable by the Church. In fact, for over 90% of the Church’s existence, my stance was virtually unanimously held by the Church and its Fathers."
So if for over 90% of the Church's existence I was responsible for the crucifixion of Jesus, then it's acceptable to blame me for that today?

By Old Rockin' Dave (not verified) on 27 Nov 2015 #permalink

O. Applesauce,

Thanks for the reply. I've looked at the monitor over my shoulder and there are front and back depictions. It's definitely the right ankle colored in.

The agents always start with the right ankle and then pat the left as well. Until today. They only touched the right ankle. Afterwards when I stated "the plate is in the left ankle." the agent said something entirely unheplful that it only scans the surface.

Makes me wonder what I'm carrying around on the skin of my right ankle...but not really.

By Not a Troll (not verified) on 27 Nov 2015 #permalink

Daniel Corcos: Go to the links I posted above. You will see that Ptolemaic cosmology was dogma and that various Church authorities, including Popes in Papal Bulls, cited the inerrancy of the cosmological implications of various biblical verses.
However they felt about bread becoming slices of godmeat is entirely irrelevant to their flatly stated reactions to Galileo's new model of the Universe as heretical. Allowing anything that challenged inerrancy by implication was out of the question.

By Old Rockin' Dave (not verified) on 27 Nov 2015 #permalink

Rogue Medic:

You continue to promote the logical fallacy that whether Galileo was a jerk is relevant in science.

Stop lying and stop strawmanning. I never said that that was relevant. My point was and remains:
To cast the events as “church sticking to a ridiculous viewpoint and shutting up Galileo” is a monumental and grotesque oversimplification of what actually happened.

You make it seem as if the author stopped there.

Once again, no. My point is, it wasn't that cut and dried even then.

But it is easy to excuse threatening to kill a scientist because he was a jerk.

Do you make straw men for a living? You're actually quite good at it.
One other thing: I looked at what Wikipedia said. The second paragraph reads:

Galileo's championing of heliocentrism and Copernicanism was controversial within his lifetime, when most subscribed to either geocentrism or the Tychonic system. He met with opposition from astronomers, who doubted heliocentrism due to the absence of an observed stellar parallax.

So even other astronomers in Galileo's day had doubts about heliocentrism.
My point was and is, life is seldom as simple as the narrative we are told, and this is one such instance.
By Julian Frost (not verified) on 27 Nov 2015 #permalink

Gaaah! I hope my blockquote fail hasn't rendered what I wrote unreadable.

By Julian Frost (not verified) on 27 Nov 2015 #permalink

@See Noevo:

From Wikipedia:

The Catholic Church holds no official position on the theory of creation or evolution, leaving the specifics of either theistic evolution or literal creationism to the individual within certain parameters established by the Church. According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, any believer may accept either literal or special creation within the period of an actual six day, twenty-four hour period, or they may accept the belief that the earth evolved over time under the guidance of God

Well, that's interesting. I was wrong. Both Pope John Paul II and Pope Francis endorsed the theory of evolution, but the church's official stance is that acceptance of evolution is up to the individual, leaving the 6 day creation option open if one wishes.

Individual choice, what a concept! Maybe they should apply that to the contraception issue.

To cast the events as “church sticking to a ridiculous viewpoint and shutting up Galileo” is a monumental and grotesque oversimplification of what actually happened.

The original point, IIRC, was Gould's idea that science and religion comprise non-overlapping magisteria, and the failure of this idea to convince the leaders of religions, who have often insisted that science is very much part of their jurisdiction (while having the power to enforce their insistence).

From that perspective, it doesn't really matter whether Galileo was accused and convicted of heresy because of a genuine inquisitorial belief that his ideas about astronomy emperilled the souls of the masses by clashing with theology, or because he stepped on the toes of various thin-skinned authoritarians, who ginned up the theological show-trial as a way of taking him down.

Either way, the church claimed the right to stop scientists observing the objective world and making hypotheses from their observations. Indicating that Gould was a bit of a numpty for proposing that science and religion do not interfere.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 27 Nov 2015 #permalink

I was just reading this article by Stephen Jay Gould about non-overlapping magisteria (as mentioned by M.O'B. and HDB above), which includes some musings on the RCC's views on evolution. More recent Popes (since Pius XII aka "the Nazi Pope") seem to believe in evolution, though IIRC papal opinion is not church policy/dogma. Pope Francis has said, "there are so many scientific proofs in favour of evolution which appears to be a reality we can see and which enriches our knowledge of life and being as such", though he points out we are still in the dark about the origins of life, there are some plausible hypotheses around (much more plausible than supernatural explanations.)

BTW, I too disagree with Gould on non-overlapping magisteria (NOMA as he calls them). I think there are many areas where religion and science's realms overlap: miracles and intercessionary prayer spring to mind. For NOMA to work, God would no longer intervene in physical reality either directly (miracles) or by providing information (visions, "God spoke to me"), meaning there is little point in praying, other than for a better time in the afterlife I suppose, but prayer seems to me to be a fairly constant characteristic of religion. A religion that offers nothing but spiritual succor and promises for an uncertain afterlife seems somewhat unappealing to me.

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 27 Nov 2015 #permalink

Julian Frost,

Stop lying and stop strawmanning. I never said that that was relevant. My point was and remains:
To cast the events as “church sticking to a ridiculous viewpoint and shutting up Galileo” is a monumental and grotesque oversimplification of what actually happened.

You put quotation marks in there, as if you are quoting me, but I did not write that.

If being a jerk was not relevant, why did you mention it?

Another problem was that even though Galileo was ultimately correct, he was a jerk about it.

So what?

Science is not supposed to make people feel good.

Science is supposed to help us learn the truth.

You make it seem as if the author stopped there.

Once again, no. My point is, it wasn’t that cut and dried even then.

The author of the article you cited disagrees with that conclusion in the article you cited.

Did you just read enough to find a quote you could use and then stop reading?

Did you hope that I would not read the article you cited?

Did you hope that I would not understand what the author wrote?

Did you understand what the author wrote?

You tried to support your position with an article that explicitly contradicts your position.

So even other astronomers in Galileo’s day had doubts about heliocentrism.

Even today, there are biologists who have doubts about evolution, but they are not taken seriously outside of religious circles.

Were those other astronomers attempting to lock Galileo up, or even merely advocating locking Galileo up?

A bunch of paragons of morality locked Galileo up, because . . . .

.

By Rogue Medic (not verified) on 27 Nov 2015 #permalink

Rogue Medic:

You put quotation marks in there, as if you are quoting me, but I did not write that.

I was not quoting you, I was speaking generally. I was taught that story in history, and I was not the only one. I've since learnt that it was not that simple.

If being a jerk was not relevant, why did you mention it?

I didn't say it wasn't relevant. I never claimed the church was right to respond the way it did.
I've learnt from work experience that antagonising people, even when I'm right, is a good way to be ignored, and get grief.

Even today, there are biologists who have doubts about evolution, but they are not taken seriously outside of religious circles.

Today, there is overwhelming evidence of evolution. Back then, the evidence for heliocentrism wasn't overwhelming.
To repeat what I quoted from Wikipedia:

[Galileo] met with opposition from astronomers, who doubted heliocentrism due to the absence of an observed stellar parallax.

So in Galileo's day, there were "astronomers who doubted heliocentrism due to the absence of an observed stellar parallax." That says that back then, the evidence wasn't as overwhelming as it later became.
Stories, particularly ones where truths, half truths and inaccuracies merge, can be very dangerous. And the story of Galileo as I learnt it was a myth.

By Julian Frost (not verified) on 28 Nov 2015 #permalink

Replace the last two words in my comment with "one such story".

By Julian Frost (not verified) on 28 Nov 2015 #permalink

Either way, the church claimed the right to stop scientists observing the objective world and making hypotheses from their observations. Indicating that Gould was a bit of a numpty for proposing that science and religion do not interfere.

I find I must disagree.

Look at Lysenkoism in Stalin's Soviet Union. The Soviet system was of course officially opposed to religion, but the system under Stalin nevertheless had its doctrines which you could not question without reprisal. It had everything to do with the fact that it was a powerful system that could exert pressure to coerce allegiance to its dogma, and nothing to do with whether the dogma were religious, anti-religious, or a-religious in origin.

That's why people keep alluding to the fact that Galileo 'was a jerk'. Does his jerkishness mean he deserved his treatment from the Church? Of course not. But he was basically acting the way you would if you wanted to provoke a powerful institution into acting against you. Again, compare it to Lysenkoism: You might of course get in plenty of trouble just by saying "With all due respect to the learned Professor Lysenko, none of the experimental evidence matches his claims", but if instead you phrased it as "Josef Steelbrain: Derp, derp! Lysenko's the stuff for me, even if it can't show any results whatsoever!" then you shouldn't really be surprised at your abrupt all-expenses-paid trip to Siberia. (I should be able to walk into a dive bar in Southie and start trash-talking the Red Sox and expect that no one will start violence against me. But if it happens, it will be at least partially due to my poor judgment - not to mention the fact that I just had to go trash-talking.)

In other words, the conclusion that "Here's an example of a big institution with a great deal of worldly power and authority which reacted with a show of force when that authority was publicly challenged in a personally offensive manner - and the challenge happened to be over a point of religious doctrine, therefore science and religion do interfere!" appears to me to be missing the actual dynamics.

By Antaeus Feldspar (not verified) on 28 Nov 2015 #permalink

Does his jerkishness mean he deserved his treatment from the Church? Of course not. But he was basically acting the way you would if you wanted to provoke a powerful institution into acting against you.

That was the way that Galileo consistently demonstrated that he was right.

He challenged the authorities and then demonstrated that they were wrong.

As I wrote above - we need more jerks.

– and the challenge happened to be over a point of religious doctrine, therefore science and religion do interfere!” appears to me to be missing the actual dynamics.

The irony is that the religious institution has adopted but the science of Galileo and the religious interpretation of Galileo.

The reason Noma is silly is that science includes philosophy. We use scientific evidence to draw conclusions about the ways the world works. That is philosophy.

This includes the evolution of morality, which has become a very interesting field.

Ideologies, such as religion, use claims of special access to morality and truth to claim that they are better at it than others, but there is no consistent moral doctrine even among sincere members of the same religion.

The only thing that Christians agree on is that there was something special about Jesus. They do not even agree on what was special.

Sincere Christians take opposite sides on capital punishment, euthanasia, pain management, abortion, contraception, fetal research, corporal punishment, marriage equality, women as ministers/priests,bishops/deacons, the treatment of members of other races, . . . .

If there is no moral common ground, it is only coincidence when the religious agree on what is moral.

Monkeys throwing darts are also superior to the experts in picking stocks, but you will get an argument from many human stock pickers.

Why should we give the religious credit they clearly do not deserve?

.

By Rogue Medic (not verified) on 28 Nov 2015 #permalink

the conclusion that “Here’s an example of a big institution with a great deal of worldly power and authority which reacted with a show of force when that authority was publicly challenged in a personally offensive manner – and the challenge happened to be over a point of religious doctrine, therefore science and religion do interfere!” appears to me to be missing the actual dynamics.

I can see the appeal of drawing a line between "genuine religious response to scientific theory" and "thin-skinned tyrants using religion as a pretext to persecute challengers and maintain power"... but it seems to be a True Scotsman kind of argument.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 28 Nov 2015 #permalink

the conclusion that “Here’s an example of a big institution with a great deal of worldly power and authority which reacted with a show of force when that authority was publicly challenged in a personally offensive manner – and the challenge happened to be over a point of religious doctrine, therefore science and religion do interfere!” appears to me to be missing the actual dynamics.

I can see the appeal of drawing a line between “genuine religious response to scientific theory” and “thin-skinned tyrants using religion as a pretext to persecute challengers and maintain power”… but it seems to be a True Scotsman kind of argument.

Well, I certainly agree with you that it's not the most clear-cut issue in the world. I may well be wrong on this. But it seems to me that when we look at the historical mistakes that we want to keep ourselves from repeating, and ask "What were the actual causes of this? Was religion necessary and sufficient, or anywhere near so? Would things have really worked out much better if all the same power dynamics were in place, but the specific obsessions of those who acted out their obsessions were non-religious?" the answer is quite surprisingly "Religion is the culprit less often than you think; it often acts as a catalyst perhaps more often than more falsifiable points, but very often, it's merely the most visible identifier of clashing sides, not the actual source of the conflict." Again, you may disagree, and you may be right to disagree; we may never know for sure, but I know how the balance of the evidence looks to me.

