To whom does a Christian owe their loyalty?

Portrait of Galileo Galilei, 1638 by Justus Sustermans. Source Wikipedia

Portrait of Galileo Galilei, 1638 by Justus Sustermans. Source Wikipedia

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

Does a Christian owe their first loyalty to the Pope, or to God? If your conscience tells you one thing, and the Pope tells you another, which path should you follow?

Galileo followed his conscience. Even when given a direct order by the highest authority in Christendom, to recant his opinion that the Earth is not the centre of the universe, he chose conscience over obedience, divinity over temporal authority – until he was threatened with unspeakable pain.

I am not saying the church is always wrong. Most of the time, the church is a force for good. The moral authority which is the Christian church helped to create the modern world. The concept of a single god, a god of love rather than hate, a universe of order, in which the forces of chaos were chained in the abyss, gave the philosopher monks the peace to pursue their research into the innermost workings of creation – and the faith to believe that creation was orderly enough to be explored.

However, a papal encyclical which demands action on climate change would be tantamount to an accusation that people who doubt the urgency of addressing climate change are evil – are cynically exploiting the doubts of others, for their own selfish ends. Yet surely true evil is condemning millions to live their lives in endless drudgery, by denying them the opportunities inexpensive energy and affordable food might bring, on the basis of the flimsiest of evidence – defective models and failed predictions.

I do not doubt the sincerity of the Pope. I don’t even doubt the sincerity of most alarmist climate scientists. But sometimes scientists get it wrong. There was once another group of people who thought they were right – that the world was on the brink of a catastrophe which only their statistical models could foresee, that mass cruelty was the only path to salvation. Their sincere blindness almost plunged the entire world into darkness. The one regime which embraced this dark vision, even after others finally rejected it, is now a byword for evil. Yet arguably, those who believed were simply accepting the scientific consensus of the day.

The lesson is, or should be, that if you demand the infliction of unspeakable cruelty on a vast number of people, as many climate scientists, green politicians and activists in my opinion demand, with their vehement opposition to affordable energy, you had better be sure of your facts. You better have more evidence that such an abomination is an inescapable necessity, than a set of models which fail, again and again, to demonstrate plausible predictive skill.

If you believe in a creator, one day you will face, not the pope, but your creator. On the day of judgement, the opinion of the pope will count for nothing. All that will matter is whether you lived a principled life, and stood up for what mattered. Even if this sometimes means disobeying the instructions of the Pope, just as Galileo once did.

346 thoughts on “To whom does a Christian owe their loyalty?

      • “Even Catholics are suppose to be following Jesus Christ”, wow, even Catholics? LOL. The Pope would be the first to say you must follow your conscience. Galileo’s claim the earth isn’t the center of the universe opposed Aristotle’s two sphere universe, who was a pagan. Galileo was forced to recant because of politics. But I am a little afraid of what the Pope’s encyclical will say as it will be framed under moral authority and not science and politics like Galileo.

    • To thyne own self be true. Some of us see devinity in the pure individual truth.
      BTW, there are also Jews For Jesus and a few dozen other ‘edge cases’ outside your binary division. Little things like Eastern Orthodox…
      This Pope is a Jesuit. Sometimes called “God’s Marines”. Some of them pushed “liberation theology” and other socialist leaning efforts. They also like being edgy… so I would expect him to be attracted to an ‘energized’ field with a saving the world through poverty narrative. Jusuits take a vow of poverty and set out to save the world…
      He is just a man trapped in his paradigms…

      • My research indicates that Jesuit Order do not take any vows of charity, chastity, or poverty. They are a militant order that is able to work clandestinely in society, because they are able to marry. They are able to go any where they are ordered to go to carry out their counter-reformation mission, and bring back the world to Catholicism. Jesuits own hundreds of schools. Jesuits were formed in response to the reformation. They are a counter reformation order.
        ref: Encyclopedia Britanica ref: John Adams letters

      • E.M. Smith, Actually “Jews for Jesus” are still “Christian” and they maintain their Jewish identity and customs. Among the ignorant there are many myths concerning Christianity. Here are a few well known historic facts to clear some things up for you:
        Jesus is actually Jewish despite a myth that he was “catholic.”
        The first so called “christians” were all Jews living in Antioch.
        The New Testament is a book written by Jews, about jews, for Jews and the non-Jewish converts.
        Jesus lived strictly by the Torah, the five books of Moses without exception.
        “Christ” is not Jesus’s surname, but a title, meaning “Anointed”, the translation of the hebrew “Messiah”
        “Jesus” was not his given name, but the hebrew “Yeshua” meaning “God’s salvation”
        There was no “oral torah” in the first century, during the start of Jesus;s ministry, as there is today in Rabbinic Judaism. Jesus taught that any man who taught the traditions of man were actually form God were themselves godless .
        In Modern Rabbinic Judaism rabbi’s teach the oral torah says if the rabbi tells you something is true but God (old testament) said is wrong, you have to believe the rabbi not God.
        Obviously this is a self serving philosophy of men, not unlike the Roman Catholic church position concerning the “petrine supremacy” or “papal authority”, the authority to contradict the Old and New Testament, and even write reveal “new revaluation” from God even if that contradicts the old and new testament, and that the pope can never make a mistake, and that he has universal power over all men’s souls!

      • Your research that indicates the jesuits do not take vows of charity, chastity or poverty is incorrect. They do indeed take such vows. They also take a vow of obedience to their superiors.

      • Zeke,
        adding to the comments, Jesuits do not get married and celibacy is certainly part of their commitment. They can’t even enter the order if they have any other obligations.
        Jesuits are fully ordained Catholic priests but have have stricter rules such as taking vows of poverty, chastity and obedience.

    • The word “Catholic” is GREEK and refers properly to the Greek Orthodox Church and those in communion with her–the Russians, Romanians, etc. The Pope is NOT Catholic and hasn’t been for nearly 1000 years.
      The Orthodox Church examined the controversy over evolution that so roiled the Papo-protestants and said, well the Bible is True and science is the search for truth, so if there appears to be a contradiction, then one or the other has been misunderstood–and further research will clear it up.

  1. My loyalty goes to the head of the Church of England, and I’m not talking about the Archbishop of Canterbury.

    • As an ex Military man I agree. But as a Monark theu listen to “advisers”. Just listen to Charles.

    • Oz is a constitutional monarchy with the sovereign of England being our Head of State.
      Charles, who talks to plants, has declared that “deniers” should be thrown in jail at the very least . Historically, I guess, that would equate to hanging by monarchical decree.
      You are welcome to your choice of allegiance but if you think deniers are dumb enough to follow suit then you underestimate our capacity for survival. Oz will become a republic if Charles ascends to the throne; deniers will surely see to that. 🙂

      • I do believe all of Australia are in agreement with you there. I’m also pretty confident that the Queen also understands this.

      • “Oz is a constitutional monarchy” Correct.
        “with the sovereign of England being our Head of State.” No. The Governor-General is our Head of State. The High Court recognized this in a case about 1906 or 1907, when it referred to the Governor-General as being the “Head of the Commonwealth”. This was before Franco invented the term “Head of State” to disguise the fact he had usurped the position of the lawful King of Spain.

  2. It is religion that is the cause of almost all the strife in the world, always has been. Perhaps it should be left off this blog. If not, be prepared for the most contentious thread WUWT will ever have, second only to solar threads.

    • The sentence: .. “It is religion that is the cause of almost all the strife in the world” .. is a generalization, and puts too much weight on religion being the cause of almost all the strife. .. On the contrary, racism, intolerance, greed, and the aggressive nature of despots and dictators is at the base of many conflicts.
      By the way, there are some religions and sects that preach the opposite of aggression and war. For example, many devout Christians only follow the peaceful writings found in the first 4 books of their New Testament, and do not follow the many violent parts of the Old Testament (which are based on the Jewish Torah).

      • Peter, while humans would find a reason to kill each other even if religious belief didn’t exist, just take a look at all the news reports from around the world at the moment. Seriously, click on Google News and write down all the conflicts. How many have religion at their base? It’s very sad that a belief in something for which there is no proof whatsoever causes, and has caused, millions of deaths and suffering. Some would call it irony – I wouldn’t.

      • “On the contrary, racism, intolerance, greed, and the aggressive nature of despots and dictators is at the base of many conflicts.”
        Racism, intolerance and greed are hallmarks of religion. Whether the aggressive nature of despots and dictators is due to their true religious beliefs or the use of religion as an excuse to act as they do makes no difference.
        As an aside, I find that American Jews are some of the most tolerant people I know. They have been especially tolerant of the Christian holiday of Christmas that has been forced upon them each year. But then, they do own most of the jewelry stores.

      • Because some religions teach violence, all religions are bad?
        That sounds an awful lot like, since some blacks are criminals, therefore all blacks are criminals.

      • Religion is just the result of man’s attempt to make sense of the unknowable. It is a conceptual artifact of humanity, and as such is not the primary cause of anything. It serves as a conceptual framework for all sorts of things which we find to be good and bad. And as we know, even non-religion is a religion — for instance, belief in rationalism and science in lieu of religion — because it is about the unknown and unknowable.

    • True, but it is the sons of the religion of secularism (the State) that have racked up the highest body counts.
      I have no clue as to Mister Watts personal beliefs, nor do I need to know, but I have always appreciated his willingness to broach these issues despite the complaints of those who religion is just “temporal lobe insanity.”

      • This is to Tom in Florida, there was no direct reply link.
        “Racism, intolerance and greed are hallmarks of religion.”
        I would like examples of religions teaching that, if you would be so kind. Personally, I think racism, intolerance and greed are hallmarks of humans, not religions. If all religions disappeared tomorrow you would still be left with racism, intolerance and greed.

      • NancyG22, there is a human tendency to assign all evil things to the groups that you hate or fear the most.
        Rationality doesn’t play into it at all.

      • re: NancyG22 April 29, 2015 at 5:44 am
        “Personally, I think racism, intolerance and greed are hallmarks of humans, not religions”
        And that is why religion is the cause of all this. It is because religious beliefs are interpreted and acted upon by humans in the name of their religion for their own betterment. These human failures get stroked by religious righteousness and that is where it all goes wrong. History is full of heads of religions ruling the masses, decreeing who is worthy and who is not, shaming the masses into giving up their worldly goods for a chance at eternal life. History is full of battles and wars in the name of religions and gods. Pleasing the gods has been a human endeavor ever since gods were first invented.

    • It is a farce to blame religion for the strife in the world. Put the blame where it truly belongs – human nature and “church.” Belief in God does not cause strife, following church dogma amplifies human nature. It is neither training or “religion” that causes one child to take something away from another because it wants it and is bigger. It is innate to the human specie. It is not belief in God that causes the strife between Jews, Muslims, and so called “Christians(so called because they don’t even attempt to follow the teachings of Christ)”, it is the dogma of the church teachings that causes it, generally playing upon the innate nature of man.
      If you are religious, you probably follow the word of God, spoken to you through your own sense of right, if you are Catholic, you probably follow the word of the Pope. We might have been able to gain a sense of civility and civilization by now if it hadn’t been for the institutions of church. I singled out the Catholic church above only because the article specifically talked about the Pope. The same is true of every other “high holy person,” be it a prophet, a Rabbi, an archbishop, or what have you.

    • The most deaths have been caused by governments and not religions. Specifically atheist communist governments. Tens of millions dead because of atheist communist governments.

      • The 30 years war was a dynastic power struggle, and Germany leaders during WWII weren’t Christian. They were pagans, trying to replace Christianity with the older tribal religions.

      • kokoda: The thinking of the haters goes something like this. A lot of people in Germany were Christians. Therefore everything bad done by Germany is the fault of Christianity.

      • @JGrizz0011 The 30 Years War had a total death toll, combat and civilian of 8M on all sides. If you were on a battle line on any of the sides, you count. If you were a peasant and they burned your fields and stole your food, your death by starvation counts. Communism had a 20th century civilian death toll of 100M and that civilian death toll does not include those that died of communist warfare. If you were a South Korean civilian and a communist military artillery shell landed on and killed you, it’s not included in this total.
        There is no comparison.

    • NONSENSE! Religion may be a PRETEXT, but the Mongols’ wars of conquest, Tamerlane’s wars, the Napoleonic Wars, , and WW I and II were not brought about by religious disputes.

      • To which you can the tribal/clan warfare in Asia, Africa, and the Americas long before “religion” was organized enough to motivate warfare.

    • In your opinion, had there never been religion, the world would have been a peacefull place, no wars, no fighting?
      You attribute to religion what is in fact basic human nature.
      It has been religion that has given man a reason to tame their more base natures.
      You really should learn a little something about what you hate before you seek to lecture others on it.

    • It is not religion itself, but the evil hearts of human beings who are seeking power, control & money – “the root of so many evils” (using religion as an excuse), which has led to all the strife in the world.
      Scientists would probably be happy to leave religion out of the discussion, if the Pope would stick to his own business – that of saving souls, instead of sticking his nose into discussion on science (or the lack there-of) – which the good Pope knows absolutely nothing about.

    • Do not confuse the faith for the supposedly faithful.
      Do you believe that a person was acting in the interest of his faith when he walks out of a house, having slaughtered all of the inhabitants, as doing what God told him? I don’t. I also don’t believe that when someone says they are acting in the interests of God or Allah and are destroying people and property for their own aggrandizement and power.
      Religion, just like Tribal identity, statism, racism, and probably anything else ending is “ism” or “ist” has been used to justify many things that are at odds with humanity. Don’t buy into the propaganda that just because someone says they are doing something in the name of God or Christ that they are. Look at their actions and decide for yourself whether they are consistent with what their claims are.

    • Tom in Florida
      “It is religion that is the cause of almost all the strife in the world, always has been.”
      Actually no. Very few religions teach violence but all religions seem to resort to it at one time or another. Therefore it seems to me that the violence that religions instigate comes from another source. Race and nationalism are two other things that at various times also seem to express themselves through violence. Some might argue that capitalism is a form of violence — the competitive clash of businesses seeking dominance. (Socialism is actually the final triumph of Capitalism — one business (government) controls everything and allows no competition — monopoly at its absolute worst with dire consequences for the consumer.)
      What all the above have in common is — human beings. Human beings have an instinct to dominate, stronger in some then in others. Large established Institutions are a ready made “path to power” for the worst of human kind.
      The early Athenians realized what that originating source was. For a time, as far as their executive government was concerned they had a unique solution. Government positions were awarded by random lot. Nobody was appointed by another or ran for office. There was no “path to power” available. It was all just dumb luck.
      Crazy, and ultimately the system was discarded. But those Athenians did correctly identify what the real problem was and attempted a correction.
      Hey, this thing is only about 300 words long. Just stating a basic principle, not writing a thesis.
      Eugene WR Gallun

      • People acting in the name of their religion or gods as justification for their deeds has been rampant since religion and gods were first invented. It doesn’t seem to matter what the official doctrine is. Simply trying to convert others is an act of tyranny. It doesn’t matter if it is done with violence and weapons or through shameless indoctrination of the mind, it is what makes the world evil.

    • Nope. It’s politics. More generically, it’s the desire to make people do what you want them to, whether they like it or not, in the belief that the end justifies the means. To accomplish this, any old method will do: politics, religion, propaganda. Socialist politics murdered 120,000,000 people in the 20th Century alone. Fascists and Socialists are fellow travelers on the political spectrum. Big government and consolidation of power is what characterizes them. “Left” and “Right” are misnomers.

    • Mankind has been at war with itself before there even were humans. Chimpanzees have wars and murder, for crying out loud. Many wars may have used religion as an excuse, but they all were wars about power, control, and money. Although WW-I and WW-II seem to have been started through the sheer ineptitude of the political class they still ended up about power, control, and money.

  3. Popes have been found wrong so many times over the centuries that I wonder why we still listen to them.
    I agree with Tom in Florida.

  4. Good grief. Would it be too outlandish of me to suggest that people actually wait until a document has been published, so we actually know what’s really in it, before responding to it?

    • The response is to what has already transpired. It is hoped that the Pope will listen to that response before he goes down a path that damages more than just the Church.
      However, as I read the tea leaves, I think his mind is already made up.

      • I take the following speculation as a response to a document that hasn’t been published yet, the contents of which, therefore, we do not know: “However, a papal encyclical which demands action on climate change would be tantamount to an accusation that people who doubt the urgency of addressing climate change are evil – are cynically exploiting the doubts of others, for their own selfish ends.” If you take it otherwise, so be it.

    • Agreed. The two popes before this wrote, of those I read, well-measured, thoughtful encyclicals with which I found almost nothing to disagree. And I am not Catholic. I am Evangelical, Protestant and Pentecostal. Ironically, that actually makes me more Catholic (or less “not Catholic”) than a lot of Catholics today.

    • Nope. The Pope has 3 offices so to speak.
      1) He is the Bishop of Rome. Just another of the many bishops.
      2) He is the head of state of a very small country called the Vatican city.
      3) He is the Vicar of Christ, a descendant of Peter, hand picked by Jesus Christ himself.
      To whom do Catholics owe loyalty?
      Loyalty? What is loyalty?
      Catholics are not mindless robots. Catholics think for themselves and form opinions based on knowledge.
      Catholics abide by the Apostles Creed which says nothing about loyalty to the Pope. Eric, I like you but you are wrong about that as are you Bill W.
      That being said, Catholics have to be pretty careful when confronting the “Teaching Authority” of the “Church” on Catholic matters of Faith an morals. NOT SCIENCE. That is not within the teaching authority of the church. Sometimes the Pope is a spokesman for the Church on matters and Catholics are well to listen at those times. The environment is not one of those times. IMO.
      Since the Christian Church and the Bible were created by the “Catholic” Church, it is reasonable to say that they know what they are talking about on “Christian matters. Incidentally, Christians were referred to Christian for the first time at Antioch.
      In any event, the Pope will influence a lot of people to do something. I wonder what it will be?

    • Catholics believe in a promise made by God, that when the Pope teaches on matters of faith and morals, he will not err. The pope can err in everything else, but not that. This is a promised miracle. If you believe that God made that promise than you depend on the Pope’s guidance in such matters because it’s an article of faith that God’s going to come through.

      • The fog of war. So many terms being thrown around without defining any, which can only lead to further confusion.
        The statement made that the problem is with human nature hits the nail on the head. There is a problem with people at a firmware level. This has given rise to many philosophies trying to account for this problem and its implications, some of which are logical and reasonable and insufficient; and others that are more ‘spiritual’ or even theistic but that fail to provide a solution. They both fell short of the needed upgrade to our firmware defect, also called the ‘fallen nature’.
        I would define religions as philosophies in the second category. The problem here is that there is a fairly fundamental misunderstanding and that is allowing the issues of Vatican Inc. to be conflated with what is popularly called Christianity. The Christian writings, the New Testament, tell us that upon his resurrection Jesus became the head of the church, and that was defined as being the ‘body’ of believers. Believers, not subscribers. To think that by subscribing to the teachings of Jesus you become a Christian is quite incorrect. Jesus pointed out to one of the religious leaders of his day that you must be born again. This was the firmware solution. Until that time the rules and commandments served to constrain the damaged motivations of humanity in general. The willful act of submitting to God through Jesus to allow God to use his power to transform the individual at a fundamental level is what facilitates this ‘new birth’ whereby a new nature is imparted. All that remains is to renew, or renovate the mind to remove the shackles necessary when the old firmware was trying to drive the bus, and bring it into line with the capabilities and realities of the firmware upgrade, that comes with this new family one has been ‘born’ into.
        All that to say, that statements such as the Christian Church and the Bible were created by the ‘Catholic’ church so we should observe their pronouncements on ‘Christian’ matters is a tad delusional. The Bible existed centuries before the Church of Rome – before the end of the first century in fact, and the Christian Church came into full swing on the day of Pentecost. Simon Peter was never in Rome (an eighth century pious forgery notwithstanding) and the teaching in Matt. about him being the rock upon which the church would be built and only he got the keys is again just another fantastically incorrect interpretation of what was clearly being said. That being the ‘rock’ was a type of understanding that went beyond typical flesh and blood knowledge or gnosis (the kind exemplified in this thread) and required spirit illumination –at the firmware level, and the ‘keys’ were how this type of ‘revelation knowledge’ or epignosis could be applied to open up any ‘gates’ that prevented progress or kept the individual bound.
        So the Pope has a great gig. A lot of people buy into his shtick, and if they do they may, or may not, take his lead on global warming or climate change. As for the rest be they informed or just entrenched, they could give a rats. But please don’t confuse what that temporal outfit is doing with actual Biblical Christianity – they are chalk and cheese. When Jesus said his kingdom what not of this world, he really meant it.

  5. This is the dumbest thing I’ve seen on WUWT. The guy who wrote this doesn’t understand Catholic ecclesiology or history. Galileo threatened with unspeakable pain…read your history. Anthony, I hope there is no more of this.

  6. I would have thought that the question of whom Christians owe their loyalty to was a subject more appropriate to a site whose topic is religion than to one whose topic is science and the politics of global warming.
    Yes, what the pope is likely to say is relevant to this site’s focus: it has political ramifications. But I personally would prefer that the nature of our respective relationships with our Creator to be left as a subject for other sites.

