« September 2005 | Main | November 2005 »

October 2005 Archives

October 2, 2005

Shouting Match

October 11, 2005

The Pedophilia Isn't the Worst Part

A report out from Philadelphia details the gross abuse of power and true mental sickness of the priests in power in that area. This is reported in an article in the National Catholic Reporter and an editorial in the same.

The report from Philadelphia explains how the two archbishops involved buried reports of sexual abuse specifically with an eye towards escaping the statute of limitations. Towards that goal, they were brilliantly successful: as a result of their efforts, the grand jury found that they could not indict any of the priests involved because the statute of limitations had expired.

And because of the way the archdiocese is set up legally, as an unincorporated association rather than a corporation, its officials also could not be prosecuted for crimes such as endangering the welfare of children, intimidation of victims and witnesses, and obstruction of justice.

“As a result, these priests and officials will necessarily escape criminal prosecution,” the report said. “We surely would have charged them if we could have done so.”

Despite most of the grand jury members, prosecutors, and detectives investigating the archdiocese being Catholics themselves, the Church decried an “anti-Catholic bias” and said the grand jury had tried to “bully and intimidate” the Cardinals. This same Church, which required a three year investigation and innumerable supoenas to get the information into the public, also decried the grand jury process as secretive and criticized the “tremendous power” of the district attorney.

One priest, Fr. Gerald Chambers, was transferred so many times—17 different assignments in 21 years—that according to the archdiocese’s records, church officials were running out of places to send him where his reputation for molesting children was not already known.

[Cardinal] Bevilacqua agreed to harbor a known abuser from another diocese, Fr. John P. Connor, “giving him a cover story and a neighborhood parish here because the priest’s arrest for child abuse has aroused too much controversy” in Camden, N.J.

Priests were even excused from being dismissed by virtue of committing
other crimes. For example:

[Fr. Stanley Gana] not only had sex with boys, he also had sex with women, abused alcohol and stole money from parish churches, the report said. So that is why Gana “remained, with Cardinal Bevilacqua’s blessing, a priest in active ministry,” the report said. “You see,” explained Lynn to one of Gana’s victims, “he’s not a pure pedophile.”

In another case, an abuser priest—Fr. John Gillespie—who wanted to apologize to his victims for his crimes—was transferred to another parish, not because he might molest his victims again, but because he might apologize to them, the report said. “If he [Gillespie] pursues making amends with others,” therapists at an archdiocese treatment facility warned, “he could bring forth … legal jeopardy.”

Some more interesting excerpts:

Another archdiocesan priest, Fr. Raymond Leneweaver, had T-shirts made for a group of altar boys that he abused, a group he named the “Philadelphia Rovers.” The priest repeatedly pulled one boy out of class in the parish grade school, took him to the school auditorium, forced the boy to bend over a table, and rubbed against him until the priest ejaculated, the report said.

While the cardinal knew of the priest’s proclivities, the parents of his unsuspecting victims did not. One father of an abuse victim, the grand jury report said, beat the victim and his brother, one to the point of unconsciousness, when they tried to tell their father of the abuse. “Priests don’t do that,” the devout father replied, according to the report.

One 14-year-old boy came to the priest for counseling after a family friend had abused him. “Fr. Gana used his position as a counselor and the ruse of therapy” to escalate the abuse.

“Notes in archdiocese files prove that the church leaders not only saw, but understood, that sexually offending priests typically have multiple victims, and are unlikely to stop abusing children unless the opportunity is removed,” the report said.

“In the face of crimes they knew were being committed by their priests, church leaders could have reported them to police,” the report said. “They could have removed the child molesters from ministry, and stopped the sexual abuse of minors by archdiocesan clerics. Instead, they consistently chose to conceal the abuse rather than to end it. They chose to protect themselves from scandal and liability, rather than protect children from the priests’ crimes.”