By Antaeus Feldspar (not verified) on 28 Nov 2015 #permalink

FELDSPAR IS BULLYING ME!!!

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 28 Nov 2015 #permalink

I don't want in any way to bully herr doktor, but I would agree with Anteus. For me, this story has much to do with totalitarianism, and the issue was Church infallibility. At that time, Church had to defend against those questioning Church and Aristotle infallibility, and the main issue was transubstantiation.

By Daniel Corcos (not verified) on 28 Nov 2015 #permalink

Ok Rogue Medic, I get it.
You were trolling me. Congratulations, you won.

By Julian Frost (not verified) on 29 Nov 2015 #permalink

Julian Frost,

I was not trolling you at all.

The true jerks were the Catholic Church.

Threatening torture and execution is no way to conduct any kind of discussion, but it is very Catholic.

.

By Rogue Medic (not verified) on 29 Nov 2015 #permalink

To Rogue Medic #159:

“Threatening torture and execution is no way to conduct any kind of discussion, but it is very Catholic.”

It’s very Catholic? I didn’t realize that.

How many were tortured and executed under Pope Francis, or under his recent predecessors Benedict XVI and John Paul II?
What’s the Church's death toll up to in the last 500 years?

By See Noevo (not verified) on 29 Nov 2015 #permalink

“Threatening torture and execution is no way to conduct any kind of discussion, but it is very Catholic.”

It’s very Catholic? I didn’t realize that.

How many were tortured and executed under Pope Francis, or under his recent predecessors Benedict XVI and John Paul II?
What’s the Church’s death toll up to in the last 500 years?

Clearly, I did not state that torture and execution are very Catholic, only that threatening is very Catholic.

The last several hundred years may be only a temporary break with tradition.

The Catholic motto appears to be We don't do that any more.

It is good that Catholics are capable of some moral progress, but there is still opposition to the use of condoms to prevent the transmission of AIDS. Catholics claim to be interested in protecting life, but this is one way that demonstrates that ideology is more important than saving lives.

The same is true of contraception to prevent abortion. How many abortions would be prevented if the opposition to contraception were removed?

Then there is the threat of the torture of eternal hell that is the persuader for so many. That is still very Catholic, isn't it?

So what if it isn't real? Reality is not Catholic.

.

By Rogue Medic (not verified) on 29 Nov 2015 #permalink

"What’s the Church’s death toll up to in the last 500 years?" Depends on how you want to count it. Until the later 19th Century, the Pope was a secular prince ruling the Papal States. Through them, the church was involved in a substantial number of wars from about the 14th Century to the 19th. I don't have any casualty figures, but I am confident the totals are somewhat more than zero. The Swiss Guard weren't always a squad of police and a platoon of anachronisms armed with cabbage cutters; they were once a substantial and lethal fighting force.
If you're only thinking of the Spanish Inquisition and the like, remember that it was only officially ended in 1931; although I'm sure it wasn't putting people to death that late, I know the Holy Office was doing it in some places up to as late as the early 19th Century. The Papal States surely put people to death for both civil and religious crimes at rates comparable to the rest of Europe.
Then there are the crimes of others carried out with either Vatican silence or Vatican complicity. Many in the Spanish colonial administrations actively supported the often-fatal enslavement of native peoples, and the executions for heresy, blasphemy, or revolt against church authority of the same. peoples. Churchmen took active roles in the crimes of the Ustaše in Croatia, even the command of one of the concentration camps where Jews, Serbs, and Roma were murdered by the Croat collaborationist state, and with the full knowledge and silence of the Pope. That same Pope failed to speak out against the Holocaust, taking part in only small and nearly meaningless rescue efforts. Just before the Allied liberation of Rome, he failed to speak out and possibly stop the Adreatine caves massacre, even when assured he could do so safely by ranking officials of the Nazi administration of Rome. After the war he acquiesced to Eva Peron's request to aid Nazi war criminals to escape to Argentina; Jews who were aided by Catholic orders to be smuggled into Mandatory Palestine were sometimes housed on different floors of the same monasteries those Nazis were sheltered in.
No one can even begin to count the number of women who have died from one pregnancy too many, botched illegal abortions, violence at the hands of men they couldn't divorce, vicious abuse in the convent laundries and orphanages of Ireland, and doubtless numerous other causes that can directly or indirectly be laid at the Holy Door, the so-called gate of justice.
So let me ask you, "What's the Church's death toll up to in the last 500 years?"

By Old Rockin' Dave (not verified) on 29 Nov 2015 #permalink

See Noevo,
Any comment about the recent Planned Parenthood shooting? Do you think it's possible the man responsible might have been encouraged in his actions by people who write things like this?

PP exterminates more human lives than anyone on the planet.

I'm sure you don't condone these murders but I'm curious to know how (or if) you justify spouting the rhetoric (such as "no more baby parts") that leads to this kind of tragedy.

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 29 Nov 2015 #permalink

To Old Rockin’ Dave #162:

“… although I’m sure it wasn’t putting people to death that late, I know the Holy Office was doing it in some places up to as late as the early 19th Century.”

With that kind of certainty, you may have a Pulitzer Prize coming your way. Do tell us more.

“So let me ask you, “What’s the Church’s death toll up to in the last 500 years?””

Approximately zero.

By See Noevo (not verified) on 29 Nov 2015 #permalink

To Krebiozen #163:

“Any comment about the recent Planned Parenthood shooting?”

I think the shooter should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

I also think that, year-to-date in the abortion wars,
killings by pro-lifers = about 3,
killings by pro-aborts = about 1,000,000.

By See Noevo (not verified) on 29 Nov 2015 #permalink

TOTALLY off-topic

IIRC, when Satan showed up to wrestle over theological issues with Martin Luther he (Satan) would often depart, leaving only a turd behind.

Here on RI, SN shows up, comments and departs, leaving only a coprolite.

Coincidence?? I think not!!

What’s the Church’s death toll up to in the last 500 years?

Are you counting deaths by suicide of those who underwent sexual and other abuse in childhood by priests and in Catholic residential schools?

“So let me ask you, “What’s the Church’s death toll up to in the last 500 years?””

Approximately zero.

An inadvertent work of art. I take it the unstated circumscription is "burned alive for heresy in Rome" or some such.

So, according to See Noevo the creep, approximately zero Catholics took part in either World War, fought for/against Napoleon, in the War of Independence or in any of the wars during the last 500 years....

...it's a peculiar world it lives in.

gaist,

It isn't reasonable to hold an entire church responsible for the actions of its members if those actions weren't based on the teachings of that church, in the name of that church, or with the approval of the leadership of that church.

If individuals went to wars without invoking a church's authority, that can't be laid at the church's doorstep.

A better case could be made for deaths in missionary endeavors, including those oh the Spanish conquistadors. Actions by other Catholic countries such as Austria might well qualify.

By Mephistopheles… (not verified) on 30 Nov 2015 #permalink

SN,

I also think that, year-to-date in the abortion wars,
killings by pro-lifers = about 3,
killings by pro-aborts = about 1,000,000.

Can't you see that rhetoric - "wars", "killings" and equating an aborted fetus's life with that of a mother of two young children or a police officer - is deliberately designed to evoke the emotions that drive people into the kind of horrific actions we saw recently? Personally I think those who encourage people to commit murders share some moral culpability for those murders. In the past there has been at least one successful prosecution for encouraging the murders of abortion clinic workers, so I would tread carefully if I were you.

How would you feel if you found out the shooter had been following your comments on-line and had committed these murders as a result? I have trouble understanding your mind-set and I'm curious. Like creationism, such rabid opposition to abortion is utterly alien to me. I had never heard of PP or their harvesting of fetal tissue (which seems eminently moral and sensible to me) until you mentioned them here, so when I saw a UK news report of murders at a PP clinic with the shooter stating, "no more baby parts", I immediately thought of you and wondered how you felt about this horrific event.

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 30 Nov 2015 #permalink

Badly worded on my part, didn't mean a blanket statement of everyone self-identifying as Catholic...

..but with Arch-Bishops and Catholic priests encouraging conscription and the formation of "Catholic brigades", holding sermons calling a conflict the Just War, and the taking up of arms a duty, for example, even if done without direct orders from the Pope, do lay some responsibility on the Church.

Then there are the wars (mainly against Ottomans) where the Papal state was actively involved in, and fought by mainly Catholic Italian states like Venice with Papal blessing. Papal states (and Catholic volunteer armies joining them) also fought against Garibaldi's troops, which are, in my book and given the wording of See Noevo's question, directly attributable to The Church. Just a few examples, there are others too.

Having had a recent discussion with my son about abortion, this topic strikes home.

Although I lean towards the opinion that people often use religion as a convenient excuse for what they want to do anyway, the Catholic Church because of its authoritarian structure certainly has its share of responsibility for war and suffering.

First to jump to my mind was the 30 Years War which, although it involved a fair amount of regional and national politics, was first and formost about the Church trying to maintain and enforce its authority in the face of the spreading Protestant reformation.

Wikipedia cites a number of 8 million causualties, both military and civilian.

I remember reading a military historical analysis some years ago that noted that some regions still (centuries later) hadn't completely recovered from the effects.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thirty_Years%27_War

By squirrelelite (not verified) on 30 Nov 2015 #permalink

@See Noevo:

Are you also counting the millions who contracted and died of HIV infection thanks to the Church's rabid opposition to distribution of condoms?

Let's not forget the toll of death and misery from unsafe abortions.

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 30 Nov 2015 #permalink

@ Krebiozen

How would you feel if you found out the shooter had been following your comments on-line and had committed these murders as a result?

If SN is like any of these brave twittering twits on Twitter, he would feel very happy.
http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2015/11/28/pro-lifers-take…

But SN is not like this. After all, he chastised me for daring to think of killing one (dying) human being in order to save the life of another one. So of course he is going to be aghast at the idea he may be morally responsible for murders.

Since SN doesn't have a practical solution for reducing the number of abortions, he is actually as much responsible for his million dead babies as about anyone else.

By Helianthus (not verified) on 30 Nov 2015 #permalink

Renate @118

I'd have gone with this one - (Tim Minchin's 'Pope Song')

NOT SAFE FOR WORK OR SMALL CHILDREN
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fHRDfut2Vx0
NOT SAFE FOR WORK OR SMALL CHILDREN

Maybe that's why The Church is against abortion and contraception - they need a steady supply of kids.

Helianthus,
Those comments are frightening. What is wrong with those people? I can understand people being against abortion, but supporting the murder of those offering abortion services makes no sense to me. As far as I am concerned, and the US Justice Department shares my view, this is terrorism, just as much as the Paris attacks were, and I hope those who have expressed those opinions are being checked out.

BTW, the victims were two civilians and one police officer, not vice versa as I stated above.

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 30 Nov 2015 #permalink

Helianthus,

You suggest that SN is accurate in stating that the Catholic Church is opposed to abortion.

That is just a ruse.

The Catholic Church's adamant opposition to contraception guarantees large numbers of abortions.

As with any ideological organization, this manufactured controversy brings in donations.

The Catholic Church could easily have a dramatic effect on the number of abortions, but they don't want to.

Catholic morality - claim to be in favor of life, but oppose things that would cut abortion, cut AIDS transmission, and research that would improve the lives of infants and children.

Science has dramatically improved the lives of infants and children.

The Catholic Church has changed Extreme Unction to the Sacrament of the Sick, but that is the extent of their progress in treating infant mortality.

Meaningful progress does not come from religion.

.

By Rogue Medic (not verified) on 30 Nov 2015 #permalink

Krebiozen, # 178
I think the right naming should be "stochastic terrorism".
http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/1/10/934890/-

As for some previous comment, Holy Roman Catholic Church had a real world state until 1871. Of course, death penalties were sentenced, especially for what now would be believed political reasons.
https://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Angelo_Targhini_e_Leonida_Montanari
By the way, it was only after 1801 that death penalties in Holy See were made with the modern humanitarian tool brought in Italy by Frenchs, the guillotine. Before that date, people were executed with "mazzola e squarta" (that is, club and rip).

