Recent developments in The War On Catholicism

I use the title facetiously. You know as well as I do that there is no war on Catholicism, but rather an outcry demanding that punishment be meted out for crimes we know were committed and a demand that the organization not be allowed to “punish” its members for their crimes, knowing that no real punishment or corrective action would ever be enacted.

Al Jazeera covers the secret vaults full of evidence of wrongdoing that the Catholic Church has protected for centuries, and the tantalizing peek that Jeff Anderson, one of the lawyers in the Milwaukee case against the Vatican, has had in response to discovery in his case.

Somehow, despite the existence of the Crimen Sollicitationis and its application by Cardinal Ratzinger well after the new canon law came into effect (as evidenced by the discovery in the aforementioned Milwaukee case), the Vatican continues to assert that the cases naming the Pope as a defendant have no merit. With the preponderance of evidence showing a great deal of merit, I’d strongly suggest the Vatican let the judges decide what has merit and what doesn’t.

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The Emperor Palpatine Has No Clothes

Look. I don’t care, honestly, if you believe in God. Or any gods. Or any spiritual force that’s intangible and invisible. I don’t believe, personally, and if you come around here expecting to convert me, I’ll challenge you to back up your claims with some extraordinary evidence. That’s basically how it works around here on this blog, and probably on most atheist blogs. But there’s one thing I will not brook, and that’s apologetics about easily the most vicious, pernicious, self-serving and tenebrous organization that has ever darkened this planet: the Catholic Church.

Why would I be intolerant of a group of people that, in their heart, are either misguided or deluded, you ask? I’m not talking about the “sheep” — the foot soldiers of the Catholic army whose only purpose in the organization is to have their wallets sponged. I’m talking about the church, not the followers, you understand. Because the clergy, the ecclesiasty, all the way up to the Pope his fucking self, are afflicted with a terrible rot that comes from the institution itself. Regardless of what beliefs, what mythology they use to ensnare the people, the institution itself is shiftless and power-hungry. It owns a country, for FSM’s sake; a palace full of gold! And it thinks it’s going to save the world by denying condoms to Africa during an AIDS epidemic. Its one trick up its sleeve for conversion is teaching that sexuality is unnatural, and that leads to major psychological issues in its clergy. Just look at these headlines! Update: forgot to point out that all are from the last month, no less!

How utterly tone-deaf must you be to the mounting crescendo of wailing from the thousands of victims finally, after decades and possibly centuries, being given voice?

Apparently this tone-deaf:

That last one is probably my favorite bit of retardery. It’s not that Satan’s behind the pedophilia and rampant abuse, OH NO, it’s that Satan’s behind all the vicious vicious lies and rumors! That tricksy Devil is telling lies to the media about us! We’re totally pure and innocent; in the meantime keep giving us money!

Don’t even get me started on Bill Donahue. That wretched asshat can go fuck himself. Would that there was a hell, so he, Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, and every other bloviating religious vulture could all be tortured together for their crimes against decency. It’s such a shame they’ll simply rot in the ground rather than being meted out any eternal reward for their sins.

RCimT: Sunday Atheism Roundup (on Monday)

Oh how late I am with this post! The fact that I’ve taken so long in posting my traditional Sunday link roundup obviously must mean I’ve run out of things to blog about and the blog will shortly close down! Well, I won’t let that stop me from carrying on blogging like our evangelical blog-stalker’s prognostications are as much bunkum as his religion or his conspiracy-theories.

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Some interesting newsbites on evolution

This is just a small link round-up on some interesting stuff that I’ve read about evolution in recent weeks.

Researchers at UNC Chapel Hill have discovered that some bacteria’s motility is entirely controlled by a single calcium atom, insofar as when a single spot on Pseudomonas aeruginosa (a soil, water and skin flora bacterium that is an opportunistic pathogen in humans) is blocked, it becomes completely immobile. Without this ability, it could not infect its host — so this discovery could lead to new forms of treatment. That a bacterium’s proteins involved in motility can be stopped up by a single atom gives us the ability to infer that these properties are emergent properties from simple genetic variation. While these bacteria are every bit as evolved as us (having the benefit of the same length of time to be subjected to natural selection), in bacteria, it seems as though the simpler the emergent property, the better, since their small size means they use less energy to carry on living.

