News Bits

by Luke Muehlhauser on April 12, 2010 in News

Is My Thesis Hot or Not?

pedopopeTo no one’s surprise, the first smoking gun in the Pedopope case has surfaced. But to those who think this is going to kill the Catholic Church: you’re fooling yourselves. The Catholic Church has survived scandals far, far worse than a few thousand child rapes.

Philosophers and scientists know we don’t have free will, but they are reluctant to tell the common people that.

Everybody knows about The Reasoner, right?

Another way to make people moral: magnetic zaps to the brain.

Awesome P.Z. Myers: That other thing we don’t believe in.

More desirism: Why consider others when you don’t need to?

Alonzo Fyfe on the Sam Harris talk on science and morality.

Previous post:

Next post:

{ 32 comments… read them below or add one }

Bill Maher April 12, 2010 at 6:29 pm

lol @ pedobear. /b/tard for life.

  (Quote)

lukeprog April 12, 2010 at 6:51 pm

This is one internet meme I’m still ignorant of. What does /b/tard mean?

  (Quote)

Jason Vacare April 12, 2010 at 6:52 pm

Regarding scandals prior to this one: were the Crusades, heretic genocides, and Inquisition really all that scandalous in their day?

I have the impression that it is only through modern, progressive lenses that these acts are seen with any degree of scandal, diminished by the fact that they are centuries old.

I still hold some sliver of misguided hope that poignant, top-reaching, modern-day shadow could be a much more significant crack in the Catholic foundations, at least in terms of their near-future building projects!

  (Quote)

Jason Vacare April 12, 2010 at 6:58 pm

I believe /b/tard refers to those who enjoy the “random” image boards on such image sites as 4chan.org.

http://boards.4chan.org/b/

Follow at your own peril :)

  (Quote)

lukeprog April 12, 2010 at 7:02 pm

So…. what does /tard mean? Does /b/tard mean that someone is a “random tard”?

  (Quote)

Bill Maher April 12, 2010 at 7:11 pm

/b/ refers to the “random” board. /b/tard is a play on the word retard and is just a nickname for someone who frequents /b/.

  (Quote)

Bryce April 12, 2010 at 7:14 pm

This may help elucidate;

http://encyclopediadramatica.com//b/

*I am not responsible for the horrors within*

And of course, moral corruption in the Catholic Church, while scandalous, only proves something that the Catholic Church claims to be built on; people are sinners and need the salvation of God. I’ve never understood the argument “Your Church is full of sinners, ergo your Church is false!” Its not as if the Church was, per its own claims, established to be a club of Saints anyhow.

Though in the “Pedopope” case and with important information in hand to place Ratzinger’s actions in 1985 into perspective, the evidence for a “smoking gun” is illusory.

http://www.catholicculture.org/commentary/otn.cfm?ID=632

  (Quote)

Bill Maher April 12, 2010 at 7:40 pm

ED, the radically racist, anti-religious, anti-agnostic, anti-atheist, anti-women, etc… I think the only positive arguments I saw was on Colbert and Bruce Campbell.

  (Quote)

Matt April 12, 2010 at 7:42 pm

On magnets and morality, read the actual paper and/or analysis from NeuroLogica Blog (penned by Steven Novella, one of the hosts of The Skpetic’s Guide to the Universe podcast).

http://www.theness.com/neurologicablog/?p=1792

  (Quote)

Hermes April 12, 2010 at 7:55 pm

Here’s what I don’t understand.

Sentencing for a convicted child rapist starts at 15 years in prison (p.9, #36), while three US states have had the death penalty as possible punishments for child rape.

Obviously, this is not legally a trivial matter. Socially, I have heard many of my peers voice comments that they hope that specific rapists of children would be tortured and/or killed by the other inmates. The point being that there is little sympathy for these offenders.

Yet, here we are, decades after my own childhood where I heard jokes about making sure that you don’t end up alone with a Catholic priest. Ha. Ha. Only now, it’s not funny. It wasn’t then, either, but jokes are easy. Meanwhile, old men are brought to tears demanding simple human dignity for the abuse they still remember and hasn’t stopped for many decades.

Why aren’t summonses being issued, records seized, doors knocked in, and suspects and accomplices being interrogated by the FBI or the Sheriff’s office? Why aren’t people in jail or being actively prosecuted? Why hasn’t law enforcement been doing their jobs?