“The grand jurors find that, in his handling of priests’ sex abuse, Cardinal Bevilacqua was motivated by an intent to keep the record clear of evidence that would implicate him or the archdiocese,” the report said. “To this end, he continued many of the policies of his predecessor, Cardinal Krol, aimed at avoiding scandal, while also introducing policies that reflected a growing awareness that dioceses and bishops might be held legally responsible for their negligent and knowing actions that abetted known abusers,” the report said.

When the priest pedophilia scandal broke in Boston, Bevilacqua tried “to hide all he knew about sex abuse committed by his priests,” the report said. He had his spokesperson tell the media in February 2002 that there had been only 35 priests in the archdiocese credibly accused of abuse over the last 50 years, even though the archdiocese “knew there were many more,” the report said. The grand jury put the number of abusive priests at 63.

The cardinal also announced to the public in April 2002 that no priest with accusations against him was still active in ministry, even though several still were. “He certainly was not credible when he claimed before this grand jury that protecting children was his highest priority—when in fact his only priority was to cover up sexual abuse against children,” the report said.

From the editorial:

Next month the U.S. bishops gather for their annual meeting… . The bishops in that meeting room in Washington will know that the truth finally came out in Philadelphia not because the diocese decided the community deserved to know it, but because prosecutors relentlessly pursued it.

Of what use are we as a believing community if we can’t get this right? Who cares what our chalices are made of or what gender pronouns we use in our prayers or what we say about the unborn or the poor or anything else in our moralizing agenda if we can’t tell the truth about what happened to our children?

October 30, 2005

Intelligent Design

I found a pair of excellent arguments against Intelligent Design: here and here

Here’s my favorite of the two:

A newer, alternative view provides balance to the age-old argument, pitting creationism against evolution. It’s called intelligent design. It studies the science of intelligence or intelligent life.

This his simply a lie, and I thought Christians were not allowed to lie. Intelligent Design doesn’t study anything, ID has postulated a set of theories that are beyond study and therefore not scientific, even if, by an astonishing miracle ID was a correct description of the world, it would be wrong to teach it in science class.

Intelligent design can and has been proved scientifically.

This is another lie, the Christian is really going at it today. ID has never been tested simply because it is not testable. Also, the sentence above shows with utter clarity why you are so amazingly wrong, you are just ignorant. Science, outside of a rather narrow field, doesn’t deal with proving things much, it deals with falsifying things, and the difference is enormous.

Intelligence leaves behind a characteristic signature.

This could probably said to be true, close to the first true sentence in your posting. There is a huge problem with it though, there is no characteristic signature in life that would imply intelligent design.

I propose the followers if the ID ideology change the name of it to BSD. The Theory of Bloody Stupid Design. You see, in all the life we see around us there is evidence after evidence of a Bloody Stupid Designer, if you look. A few examples:

  • Why is mankind created with a spine that is perfectly designed for waking on all fours when we walk on two? In fact, the spine is designed so horribly badly for bi-pedal movement that any engineering student could do significantly better after the first 6 months in engineering school.
  • What kind of idiot would design a sea-living mammal like the whale, with the remnants of legs inside its lower abdomen? What on earth would a whale do with legs in it’s abdomen?
  • The human pain system is designed in a marvellously stupid way. If I suffer from a small amount of tooth decay, I suffer significant pain, this in spite of the fact that the tooth decay is not at all dangerous to my life. On the other hand, if I get a cancerous growth in my lungs, I notice nothing until it is too late to save my life. What kind of moron would design a warning system like that?
  • Several parts of my internal organs, the appendix being a notable one, is designed in such a way that inflammation, and until quite recently - death, follows. This in spite of the fact that the dumb thing serves no purpose whatsoever! Would you praise GM for having a nonsensical device in your car that blows your engine to pieces if it rains for three days in a row?
  • The eye is a fantastically complex mechanism, but it has a design flaw, very minor, but the design flaw reduces the accuracy of the eye with as much as 50%. Why on earth would you be dumb enough to do that in humans? The design flaw would be trivial to fix if you designed a human from scratch.
  • A bi-pedaled entity like the human would be able to walk faster, suffer less back pain and in general be far healtier if our knees were jointed the opposite way of the way they are. What kind of moron would give us knees that work great if you walk on all four, but not so well when you walk on two?