    • Actually, global warming is a religion…
      It is based on a religious belief (ie a thing that isn’t true, but people believe),
      it has a dogma based on that religious belief,
      a heirarchy of authority figures to preach that dogma,
      and a system of punishments for those that breach the dogma.

      • In addition, Hivemind, it has the Earth Charter. Produced and promoted by Mikhail Gorbachev, Maurice Strong and Stephen Rockefeller with the intention of replacing the Ten Commandments with its 16 Principles, Earth Charter is taught in many, many schools around the world. All principles are directed toward saving earth through global governance. The United Nations has approved it. Stephen Rockefeller and others paraded the document itself to the UN ‘chapel’ in an box imitative of the Ark of the Covenant. The Ark rests in the chapel. The Earth Charter Directorate is headquartered in Costa Rica. One of David Suzuki’s daughters is director. Funding comes in large part through Mikhail Gorbachev’s Green Cross International.

      • imoira…This comment is more important than the entire article and all of the other comments combined.
        The jerks are working together against us. Pushing the new religion.

  7. Given that religious belief could be temporal lobe insanity, then I’m tempted to say that they will simply listen to the voice in their head, no matter what the head of the Catholic Church may say.

  8. I’m sorry to disappoint you, but when you die you won’t be meeting anyone – not even a mythical being who will review your performance on earth. I can understand primitive people making up such stories, but how on earth any free-thinking well-educated modern person can buy into them is beyond me.

    • Richard, I’m 56, and I’ve never met an intelligent, religious believer.

      • Then you’ve never met my dad.
        Regardless of belief, unadulterated Christianity works as a behavioral guide and philosophy conducive to civil society.

      • Wow, GoBJC, that’s a pretty bold statement! Are you categorizing “them” because their need to believe in a creator automatically means than no other thought process they follow can be valid? I feel pretty much the same way about most atheists and agnostics, and can better substantiate that claim because they all seem to be libs and hence their worldview deliberately rejects most observations of the real world, including the lack of CAGW. Where does that leave us? Are you the ONLY intelligent person? (BTW, if pressed I would be forced to claim to agnosticism myself, since my “religious” belief is that we are all sims in a very advanced computer game!)

      • The Ghost Of Big Jim Cooley

        I’ve never met an intelligent, religious believer.

        That seems improbable. Is this a sampling error?
        What is your definition of intelligent?
        Do you meet many people who are different to you?
        How do you know if they are religious or intelligent anyway?
        Yours curiously,
        Another stupid, religious believer

      • John and Cube, it’s quite simple really. To be ‘intelligent’ one practices using rationale and logic. There is absolutely NOTHING rational or logical in believing in something for which you have no proof or evidence. It’s as simple as that! You can initially believe something, but if no evidence or proof comes to light after a reasonable amount of time, then you should give it up. It’s not intelligent to carrying on believing it. The possible existence of Jesus Christ is a great example: There is NOTHING other than Tacitus and Josephus (both possibly got at) to indicate that such a man ever existed (other than subjective contributors a few hundred years down the line). Now, if there was such a man who performed miracles and did many of the things that have been said, then a lot more would have been noted about him AT THE TIME. But it wasn’t. Thus there is nothing intelligent about believing Jesus Christ ever existed. The lack of evidence is astounding.

      • M Courtney. I never said you were stupid – that’s for you to decide. I said I’ve never met an intelligent, religious believer. As I say above, ‘intelligence’ is using logic and rationale. It is not logical or rational to believe in something for which you have no evidence whatsoever. Intelligence (to me and many others) isn’t knowledge, it’s been able to use your brain to work something out, the ability to learn, and problem solving. If you carry on believing in something when everything is telling you otherwise, then that’s not intelligent thinking.

      • Well the fact that the church exists is evidence, isn’t it?
        Crackpots claim crazy things all the time but something about the Resurrection of Jesus was persuasive enough that the Church grew until it became politically useful to the Roman empire.
        Other claims didn’t have the support of the people at the time.
        This is similar to temperature records. Modern climatologists are so sure they know best that they discount the things that were seen 100 years ago and lower the historical temperatures.
        Your faith in the foolishness of others is equally strong.

      • Also, I dispute your definition if intelligence. It is too narrow.
        Not sure a reasonable person could believe anything, bar their own four walls, from such a position.
        Cardinal Newman may have been religious (and eventually a Catholic) but his philosophy is still sound.

      • TGOBJC,
        “It is not logical or rational to believe in something for which you have no evidence whatsoever.”
        Please cite your evidence for abiogenesis.

      • Dear Ghost of Big Jim,
        Re: “It is not logical or rational to believe in something for which you have no evidence whatsoever.”
        You might want to consider whether the irreducible complexity in such things as the bacterium flagellum and the almost SPOOKY design revealed in the make-up and function of the cell (see Dr. Stephen Meyer’s books/video on youtube) among other evidence…, makes a belief in a Designer logical.
        Certainly, you can still choose not to believe, but the belief in a Designer is rational.
        Praying for –> YOU!

      • Some of the most intelligent people I’ve met have been or are religious believers. Some of the most brilliant scientists have been or are religious believers. If you can’t meet someone who is intelligent, a religious believer and a scientist, you could try reading works by Thomas Aquinas and other Scholastics for starters. I hope this helps.

      • Mark, that is childish beyond belief. If you want to discuss, discuss, but don’t write such puerile nonsense. Try and debate. I clearly defined intelligence, and it isn’t someone who agrees with me! And for others, I only define intelligence as it is defined! Look it up.

      • Kokoda, silly reply, as you don’t know me. Indeed, because of what I do, I have met very, very many people. The most intelligent person I have ever met was a manual worker (though he should have been a detective). I have read Thomas Aquinas, about 10 years ago. I have also read the Bible, have you? I have also read Dawkins. But reading such stuff doesn’t make you more intelligent, just more knowledgeable. You don’t seem to understand the difference.

      • M Courtney. If you’re interested, read up on how Constantine is responsible for Christianity, it’s very interesting. Oh, and he was very mad. He wore different hats, and got his madness from drinking wine from lead vases. The existence of churches isn’t evidence for a god!!! All it is evidence for is Christianity.

      • Ghost: You declared that anyone who believed in a God, couldn’t be intelligent.
        I stand by my statement.
        Sorry if the truth offends you.

      • Mark, anyone who believes in a god (when there is zero evidence for such a supernatural entity) isn’t using rationale and logic, ergo is unintelligent as defined by ‘intelligence’. The truth doesn’t offend me, why should it? I don’t understand why you said that. What truth? You said, “imoira: Ghost defines intelligent as being someone who agrees with him.” You made a mistake, as I didn’t say that! You can apologise for your mistake, or you can again ‘stand by your argument’ which is, yet again, a puerile response. It matters not a jot how you dress it up, Mark. Your one-liner was quite simply incorrect. Go look up ‘intelligence’ and you’ll see your mistake.

      • I have just noticed your “haters got to hate”! Again, a silly, childish thing to say. What on earth is wrong with you? I don’t hate. Funnily enough, my wife says I’m the only person she knows who doesn’t hate anyone. It’s a very negative emotion. She’s wrong though, as I do hate people who kill children. I don’t hate Christians, Muslims, Jews, or any religious believer. I just don’t think they are ‘intelligent’. That’s not ‘hate’. Quite why you think it is, is a matter for your mind.

      • So, Ghost, since you’ve apparently decided to ignore the absense of evidence of abiogenisis which is absolutely necessary in the absense of a Creator, how do rationalise this belief in something with absolutely no evidence for it? Perhaps one’s beliefs in what’s ultimately unprovable either way is not a valid litmus test of intelligence.

      • I could equally (and honestly) say that I am 54 and have never met an atheist who wasn’t a self-absorbed amoral, elitist who, rather than truly believing that there is no God, was actually mad at Him for not intervening in some past event in their life or the lives of others.
        However, my statement would place morality within the sole province of the religious (not a viewpoint that I believe) as you have placed intelligence within sole province of the atheist.
        The truth is no one worldview has exclusive ownership of morality, intelligence, elitism nor any other vice or virtue.

      • TGOBJC….perhaps that is because your intuitive faculty is underdeveloped…true religious understanding is not based on just belief, but involves intuitive non-conceptual insight which is beyond the normal conceptual thinking process to apprehend.

      • Intelligence as defined by Merriam-Webster (important to note as not all definitions are equal):
        “(1) : the ability to learn or understand or to deal with new or trying situations : reason; also : the skilled use of reason (2) : the ability to apply knowledge to manipulate one’s environment or to think abstractly as measured by objective criteria (as tests)”
        My initial observation is your statement of having “never met an intelligent, religious believer” is way too broad, as intelligence is based on situations. One can be intelligent in one area of life and lacking in another.
        My next observation is your proof of lack of evidence in the existence of Jesus is based on historical evidence, which is hardly an exact science and is prone to many faults. Neither of us can prove Jesus existed, but that could be said of many other people in the history of mankind. You have a point on why should one want to believe in the existence of a person that is in question, but that can also be said about a great many things and in the case of Jesus brings into the fore front of the conversation “why do we exist” and “is there a purpose beyond our individual happiness or the greater good of mankind.” Man’s purpose has always been a trying situation to figure out.

      • In regards to your 5:45am reply below- the fact that you are here to comment is all the proof needed.
        The universe is a bit bigger than all of us.

      • Mr. Big Jim: Most of what we encounter in our life is based upon our perceptions. I look at my husband, and I can see him sitting in his chair, I can hear him talking, and I can see him moving his hands about. However, is that really proof of his existence? Might I not be imagining his existence, based upon something I’ve read in a book? Can I believe my eyes, can I believe my ears? Does New York City really exist? I’ve talked to people who say they’ve been there, I’ve seen pictures. Yet, what if all of those people are lying about it, what if the pictures are fake? Evidence is based upon our view of reality, proof is largely based upon a collective agreement of what constitutes reality. Humans can be easily deceived into either believing, or not believing, something, based upon our frail and faulty perceptions. Easy enough to talk about rationale and logic, but so much of what we accept as rational and logical is based upon proxy measurements of something other than what we really want to measure. If a person believes in love (or bravery, or familial ties), are they now devoid of intelligence? Not everything can be quantified or measured, yet love and bravery are very real.
        Out at work, someone was asked if he ever heard voices. He said, “well, yes, I hear your voice right now”. The interviewer sighed, and asked if he ever heard voices when nobody else was around. He said, “Well, yes, when I’m in my plane, I hear voices over the radio all the time.” Rational, logical, and extremely annoying.

  9. As a Catholic, my loyalty is to God. If the pope tries to throw the Catholic church’s lot in with warmism \ gaiaism \ nature worship then that will violate a fundamental tenet of Christianity – Matthew 6:24: “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other.” .

  10. The catholics owe their loyalty to the Pope only when he is addressing issues regarding the catholic Faith and morals.
    When the Pope speaks about profane issues, for example, policy or climate change, I, as a devout catholic, am in no way bound by his opinion since he is not divinely inspired in such matters and he may err and lead the faithfuls astray
    The case of Galileo was clearly an abuse of power, though I disagree with the article when it says “he was threatened with unspeakable pain”.
    If the Pope Francis addresses the climate change issues, this will be an obvious abuse of power too and an abuse of the confidence of the lay people are placing in him.
    If the Pope issues an encyclical on that subject, certainly I will protest to this to the local bishop and to the Vatican.
    I am afraid that the AGW lobbyists in the Vatican have succeeded in building a wrong opinion in the Pope’s mind, and that’s not the first time this happens. For example, I remember that Paul VI welcomed a delegation of the communist Vietcong, while declining to speak with the catholic president of the South Vietnam Republic.

    • In addition, the Pope is accountable before God when he tries to sway the people and peculiarly his faithfuls on subjects that he is not competent to address and that have nothing to do with the salvation of their souls.

  11. To whom does a Christian owe their loyalty?
    A Christian (whether of Catholic flavor or not) owes their loyalty to the principles Jesus (Yeshua) left us. First and foremost to love God, and likewise love others as yourself (love as an action i.e.: treat others as you’d want to be treated). Next on the list would be to avoid judging others (be inclusive), this seems to be particularly difficult for many as all too often The Commandments are still used to berate and exclude others instead of a standard for self-awareness as to one’s own shortcomings and need for Grace and instill a sense of humility. Following close behind would be justice, mercy, and faithfulness (weightier matters) and of course no list of Jesus’ principles could leave out being charitable. Being true to these principles is (should be) the shining light that leads to (by means of example) the last on my list: spreading the good news. (Of course, there’s more that could be added but alas there’s work to be done.) Oh yea, diligence and being productive.

  12. And who came up with the one about Papal Infallibility? Hey, it was the first pope!
    Now let’s get back to executing the EFT for the right of way, patents and sole rights to build the first entirely solar powered bullet train from L.A. to N.Y. Here are the numbers to my bank account in Zurich, and yes that is a bargain at $84mm, but I’ve got other projects that are starving for cash.

    • No it was not. It was promulgated by Pope Pius IX in 1870. In part it was the Papal response to the Italian conquest of the Papal States. The doctrine only applies when the Pope is speaking ex cathedra.

  13. Well Pope John-Paul II exonerated Galileo in 1979, so, hey, let’s let bygones be bygones!

    • As I understand it, the papal decision was that the tribunal acted improperly, which it did. This is not the same as an exoneration. Galileo was guilty of insisting that the Church must wade into the scientific controversy between the geocentrists and the heliocentrists in advance of there being definitive scientific proof settling the matter (the final proof came with the observation of stellar parallax in the 1800s, several centuries later). The Church preferred to keep its options open and insisted that good Catholics could only state that the evidence thus far supported one or the other theory more than its rival. Without definitive proof, definitive claims were improper. I believe all of Galileo’s work was redone using the accepted formulation and quickly republished in Rome under that restriction. Anonymizing the power relationships and the specifics of the situation, it would be hard to find a scientist who wouldn’t support the Church’s institutional position of attempting to keep its theology out of a matter of scientific controversy.
      Galileo suffered at the hands of the tribunal because he was an insufferable jerk to them and they let personal animus color their actions. No matter how he acted, this was wrong of those long ago churchmen and St. John Paul II recognized it and gave the Church a penance for that sin.

  14. I used to be a catholic a very long time ago until I got better. But I did have to acquire a lot of info about catholicism from the jesuit schools I was forced to attend. Catholic doctrine insists upon the primacy of conscience not papal edict. Doesn’t matter what the pope says, if it violates your conscience you cannot obey. If you are not a catholic then the pope doesn’t matter anyway.
    NB not all christians are catholics as you seem to think. In fact there are those who think that catholics are not christians

    • And let’s not forget the Deists, who don’t believe in Jesus Christ, but believe in a God whose existence is apparent not only in the bounty of creation, but also in the way it works, everything working in unison, even where heads are banging.

  15. If I have the choice to be Christian or scientist, I’d choose to be Illuminati and tear down these lying and murdering churches. What remains must be reality and truth.
    Church is just another synonym for a legalized mafia.

  16. Indeed, as others have said, what the Pope has to say is only binding on Roman Catholics.
    Some relevant Scripture (used by Protestant Corrie ten Boom and her family to justify hiding Jews in defiance of an order of the “King,” the occupying Germans in WWII):
    Show proper respect to everyone: Love the brother and sisterhood of believers, fear God,”, honor the king.”
    I. Peter 2:17.
    Controlling principle: obey God first of all.
    Application to AGW: God is all about TRUTH. Serving the Enviroprofiteers’ wholly unproven, assertions about CO2 is not to serve truth, it is to serve l1es.
    And it most certainly is NOT to “love your neighbor as yourself” (Leviticus 19:18).
    Re: “I’ve never met an intelligent, religious believer.”
    Ghost of Big Jim Cooley
    I’m sorry about that, Ghost. There are many out there. I almost said, “But, Big Jim, you’ve met ME!” ….. then, I realized… . Well, watch out, Big Jim — I’m praying God sends 3 intelligent (in your view), sincere, believers in Jeshua (Jesus) your way in the next 24 hours!

    • P.S. Blaise Pascal was a pretty logical, rational, fellow. Read his Pensees. They may prove enlightening. 🙂

      • Voltaire: his idea was to represent God as a transcedent number i, so it would be a zero or one. He struggled to find out what it can be. People who believe in God has to be aware that this is a very relative issue.
        It means too that faith has some value but religion is only a way of life

  17. “Galileo followed his conscience.” I would have to disagree–Galileo followed the evidence and correctly concluded the earth orbited the sun. Whatever his conscience may have been saying to him, it was the evidence with which he wrestled and which gave him the basis for drawing his conclusion.
    Perhaps Galileo should be recognized as the founder of the Socratic Club which was partially responsible for giving us C.S. Lewis.

    • “… for giving us C.S. Lewis,” who gave us the highly logical:
      Given: Jesus’ claims about himself (for instance, that he was God incarnate).
      He was, therefore, either:
      1. A Liar
      2. A Lunatic
      3. Telling the truth (i.e., Lord).
      Take your choice… you must make one. To not choose is intellectual dishonesty.
      {Source: Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis}

      • If you reject the historical record of Jesus’ having lived, then you will have to reject the record of many other historical figures for whom there is much LESS recorded history.
        The historicity of Jesus is not a genuine issue.
        It is only a feeble excuse, used by someone who will not (not merely can not) believe in what Jesus taught for getting up from the chess table and refusing to play.
        It is, in short: intellectually dishonest.
        You’re better than that, Big Jim’s ghost.

      • Janice, the historicity of a Jesus Christ is indeed a ‘genuine’ issue – as there is so little evidence for it (practically zero). Your attempt to bring in the ‘vague evidence for other historical characters’ is as valid as your sad attempt at ‘better than that’, as this is a man who is supposed to have performed incredible miracles, and said many (!) things. Sorry Janice, but if you actually look for evidence that Jesus existed, then there’s virtually nothing. Josephus and Tacitus are feeble, and as I said, got at. It’s highly likely (from what I’ve read) that such a man never existed, but was a good story. As I said elsewhere, read up on Constantine. If it weren’t for him then Christianity would have remained a minor religion, to die out. Christianity’s foundations lay on someone for which there is scant evidence, on Matthew’s incorrect assessment of Isiah’s writings, and a mistranslation of that as well.

      • Regretfully, I am going to have to leave this argument. I was enjoying it, too. Try and have an open mind, Janice. You never know what might fall into it.

      • I’d say, Jim, that the advice you’ve offered to Janice, might come in handy in your own case.

      • Oh, thank you, Alan Robertson. That was very kind of you to support me.
        Hey, remember when I really thought your name was Luther Wu? That is so funny!!
        I’m not around much, so I miss “talking” to you on WUWT, but, in case you see this: I admire your dry wit, insightful and helpful remarks, and, your brevity <– how do you do it?! I try… .

  18. Well as a Christian but not a catholic, I have never followed the pope, never really hear or read much of anything about him.
    As a Christian, my morals and ethics come straight from the Bible. Things about the observations of nature come from science. It is up to me to be guided as to what is true, what is theory, and what is hyperbole (globull warming comes to mind for one that is untrue).

  19. Just tell it as it is.
    We have traitors in all high positions including God’s earthly representative who not only betrayals human civilization but also his religion.
    UN Agenda 21 also has a religious Agenda.
    One World Governance, One World Religion.
    Just Google it and have a read at
    I think this information will shake up the Catholic Sheeple more than the Galileo reference.
    The Agenda is set a long time ago and those comitted to its roll out won’t be discouraged by a possible negative outcome of the Paris Meeting.
    They will continue to push through their scheme at any price. That is unless we stop them.
    Just tell the Catholics what they can expect: Their Catholic Religion to be replaced by a Global Religion paying tribute to Gaia. Just like the ancient tribes who paid tribute to trees, animals etc. Animism we have called this rudimentary form of religion.
    I don’t think the average Catholic is going to take this crap.

  20. Let’s have the Vatican’s CO2 output be governed by Obama’s EPA. What a hoot that would be!
    BTW: My sister, my older sister was actually a nun (or close to one; I was too young to remember) for a brief period of time after high school. She and the other nuns in training used to have this little jingle they repeated to themselves: ‘When you’re old and feeling blue, and there are no boys left for you, join the convent and see the world!’
    I’m not making that up. Oh, am I going to pay for this.

  21. Probably what surprises me most about the comments in this thread is the really militant, intolerant hatred shown by the hard-core atheists for anyone who doesn’t accept the Purity and Righteousness of their own beliefs. It suggests that their hatred of those with dogmatic religious beliefs has more to do with “projection” than it has to do with anything else.
    Tolerance is a Christian virtue, but clearly not an atheist one.

    • I’ve met a few tolerant atheists. Unfortunately it’s the intolerant ones who feel the need to prove themselves at every opportunity.
      In my opinion, such irrational outbursts are evidence of their inner insecurities. Those who are confident in what they believe do not feel the need to lecture others at every opportunity.

