Skeptics <3 the Paranormal

In the wake of recent controversies surrounding the Pope and priestly paedophilia, leading skeptics have been torn as to how they should respond to the allegations. Leading ‘new atheists’ like P.Z. Myers have (surprise!) said that the rest of the skeptical movement need to man (or woman) up, saying the Catholic Church should be “on every skeptic’s hit list.” Others, such as Phil ‘Bad Astronomy’ Plait, have suggested that the Pope’s (alleged) complicity in paedophilia attacks are not the domain of skepticism:

I don’t know if this is specifically a skeptical issue. It’s more a human issue, and a criminal issue. If the Pope had said that the Bible says it’s OK to molest children, then yeah, critical thinking and skepticism come into play. But if he was trying to protect the Church and was breaking laws (moral or civil) to do it, then see my comment above re: resignation and indictment. That’s something anyone should understand, whether or not they are a skeptic.

Skepticism deals with issues of the paranormal, issues with faith, issues where scientific evidence can be used to test a claim. In this case, I don’t see skeptics needing to be involved more than any other interest group.

Wrong, wrong, wrong. Skepticism is just about doubting things, and employing evidence to assist you in reaching conclusions. Not just “scientific evidence”. Not just “issues of the paranormal”. But Phil Plait here is just reiterating what most of us already know – that the modern “skeptical” movement is largely a grouping of people who fear that supernatural thinking will somehow blow out the candle of rationalism. They are as ideological as any other faith-based group.

Just as interesting was some of the rationalisation for skepticism not to get involved with the Catholic controversy:

A ham-fisted attack on religion and the Pope will probably not make you any friends, no matter how evil a deed they’ve done…charging in with guns blazing is not a good idea.

Really? Does Phil just reserve this protection for Catholicism, given they way he ham-fistedly attacks ufology based on little or no research of his own? Or Randi, who ham-fistedly attacks parapsychologists when it seems as if he hasn’t even read their research? Guess what guys – you’re *not* making any friends. You might like to heed your own words if you’re truly trying to educate people…

Skepticism is simply about questioning everything, thinking critically about *any* topic. It’s a wonderful tool in the quest for knowledge…I just wish more ‘skeptics’ would try it out.

Update: For further discussion of this topic (and dismissal of my points), you can check out Joé McKen’s “Skeptics Hate Misleading Twaddle” – I have also added a comment beneath Joé’s blog entry.

Editor
  1. There’s Skepticism, and then there’s Skepticism (TM)
    There’s Skepticism, and then there’s Skepticism ©.

    What I think Phil is trying to do is attempting to separate Skepticism as a movement, from the openly accepted Atheism preached by the likes of Myers; which is different from the ‘orthodox’ Atheism in the sense of showing a deep political activism —an evangelical goal?

    Why is Phil going soft with the Pope? Seems to be sensible PR given the big number of Catholics out there; makes you wonder how vocal these guys would be if UFO buffs were counted in the millions! Again, this is something you do when you’re into politics and activism. A scientist shouldn’t be concerned about the popularity of his conclusions if he knows he has done his job well.

    Granted, a scientist is still a human being, and so entitled of having opinions that couldn’t or shouldn’t be backed up by scientific methodology.

    In the end it would seem there’s some parallels between the Skeptics —as a movement— and the folks spearheading Intelligent Design: it’s just another way to rebrand Atheism under a flimsy coat of ‘scientific inquiry’. It is a movement used to promote not only an agenda, but an ideology; Phil might not like to see it that way, though.

    Having said that, I can understand why Phil is trying to limit the scope of what the Skeptic movement should pursue. He sees their field as focusing solely on claims that could be contested with the scientific method; whereas the sexual abuse scandals is more of a social issue.

    Then again, what about ridiculing the social behavior of the ‘tinfoil-hat wearing’ community, when the opportunity arrives? I wonder what would happen if there were similar accusations against someone like Rael.

    1. well said.
      well said.

      one thing I think everyone can agree on… there is no excuse for the treatment of children in this way… by any group…. in any context… ever.

      Since this kind of thing seems to have been going on within the Catholic church as long as I can remember, it is time for some one (or a very large group of someones) to be held accountable.

