Monday, February 4, 2008

Gimme That Old Time Religion

At a recent meeting of "academics" at Vatican City, news reports claim that the pope has "revived the science-vs-religion debate," and thereby relegated himself to Neanderthal status -- unenlightened and intolerant of more modern views of science.

Those who made the allegations were among students and teachers at Rome's La Sapienza University and were some of the same folks who "cited such views when they protested a papal speech scheduled for January 17 [which] had to be canceled" as a result. Apparently, these enlightened, tolerant folks fail to see the irony in the fact that they shouted the Pontiff down to keep him from espousing his intolerant views. Think about that one for a second.

They also failed to notice that it was the pope who founded La Sapienza University more than 700 years ago -- back when popes were allowed to start universities that respected both religious and scientific studies as being legitimate ways to interpret the creation and thereby seek real Truth.

Here is a portion of what the dastardly pope had to say:
"In an age when scientific developments attract and seduce with the possibilities they offer, it's more important than ever to educate our contemporaries' consciences so that science does not become the criteria for goodness," he told scientists.

Scientific investigation should be accompanied by "research into anthropology, philosophy and theology" to give insight into "man's own mystery, because no science can say who man is, where he comes from or where he is going," the Pope said."

Man is not the fruit of chance or a bundle of convergences, determinisms or physical and chemical reactions," Benedict told a meeting of academics of different disciplines ...
The fact that such views are considered controversial and worthy of silencing is a sobering thought. How can anyone defend the idea that science should work in a vacuum without being considered in light of other forms of knowledge? Since when can science even pretend to be able to define the "criteria for goodness"? Those criteria, by modern science's own definition, are things for which science is not even equipped to deal.

It is not the pope who has "revived the science-vs-religion debate." It is the secularists and the Naturalists who demand a war between the two. In their eyes, science and religion cannot peacefully coexist. We have to pick one or the other. But on the pope's view -- a view I share -- there shouldn't be a rivalry between science and religion, there should be a dialogue. Both are means to find the Truth about how our world actually works and both have legitimate arguments to bring to the table. To force us to choose between the two is to demand a false choice. Simply listening to what the pope actually said makes that obvious. What really set his detractors off is ...
... the conservative German-born Pope's public stand on issues such as abortion and embryonic stem cell research lead critics to accuse him of holding antiquated views on science.
If by "antiquated" they mean pre-Enlightenment and pre-modern; or if by "antiquated" they mean prior to the time when the findings of scientific research were not limited by arbitrary presuppositions but left to interpretation of the actual data itself; if by "antiquated" they mean prior to the time when acceptance of Darwinian Evolution was not presumed; if by "antiquated" they mean prior to the time when human worth was established in virtue of being a member of the human family and not some arbitrary criteria such as location or the desires of the mother or her attendant society -- then yes, the pope's views are "antiquated."

And Amen to that.

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