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Feb 12, 2009

Vatican Attempts Takeover

I've been pretty busy with school, but this article was just too awful to pass up. I'm sure to many this looks like the Church is finally attempting to make nice with science, but nothing could be further from the truth. The Church is trying to co-opt the prestige of science and reinstate itself as a reputable participant in the forum of ideas. While it's true that the amount of bad press generated by evolution-deniers on the basis that they are completely incorrect and anyone but an ignoramus can detect this fact has clearly generated this ridiculous attempt at appeasement, this doesn't have the same effect as appeasement by an otherwise rational person would.

The irrational (religionists, in this case) has nothing to lose by abandoning a nonessential part of their doctrine. Note that the Church isn't about to start claiming that reason is man's only means of knowledge or that A is A--no, they're just willing to allow that a particular datum might happen to be allowable under their irrational philosophy. They are counting on the person reading this announcement to make unwarranted assumptions about the truth of other Church teachings based on their willingness to glom onto other wandering true statements without any regard to the underlying epistemological approach that generated those statements. It is floating abstraction at its finest.

I also find it amusing that the unnamed "Vatican Official" mentioned Augustine and Aquinas in the same sentence--Augustine was militantly anti-reason and anti-science, whereas Aquinas' theories led in part to a rebirth of reason and science because he believed in the power of reason. He also believed, mistakenly, that the existence of God could be rationally proven, but otherwise you couldn't find two men whose ideas were more opposed.

What a farce.

1 comment:

SN said...

Similarly, the Vatican recently erected (or commissioned) a statue of Galileo.

The line some church scholars take is that Galileo did not present enough evidence. They quote a secret letter between two senior church figures of the times, that says they should admit Galileo's claims if he can offer more evidence.

On evolution too, he Catholics have taught it in their schools for a long time. It's mostly the U.S. evangelical groups that push the literal view of the bible. The Catholic church has lasted this many centuries by being much smarter than that.

"Include and reinterpret" works better than "deny".