      …. on a lighter note, I’m betting now-a-days that UFO buffs numbers have to be getting up there, certainly not in the same scope as the church, but even in the last 20 years there’s been tremendous growth of (at least) moderately educated people on the subject. And it seems to be noticeable in the way many skeptics handle the subject, with desperate attacks of an almost comedic and desperate nature.

      Cheers.

      1. Yep

        one thing I think everyone can agree on… there is no excuse for the treatment of children in this way… by any group…. in any context… ever.

        No argument here. It also made me wonder about some things I’ve read and heard among Fortean researchers that notice the common use of children as the most potent sacrifice in magical rituals. I think that even the name of the hill, Vaticanus, has its origin in the cries or wails of new-born children. I don’t know where I’m going with this, so it’s probably best not to hijack he thread with such tangential discussions…

        And it seems to be noticeable in the way many skeptics handle the subject, with desperate attacks of an almost comedic and desperate nature.

        Yeah well. Not many people are willing to advertise their belief in UFOs wearing some golden little flying saucer with a necklace, instead of a cross or a David’s star… yet 😉

        1. I have had close (romantic)
          I have had close (romantic) relationships with 8 women in my life. 3 of them were molested as children (pre-adolescent) by clergy, none of them were molested by anyone non-clergy (or if so none shared it)

          I think it’s important to treat religions the same as any other group who makes claims of energy or entities that defy measurement or quantification. We live in an age in which we can confidently estimate the mineral makeup of a planet or moon just by flying an accelerometer past it at 10,000 mph – if you’re going to claim something exists and encompasses all of existence, you had better come to me with more than a cryptic tome written by people who were pretty sure the earth is flat.

          A cult is a cult is a cult, whether they have 50 members or 200 million members. Period. The Branch Davidian cult was burned to the ground over allegations of child abuse and fraud, how come this isn’t happening to the Christian cult? Look at this list http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roman_Catholic_sex_abuse_cases_by_country … that’s a lot of children abused and given the 3 abused women I’ve dated aren’t on that list, there are undoubtedly thousands, maybe millions of more cases in the past and in the future.

          Why are we tolerating this? Why does a cult become immune to criticism and assault just because it has a lot of members? Why do we let these people rape our children year after year?

          I’d be embarrassed to associate with pedophiles, even if I did have a Christian faith in that particular god I still wouldn’t go to church or let my kids anywhere near a priest or pastor. To me, it’s safer to assume “every gun is loaded” and every clergy is a pedophile. Better safe than sorry.

    2. Dodgy skepticism
      Hi RPJ,

      Firstly sorry for not getting back about UFO’s and aliens in other posts. I’ve much to learn on those subjects if I want to have much to say on them. Thanks for all the comments though. I’ll try and find more time in the future.

      You raise some valid points in the above post and this is one of my favourite subjects at the moment as it goes to the heart of my own beliefs and disbeliefs.

      I think your right with regard to separating skepticism and atheism as movements from their more scholarly counterparts. I’m umming and arring about the two at the moment, both what they mean and what they mean to me. Though I think it’s high time we started to see political activism, everyone else is doing it after all – each country is different though.
      I honestly think we need different language to separate scriptural politics from other types. I know we can use words like evangelical and fundamentalist for everything else. A communist or believer in strong socialist ideas can be described as evangelical, as can someone who believes strongly in capitalism and we can use the word ‘preach’ whenever someone voices a strong opinion, but we lose something in the language when we ignore differences by looking at similarities. We can call capitalists communists by looking only at where the two are similar and ignoring the large differences, and we can call atheists religious if we want. I have on occasion been called ‘the most religious person I know’ by one of my closest friends because I care about the subject and read about it a fair bit, but this belittles and misses some quite large points. I guess I am saying that your points are not missed, just that I still want to have words that mean something in the future rather than mixing them up in one large bucket that means we have to invent new ones or worse describe everything every time in the future because the words have lost their power to distinguish – we control the language after all.