    • > Tolerance is a Christian virtue, but clearly not an atheist one.
      Christians were so tolerant of one another that there never were problems with — ahh — I dunno —
      nope – all tolerant Christians there.
      Well — I dunno — like slavery… Lots of tolerance and charity and brotherly love and all that morality…
      Well — I dunno — like …. yada yada…
      Read some history! Or maybe just a newspaper or two… you really don’t have to go too far to find extremely violent and horribly intolerant Christians killing, raping, and stealing land – money – wealth – etc from others [other Christians or anyone else too]

      • In your opinion, the fact that some Christians don’t live up to the values set for them by the Bible proves Christians don’t have these values?
        It was the Christians that ended slavery.
        As to reading, I suggest that you do some as well.

      • @MarkW:
        Slavery, of the mid 19th century variety, was not only accepted by the Catholic church – but officially condoned by the pope at the time. The article above is about the Catholic church – and its soon to be officially condoned enslavement of humans to inefficient energy sources. So, the ‘Church’ hasn’t really changed much — it’s still one of the largest centers of non-science babble and totalitarianism on the planet.
        And how about some questions:
        Is morality only a Christian value?
        Shouldn’t all humans strive to live together without killing one another?
        Did morality simply suddenly ‘start’ at BCE zero?
        Isn’t it odd that somehow Christians view morality different than Muslims or Buddhists or atheists or humanists?
        Isn’t it arrogant to simply state that morality flows *from* Christianity and *not from* other religions or, better, from a general human [and life form] morality?

      • unknown: Slavery had existed since the beginning of time.
        It was the Christians who caused it to be outlawed.
        That’s basic history.
        You really don’t know what you are talking about, do you.
        Morality is nothing more than a system to determine right and wrong. Everyone has one.

    • Tolerance is a Christian virtue, but clearly not an atheist one.

      Wow, way to make a self-inconsistent statement! Atheistic tolerance is agreeing that you have the right to believe anything you like no matter how absurd. It means that you have the right to stand up in public and try to convince people that the world is 6000 years old, that a talking snake is the excuse for the existence of evil in the world even though it was created by a loving god, that the second law of thermodynamics isn’t really a law, it is more like a pirate’s code “suggestion” that can and is often violated provided that you pray to an invisible being just right. It does not mean that I cannot stand up in the same public forums and make fun of this and laugh at this out loud.
      The fundamental question is: What is it best to believe? In order to answer this, one has to establish a criterion for making some beliefs better than others. In order for the result to even possibly be true and correct, it has to be internally consistent, because contradictions must contain falsehood somewhere. If one accepts the scientific worldview, with the criterion for sorting out better and worse beliefs being a mix of agreement with direct, reproducible evidence plus consistency with the entire set of interconnected evidence-backed beliefs, there is quite literally no room left for religion. There might be if there were evidence, but there isn’t anything remotely like believable evidence, and arguments for why we cannot perform simple experiments to accumulate direct evidence now are pure irrational apologia, not things to be taken seriously (imagine how science would look if we admitted this sort of thing).
      So my lack of “tolerance” for your belief set has a very simple basis. You believe things that violate mere common sense. You believe in an invisible world that we cannot measure or obtain the slightest shred of objective evidence for. You believe in invisible entities that do things like “create Universes” without themselves being in an uncreated Universe (that is, beliefs that aren’t even consistent). You believe in overt violations of thermodynamics and physics, such as “resurrection from being dead” which is demonstrably impossible and which you know perfectly well is impossible, know it well enough that if I told you that I died truly dead and rotted for three days but that then I sat up and was alive again with all the cellular damage done repaired you too would laugh hysterically at the claim. Take off the blinders, man! Use the same sort of common sense to examine religious claims that you would use to examine any other sort of claim, the same common sense you use to reject the claims of all of the other religions, the ones you aren’t “tolerant” of in the sense that you probably don’t think that Krishna is an avatar of pandeistic Mahavishnu as was revealed on the fields of Kurukeshetra to his good buddy Arjuna, or the assertions that the world is the hatching of a world-egg created by the mating of Cronos and Ananke.

      • RGB & Ghost
        For the record, I (and many other Christians) don’t believe in talking snakes or that the Earth is 6000 years old. I don’t know why it’s so hard to understand that Genesis is not literal. Think of it like the book “Animal Farm”, pigs don’t really talk as everyone knows but the book communicates a truth through figurative illustration. The first part of Genesis describes creation as a process that created lower forms of life first and preceded up to Man being last, the exact same message science tells us. Next comes the figurative illustration of our journey from animal to human, not that a snake actually talked to a single person named Eve. I’ve actually researched and addressed to my satisfaction all of these kind of objections to the existence of God decades ago and I don’t exactly consider myself easy to convince of anything which explains why I’m a preterist as opposed to a rapture awaiting Bible thumper. Of course there are several nuanced options and opinions but fundamentally it all boils down to either all this happened by accident or it was in some manner designed or planned. There is insufficient evidence either way but the exact nature of the universe and the existence of natural Laws such as the Second Law of Thermodynamics is evidence of God. I find your belief in abiogenesis and unwillingness to either acknowledge this belief or attempt to defend it hilarious. Belief in a Creator is indeed more evidenced than abiogenesis and you’d know that if you’d actually put in the research time and you’d also know that you haven’t actually come up with an original objection to the existence of God that hasn’t been answered time and time again. The ignorance on display would be embarrassing if y’all actually had a clue. BTW, I’ve read “Axioms” and I think its hypothetical scenario for the formation of Religion is as good as any I’ve come across but even if its 100% correct it’s hardly reason to believe that God doesn’t exist.

      • Usually your stuff is reasoned rgb, but “You believe in invisible entities that do things like “create Universes” without themselves being in an uncreated Universe”
        The belief is that the universe(which is the extent of what we can observe and know) exists, and apparently had a finite beginning. There is no possible explanation for that in the universe.
        Which is a good place to throw out the question- The astronomy observations and theory we can see a universe ~28billion light years across, flat, and hence infinite and expanding. Do the folks around planet Zed some 10 billion light years away see the same universe we see? Or can we never get close enough to find out?

    • Whatever conclusions you may draw from that web site do not necessarily apply to the Roman Catholic Church. CFN is an organ of a splinter sect, the Society of Saint Pius X, founded by Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre. He was excommunicated for his troubles in 1988, along with four bishops he had consecrated. The ban was lifted in 2009. At this point, both parties seem content with the status quo.

  22. By Coincidence or Providence, Catholics today commemorate the feast of St. Catherine of Siena. She’s famous for, by the end of the Middle Ages, and being a young and unlearned woman, having rebuked more than one Pope.
    EXCERPT: “She was grieved by any sort of scandal in the Church, especially that of the Great Schism[4] which followed the death of Gregory XI. Urban VI was elected as his successor by the cardinals of Rome and Clement VII by the rebellious cardinals of Avignon. Western Christendom was divided; Clement was recognized by France, Spain, Scotland, and Naples; Urban by most of North Italy, England, Flanders, and Hungary. Catherine wore herself out trying to heal this terrible breach in Christian unity and to obtain for Urban the obedience due to the legitimate head. Letter after letter was dispatched to the princes and leaders of Europe. To Urban himself she wrote to warn him to control his harsh and arrogant temper. This was the second pope she had counseled, chided, even commanded. Far from resenting reproof, Urban summoned her to Rome that he might profit by her advice. [my emphasis].
    By the way, she is one of the patron saints of Europe.
    Non-Catholics are frequently unaware that the loyalty required from us to the Pope is that of a son to his father. You should love and respect your father, and obey him when he commands something reasonable and within his authority. That’s the same thing with the Pope.
    Many Popes said and did many stupid, and sometimes awful, things throughout history. Any literate Catholic knows that very well. Contrary to what many people think, papal infallibility is a very restricted thing. It has been invoked only twice in the last two centuries.
    So, no, blind obedience to the Pope is not required from Catholics. Loyalty is not blind obedience, as any dictionary will tell you. Loyalty requires correcting, as we should do to our own parents when they go astray.
    St. Catherine shows that Catholics are not only not required to obey the pope in everything, but even have the duty to rebuke and correct him when he is wrong. And Catherine was not condemned for it. She was canonized!

  23. Despite the stellar history of the Catholic Church & science (check with Bruno), it should not be hard to get the pope on board with the global warming crowd. After all, anyone that can believe that they are monotheists while worshipping the Father, Son and Holy ghost can be convinced of anything.

    • Actually it’s more like what the American Bar Association is to Law.
      oh wait, I see your point. never mind.

  24. There are a significant number of errors in the opening statement by Eric Worrall. Galileo was not “threatened with unspeakable pain”; he was shown the instruments of torture. There is a very large difference. The possibility of Galileo being tortured was essentially zero. The man was a celebrity in the 17th century, far more prominent and well known than the modern pop star. Moreover, much of his work had been encouraged by the Papacy. His 1632 “Dialogue of the Two Chief World Systems” had been encouraged by Pope Urban VIII to outline dispassionately the differences between the Copernican and Ptolemaic systems. Urban wanted the science clearly laid out to understand the important differences between the two.
    And that’s typical of why Galileo got into trouble. Not content with doing just that, he wrote it as a dramatic dialogue that was anything but dispassionate. All the stupid statements were put into the mouth of a character Simplicio, a not even thinly disguised portrait of Pope Urban VIII, Galileo’s own sponsor.
    Because you see, the man was also well known at the time for being the worst sort of intellectual bully. Not content with demonstrating other views to be wrong, he also portrayed those who differed with him as morons. His statements at the time about Kepler were truly heinous. Remember that Kepler had done much of his work a decade before Galileo. His slanders against a large number of rather good Jesuit astronomers were equally atrocious. Think of a 17th century version of Michael Mann. And like Mann, Galileo had quarrels with just about everyone in the scientific community. In short, he was an intellectual bully.
    As for his science, much of his astronomy was either wrong (particularly about comets) or stolen (from Kepler among others) without attribution. His truly great work that is usually overlooked was his work on the laws of motion. His work was crucial to the giant that came after him, Isaac Newton. But what needs to be remembered is that Galileo was a great publisher. He solicited money and clout to get his works published and spread throughout Europe.
    Alas, like all bullies, Galileo was also a coward. Having enraged just about everyone in Europe’s intellectual community, he had no friends and supporters. When the Church caught him on defying a Papal order to which he had previously agreed, all his dirty birds came home to roost. His prominence meant that the possibility of his being seriously punished was zilch. Despite that, he still caved in and submitted to a publication ban that he had in large part brought on himself. So much for “following his conscience”.
    Make no mistake, Galileo is one of the great scientists of history, and some of his work was truly ground-breaking. He was also one of the most disagreeable individuals ever in Europe’s scientific community.

    • As a Catholic, I find the historical rewrites in defense of hte Church / Galileo events to be shameful.
      The Church was wrong. Period.
      The Church is wrong now to embrace the climate consensus, which is nothing more than the modern incarnation of eugenics/Malthusian thinkg. Period.

      • I disagree, Galileo was wrong to claim that the Book of Joshua was in error. He should have kept his mouth out of the religion debate and stuck to his crappy science. (he was wrong most of the time) He was right about the pendulum, and acceleration due to gravity and empirics. He was wrong about the tides, copied Lippershay’s Telescope, He was wrong about a fixed sun and circular orbits (Copernican model) and could not prove it when asked to do so. Galileo was an arrogant self-promoting BS-er.

      • It is possible to be wrong in more than one way. People do actually go and read the actual documentation of what happened instead of warmed over 10th hand accounts and when they do so, they generally find that black and white caricatures are completely inaccurate. Galileo was wronged by the Church tribunal because it did not treat him even handedly but let the emotions felt by those Galileo insulted improperly enter into their judgment.
        On that matter, the Church was wrong, period.
        Do you think that the Church was wrong when it insisted that heliocentrism had not overcome all the objections to it? I hope not because the last one finally fell centuries later in the 1800s.
        Galileo was wrong to insist that the Church was engaging in theological error when it maintained neutrality between heliocentrists and geocentrists at a time when not all the evidence was in.

    • here are a significant number of errors in the opening statement by Eric Worrall. Galileo was not “threatened with unspeakable pain”; he was shown the instruments of torture. There is a very large difference. The possibility of Galileo being tortured was essentially zero.

      Tell that to Giordano Bruno (burned alive in 1900). Tell that to Rene Descartes: Tell that to the victims of the Spanish Inquisition. Tell that to Jean d’Arc. Tell that to the many victims of the Burning Times. Tell that to the New World natives who resisted being “converted” to Catholicism and were again burned alive or just plain slaughtered. The possibility of Galileo being tortured was absolutely real. The possibility of him being executed, should he not have recanted, was a near certainty. The Church was in a fight for its very life, a fight which it systematically lost over much of the next five centuries because Copernicus, Kepler, Descartes, Galileo, Bruno and many others were right, and the Bible turned out to be diametrically wrong, so wrong that it was never again possible for rational humans to view it as being infallible no matter how much you torture the language with hermeneutics.
      Finally, being disagreeable is neither a mortal sin nor a crime. What was then, and is now, at stake is the freedom of thought. The Church of the day sought to control human thought and dictate what humans could, in good conscience or bad, think or believe. It was then, and is today, all about power, not about God, because the application of the scientific worldview and way of determining truth quickly leaves one with nothing worthy of belief in any religion, which at the very least means that those that are religious should be extremely humble as they ask you to believe absurdities without evidence or with highly questionable and irreproducible evidence, anecdotal (at best) evidence. It is not what it is defensibly best to believe, it is in fact defensibly not the best thing to believe.
      This is not, actually, a bad discussion to hold on WUWT because it is extremely interesting to see the number of people who are “skeptical” about climate science — which at the very least is backed up by physical science and a wide range of observations, whether or not you think that the arguments and inferences made on the basis of that science and those observations are sound — but who believe ten impossible things before breakfast as long as they are things that pertain to an imaginary invisible world without any evidence at all. The application of rational skepticism to religion leaves one areligious.
      It really is useful to study the history of Europe across the middle ages. This was a time when continent spanning wars were being fought over religion. Religious dissent was political dissent, treason as well as heresy. To assert that anybody who rejected any part of the pronouncements of the Church in any sort of public arena was not at mortal risk of dismemberment and death is directly contradicted by the fact that humans were routinely drawn and quartered and broken on the wheel and flayed alive and burned and hung and castrated and carded with a comb just because they were Jewish, or Muslim, or Protestant, or an old woman, or a native american, or in possession of a piece of land coveted by a powerful member of the church, or a political threat, all either by the church itself or with its passive blessing.
      It was (attempted) thought control, pure and simple. And it failed. It continues to fail (and to create suffering and strife) today.

      • I almost always enjoy your posts as I usually find them well-reasoned and informative. Here, you disappoint. Before you insert the other one on the topic of Galileo, I heartily suggest you visit the following:
        which I’ve copied from up-post. Your reply is visceral and very nearly unhinged. Galileo was never, by any stretch of the imagination, in peril of his life. The Inquisition he was called before was nothing like that which developed in Spain and I have never seen the claim that he was “shown the instruments of his torture” made anywhere but here. An affirmation you seem eager to accept. Confirmation bias, much? In the end, the “prosecutor” practically begged Galileo to take a plea bargain. That apparently blew up when some of the Roman members of the Congregation decided to teach the Tuscan a lesson and sabotaged it. The Spanish cardinals may have had a hand in it as well. Basically they did that IPCC Summary for Policy Makers thing where the Conclusion went against the Science.
        In the end Galileo got smacked because he gravely insulted his friend and patron, Pope Urban, who was a) in no mood to intervene as a result and b) couldn’t do much about it if he had wanted to because of political reverses related to the 30 Years War and c) had made a lot of personal enemies, particularly among the Jesuits, who basically sat on their hands through the whole thing.
        Galileo also didn’t actually advance the science to any large degree; contemporaries did more and better work on sun spots and actually advanced the art of telescope making. The Copernican theory was wrong, which we know only in hindsight, but it also couldn’t account for the stellar parallax and Coriolis effects which should have been apparent under the theory but could not be observed at the time the theory was advanced. In his “On the Two Chief Systems” his central arguments about the origin of tides are “not even wrong”. Separately, his explanation for the origin of comets, is, well, comical.
        Your exaggerations extend to the Spanish Inquisition. As an instrument of death, it was amazingly ineffective. If Wikipedia is to be believed, about 5,000 persons were executed over the course of about 350 years. Probably about the same total you might expect, all things being equal, if Texas is around 350 years from now.
        The horrors you lay to the Church (people always know whom you mean when it’s a capital “C”) were by no means singular to it, and far more common amongst secular polities. People always forget that fact. Next time you might want to wipe the spittle off your keyboard before you post.

      • RGB>>>
        Usually you are a great source of clear thinking but on this subject I take exception not as believer but an agnostic (although I was brought up a Catholic).
        Without going into much detail I suggest you are trying to analyse or construct religion on the same basis as science. Whilst the two must co-exist, neither is subject to the other.
        To ask whether Christ could possibly rise from the dead is no more than asking whether God exists in Christian Theology. The two are the same in Catholic doctrine except for the bodily form. God can indeed be a tree; if it is impossible then God does not exist.
        Take the lead from Aquinas; despite his brilliant work he ultimately came to the conclusion that faith alone was sufficient.
        You could not, with all science in the world, come to the conclusion there is no God. Equally religion does not ask science to show there is one.
        Contrary to your vehemence that the Church was against science that is not how I read it. Why would Copernicus dedicate his work to the Pope Paul III? Why was he encouraged by a Cardinal and a Bishop to publish. It is so stated in his preface “On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Bodies (1543).”
        He says ‘…I have preferred dedicating my studies to Your Holiness rather than to anyone else. For even in this very remote corner of the earth where I live you are considered the highest authority by virtue of the loftiness of your office and your love for all literature and astronomy too. “
        He was actually getting Papal protection for his views which were surely controversial and going to be attacked.
        Pope Urban considered that Galileo had been badly treated by the tribunal. Read the details of the characters in play. Simplicio made it too simple for his enemies to turn the Pope against Galileo; he had also broken his undertaking.
        Copernicus’ work had not been banned as it remained a “hypothesis.” It was attacked by Protestants rather than the Catholics.
        You have me on Joan of Arc; I thought the English burned her as a witch.
        James 1st also had special techniques for detecting witches much like Salem I guess. I mean modern day science enlightened civilizations would not embark on Eugenics, Holocaust, Stalinism, Vietnam, Iraq, Guantanamo and all the prior conflicts would they?
        Each era should be judged by standards and norms of the times, otherwise we really are holier than the Romans because they allowed gladiator combat but disdained circumcision as being barbaric.

    • “Galileo was not “threatened with unspeakable pain”; he was shown the instruments of torture. There is a very large difference.”
      That is the stupidest thing I’ve seen in this thread, which is saying a lot. There is no difference whatsoever. If someone waves a gun in your face, he is clearly threatening to kill you. They were showing Galileo what they were going to do to him if he didn’t cooperate. He cooperated.

  25. This is a religious post by Worral; arguably more religion focused that the other one by Ronan the other day. It is a myopically Christian religion focused post and seems only centered on just one sect of Christianity.
    Some people will support the climate change movement on a purely religious basis without any consideration of science. We already knew that.

    • +1
      I’ve been reading this blog for many years. Lately it’s become quite laden with Christian religious undertones. I would go elsewhere — but there are still a large number of excellent science articles.
      As far as religious support of CAGW is concerned… I imagine most religions would support the [wrong] ideas that humans are the center of all things of Earth – and that humans are born into ‘original sin’ [CAGW -> CO2 emitters] – and that indulgences must be paid to atone for our sins.
      The religiousness is distracting from the actual science.

      • The title of each article makes it clear what the subject of the article is.
        It’s a trivial matter to ignore the ones you aren’t interested in.
        If articles such as this are of so little interest to you, why did you read it, and even more, why did you read the discussion that followed?

      • @MarkW:
        Why do people stop to look at a car accident?
        Why did people gather to cheer and jeer at public hangings?
        I stopped and looked – because I’m human.
        However, the religious argument should be left for religious web sites. Of course… IMO.

      • Fascinating how you defend reading articles that you claim you have no interest in.
        If you want to justify your hypocrisy, be my guest.

    • unknown502756 on April 29, 2015 at 7:48 am
      – – – – – – – – –
      Your outline of “religious support of CAGW” is consistent with some of the great work on comparative studies of mythologies. One my favorites is work by Joseph Campbell.
      He pursued the idea that religions rely on certain myths. He thought those myths had story telling value for mankind. I will agree with him if they are considered only as stories.

    • John Whitman on April 29, 2015 at 7:16 am
      – – – – – – – – – –
      Eric Worrall,
      Sorry I misspelled your name in the above comment.

  26. Perhaps we should examine the differences between belief and faith.
    I would also ask, is our first responsibility to the environment, or to each other’s well-being?
    If we have faith that our world is in God’s hands, we can focus on the biblical message that we are here to love and support one another in our daily struggles with sin, Satan and all that he has tempted humanity with.
    IMHO, one of the major reasons that capitalist democracy has been successful in the past, is that it’s been largely tempered by Christianity. Without it, ‘temptation of the flesh’ has and will induce chaos.