By perodatrent (not verified) on 30 Nov 2015 #permalink

Selective Blindness AKA See Noevo:
Let's examine your response to me.
Church killings in war or under color of law as a secular power - not addressed.
Church culpability and complicity in colonial, especially Spanish and Portuguese, crimes - not addressed.
Church culpability and complicity in, and willful ignorance of, the Holocaust and related crimes by Croatian, Ukrainian, and Romanian Catholics including clergy - not addressed.
Church failure to take an easy and safe step to halt an atrocity on its own doorstep - not addressed.
Church abetting escape of Nazi war criminals who went on to aid murderous regimes - not addressed.
Church-committed and/or sanctioned abuses leading to death of minors supposed to be in their care (Magdalen laundries et. al.) - not addressed.
Church policy leading to unnecessary and avoidable deaths, principally of women - not addressed.
Factual statement regarding murders by the Holy Inquisition - addressed, incorrectly dismissed, and not refuted, viz. this quote from the Wikipedia article on the Inquisition: "The last execution of the Inquisition was in Spain in 1826. This was the execution by garroting of the school teacher Cayetano Ripoll for purportedly teaching Deism in his school."
I don't want a Pulitzer; you can go and pull it, sir.

By Old Rockin' Dave (not verified) on 30 Nov 2015 #permalink

To Krebiozen #171, and other Catholic Church bashers here:

Regarding “How would you feel if you found out the shooter had been following your comments on-line and had committed these murders as a result?”

I ask
How would you feel if you found out a future shooter in a Catholic Church or an assassin of a pope had been following your comments on-line and had committed these murders as a result?

By See Noevo (not verified) on 30 Nov 2015 #permalink

Somebody should start a pool on S.N.'s favorite pope. My money's on Sixtus V.

See Noinfo:
As our host has so well quoted, "A statement of fact can not be insolent." Call a recital of facts Catholic Church bashing if you will, but historical facts, like the theory of evolution, don't go away just because you don't like them. You still have not addressed the points I raised, not even to acknowledge your blatant error regarding the one you chose to respond to. You probably thought it was easy pickings because you hadn't heard of it. Or are you might be taking a leaf from the papacy and declaring yourself infallible? By the way, you missed my punctuation error. At least you would have had firmer ground to stand on in replying to me.
If you are so bothered by what you call Catholic Church bashing, convert to something else and I will be happy to bash that instead. Better yet, learn to distinguish between Catholic Church bashing and See Noinfo bashing.

By Old Rockin' Dave (not verified) on 30 Nov 2015 #permalink

How would you feel if you found out a future shooter in a Catholic Church or an assassin of a pope had been following your comments on-line and had committed these murders as a result?

I would feel very bad.
That's why I don't go around throwing terms like “wars” and “killings”.

Re: Catholic-bashing
I would like to point out a little fact:
- people working in abortion clinics are doing so respecting the local laws they have accepted to follow when signing in on the job. When they are suspected they don't, plenty of people are willing to drag them to a judicial hearing, as evidenced recently.
- Catholic high priests have been found again and again not following their own rules. Apparently, pedophilia is OK if it's a priest doing it. That scandal resulted in a UN report a few years back.
So maybe some verbal Catholic-bashing is warranted.

By Helianthus (not verified) on 30 Nov 2015 #permalink

See Noevo,

I ask
How would you feel if you found out a future shooter in a Catholic Church or an assassin of a pope had been following your comments on-line and had committed these murders as a result?

I don't believe any of my comments have been designed to elicit an emotional reaction that would lead to violence, so I don't see how anyone could commit a violent act as a result of reading my comments. I have tried to remain objective in my interactions with you, using scientific language. I don't believe any of my comments could be seen as remotely inciting violence against Catholics.

You, however, use rhetoric that is clearly designed to affect people emotionally, to incite disgust, anger and even violence. You talk of killing millions of babies, when you know very well that a fetus is not a baby and no babies have been killed. You have repeatedly linked to websites that write of how babies are torn apart alive while cruel technicians cackle evilly, when you know that this is dishonest (to put it politely).

If I were you, and had posted large amounts of dishonest inflammatory material accusing PP of being baby murderers, I would feel some moral culpability for my actions given recent events. Clearly your moral compass is different to mine.

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 30 Nov 2015 #permalink

It's cute how pissy See Noevo the creep got when it didn't get the answer it wanted.

Who here apart from you, See, has been using violent imagery and words in their posts? I'd imagine the killer 'inspired' by Krebiozen would say something like "In the spirit of reasoned moderation and patient and polite discussion I gunned down these..." Not a very likely scenario. Even I spent many a post pointing out how you and your pal APV or whatever were not representative of the Catholic Church or it's members.

Whereas... "In the spirit of Christ I gunned down these baby-killing murderers..." sounds a tad more realistic. Which incidentally brings me to point of how you failed to answer the question while repeating it yourself. Quid pro quo, or are you too cowardly?

@ squirrelelite

Although I lean towards the opinion that people often use religion as a convenient excuse for what they want to do anyway,

Oh, I would totally agree. At the society's level, I see religion more like a social tool toward a mean rather than the source of all evils.
Like any tool, it could be used for good and for bad purpose.

Re: the 30-years war
A fine example indeed of religion being used for the pursuit of geo-political gain. Or vice-versa. When spiritual leaders become fully involved into secular matters, it's difficult to tell where religion ends and politics start.

I remember reading a military historical analysis some years ago that noted that some regions still (centuries later) hadn’t completely recovered from the effects.

One of my mom's hobby is peering through old documents and retracing the genealogy of her village's late aristocratic family, which was also Protestant, à la Fortunes de France.

As she was following the trails of the family's numerous expatriates (gosh did people travel a lot, even before we invented airplanes), she came across similar historical analyses: whole regions of today's Germany were so ravaged as to be literally a no-man's land. That was left of the local authorities granted land for free to any willing immigrant, just to have someone, anyone occupying that was until the war a nice settlement place.

That's why so many German people of today have French-sounding names (like the fictional German protagonist of Vercors' "Le Silence de la Mer"). They are the descendants of the French Calvinists who fled France during the religion wars.*

* religion wars, as in people killing each others in the name of their interpretation of god, with the most enraged Catholic priests promising full redemption of all past and future sins for killing a single heretic. There was a fair bit of collateral damage among non-combatants. Including babies.
And, why, it's about 400-year old. Right inside the time window of someone's query of a tally list.

By Helianthus (not verified) on 01 Dec 2015 #permalink

To Krebiozen #187:

You write
“I don’t believe any of my comments have been designed to elicit an emotional reaction that would lead to violence, so I don’t see how anyone could commit a violent act as a result of reading my comments.”

Yet when TBruce wrote “Are you also counting the millions who contracted and died of HIV infection thanks to the Church’s rabid opposition to distribution of condoms?”

you immediately responded
“Let’s not forget the toll of death and misery from unsafe abortions.”

It seems as though you’re blaming the Church for the millions who contracted and died of HIV infection thanks to the Church’s rabid opposition to distribution of condoms as well as for the toll of death and misery from unsafe abortions.

And it also seems that such death-dealing accusations could most definitely elicit an emotional reaction, perhaps even violently emotional reactions.

Or don't you see that?

By See Noevo (not verified) on 01 Dec 2015 #permalink

See Noevo,

Yet when TBruce wrote “Are you also counting the millions who contracted and died of HIV infection thanks to the Church’s rabid opposition to distribution of condoms?”
you immediately responded
“Let’s not forget the toll of death and misery from unsafe abortions.”

It is a fact that the RCC's prohibition of abortion has led to millions of women choosing unsafe abortions and many dying and suffering as a result. TBruce and I did not use any emotive language, we merely pointed out the facts. If you had stated that you objected to abortion on moral grounds except in exceptional circumstances and were concerned about how PP was harvesting fetal tissue I would have no problem.

It seems as though you’re blaming the Church for the millions who contracted and died of HIV infection thanks to the Church’s rabid opposition to distribution of condoms as well as for the toll of death and misery from unsafe abortions.

Yes, I do think the Church bears some moral culpability for the death and misery that unsafe abortions cause. I have stated to you (in another thread) that I think the RCC is well-intentioned but that it has inadvertently caused a huge amount of suffering. I have not been not been ranting that the RCC are child-molesting women murderers.

Conversely, your repeated condemnation of PP as baby killers carries, in my opinion, a strong implication that they should be punished. You shouldn't really be surprised that someone stepped up to the plate.

And it also seems that such death-dealing accusations could most definitely elicit an emotional reaction, perhaps even violently emotional reactions.

I think there is a very big difference between making factual statements using objective language, and dishonest rhetoric about cutting up babies while they are still alive. Perhaps you don't.

Or don’t you see that?

No, I don't see that. If the facts upset someone, I do not see that as my responsibility (unless I am responsible for those facts, of course). If I lie and use inflammatory language that is designed to upset people, and that does upset someone and they then do someone awful as a result, I believe I am partially culpable.

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 01 Dec 2015 #permalink

It seems as though you’re blaming the Church for the millions who contracted and died of HIV infection thanks to the Church’s rabid opposition to distribution of condoms as well as for the toll of death and misery from unsafe abortions.

Why...yes, we are!

And it also seems that such death-dealing accusations could most definitely elicit an emotional reaction, perhaps even violently emotional reactions.

No way! Well, I'd better just sit down and shut up, hadn't I?

BTW, I am aware of only one assassination attempt on a pope in the last 100 years. It had nothing to do with anger at the Church's policy on contraception or abortion. I am not aware of any violent attacks on Catholic churches resulting from their opposition to women's choice. Attacks, arson and murder directed at women's health providers, on the other hand...

To Krebiozen #191:

“It is a fact that the RCC’s prohibition of abortion has led to millions of women choosing unsafe abortions and many dying and suffering as a result.”

That’s not only not a fact, it’s ridiculous.
Those who have chosen abortion obviously cared more about abortion than they did about any prohibitions of the CC. And it wasn’t the CC that made abortion in the U.S. illegal prior to 1973, it was the government.

“If you had stated that you objected to abortion on moral grounds except in exceptional circumstances and were concerned about how PP was harvesting fetal tissue I would have no problem.”

As I think I have done here on these blogs for the most part. But when pressed as to WHY I object on moral grounds, I explain that abortion is the deliberate taking of an innocent human life. This is a FACTUAL statement of what abortion is. [Arbitrary and illogical quibbling about whether some human lives are not human beings aside.]
And this explanation, this factual statement, is considered by you to be inflammatory, I guess.

“If I lie and use inflammatory language that is designed to upset people, and that does upset someone and they then do someone awful as a result, I believe I am partially culpable.”

I don’t lie. But if my factual language and logical arguments in defense of innocent human lives upsets and inflames people like you, so be it.

By See Noevo (not verified) on 01 Dec 2015 #permalink

"I don’t lie."

Wow. Which of the numerous statements that modern cosmology is completely wrong, evolution is false, the earth is only a few thousand years old, priests never abused children, and more, is factually correct? None of them - every statement you've ever made about science has been false.

I don’t lie.

If you believe that, you're even better at self deception than I thought humanly possible.

Back to Ben Carson for just a second...
I wonder if Ben should offer to examine Hillary’s brain.
http://abcnews.go.com/Health/hillary-clinton-blood-clot-life-threatenin…

Some people were pretty concerned about her head.
Like Huma Abedin: “She’s often confused.”
And hubby Bill: "…was a terrible concussion that required six months of very serious work to get over."

Although Ben was a pediatric neurosurgeon and Hillary’s not a kid, brains is brains. Should Ben check her out?
What a great “reach across the aisle” that would be!

By See Noevo (not verified) on 01 Dec 2015 #permalink

Good old See Noinfo. When the going gets tough, the desperate change the subject.
Just a quick comment about your Clinton/Carson comment: I wouldn't trust the average neurosurgeon to do much in the way of neurology. If they can't do a procedure for it, they tend to forget how to diagnose or treat it. Which would make him the perfect person to examine your brain - info has leaked out of his brain, but never made it into yours.

By Old Rockin' Dave (not verified) on 01 Dec 2015 #permalink

It seems as though you’re blaming the Church for the millions who contracted and died of HIV infection thanks to the Church’s rabid opposition to distribution of condoms

The Catholic Church, as an institution, is not responsible in the secular sense, but it is definitively not helping by sticking to inefficient solutions, or standing by and doing nothing, or ignoring the wicked in their ranks. In this regard, yes, there is moral responsibility.
When the Catholic Church, as an institution, is hiding and abetting someone who has committed a crime, in most societies, civilized or otherwise, the act would be considered as complicity, and the accomplices would be held responsible for the crimes of the felon, past and future. Pure and simple.