      [quote] makes you wonder how vocal these guys would be if UFO buffs were counted in the millions[/quote]

      Depends. As far as a larger philosophy goes we might look at separation of Church and State for a guide as to separation of supernaturalism and spiritualism from the state. This is more complex though since we would need definitions and there is little mixing between these, as well as pseudo-science and the state. This is no doubt a big debate though, but I think skepticism still has an important role to play when it comes to any ideology coming close to state power. Though I accept that good arguments can be made about being skeptical of skepticism itself I would aim for a better version than the likes of Randi. We are not talking pop-skepticism by the time we get to this level.
      Political activism on any side inspires that of the other. So in the case of the Pope when he asks Catholic British Ministers of Parliament not to vote in the manner that best represents their constituents or their party but instead to vote how he wants them to he both inspires and invites political activism by those who disagree. I am sure UFO believers do exist in large numbers. At the moment though there is no attempt to change my freedoms or adjust the climate of my country based on UFOlogy. Get UFO buffs trying to create laws to make me wear metal hats, telling me what I should wear, eat, or how I should have sex or making up things that I should feel guilty about and I’ll be out there getting politically active.
      I also think that where tax payer funding is given in the form or grants or tax subsidies then politics starts to become involved. I am entitled to any idea I want to hold, but if I happen to convince a few people in power and get tax payer funding for my own centers then it definitely becomes a political issue.

      [quote] Granted, a scientist is still a human being, and so entitled to having opinions that couldn’t or shouldn’t be backed up by scientific methodology[/quote]

      Whether scientists should start voting based on their education and research is an interesting question. The fact that everyone does this to one extent or another lends weight to the argument that it is human natural. We have a good point here. Obviously scientists are under an obligation to follow the scientific method when assessing hypothesis and talking about conclusions etc. Should this now extend into their private lives? We have a good history here of pointing out that not everything is science. If a scientist wants to support socialism, capitalism, secularism, Catholicism then they are free to do it. Where is the line? If I say I am anti-creationist because the evidence is against it then I have crossed it I guess. Creationism could be a metaphor of course, but I am against it in its literal fashion because of my education and experience as an earth scientist. Taking something like Christianity as an obvious example my education can definitely make me question verse after verse and many of those verses are now considered metaphor by theologians, justifying my own skepticism of them even if they had not been formally recognized as such. I can’t remember the name of the think tank, but it is a conservative American one, and they grade each verse of the Bible based on likelihood of being true. They place a high degree of certainty on only 5% of it. Yet the political activism of the Churches is so integrated into our society that one can only underestimate it, not overestimate. In the UK the bishops still get seats in the House of Lords, the house that oversees the elected House of Commons, for example. Should scientists be affected by and vote according to the science of the day (whatever bits they have or have not learn’t)? I do not know, perhaps it is not as simple as that.

      [quote] parallels between the Skeptics —as a movement— and the folks spearheading Intelligent Design: it’s just another way to rebrand Atheism[/quote]

      This is tricky. God (like Yahweh) is a product we are sold to motivate action. To get our bums on seats, or give people higher up power through numbers. A true philosophical God is almost empty by comparison to the religions with their wealth of disproved claims and alleged metaphor. Did Yahweh make the world, create people, create the universe? I go along with Einstein here. These God products are too small. In this sense I am an atheist. I don’t deny that there might be more out there, but I find it hard to throw myself in with any of the other crowds. I’m not agnostic in the sense that i have not been inspired by the maybe crowd. I don’t think it’s a maybe between God and not God, I don’t think we have come up with a God concept that works yet. I believe they are all wrong. I am not agnostic to any of them. This might make my atheism a bit strange. What do you call yourself if you don’t believe in God’s? Pantheism might work I suppose. The thing is I am not so sure the universe has a purpose either, or at least not one for us. Douglas Adam’s Earth computer is as good an example as any. It has a purpose for existing, so do all the life forms on it, but it is not what they think. Maybe the universe has a purpose, who knows, but no-one has persuaded me they have stumbled across it yet – and I don’t go in for the ‘our minds are so small we can’t possibly understand so everything is wrong and God is real argument’ either, which is a poor twist on what I am trying to say.