    • I can remember my clergyman dad often saying that saving folks can only be accomplished by serving them.

    • Would those be the “hands” that just shook a mountain to crush the life out of innocent children? Really?
      It is rather easy to believe that there is no God, because that explains why natural evil happens all of the time. It happens because the Universe is utterly indifferent to suffering. Cancer isn’t “God’s will” or a punishment for sin, it is the result of indifferent accidents at the genetic cellular level. In that sense nature is as “just” as game of russian roulette that we have no choice but to play and that can at any moment spin one of its manifold loaded cylinders into the firing position and screw up or end our lives. Cancer and natural disasters as God’s will is mere proof of an evil God, or at best an equally indifferent God.
      Why not focus on the human message that since there is no (evidence for) heaven, no evidence for hell, no evidence for God, absolutely no evidence for Satan, no reason to think that anything like a “temptation” ever took place and excellent reasons to think that humans evolved over several million years in a cosmos roughly 14 billion years after a large scale expansion from a high-energy-density state, that whatever exists of “heaven” or “hell” is precisely what we construct here on Earth using our wits and our will. We have nothing to look forward to or fear after death, but we very much have plenty to fear and enjoy in life. We can choose to work towards a world that minimizes human suffering and maximizes love and joy, or we can engage in religious thinking that actively prevents the entire human species from assuming its direct responsibility for making it happen and creates world-spanning conflicts over how many angels can dance on the head of a pin or whether or not the mantel of Muhammed passes by inheritance or election. We can waste time and money building churches and attending them and donating substantial sums to people whose “job” in life is to convince us (and especially our children) of the utterly improbable or we could devote both the time and the money to actually trying to improve the world by fighting ignorance.
      Ethics are rational. They do not need to be backed up by imaginary beings and threats and promises of postmortem supernatural punishments and rewards. They can be openly discussed and reasoned about, and we can collectively choose how we should act without a set of inviolable “divinely inspired” rules being imposed on us by fiat, even when they make no sense at all or are backed up by absurdly improbable stories unsupported by a shred of evidence.

      • Unless the world is perfect, there can be no God.
        The Bible already has an answer to your question. Read Job.

      • I’m inclined to agree with you rgb, in the light of where humanity stands, we have intellectually outgrown the capacity of religion and it’s explanations of how things came to be. That is why someone like myself becomes a skeptic of what was presented to me as a child, and I was told to accept on faith and trust. I often wonder if biblical ‘hell’ is hot, just because the people who wrote it had never experienced folks dying from the cold, and could only relate to the opposite?
        Interesting to me though, is that most people always seem to be searching for new or more satisfying religion (or some substitute) in their lives, so they have a path laid out to follow. Those who penned the scriptures repeatedly refer to humankind as sheep. I find that ironic when I think about the press nowdays.
        And thank you, mark. that is exactly what my dad would have directed me to read, had I asked rgb’s question.

      • It’s funny how ethics seems to depend on ideas that can’t be proven. Ideas like “for the greater(or common) good. Who gets to decide, and on what grounds? Much of the moral catastrophe brewing in the IPCC, the UN, Agenda 21, etc. are based on being for the common good. Some better-than-anyone-else person or “elite” group always makes that argument.
        A common sense, religious, mostly Christian idea such as “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” wouldn’t come up with carbon quotas, carbon taxes, forcibly raising energy prices, and refusing useful ideas like nuclear energy instead of burning wood.

      • Ethics are entirely rational. I have a gun, you have the money. Give it to me or I’ll kill you and take it.
        That is rational ethics that works for quite a few folks.
        So is: there are six of just walking along here and see you’re trying to take that guy’s money. Why don’t you just drop the gun and get outta’ dodge before we shoot you.
        Might makes right? Another rational ethic.
        Why can’t we all just get along? Whoops, that’s another religious idea.

  27. In regards to this topic, there are many ironies;
    + Galileo had rejected Kepler’s elliptical paths, in favor of Copernicus’ perfect circles.
    + Galileo’s tide theory never held water.
    + Copernicus’ system was less accurate at predicting the motions of the planets, than the system of crystal spheres created by the pagan Ptolemy.
    + Copernicus was driven by faith, saying “We have a supremely orderly creator; therefore the heavens ought to behave in an orderly manner.”
    + Even, with its inaccuracies, Copernicus’ book was permitted to be kept in the Roman Catholic library for a few centuries.
    + Over the Galileo issue, the Pope was not going with what the Bible said. Rather, he was going with the evidence that was in favor of the system of crystal spheres. Academia also strongly supported the work of Ptolemy, including his cosmology.
    Galileo’s book, that mocked the pope, didn’t help matters. I think the main issue was not the specifics of the science, but in who held the authority to declare truth.

    • But in the end, the point was that it was an observational truth that the Sun did not go “around” the Earth, but that the Earth went “around” the Sun. This was what the fuss was all about, because the Bible explicitly says otherwise! Hence circles, ellipses, closed curves, open curves (ellipses are only an approximation as well in a many-body solar system) that wasn’t important, and Galileo wasn’t the mathematician that Kepler (or for that matter, his secretary Toricelli) was — if he was, he would have been Newton and finished inventing calculus and physics itself. And who knows, if he hadn’t been broken and confined to house arrest, unable to publish anything at all for the last years of his life, he might have.
      But Bellarmine’s observations in his letter to Galileo proved to be utterly “prophetic”. In the end, Galileo’s correct assertion that the Earth goes around the Sun, not as Copernicus or Bruno or Galileo or Kepler asserted, but rather as Newton eventually derived while inventing a system of the world capable of iterative refinement and precise prediction and description was direct proof that the Bible is not and never has been “infallible”, and that in fact it is filled with nonsense and not a reliable factual, ethical, or spiritual guide.

      • rgbatduke says “This was what the fuss was all about, because the Bible explicitly says otherwise! ”
        Read Cardinal Barberini’s letter to Fouscini. He said if [Copernicus was right] then they would have to reassess their interpretation of the Book of Joshua. Joshua was the only scriptural reference that discusses the mechanics of the sun’s pathway. It says it goes across the sky. Which is true. Now Galileo, a secret Copernican, as he admitted in his letter to Kepler, refuted Joshua, publicly. That is what the fuss was about. It was about Galileo foray into the theology.
        Here is the translated quote from Cardinal Bellarmine to Foscarini.
        “I say that if a real proof be found that the sun is fixed and does not revolve round the earth, but the earth round the sun, then it will be necessary, very carefully, to proceed to the explanation of the passages of Scripture which appear to be contrary, and we should rather say that we have misunderstood these than pronounce that to be false which is demonstrated.”
        The fuss was that Galileo spoke about about the theology, when he said that he would not.

      • Re: “the Bible explicitly says otherwise!” rgb
        No, it does not. It no more says that the Sun orbits the earth than you do when you say:
        “The sun is rising.”

        I should tell you that the laws and pronouncements of the old Mesopotamian kings who were thought divine — could not be changed. The laws and pronouncements were written down on clay tablets and later kings were bound by them. (Egypt had a similar problem.) Well, you can imagine this put a new king in a tough spot. He could not deny the older laws and pronouncements without diluting his own authority. Well, they found a simple means around the old laws. The clay tablets on which they were written were covered over with new clay and fired. They were then stored. Thus the old laws continued to exist but were hidden from human eyes. Thus they could not be “seen” to contradict the new kings new laws.
        Such divine kings could also set time limits which they might come to regret. But what could they do? After all their pronouncements could not be altered. Well, they could stop counting the passage of days or as it might have been said since they were considered gods — stop the sun in the sky.
        Joshua — It would be interesting to know if this fight took place on the day before the Sabbath. At nightfall the Sabbath would begin and the Hebrews would have been forced to stop fighting or break religious law. If they had stopped fighting they very well might have been routed and even slaughtered. We can assume that because the Hebrews won that they kept fighting. So it is possible that this whole story about Joshua stopping the sun in the sky was about creating an excuse for fighting on the Sabbath. He “stopped the sun in the sky” therefore the Sabbath did not arrive — therefore no religious laws were broken. Joshua did not break God’s law.
        I think I am giving a very reasonable explanation for something mistakenly called a miracle.
        Just speculating here.
        Eugene WR Gallun

    • Joe,
      Unfortunately Eric did not read the trials of Galileo. Everything you said is correct. What got Galileo in trouble was his refuting of the Book of Joshua. Galileo came out against scripture in the vernacular. What was he doing involving himself in religious matters? So the Church , rightfully rebuked him for pretending to be a theologian. The church never condemned Copernicanism, ie, Galileo’s science. They just asked him to PROVE it and he could not. Why did they ask him to prove it? They needed to know if they got the interpretation of Joshua wrong or not. Since Galileo could not prove anything, they let the status quo stand. I have all the quotes an letters from the trials. People blurt out Galileo like they actually know what happened. 99% of the time, they don’t.

  28. I’m not going to address the intelligence or lack thereof of believers, because one can be reasonably intelligent and be mistaught and indoctrinated at an age where you are still incapable of critical thinking, one can be misled, one can experience cognitive dissonance and behave irrationally, or one can just plain make mistakes. I do it all the time, in the case of objective problems where my errors eventually surface and all I can say is “oops”.
    However, I will point out the following. The evidence that supports the entire Judeo-Christian-Moslem-Mormon-JW Abrahamic religion complex is incredibly weak, and relies on the hearsay reporting of miracles that, on the face of it, are absurd. The religious dogma is transmitted in the form of scriptures that contain literally mountains of nonsense contradicted by science and historians over and over again. It is internally inconsistent to the point where it is almost a joke — you can justify almost anything using the scriptures, and can equally well justify its opposite, also using the scriptures. Its communication of ethics are, with few exceptions, pitiful and inadequate where they aren’t overtly evil (it’s alright to beat your slaves almost to death, marriage by rape, speaking in parables to ensure that there will be plenty of the damned, and don’t get me started on the Quran with its graphically described systematic torture of unbelievers for eternity or the Book of Mormon with its steel swords and old-world plants and animals in the new world, read from vanishing gold tablets unearthed in upstate New York. Yet by at least one the arguments for the “evidence” for Christianity above, “there must be something to” Mormonism, because look, lots of people believe in it now, let alone Islam with its visiting angels and taking of dictation.
    Those who wish to pretend that Galileo was not at mortal risk at the hands of the church might look up the case of Giordano Bruno, who was burned at the stake on February 17, 1600, after a trial where his inquisitor was the religious murderer, Cardinal Saint Bellarmine, who through no coincidence was enormously involved in the entire scandalous attempt by the church to suppress Copernicanism, including Galileo’s work. Bruno no doubt was indeed a “heretic”. He asserted (gasp!) that the stars were distant suns, and that not only does the Earth circle the sun, but distant suns were no doubt circled by distant Earths. Wow, did he turn out to be right, using only reason as his guide, in the sixteenth century.
    This same Bellarmine a few years later wrote his famous letter to Galileo explaining correctly why the Copernican assertion that the Sun was orbited by the Earth instead of the other way around all by itself was sufficient reason to cast the entire Bible into doubt, as it would be irrefutable proof that the holy fathers, saints, and prophets of the church were not divinely inspired even in simple matters of overwhelmingly important everyday fact, and so rather obviously could not be trusted to be “divinely inspired” on matters as subtle as believing reports of impossible and absurd miracles and matters of religious doctrine. It is freely available online, and IMO should be required reading for people seeking to defend religious thinking. It concludes with Bellarmine, possibly haunted by the fact that Galileo’s observations were compelling (that which we can see with our own eyes often is), preparing to launch five centuries of exegesis, hermeneutics, and apologia, backfilling and constraining the “official” domain of the prophets and saints to an ever shrinking base as science ripped most of the Bible apart and showed it to be arrant, arrogant, nonsense. The Catholic church has indeed been dragged, kicking and screaming, over centuries, into alignment with science but still insists on its tiny domain of magic involving “souls” and what happens to them after death in an extradimensional view of reality, something safely out of reach of the rational empirical worldview. Its ethical standards are evident in its continuing opposition to the mere use of condoms to spread disease in AIDS-ridden, overpopulated Africa, in its enormous wealth (it is something like 19th on the list of wealthy countries), and the inexplicable fact that 100% of its officers and leadership are male, with women systematically excluded. Seriously? If they were a corporation, they would have been sued into bankruptcy long ago, after being excoriated and publicly humiliated for treating slightly over one half of the world’s population as second class citizens as a matter of religious dogma quite literally forever. But then, the Abrahamic faiths all hate women, who are (as we all know) “unclean”. Jesus thought so, and can be quoted as such.
    In the end, religion and mythical thinking and the religious worldview are in direct opposition to rational thought and the scientific worldview. It’s just the way it is. The two cannot ever be reconciled unless and until there is direct, double blind placebo controlled reproducible pure quill evidence to support the most outrageous of the assertions that form the foundation of the religion because that is the standard for probable truth in science! One cannot say that the two need not be in conflict — they are in conflict, they are in conflict every day. People make conflicted decisions, decisions filled with indefensible cognitive dissonance, insane decisions, because they are based on religious principles that cannot be defended except by means of quoting a religious text written by superstitious, ignorant men back in a past so distant that they thought madness was demonic possession and that disease was a punishment of God for sin and that the world was flat and surmounted by a solid bowl lit with a few thousand lights by night and by a sun that dipped underneath the pillars that held it up on top of a flat ocean once a day. Those decisions are just as indefensible as the decision of the Catholic Church to prosecute Galileo lest his views prove true and weaken the political hold of the church on the entire world, which is, surprise surprise, precisely what happened and what continues to happen today! People are educated, people wake up, and people leave the churches as they realize that they are not only nonsense, they are expensive nonsense that the founding fathers were trying to protect us from politically.
    Christianity, fortunately, can easily be empirically tested, as any Christian who actually has studied the Bible should well know (in my own experience as an ex-Christian, nobody actually studies the Bible, they only study carefully selected tracts that make up a story that the reader or their teachers happen to “like”, leaving out all the bits that make no sense or openly contradict their own favorite conclusions). Jesus clearly and unambiguously promises to do pretty much anything anyone asks of him — heal the sick, move mountains, just about any supernatural miracle. All you have to do is ask nicely. He also promises elsewhere to return to usher in the kingdom of God in the lifetime of his own followers (major fail) and a bunch of other stuff that never happened, but lets stick with the simple stuff. It is also routinely asserted that Jesus loves everybody, and I’m going to go with that as a working hypothesis too, since if Jesus only loves some people and hates others, he isn’t a deity or son-o-deity worthy of worship. Finally, I’m going to just toss out there the idea that Hell is bad, very painful, and that one would never want to see somebody that one loved in Hell because they have to do stuff like stand in lakes of boiling blood having their skin burned off and magically regrown to burn off again, all maximally painfully, for eternity and that sounds like it would really hurt, and our natural compassion for even most of our enemies would make us hesitate to inflict that sort of punishment on them, let alone on loved ones.
    Well, here I am, clearly damned by the standards of the Christian church. Damned in the very best of faith, of course — I’m not rejecting a God I believe in, I just think it is silly to believe in God without evidence, and even sillier in a quantitatively comparative sense to believe in some specific God or religious sub-practice, that is to believe in Yahweh versus Krishna versus Allah versus Jesus versus Odin versus Zeus etc, or to be Methodist instead of Presbyterian — again without any better, or different, evidence for any of them. We are all atheists, even Catholics. I’m just atheistic about N religions, and a Catholic is atheistic about N-1 religions but doesn’t see the absurdity of accepting as “evidence” in the one case that which he rejects derisively in N-1 cases.
    So here’s the experiment. Jesus loves me. Jesus doesn’t want me to be damned, because being damned is not something we wish for those that we love unless those words have no meaning whatsoever. I am (currently) damned because I will not believe without evidence, because I think that it is morally wrong to believe things without evidence, that it is a sort of willful ignorance that leads inevitably to bad ends, given that good ends are difficult enough to arrange with our eyes wide open and using the best possible information and intentions. Jesus is perfectly capable of providing me with evidence. He walked around reportedly providing evidence to a whole lot of people who required pretty much the same standard I do — something that they could see with their own two eyes, overt miracles that couldn’t possibly have been stagecraft or charlatanry such as is routinely practiced to this very day by street “magicians” and confidence men with shills in the crowd. According to Saul/Paul, Paul himself was in precisely my circumstance — not believing in Jesus because he thought the whole thing was absurd until Jesus appeared to Paul in person and changed his mind. Paul reports that Jesus did this with “hundreds of others” after the resurrection, so there is clearly no heavenly rule against Jesus coming back to appear to unbelievers and do a few miracles so that they can believe and thereby not be damned. It obviously didn’t remove their free will — how could it? It just provided them with the only sound basis for belief in anything, direct evidence!
    I therefore invite Jesus — again, as I have performed this experiment many times — to appear in my den right now. We can sit and have a chat about ethics, and I can ask him what God intends to do about the thousands of children suffering and dying or crushed and dead in Nepal and what the real resolution of the problem of theodicy is, he can drink some of the water I’ve turned into beer (with science) and I can drink some water he’s changed into wine (with magic), I can ask him to miraculously restore my health and physical age to that of a twenty year old (ask and it shall be granted, right) and I promise, for the rest of my life I will believe, and thereby not be damned and have to stand around in a lake of fire being periodically gang-raped by demons or whatever else one fantasizes happens to unbelievers when they die.
    Oops, once again he failed to take me up on my offer. I persist, sadly, in my damned state because of a lack of the evidence that would cause me to believe. This, I hold, is direct proof that either: a) The Bible is wrong when it asserts that unbelievers are damned, and damnation in fact has nothing to do with belief or forgiveness or any of that stuff — of course this makes the Bible even more (if possible) unreliable, and does not encourage belief in cherrypicked assertions mixed in with the absurdities and moral evil; b) Jesus does not, in fact, love me, and since I’m not a bad fellow and even my dogs love me, this suggests that Jesus is not, actually worthy of universal love or worship; or c) Jesus is a myth, or possibly a mix of myth and legend, and if he existed at all is long since dead and utterly incapable of “coming back” or affecting the world in the slightest magical way.
    Personally I’m going with c), but of course if a) or b) are correct, Jesus can at any time demonstrate his worthiness for worship by manifesting himself directly and unambiguously in my presence, just like he supposedly did for Paul, when Paul was in more or less identical circumstances. I mean, this is the guy who in his trinitarian unity created the entire Universe in a few days and odd order — surely he can manage the multitasking required to pop in for a beer and a chat.

    • Who says you’re damned? That’s clearly your religious belief, not mine.
      kind of amazing that you spent so much time and energy on writing such a long post. Who were you trying to convince? Readers? Or Yourself?
      (hint: very few readers will last past the first paragraph, and even fewer past the second. That’s how it goes with rants)

    • @rgb: Well said! and I agree, but most religious people will discard the well reasoned argument — just as most CAGW believers discard skeptical well reasoned argument.
      Now let’s all get back to science.

    • Dear rgb,
      Jesus has never come into my den (i.e., appeared to me tangibly anywhere), either. But, He did come into my heart when I asked Him sincerely.
      Come now, rgb, your emotions temporarily disabled that sharp intelligence you so often display on WUWT: if Jesus is a being capable of doing what you ask, physically entering your den *POOF*!…
      …. then, He can discern disingenousness.
      Oh, yes, your disingenuousness (about what he said and did) is clear from your blatant mischaracterizing of the historical record among other things.
      And, really, do you WANT a god who is a mere genii, jumping at your beck and call? That would make YOU the actual god in that scenario.
      You will find this disgusting, I realize, but I AM SMILING (very gently) at all your enthusiastic writing above. Essentially you are saying: I DON’T WANT THIS TO BE TRUE BUT I’M AFRAID IT IS SO I’M GOING TO YELL LOUDLY (AND SNARL) TO SCARE IT AWAY!!! You would not care so much if the Hound of Heaven were not hot on your trail. You won’t escape. And someday you will be so glad that you did not!
      Yes, it does mean that you will have to meet me, someday (bwah, ha, ha, ha, haaaaaa), but, then, you won’t mind!
      With agape and PRAYERS (for over a year, now! — and for the rest of my life, if need be),
      P.S. Jesus might just meet you via one of His followers, though… . An intelligent believer in Jeshua (as Messiah) may just walk into your den and have a beer!

      • re: Janice Moore April 29, 2015 at 11:35 am
        I always read and enjoy your comments. You seem to be a very nice person and I do not want to offend you but my comments may sound harsher than they are meant to be.
        It is the condescending nature of the comment that you will pray for me. Do you even realize how that comes across? It says that because you are so enlightened and I am not that I need your help to see the truth. Of course it is the truth in your mind not mine. Now I do not personally care what you do to make yourself feel better about things but this is exactly how oppression begins. Subtle insinuations of help for those that are not good enough. As those insinuations become acceptable as mainstream further alienation of non conformists follows. Soon you end up with those in power wanting to penalize and even abolish all others. All in the name of righteous religion.
        Thankfully our Founding Fathers gave us the First Amendment to prevent this.