I’ll know that the USA is serious when they retract the Pope’s immunity for prosecution in the USA. Till then, it’s just sickening.

  (Quote)

Hermes April 12, 2010 at 8:08 pm
Hermes April 12, 2010 at 8:20 pm

Note: The first link about child rape was from the UK, not the USA.

  (Quote)

Mathew Wilder April 12, 2010 at 8:21 pm

Not related to anything here, but since I couldn’t find an e-mail address anywhere, I thought I’d leave a comment here apologizing for the massive number of submissions of the same post by me for the next Humanist Symposium that you will no doubt have noticed by now (or perhaps not, if you’re a procrastinator like me ;-)

The submission form was being all glitchy and giving me errors every time I tried to use it, but, apparently, they were all going through, because two days later I received a whole crapload of e-mail receipts confirming my submission. So, sorry about that.

  (Quote)

Charles April 12, 2010 at 8:53 pm

Here is what I take from FG’s post. If you lack the desire to be moral, then desirism has nothing at all to say about what you should to do, it merely describes what you will do. However, if you have as one of your desires, “I want to be a good person,” then desirism says what you should do to realize the state of affairs where “I am a good person” is true.

Did I get that right?

  (Quote)

Briang April 12, 2010 at 10:12 pm

“Moral judgment is just a brain process…. That’s precisely why it’s possible for these researchers to influence it using electromagnetic pulses on the surface of the brain.” If something as complex as morality has a mechanical explanation, Green says, it will be hard to argue that people have, or need, a soul”

So certain kinds of physical stimulus can impair a person’s moral judgments and somehow this undermines the existence of the soul? How is this new knowledge? St. Thomas Aquinas knew that excessive consumption of alcohol could impair a person’s moral decision making. This is why he said excessive consumption of alcohol was morally wrong. Apparently, he was oblivious that this is scientific evidence against the soul.

  (Quote)

al friedlander April 12, 2010 at 10:32 pm

“So certain kinds of physical stimulus can impair a person’s moral judgments and somehow this undermines the existence of the soul? How is this new knowledge? ”

I don’t think that’s what he’s saying. It’s not so much about physical stimuli impairing moral judgment as it is pointing to the direct link between brain and behavior/consciousness. Phineas Gage comes to mind. I mean, heck, the guy had an iron rod shoot through his brain’s frontal lobe. Afterwards, he became an -entirely- different person. We’re talking complete 180 here. It just seems so…’peculiar’ that physical alterations to the brain could have so much influence over not only one’s cognitive functions, but also their morals/values/work ethic/etc.

  (Quote)

lukeprog April 12, 2010 at 11:04 pm

Mathew Wilder,

Heh, okay.

  (Quote)

Scott April 12, 2010 at 11:42 pm

I’ve been waiting for a pedopope ‘shop.

  (Quote)

PhilVaz April 13, 2010 at 1:07 am

Pedopope? Not funny. Who should you interview? How about Bill Donohue of the Catholic League. That would be a hoot. Love your “Pale Blue Dot” podcast, btw.

Luke: “But to those who think this is going to kill the Catholic Church: you’re fooling yourselves. The Catholic Church has survived scandals far, far worse than a few thousand child rapes…..”

True. But its not child rape, it is not pedophilia for the most part. It is a gay/homosexual “problem” in the priesthood, not a pedo crisis. We know this because over 80% of the victims going back to 1950 were teenage (post-pubescent) boys, not children, not girls.

Some facts on the 2002 and recent 2010 “scandal” in the Catholic Church. First, the comprehensive report from John Jay College of Criminal Justice:

http://www.bringyou.to/apologetics/PriestAbuseScandal.htm

From this we learn:

- The alleged abuse involves about 4.0% of priests even accused over a 50 year period (this amounts to about 11000+ total victims reported, and 5000+ priests accused), stats provided from the SNAPNetwork.org themselves in an article from the Washington Post;

- In 2001 alone (one year) there were (in total) over 900,000 children abused in the U.S. (about 10% sexual), source: “Child Maltreatment 2001: Summary of Key Findings,” National Adoption Information Clearinghouse, April 2003, also National Child Abuse and Neglect Data Systems developed by the Children’s Bureau of the U.S. Department of Human Services;

- Therefore the problem is far more prevalent and far worse in society as a whole (Protestant clergy, and school teachers far more).