      [quote]Having said that, I can understand why Phil is trying to limit the scope of what the Skeptic movement should pursue. He sees their field as focusing solely on claims that could be contested with the scientific method; whereas the sexual abuse scandals is more of a social issue.[/quote]

      Me too. My only philosophical issue lies in the power they are granted. There is a taboo regarding questioning these issues and peoples guards come straight up. There is much in religion that is testable using tools like geology, astronomy and physics, biology plus evolutionary biology and genetics, paleontology, archeology, history, literary criticism, as well as testing the claims of assertions such as ‘civilisation would collapse without it’, ‘morality would collapse’ ‘civilisation would not be here without it’. Even just sticking within the sciences here is much to say on the subject. However I question how skepticism can affect the source of their power and since I think it can affect their claims of infallibility and sources of infallibility I do think it has a role to play in affecting their political ambitions and actions.

      Then again, what about ridiculing the social behavior of the ‘tinfoil-hat wearing’ community, when the opportunity arrives?

      Again tricky one when you get down to anything more than the surface. If I wanted to wear a tin foil hat or a big spotty pink and yellow one to show my belief or disbelief in X/Y or Z then obviously I am allowed to do so. If I want to put on a burka then I can, although I think Muslims might be a little upset as they would see it as some sort of statement, but anyway you get my point. Would the majority understand my decision? Who knows. I am sure I could come up with things that the majority would not understand. What if I wanted to wear a metal hat to protect me from meteorites. I could make an argument I am more at risk from them than from alien mind invasion. Would I get the job if I wore it to an interview? sadly probably not. This all depends I guess on what I was asking people to do. Can you innocently join an organization that is calling for political action and persecution of people, even if on another side it is nice to other people? That could be said of any party perhaps as they all want to change the way we live, but maintaining the right to critisise, and even critisising philosophies, is different from real discrimination. Imagine the difference between critisising communism, or fining communists, locking them up, stopping them from wedding, stopping them from receiving marriage counseling, or sexual counseling, from staying in hotels, going to restaurants, etc etc. Then there is the whole other category of beyond-natural assault – communists are responsible for flooding in your neighbourhood, their very presence on the Earth caused the Icelandic volcano. Those types of comments are dangerous – very close to just saying communists are casting spells against you. Fortunately most people see straight though it for what it is, but according to historians the argument held more sway in the past and I shudder to think how its type is being exploited in the Africa and the likes to make Africans behave how religions want them too, just like we were once treated. I would hate to think that developed world believers and tax payers were being made to support that sort of thing. Can I don a symbol and join the British National Party? I have no problem at all with people wearing tin hats though I would enjoy the debate as to the mind invasion. If they belonged to some sort of group that wanted to force people wear one as well though then I would expect many ‘non-believers’ to stand against it. Or even if it was a lighter version, say they wanted expensive tin foiled hats to be funded by tax payers at the expense of more doctors and nurses.

      I don’t know whether there is any point to being actively skeptical in the manner you are forced to if you are asked to answer a ‘why’ question on why you do not believe in something or do not accept an evidence for something (or produce a podcast for example). Why not just go ‘There’s some crazy things happening out there, so there’s some crazy ideas to explain them’, and leave it at that. I guess in a sense that would not add very much to the debate, as well as to understanding. Skepticism, or even political skepticism, may be pointless. It may have little place next to bigger things like actually testing ideas and firming up conclusions rather than playing in a landscape of hypothesis, especially if there is little will to move past hypothesis. It may be better just to say ‘I don’t believe yet’ rather than try to discredit others. Somewhere there is a line though. It might be in the popular realm outside of the scientific. We have to be skeptical inside of science or it wouldn’t work, but outside of it maybe there is more freedom, but then it would have to be admitted that the freedom is being used. Each aspect of the paranormal needs to be treated individually as well and not all get bundled up into one thing. It is much easier to be skeptical of some ideas than others. So there may be evidence we are all making mistakes within skepticism. I don’t find it as easy to accuse others of ignoring evidence about UFO’s but at the same time denying much bigger evidences in realms that are more testable, such as those of the more established scientific ideas – not that I’m saying you do this, but that it does get done. Perhaps we are all bad skeptics.