      • Dear Tom,
        Thank you.
        And, no, I did not realize that what I considered to be a generous gift was seen as condescending. I’m glad you told me. I can’t remove that impression from you, but, at least I can tell you that I had, indeed, no idea… . In case you’d like to understand the state of my mind and heart as I pray for someone (and it is the same when I tell them that I will do that for them, too), it is the same feeling I would have (although, admittedly, much less urgent, even though, given that one’s final hour can come at any moment, I SHOULD feel that urgency) if I saw rgb or you or anyone without a life preserver on, struggling on the high seas, help at least an hour away, and I could see a life raft in the trough just beyond you, out of your vision.
        “Go over there! I can see what you cannot! There is a means of saving your life just over there!!”
        That is my prayer.
        My feeling toward you as I offer to pray and pray is what I would feel then.
        I actually care (no, no, not perfectly, lol, Christians are not perfect, just forgiven)! And I’m a true believer. My “condescending” tone is not what is in my heart for you.
        When someone offers to pray for me (for whatever peril or problem I am facing) I am GRATEFUL.
        Hoping that you can believe me (and Jesus!),

      • re: Janice Moore April 29, 2015 at 4:34 pm
        Once again you take the righteous position over me. You say a condescending tone is not in your heart, and I believe you however you continue on with it. You have a tone of superiority when you believe that your prays will save someone. Have you ever even considered that it is YOU who is wrong? Of course not. Yet you invoke the name of Jesus as your lord and savior in clear violation of the First Commandment. The Ten Commandments are Hebrew law issued by Yahweh to Moses long before Jesus walked the Earth. The first thing you are told is not to place other gods before him (Yahweh). Yet each day you worship Jesus you condemn yourself for doing so. Perhaps you were directed to this site in order to meet me and be shown the true error of your ways. So it is now I that feel sorrow for you for being blind to the truth.

      • Dear Tom,
        I believe in the doctrine of the trinity, i.e., Jesus is God. It is a concept that we cannot get our minds around, like infinity, it is a mystery that we simply accept: three = one. Thus, to worship Jesus = to worship God. If you really, genuinely, want to ask me questions about my faith, I would be HAPPY to answer (or try to!) — hopefully, without my “tone.” Sorry about that. That’s just me. I don’t FEEL condescending.
        Well. Many Jews have a hard time with Christianity because of the doctrine of the Trinity. Also, many Jews use that as an excuse not to closely examine the prophecies (e.g., Isaiah 53 and Psalm 22 among many others) that were fulfilled in Yeshua.
        Ask a mod to give me your e mail and I will write back — ON THIS TOPIC. If you are interested, and I hope you are!
        Take care, down, there,
        Your Gentile friend,

      • Janice,
        No I do not wish to get into a personal discussion of religion. Been there, done that. I do not have the time nor the desire to do it again. We all have our beliefs that help us get through life and I am fine with that, as long as I am not forced to believe something different. It’s been a good thread, much more civil than I anticipated, but it is time to get back to science.

    • “one can be reasonably intelligent and be mistaught and indoctrinated at an age where you are still incapable of critical thinking”
      Dr Brown,
      This statement hit home very personally for me. I was brought up in a Roman Catholic home, attended the required catechism classes while young and was even an altar boy. Around the age of 12 I started asking questions because some things didn’t make sense to me, even at my early age. You see, my dad was a football coach and we watched the New York Giants every Sunday. I was puzzled by the commandment to keep the Sabbath holy by not working on Sunday, (not knowing that the holy day was really Saturday instead of Sunday). The question I asked of a nun was why some were allowed to work on Sunday, i.e. football players, officials, television crews etc. Her response was football was entertainment and not work. I knew better than that so I started to ask other questions. But because I was so indoctrinated as a young child, I found it very disturbing to think about these things, to even consider questioning my religious upbringing. This mental conflict continued well into my teens. I wanted answers but was afraid to ask because I feared condemnation. Until one day I came to the realization that those who profess honesty and truth would never condemn someone who asks a legitimate question while in search of the truth. And while it still took more time to free myself from this mental abuse foisted upon me at a young age, I was finally able to break free. It was my growing interest and study of astronomy that was the catalyst. And then I learned of a distant relative, Giordano Bruno.
      Tom Bruno

      • Dear Tom,
        Please forgive my interjecting this (you were addressing rgb only, I think), but good for you to ask questions! And you aren’t through, yet! Keep on asking…. keep seeking truth. You will find it!
        Yes, indeed, love is the key. If anyone will not accept you and your questions with love, run the other way — no matter who they are.
        I may be “sad” in your eyes, too, but I am praying for you!
        With agape,

    • Rgb; Just as I tried to explain Janice, you separate faith from religion. Religions are only a way of life, it’s arbitrair in nature. Faith represents the assumption of the existence of God, so it’s true or false., 1 or 0.
      We will never know, this means it’s not so important as it seems. And just as you said under b “”I’m not a bad fellow”” this is what counts , nothing else.
      All religions overestimate their importance.

    • The God of the Bible offers proof that he exists by way of prophesy. No other religious book contains so many predictions that have come true.

      • There is no proof what so ever, it’s an assumption and nothing else.
        Everything written is done by normal people as is valid for all religions.

  29. Shamefully, the better historical go-by that the current group of Papal advisers are ignoring is that of Eugenics.

  30. Eric,
    I really like you posting on science stuff. You know, because I have said so. This posting is a bit toxic, and full of errors. Not up to your standards.
    Amongst the left and the natural enemies of the Church, there is celebration today. They are not making erroneous allusions to Galileo. They are saying the opposite. They are saying the Church got it right. They are saying that the Church is following science and the majority scientific view. How is that similar to the Galileo issue?
    We here at WUWT do not like what the IPPC says. By association, we will not like what the Vatican says when they agree with the IPCC. That doesn’t make the Vatican bad, it makes them slothful and inept wrt understanding their enemies. Tim Ball raised this issue 2 weeks ago.
    There are many good catholics who frequent this site and disagree with the IPCC and now disagree with the PAS’s statement. I imagine that that is an uncomfortable position to be in. They have my sympathy.
    We obviously failed in making our scientific case for the fraud of CAGW, and worse, we failed to make the political case, despite climategate, copenhahen, bali etc. We are getting mowed down by the IPCC and now their befriending of the Vatican.
    We have to understand the problem to effectively keep combat this offensive We have to ourselves together and refrain from creating division where there aren’t any. Why alienate run of the mill catholics? Because the Vatican is parroting the IPCC that does not give you license to run down 1.2 billion people and create a fracture amongst the many here at WUWT etc who disagree with the IPCC and the Vatican’s ditto-ing of the IPCC.
    My advice is to keep cool heads and continue to confront the principle problem, the IPCC, Obama, the EPA, the MSM. It was very worthwhile for Lord Monckton etc to go to the Vatican to express disagreement about this. But we need to keep our eye on the prize. The facts are in our favor.
    When the facts come out, popularly, and they will, the Vatican will abandon their reliance on the IPCC. There are many within the Vatican who absolutely hate the earth-worship meme.
    The earth has not warmed in 18 years. That is a fact.
    Your knee-jerk attack on the church -a la Galileo was non-seqitur and wrong. The Church is AGREEING with science wrt AGW. How is that anything like Galileo? Secondly, you got the facts around the trials of Galileo wrong. So you were wrong squared this time.
    Please continue to post, but this religion vs science pseudo battle is an unnecessary red herring and gets us off the point.

  31. The article misstates the facts of the Galileo case. It is not, properly speaking the heliocentric opinion that was the problem. It was the assertion that heliocentrism is proven fact and that the Church theologically errs in that day by maintaining a theological neutrality between heliocentrism and geocentrism. The evidence in Galileo’s time favored heliocentrism but measuring stellar parallax was beyond the instruments of his day and would be for centuries. It is Galileo’s sidestep into theological instruction of churchmen that got him in trouble with Rome. Would anybody care to defend that?
    The idea that Rome should keep doors open to new scientific evidence until final proofs are in is a fine principle in my opinion. Who opposes it?
    God’s promise to the Church is that Popes shall not err in matters of promulgating the truth of faith and morals. It is a promised miracle that Catholics believe in. Outside of matters of teaching faith and morals, the promise does not hold and Popes are able to and definitively have made mistakes. In fact, there’s widespread opinion in the Church that there are popes in hell.
    Trusting in God vs trusting in the Pope is a false conflict the way most Catholics view the question.
    An encyclical would be welcome on the matter of climate change, if it were well informed on the state of science and properly modest about taking sides on matters that are not fully settled. A papal mention of model/reality divergence would be a global earthquake that no amount of peer review corruption would be able to counter. Properly focusing attention to climate as a matter of stewardship of resources in the planet’s service to mankind as our home would also do much to settle Gaia lunacy. There are opportunities as well as perils and it would be unwise to only focus on one or the other.
    There’s no need for anti-Catholic battlespace prep and it’s frankly distasteful to see.

  32. As with all things Climate Change, Follow the money. This is doubly true unfortunately with the Holy Roman Catholic Church.
    The atrocities inflicted on new world natives by Various orders of the Catholic Church in pursuit of gold, silver, and gems for return to Spain and the Vatican in the 16th- 19th Century are well documented. Follow the money.
    Recent notable examples of the Catholic Church and money perversion is seen in the sordid story of The Legion of Christ, founded by disgraced leader Fr. Marcial Maceil Degollado. Founded in the 1941, LOC by the 50’s was sending large amounts of money to papal coffers in Rome which bought decades of silence and coverup to the ongoing pedophilia that was rampart in the priest ranks of the order, including Maciel himself. Even with the pedophilia-abuse well known, in 2004 the Legion had a $650 million budget, and fewer than 650 priests. This continued to buy Papal protection for the priest abuses that had occurred in the order.
    So back to the Holy Roman Catholic Church, the IPCC, and the upcoming Paris climate convention. There are promises of hundreds of billions in USD$, and Euros to be put forth by developed nations to pay developing nations. Somewhere, make no doubt, in this promised wealth flow is undoubtedly a “piece of the action” for the Vatican in return for this Encyclical cooperation. Of that fact, that money talks with the Vatican, we can be sure.

  33. I think the following is relevant to Worral’s religion post today. Here is an excerpt from a comment I made yesterday on Ronan’s Roman Catholic Church centric post. It was addressed to a commenter who was discussing Galileo’s treatment with what appeared to me to be the Roman Catholic Church centered perspective only. It is edited slightly from previous posting.
    = = = = = = = =
    Some are naïve in thinking that the Roman Catholic Church’s (RCC) account of the treatment of Galileo can be accepted without at least two other non-RCC sourced corroborations of what happened; one being Galileo’s account and one being a third party’s account. Galileo’s account was intimidated under duress and restricted less he be further subject to the Inquisition. There is a limited third party’s account.
    Here is a passage regarding assessment of Galileo’s treatment by the RCC from one of the best and more objective histories of Christianity (Paul Johnson’s ‘A History of Christianity’ (1976). Be patient in reading the assessment because the story of Galileo’s treatment by the RCC is, according to the research of Paul Johnson, related to and influenced by the RCC’s judgement and treatment of the Hermetic philosopher Girodano Bruno.

    {bold emphasis mine – JW}
    Here is a passage from Paul Johnson’s ‘A History of Christianity’ (1976),
    “Great mystery still surrounds the Bruno case. Some of the documents turned up as recently as 1942, when they were discovered in the effects of the librarian-pope, Pius XI; but the official processo, giving the precise reasons for his condemnation, has disappeared. What we do know is that Bruno was in Inquisition hands for eight years, recanted heresies twice, but finally denied he had ever been a heretic and was burned alive in the Campo de’Fiori in Rome, 1600. Like all who crossed and recrossed the religious borders, he was a particular object of Roman suspicion.* [the asterisk refers to the following footnote] [. . .]
    * The harsh treatment of Galileo by the Roman Inquisition in 1633 was determined, at least in part, by Pope Urban VIII’s belief that Galileo was somehow linked to Bruno’s heresies, and that his [Galileo’s] ‘Dialogue of the Two Great World Systems’, setting out Copernican theory, was full of hidden Hermetic symbolism. Less foolhardy than Bruno, Galileo made a full submission; ‘‘. . . with sincere heart and unfeigned faith I abjure, curse and detest the aforesaid errors and heresies’’; nor is it true that he then added ‘’Eppur si muove’’, which might have led to his death. What he [Galileo] did do was to note in the margin of his own copy of the ‘Dialogue’: ‘’In the matter of introducing novelties. And who can doubt that it will lead to the worst disorders when minds created free by God are compelled to submit slavishly to an outside will? When we are told to deny our senses and subject them to the whim of others? When people of whatsoever competence are made judges over experts and are granted authority to treat them as they please? These are the novelties which are apt to bring about the ruin of commonwealth and the subversion of the state.’’ See G. de Santillana,’The Crime of Galileo’ (Chicago, 1955); and C.A. Ronan, ‘Galileo’ (London, 1974)”

    Galileo was brutally treated for his scientific ideas and scientific work, it should not be pretended that he wasn’t out of desire to protect the image of the RCC.

    • No. Galileo was fairly treated for his erroneous foray into theology. The Church never condemned the science. They asked him to prove his theory, and he admitted that he could not. Galileo was put on trial for BREACH of CONTRACT fo publicly saying that the book of Joshua was wrong. He was kept under house arrest in a Papal apartment and given a pension for life by Pope Urban the VIII, his friend.

    • Paul Westhaver on April 29, 2015 at 8:04 am ,
      – – – – – – – –
      Paul Weshaver,
      Two things.
      First, your response has confirmed RCC’s coercion; coercion as presented by Galileo’s point in his quote “And who can doubt that it will lead to the worst disorders when minds created free by God are compelled to submit slavishly to an outside will?”. It has also confirmed my observation that the Roman Catholic Church’s account of the matter cannot be accepted because of lack of corroboration with other non-RCC accounts; the accounts diverge.
      Second, the Church was by fiat and force demarcating what was science / reality and what wasn’t in the realm of reality. That demarcation is a formal scientific area that science must address as science; outside force in the demarcation by science intimidates all science. You are saying that it was valid during the Inquisition that only the Roman Catholic Church had the right to coercively enforce that demarcation which logically should be in science’s realm; that is logically inane and it was quite an evil act of the RCC. Finally, the RCC Inquisition period actually runs counter to the valued tradition of scientific demarcation by science; a tradition that is prevalent in the History of Western Civilization which arguably started with the Greeks circa ~500 bc; the Inquisition was a hiatus from honored demarcation of what is science by science itself.

      • rgbatduke on April 29, 2015 at 8:58 am
        – – – – – – – – – –
        I agree with the fundamental aspects of your comments here.
        Hey, maybe we could drink alcoholic non-libations while discussing the philosophy of science as well as the science of philosophy and the history of science. We could even venture into the history of philosophy given sufficient consumption of alcoholic non-libations. Seriously.
        Personal Note: I do not deserve your compliments, I am pleased though.

        • So the Roman Church with its Roman monastics would have history re-written.
          But we should grant them this: It was a Jesuit priest who developed the Big Bang. This paradigm was later “confirmed” by “evidence,” and now taken as an unquestionable doctrine and taught in schools. And of course, used as an academic bludgeon and shibboleth, for those who will not kiss the golden calf or sacred scientific cow.
          Remember: credit where credit is due!

      • Paul Westhaver on April 29, 2015 at 11:34 am said,
        [@ John Whitman on April 29, 2015 at 8:46 am]
        “Science was invented by clerics the Catholic Church you ignoramus.”

        – – – – – – – – – –
        Paul Westhaver,
        Two more things.
        – You seem unresponsive on science.
        – Your initiation of name calling ends the civil discourse.

      • John, It is not name calling to name you as ignorant. How about malicious too?
        Roger Bacon, a catholic monk, is given credit for having started modern science in ~1200 AD.
        Did you know that, or are you ignorant of that fact?
        George Henri LeMaitre PhD, a priest and scientist invented the Big Bang, or are you ignorant of that?
        Gregor Mendel, a catholic monk, invented genetics, or are you ignorant of that?
        Nicolas Copernicus, a catholic cleric, first documented the heliocentric cosmos, or are you ignorant of that?
        Even Galileo was a devote catholic, or are you also ignorant of that too.
        The list is long…
        You seem to have a lot to say for somebody who is ignorant on so many relevant matters. You are so ignorant on these matters you may be described as invincibly ignorant. Are you invincibly ignorant John?
        Your insinuation of malice by people is much worse than name calling. That make you also a hypocrite. An ignorant hypocrite. Not only do you not know the subject matter, but you are also motivated by malice.

      • Paul Westhaver on April 29, 2015 at 1:13 pm
        – – – – – – – – –
        Paul Westhaver,
        Yet two more things.
        – You have now amplified and increased your name calling instead of just simply stopping at your initial uncivil initiation of name calling.
        – You said (Paul Westhaver on April 29, 2015 at 11:34 am) “Science was invented by clerics the Catholic Church you ignoramus.” That is not historically correct.

    • Well said, and defended, John. But it won’t matter. It took almost 400 years for the Church to actually publicly apologize for mistreating Galileo. I was teaching physics at the time, and announced the fact to my class.
      Bellarmine’s Letter to Galileo (openly available online) is equally revealing. It leaves absolutely zero doubt as to what the motivations and fears of the Church were. The Church asserted that the words of the saints and holy fathers in the Bible were true ad litteram — this is almost a direct quote of Saint Bellarmine’s letter. This was the source of their authority. At the end of the letter Bellarmine takes off the mask and worries out loud about what would happen if Galileo’s (and Copernicus’ and Bruno’s and Kepler’s, and many others going back almost 2500 years) assertions of heliocentricity were proven even approximately correct (all that mattered was contradicting geocentricity as officially and clearly stated in the Bible itself in numerous places). In that case, he continues, we would have to completely alter the way we interpret the Bible because rewriting the Bible so that it remains true was preferable to the horror of having it revealed as being precisely what it is: An unbelievable collection of myths, stories, legends, and even snippets of history with no more claim to being perfect truth or even probable truth than any other, equally absurd, religious scriptural dogma competing with it.

      • rgbatduke on April 29, 2015 at 8:58 am
        – – – – – – –
        My response to you is above at John Whitman on April 29, 2015 at 9:39 am .

      • You very subtly twist Bellarmine’s comment. It was NOT about rewriting the Bible. The early Church Fathers in their commentaries that informed the then-current exegesis of the Bible, grounded their writings on the best available scientific evidence and theory; to wit, the Ptolemaic explanation of the Cosmos. Bellarmine was concerned that any re-analysis not be taken to say that the Bible was wrong, but that fallible human beings, in trying to understand God’s message would be liable to err and that in the light of new knowledge new understanding would come about. Apart from any objective Truth the Bible may or may not contain, Bellarmine saw you coming a mile away.

      • D.J. Hawkins on April 29, 2015 at 10:40 pm said in comment (at a comment made by rgbatduke on April 29, 2015 at 8:58 am),
        You [rgbaduke] very subtly twist Bellarmine’s comment. It was NOT about rewriting the Bible. The early Church Fathers in their commentaries that informed the then-current exegesis of the Bible, grounded their writings on the best available scientific evidence and theory; to wit, the Ptolemaic explanation of the Cosmos. Bellarmine was concerned that any re-analysis not be taken to say that the Bible was wrong, but that fallible human beings, in trying to understand God’s message would be liable to err and that in the light of new knowledge new understanding would come about. Apart from any objective Truth the Bible may or may not contain, Bellarmine saw you coming a mile away.

