Universal Response to Pope Benedict XVI

So the pope has come up with another one of his special statements comdemning abortion/family planning/condoms/sexual immorality, this time admonishing Nancy Pelosi for her stance on abortion.

The thing is, whenever the pope issues one of these dopey statements I feel compelled to remind everyone:

Do not take advice on sex and reproduction from an 82-year old dress-wearing male virgin

This would not be sensible.

Here's a musical interlude

Yes, everyone, Pope Rick Benedict XVI is still a virgin*.


* I have it on good authority that altar boys do not count

posted @ Thursday, February 19, 2009 12:47 PM


Comments on this entry:

# re: Universal Response to Pope Benedict XVI

Left by Sean the Blogonaut at 2/19/2009 3:26 PM
What about sheep?

# re: Universal Response to Pope Benedict XVI

Left by Thom Blake at 2/24/2009 7:54 AM
Indeed, as one should not take advice on murder from one who isn't a murderer, nor advice on drowning from one who hasn't drowned.

Also, don't take advice on religion from an atheist.

# re: Universal Response to Pope Benedict XVI

Left by Jason at 2/24/2009 12:47 PM
False equivalence, STFU troll.

# re: Universal Response to Pope Benedict XVI

Left by Thom Blake at 3/11/2009 5:06 AM
Surely it isn't a false equivalence. What was your reason not to take advice on reproduction from him? It seems to be based directly on his not being a virgin. So it seems that the general rule underlying your statement is "I shall not take advice on X from someone who has no experience doing X". In that case, perhaps the third was not a good example, but I don't see the flaw with the first two.

It seems to me that the only reason to reject the equivalence in these examples is if you were not using any such decision procedure, in which case I'd have to guess that your actual reason for that comment is that you get a rise out of mocking a respected figure using an unimaginative trite saying. In which case perhaps you should retire from blogging until you've exited adolescence.

Note: "Troll" doesn't mean "person who articulately disagrees with me".

# re: Universal Response to Pope Benedict XVI

Left by Jason at 3/11/2009 12:52 PM
Oh, I agree Thom. Troll doesn't mean "person who articulately disagrees with me". In this case it means "someone who's deliberately trying to bait me"

And I must say I love the way you're having a go at me for writing a humour post containing pithy one-liners by responding with.... pithy one liners.

The fact is the papacy, along with many other religious establishiments, make statements on sex, reproduction and abortion that are at odds with demonstrable reality, and should therefore be challenged and/or mocked. Do you actually disagree with this statement, or are you just trollin' ?

# re: Universal Response to Pope Benedict XVI

Left by Jason at 3/11/2009 1:10 PM
Now, that out of the way, and a cup of tea next to me, let's address the equivalences in your alleged "rebuttal":

"as one should not take advice on murder from one who isn't a murderer, nor advice on drowning from one who hasn't drowned"

My take: If you want advice on the best methods by which to carry out a murder, it's a reasonable expectation that a sucessful murderer would have some insight into a good methodology. Your biggest problem would be finding a successful murderer, since murder is illegal and all, but if I found one, and y'know, wanted to do some murdering, I'd certainly take his advice on board. If I got out alive. I certainly wouldn't take the advice of a novice murderer yet to rack up his first kill.

And if you want advice on how NOT to drown, or on whether you should try out drowning as a lifestyle choice, I'd damn well recommend talking to someone who's got experience in the area. They'd be able to offer testimony on how horrible it was, for sure. They may also be able to introduce you to the person who saved their sinky ass from actually drowning *to death*

Finally, on whether to ask an atheist about religion: well, that depends. Many atheists are quite expert at the whole comparative religion thing, and could be a good source to go to for comparative information. Some are ideologues and conspiracy whackjobs who are really not a reliable source. Some are good at giving relatively impartial advice, some are not.

Some are also performance artists who do epic trolling and ad-hominem attacks for the lulz. For that case, I'd recommend evaluating your "atheists" on other criteria.

In short, your pithy little response wasn't as fitting as you thought it was. And the pope is still an ideologically-motivated, insular, cross-dressing virgin with no clue about the realities of the fields of sexuality and reproductive health.

Now, do you have a substantive response on why the Pope might be a *good* source of advice in this field? Because enquiring minds would like insight please.

# re: Universal Response to Pope Benedict XVI

Left by Thom Blake at 3/12/2009 3:12 AM
You should see about getting your blog to do some better caching - it takes forever to load.

The Pope is a sensible person to take advice from about sexuality and reproductive health because he has at his command centuries of philosophical work that's been done on the subject. I think he's clearly wrong when it comes to public policy, but I'm not sure he's gung-ho about such issues as natural rights or separation of church and state that are vital components to (at least US) political philosophy.

The Catechism suggests that an embryo should be treated as a person from the moment of conception, and is actually agnostic about the time of ensoulment. There are good character-related arguments for treating it as a person, and therefore regarding abortion as an evil.

Of course, Judith Jarvis Thompson pretty much skewered the idea that abortions wouldn't be okay in the event that embryos were treated as persons.

So yes, it's unfair for the Pope to admonish Nancy Pelosi with having a reasonable stance towards abortion; though in his defense, she probably should have mentioned that abortion is evil if she wanted to go around calling herself a Catholic. Notably, she claimed that the Catholic Church has disagreement about whether abortion is okay; however, that's not true. Frankly, I think she should be excommunicated.

And the Pope isn't a cross-dresser. He's wearing clothes designed specifically for a man. As far as calling him ideologically-motivated, well, duh - he's a religious leader; I'm pretty sure he'd agree with you. And I'm not sure what meaning of 'insular' you're going for - the Pope has a lot of contact with the outside world and is extremely well-read.