  2. well….
    seems to me this whole skeptic/atheist/humanist/secularist response to catholic pedophilia is just another means for skeptics/atheists/humanists/secularist to bash religion (as a whole)…i was talking, several weeks ago, to an atheist/humanist i know who truly believes catholic celibacy CREATES pedophiles (please note the word BELIEVES), i asked him this: “if homosexuality is an inherent trait, then couldn’t pedophilia also be an inherited trait? he dismissed me but the the truth is no one has really studied this possibility in any meaningful way (see pedophilia entry at wikipedia)…in that same conversation i pointed out that it is quite possible that once (if? when?) atheism/humanism has the millions of human beings involved as the catholic church it will – probably – face similar problems…certainly there are pedophiles who exist outside the catholic church (a certain married high school p.e. teacher comes to mind, but he was molesting girls not boys)…having given this a little more thought, i also must ask why is priestly pedophilia perpetrated against BOYS so abhorrent, when GIRLS are much more likely to be molested AND MURDERED…something the skeptic/atheist/humanist/secularist movement, the main stream media and most others seem to accept as “normal” and therefore ignore…what of the recent judgment against the BOY SCOUTS?

    yes, the catholic church has a HUGE problem…but so do the skeptics/atheists/humanists/secularists with their myopic view of abuse against CHILDREN – regardless of gender…

    1. I don’t agree with that
      The meme of altar boys being buggered by sick priests might have a more powerful connotation, because some people link it to the “abomination” of homosexuality.

      But the fact is that many other cases in which little girls have been the victims of abuse have also been condemned. There were these schools in Ireland where ‘bad girls’ were forced to wash the clothing of the priests while being abused by them and/or nuns. There’s even a movie about that, no?

      Here in Mexico it’s all a very current topic because of the prominence the late Marcial Maciel, founder of the Legion of Christ, had and still has in Mexican society. First there were the accusations of abuse towards young boys; then we learned Maciel kept two wives and had children with them —one of them a young woman living in Spain; and THEN we learned that he also molested his own sons, or so these young men claim —their own lawyer resigned when he found out they were demanding 12 million dollars from the Legion, and nothing else has been heard since.

      Maybe the reason we don’t hear as many stories about priests abusing girls is because the structure of the Church allows them to be more in contact with young boys; but this is purely speculation on my part.


      1. “i also must ask why is priestly pedophilia perpetrated against BOYS so abhorrent, when GIRLS are much more likely to be molested AND MURDERED…something the skeptic/atheist/humanist/secularist movement, the main stream media and most others seem to accept as “normal” and therefore ignore…”

        excellent point. i had also noticed this.

        i agree that the church should be held accountable, and should be punished, for the protection of paedophiles. we wouldn’t tolerate it from any other group in society.

        there are paedophiles in all sectors of society – we should never forget that. spend a little time in bali or thailand if you doubt this. bringing the catholic church to justice (whatever that might mean, in this case) is not going to remove, in any significant way, the problem of paedophilia.

      2. opportunity
        Isn’t it obvious? Pedophiles like to work in churches, schools and kids sports for the same reason that bank robbers rob banks, and why fishermen like to live near the water.

  3. 🙁
    This is coming close to a new low in sceptic bashing.

    I think i’m going to put the children above the philosophy and politics in this case.

    So what if someone doesn’t believe in UFO’s or has reservations towards scriptural interpretation. So what if they don’t believe the same as you do, who does believe exactly the same as the person next door. That’s small fry next to this. And fine, the media’s representation of abuse is not in accord with the percentages of abuse, but when do the media ever represent something scientifically. At least they are covering it now and not helping hush it up. (Its worth a letter to your local or national media, such as the BBC, or whoever, to complain though if you think they are doing this)

    Pointing out errors in arguments is one thing, but next to child rape of any sort its nothing. Beliefs are meaningless next to the actions and their consequences.

    Sure people with grievances will jump on this. All those people who don’t like the church for exactly this type of behaviour are definitely going to be saying so, and so they should.

    We have learnt that systems that place people in positions of power over children are prone to abuse. The percentage of abusers in a population is a problem, but to give them unlimited access to children, respect, and power is a very big problem. This is why in the UK we have placed many safeguards in our state systems, such as education, child care, anyone who looks after children even down to people that provide free transport for youth groups (The fear is, and backed by evidence, that these systems if not protected lead to increased percentages of abusers next to the general population). You do not, for crying out loud, move abusers from one bloody place to another. Then when the good people you employ complain about the significant harm it is doing write back saying that the overall standing of the institution is more important and must be protected above the victims. Shame on anyone who has done this, or been a part of it, and i welcome a question of its legality.

