Papacy: "evolution is too science-y!"

PZ Myers expertly excoriates the ecclesiastic like noone else can, so instead of ranting myself I’ll link you to his post about a “Vatican evolution congress” (maybe I should have an ‘Atheist Prayer Meeting’ in response, it would make as much sense) entitled “Science Is Not Your Merkin” (LOL) and tease you with some choice quotes:

“[Jesuit Father Marc Leclerc, a philosophy professor at the Gregorian] said arguments “that cannot be critically defined as being science, or philosophy or theology did not seem feasible to include in a dialogue at this level and, therefore, for this reason we did not think to invite” supporters of creationism and intelligent design.””

What an out — they’re only going to allow arguments critically defined as scientific, oh, and theology. Those are two different things, you know.

I eagerly await the announcement of the associated banquet for the participants. They will only be serving the highest quality food, made by master chefs of Europe, using only the freshest, best ingredients, oh, and there will be dollops of runny, rancid fecal material splattered over the tables and dishes. But the meal will be a magnificent gourmet experience, and the world will know that Vatican shit deserves to be served to the greatest minds of science.

I’m sure they’ll get some good smart people to go along with this, because there is no shortage of competent scientists willing to compromise the public face of science by associating it with wishful thinking and the supernatural. And the Vatican will, of course, throw buckets of pomp and money and somber news quotes at this, all to decorate the rotting flesh of their decrepit dogma with the jewels of science.

And look! Their exclusivity runs the other way, too!

“Archbishop Gianfranco Ravasi, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture, said the other extreme of the evolution debate — proponents of an overly scientific conception of evolution and natural selection — also were not invited.”

“Overly scientific conception of evolution”? What the heck? So the problem with evolution, to these Catholics, is that there’s too darned much science in it? I guess Richard Dawkins won’t be pining by his mailbox, hangdog with disappointment that his papal invitation hasn’t arrived yet. Why, the whole problem with evolutionary biology is that we don’t have enough religion in it, to poison and distort and attenuate the science. But not just any religion: it seriously needs more Catholicism.

Evolution, too science-y for Catholics…what the holy poo-spattered fuck is wrong with these people? I’m flabbergasted. I’m lost for words. There really isn’t anything I can write to express how completely & utterly fucked, wrong and arse-backwards that concept is. Imagine if I read a bible, put it down and said “OK, very good, very interesting. But it’s a little heavy on the God-talk, isn’t it?” Any Catholic – any Christian – would instantly have the right the look at me with an eyebrow raised and say to me, “That’s actually the ENTIRE POINT OF IT, you fucking halfwit. Now give it back before you drool all over the fucking thing.”

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Papacy: no apology to Charles Darwin

VATICAN CITY, Sep. 16, 2008 (Reuters) — The Vatican said on Tuesday the theory of evolution was compatible with the Bible but planned no posthumous apology to Charles Darwin for the cold reception it gave him 150 years ago.

[ via]

Well, no surprise there. Everyone (especially Galileo) knows the statute of limitations on Papist apologies to people who were correct all along is around the 500-year mark. Not that any scientist or any one else really needs the Vatican, the CoE, or any other religiolith to apologise though. As the old saying goes, success is the best revenge and there’s nothing quite like the success of Darwin’s Evolutionary Theory, which is supported not just by biological evidence but also supports and is mutually supported by evidence genetic, geological, palaeontological, medical, pharmacological, genealogical, animal, vegetable, mineral – the list goes on…

But, of course …

“In the United States, and now elsewhere, we have an ongoing public debate over evolution that has social, political and religious dimensions,” [Professor Philip Sloan of Notre Dame University] said. “Most of this debate has been taking place without a strong Catholic theological presence, and the discussion
has suffered accordingly,” he said.

Well, Prof, that’s the States for you – not that I think a “strong Catholic theological presence” would clarify anything other than the ninja-like mental gymnastics needed to be a Catholic theologian in the first place. What the current evo/creationist debate in the US needs is for theology of any kind to be hacked out like dead, rotting wood and for the discussion to return to objective, verifiable facts such as those which support evolutionary theory. Creationists debating evolution is like me debating quantum physics – I know some of the words involved and have a shallow understanding of the concepts but that’s where my actual knowledge of it ends. To continue pretending (a) that I know what I’m on about and (b) that I can actually debate quantum physics with people who have dedicated their lives to understanding it would only reveal me as a rank ignoramus. Although, now that I think about it, that analogy is actually giving way too much credit to the creationists. People whose understanding amounts to “evolution = we came from a monkey but I aint no monkey and how come there are still monkeys anyway” really just need to shut the fuck up and read an eighth-grade biology textbook.

