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April 12, 2007


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Just yesterday I had a conversation with a friend of mine about religion, atheism, and proof. She said atheism was a religion, because atheists have belief or faith there is no god. I said atheism wasn't a religion because there was no faith, but rather no evidence for god. Her response was that seeking evidence for god was the wrong way to go about religion. The conversation quickly degenerated into equivocations of religion with love. The point being that she, like the pope, was very quick to deride people for wanting physical proof, while their proof is in their faith -- if they believe it, then it must be true.

From a scientific viewpoint Galileo's position was indeed quite week. He dismissed Kepler's correct model of elliptical orbits because he preferred circular orbits on aesthetic/philosophical grounds. Circular orbits explained contemporary astronomical data as inaccurate as the geocentric model.

The point is not whether he was right or not (he was in a more general sense) or whether he was an impeccable scientist or not (he was not). The point is that the church tortured him to silence him. And they silenced him because he didn't concur with a magic book that was the base of their claim to power, wealth and influence.

I must say, Mr Ratzinger's views on evolution are largely irrelevant. Nature is as it is, not as some befuddled octogenarian
in a frock conveniently believes for the sake of bolstering support for the superstition over which he presides.
However, religion and love! Now, there's one of the biggest lies and jokes of Christianity if not all theistic religion. "God is love". What a load of pigswill. Last Saturday, the day before Easter (ironically) we visited a medieval castle where there was an exhibition of ancient torture equipment and detailed documentation, explanations and pictures of how it was used. It was really quite distressing and disgusting. The most enthusiastic torturers in medieval times were the Catholic church, without question, and they committed the most vile and bestial acts in the name of their god. People who deny this are either completely ignorant or live in some perverted, Disneyfied fairytale world of a cuddly, benevolent, omnipotent deity. And historical documentation of medieval times is almost certainly a tad more reliable than the Bible book of heroic fantasies.
It's funny too how those who disdain the demand for proof of their pet superstition suddenly adopt a more evidence based approach should they ever wind up in a court of law, accused of a crime. They're not so happy with the faith based approach when their own liberty to be at large in the world is on the line, and they find reality to be not quite so "loving".

The worst we'll do to the people we disagree with on science is make fun of them (while pointing out fallacies).

pv: The straw that broke the camels back in my case is the "Malleus Maleficarum". I've known about it for awhile, but then after reading about it in "The Demon Haunted World" I investigated a bit more. Any god that would allow that, can hang around in his heaven without me. Bastard.
PS: I am male, for info sake.

What Galileo did was to say "The Church says that all the stars and planets revolve around Earth. My new telescope shows four moons orbiting Jupiter - look!"

The cardinals wouldn't even look through the 'scope. Why do I get the feeling Pope Benedict wouldn't either?

He probably didn't expect a kind of Spanish inquisition.

First of all attacking the Catholic Church for what it did or didn't do hundreds of years ago (regardless of why it was done) is pretty pointless as regards the argument. Besides there's no shortage of present day examples of ill-behaviour...

However there has been selective quoting in the media about what the Pope has written and some of you are clearly smart enough to see through that sort of thing. Whether you share his beliefs or think he's completely wrong, he is clearly intelligent and capable of very nuanced argument. The Vatican has no problem with evolution and stops well short of advocating 'intelligent design'. That stuff is the preserve of the evangelical protestant churches in the US.

Theological students of the current Pope have said that they believe in a rationality behind evolution. Yes it's an appeal to another way of knowing, but that's why they call it faith. You think that's wrong but, well, you would - you're atheists.

The Catholic church has many failings. But, unless you expect them to just hold their hands up and say 'Whoops, sorry, you're right - we have no evidence for our beliefs' this isn't really one of them.

Oh, and Chayanov, you and your friend seem to have mixed up atheism, theism and agnosticism.

Apparently some still think heliocentricity is still a debate.



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