Now, Catholics as individuals. Like anyone else, they come in all types and shapes.
In the 80's, a French archbishop had this to say regarding AIDS and condom use: "at the very least, don't add the sin of murder to the sin of flesh".
He was in essence saying that the full ABC campaign is saying in the US. It was a well-received message, because it was making sense and it was telling people to take responsibility for their acts.
Sadly, he was pretty much a lone voice among the clergy, French or otherwise. He always was bit of a maverick.
The previous pope made it crystal clear during an Africa tour that the Church line is that condoms are making things worse.

By Helianthus (not verified) on 01 Dec 2015 #permalink

To Old Rockin' Dave:

“Good old See Noinfo. When the going gets tough, the desperate change the subject.”

I’m not about to argue with you over every perceived transgression of the Catholic Church over the last hundreds or thousands of years.

I would, however, consider addressing one, JUST ONE, of your points (e.g. from #182).

You pick. Throw your favorite flag.

By See Noevo (not verified) on 02 Dec 2015 #permalink

See Noevo,

Regarding “How would you feel if you found out the shooter had been following your comments on-line and had committed these murders as a result?”

I ask
How would you feel if you found out a future shooter in a Catholic Church or an assassin of a pope had been following your comments on-line and had committed these murders as a result?

I would wonder why you see a connection, but the lack of understanding of cause and effect is probably why you are religious.

I have not advocated for any violence against anyone.

I have criticized the immorality of the Catholic Church.

There is only morality in murder in the Bible, but I criticize that.

If you treat the Bible as true, then you really should correct the popular bumper sticker - John 3:16.

For God so loved the world that he drowned everyone except for 8 people, but he made a rainbow to apologize for the worst crime ever documented. Your God planned the flood when most of the people to be killed had not even been born.

For God so loved the world, that he decided to show Abraham how real parents handle human sacrifice. After all, kids are just property to do with as you please. The trick is convincing Jr. to believe it's his idea.

.

By Rogue Medic (not verified) on 02 Dec 2015 #permalink

Rogue Medic@201
How about:

For God so loves his faithful, that he let Satan kill Job's family to win an argument. Because why have cool toys if you can't show off to your friends?

By capnkrunch (not verified) on 02 Dec 2015 #permalink

See Noevo,

I explain that abortion is the deliberate taking of an innocent human life. This is a FACTUAL statement of what abortion is.

You've got to admire Catholics. They shamelessly contradict themselves. This is divine arrogance.

Innocent?

When did you guys (and this does all come from guys) repeal original sin?

Original sin wasn't invented until after the Gospels were written, so it is appropriate to state that all of the fetuses God drowned in the flood were innocent, but it is inconsistent to claim that fetuses are exempt from original sin, when that is one of the major selling points of Catholicism.

Or do Catholics claim that original sin is passed from mother to infant in the birth canal, the way herpes is transmitted? If that is the case, how do cesarean births transmit this essence of Catholicism?

The mental gymnastics of Catholic catechism.

Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.

.

By Rogue Medic (not verified) on 02 Dec 2015 #permalink

capnkrunch,

How about:

For God so loves his faithful, that he let Satan kill Job’s family to win an argument. Because why have cool toys if you can’t show off to your friends?

They don't count, because women and children are just property.

That is one of the reasons you will not find any rules against abortion in the Bible.

That is unless you twist the meaning of cherry picked verses.

That is a good example - and the only case of Satan ever killing anyone. The supposed Big Bad of the Bible has much more respect for life than the Good Guy.

Literacy and a Bible are the antidotes to Christianity.

.

By Rogue Medic (not verified) on 02 Dec 2015 #permalink

Giving birth is one of the most dangerous things a woman will ever do and it's easily the most dangerous day of a baby's entire childhood. Anyone who denies or downplays this is either clueless or harbouring a foolish agenda.

capnkrunch: "For God so loves his faithful, that he let Satan kill Job’s family to win an argument. Because why have cool toys if you can’t show off to your friends?"

In a recent podcast, author/filmmaker Chris Matheson stated he thought the Book Job was actually satire.

To Delphine #206:

“Giving birth is one of the most dangerous things a woman will ever do and it’s easily the most dangerous day of a baby’s entire childhood. Anyone who denies or downplays this is either clueless or harbouring a foolish agenda.”

Giving birth – horror of horrors.
Perhaps giving birth should be outlawed.

You know what’s even more dangerous than child birth, and in fact lethal, over 99.9% of the time?

Hint: It's something that's legal now, but used to be be outlawed.

By See Noevo (not verified) on 02 Dec 2015 #permalink

See Noevo,

Hint: It’s something that’s legal now, but used to be be outlawed.

It was only outlawed in part of the 19th and 20th centuries.

It isn't outlawed in the Bible - unless you twist the verses that you cherry pick, but that's the point of the vaguest book ever written. It means whatever you want it to mean.

Some sincere Christians oppose abortion, while other sincere Christians do not.

Christian morality is whatever you want it to be.

.

By Rogue Medic (not verified) on 02 Dec 2015 #permalink

To Rogue Medic #209:

“Christian morality is whatever you want it to be.”

Well, if you were to put quotation marks around that first word, I would definitely agree.

However, *Catholic* morality (i.e. Catholic Church definitive teaching on morality) is *not* whatever you want it to be.

By See Noevo (not verified) on 03 Dec 2015 #permalink

Regarding #210, I will just leave this here:
Helianthus stands with such things as

“America is filled with terrorists”;
“Forget Syria. The most dangerous religious extremists are migrants from North and South Carolina.”

By See Noevo (not verified) on 03 Dec 2015 #permalink

However, *Catholic* morality (i.e. Catholic Church definitive teaching on morality) is *not* whatever you want it to be.

sn, since you are one of the low-lifes who defended the thousands of priests who abused children, there is no need to put quotation marks around the word catholic: you interpreted catholic morality exactly the way you wanted to.

See Noevo,

“Christian morality is whatever you want it to be.”

Well, if you were to put quotation marks around that first word, I would definitely agree.

No quotation marks are necessary.

There is no ultimate source of Christian truth.

If one of the Christian Gods decides to materialize and give us objective rules for what Christianity is, I will have to revise that statement.

Until then, anyone can sincerely claim to be as Christian as anyone else and nobody can provide objective evidence that they are wrong.

The Ku Klux Klan and Pope Francis appear to be equally sincere Christians, even though they appear to disagree on many things and base those disagreements on the Bible.

If the Christian Gods were competent at communication, this would not be a problem, but the Christian Gods appear to be the worst communicators ever.

Why couldn't they come up with something that explained what they meant, rather than limiting themselves to the technology of the people who created the Gods?

It is almost as if the Gods aren't real and do not have any magical powers.

.

By Rogue Medic (not verified) on 03 Dec 2015 #permalink

You know what’s even more dangerous than child birth, and in fact lethal, over 99.9% of the time?

Hint: It’s something that’s legal now, but used to be be outlawed.

I give up--I know it isn't abortion, since the mortality associated with medical abortions is 0.6 deaths per every 100,000 procedures (not 999 out of every thousand) but for the life of me I can't guess what it actually might be.

Care to give us another hint?.

That is one of the reasons you will not find any rules against abortion in the Bible.

Actually, there is a passage (Exodus 21:22-25) that addresses acting to cause a pregnant woman to miscarry (i.e., causing her to abort) and it is treated as a property crime, punishable by a fine rather than a murder punishable by blood (the whole eye for an eye thing)

And guess who gets to set the fine and pocket the money? her husband, of course. It's his property that has been damaged, after all.

@ See Noevo

Remind me again, in all the mass shootings and gun rampage there was in the US these past 2 months, how many were from evil muslims?
I will give you a hint: one less than in my much smaller country.

I stand by the article's content I linked.
Showing up at an healthcare facility and gunning down people is terrorism. In your case, Yankees, most of the time the culprits of mass shootings are white people of Christian culture.

Also, for the lurkers, please note that the article I linked to is presenting strong arguments and social studies that the ones actually reducing the rate of abortion are pro-choice people, with all their silly ideas about contraception and sex education.
Pro-life people are making things worse.
Seems SN is unable to face some hard truths. Nothing news. We already had a 2000+ thread on this topic.

By Helianthus (not verified) on 03 Dec 2015 #permalink

To Rogue Medic #214:

“There is no ultimate source of Christian truth.”

Is that an infallible statement of yours?
................
“If one of the Christian Gods decides to materialize and give us objective rules for what Christianity is, I will have to revise that statement.”

Well, get busy revising, because it’s already happened.
..............
“If the Christian Gods were competent at communication, this would not be a problem, but the Christian Gods appear to be the worst communicators ever.”

Communication’s not the problem.
*Willful* deafness and *adamant* ignorance are.

By See Noevo (not verified) on 03 Dec 2015 #permalink

Giving birth – horror of horrors.
Perhaps giving birth should be outlawed.

Perhaps we should give birth and the women who do it (along with the HCPs who guide them) the respect they're due. I could tell you all kinds of horror stories that happen to women and babies in LDCs that I have witnessed and that I continue to read about on a weekly basis, but I suspect that you likely already know that sh!t happens to poor women and babies on daily basis.

I nearly died giving birth, in a Western country with comparatively low rates of maternal mortality. I have no uterus now, because after giving birth to a perfectly healthy baby after a perfectly normal pregnancy, my uterus would not stop expelling blood. What I suspect you don't know is how sh!t can go south, in just a few heartbeats, often with major irreparable consequences.

Instead, you just make this about abortion. Your tunnel vision is exquisite.

Again, you make me profoundly ashamed to be Roman Catholic.

To Delphine 219:

“Again, you make me profoundly ashamed to be Roman Catholic.”

What would be shameful, and actually sinful, is if you present yourself as Roman Catholic but are also, say, “pro-choice” (i.e. pro-abortion/pro-abortion rights), pro-contraception, pro-“gay marriage.”

By See Noevo (not verified) on 03 Dec 2015 #permalink

You are not my confessor or my priest, asshole.

JGC,

Actually, there is a passage (Exodus 21:22-25) that addresses acting to cause a pregnant woman to miscarry (i.e., causing her to abort) and it is treated as a property crime, punishable by a fine rather than a murder punishable by blood (the whole eye for an eye thing)

And guess who gets to set the fine and pocket the money? her husband, of course. It’s his property that has been damaged, after all.

Very true.

"When men strive together, and hurt a woman with child, so that there is miscarriage, and yet no harm follows, the one who hurt her shall be fined according as the woman's husband shall lay upon him; and he shall pay as the judges determine. If any harm follows, then you shall give life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, stripe for stripe."

The harm is to the woman, who is also considered the man's property, but he is compensated differently for harm to her, because she is not a fetus.

.

By Rogue Medic (not verified) on 03 Dec 2015 #permalink

See Noevo,

What would be shameful, and actually sinful, is if you present yourself as Roman Catholic but are also, say, “pro-choice” (i.e. pro-abortion/pro-abortion rights), pro-contraception, pro-“gay marriage.”

Being in favor of human rights is a sin for Catholics.

If you are right, then I guess there is very little morality in Catholicism.

Fortunately, Catholic morality keeps evolving.

A few centuries ago, they would have burned me alive for writing what I have written.

There is hope for even the lowest of the low (since I do not expect you to understand, that is a reference to the Catholics, SN).

.

By Rogue Medic (not verified) on 03 Dec 2015 #permalink

See Noevo,

“There is no ultimate source of Christian truth.”

Is that an infallible statement of yours?

No.

If you read a little bit further, you will have an explanation.

“If one of the Christian Gods decides to materialize and give us objective rules for what Christianity is, I will have to revise that statement.”

Well, get busy revising, because it’s already happened.

Yet Christians continue to demonstrate the error of your assumptions.

“If the Christian Gods were competent at communication, this would not be a problem, but the Christian Gods appear to be the worst communicators ever.”

Communication’s not the problem.

True.

The imaginary friends and the belief in imaginary friends are the problems.

*Willful* deafness and *adamant* ignorance are.

I don't take confessions, but it is good that you are acknowledging your limitations.

.