        D.J. Hawkins & rgbatduke,
        I agree with largely with rgbatduke and not so much with D.J. Hawkins. Below is my analysis.
        Cardinal (then, but now Saint) Robert Bellarmine wrote a letter On April 12, 1615 to Foscarini. Bellarmine outlined a case for adopting positions that were against supporting Foscarini’s and Galileo’s sun-centered arguments.
        I read the Bellarmine letter ( one online location of the letter is here )
        Bellarmine has three main messages made in three paragraphs starting with the words “First”, “Second” and “Third”.
        Bellarmine’s “First” message is a reminder to Foscarini and Galileo that they should keep being “prudent” publically about their heliocentric ideas so that the ideas can only being taken “suppositionally and not absolutely”, because otherwise their ideas would “harm the Holy Faith by rendering Holy Scripture false”.
        Bellarmine’s “Second” message is the reason Foscarini and Galileo must be very “prudent” as stated in the “First” paragraph; namely, the Church “prohibits interpreting Scripture against the common consensus of the Holy Fathers”. Bellarmine states that “common consensus” is “all agreeing in the literal interpretation that the sun is in heaven and turns around the earth with great speed, and that the earth is very far from heaven and sits motionless at the center of the world”. Heresy then is addressed by Bellarmine when he says that consensus is such that “[n]or can one answer that this is not a matter of faith ” and in two analogies discussed by him in the context of the heliocentric view he says “and so it would be heretical to say that Abraham did not have two children and Jacob twelve, as well as to say that Christ was not born of a virgin, because both are said by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of the prophets and the apostles.” That means Bellarmine’s parting message in this paragraph is that it is unambiguously a case of heresy if they go beyond their current publically known position of the “suppositionally” of their heliocentric ideas.
        Bellarmine’s “Third” message is twofold. First-fold, Bellarmine starts out with saying the scriptures cannot be considered in error even if heliocentricity is found ultimately to be true, in that instance it would be human error in incorrectly interpreting the words of the scripture as meaning earth-centricity; Bellarmine’s words “I say that if there were a true demonstration that the sun is at the center of the world and the earth in the third heaven, and that the sun does not circle the earth but the earth circles the sun, then one would have to proceed with great care in explaining the Scriptures that appear contrary, and say rather that we do not understand them than that what is demonstrated is false.” Bellarmine is saying that if heliocentric was ultimately found true, then he would have the Church reassign the meaning of the words in the scripture to support heliocentricity and not change the actual scripture words. Second-fold, Bellarmine disagrees, based on his interpretations of his observations of nature, with there being a sufficient level of conclusiveness of the case made by Foscarini and Galileo for heliocentricity. In other words Bellarmine is making a case that the Church’s earth-centric position is more scientifically plausible than the heliocentric case made by Foscarini and Galileo. Bellarmine is making a scientific case for earth-centricity not based on his previous claim (in his “Second” parapraph) which was “[n]or can one answer that this [consensus view of earth-centricity] is not a matter of faith”. The twofolds in his message, taken together, means Bellarmine see no valid basis for the Church to even consider heliocentricity, but if there was a reason to consider heliocentricity he thinks the Church can perform a process of reassigning the meaning of the words in the scripture to support heliocentricity while not changing the actual scriptural words. Maintaining scriptural wording integrity as all costs is the goal expressed by Bellarmine.
        So the letter, taken as a whole, is Bellarmine formally telling Foscarini and Galileo, under pain of heresy, to limit themselves to what they have already publically said “suppositionally and not absolutely” on heliocentricity. Bellarmine also outlines damage control plans; plans to maintain scriptural wording integrity by suggesting it would be the right thing to do to keep the current actual words in the scripture while adjusting their meanings as needed to fit any possibility of a new consensus on heliocentric scientific knowledge.

  34. The ‘climate change’ psyop is designed to split personalities, families, nations, religions, science …
    Its very function is to induce turbulence.
    And it seems to be working perfectly.

  35. There are more forces in nature than the ones we measure in present day science.
    I have never seen an intelligent explanation of how the very first living cell came into
    The folks spreading the idea that throwing organic chemicals in a mix long enough will eventually
    produce a cell do not understand the first principles of chemistry and cell biology.
    The more we know the less certain we are. The reverse is also true.

  36. Why would I doubt something if I have no way to prove it untrue.
    I would have to say ” Well, I think it is unlikely there is a God who made everything”.
    I don’t know which is worse; the virgin birth or the 72 virgins ( grapes).
    I am more inclined to Sitchen’s arguments that we are the result of DNA experiments a few thousand years ago.

  37. Please, don’t let’s get into discussions about religion. You find almost as much intolerance and stupidity there as you find in a bunch of AGW supporters! Almost.

    • I absolutely agree. However. I did not post the article. And the Vatican’s actions wrt Global Warming does merit thoughtful discussion.

  38. The answer was provided when Paul wrote to Timothy, “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” (1 Timothy 2:5, KJV).

    • I mean who came up with the idea to make procreation pleasurable ?
      How does that work before it was pleasurable ?
      It’s all just too perfect not to be a design 🙂

      • My mother made me go to church 2x sometimes on Sunday and then I had to do altar boy for services until I said ” Look, I really think this is a waste of my time “.
        So I have thought about this religious stuff quite a bit and my feeling is that the church is really a place for confused people ( polite ) and socialists.

  39. In this case the Pope is the one “disobeying” the direction of America’s political moral majority – good thing.

  40. As a Catholic I again find comments on Catholicism and the Pope quite humorous. I suppose that there are many who have no education on the matter but still feel pressed by prejudice to put up their emotions on a web site. However, I would suggest that at least 80 percent of the comments above are off the mark. First, the Pope who censured Galileo was a political Pope whose interests were secular and not religious but unfortunately it took the slow curia to clarify this, basically because they thought that all educated people understood this. Second, the Pope does not dictate morals but only expresses what he thinks as a result of his experience and the support of the rest of the Church. Third, for all individual Catholics conscience is primary and trumps even the Pope who himself is an individual whose conscience must guide him as well. Forth, the Pope, and the curia, like everyone may error if bad information is provided (as is the case of Global Warming) and what he says on this matter should be taken as no more as an opinion that from his perspective is what his ‘science’ advisers are telling him (unfortunately he keeps bad company). Fifth, the Catholic Faith is not what Catholics have but it is a seeking in the context of the Church that is never complete for anyone. Sixth, the Pope is the head of the organization of the Church, he is not (as even many Catholics believe) a god of some sort.
    I could write much more but there is nothing new in what I have put down and I know, nevertheless, that many who comment are not willing to seriously consider the issues.

    • Then, Mr. Evans, what exactly DO you believe about how the earth and all that is in it came into existence if not via a Designer?
      It is a belief, you know.

      • yes but with all of eternity to play in it is not inconceivable that life created far away, billions of years ago might have sorted all kinds of jazzy science type stuff and had fun infiltrating their DNA into likely planets.
        “I made this! “

    • James. I find it amazing that people are more willing to believe that tornadoes transform junk yards to create airplanes, than that engineers create airplanes that are dumped in junk yards when they crash. ie. the parallel to appealing to chaos and randomness to explain the incredible complexity we see in humans and biology by a priori rejecting any possibility of an intelligent cause. See the mathematical analyses at Evolutionary Informatics Lab.

  41. Ecclesiastics again mislead the Pope
    The Liga vs Galileo Cardinal Maffeo Barberini (1568-1644) was a friend of Galileo’s from Florence who was elevated in 1623 to become Pope Urban VIII. Physicist Roy Peacock discovered that when the jobs of university Aristotelians were threatened by Galileo’s science and popularity, they formed a secret society, the Liga, to destroy him. See A Brief History of Eternity, (1991).
    The Inquisition initially dismissed the Liga’s accusations that Galileo’s Letter to Castelli contradicted the Bible. The Liga then persuaded Pope Urban VIII that Galileo was making a fool of the Pope using the character “Simplico” (in Dialogue on the Two Great World Systems 1632). Though finding little theologically wrong, the Inquisition banned Galileo’s Dialogue. His sentence was commuted to house arrest at archbishop of Siena then to his own home. See The Book that Made Your World, Mangalwadi (2012).
    Pontifical Academy of Sciences vs Cornwall Alliance: Today global warming alarmists have persuaded the Pontifical Academy of Sciences that the ethical thing to do is reduce CO2 – even though climate models predict temperature rises twice as high as reality since 1990. They applied this distortion of science to persuade the Pope.
    Contrast: An Open Letter to Pope Francis on Climate Change, The Cornwall Alliance.

    As people of Biblical faith, then, we have a commitment not only to truth, but also to the practice of science as one path to truth.  . . .Alongside good science in our approach to climate policy must be two preferential options: for humanity and, among humanity, for the poor. 
    Today many prominent voices call humanity a scourge on our planet, saying that man is the problem, not the solution. . . .Attributing allegedly unnatural warming to the use of fossil fuels to obtain energy essential for human flourishing, these voices demand that people surrender their God-given dominium, even if doing so means remaining in or returning to poverty.
    The Poor Would Suffer Most from Attempts to Restrict Affordable Energy Use
    The world’s poor will suffer most from such policies. The poorest—the 1.3 billion in developing countries who depend on wood and dried dung as primary cooking and heating fuels, smoke from which kills 4 million and temporarily debilitates hundreds of millions every year—will be condemned to more generations of poverty and its deadly consequences. 
    Affordable Energy Can Help Millions of the World’s Poor Emerge from Poverty
    . . .Adequate wealth enables human persons to thrive in a wide array of climates, hot or cold, wet or dry. Poverty undermines human thriving even in the very best of climates. It follows that reducing fossil fuel use means reducing economic development, condemning poor societies to remain poor, and requiring poor people of today to sacrifice for the sake of richer people of the future—a clear injustice. . . .

    Speak out for truth in science and to enable the poor to leverage cheapest energy to develop economically.

  42. “All men by nature desire to know.”
    Taken from ‘Metaphysics’ by Aristotle (written 350 B.C.E) Translated by W. D. Ross

    That statement by Aristotle is how he begins his work called ‘Metaphysics’.
    To know what?
    The answer is everthing, including the nature of religion. So, in that context, this religious post allows one to understand that phenomena in some humans. Thus, my participation in this thread.
    However, the course of the dialog is predictable and has been predicable for thousands of years.

  43. “However, a papal encyclical which demands action on climate change would be tantamount to an accusation that people who doubt the urgency of addressing climate change are evil – are cynically exploiting the doubts of others, for their own selfish ends.” ~Eric Worrall
    A brave take on a subject sure to inspire passion. (: Thank you WUWT and Eric Worrall.
    Still, in good will and in fun, I must say that an encyclical is better than a Bull! Just ask protestants who lost their lives for publishing the scriptures into all the common languages.
    Mendelssohn – Symphony No. 5 (Reformation)

    • “A mighty fortress is our God… that word above all earthly powers — No thanks to them {heh, heh} — abideth… .” Martin Luther {who knew a thing or two about Papal bulls}
      Thank you for sharing that beautiful music, Zeke.
      “God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in trouble.”
      Psalm 46:1.
      How poignant that Felix Mendelssohn was a Jew… .
      It is a great inspiration, however! God, did, in the end, rescue His Chosen People from the clutches of the German H0locaust. So, too, I believe God will rescue Africa and the world from the devastating AGW-caused poverty making serfs of most of the world to benefit the Enviroprofiteers (mostly, Big Wind, these days). God, not any human being, not even one called by his followers “The Holy Father,” is in control.

      • And thank you for listening Janice!
        So we agree, readers ought to praise God it is not a Bull. Those can “seriously kill you” as the younger folks say on the web.
        Also, I know that AW, creator of WUWT, identifies (however loosely) with the Roman Church and I think it is wonderful of him to have comments here. It really is broad-shouldered of him. He has taken a lot of difficulties for his surface stations work, his papers, his website, and has paid a really high price for his publications. He is to be thanked now more than ever.
        (PS, just to Janice, I know you think this world will survive the Green take-over. I respect this optimism, and I am glad you have such a big heart. That is your gift from Him. Nevertheless, the revived Roman World Empire spoken of by Daniel and in Revelation will not be fun to live under. If anyone does not have the mark in his hand or in his forehead, he cannot buy or sell. They will forbid anyone to marry, and command people not to eat certain foods. Not to mention the natural catastrophes soon following. But worst of all will be the coldness of hearts in those times. The great Falling Away must also come.)
        Interfaith speech and video
        Yeah right.

  44. I’m Protestant, the Pope doesn’t speak to me. If the Pope says something that lines up with what God said, then he’s right. If the Pope says something that God didn’t say, then the Pope is wrong. This pope has a tendency to be fairly liberal and to support liberal causes, so I expect him to be in the CAGW camp. He’s likely to be wrong for the same reason the rest of the CAGW camp is likely to be wrong.

  45. In God We Trust, and the POPE we hope! I’m glad people have mentioned good old Martin Luther (and his KING, not the Martin Luther King!) And yes, it is instructive to note that the Greek Orthodox, Ukrainian Orthodox, and Russian Orthodox have no “pope” per see, and pretty much predate or are parallel with the “Holy Roman Empire” church. I myself have performed musical settings of the MASS in several Catholic Cathedrals and Basilicas over the years, I also read the standard Baltimore Catechism years ago (yet being a “trace to the Plimoth Pilgrims—Congregationalist) I’m afraid when the “Holy See” strays from pure ecclesiastical pursuits, alas it almost axiomatically invokes FALLIBILITY rather than the opposite. Yet I’m happy to report that one Pope, made an encyclical which declared the BEAVER as a FISH. So that the Catholic Voyagers could be sure to have their Friday “meat fast” by eating of the copious beaver meat they invariably had with them. (Hey, did climate change wipe out the beaver? NO, over pelting did! They’ve been coming back for 300 years…)

    • Eastern Orthodox and Catholic officially maintain that they are part of one Church, grievously wounded by past acts and foolishness but one Church. The question is not whether the Orthodox have a Pope, but what are the Pope’s proper powers. I know that both sides are moving slow on this but the reconciliation’s been going on for about 50 years now. You know you’re behind the times when the Orthodox are moving faster than you.
      I would like the name of the encyclical you claim. Disciplines like diet are usually set by the local bishop and not usual encyclical fare. I can’t imagine the circumstances where such a change would be warranted, but there are stranger things out there to adjust to local conditions (like Sunday prayers on Friday in parts of the Arab world).

  46. For the record, a pope is only infallible when he speaks “ex cathedra” or as part of the magisterium. See Therefore, encyclicals are not part of the deposit of faith, and Catholics do not have to consider them true. It’s like if you asked the pope the best way to get to a certain part of Rome, or if Argentina is the best soccer playing nation. It’s just his opinion.

    • Thanks for the record but I don’t think that footnote will be used when his opinion is brandished by others in the ongoing global strategy of truth by weight of claimed followers in place of model error evaluation on which the big tent covers up or ignores.

  47. Anybody who will believe that beaver story will believe anything. Would it put an excessive burden on you to actually look up the word ‘encyclical’ and be aware of other things like indults? The whole story is nonsense. Abstinence from meat on Friday is a penance and if there is nothing else to eat you eat what is available. Any religiously over zealous european in the New World (were there any?) would have gotten permission from his chaplain or local bishop.

  48. Logically the position of a scientist should always be scepticism. We never know enough.
    Today’s dogma is tomorrow’s source of ridicule.
    Today’s heresy is tomorrow’s “consensus”.
    With regards the philosophical – religious questions: the logical scientific position is agnostic as nothing can be proved one way or the other.
    However our upbringing and experiences lead us to believe certain postulates related to those questions.
    Science does not help us much in the realm of ethical questions.
    Making survival or survival of the fittest our principal moral imperative doesn’t sit well with most of us.
    Trying to explain for example the existence of good and evil from an naturalistic point of view ( Harris, the younger Dawkins) sounds to me very contrived. Stephen Jay Gould makes more sense to me but can’t really be called logical in his approach.
    The logical naturalistic position :
    regarding good and evil is that they don’t exist.
    regarding history and free will: determinism rules everything.
    Personally I prefer to believe there is a free will and there are consequences in this or a supposed future life for all we do. What goes around comes around in one way or another. Fits with the very human idea of justice. It really is a matter of choice to believe such a thing but it gives me some degree of peace.
    Regarding beauty and the meaning of life: Bach and Beethoven help us more than Bertrand Russell or
    Niels Bohr.

    • Free will doesn’t exist, more accurate “”our will depends on a certain number of degrees of freedom””

    • Thanks Paul, that is profoundly moving.
      Rachmaninoff ‘s “Vespers” and “John Chrysostom” are comparable.

      • Nullstein, I know. I have never liked Rachmaninoff in general. I am not fond of his penchant for violent chaos hidden in complexity. HOWEVER… today coincidentally I heard Rachmaninoff’s Liturgy of John Chrysostom for the first time. It played automatically after the Tchaikovsky’s Hymn of the Cherubims. I never heard it before and likely would never have were it not by chance. And YOU mention it tonight! Coincidence? I love Russian Orthodox chant. As a child, in public school, I had to study the 1812 overture and the music instructor played the hymn at the beginning, in the overture then played the hymn, “Lord Save us thy people” sung by a male choir. I was hooked at 9 years old.
        Here is the piece and note how it is the same melody that begins the 1812 overture.
        Save Us O Lord Thy People
        Love Tchaikovsky too.

  49. Please! Either “To Whom do Christians [plural] Owe Their [plural] Loyalty?” or “To Whom does a Christian [singular] Owe His (or Her) [singular] Loyalty?” Personally, I owe my loyalty to the King’s English, gender “correctness” be damned!

  50. I haven’t had my daily dose of touching some third rail somewhere, so here goes …
    What stands out to me in these Catholic-related threads is an astonishing double standard.
    It is perfectly okay to criticize Catholics and the Church; it is okay to misrepresent, slander, besmirch, undercut, rotten-cherry pick … anything goes! It’s fine to do it here. It’s fine to do it at parties. It’s fine to do it in the media.
    But say one teeny-tiny thing that criticizes Jews, or Israel, … or dare to discuss any inconsistencies in Holocaust History … or point out that Holocaustianity has become the new state-mandated religion of the western world … and it is curtains for you, you anti-semetic, Neo-Nazi, right-wing-fascist, hate-mongerer.
    If the ADL doesn’t get you, in numerous countries the hate-speech and Holocaust denial laws will.
    For example, it was claimed that 6 million Jews were deliberately exterminated during WWII, 4 million at Auschwitz. And there used to be a plaque at Auschwitz that made this claim. But later the plaque was changed to read 1 million. So shouldn’t the total be reduced to 3 million? It’s just a simple arithmetic question, right? Are you aware people have been put IN PRISON for asking exactly this simple math question? That 6 million figure is sacred.
    I don’t know for sure, but I would suspect that even on this thread, which supports the fundamental right to be skeptical of claims, or certain aspects of claims, that there are people who would say that those who are at all skeptical of ANY PART of the Holocaust story — even those parts that Jewish scholars and experts themselves have retracted (!) — should be hung by piano wire.
    Freedom of thought and inquiry? Freedom of speech? That died with Holocaust denial laws.
    We return to our regular programming of trashing Catholics.

    • Max,
      Please report to the Re-education Center of the collective Soviet.
      It won’t hurt. People don’t even remember the electrodes being attached.

      • @Max Photon – Jews seem to have a traditional love of politics and are overrepresented in political leadership up and down the ideological spectrum. Other than explicitly anti-jewish parties, I’d expect to find them everywhere. And yes, there were times when they dominated the Bolsheviks, the suckers. They also dominated the list of those purged once their initial usefulness ended. The bolshevik government pretty thoroughly russified the party by the 1930s.
        As for your very simplistic (and wrong) assertion about the death toll among the jews, not all killings were fully documented at the time and a good amount of the documentation that was created at the time went up in smoke. The same is true for communist killings. The numbers in Maoist China are still being bumped up occasionally as new mass graves come to light.
        We knew that before WW II there were nine million european jews in territories that would ultimately be occupied by the nazis. Afterwards there were three million european jews. That one camp killed more or less jews may very well be of academic interest but you’re going to have to figure out where those extra three million jews went to live if you’re serious about your claims.

      • tmlutas,
        You misinterpreted my post completely. I personally am not making any claims about the number of Jews killed.
        My point is that in an ever-growing number of countries, people go to prison for expressing any skepticism about any part of ‘The Official Story’.
        Let me ask YOU a simple question:
        Do you think Holocaust skeptics should be put in prison?

      • My apologies for thinking that when you said “So shouldn’t the total be reduced to 3 million?” you actually meant it. How silly of me.
        Disingenuous twaddle is best fought by laughing at it, not prison. So no, I don’t think that it’s the right strategy to adopt prison as a punishment for holocaust denial because I think that the public purse is best spent in other ways.

    • Max, you are not up do date.
      Today, it is ok to trash Catholics AND Jews.
      The only forbidden thing now is to trash Muslims.

    • Max, Max, Max, whatever are we going to do with such a hopeless duffer as you. You claim a double standard. Izzat so? That the Holocaust existed beyond any reasonable doubt is indisputable. The physical evidence is overwhelming, and nary a shred to the contrary. Worse for your demented case, there’s lots of living witnesses testifying to what they actually did. There can be irrelevant sideshows about who and where and how many at one place or another, but none of this is relevant to the issue of whether it existed in its full magnitude or not.
      To link such with the debate on global warming is simply reprehensible. There is not a shred of actual physical evidence that supports the AGW hypothesis. Indeed there’s lots of evidence to the contrary that recent changes in temperature are within normal and natural and previously observed variation.

      • Max, Max, Max, whatever are we going to do with such a hopeless duffer as you. You claim a double standard. Izzat so? That the Holocaust existed beyond any reasonable doubt is indisputable. The physical evidence is overwhelming, and nary a shred to the contrary. Worse for your demented case, there’s lots of living witnesses testifying to what they actually did. There can be irrelevant sideshows about who and where and how many at one place or another, but none of this is relevant to the issue of whether it existed in its full magnitude or not.

        I have one simple question …
        Do YOU think Holocaust skeptics should be put in prison?

      • Then please be sure to speak up against the world-wide spread of draconian Holocaust denial laws wherever and whenever you encounter them. They are a blight on humanity.
        Jews are better than that.

  51. Eric;
    Your take-away paragraph:
    The lesson is, or should be, that if you demand the infliction of unspeakable cruelty on a vast number of people, as many climate scientists, green politicians and activists in my opinion demand, with their vehement opposition to affordable energy, you had better be sure of your facts. You better have more evidence that such an abomination is an inescapable necessity, than a set of models which fail, again and again, to demonstrate plausible predictive skill.
    Is terrific. I’ve excerpted and used it elsewhere.
    btw: You could avoid the weird subject/verb/pronoun conflict in the title by simply omitting the pronoun: “To whom does a Christian owe loyalty?” Or go with straight plural: “To whom do Christians owe their loyalty?”