Even when the CoE and the Vatican (of all places) come to their senses and publicly accept evolution for the fact it is (though the Roman Empire qualify their acceptance by calling it “theistic evolution”, which I suppose means “God did it and continues to do it”), many, many American Christians still cling tenaciously to their “it’s a 6000 year-old Earth & I aint no monkey’s uncle & Adam & Eve rode dinosaurs who didn’t eat them because they were vegetarian dinosaurs” lackwittedness. One of these daft mammals has been in the Whitehouse for eight years (with great success) and another hopes to be there in about three months as deputy to a cranky old flip-flopper who’s around 33% likely to shuffle off during his term and leave the country to a pitbull with lipstick who believes Iraq is a mission from God and life on this earth doesn’t matter a pinch of shit because she’ll be kickin’ it with Jesus in the afterlife. Holy fucking crap, America! Wake up and steer the car away from the precipice because you’re gonna take us all down with you. Hell, going by the latest news from the stock market it’s beginning already! Like I was (and many other people were) telling people a few years ago – don’t get too comfy in the US exchanges because a serious Republican-induced recession is nigh, unless the Fed has another Greenspan-style miracle up its sleeve … seriously, how long did these idiots think they’d get away with spending billions of borrowed dollars a week in Iraq while simultaneously propping up a strung out Federal Reserve? Idiots. You don’t need to be a freaking economist to be able to smell a recession from a mile away.


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Seriously, Ratzinger, suck my arse

“Pope condemns ‘pagan’ love of money, power” [MSN]

Paraphrasing from the New Testament, Benedict decried “insatiable greed” and said “the love of money is the root of all evil.”

“Have not money, the thirst for possessions, for power and even knowledge, diverted man from his true destiny?” the pope asked. Benedict blasted modern society’s thirst for these new “pagan” idols as a “scandal, a real plague.” The pope urged the faithful
to “shun the worship of idols. Do not tire of doing good!”’

Do I really need to pick this apart and spell out exactly what’s wrong with this picture? A spiritual monarch, appointed by a 1500 year-old entrenched, insular oligarchy, wearing Prada & silk & gold robes, paying no tax, living in a fucking palace the size of a city (with his own private army), who is treated with more deference and reverence and suckingthefuckup than any living king, queen, prime minister, president or rock star, “blasting” the world for daring to pursue material gain?

And all this before he flies to Lourdes, a place where the Virgin Mary allegedly appeared to a peasant girl a century (or something) ago, and which (like practically all other similar places) is now a massive cash cow for any opportunistic seller of glow-in-the-dark Mary statues to set up a stall and rake in francs from the gullible hordes. “Shun the worship of idols”, he says…Lourdes, a place where Mary, mother of Jesus, is idolised & worshipped & prayed to by Catholics as much as her famous son, or his infamous father (this in a supposedly monotheistic religion); a place where this Mary-worship is cashed in on, on a daily fucking basis by shrewd vendors of religious garbage. Though the hordes of Lourdes may not be Ratzinger’s fault, his physical presence there legitimises and condones the very behaviour he’s apparently railing against. Lourdes is the very embodiment – and perfect combination – of idolatry & the love of money. It is the one place you’d expect Ratzi to single out for special excoriation. You’d think if the gottfuehrer was really out to emulate the J-man and kick the money-lenders out of the temple, he’d go up and down the route to Lourdes getting medieval on the stall-holders with their cheap trinkets and cynical cashing in on vulnerable, gullible peoples’ willingness to be deceived and fleeced – or even single them out for a special Papal “blast”. But I won’t hold my breath. After all, the very thing that’s made the Catholic church one of the most wealthy (but also most secretive) non-corporate, non-governmental organisations in the world has been its long history of deceiving people out of their wealth through appeals to peoples’ fear of hell, or simply taking what they want at the point of a sword or a set of thumbscrews. Why the hell should anyone expect a career hypocrite (the latest in a long line of such hypocrites, born from an environment of the purest hypocrisy) to suddenly change his spots? Why should we expect any action on this facet of Papist hypocrisy when we can’t even expect them to effectively apologise for and pursue the perpetrators of decades of child-rape?