By Rogue Medic (not verified) on 03 Dec 2015 #permalink

Let me remind you, See, that you asked me once:
"Are you saying NO ONE apart from Jesus Christ has authority to say definitively what Christianity is, and even authority to decide what proper Christian behavior is?"
http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2015/05/20/why-do-doctors-deny-evolut…

You won't acknowledge Jesus Christ as the ultimate authority. What does that make you?

By Gray Falcon (not verified) on 03 Dec 2015 #permalink

Seems SN is unable to face some hard truths. Nothing news. We already had a 2000+ thread on this topic.

That sounds like an excellent reason to stop feeding him so that he can go back to being largely ignored in the Breitbump comments.

To Delphine #221:

Me: “What would be shameful, and actually sinful, is if you present yourself as Roman Catholic but are also, say, “pro-choice” (i.e. pro-abortion/pro-abortion rights), pro-contraception, pro-“gay marriage.”

You: “You are not my confessor or my priest, asshole.”

Ouch! That’s one more to add to your sin list when you DO see your priest confessor. I mean, in addition to the pro-abortion, pro-contraception, etc.

BTW, DO you participate in the sacrament of reconciliation (a.k.a. confession)?

By See Noevo (not verified) on 03 Dec 2015 #permalink

To Rogue Medic #223:

“Fortunately, Catholic morality keeps evolving. A few centuries ago, they would have burned me alive for writing what I have written.”

Catholic morality evolves? Not really.
Heretics have always been condemned, with at least excommunication.
Any punishment *beyond* excommunication seems unique to a historical context and a prudential judgment regarding *state security.*
Consider that, even today, the governments of most countries have severe penalties, sometimes extending to capital punishment, for treason or for other actions against the state. Back in medieval Europe, I think most, if not all, the states were Christian states. That is, they were states *not* run by the Church but states which had Christianity as the state religion; states with a “Christ constitution”, if you will. Christian heresy was considered a *threat to the state and its social order.* Obviously, such threats to the state and social order would be considered very serious business. [Nevertheless, as I understand, the medieval states usually maintained secular courts where the majority of “inquisitions” were held. I also understand the sentences in the secular courts were usually more severe than in the ecclesiastical courts, to the extent that defendants often tried to have their hearings moved TO the ecclesiastical courts.]

Again, the Catholic morality hasn’t changed – the same sins then are the same sins now. However, the temporal punishment for the sin can be a matter of prudential judgment.
To take perhaps an extreme current day example: One priest may give you a penance of three Our Fathers, while another priest may give you, for the same confessed sins, a penance of a whole decade of the Rosary.

Catholicism made Europe. It’s why Europe isn’t an extension of the darkness of the Islamic Middle East. (At least for now.) It’s why Europe was the ground of the first universities and hospitals, and common law systems.

Europeans should thank God for the Catholic Church. They should, but they don’t any longer.

By See Noevo (not verified) on 03 Dec 2015 #permalink

To Gray Falcon #225:

“Let me remind you, See, that you asked me once:
“Are you saying NO ONE apart from Jesus Christ has authority to say definitively what Christianity is, and even authority to decide what proper Christian behavior is?”
http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2015/05/20/why-do-doctors-deny-evolut…

You won’t acknowledge Jesus Christ as the ultimate authority. What does that make you?”

Are you serious, Gray One?
I used to think you were joking, but given the many times you’ve posted this on other blogs here, I guess you actually *are* serious.

You *seriously* need to read your Bible, Gray. In light of my quoted question to you above, here are some verses to get you started:

"He WHO HEARS YOU [apostles] HEARS ME, and he who rejects you rejects me, and he who rejects me rejects him who sent me." [Luke 10:16]

“I will give YOU [Peter] the KEYS OF THE KINGDOM of heaven, and WHATEVER YOU BIND on earth SHALL BE BOUND IN HEAVEN, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." [Mat 16:19]

“As they went on their way through the cities, they delivered to them FOR OBSERVANCE THE DECISIONS which had been reached BY THE APOSTLES and elders who were at Jerusalem.
So the churches were strengthened in the faith, and they increased in numbers daily.” [Acts 16:4-5]

“I write this while I am away from you, in order that when I come I may not have to be severe in my use of THE AUTHORITY WHICH THE LORD HAS GIVEN ME for building up and not for tearing down.” [2 Cor 13:10]

“Declare these things; exhort and reprove with ALL AUTHORITY. Let no one disregard you.” [Titus 2:15]

‘I have written something to the church; but Gray Falcon, I mean, Diot'rephes, who likes to put himself first, does not acknowledge MY AUTHORITY.’ [cf. 3 John 1:9]

“that THROUGH THE CHURCH the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places.
This was according to the eternal purpose which he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord” [Eph 3:10-11]

“if I am delayed, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is THE CHURCH of the living God, THE PILLAR AND BULWARK OF THE TRUTH.” [1 Tim 3:15]

Are you serious?
Tell.. me… grey…
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RsozyGR6Eo4

By See Noevo (not verified) on 03 Dec 2015 #permalink

See Noevo,

Apologists for the Catholic Church continue to worship Pontius Pilate.

We convicted the heretic, but we handed him over to the state for punishment and we wash our hands of the matter. We don't have any control over what happens.

Of course, the secular heads of these countries were crowned by the popes, so they want to do what pleases the popes. No coercion of any kind would be perceived by someone who looks the other way and makes excuses for these shenanigans.

Catholic morality doesn't change?

When did the Catholic Church develop their opposition to abortion?

The Catholic Church developed its opposition to slavery a little earlier than most organizations. This is one of the few things that the Church did right, before, rather than after the rest of society.

However, this change policy on slavery was still a change in the moral rules of the Church.

.

By Rogue Medic (not verified) on 03 Dec 2015 #permalink

I let SN out of killfile jail and see that the Catholic Church *protected* knowledge??? The very same Catholic Church that plunged Europe into the Dark Ages and kept it there, ages after Islam had recognized and developed things like, oh, higher mathematics, medicine (although still basic, was FAR more advanced than Europe), and kept libraries alive instead of a)burning them entirely or b)tucking all books away into monasteries?

The Catholic Church, which believed that Jews were baby-killers and drank the blood of Christian babies? Kept Jews locked up into ghettos and allowed open season on them whenever things went wrong, as it *had* to be the Jew's fault?

The Catholic Church, where, if you had enough money, you could be reassured you would go to heaven, as you could buy indulgences, pay beaucoup bucks to get others to pray for you, etc, so it didn't matter how you lived life?

The Catholic Church, who allowed the abuse of women in Magdelene convents and laundries? Allowed the abuse of young boys and hid it by shifting the priests around? Allowed a priest to refuse my mother communion at the alter rail?

SN - I'd say you'd made me laugh at your stupidity and ignorance, but thinking of all the abuses of the Catholic Church just makes me sad.

Jesus stated the accumulation of earthly wealth and power was a sin, the Catholic church is built on those. They chose to disregard Christ's teachings, they cannot be called his church.

By Gray Falcon (not verified) on 04 Dec 2015 #permalink

To Delphine #221:

Me: “What would be shameful, and actually sinful, is if you present yourself as Roman Catholic but are also, say, “pro-choice” (i.e. pro-abortion/pro-abortion rights), pro-contraception, pro-“gay marriage.”

You: “You are not my confessor or my priest, asshole.”

Ouch! That’s one more to add to your sin list when you DO see your priest confessor. I mean, in addition to the pro-abortion, pro-contraception, etc.

BTW, DO you participate in the sacrament of reconciliation (a.k.a. confession)?

Do you act like the first Catholic who ever Catholiced with everyone, or just here?

I grew up in a heavily Catholic area, went to Catholic day school, then was sent overseas to a Catholic boarding school. I did my grad work at a Jesuit university. You're easily the most deluded, dogmatic Catholic I've ever encountered.

And to answer your question, yes, I do. And we send our child to Catholic school. And we attend Mass. Where we worship with people who are kind and welcoming and forgiving.

Ouch! That’s one more to add to your sin list when you DO see your priest confessor. I mean, in addition to the pro-abortion, pro-contraception, etc.

Have you ever printed out your on-line antics and asked a priest how he thought your camel was doing with that getting through the eye of a needle thing?

When you think of internal threats to the United States don't think of the extremely rare folks like the couple in San Bernardino, guilty of horrific and senseless acts in communities, think of people like sn who are actively working to defund science, education, rights, access of women to healthcare, and the already meagre social welfare net. The tea-baggers would drag the country to a place suitable for rich white folks and nobody else

@Narad - did you mean, "with getting the beam out of your own eye?" Unless See Noevo is rich as well as hypocritical.

To Rogue Medic #230:

“When did the Catholic Church develop their opposition to abortion?”

I don’t know off hand, but it was probably pretty early, given meditations on revelations like Luke 1:43.

“However, this change policy on slavery was still a change in the moral rules of the Church.”

Developing a formal stance on an issue for which you never before had a formal stance should not be considered a "change".
Perhaps, just maybe, you could forgive the Catholic Church for not immediately and explicitly condemning something (i.e. slavery) that was not even condemned by its Founder and Purpose, Jesus Christ.
It’s a curious thing. Maybe Jesus had so many other sins to condemn (e.g. adultery, fornication, murder) that He just never got around to it.

By the way, abortion, specifically, murdering a baby in the womb, is objectively far worse than slavery. At least a slave is treated fairly well and kept alive and healthy, because otherwise he’s not much use to the master. [In fact, back in the B.C. days, slavery may have been the most attractive survival option for some people.] And as long as he’s alive, the slave has the hope of freedom. Many slaves in the U.S., of course, eventually DID see freedom. The tender targets in the womb aren’t so lucky.

By See Noevo (not verified) on 04 Dec 2015 #permalink

good god - sn never ceases to amaze with his demonstrations of how large an ass he is.

By the way, abortion, specifically, murdering a baby in the womb, is objectively far worse than slavery

Apparently God doesn't feel that way, since murdering a slave is a capital crime* whereas causing a woman to miscarry only requires one to pay a fine to her husband (as long as the woman herself doesn't die) (Exodus 20:22). Some pro-lifers try to reinterpret this passage as referring to premature birth rather than miscarriage, but most of the commentaries written before abortion became a political issue seem to take it for granted that the phrase "so that her fruit depart" refers to a miscarriage, which makes sense since a premature birth would have been practically guaranteed to result in death in the days before modern medicine.

*Unless, of course, you merely beat the slave to within an inch of his/her life, and he/she dies a few days later - then YHWH says the loss of the slave is punishment enough (Exodus 21:20 - 21)

Do you act like the first Catholic who ever Catholiced with everyone, or just here?

Delphine -- remember, this is the poster who boasted that he/she should be offered the opportunity to meet with the Pope, in order to correct him on certain topics (during the Papal visit this September).

By shay simmons (not verified) on 04 Dec 2015 #permalink

To Delphine #233:

“You’re easily the most deluded, dogmatic Catholic I’ve ever encountered.”

Dogma can be a good thing. And the Catholic Church’s dogma is all good in a Catholic’s eyes. Otherwise, the “Catholic” wouldn’t really be Catholic.

So, “dogmatic” is not necessarily a derogatory term, of course. But apparently you’ve intended it as such, as you’ve paired it with “deluded.”

Would you please give one example of where you think I’m “dogmatic”
and one where you think I’m “deluded”, in the context of Catholic teaching?

By See Noevo (not verified) on 04 Dec 2015 #permalink

Fuck off.

Do you act like the first Catholic who ever Catholiced with everyone, or just here?

Delphine — remember, this is the poster who boasted that he/she should be offered the opportunity to meet with the Pope, in order to correct him on certain topics (during the Papal visit this September).

I was about to type "you're kidding", thought the better of it.

To Sarah A #240:

Me: “By the way, abortion, specifically, murdering a baby in the womb, is objectively far worse than slavery”

You: “Apparently God doesn’t feel that way, since murdering a slave is a capital crime* whereas causing a woman to miscarry only requires one to pay a fine to her husband…”

You refer to Exodus 21:20-22.
The death of the baby sounds like manslaughter, at most. Like an unintended, secondary effect of the people fighting. The penalty for such a death back then, as well as now, would be expected to be less than for murder.