    • However BrianH, the newer grammar books are allowing for possessive pronouns to be fudged. So since a certain generation which I will not mention by name did not want to say “he,” everyone had to say “he/she,” which got awkward, and now it is proper to use “they/their.” And they all lived plurally ever after.

    • ref: The Only Grammar Book You’ll Ever Need by Susan Thurman, pg 67.
      Everybody is seated, and they are waiting for the plane to take off.
      The usage is called the ‘singular they’ because they refers to an antecedent that’s singular.”

      • “Even though using the ‘singular they’ is becoming more commonplace, its usage is still frowned upon in some circles. However, this may be one of the rules of grammar that eventually changes, as using the ‘singular they’ helps prevent an overuse of his or her or he or she.

      • Thanks Zeke, I will benefit from your bringing up the ‘singular they’.
        I frequently fret about how to handle cases like your ‘Everybody is seated …’ example. In my mind I would go through the same sequence every time: ‘Everybody’ is singular, so it should be ‘he’ … but then women might get angry at me, so ‘he or she’ … or how about kissing butt and just saying ‘she’ … then I’d get angry at myself for being a grammar doormat, so back to ‘he’ and damn the torpedoes … aaarrrgghhhh

  52. Apologies for the unclosed italics. Confused this with another site, that closes all tags on a blank line.

  53. Galileo comes up in the second half of this column from 2003, and I notice that David L. Hagen today at 10:26 am covers the same ground. Still, the popular idea that the church was a threat to Galileo is not correct. I haven’t dug into this enough to know why that apology was issued a few years back but I’d rather be defending the church today than, say, Mann or Jones.
    Anyway, this link worked two minutes ago:

    • I remember reading that article when it was first published many years back. It began my on and off trek to understand the particulars of the Galileo Affair. I got Nesbet’s Prejudice: a Philosophical Dictionary. A fun read, for the most part. Then I found an article by Thomas Lessl that was originally published at the New Oxford Review website, but is now hosted at a Catholic educational resource center. Just Google :Thomas Lessl Galileo Legend and you’ll have no trouble finding it.
      Especially good also is Rodney Stark’s How the West Won: It punctures many myths: the Dark Ages, the Renaissance, and the Scientific Revolution which was more of an evolution. To show the later he explains the historical DNA of Heliocentrism and how it was the next logical step in a series of deductions made by the Scholastics. And of course, he also talks about Galileo.

      • BTW, Stark would disagree with Lessl’s kind words for “Greek Science.” Aristotle / Ptolemy etc were as much a barrier as a help to the realization of Heliocentrism. Among the many problems was the belief that “nature abhors a vacuum.” Only when they realized space was a vacuum could the idea of an Impetus conferred upon planetary bodies from the beginning of time come to the fore.

      • I had seen the Lessl article before. On day I may dig into the “why the apology” question.

  54. Moderators: Max Photon is using this thread to deny the events of pre-war and WWII Germany. Shouldn’t he be reminded why the use of the term “den–rs” is not allowed on this site?
    Max Photon April 29, 2015 at 1:29 pm.
    (Reply: No one was labeled a denier. A point of view was expressed that is best answered by other commenters, and it is not totally off-topic [but it’s close]. This reply is absolutely not taking sides on the question. But the choice is between censoring a comment, and allowing commentary that is at least claimed to be based on some facts, whether true or not. Anyone disagreeing can also have their say, and they can present their own facts. -mod)

    • “A point of view was expressed that is best answered by other commenters, and it is not totally off-topic [but it’s close]. ~mod
      Since you explained it that way, it makes sense. Sorry about that.

    • Max Photon is using this thread to deny the events of pre-war and WWII Germany.

      You are flagrantly misrepresenting me. And from a fellow language enthusiast no less! Kindly go back, reread what I wrote, and consider apologizing. Thank you.

      Shouldn’t he be reminded why the use of the term “den–rs” is not allowed on this site?

      Again, kindly go back, reread what I wrote, and reconsider your request to the moderators. The only place I used the word ‘denial’ was in the phase ‘Holocaust denial laws.’ THAT’S WHAT THEY ARE CALLED IN THE MANY COUNTRIES THAT HAVE SUCH LAWS. Sorry, but I did not invent that phrase, so don’t shoot the messenger.
      * * * * *
      Zeke, your response, based on strawman-esque mischaracterization, much like those of cgh and tmlutas, pretty much validates the very point I was getting at.
      While I have your attention, let me ask you a simple question:
      Do YOU think Holocaust skeptics should be put in prison?

      • Moderators, is it not rather amusing that Zeke labeled me a denier, and then asked that I be admonished for NOT using the very term that he DID use?
        I do not envy your job 🙂
        [Thank you for the kindness of your consideration. .mod]

      • Puzzle me this! You sure like them circular, self sustaining illogic traps! eg I never tell the truth. or the liar’s paradox and Kurt Gödel’s incompleteness theory.

      • Mods, I will admit to you that for some time I did not understand why AW, creator of WUWT, took offense at the use of the word, “den–r.”
        I found out that he objects to it because it is a reference to WWII Germany. Otherwise, it is a quite innocuous term, if you think about it.
        Max Photon used the thinest pretense to introduce this very swamp into the thread. His pretext was, “It is a double standard to talk about this and not holo—st deni–al theory.”
        But you decided. I am just bringing up what any logical person, who knows the reason behind AW’s dislike for the term “deni–r,” would. It is his blog.
        Now to Max’s question. No. Why would I think that?
        [? .mod]

      • Max,
        I can answer your question; No, I do not think Holocaust denyers (sic) should be jailed or whatever.
        Here’s my question for you; Do you think the conventional view of the Holocaust is so overstated as to render it false or is your pursuit of the question purely a matter of freedom of speech in general?

        • Q: Why does AW object so strongly to the term denyr? Why has he gone to the trouble of banning that term from the entire website at all times?
          A: “Deni-r” is a reference to denying the racial pogrom carried out by the Germans. The owner of this excellent skeptic blog is offended at being identified with this theory. He does not allow the word “denyre” to be used on the entire website.
          I hope that is more clear.
          I simply pointed out that Max Photon is leading the thread into the deep weeds on a thin pretext. And for an encore act, he is saying that the Bolshies were Jewish.

      • Here’s my question for you; Do you think the conventional view of the Holocaust is so overstated as to render it false or is your pursuit of the question purely a matter of freedom of speech in general?

        The latter. Freedom of though, freedom of free inquiry, freedom of speech, and freedom of religion are all inextricably entwined.
        The first amendment to the US Constitution protects these inalienable rights, and when I moved to the US from Scotland and became a citizen, THE VERY FIRST SENTENCE OF THE OATH is to defend the Constitution from all enemies, foreign and domestic. That means protecting free speech.
        We are also protected by Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights:
        “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”
        The ever-growing list of countries that adopt Holocaust denial laws sets a dangerous precedent and a spreading menace. Do a little research and you’ll be SHOCKED at the comments people have been imprisoned for.
        People have the right to be skeptical, to doubt, to question, or to flat-out not believe whatever the hell they want … even if YOU consider it incorrect, or imbecilic, or offensive.
        Otherwise, you have a state-mandated religion where ‘heretics’ are ‘burned at the stake’, as it were.
        To finish, I should think that this topic (freedom of speech) would be front and center at a site like this, where there is a movement underfoot to create climate denial laws similar to Holocaust denial laws.
        If you don’t think Holocaust skeptics should be imprisoned, regardless of what you may think of them, then you should rail against such laws. They are a blight on humanity.
        I can be done with this topic; I’ve made my point.
        Thanks for your reasonable question.

      • The reason why these holocaust denial laws exist is because people try to rehabilitate nazism by minimizing the numbers and suffering of its victims. Since the nazis were a bunch of nasty thugs, thieves, and frauds on several fronts, it’s a tall order, unfortunately one made easier by making it legally dangerous to peel the covers back and look at the full parade of human folly that is national socialism and its allies. So as I said up thread, I oppose such laws.
        It is perfectly possible to make the case against such laws while leaving people entirely sure that one is against national socialism but you do not seem to have learned the trick of it.

  55. Can I ask a simple question? Does the Universe have a purpose? If not, then there cannot be God. If the Universe has purpose, its purposes must be that which we call God. The universe is evolving, a grand experiment, the ultimate experiment, striving to create perfection, using exponential growth in infinite time.

    • ferdberple,
      My father sent me this video a couple of weeks ago. Whether you agree with it or not, I suspect you might appreciate and enjoy the presentation. I did 🙂
      What Lies Behind the Moral Law by C.S. Lewis Doodle (BBC Talk 3, Chapter 4)

      • Max Photon
        I have been an atheist all my life — yet somehow wound up fooling around with Old Testament translation. Biblical Hebrew has a small vocabulary, this being so because its nouns and verbs are actually category words (much like the category words in a thesaurus). To translate correctly you have to decide what word was actually used in the original work before it got replaced by one of category word of written Hebrew. (Hey, is that the shrieking of Rabbis that I suddenly hear?.)
        “The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil” is wrongly translated since after eating the apple Adam and Eve have no “knowledge” about what constitutes “good and evil” behavior whatsoever. The correct translation is “The Tree of the AWARENESS of Good and Evil”. What they gain by eating the apple is an awareness that good and evil exist. They then try to act on this new “awareness”. Realizing that they are naked they try to make garments for themselves — but they also try to hide from God.
        Eating the apple ended their childhood — a time during which nothing they did was a sin. A child realizing his or her nakedness is the symbolic mental event meaning that henceforth the child will bear moral responsibility for his or her future behavior.
        Eugene WR Gallun

      • Eugene,
        I believe your theology is slightly wrong. Consider this. Prior to the “consumption of the fruit of the tree of knowledge” Adam and Eve lived in harmony with God and his creation, with no boundaries between them and God. The consumption of the “fruit” added the knowledge of evil only for they were already aware of good since they were aware of God and interacted with Him. . So, knowledge of evil only perturbs your relationship with God, your spouse, your world.
        It is doctrine that Adam was originally constituted in a state of holiness. This has been doctrine since about 662 AD.
        Being an Atheist you are not held by the scholarly works and principles of ~1400 year old theologians. However, this is the present position of the Roman Catholic Catechism, paragraphs, 397-401.

      • Paul Westhaver
        Actually what I said has nothing to do with theology. I am merely correctly translating a Hebrew text and explaining its meaning. But in a sense the Catholic Church got it partially right since Adam and Eve were created as children in adult bodies — meaning they were incapable of sin having no awareness that good and evil existed. Having no concept of good and evil they could not recognize that God was good. But they obeyed much like a child obeys it parent — without understanding.
        Here is probably the worst translated lines in the Old Testament. I use King James but the NIV is nearly as bad. All garbage.
        Exodus, 4, 24-26…………… 24)And it came to pass by the way in the inn, that the Lord met him and sought to kill him. 25)Then Zipporah took a sharp stone and cut off the foreshil of her son and cast it at his feet and said, Surely a bloody husband art thou to me. 26)So He let him go: then she said, a bloodly husband thou art, because of the circumcision.
        Here is what the lines actually say when translated correctly………….24)It being in the journey, in an encampment YHWH contacting him(Moses) of his seeking out those of him. [Note: Moses is to seek out the sons of Israel but the unstated problem is that their has been much intermarriage — just as Moses has married a non-Hebrew woman. So who is a son of Israel?] 25)Zipporah taking a knife. She cutting the foreskin of her son. She touching it to his(the son’s) foot. [Note: Symbolically the child stamps out his non-Hebrew heritage.] She saying — Thereby the affinity of your bloodlines to mine 26)slacking from out of him. Therefore it will be said the affinity of the bloodlines [is] through circumcision. [Note: If circumcised the male children a Hebrew man has with a non-Hebrew woman would be Hebrews, their ancestry traced back through the male line. The child seems to become fully Hebrew when the bleeding stops.The situation of female children of such a marriage is not stated but best guess is that they would never be considered Hebrew.]
        So you have a choice — you can accept the silly translations the WHOLE WORLD uses for lines 4, 24-26 or you can accept that i am the only one making sense. Just as I was about THE TREE OF THE AWARENESS OF GOOD AND EVIL.
        And let me remind you again. I am an atheist. i got no religious ideology to push. I only want to translate this crap correctly.
        Eugene WR Gallun

        • “You shall not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it, your eyes shall be opened and you shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.”
          The serpent is saying that you will be able to use good and evil to achieve your ends, whatever they may be. After all, isn’t that what gods do?
          Quite a temptation. It’s really fun living with all these little gods who can use good or evil for their own designs on the rest of us. It turns out the crooked serpent made quite an offer to Eve, and it is still in the business of making offers.

    • Good question!
      Most Humans have a tendency to either believe in God or evolution rather than both. (A personal observation only – no I haven’t done a study! There was no funding available – it all goes to AGW climate change research)
      How we experience life depends on our answers to questions like:- Why are we here? What happens when we die? Where do our thoughts come from?
      Does time really exist or is it just a construct for our experience?
      “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy” William Shakespeare.
      “In the absence of what you are not, what you are, is not” – Neale Donald Walsch.
      Yes, I believe the Universe has a purpose, the purpose is the purpose we give it. Now why did we create it this way? 😉

    • Ferdberple, I don’t have THE answer, and no one else does either. I am a “mere” Christian, and if you care what I personally think it is this: Capital “T” Truth is unknowable, except to the maker of all things, (for the sake of some here, I’ll even go so far to say “if there is one.”) For the rest of us, truth, meaning, etc … is partial, and it is a lived dialectic between yourself and Reality. The only way to proceed is to be as honest as you can about what you do know, and especially about what you don’t. And by making yourself vulnerable to others, through love. It is the nature of Reality to manifest, and testify of, itself and thereby test us every day of our lives. How many people in this comments section, myself included, do think are passing this test? So while I’m not given to quoting Gnostics, I do rather like this from Philo of Alexandria: be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle.
      That said, I submit this for your consideration. Make of it what you will.

  56. The problem with those who want to fight climate change aren’t doing so because they care for the environment, but they only want to do it for income redistribution. It is a watermelon exercise, It looks green on the outside by the core is red, communistic red.

  57. I am proud of arriving at Bertrand Russel’s “Teapot Orbiting Mars” argument by myself, at the age of 14. I said then, as I keep saying now, 40 years later:
    “First you must prove that the Universe has not been created, as I choose to postulate, by the Navy-Blue Porcelain Mushroom with Golden Polka Dots, Softly Humming “Let It Be” in a Galaxy Far, Far Away.”
    Prove that, and only then we may continue talking about those ancient myths of the Middle East.

  58. P.S.
    My wife disagrees with me. She says the Universe is a homework science experiment abandoned by the redhead girl with pigtails and thick glasses, after her younger brat brother has thrown sticks into it while she was taking a shower.
    Spooky Holy Designer, my behind.

    • Although your wife’s version is as plausible as the others presented here and elsewhere, I hope you will encourage her to expunge any record of it, lest legions of lost, credulous searchers seize upon it and elevate an admirable hypothesis to religion status.
      I fear it is already too late since your reckless revelation was carved into the permanent electron miasma and will probably resurface on a tablet in a cave some day.


  60. “Does a Christian owe their first loyalty to the Pope, or to God?” It’s a silly question because it presupposes all Christians a Catholics. The question should really be, “Does a CATHOLIC owe their first loyalty to the Pope, or to God?” I’m a Christian, but by no means a Catholic so I have absolutely no loyalty to the Pope or to the Church.

  61. Religion and science are inextricably entwined – both seek answers we do not yet have, both have unprovables, both have had their ups and downs, and both generally (though some religions and science are suspect) seek to improve the human condition.
    One of the definitions of faith is “anything believed”. By this definition, pretty much all of our rational thoughts and actions are faith based even when there is conflicting evidence, e.g. I believe evidence supports the Big Bung theory, evolution, and that CAGW is garbage, though there is conflicting evidence.
    It does one’s mental development (hopefully a lifelong process) good to explore the mysteries, such as the scientific question of the universe’s boundaries (is it infinite or not) or the theological question of God’s existence (does he or doesn’t he). There are all kinds of conflicting theories that are fun to explore, but it tends to drive one crazy if you do not choose a belief/faith version that suits you. So why choose a Christian belief in God? For one thing it is comforting plus it provides a rational method for society to get along when properly applied. Of course it is not always properly applied, but that be the animal nature in us.
    PS: It amuses me to call it the Big Bung theory as the thought of all that confined mass and energy suddenly exploding is somewhat analogous to diarrhea.

  62. This is a weird sort of post for WUWT. Not up to the usual standards, really. The author seems to conflate all Christian religions with Catholicism.
    As a protestant, I do not feel obligated to do what the pope says. I might listen to him, but I might listen to the Dalai Lama.
    There is an issue worthy of discussion, and that’s the Gaiafication of main-line Protestant churches. My own church has strong “environmental stewardship” leanings, and it’s almost enough to make me switch churches, except they’re all pretty much like that around here.

    • If the mainline Protestant denominations weren’t so busy losing members to the conservative churches, I’d be more worried. They do have a lot of money from their halcyon days, and that enables them to punch above their weight for now but they will run out eventually.
      As for the posting of the above article, it’s Mister Watts’ site and he can of course do what he wants. His About This Site statement says “News and commentary on puzzling things in life, nature, science, weather, climate change, technology, and recent news by Anthony Watts”. The above must qualify somehow. As I said elsewhere, I very much appreciate his willingness to broach such contentious topics despite the way this sort of article brings out every Village Atheist and theological Sir Oracle within hearing.

  63. Have I missed something? Is this whole discussion based on something, a Papal Enciclical, which has not happened, and may not happen… A tempest in a teapot… so to speak? It is sort of like climate change, everybody yelling about something that has not happened.

  64. Christians owe loyalty to Christ, Deists owe loyalty to God, Catholics owe loyalty to the Pope, and rational minds owe loyalty to empirically verifiable facts. Listening to the word of the Pope on issues of meteorology and climate makes about as much sense as listening to a politician on topics in engineering.
    A relative once reminded me that the Church was the only entity that survived the Fall of the Roman Empire – and it is a bureaucracy.

  65. Tom in Florida said, “Thankfully our Founding Fathers gave us the First Amendment to prevent this.”
    Those founding fathers that believed in God? Heck, Jefferson made his own bible. Those men said our rights come from God, not government. Hmm.

