Wednesday, February 07, 2007


Cardinal Directions

Christoph Cardinal Schönborn, archbishop of Vienna, can't seem to keep his crimson shoe out of his mouth.

Having already been sucked in by the Discovery Institute into making statements outside his field of knowledge, he is now venturing into American Constitutional law sans compass and wearing a blindfold.

In a speech Wednesday night sponsored by the Homeland Foundation, a philanthropy that funds cultural and religious programs, the Cardinal condemned the decision in Kitzmiller v. Dover, saying that restricting debate about Darwin's theory of evolution amounts to censorship in schools.

Along the way he took time to stumble over the subject of the practice of science:

"Commonly in the scientific community every inquiry into the scientific weaknesses of the theory is blocked off at the very outset," Schoenborn said of Darwinism. "To some extent there prevails a type of censoring here of the sort for which one eagerly reproached the church in former times."
No one is more critical of science than scientists. That's what they do for a living: try to find any part of our present understanding that isn't right and make it so. As the philosopher of science David Hull once said: "One of the strengths of science is that it does not require that scientists be unbiased, only that different scientists have different biases." That's because, while "[s]cientists rarely refute their own pet hypotheses ... [t]heir fellow scientists will be happy to ..."

But the Cardinal really crashes and burns with this:

The cardinal said he found it "amazing" that a U.S. federal court ruled in 2005 that the Dover, Pa., public school district could not teach the concept of "intelligent design" as part of its science class. The judge had said that the theory, which says an intelligent supernatural force explains the emergence of complex life forms, was creationism in disguise.

The cardinal said the Dover ruling meant that schoolchildren would only be taught a materialistic, atheistic view of the origin of universe, without considering the idea that God played a role.

"A truly liberal society would at least allow students to hear of the debate," he said.
First of all, who is stopping those children from being taught about the idea that God played a role in the emergence of complex life forms? I seem to remember that there was plenty of that kind of teaching in the Catholic schools I went to in my youth because my parents were willing to pay for that kind of instruction. There is also church and Sunday school and no one is stopping the parents from taking the time to teach their children their religion. And guess what, Cardinal, that system has protected religion and the beliefs you claim to care about so effectively that there are far more believers here in the U.S. than there are in Austria under your ministering.

Even in U.S. public schools children can hear the debate ... in a comparative religion or philosophy class. Which is where ID belongs, as you tacitly acknowledge with your admission that ID is "the idea that God played a role." A liberal society should allow everyone to hear of the "debate" ... but it need not pay to have sectarian beliefs promoted. Perhaps the Cardinal forgets that one major reason we have such an extensive Catholic school system in this country was the fact that, before our courts became particular about keeping religion out of the public schools, Protestantism was the de facto religion taught there.

So, Cardinal, basically you are just showing your ignorance on the subject and inviting scorn down on believers. Didn't St. Augustine have something to say about being a scandal to the faith?

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