By See Noevo (not verified) on 04 Dec 2015 #permalink

See Noinfo says, "I would, however, consider addressing one, JUST ONE, of your points (e.g. from #182).
You pick. Throw your favorite flag."
First off I was refuting your claim about the church's body count for the last 500 years - "approximately zero".
So let's go over it again. The church used to be a secular power controlling the Papal States until the later 19th Century, and those states fought wars and administered what used to pass for justice in those times. Refute that, can you?
Church participation in the Croatian part of the Holocaust? "In all, there would be 22 concentration camps in the NDH, almost half of which were commanded by Roman Catholic Croatian priests." (from this site - http://www.holocaustresearchproject.org/othercamps/jasenovac.html)
Deaths over and above the abuses and torture in the Magdalene laundries? http://www.irishcentral.com/news/1663-Irish-women-died-in-Magdalene-lau…
For the actions, or better, inaction, of Pope Pius XII regarding the Holocaust and the Adreatine caves massacre, try the book "Hitler's Pope".
Aid to wanted Nazi and Fascist war criminals? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ratlines_%28World_War_II_aftermath%29 and https://www.commentarymagazine.com/articles/how-the-catholic-church-she…
See Noinfo, this is how I picture you after you start to read this: https://ixquick-proxy.com/do/spg/show_picture.pl?l=english&rais=1&oiu=h…

By Old Rockin' Dave (not verified) on 04 Dec 2015 #permalink

I carried a baby with a lethal aneuploidy, a baby with half his heart. My son would have been born without the ability to even suckle for comfort, doomed to a short life of pain and useless intervention. I prayed for my boy to die in my womb so I wouldn't have to go through with an abortion. He did die and I didn't have to do it. You are less forgiving than any priest with whom I've ever sought counsel. By far. You're just an asshole wearing the mask of religion.

@#244 - Nope.

By shay simmons (not verified) on 04 Dec 2015 #permalink

@Narad – did you mean, “with getting the beam out of your own eye?” Unless See Noevo is rich as well as hypocritical.

Eh, it doesn't matter. He's been asked the same basic question before, and the answer is always the same: he doesn't have the balls to submit his activities to pastoral evaluation.

He's just a frustrated, 60-year-old bachelor for life.

@Delphine - I am so sorry; I can't even imagine going through something like that.

@See Noevo - Looks like someone need to spend more time reading his bible. God specifically addresses involuntary manslaughter - the killer's like was still technically forfeit, but he (or she) could escape vengeance "in a place I [God] have set aside" (Exodus 20:13), which became the 6 cities of refuge once the Hebrews conquered Israel by brutally slaughtering and enslaving the original inhabitants entered the Promised Land. Even within the passage to which I referred, God specifies that the attacker only gets off with a fine if the woman isn't seriously injured or killed. If she is, the payment is still "life for life, eye for eye..." etc. (Exodus 20:23 - 25.) In short, It's abundantly clear that God does not, in fact, consider the life of an unborn baby to be equivalent to that of an adult.

The moral of the story - don't try to argue scripture with a recovering fundamentalist.

^The killer's life was still technically forfeit

To Sarah A #251:

“@See Noevo – Looks like someone need to spend more time reading his bible.”

Looks like someone need to spend more time reading her bible,
and at least getting her chapter and verse numbers right.

You’re a “recovering fundamentalist”? What church are you in now, if any?
Maybe this one would suit you. Sounds like another new Protestant sect in the making:
http://denver.cbslocal.com/2015/12/03/stoner-jesus-bible-study-group-ge…

By See Noevo (not verified) on 04 Dec 2015 #permalink

To Delphine #243:

Touché, mommy potty mouth!

By See Noevo (not verified) on 04 Dec 2015 #permalink

@See Noevo - Really? You can nitpick about typos but you have nothing to say about the simple fact that your own holy book contradicts your views?

^To clarify for anyone following along, the verses I referred to are in Exodus 21, as stated at the end of my first post (#240), not Exodus 20.

Old Rockin’ Dave #246:

Me: “I’m not about to argue with you over every perceived transgression of the Catholic Church over the last hundreds or thousands of years. I would, however, *consider* addressing one, *JUST ONE*, of your points (e.g. from #182). You pick. Throw your favorite flag.”

You respond with yet another scatter gun blast of *multiple* incidents over hundreds of years to tally (although you gave no tally) murders and misdeeds of the Church.

You blew it.
My offer is withdrawn.

P.S.
IF your main point is that Catholic clergy and laity have been guilty of extremely un-Godly behavior over the last two millennia, you’ll get no argument from me.
In fact, I would be very surprised if many self-identified Catholics, including many priests and bishops (and who knows, maybe even some Popes), do NOT end up in hell.

Nevertheless, the gates of hell shall not prevail against the Church (cf. Mat 16:18). They never have in 2,000 years, and they never will. (The CC puts the Energizer bunny to shame.)

And I’d rather die than be anything but Catholic.

By See Noevo (not verified) on 04 Dec 2015 #permalink

To Sarah A #255:

“@See Noevo – Really? You can nitpick about typos but you have nothing to say about the simple fact that your own holy book contradicts your views?”

Contradicts my view that the lot of a slave is better than that of the target of abortion?
I don’t see that. I don’t even need a Bible to not see that.

Contradicts my view that a miscarriage is not murder, not abortion?
I don’t see that either.

P.S.
Perhaps you missed my question earlier:
As a self-described “recovering fundamentalist”, what church are you in now, if any?

By See Noevo (not verified) on 04 Dec 2015 #permalink

@ See Noevo - God says that killing a human being, even by accident, if punishable by death. God then says that causing a fetus to spontaneously abort by accident is not punishable by death. Ergo, God does not recognize the unborn fetus as being morally equivalent to an human being. If you're serious about not understanding my point, I honestly don't know how to make it any clearer to you. But I strongly suspect that you're just being deliberately obtuse in order to avoid the issue.

And since you're asking, I don't attend any church.

To Sarah A #259:

“God says that killing a human being, even by accident, if punishable by death.”

Where does it say that?

P.S.
Apparently, you missed my question yet again:
As a self-described “recovering fundamentalist”, what church are you in now, if any?

By See Noevo (not verified) on 05 Dec 2015 #permalink

See Noinfo: You say "You respond with yet another scatter gun blast of *multiple* incidents over hundreds of years to tally (although you gave no tally) murders and misdeeds of the Church." I never agreed to take you up on your "offer" and I simply offered you some basic sources for my claims, sources which it would do you some good to investigate further. I have not only cited misdeeds by clergy, but actions, willful blindness, and policies that came from the highest levels of the Vatican, including any number of popes. I am merely pointing out to you that more than "approximately zero" deaths can be laid at the gates of the Vatican, by several orders of magnitude, and depending on how you count, they conceivably may add up to several millions. I don't quite care enough about your opinions to make the tally you seem to require, since many of these happenings are impossible to get accurate figures on instead of rough and problematic estimates (as in divorce, contraception, and abortion denial).
Evaluating those actions, etc., is a whole 'nother discussion, which would take us not merely down the rabbit hole, but down the TauTona mine.
I have cited facts which are on the whole irrefutable. How you would choose to justify or deny them is of scant interest to me.

By Old Rockin' Dave (not verified) on 05 Dec 2015 #permalink

Sheesh, I knew Catholics don't lay the same stress on the bible that protestant fundamentalists do, but this is ridiculous; I gave you the chapter and verse, FFS - do you even own a bible? If not, here's the passages I refer to (from the Contemporary English Version):

Death is the punishment for murder. But if you did not intend to kill someone, and I, the Lord, let it hapen anyway, you may run to safety to a place that I have set aside (Exodus 21:12 - 13)

This is elaborated on in Numbers 35:20 - 21:

Or suppose you get angry and kill someone by pushing or hitting or throwing something. You are a murderer and must be put to death by one of the victim's relatives (Numbers 35:20 - 21)

[Note that neither premeditation nor intent to kill are required - if you are fighting with someone and he/she dies as a result, God considers it murder]

But if you are not angry and accidentally kill someone in any of these ways, the townspeople must hold a trial and decide if you are guilty. If they decide that you are innocent, you will be protected from the victim's relative and sent to stay in one of the Safe Towns until the high priest dies. But if you ever leave the Safe Town and are killed by the victim's relative, he cannot be punished for killing you (Numbers 35:22 - 27)

Note that, even if the townspeople decide that the death was a complete accident (not just an unintended outcome of a conflict), you're not scott free - you still owe life for life, but you will be protected in one of the cities of refuge (that's from the KJV I grew up with, sometimes I think the CEV over-simplifies well-known and culturally significant terms unnecessarily.) If you leave the city, the avenger is still allowed to kill you, and it won't be considered murder on his part, because you still owe your life for the life you took.

This is just an interesting diversion, however, because the fact that God doesn't consider the unborn fetus's life to be equivalent to that of the mother is actually implicit in the passage I originally brought up:

Suppose a woman suffers a miscarriage as the result of an injury caused by someone who is fighting. If she isn't badly hurt, the one who injured her must pay whatever fine her husband demands and the judges approve. But if she is seriously injured, the payment will be life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, cut for cut, and bruise for bruise (Exodus 21:22 - 25)

Note that in this situation, the perpetrator doesn't intend to harm the woman - she is injured in the course of a fight between two men (that part is actually more explicit in he KJV). Nevertheless, if the woman is seriously injured (beyond the miscarriage itself) or killed, the same rule applies as if the perpetrator had actually injured or killed the man he was fighting with - life for life, eye for eye, etc. But if the only death is that of the fetus, only a fine is imposed. Obviously, God doesn't consider the life of the unborn to be equivalent to that of an adult.

P.S. I didn't miss your question, you missed my answer - at the end of #259

To Sarah A #262:

“Obviously, God doesn’t consider the life of the unborn to be equivalent to that of an adult.”

So it would seem.

And obviously, God doesn’t consider slave owning sinful.
Not even Jesus condemned slavery.

So maybe abortion and slavery are OK today, Scripturally speaking.
……………….
“I have yet many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.
When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.” [John 16:12-13]

Truth, what is truth? How can we know it?

“that THROUGH THE CHURCH the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places.” [Ephesians 3:10]

“if I am delayed, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is THE CHURCH of the living God, THE PILLAR AND BULWARK OF THE TRUTH.”
[1 Timothy 3:15]

P.S.
I’m sorry to hear you don’t attend any church.
Particularly *the* Church.

By See Noevo (not verified) on 05 Dec 2015 #permalink

P.S.
I’m sorry to hear you don’t attend any church.
Particularly *the* Church.

You really don't understand how badly you reek of utter desperation for attention, do you?

Purely hypocritical cowardice is probably the least of your character flaws.

Orac,

I feel a little sorry for you, and for Ben Carson.
Whatever happened to the focus on your blog against Ben?

It seems that whenever a blog is about someone questioning something scientists say (people who thus become science “deniers”, in the eyes of the Left) the commenters almost inevitably begin attacking religion, and ultimately condemning or at least criticizing the Catholic Church?
And before you know it, we’re talking about abortion and what not!

On this particular blog, Helianthus #25 was the first to bring up the CC (and Ben Carson isn’t even Catholic!). I think the majority of the over 230 comments that followed involved religion and especially Catholicism. (Yes, I contributed some of them. About 17% of them.)

Too bad Ben Carson isn’t Catholic. Then we could get him more in the mix here.

By See Noevo (not verified) on 05 Dec 2015 #permalink

And I’d rather die than be anything but Catholic.

I don't think that tediously making an ass of yourself on the Intertubes is enough to pull off the (deranged, unsolicited) martyr routine.

See No Nuffin'

So the church doesn't evolve except when it does.

And those who subvert the thread bemoan the fact that the thread has been subverted.

Guess what:
Reason is not the same as rationalization.

What I've learned from SN:
Apparently faith makes an excellent excuse for rigid, intellectual laziness if not outright perfidy.

By Obstreperous A… (not verified) on 06 Dec 2015 #permalink

@See Noevo

“Obviously, God doesn’t consider the life of the unborn to be equivalent to that of an adult.”

So it would seem.

Well, I'll give you this much credit - I wasn't expecting even that much of a concession from you. So with end-of-semester deadlines looming I think I'll quit while I'm ahead.

And obviously, God doesn’t consider slave owning sinful.
Not even Jesus condemned slavery.

And now you know why I neither rely on, nor recommend, the bible as a source of moral guidance.

See Noevo,

“When did the Catholic Church develop their opposition to abortion?”

I don’t know off hand, but it was probably pretty early, given meditations on revelations like Luke 1:43.