  66. I would urge caution about making sweeping statements about religion. It would be ironic on one hand to point to “warmunists” as basing their belief upon half-truths, presumptions, and faulty logic, then turn around and apply the same faulty presumptive and misinformed logic towards Christians. Let me pull some examples:
    “Does a Christian owe their first loyalty to the Pope, or to God?” – Eric Worrall
    Not all Christians are Catholic, so this is a faulty question and really only applies to a fraction of the Christians out there. But to answer your question, the only Christians who consider the thoughts of the Pope are catholic. As for their part, catholics may not see any contradiction between the Pope and God on most if not all issues, but they certainly will cite God as the ultimate authority.
    “It is religion that is the cause of almost all the strife in the world, always has been.” – Tom in Florida
    It must be simple living in your black-and-white world full of sweeping superlatives. Most conflicts are economic, ethnic, and cultural. Religion may be an important factor in the formation these, but the reality is that of the cases that religion plays a part in a conflict, it is usually as a shallow pretext to rationalize a grab for power. In the middle east, it is largely muslim versus muslim, as with today’s ISIL mess. The Revolutionary War, the Cival War, World War I, World War 2, Korea, Vietnam, the Gulf Wars: the largest conflicts of the last 200 years have been fought on nationalistic and economic terms that have no meaningful relationship to any religious pretext. Your statement lacks merit.
    “Popes have been found wrong so many times over the centuries that I wonder why we still listen to them.” – johnmarshall
    As have scientists, including a number with whom most on WUWT point to today as corrupting the political landscape of the entire planet. Christians may listen to one another, including perhaps the pope, hoping to glean a bit of insight, but ultimately we have to look within ourselves to find the nature of faith.
    “Given that religious belief could be temporal lobe insanity, then I’m tempted to say that they will simply listen to the voice in their head, no matter what the head of the Catholic Church may say.” – The Ghost of Big Jim Cooley
    Is love also temporal lobe insanity? Is that what you tell your wife? “Sorry, sweety, I’d like to tell you that I love you, but unfortunately I know it’s just a malfunction in my temporal lobe.” How about your mother or your daughter? I’m not sure if you’ve considered your position to its logical conclusion, but you might ponder that your existence would be cold and lonely were it not for these occasional fits of “insanity.” Love, Faith, Hope, Empathy….perhaps everything positive that we hold dear in this world are not rational, and really are the only ones that give us true meaning.
    “Racism, intolerance and greed are hallmarks of religion.” – Tom in Florida
    You prejudge all the religious by making sweeping damning generalizations. What a wonderful example of hypocrisy: a bigoted and intolerant statement about bigotry and intolerance. Let’s take the most recent conflict-du-jour: ISIS and their attempt to carve out parts of Iraq and Syria to establish a foothold for their caliphate. I am guessing that you would blame religion for causing this mess, right? But the reality is that these brutes are using Islam as a pretext to grab land and power while universally ignoring the tenants of their supposed faith, which is why Iranian Shiites muslims and Iraqi Sunnis muslims are fighting along with Coptic Christians and using Isreali Jewish intelligence to put them down. When such factions align and agree, you know the root of the problem is not religious.
    Getting back to your insightful statement, you are correct that terrible things have been done in the name of religion, but that doesn’t mean that religion caused them. If I go out and do something horrible in the name of Florida and most Floridians disagree with what I did, does Florida still get to own it because I named them as my justification? How about if the CAGW movement corrupts governments and ruins economies in the name of science, does science own that one?
    “Richard, I’m 56, and I’ve never met an intelligent, religious believer.” – The Ghost of Big Jim Cooley
    Let me respond as someone reviewing your statement as a scientist. Your sample size is terribly small, your scale is horribly subjective, you failed to test the null hypothesis, and your analysis shows serious confirmation bias. Your conclusions are therefore without merit. Need I list the brilliant scientists who were also devoutly religious? “Anybody who has been seriously engaged in scientific work of any kind realizes that over the entrance to the gates of the temple of science are written the words: Ye must have faith. It is a quality which the scientist cannot dispense with.” – Max Planck
    “There is absolutely NOTHING rational or logical in believing in something for which you have no proof or evidence.” – The Ghost of Big Jim Cooley
    Really, are you saying you’ve never been in love? Did you rationalize yourself into that? People who live their lives by rationality alone miss the real meaning of it. Like love, faith is something you can’t truly understand until you’ve experienced it. Science is the discipline that explains what and how. Faith and Love are why.
    “Church is just another synonym for a legalized mafia.” – petermue
    Because no other institution has abused its power. You can think of no organization, government, or institution which has misused its authority? And of course the trillions of dollars and man-hours of charity done collectively by churches is just like a mafia. My church (the little one in my home town), just sent $100,000 to quake victims in the east…surely that is some kind of shake-down effort, and we’ll be sending Guido over to break their knees when they don’t repay with triple interest, right?
    “Atheistic tolerance is agreeing that you have the right to believe anything you like no matter how absurd.” – rgbatduke
    No, atheists simply don’t believe in a God. There is nothing that requires that an atheist be intellectually consistent or tolerant of anyone else’s views. In fact there are no values or morals of which I am aware. It is a license to be evil as you please, which is perhaps why all of the great dictators are atheist and seek to destroy all religion. Make fun of the faithful if you like, but be careful of the company you keep.
    “You believe things that violate mere common sense.” – rgbatduke
    Yes, I love my wife despite all the headache that comes with that. I love my daughters even though they cause me so much stress. I love my mother despite all the strife I endured while she helped me to become a man. I do all kinds of irrational things. You know if you kill your mother and get away with it, you get to inherit all her wealth…it’s only rational that you consider it. You watch movies, read fiction books, and engage in all kinds of flights of fancy despite your rational brain knowing it’s all fake. Why do you do such illogical things? Faith in something you can’t confirm may be intellectually irrational, but some of the best things in this world are not rational like love and fantasy.
    “After all, anyone that can believe that they are monotheists while worshipping the Father, Son and Holy ghost can be convinced of anything.” – Billyjack
    The holy ghost is not a being or person. Jesus is the son of God, but his power and deeds were acts of God through him. There is only one God. Please before you try speak up, do at least 5 minutes of research.
    “Ethics are rational. They do not need to be backed up by imaginary beings and threats and promises of postmortem supernatural punishments and rewards.” – rgbatduke
    Sure. Nazis were quite ethical. As was Stalin. They had rules, processes, and worked towards a desired outcome of a better world. Survival of the fittest is an ethic. Eugenics. Need I go on? You can rationalize any behavior as logical and defensible with ethics. I would rather live in a world that is guided by morals, however fantastic their origin may be, than the “ethical” purity you suggest.
    “Please, don’t let’s get into discussions about religion. You find almost as much intolerance and stupidity there as you find in a bunch of AGW supporters!” – wickedwenchfan
    Are you trying to be ironic by posting a stupid intolerant post about intolerance and stupidity, or just trying to self-fulfil your own statement?
    You want to do something as a purely intellectual exercise….go to church. Watch the people as they come in and leave. Make sure you sample a good number of churches before you draw any conclusions. Are they genuinely happy? Listen to the message of the minister…is he trying to help those people cope with life? Whatever your personal beliefs, if you go into those churches honestly trying to decide if that activity is net beneficial to those who do it, and by extension, the community of people in which it exists. My guess is that if you’re an honest social scientist, you’ll conclude that our communities, and our world, is a much better place thanks to the efforts of organized religion.
    To the rest of you, science is the discipline that attempts to learn what and how. Faith is the discipline that attempts to understand why. Science is an act of intelligence. Faith is an act of wisdom. If you spend your whole life living by rational thought alone, you will miss out on love, faith, hope, and many things positive in this world.

    • + ∞
      I’d just like to add that it is science that tells us we only have four possible choices for the existence of the universe as we are able to observe it:
      1) An extremely lucky universe (whether infinite or not) wrt to our existence — No evidence other than our existence.
      2) A cyclic universe (cycles of expansion (big bang) and collapse) – No Evidence.
      3) A multi-verse (multiple big bangs, ours only one of billions) – No Evidence.
      4) A Creator – Additional evidence other than our existence is incredibly scant and what exists is mostly circumstantial, anecdotal, or downright unreliable.
      So, I don’t see the irrationality of believing 4 when it is obviously the option with the most evidence to support it even if that evidence is woefully insufficient to draw an absolutely reliable conclusion.
      Following that choice, Genesis is the only creation story that matches from a high level message point of view what we’ve been able to discern through science, therefore providing for the rational choice of Christianity, Judaism, or Islam.
      The historical evidence of Jesus compared to the Torah provides somewhat plausible evidence to accept Jesus as the Messiah (whatever that truly means) therefore choosing Christianity is rational.
      Examination and textural analysis of early Christian writings compared to scholarly accepted history provides compelling evidence that the beast (of 666 fame) was indeed Nero, therefore leaving only Preterism as a rational choice.
      In addition, Christianity as a philosophy and behavior guide is morally superior and far more amenable to modern civilization than Judaism or Islam therefore making Christianity a rational choice between the three.
      So, I don’t see the irrationality of being a Christian either.
      Faith in my opinion can be rationally derived. Faith does not have to be a feeling or emotion or something irrational or unexplainable. Admittedly, I envy those that arrive to faith in that manner as I’m sure it takes a lot less effort. I spent hundreds of research hours deriving my faith; the above is the briefest overview. One not only has to delve extensively into many science fields but also extensively research various religions and philosophies including their critics and apologetics.

      • John West

        So, I don’t see the irrationality of believing 4 when it is obviously the option with the most evidence to support it even if that evidence is woefully insufficient to draw an absolutely reliable conclusion.
        Following that choice, Genesis is the only creation story that matches from a high level message point of view what we’ve been able to discern through science,

        It is interesting to note that every sequence of events in today’s much-favored Big Bang theory is already written in Genesis Chapter 1. Those itinerant shepherds, illiterate and with no science or biology knowledge, got every step right, and put every step of every “science” in the correct order. they got the nuclear physics right, the cosmological sequence right, the geological sequence of continental drift and atmospheric changes after plants began growing right, they got the biology right with life first developing in the sea, then on land. They got insects and birds, mammals, and even snakes in the right order.
        I will admit their story does get a decimal place (or two or three) off – but that not hard to explain if you have no “zero”, much less powers of ten and exponentials.

  67. To answer the specific opening question “Does a Christian owe their first loyalty to the Pope, or to God?”, let me quote from the Westminster Confession of Faith, the subordinate standard of the Presbyterian churches:
    “There is no other head of the Church but the Lord Jesus Christ. Nor can the Pope of Rome, in any sense, be head thereof; but is that Antichrist, that man of sin, and son of perdition, that exalts himself, in the Church, against Christ and all that is called God.”
    With regard to the specific question about conscience, the same Confession of Faith states:
    “God alone is Lord of the conscience, and has left it free from the doctrines and commandments of men, which are, in any thing, contrary to His Word; or beside it, if matters of faith, or worship. So that, to believe such doctrines, or to obey such commands, out of conscience, is to betray true liberty of conscience: and the requiring of an implicit faith, and an absolute and blind obedience, is to destroy liberty of conscience, and reason also.”

  68. This Man (the Pope) is not a representative of the Lord on Earth. He is not adhering to the Word, Spirit or the Father as the Bible says to do. He is taking a guess on one side or the other. Most such guesses are wrong because they are not based on the Word of the Lord or the Spirit. Anyway, he has now unfurled his colours and should be condemned for taking a Poverty making position at the expense of the People of the World.
    The bible says to receive the Holy Ghost, learn about it, use it everyday in your life and bring others to it to be “filled and thrilled”. The Earth and all her trinkets are just a distraction from the real life which begins after we leave it. If anyone questions why they are here, google Revival Fellowship for your nearest assembly. My name is Craig and I belong to the Morley, Western Australia Assembly. This world will end one day soon and the Lord is the only answer. Do not be deceived or distracted by the Prince of this World, Satan. Happy Trails.

  69. I suggest that the anti Christians should just take a deep breath, The Orthodox Church wrote the New Testament. see orthodoxwiki. also listen to Orthodoxy and Heterodoxy on Ancient Faith Radio an online site where many of you misapprehensions will be cleared up. try this
    The Orthodox Church was the whole Church until Roman Catholics split off. It is a conciliar church ie it has councils -it’s beliefs are found in the Nicene Creed. which you can look up easily. The priests are often scientists by training .

  70. “until he was threatened with unspeakable pain.”
    He was under house arrest in the palace of a Bishop. He was not allowed to cross the river Arno 2km away. His daughter worried for his health because he ate and drank to much.
    More importantly is that Galileo was wrong. The Copernicus model was as bad as the Ptolemaic and worse than the Kepler model that had recently been proposed when it came to predicting the position of planets. You do know what we think of models that don’t make correct predictions? There was also the parallax problem that threw doubt on an orbiting Earth that was not resolved for centuries.
    What is really interesting is that both Copernicus (a devout Catholic) and Kepler (an excommunicated Lutheran) were supported with money, resources and advice by priests of the Catholic Church. Galileo also was supported but he wouldn’t steer clear of declaring that the Earth revolved around the Sun. He erred in interpreting scriptures to back it up when there was a political push to denounce the idea.
    Ironically, if he stuck with the scientific attitude that the Sun was simply the centre in order to keep the models mathematically simpler, he not only would not have been harassed but would have been more receptive to Kepler’s ideas.
    “Upon Galileo’ s return to Florence, in 1610, Barberini (Pope Urban VIII) came to admire Galileo’ s intelligence and sharp wit. During a court dinner, in 1611, at which Galileo defended his view on floating bodies, Barberini supported Galileo against Cardinal Gonzaga. From this point, their patron-client relationship flourished until it was undone in 1633. Upon Barberini’ s ascendance of the papal throne, in 1623, Galileo came to Rome and had six interviews with the new Pope. It was at these meetings that Galileo was given permission to write about the Copernican theory, as long as he treated it as a hypothesis. After the publication of Galileo’ s Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief Systems of the World, in 1632, the patronage relationship was broken. It appears that the Pope never forgave Galileo for putting the argument of God’s omnipotence (the argument he himelf had put to Galileo in 1623) in the mouth of Simplicio, the staunch Aristotelian whose arguments had been systematically destroyed in the previous 400-odd pages.”

  71. All religion may be distinguished into three sorts, natural, civil, divine, natural which is dictated by the light of nature that is by right reason, civil which is dictated only by the will of man, divine which is dictated by the will of God. All natural religion is comprehended in these two præcepts: Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart & with all thy soul & with all thy mind. This is the first & great commandment, & the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thy self. On these two commandments hang all the law & the Prophets. They are dictated by the light of nature & by the truth of them is manifested the truth of the law & the Prophets which are in all things consonant to them & founded upon them & whose grand design is to inculcate them.
    – Isaac Newton “Of the religion of the Jews & Christians” from The Newton Project

  72. Eugene WR Gallun April 29, 2015 at 9:42 am
    “Very few religions teach violence…”
    Please read this introduction to violence in the OT, Selected from Exodus 12

    12:12 For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the LORD.
    12:29 And it came to pass, that at midnight the LORD smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sat on his throne unto the firstborn of the captive that was in the dungeon; and all the firstborn of cattle.
    12:35 And the children of Israel did according to the word of Moses; and they borrowed of the Egyptians jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment:

    Christian rationalization for the the OT’s infanticide:

    Finally, and most importantly, God may have provided for the salvation for those infants who would not have otherwise attained salvation if they had lived into adulthood.
    I will close by noting that there are violent passages in the Quran and Talmud, as well:

    Quran (8:12) – “I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them”
    Sanhedrin 57a . When a Jew murders a gentile, there will be no death penalty. What a Jew steals from a gentile he may keep

    Read it, and weep.

    • Steve, you may want to read the original Sanhedrin 57a. Your source has mangled the words, and the meaning. The URL below has spaces put in, so you have to copy the line, and remove the spaces.
      http:// / sanhedrin / sanhedrin _57.html

      • Janice, Please feel free to post a short snippet of what Sanhedrin 57a really says.
        Links should be provided to support the comment, which should contain a short counterargument, at the very least, to justify the effort of following said link, which you have mangled by adding the spaces, and which produces only a 404 error, to boot.

      • Steve, as I said, the link needs to be copied over to notepad, perhaps, and then spaces removed. This site used to ban anyone who posted an entire URL, and old habits die hard. But, I will try posting the URL as a whole, and see if I get moderated.
        To quote from a portion of the Sanhedrin 57a (and I apologize, because the original is somewhat tedious):
        R. Joseph said, The scholars stated: A heathen is executed for the violation of three precepts —
        Mnemonic G Sh R— viz., adultery, bloodshed, and blasphemy. R. Shesheth objected: Now bloodshed is rightly included, since it is written, Whoso sheddeth the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed;
        but whence do we know the others? If they are derived from bloodshed, the other four should also be included; whilst if their inclusion is taught by the extending phrase any man, should not idolatry too be included?
        But R. Shesheth said thus: The scholars stated, A heathen is executed for the violation of four precepts
        [including idolatry]. But is a heathen executed for idolatry? Surely it has been taught: With respect to idolatry,
        such acts for which a Jewish court decrees sentence of death [on Jewish delinquents] are forbidden to the heathen. This implies that they are merely forbidden, but their violation is not punished by death! —
        R. Nahman b. Isaac answered: Their prohibition is their death sentence.
        There is more, but I don’t want to inflict too much of this on the general readers here. The Talmud was not written as a list of laws, but as a discussion. Talmudic scholars sound a lot like engineers at their most tedious. However, I genuinely cannot find anything specifically about Jews being able to murder or steal from gentiles without fear of punishment. Also, as bloodthirsty as some of this Talmud selection sounds, the various Sanhedrin Courts were renowned for not inflicting the death penalty.

    • As another small tidbit of information, Sanhedrin 57a does not speak of Jews or gentiles. It mentions Israelites, Cutheans, and heathens. So what is a Cuthean? A Cuthean is known more familiarly as a Samaritan, which was a portion of the Israelites that were not taken into the Babylonian Captivity, but instead remained in the land of Israel. Samaritans were the equivalent of blue-collar workers. The heathens were not the same as gentiles. Gentiles were those people who ascribed to a particular religion, such as some of the pagan religions. A heathen was actually without religion, and thus fell under the seven laws given to Noah.

      • Not quite.
        After the kingdom of Israel was divided into the northern “Israel” under Jeroboam and the southern “Judah” under Rehoboam, Assyria conquered Israel and, as their manner was, removed the people, “The Lost Ten Tribes”, to other areas of their empire and repopulated the area with others they had conquered, way to remove any national identity. Some may have been left behind.
        (Before that Jeroboam feared that the people of his “Israel” would return their loyalty to “Judah” because that was where the Temple was. So he appointed his own priest and set up his own temples. What those priest taught was that his altars, one of them on the mount “The Samaritan Woman” refereed to, was where the OT law said offering were to be made. “The sins of Jeroboam.”)
        Things didn’t go well for the resettled people so they brought back some of Jeroboam’s priests to teach how “the god of the land” was to be worshiped. What they were taught was “close but no cigar”.
        PS Jesus Christ is Lord. He’s not going to show up in anyone’s living room at their bidding.
        You need to approach God on His terms. One of the places those terms are laid out is Romans 10:9.
        (You might also want to peek at Hebrews 11:6.)

      • “Strictly speaking, it is incorrect to call an ancient Israelite a “Jew” or to call a contemporary Jew an “Israelite” or a “Hebrew.” The first Hebrews may not have been Jews at all,”
        –The Jewish Almanac (1980)

        Jesus is referred as a so-called “Jew” for the first time in the New Testament in the 18th century.
        Jesus is first referred to as a so-called “Jew” in the revised 18th century editions in the English language of the 14th century first translations of the New Testament into English. The history of the origin of the word “Jew” in the English language leaves no doubt that the 18th century “Jew” is the 18th century contracted and corrupted English word for the 4th century Latin “Iudaeus” found in St. Jerome’s Vulgate Edition. Of that there is no longer doubt.
        –Benjamin H. Freedman

    • Steve P,
      Inre: the exodus from Egyptian bondage
      Not one human hand was ever lifted against the Egyptians, or the first born. Not one Israelite ever took physical vengeance for their slavery, nor the killing of their babies by the Egyptians.
      The Egyptians reaped what they sowed, without a single human involved. Moses warned him many times before the death of the firstborn. That was the final, that is, the tenth plague. But there is no human agency involved in any of the ten judgments.
      Just Recompense is always done without human effort. “Beloved, avenge not yourselves. For ‘Vengence is Mine, I will repay, says the Lord.'” It is in the order of the creation. Evil will carry within itself the very torment and sorrow it attempted to visit on another. It is the law. This is a primary lesson of the Exodus and the freeing of the slaves (plus some back wages.)

      • Zeke, I don’t believe any of it anyway.
        The point of my response to Eugene WR Gallun April 29, 2015 at 9:42 am was to rebut his assertion that
        ““Very few religions teach violence…”
        The Old Testament is the first section of the Christian Bible, based primarily upon the Hebrew Bible, a collection of religious writings by ancient Israelites.
        (my bold)
        It’s great when you can blame the bloodshed on the guy in the sky, and even better when you’ve got a monopoly on the ancient fairy tales.
        ‘Even better still when you’ve got a monopoly on the modern fairy tales, aka the nightly news.

        • SteveP,
          From the Exodus there is absolutely no command to kill any Egyptian. It is not comparable to the Qu’ran’s command to make dhimmis or dead people out of non-Muslims. You do not have to believe the text of the Old Testament in order to see this.
          In no case did any Egyptian master die but of natural causes. Therefore, if a historian records events to show that the Egyptians – who killed the firstborn of the Hebrew slaves “lest they become to numerous for us” – experienced a natural plague which killed their own firstborn, then you should understand that the writer of history has recorded events using a historical framework which demonstrates that those who visit a very particular harm on others will suffer that harm themselves.
          Similarly, the Israelites later suffered and were decimated by the Assyrians for their own evils and corruption, and the Judeans were killed and scattered from their land by the Babylonians. And the Babylonians were also destroyed by the Persians. In this coherent, historical paradigm, no one escapes just recompense.
          That is how our history is written. It is not a crime to view history in this way. Historians always write from their own framework.

  73. Janice, Thank you. I think we have established that Christians do not owe their loyalty to the Talmud.

  74. Remember, all, that when the Pope issues an encyclical, he is NOT speaking from the Chair of Peter. It has absolutely NO DOGMATIC significance with respect to the fundamentals of the Catholic faith. That having been said, when the Pope comes out with his encyclical on climate change, I will read it, analyze it, and criticize it as I like based upon what I see compared to scientific truth. As a Catholic myself, my allegiance is to Christ and the truth. I believe that Christ is spiritually the Way, the Truth, and the Life. His Word exists for my spiritual guidance, and requires me to be charitable in my analysis, but never sparing when what we know to be scientific truth (or what should be considered under scientific debate) is proffered as something different from that.

  75. I don’t see a conflict in being a theist and a scientist or an academic. To come come to that conclusion you would have to assume he believes just on blind faith and he has no cognitive ability to separate his spirituality with his rational and logical scientific consciousness.

  76. The big mistake is for people to think that just because people like me are catholics, we must automatically follow everything the Pope says. Not true.
    Just like the Church got it so very wrong on the heliocentric theory, it is now making an even bigger mistake on the supposition of the UN’s IPCC, that carbon dioxide emitted by human activity is causing catastrophic global warming and is the key driver of climate change. Big big mistake.

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