Friday, September 17, 2010


Not Accommodating Stupidity

Larry Moran appears to believe that people who don't think "science" is necessarily "incompatible" with religion (i.e. "accommodationists") are somehow duty-bound to point out that Pope Palpatine Benedict and that pimple on theism's ass, Bill Donohue, are being stupid when they try to lay the blame for the Holocaust on atheism.

What those comments have to do with the question of whether or not science is "compatible" with some religious beliefs is beyond me. But, though I don't feel my accommodationism obligates me to criticize the Pope and the dope, I am happy to do so on the general principle that stupidity should be mocked.

The Pope started it off by lauding British resistance to Nazism and contrasting that to "the sobering lessons of atheist extremism of the 20th century." As John Wilkins points out, that is nothing but historic revisionism*, something that anyone who fancies himself a scholar should be ashamed of.

But the dope, unsurprisingly, multiplies the dopery. According to Donohue, who ups the ante by adding Stalin and Mao, it was the "anti-religious impulse that allowed them to become mass murderers." Riiight! Only those with an anti-religious impulses become mass murderers! So, the genocide against Mesoamericans was carried out by atheists who just happened to be wearing the robes of the Catholic Church and carrying the banners of Christ in the vanguard of the conquistadors? Torquemada was anti-religious? The Malleus Maleficarum was written and enforced by atheists?

To his small credit, Donohue knows he's spouting nonsense but he thinks it's okay:

... since the fanatically anti-Catholic secularists in Britain, and elsewhere, demand that the pope—who is entirely innocent of any misconduct—apologize for the sins of others.

Donohue is no more specific than that but you don't have to be a regular dope-watcher to know that the subject that most results in apo of his plexy is the recent attention given to the pedophilia scandals in the Church. Quite apart from suggestive evidence that Benedict was part of a conspiracy to hush up instances of priestly "love" of children, perhaps allowing some of them to victimize others, he is now head of an institution that engaged in a systematic campaign to allow criminals to escape justice. As such, he should apologize, just as any head of the Nazi Party should have apologized for what their organization did.

We might not expect murderous political thugs to repent the actions of their institution, but the man who claims the moral authority to lecture others on their lives might do a little better.


* See, also, PZ's repost of a list of Hitler's quotes on his "anti-religionism" compiled by Doug Theobald.

I like Andrew Brown's take on this:

Both sides of this argument want to pretend that their ideology is an inoculation against genocide and other horrors. It just ain't so. Brown:

To recruit the unimaginable and almost incredible horrors of the twentieth century into the service of internet flame wars is a kind of blasphemy against humanity. Shouting "nyah nyah, Hitler was on your team!" is pissing on the corpses – or the ashes – of the dead.
Andrew Brown is right.
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