BIRD DROPPINGS

Stomping on the bloody corpse of equines is rarely useful, especially in the context of re-examining dormant "arguments" in which one of the combatants complements the reasoning powers of a troglodyte with the equanimity of a shrew on Ritalin. Still, fans of the sort of death-spiral that followed this exchange, where I wasted even even greater amount of time than usual arguing with an idiot advancing the usual "evolution remains just a theory" and "documented miaracles have occurred" stuff, might appreciate a New York Times editorial recently submitted by Cardinal Christoph Schönborn.

Schönborn's youth (he's a spring chicken at 60) most likely put the kibosh on any aspirations he had of claiming the papacy earlier this year, but his essay dismissing evolution, ruinously ignorant from the outset, nonetheless hearkens to doddering senescence. Like many before him he attempts to position scientists not as men in search of those twin anathemas of faith -- truth and facts -- but as upstarts driven to their foul labors by the overriding need to banish God and purposeful design from the equation of human phylogeny. (He fails to say why anyone would undertake such a colossal squandering of time and energy, but then again look at what he does for a living -- to the likes of a Cardinal, unrequited futility, however financially rewarding, is surely a sine qua non of earthly existence.)

This is really too bad; the religious people I grew up around were almost all Cathlolics, and about all that distinguished them from me, behaviorally and philosophically, was that they spent a lot of time in church or at catechism. None of them stuck to their resolutions during Lent and their sins did not trouble them. They seemed worlds removed from the few wingnut Bible-beaters we knew, and in fact most are, which only makes Schönborn's declarative trash heap that much more of a slap in the face.

There's no point in gutting Schönborn's predictable miasma of saber-rattling (he tosses out empty terms like "neo-Darwinian" and ill-founded stipulations such as "the reality of design in nature"), projection (he calls evolution "dogma" and "ideology") and circular reasoning (he might have titled his piece "What Famous Catholics Have Said About Evolution"). Schönborn is the counterpart to the poorly read atheist or apostate whose has but one rebuttal to all output from any religious figure: Churchgoers consist solely of sexual deviants and their protectors. Issues matter, folks.

So with Schönborn's -- and thus the Cathlolic Church's -- rejection of modern biology irrefutably established, witness the above-referencd commenter's money quote, buried in a sonorous rattle of verbal flatulence aimed at defending the Church against a novel propostion -- that its ancient but persistent tenets clash with observations documented and re-documented, independently and the scientific world over, by the faithful and the freethinking alike: "...you quite obviously and tragically confuse misguided 'Bible Christians' with Catholics or Orthodox."

Leaving aside the merits or lack thereof of any intelligent-design creationist mission statements (these can't justifiably be called "ideas"), the Church's message could not be more clear: We will continue to rescue our sheep from the cruel jaws of enlightenment and we will do it just as artlessly and stupidly as other sects' squawking heads. If radical Islam is the belligerent victim of mercury poisoning and fundamentalist Christianity the garden-variety Alzheimer's victim, strict Catholicism is, for all its robust bonhomie and superficial acquiescence, just as wobbly and hapless. It's an incontinent idiot in a suit, and when people like Schönborn make themselves heard, the emergent stink becomes impossible to contain within the Depends concealed beneath freshly dry-cleaned slacks.

Evolution itself needs no protection; those who have studied it with comprehension and without the shackles of religious indoctrination can have no more quarrel with what it does and does not claim than they could with the rules of basic arithmetic. But perhaps a nation of parents mailing tuition checks to parochial schools might be interested to know just what they may be helping to underwrite, now and in the future.
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3 Comments:

Blogger Junkie said...

I agree, but what can be done about this? The US is in a terrific conservative upswing, and of course any writing by uppity self righteous cardinals is not going to help. We have kids who will try to argue evolution by saying that there's only enough carbon on the planet to carbon-date it back to 10,000 years. Now that is name brand patent absurdity.

1:43 PM  
Blogger THE MUNDANE GURU said...

This is good stuff. Keep going.

8:33 PM  
Blogger Bill from Dover said...

We have kids who will try to argue evolution by saying that there's only enough carbon on the planet to carbon-date it back to 10,000 years.

Yeah... and Kerry is a flipflop and Gore invented the internet. Next time ya hear crap like this, demand proof. Only the godidiots will attempt to defend themselves.

1:56 AM  

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