# re: Universal Response to Pope Benedict XVI

Left by Jason at 3/12/2009 3:24 PM
OK, the entire catholic stance on abortion has been brought into sharp relief just recently with the case of a 9 year old girl in Brazil who underwent an abortion because the threat to her life from carrying twins was almost certain to kill her.

There's been, as far as I know, silence from the very top of the church, but the reactions down the ladder show much of the church leadership to be utterly insane.

The most likely outcome, had the twins not been aborted, is that the 9 year old (let me just emphasise that, 9 year old) would have been in very high risk of death, as would have been both fetuses. It was not considered possible for these fetuses to be carried to term

The Catholic Church's response has shown that they would have preferred the death of all three to the abortion of two twins resulting from incestual rape.

This. Is. Insane.

There is no other way to describe this. Any institution with this kind of attitude must be opposed. It's fucking game over for any claim that the catholic hierarchy are a reasonable authority on this subject. They are as extremist as the fundagelical nutbags protesting outside clinics, they're just a little more dignified.

As for rebutting the cross-dressing thing, which part of "this is a humour post" are you struggling with?

So. I don't think you're catholic, or I'm sure your response would have been slightly more unhinged. What's your motivation for taking the stance you do?

# re: Universal Response to Pope Benedict XVI

Left by Thom Blake at 3/13/2009 1:24 AM
I'm culturally a Catholic; I was raised Catholic. I'm non-religious for methodological reasons. I think that if people are going to go around calling themselves Catholics, they should bloody well act like it or get the hell out of the Church.

It is terrible that the twins were aborted. I don't think it's "insane" to prefer having a chance of saving everybody involved rather than taking the (almost) sure bet of saving just the little girl. No, it's not the preference ordering I would likely have had - though I don't think you can make that judgment not being in the situation.

It just happens that the Catholic Church's position is that you can make that judgment not being in the situation, and it's already made by the Catechism and Sacred Tradition. And if the girl and her family were Catholics, then they should have followed the Catholic way. I can't understand why anyone would be mad that they were kicked out of the Church for it - especially atheists who would argue that they shouldn't want to be Catholics in the first place. If they really believed what they were supposed to as Catholics, then they should've known in advance that they could be excommunicated for it, and accepted the consequences.

Any abortion is tragic, in the Greek sense. Sometimes, bad things happen and there's no good choice you can make. It would be terrible if the girl died trying to carry the twins to term, and it was terrible that she had an abortion. Life isn't always nice.

As for the 'humour post' bit, I guess abortion just doesn't tickle my funny bone.

# re: Universal Response to Pope Benedict XVI

Left by Jason at 3/13/2009 2:01 AM
I'm entirely in agreement with you that the whole situation is tragic. It's utterly, completely tragic Do you know what makes it more so?


According to the catholic hierarchy, aborting two fetuses in order to safeguard the life of the "mother" is worse than raping your own 9-year-old child

Read that again. Seriously. Here's the quote, in case you missed it:

However, the stepfather was not excommunicated, with Sobrinho telling Globo TV that, "A graver act than (rape) is abortion, to eliminate an innocent life."

Let me just paraphrase that. This guy RAPED HIS NINE YEAR OLD DAUGHTER, AND SHE SUBSEQUENTLY FELL PREGNANT. And he's not ben excommunicated, because that's a-ok compared to abortion. And a decent proportion of catholics (and other religionists) claim that we atheists are the moral relativists? I call hypocrisy.

The catholic hierarchy is morally bankrupt, while at the same time claiming moral authority. I'm really, really disgusted by this. My feeling is based on my own ethical analysis and discussion with peers, in addition to just being a visceral disgust. This should disgust anyone.

I note with interest you still call "a chance of saving all three". There was no realistic chance all three would live. If there had been, this whole situation would not have happened. Brazil is about the most catholic country on earth. For this to happen there just adds weight. The long shot *could* have happened, but then again my bacon sandwich might grow some wings and fly away at any second.

Is it insane to bet on million-to-one odds when instead you can win a smaller amount at odds approaching 1:1? That's what this is about. Abort two fetuses, child's survival is 99.9%. Do nothing, survivial of any one of the three is down to, for the sake of argument, 10%. To win at least two must survive, and that was vanishingly unlikely. I think the outcome we have is about as good as it gets. The 9 year old is still alive, though who knows what's going on in her head right now.

Rolling dice on multiple survival in this case is not a rational bet.

Ultimately, your analysis may be different, and that's fine. Still, the assessment has been made by people more qualified in medicine than either you or I.

That's my take. Let's move on.

Like you, I agree that people within the church who don't adhere should probably GTFO. See, we're not so different.

You're also an atheist, by the way. Probably best to start facing up to the fact. The word "atheist" is often abused to mean "denies the existence of god or gods", but strictly that's an incorrect usage. To understand what an atheist is, you first have to define "theist", which means "believes in god or gods". Atheist, then, simply means "does not believe in god or gods". Nothing about that sentence implies outright denial, though it is allowable. Denial is often referred to as the 'strong' atheist position, simple doubt is 'weak' atheism.

I happen to hold something approaching the strong position, though that is dependent on defining the god in question. Some "gods" are easily disproved, some are not. An interventionist god which answers prayer, for instance, is easily refuted by studying prayer. So far, no good studies have shown prayer has any effect. THAT god is disproved, so I deny its existence. Still, soeone coul define god differently, even in a way that's impossible to disprove. Meh, so fucking what.

Finally, humour. Some people don't find knock knock jokes funny. So what? I'm not writing just to amuse you. Mostly I'm writing to amuse me and some of peers, and if others find it funny, fucking bonus.

Anyway, tl;dr. You're an atheist in denial. I'm an atheist who isn't. Perhaps it's time to move on?
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