On the Fr. Lawrence Murphy “NY Times” case, see the following:

http://www.bringyou.to/apologetics/p99.htm

From this we get:

- Fr. Lawrence Murphy apparently began his predatory behavior in Wisconsin in the 1950s, yet the victims’ families never contacted the police until the mid-1970s;

- After a police investigation, the case was dropped;

- The Vatican did not learn of the case until 1996;

- Cardinal Ratzinger, now the pope, was the head of the office that was contacted and there is no evidence that he knew of this case; even if he did, he would have had to allow for an investigation;

- While the inquiry was proceeding, Murphy died (he was in his 70s in 1996);

- The NY Times questions why Murphy was never “defrocked”, but only the Vatican can do that, and since it never learned of the case until he was dying, it was never a realistic option;

- The NY Times says repeatedly that Church officials did not report accusations of abuse to the police, but the common response of all organizations, secular as well as religious, was to access therapy and reinstate the patient or offender;

- The NY Times continues to editorialize about the “pedophilia crisis,” when all along it’s been a homosexual crisis. Eighty percent of the victims of priestly sexual abuse are male and most of them are post-pubescent. While homosexuality does not cause predatory behavior, and most gay priests are not molesters, most of the molesters have been gay.

From the Catholic League’s report from 2004 putting this thing in context:

“The issue of child sexual molestation is deserving of serious scholarship. Too often, assumptions have been made that this problem is worse in the Catholic clergy than in other sectors of society. This report does not support this conclusion. Indeed, it shows that family members are the most likely to sexually molest a child. It also shows that the incidence of the sexual abuse of a minor is slightly higher among the Protestant clergy than among the Catholic clergy, and that it is significantly higher among public school teachers than among ministers and priests.”

http://www.catholicleague.org/research/abuse_in_social_context.htm

PhilVaz

  (Quote)

lukeprog April 13, 2010 at 1:36 am

Scott,

LOL!

  (Quote)

PhilVaz April 13, 2010 at 2:05 am

Who else to interview? How about Jimmy Akin of Catholic Answers? The topic? Resolved: Benedict is a pedopope. I’m sure Akin would love to visit. Not. But here are some articles from him setting the record straight, laying out the facts on the “NY Times” Fr. Murphy case:

http://www.ncregister.com/blog/cardinal/

http://www.ncregister.com/blog/evil_monster_update_the_inside_story/

Phil P

  (Quote)

Hermes April 13, 2010 at 3:37 am

PhilVaz, on first review, I hope you’re kidding and I missed the joke. Going to wake up a bit and re-read what you wrote.

  (Quote)

tom April 13, 2010 at 4:02 am

“True. But its not child rape, it is not pedophilia for the most part. It is a gay/homosexual “problem” in the priesthood, not a pedo crisis. We know this because over 80% of the victims going back to 1950 were teenage (post-pubescent) boys, not children, not girls.”

The mind reels.

When adults rape underage girls, it’s not a “heterosexuality problem”, but when adults rape underage boys, its a “homosexual problem”?
If I rape a post-pubescent 13 year old girl, that’s not pedophilia? It’s just my “straight problem”?

Donohue and his ilk are leading you off a cliff, take a moment and think about what you’re asserting here.

  (Quote)

tom April 13, 2010 at 4:12 am

Ok, I admit it, I kept reading.

“The NY Times says repeatedly that Church officials did not report accusations of abuse to the police, but the common response of all organizations, secular as well as religious, was to access therapy and reinstate the patient or offender”

This nonsense is just mindless repetition of Donohue’s talking points. Organizations are required by law to report the rape of children, whether they also “provide therapy” is irrelevant.

  (Quote)

matt April 13, 2010 at 5:03 am

Dunno if you already posted this, but if not

http://rationallyspeaking.blogspot.com/2010/04/about-sam-harris-claim-that-science-can.html

massimo pigliucci points out some of the obvious mistakes in sam harris´diatribe against morality (in the guise of a “defense” of morality). anyway, it`s a thoughtful and pretty unpolemical disucssion of the TED lecture.

  (Quote)

Reginald Selkirk April 13, 2010 at 6:14 am

Philosophers and scientists know we don’t have free will, but they are reluctant to tell the common people that.

From the Scientific American article in the second link:

(In fact, the Templeton Foundation has just launched a massive funding initiative designed to support scientific research on the subject of free will.)