The list goes on and on. There is no trace of any intelligence whatsoever in our design, but there is a lot of traces of random changes, adaptation of body-parts to jobs they are not particularly well suited for etc. If there was someone behind the design of humans, he would fail Human Design 101. Bloody Stupid Johnson.

October 31, 2005

Intelligent Design Again

I found a very good, very thorough (though less amusing and less abrasive) explanation of why Intelligent Design is pseudoscience with no place in a legitimate discussion of science, here. It’s very long, but very good. It goes into great detail about the primary tenets of the Intelligent Design ideology which is good for background. Here is the cut-to-the-quick part that explains why Intelligent Design is entirely pseudoscience:

While proponents of Intelligent Design pretend to be scientists, this is not the case. Intelligent design does not meet the accepted standards of the scientific community for being a scientific theory. There is a concept in the philosophy of science of falsifiability. Karl Popper writes of this in his book, The Logic of Scientific Discovery:

“…All the statements of empirical science (or all ‘meaningful’ statements) must be capable of being finally decided, with respect to their truth and falsity; we shall say that they must be ‘conclusively decidable’. This means that their form must be such that to verify them and to falsify them must both be logically possible. Thus Schlick says: ‘…a genuine statement must be capable of conclusive verification’; and Waismann says still more clearly: ‘If there is no possible way to determine whether a statement is true then that statement has no meaning whatsoever. For the meaning of a statement is the method of its verification” (17)

Intelligent Design obviously does not fit this criterion. As should be clear by now, there is little if any evidence for Intelligent Design, but this does not prove it to be false. It is, in fact, impossible to prove it false. However unlikely it is that some form of intelligence created the universe, there is no way to verify or falsify the claim. God is invisible, we are told. He is undetectable. This is in contrast to Darwinism, which could easily be falsified if it were shown that some creature just appeared out of thin air, without any ancestors (though this may be difficult to prove, it would not be impossible). Therefore, Intelligent Design fails the test of falsifiability, and is therefore not a valid scientific theory.

One of the comments on the article makes an excellent point that suggesting that God needs to tamper with creation presupposes that an omniscient and omnipotent God couldn’t have set the universe up to be exactly what He wanted from the beginning. He created it, so He could let things evolve into the result he desires. Instead, pushing for Intelligent Design, the poster suggests, is a sign of zealotry and lack of respect for God’s power to design a universe where cause-and-effect are used to create precisely the design God wants. As God is outside of time, evolution may be merely one of God’s masterful brush-strokes across time. Intelligent Design encourages you to stop looking for causes and to stop trying to understand creation by simply claiming that because you obviously know the creator and have full and perfect knowledge of the creator, you no longer need to worry about the details of creation. In a way, science is the pursuit of the causal chain, and Intelligent Design proposes to cut short the chain of causality by stating that the far end of the chain of causality is an “intelligent designer” and that that is all you need to know.

Here’s an excerpt from a very funny editorial from Scientific American:

Moreover, we shamefully mistreated the Intelligent Design (ID) theorists by lumping them in with creationists. Creationists believe that God designed all life, and that’s a somewhat religious idea. But ID theorists think that at unspecified times some unnamed superpowerful entity designed life, or maybe just some species, or maybe just some of the stuff in cells. That’s what makes ID a superior scientific theory: it doesn’t get bogged down in details.

About October 2005

This page contains all entries posted to Kyle in October 2005. They are listed from oldest to newest.

September 2005 is the previous archive.

November 2005 is the next archive.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

Creative Commons License
This weblog is licensed under a Creative Commons License.
Powered by
Movable Type 3.34