An endogenous retrovirus (ERV) that still exists today, Bornavirus, has apparently been piggybacking in mammalian DNA for about 40 million years. This includes our own DNA. In other words, every species that has this specific DNA marker shares a common ancestor who, while in gamete form, was originally infected by this virus, which then managed to stably insert itself into its DNA. These ERV markers (and this is by far Edit: far from the only one!) are among the stronger proofs of common descent. There’s more over at Wired, including a sweet 3D rendering of a Bornavirus.

Also, speciation has been directly observed in our lifetime a number of times, but since that requires accepting new bacteria species as something other than “microevolution” by those with a vested interest in denying the mountain of evidence before them, this is another excellent example: in the White Sands of New Mexico, where gypsum dunes formed a scant 6000 years ago, white lizards have evolved to camouflage themselves against the background to avoid predators. Not only that, but other lizards in the area have selected for those same adaptations to the point where they’ve speciated in an absurdly short (geological) time frame. Now, I understand these lizards didn’t evolve suddenly into dogs or elephants or crocoducks, but honestly, if they had, you’d have evidence for a creator, not common descent.

And finally, studies have shown that while acceptance of evolution has some weak correlation with intelligence (e.g. more intelligent = higher likelihood of understanding that it is well-evidenced science, as opposed to accepting it dogmatically), there’s actually a higher correlation with political ideology. The more-intelligent right-wingers’ views skew closer to the middle-intelligence left-wingers, so they’re more likely to accept evolution even if they don’t outright reject the religious dogma. There’s also indicators that it depends heavily on trust — e.g. whether you trust scientists and the scientific method, or whether you trust certain charismatic politicians and/or clergymen who tell you that evolution can’t possibly be true because it conflicts with their own teachings.

RCimT: Putting-off-shovelling Sunday

It’s Sunday, boys and girls, and it’s snowing — you know what that means! Time for another weekly atheist news roundup to keep me from having to go out and shovel this crap out of my driveway! Hooray!

Your Cool Atheist of the Week is John Carmack, the lead programmer on Wolfenstein 3D, Doom and Quake — games that ate up much of my childhood.

“Just got back from the Q2 wrap party in vegas that Activision threw for us.

“Having a reasonable grounding in statistics and probability and no belief in luck, fate, karma, or god(s), the only casino game that interests me is blackjack.

“Playing blackjack properly is a test of personal discipline. It takes a small amount of skill to know the right plays and count the cards, but the hard part is making yourself consistantly behave like a robot, rather than succumbing to your “gut instincts”.”

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RCimT: Busy Sunday

It’s Sunday, and almost the end of my vacation. We’ve been going at 150km/h all day, doing all sorts of work on outstanding projects. I’ve got a few posts planned for the next few days, and I’m hoping to be able to write them up tonight, scheduled for the next few days, so I can get back into the work groove without having to worry about breaking my post-a-day streak — which is, what, five months now? So I’m going to blow through the links I’ve gathered up over the past week.

Turns out Al Gore and Hillary Clinton have links to The Family — the fundamentalist Christian group that’s wheedled its way into enough power to shape public policy in the American government. I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again — religion is a poison. If these two otherwise apparently decent human beings are tainted by the scourge of fundamentalism in any way, shape or form, they are heretofore untrustworthy.

Why do I consider Christianity specifically ridiculous? It’s centred on the existence of a man that probably did not, actually, exist. And some simple proof of that fact is available here, in a 12-part “puzzle”.

Michael Shermer finally watched Expelled. Have pity on his poor “soul” (by which I mean, brain).

Now, I’m not much one to laugh at others’ misfortune, but boy is this one laughable. A woman marries a preacher who goes on to become completely insufferable; she vents on this forum, and the advice given is, naturally, in keeping with God’s teachings: you’re not allowed to divorce your husband who is obviously incompatible and suddenly engaging in reprehensible behaviour.

Epiphenoma explores the recent accidental phenomenon of Christians destroying the “secular truce” between those that would impress upon the Christmas holidays all the import of religious trappings, and those that would claim the holidays are so secularized that they can be endorsed by the government, federal or local. After that last heady link, some hilarious IRC quotes about Christianity will cleanse the palate.