So, no, kids, he’s not serious. This is an empty, populist platitude, like so much of what we in the real world hear from this man and many of his silk-robed generals & lieutenants & associate wizards on a regular basis. A king – an emperor, no less – chiding us for wanting the good things this life has to offer. After all, that’s what most of us want. Not the best, not the top-tier version of everything. Just good things. Hell, most of us just want things that work. A car that starts, a washing machine that washes, doors that lock, a dog that barks, a computer & connection that are fast enough to just load webpages without too much staring at that little bastard hourglass. And if we can afford stuff that might make our lives a little easier or a bit more enjoyable, leave us to enjoy it. Ratzi’s “avoid the love of money” platitude is just a standard call & response to make middle-class Catholics feel good about themselves and assuage any guilt they may have at their own material success, all the while knowing the majority of their Catholic brethren just struggle to eat enough in a day, let alone have the luxury to dream about Aston Martins or houses at the beach (how many residences does Ratzi have again? At least as many as the old Czar of Russia, I’ll go out on a limb and assume). While Ratzi continues the Vatican’s reprehensible “only have sex for kids, condoms don’t work and might even kill you faster” routine, millions of Catholic third-world citizens, already in severe straits, are condemned to even more poverty & hardship through having children they can’t afford to feed. Ratzi then congratulates them on their Christ-like poverty from his gold throne, or from the platform of his gleaming, bullet-proof Mercedes.

I’m not a religious man (just thought I’d spell that out), but it’s at times like this I have lots of admiration for people such St Francis of Assisi. I may not have agreed with Frank on how best to spend one’s life, but the fact that he actually practiced what the bible apparently preaches about avoiding materialism, instead of just preaching it to others as he grew wealthy and fat off their toil, demands my respect. Until his death, St Francis railed against the pursuit of wealth and fame and was enraged by the cult of personality that had grown around him in his later years. If Ratzi had half that guy’s balls I’d – well, shit, I’d be really, really, really surprised. A Catholic demigod, not being a fucking hypocrite? I’d be sticking a thermometer in the ground to see if hell was freezing over.

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Crackergate: The Saga Continues – PZ nails it

In this post, PZ Myers (biologist, bloggist, all-round agent of Satan) details the final end to a holy wafer he’d promied to desecrate a week or so back (much to the oft-deadly sounding ire of followers of the Prince of Peace). I won’t spoil it for you, but suffice it to say the lil‘ biscuit met an appropriate end. But he desecrated a bit of Richard DawkinsThe God Delusion! Our holy scripture! The central tenet of our faith! The bedrock of our naturalist, humanist, secularist belief system! I CALL FOR A FATWA!!! DEATH TO MYERS!!!

Oh, cock. I can’t keep that up, it’s too retarded. Here’s a paragraph that neatly sums up pretty much all of my own thought towards the Papacy:

I think if I were truly evil, I would have to demand that all of my acolytes be celibate, but would turn a blind eye to any sexual depravities they might commit. If I wanted to be an evil hypocrite, I’d drape myself in expensive jeweled robes and live in an ornate palace while telling all my followers that poverty is a virtue. If I wanted to commit world-class evil, I’d undermine efforts at family planning by the poor, especially if I could simultaneously enable the spread of deadly diseases. And if I wanted to be so evil that I would commit a devastating crime against the whole of the human race, twisting the minds of children into ignorance and hatred, I would be promoting the indoctrination of religion in children’s upbringing, and fomenting hatred against anyone who dared speak out in defiance.

A-freakin-men PZ.

I don’t think there are many things in the world more pernicious and harmful than the combined activities of the Vatican: the sexual repression & abuse and subsequent PR-driven cover-ups, hush-ups and insincere non-apologies; the vast gulf between Vatican royalty and the millions of poverty-stricken followers who make up the bedrock of the faith; the continuing stream of blatant lies & literally lethal proclamations against contraception in the third world; the indoctrination of helpless children into a church which projects a fresh-faced public image through events like World Youth Day but which covers a rotten, dark core or superstition, ignorance and vast, inhuman greed to name but the most frightening and reprehensible. I didn’t even mention the thousands of “good Catholics” who sent PZ death threats before he’d even done anything to the stupid biscuit. Now that he’s desecrated the Jesus-rich wafer, I’m sure he can only expect more loving forgiveness from Catholics.