Very Deepak Chopra, but it has nothing to do with abortion.

“However, this change policy on slavery was still a change in the moral rules of the Church.”

Developing a formal stance on an issue for which you never before had a formal stance should not be considered a “change”.

The Catholic Church approved of slavery, then changed its mind.

It is good when they improve their morality, but there is still too much immorality ordered by the Church.

Perhaps, just maybe, you could forgive the Catholic Church for not immediately and explicitly condemning something (i.e. slavery) that was not even condemned by its Founder and Purpose, Jesus Christ.

Why didn't your Gods know that slavery is immoral?

It’s a curious thing. Maybe Jesus had so many other sins to condemn (e.g. adultery, fornication, murder) that He just never got around to it.

Slavery is unimportant?

Your Gods are excellent examples of immorality and incompetence.

And then you give a long example of a childish excuse.

Morality appears to be whatever allows you to do whatever you want.

.

By Rogue Medic (not verified) on 06 Dec 2015 #permalink

What I’ve learned from SN:
Apparently faith makes an excellent excuse for rigid, intellectual laziness if not outright perfidy.

I suspect s/he was an asshole long before s/he converted.

By shay simmons (not verified) on 06 Dec 2015 #permalink

To Rogue Medic #269:

You: “When did the Catholic Church develop their opposition to abortion?”

Me: “I don’t know off hand, but it was probably pretty early, given meditations on revelations like Luke 1:43.”

You: “Very Deepak Chopra, but it has nothing to do with abortion.”

Sure it does, if you think about it just a little.
…………….
You: “However, this change policy on slavery was still a change in the moral rules of the Church.”

Me: “Developing a formal stance on an issue for which you never before had a formal stance should not be considered a “change”.”

You: “The Catholic Church approved of slavery, then changed its mind.”

When and where did the approval happen?
……………….
“Your Gods are excellent examples of immorality and incompetence.”

From what we know of Jesus Christ, would you say he was crazy and/or evil?

By See Noevo (not verified) on 06 Dec 2015 #permalink

From what we know of Jesus Christ, would you say he was crazy and/or evil?

Fictional.

But, if you wish to play that game, after reading the bible, would you say his father was a murderous psychopath or simply a fan of genocide?

See Noevo,

You: “Very Deepak Chopra, but it has nothing to do with abortion.”

Sure it does, if you think about it just a little.

That is why there are so many different ways of interpreting the Bible - the people who wrote were writing like Deepak Chopra and his ilk. Chopra, and others, want you to think they are profound, when they are just vague and meaningless.

.

By Rogue Medic (not verified) on 06 Dec 2015 #permalink

See Noevo,

You: “However, this change policy on slavery was still a change in the moral rules of the Church.”

Me: “Developing a formal stance on an issue for which you never before had a formal stance should not be considered a “change”.”

You: “The Catholic Church approved of slavery, then changed its mind.”

When and where did the approval happen?

Some examples of Catholic-approved/Catholic-ordered slavery (as part of canon law) from Wikipedia -

In the early thirteenth century, official support for slavery and the slave trade was incorporated into Canon Law (Corpus Iuris Canonici), by Pope Gregory IX,.[62] Canon law provided for four just titles for holding slaves: slaves captured in war, persons condemned to slavery for a crime; persons selling themselves into slavery, including a father selling his child; children of a mother who is a slave.

Slavery was imposed as an ecclesiastical penalty by General Councils and local Church councils and Popes, 1179-1535...

(a) The crime of assisting the Saracens 1179-1450.....

(b) The crime of selling Christian slaves to the Saracens 1425. Pope Martin V issued two constitutions. Traffic in Christian slaves was not forbidden, but only their sale to non Christian masters.

(c) The crime of brigandage in the Pyrenees mountainous districts, 1179.

(d) Unjust aggression or other crimes, 1309-1535. The penalty of capture and enslavement for Christian families or cities or states was enacted several times by Popes. Those sentenced included Venetians in 1309.[63]

Pope Gregory XI, excommunicated the Florentines and ordered them to be enslaved if captured[64] Little seems to have happened before the order was removed.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catholic_Church_and_slavery#Slavery_incor…

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By Rogue Medic (not verified) on 06 Dec 2015 #permalink

See Noevo,

“Your Gods are excellent examples of immorality and incompetence.”

From what we know of Jesus Christ, would you say he was crazy and/or evil?

Evil is a religious concept, like free will and original sin, so I would not use this magical term to describe something.

Jesus was probably just the same as the other apocalyptic preachers of that time.

Someone persuaded Constantine that some coincidence was due to Jesus magic, so one powerful person believed, and the official state religion caught on.

If the Christian Gods were so impressive, why did the followers so quickly abandon them and go worship so many other Gods?

If Jesus was so impressive, why did it take 40 years for somebody to write something down?

And why couldn't the Christian Gods come up with a means of passing on this information that was clear? You don't get 41,000 different flavors of Christianity from clear communication.

.

By Rogue Medic (not verified) on 06 Dec 2015 #permalink

dean,

From what we know of Jesus Christ, would you say he was crazy and/or evil?

Fictional.

But, if you wish to play that game, after reading the bible, would you say his father was a murderous psychopath or simply a fan of genocide?

That's a trick question.

The God of the Bible is all three.

The God of the Bible is a fictional murderous psychopath who dabbled in genocide and - only one time - engaged in worldwide genocide to cover up the evidence of his unintelligent design.

.

By Rogue Medic (not verified) on 06 Dec 2015 #permalink

To Rogue Medic #275:

“Someone persuaded Constantine that some coincidence was due to Jesus magic, so one powerful person believed, and the official state religion caught on.”

That must have been some marvelous magic, because I think the Roman Empire already had an official state religion with its own gods. But nobody’s followed Jupiter, Venus, Bacchus, etc. for many moons.

“Jesus was probably just the same as the other apocalyptic preachers of that time.”

Yeah, probably.
Maybe it’s like those guys in Acts 5 said:
“When they heard this they were enraged and wanted to kill them.
But a Pharisee in the council named Gama'li-el, a teacher of the law, held in honor by all the people, stood up and ordered the men to be put outside for a while.
And he said to them, "Men of Israel, take care what you do with these men.
For before these days Theu'das arose, giving himself out to be somebody, and a number of men, about four hundred, joined him; but he was slain and all who followed him were dispersed and came to nothing.
After him Judas the Galilean arose in the days of the census and drew away some of the people after him; he also perished, and all who followed him were scattered.
So in the present case I tell you, keep away from these men and let them alone; for if this plan or this undertaking is of men, it will fail;
but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You might even be found opposing God!"
So they took his advice, and when they had called in the apostles, they beat them and charged them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go.”

Almost 2,000 years, and still going… the CC bunny.

...........
P.S.
“And why couldn’t the Christian Gods come up with a means of passing on this information that was clear?”

Consider it done, a long time ago.
It’s called the Church (cf. 1 Tim 3:15).

By See Noevo (not verified) on 06 Dec 2015 #permalink

Someone persuaded Constantine that some coincidence was due to Jesus magic, so one powerful person believed, and the official state religion caught on

It's debatable whether or not Constantine was a believer at all. Christianity had already caught on to the point that ceasing to persecute Christians was a politically advantageous move for him anyway..

He did convert on his deathbed. But he didn't need some random "someone" to show him the light. His mother (by whom he was raised) was a Christian -- Saint Helena, who's best known for discovering the True Cross.

The Morgan Library a beautiful little gold altar/reliquary with Mosan enamels that show her embarking on the quest for it by throwing Jews into a fire so that they'd tell her where it was. The Stavelot Tryptych, it's called.

Triptych.

I always spell that wrong.

See Noevo,

I see that you only respond to comments when you can suggest that the popularity of your flavor of Christianity is somehow more special than the other flavors.

P.S.
“And why couldn’t the Christian Gods come up with a means of passing on this information that was clear?”

Consider it done, a long time ago.
It’s called the Church (cf. 1 Tim 3:15).

Everything you cite is just a matter of interpretation of a predecessor of Deepak Chopra.

41,000 different interpretations and your interpretation is just another one.

It is special to you and to the few others who share your specific interpretation. As has already been demonstrated, there are even many versions of Catholic.

Your type of Catholic is probably going to be left behind as the rest of Catholicism abandons the ancient immorality that your revere.

Catholicism abandoned its defense of slavery.

Catholicism abandoned its executions for heresy.

Catholicism abandoned its wars of conquest.

Catholicism abandoned its opposition to science.

While it is slow to learn, eventually Catholicism does seem to abandon many of its immoral practices. So can you.

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By Rogue Medic (not verified) on 06 Dec 2015 #permalink

That should read -

Your type of Catholic is probably going to be left behind as the rest of Catholicism abandons the ancient immorality that you revere.

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By Rogue Medic (not verified) on 06 Dec 2015 #permalink

@Rogue Medic: now if they Catholic Church would only become intelligent and remove its prohibition of birth control, abortions would probably decrease immensely, making everyone happy. After all, almost every women would rather prevent an unwanted pregnancy instead of having to have an abortion.

After all, that was the basic premise for Planned Parenthood: Every child a WANTED child.

Gah! "almost every woman" Too early and the coffee hasn't kicked in enough for proofreading.

And SN keep failing History forever.
The interested lurker can just hop in at wikipedia or any other educational site for some basic historical facts about, oh well, everything, from hospitals to common law to slavery in Old Europe.

Re: slavery

It’s a curious thing. Maybe Jesus had so many other sins to condemn (e.g. adultery, fornication, murder) that He just never got around to it.

Wait, slavery has nothing to do with adultery, fornication, murder?

I stand by Granny Weatherwax definition of sin, as a starting point. Sin is when you treat people like things.

By Helianthus (not verified) on 07 Dec 2015 #permalink

"They never have in 2,000 years, and they never will. (The CC puts the Energizer bunny to shame.)"
The Orthodox church is at least as old as the Catholic, and also has shown great staying power, and has every right to argue that it is the true and original Christian church.
Judaism, Buddhism, and Hinduism are all far older and show no signs of dying out.
The religious beliefs of ancient Egypt lasted three thousand years.
Come back and make your case a thousand years from now.

By Old Rockin' Dave (not verified) on 07 Dec 2015 #permalink

To Old Rockin’ Dave #286:

Me: “They never have in 2,000 years, and they never will. (The CC puts the Energizer bunny to shame.)”

You: “Judaism, Buddhism, and Hinduism are all far older and show no signs of dying out. The religious beliefs of ancient Egypt lasted three thousand years.”

I’m not talking about religious beliefs, per se.
I’m talking about an *organization*, as in a body of people with mission statement and doctrines and rules, and with a hierarchy of “management”, and a visible head/“CEO”.

Who’s the global “CEO” of Judaism, of Buddhism, of Hinduism?

P.S.
And quick, without peeking, who’s the head of the Orthodox Church right now?

By See Noevo (not verified) on 07 Dec 2015 #permalink

Sn, thanks for admitting the Catholic Church is nothing more than a multinational corporation.

The last individual who committed such a sin of pride as SN, was Lucifer, himself.....

And I'm not quite sure how that definition would be considered "better" given that the CC has, for long periods of its history, been nothing more than a tool of kings, or worse, a political body dedicated to nothing but abject power (like electing a Borgia as Pope).

To Lawrence #290:

“And I’m not quite sure how that definition would be considered “better” given that the CC has, for long periods of its history, been nothing more than a tool of kings, or worse, a political body dedicated to nothing but abject power (like electing a Borgia as Pope).”

How are those kings and their kingdoms, and those Borgias, carrying on *today*? How many years is their tenure up to now?

By See Noevo (not verified) on 07 Dec 2015 #permalink

How many years is their tenure up to now?

About 5 foot 4.

"I’m not talking about religious beliefs, per se.
I’m talking about an *organization*, as in a body of people with mission statement and doctrines and rules, and with a hierarchy of “management”, and a visible head/“CEO”.
Who’s the global “CEO” of Judaism, of Buddhism, of Hinduism?"
None of them need one. That's the biggest reason for our endurance.
No one is exactly the "CEO" of the Orthodox Church. The "official" head of the Orthodox Church is Jesus Christ. The de facto, though not de jure, leader is the Ecumenical Patriarch. Currently that's Bartholomew I, though his leadership is described as primus inter pares.
Meanwhile, your hierarchy of management is a dismal failure in many areas. Much of it is a self-perpetuating bureaucracy committed to its own privileges, and capable of thwarting any attempt at reform. The Church has allowed many of its personnel to run amok, engaging in all kinds of sins with little fear of consequences. It's been in a long slow decline for centuries now, and its long survival owes more to its secular operations than its religious ones.
Just by the way, how do you feel about your pontifex maximus having a pre-Christian Roman priesthood among his titles?