News flash: another pastor has been arrested for child molestation. I mean, seriously, it’s almost getting to the point of being ludicrous, how often this happens. What is it about the religious promise of subjugating your natural sexual inclinations, that draws in pedophiles that understand their natural inclinations are so antisocial as to be criminal? (I answered my own question there, didn’t I?)

In case you didn’t see it as it happened, someone prayed to God that a Senator would miss the health care reform vote — and God apparently answered by cause James Inhoffe to miss the vote for the Republicans, meaning the bill passed 60-39. Which, I have to remind you Americans, is a super-majority, capable of busting any filibusters — you know, in case filibusters were ever actually exercised, rather than just idly threatened.

A scary bit of news for us bloggers — an Egyptian blogger was sentenced to four years in jail for daring to publish his opinion, which just happened to be critical of Islam. That’s right, for having an opinion counter to religion, this man was sentenced to jail time. Thankfully, Canada is not presently anywhere near as Draconian about its religious proscriptions, but I still feel a little shudder thinking about this kind of thing — I mean, this guy was jailed merely for going against the dominant religion of the region.

On to happier thoughts, PalMD dissects Deepak Chopra’s ridiculous pseudoscientific nonsense. I mean, it’s only been done a million times already, but Peter does it with such panache.

VJack has decided to take on his employers and take a stand against his federal employers’ endorsement of prayer “in Jesus’ name”. This apparently marks the day when he became an “Atheist Revolutionary”, having taken a stand against encroachment on the separation of church and state. He is now officially “militant”. Visit to read about what that entails.

And finally, Hemant Mehta posts a fundie anti-atheist bingo card that would have been nice to have prior to Christmas, but I only got around to posting now. Luckily most of you are already readers of the Friendly Atheist blog, so you probably didn’t miss out. …Right?

And that’s all I have in my tabs this week. I just switched over to Google Chrome (Chromium under Ubuntu), so hopefully you’ll cut me some slack on this one.

Have a sacrelicious week!

RCimT: Lazy Sunday

I’m going to do a very brief Sunday catch-up — not because I have any specific plans, but because I’m feeling the need to have a lazy day today.

Amazingly, only 14.6% of philosophers are theists. This despite theism dealing directly with philosophy! This implies that the vast majority of theists do not actually “think about” the big questions. Considering personal experience, this isn’t honestly a surprise. If you’re looking for philosophy, you’d probably want to visit DuWayne’s place over, say, Zdenny’s, anyway, considering he’s obviously incapable of philosophy.

An insightful article over at Atheist Revolution explores how Christians have accidentally secularized Christmas, in an attempt at getting their specific beliefs institutionalized. Hoisted by their own petards, methinks.

The Catholic Church has apparently succeeded in scaring distributors away from His Dark Materials, so those of you that enjoyed the movie version of The Golden Compass are probably up for a very, VERY long wait before the next movie. Sigh. So why exactly do Catholics get to force their morality on us, such that the only movies we get to see are Catholic-approved ones?

Mike Haubrich cross-posted Asking Clarifying Questions over to Quiche Moraine while his blog at Tangled Up in Blue Guy is temporarily locked down. Just in case any of you were looking to get at last week’s Sunday RCimT links.

I just discovered Bailey the Bookworm put up a separate blog for her adventures in atheism. I can’t handle multiple blogs, personally… I can barely keep up a one-post-a-day schedule at the one place I have now!

News flash: even more evidence that the Shroud of Turin, having been made in 1600CE to fool some theist king, can’t possibly be Jesus’.

Ophelia Benson answers “is the aggressiveness of New Atheism a turnoff for women?”. Considering she’s both a woman and a so-called “New Atheist”, she’s obviously eminently qualified to answer the question.

Daylight Atheism has an ongoing debunking of The Case for a Creator. I don’t know why anyone would bother with debunking the book, since it’s a total non-sequiteur to say “here’s how science is flawed, therefore the Judeo-Christian god Yahweh is obviously the answer” when you could just let all the religions duke it out and stay above the fray to inherit this blasted Earth after they’re all done warring with each other. Oh, that’s right, because we atheists understand that this Earth is the only one we get, and we kinda want to protect it.

Now, I have to go enjoy my day off. Have an unblessedly lazy Sunday, folks!