I am wary of anything funded by Templeton, as that organization has a strong bias towards a particular conclusion on the topic of compatibility of science with religion.

  (Quote)

Hermes April 13, 2010 at 6:42 am

Aren’t free will arguments roughly as useful as the old ‘how many angels on the head of pin’ arguments?

  (Quote)

Briang April 13, 2010 at 7:43 am

Why aren’t summonses being issued, records seized, doors knocked in, and suspects and accomplices being interrogated by the FBI or the Sheriff’s office? Why aren’t people in jail or being actively prosecuted? Why hasn’t law enforcement been doing their jobs?

This is the question I keep asking. Fr. Murphy had 200 victims, the police were contacted and he was never arrested tried or convicted. Who was the local prosecutor? Why wasn’t anything being done by the authorities?

Everyones bent out of shape about whether Ratzinger done more to
laicize (defrock) these guys. Personally, I’d like to see these guys get laicized, because it causes scandal in the church. But this doesn’t do anything to protect children. Laicization just means that the priest cannot preform priestly duties such as saying mass. This action, by itself, doesn’t necessary correlate with removal from ministry. Most youth ministers aren’t priests, for example. Even when a priest has been removed from ministry and laicized, nothing is stopping him from starting his own church. Dale Fushek, for example, when charged with sexual abuse, was laicized, and just decided to start his own “worship center”.

So if we want to protect children, the local police can do more then the Vatican. I suspect that many in the atheist community would not want the Vatican to have the kind of power required to do the job of the local police. So where is the outrage at this? 200 victims and nothing is done by local law enforcement. No blame is given to the chief of police or the local prosecutor. But because Ratzinger didn’t do enough to make sure the pervert got a punishment which is more spiritual and symbolic then practical, people are all up in arms.

  (Quote)

Chris Hallquist April 13, 2010 at 9:51 am

The sentence “Philosophers and scientists know we don’t have free will.” The PhilPapers survey revealed a decent majority favoring compatibilism (free will exists and is compatible with determinism). “No free will” was slightly less popular than libertarianism (free will exists in a sense incompatible with determinism). I suspect that once you eliminate all the confident libertarians and compatiblists from the pool of professional philosophers, the main group left will be people who don’t confidently pronounce on free will because they find the issue perplexing, not because they’re worried about bad social consequences. Dan Dennett is one of the few philosophers I’ve heard worry about the social consequences of various beliefs, but he isn’t a straightforward no-free-will guy, he has very interesting things to say about “kinds of freedom worth having.”

As for scientists, ability to do a good psychological or neurological experiment doesn’t entail having especially clear or interesting things to say about the free will debate.

  (Quote)

lukeprog April 13, 2010 at 10:47 am

Chris,

By ‘free will’ I meant the common notion of free will, meaning contra-causal free will, not compatibilist free will.

  (Quote)

Reginald Selkirk April 13, 2010 at 11:52 am

Another news item:
Antony Flew died on April 8

Flew always described himself as a “negative atheist”, asserting that “theological propositions can neither be verified nor falsified by experience”, a position he expounded in his classic paper Theology and Falsification (1950), reputedly the most frequently-quoted philosophical publication of the second half of the 20th century.

He argued that any philosophical debate about the Almighty must begin by presuming atheism, placing the burden of proof on those who believe that God exists. “We reject all transcendent supernatural systems, not because we’ve examined or could have examined each in turn, but because it does not seem to us that there is any good evidence in reason to postulate anything behind or beyond this natural universe,” he proclaimed. A key principle of his philosophy was the Socratean concept of “follow the evidence, wherever it leads”.

Flew was one of the most prominent atheist philosophers of the 20th century, up until a group of Evangelicals decided to use him in an ‘argument from senility’ for the existence of God.

  (Quote)

Mike Bizzaro August 2, 2010 at 4:23 pm

Please Immaculata-one.com for:
The Salvation Dogma (Section 1), Water Baptism Dogma (Section 7.2), and Dogma regarding Automatic Excommunication for heresy (Section 13.2).

The Papacy was lost in 1914 and the Catholic Church lost all its buildings to the Vatican-2 heretic cult in 1965.
(See Sections 12 and 13 and sub-sections of the site)

Citations on the fewness of the saved – Section 22.

Original Sin closed Heaven for all men, God re-opened Heaven by founding the Catholic Church.

Mike
Our Lady of Conquest
Pray for us

  (Quote)

Leave a Comment