By Old Rockin' Dave (not verified) on 07 Dec 2015 #permalink

To Old Rockin’ Dave #293:

Me: “[In terms of historical longevity] I’m not talking about religious beliefs, per se.
I’m talking about an *organization*, as in a body of people with mission statement and doctrines and rules, and with a hierarchy of “management”, and a visible head/“CEO”. Who’s the global “CEO” of Judaism, of Buddhism, of Hinduism?”

You: “None of them need one. That’s the biggest reason for our endurance.”

And the biggest reason for, as you say, “41,000 different flavors of Christianity”.

But “OUR” endurance?
Are you of the Judaism or Buddhism or Hinduism persuasion?
…………..
Me: “And quick, without peeking, who’s the head of the Orthodox Church right now?”

You: “The de facto, though not de jure, leader is the Ecumenical Patriarch. Currently that’s Bartholomew I, though his leadership is described as primus inter pares.”

Wow. You’re pretty good for not peeking. I wouldn’t even have come up with Bartholomew absent a little Googling. I’d bet the majority of the folks out there wouldn’t either.
(But I’d bet they would come up with the title and the name of the head of the Catholic Church.)
………….
“Meanwhile, your hierarchy of management is a dismal failure in many areas. Much of it is a self-perpetuating bureaucracy committed to its own privileges, and capable of thwarting any attempt at reform. The Church has allowed many of its personnel to run amok, engaging in all kinds of sins with little fear of consequences. It’s been in a long slow decline for centuries now…”

I agree.
………………
“Just by the way, how do you feel about your pontifex maximus having a pre-Christian Roman priesthood among his titles?”

How do I feel about it? Probably about the same as I do the Vicar of Christ also being called “papa” (i.e. Pope).

By See Noevo (not verified) on 07 Dec 2015 #permalink

Wow, is that old pervert (^) still going on and on about "peeking under the hood"? Must be jealousy.

See Noevo- Jesus Christ is the head of the Christian Church, always and forever.

By Gray Falcon (not verified) on 07 Dec 2015 #permalink

The power of an organization often has little to do with how well-known its current chief executive is. There are probably a lot of people who would tell you that the CEO of Microsoft is Bill Gates; the company profits, and its influence on the computer industry and my local economy, don't depend on them getting it right.

Is it hubris to put that much of your ego into the fame of someone you have no influence on or direct interaction with?

Are you of the Judaism or Buddhism or Hinduism persuasion?

I had no idea that S.N.'s Torquemadita routine could actually descend even further.

"Later, Carl and Bernie told me Meat Hook had told them, in describing the way he ran his drug clinic in Harlem, that he didn’t 'fool around with these characters.' He took them to a darkened back room and examined their cοcks by the light of a candle to make sure no drugs were concealed under foreskins. He also sang the Star Spangled Banner at football games, my favorite sidelight on this incredibly demonic personality. With enemies like Meat Hook, one might ask, who needed friends?"

^ Eh, close the italics after "Banner" in your minds.

Let's see, as recently as the past few years, the Vatican Bank was used to launder money for a variety of mafia organizations....

So when exactly do you have a "cut-off" for scandalous behavior? Because it can be argued that the cover-up of the massive abuses committed by priests continues to this day......

To Lawrence #300:

“So when exactly do you have a “cut-off” for scandalous behavior?”

Unfortunately, probably not until the Second Coming.
Scandalous behavior has been seen in the Church from the start (e.g. Judas Iscariot, an apostle hand-picked by Christ himself), and in its earliest days:
“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.” [Mat 7:15]

“Take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God which he obtained with the blood of his own Son.
I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock;
and from among your own selves will arise men speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them.
Therefore be alert, remembering that for three years I did not cease night or day to admonish every one with tears.”
[Acts 20:28-31]

And the wolves have been within the Church, ‘from among our own selves’, ever since. For those to whom much is given, much is expected. And I think there will be a great deal of hell to pay, as I noted in #257’s P.S.

By See Noevo (not verified) on 08 Dec 2015 #permalink

I think See the creep just described itself...

Exactly gaist....

See- I will concede one point. Churches are, indeed, meant to enact Christ's will on Earth. So why should I trust a church that only cares about itself? The Lutheran church hasn't covered up any sex scandals, nor has the Episcopal, Methodist, or Orthodox churches. Why not join them instead?

By Gray Falcon (not verified) on 08 Dec 2015 #permalink

The Lutheran church hasn’t covered up any sex scandals, nor has the Episcopal, Methodist, or Orthodox churches.

I'm not sure about the first three there, but that's not entirely true about the Orthodox Church. They do have a much better record than the RCC, though. Letting parish priests marry probably helps a lot.

^Blockquote fail, but, oh, you guys get it.

The leadership of the Methodist church takes an especially vile position on homosexuality, however. In that sense they are just as disgusting as the leaders of the RCC.

See Noevo,

You: “However, this change policy on slavery was still a change in the moral rules of the Church.”

Me: “Developing a formal stance on an issue for which you never before had a formal stance should not be considered a “change”.”

You: “The Catholic Church approved of slavery, then changed its mind.”

When and where did the approval happen?

Some examples of Catholic-approved/Catholic-ordered slavery (as part of canon law) from Wikipedia –

In the early thirteenth century, official support for slavery and the slave trade was incorporated into Canon Law (Corpus Iuris Canonici), by Pope Gregory IX,.[62] Canon law provided for four just titles for holding slaves: slaves captured in war, persons condemned to slavery for a crime; persons selling themselves into slavery, including a father selling his child; children of a mother who is a slave.

Slavery was imposed as an ecclesiastical penalty by General Councils and local Church councils and Popes, 1179-1535…

(a) The crime of assisting the Saracens 1179-1450…..

(b) The crime of selling Christian slaves to the Saracens 1425. Pope Martin V issued two constitutions. Traffic in Christian slaves was not forbidden, but only their sale to non Christian masters.

(c) The crime of brigandage in the Pyrenees mountainous districts, 1179.

(d) Unjust aggression or other crimes, 1309-1535. The penalty of capture and enslavement for Christian families or cities or states was enacted several times by Popes. Those sentenced included Venetians in 1309.[63]

Pope Gregory XI, excommunicated the Florentines and ordered them to be enslaved if captured[64] Little seems to have happened before the order was removed.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catholic_Church_and_slavery#Slavery_incor…

Can we expect any explanation for this blatant reversal on morality by the Catholic Church?

Why can't the Catholic Church tell what is moral?

.

By Rogue Medic (not verified) on 08 Dec 2015 #permalink

To Gray Falcon #304:

“So why should I trust a church that only cares about itself? The Lutheran church hasn’t covered up any sex scandals, nor has the Episcopal, Methodist, or Orthodox churches.”

From what I remember reading, the incidence of sexual abuse is about the same in Protestantism, as well as in Judaism, Islam. It may be even worse in the public schools. (The coverups *might* be as bad, as well, given how seldom you hear about them compared to the CC.)

Here’s a short piece on Evangelicals:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/01/protestant-sex-abuse-boz-tchiv…

“Why not join them instead?”

Never.

By See Noevo (not verified) on 08 Dec 2015 #permalink

“Why not join them instead?”

Never.

Whelp, have it your way, I suppose!

See Noevo,

You: “However, this change policy on slavery was still a change in the moral rules of the Church.”

Me: “Developing a formal stance on an issue for which you never before had a formal stance should not be considered a “change”.”

You: “The Catholic Church approved of slavery, then changed its mind.”

When and where did the approval happen?

Some examples of Catholic-approved/Catholic-ordered slavery (as part of canon law) from Wikipedia –

In the early thirteenth century, official support for slavery and the slave trade was incorporated into Canon Law (Corpus Iuris Canonici), by Pope Gregory IX,.[62] Canon law provided for four just titles for holding slaves: slaves captured in war, persons condemned to slavery for a crime; persons selling themselves into slavery, including a father selling his child; children of a mother who is a slave.

Slavery was imposed as an ecclesiastical penalty by General Councils and local Church councils and Popes, 1179-1535…

(a) The crime of assisting the Saracens 1179-1450…..

(b) The crime of selling Christian slaves to the Saracens 1425. Pope Martin V issued two constitutions. Traffic in Christian slaves was not forbidden, but only their sale to non Christian masters.

(c) The crime of brigandage in the Pyrenees mountainous districts, 1179.

(d) Unjust aggression or other crimes, 1309-1535. The penalty of capture and enslavement for Christian families or cities or states was enacted several times by Popes. Those sentenced included Venetians in 1309.[63]

Pope Gregory XI, excommunicated the Florentines and ordered them to be enslaved if captured[64] Little seems to have happened before the order was removed.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catholic_Church_and_slavery#Slavery_incor…

Can we expect any explanation for this blatant reversal on morality by the Catholic Church?

Why can’t the Catholic Church tell what is moral?

Why do you try to answer other questions, but keep avoiding this question?

Then we can address other examples of the Catholic Church changing its stance on morality.

.

By Rogue Medic (not verified) on 10 Dec 2015 #permalink

So creepy See, you're arguing that the Church and the Papacy just lost their way for hundreds of years and made slavery an official part of their Canon Law, but that did not somehow end up being a "blatant reversal of morality"? What would you call it? A moral hiccup?

And that's just for slavery. Officially sanctioned killings went on for much much longer, among other sins.

New Carson Links To Mannatech

http://www.wsj.com/articles/ben-carsons-ties-to-mannatech-are-many-1450…

The article talks about Carson recommending Mannatech products to his patients (one who was interviewed spent $2,600 on Mannatech supplements for his daughter's epilepsy without finding them useful), referring them to his "personal assistant", a Mannatech associate who now works for his campaign.

"In a 2009 letter to Mannatech’s then-CEO, Mr. Carson thanked the company for a $25,000 donation to help fund an endowed professorship Mr. Carson had been awarded by Johns Hopkins, according to a copy reviewed by The Wall Street Journal."

“May God continue to richly bless the entire organization as you serve Him and mankind,” Mr. Carson wrote. Mannatech’s products have often been marketed to an evangelical Christian audience."

"In the interview, Mr. Carson said the letter was sent in error. He said he solicited the gift by asking Mannatech to donate funds in lieu of payment for something he didn’t specify, but “there is no record of it having being received.” Hopkins said it won’t comment on donors."

By Dangerous Bacon (not verified) on 14 Dec 2015 #permalink

See Noevo,

That apologist site claims that the Catholic Church "tolerated" slavery and did not have any policy opposing slavery.

Then there was the magical, but not divine, recognition of the obvious.

Slavery is immoral.

Slavery has always been immoral.

The Catholic Church has not only not known this, but has endorsed slavery - as I documented above.

There is no morality in the morning Catholic Church.

There are only dishonest excuses for the extensively documented history of immorality by the Catholic Church.

The Catholic Church participated in slavery, because the Catholic Church had no moral objections to slavery.

The Catholic Gods didn't know that slavery is immoral.

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By Rogue Medic (not verified) on 16 Dec 2015 #permalink

The word "morning" should not appear above.

It appears to be a bit of humor from the gods of predictive text.

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By Rogue Medic (not verified) on 16 Dec 2015 #permalink

I still have to redo the story in response to S.N.'s fantasy about slipping Pope Francis a "sneaky Pete" carefully worded letter of corrections, but this was too good not to be memorialized. (Image here.)

Narad,

That one sentence contains so much that is wrong, but See Noevo, and the rest of the big government promotion of religion types, will never understand.

If anything, See Noevo is the Pee Wee Herman of ___________. Insert any subject that requires understanding that he chooses to comment on.

There is always the possibility that Noevo is a Poe, making intentionally ridiculous comments.

He seems to think that his Gods were too busy to tell anyone that slavery is wrong, while ignoring the Catholic Church's orders to enslave people.

There is a moral lesson here, but it is apparently well beyond the understanding of See Noevo.

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By Rogue Medic (not verified) on 22 Dec 2015 #permalink