    The worst thing I have done in my life is call children names at school. I did not really understand (as i was not being anywhere near as bad as i was suffering) at the time, but I deeply regret any upset I caused. It was at a time when I was being physically attacked daily by other school bullies and I wish I had been nicer to a few people I used to call friends – i genuinely still feel terrible about it. Other than that I have been in one fight, which I did not start. If I had been instrumental in the rape of children, well, I cannot imagine how I would feel. Suicidal I think. That is what happens if you have a moral core though.

    During his time overseeing these cases the current Pope apparently dealt with about 3000 cases. I would want every single one investigated.

    We have a wider issue here; especially in Europe. A self proclaimed State in Italy, not formerly recognised by Europe’s wider legal structure, is utilising its own legal system in foreign countries and has allowed a large amount of harm to come to the children of those countries. They have enormous power while they sit atop of their own little country. Much of the world can do nothing about this. In Europe we might be able to. Nothing will happen of course, but at the least it might highlight that handing people lots of power when they do not wish to use it responsibly is never a good thing.

    The religious base in Europe is shifting. Entire countries are becoming largely non-believers in the older larger institutions. General spirituality is becoming more popular, as is non-belief. Institutions special legal statuses become more obvious and less acceptable and I am willing to bet they will be challenged more and more in the future, especially when they behave as immorally as this.

    They have paid out billions in many countries, accepting culpability. But people fear that we have allowed it to happen ourselves. We gave them this power (all of us if we have not stood against it) and they have abused it. Do we trust that they will police themselves? How are we to behave now we know what has been going on? Our own democracies are our responsibility after all and these are foreign powers acting in them in ways we have allowed, believers and non-believers alike. We are all responsible, especially for what happens now.

    1. Who? What?
      [quote=daydreamer]This is coming close to a new low in sceptic bashing.

      I think i’m going to put the children above the philosophy and politics in this case.[/quote]

      Who’s skeptic bashing? Me? Phil? The Church? I’m confused (some might say perpetually).

      1. Hay Greg,
        Perhaps I

        Hay Greg,

        Perhaps I ranted a little.

        ‘seems to me this whole skeptic/atheist/humanist/secularist response to catholic pedophilia is just another means for skeptics/atheists/humanists/secularist to bash religion (as a whole)’

        This persons friend is wrong about creating paedophilia. I will confidently say that without having the data to back it up, but I very much doubt you can create sexual behaviour in this way.

        What i do see though is a type of statement that goes along the lines of ‘yes its bad, but you guys are always complaining about something’.

        If you take the following: You don’t have a great love for PZ Myers. Imagine that he was found to have moved child molesters around in his department and allowed them to continue abusing. Now imagine the comments that would fly across internet forums such as this one. No doubt Myer’s fans would rally and say ‘Yes he’s been bad, but this just another means for bashing non-belief’. They would be missing the point and I think they would be falling quite low. Any criticism is valid if it is correct, it does not matter whether you have never said it before, or whether you have said it a million times.

        Yes people have criticised the Pope before, as well as the institution. I am willing to bet it has received criticism since its inception. He is among the most powerful people in the world. I am sorry to say that I did not hear the story about the boy scouts. I have not heard many stories from around the world. Are we picking on the Pope and the institution because we do not like parts of it? No doubt. I will do the same to Microsoft, Google, my local council, my national government. We all reserve the right to complain about things we don’t like.

        Many religions act very similarly to political parties raising funds and lobbying governments and lobbying electorates, even vying for direct control if they can. This is fine, it is normal in a democracy for people to behave like this. If your going to engage in politics though you are going to join normal political behaviour and people are bound to join groups in disagreement with you, just like they would any party.

        As soon as enough non-believers existed to create voting blocks and people were not terrorised by imprisonment, fines, or such things as guilt, facing community distrust etc. then political action was bound to occur and should do, to be played out normally in democracies. This is what we are seeing – or at least the start of it.

        I don’t know. I guess its normal. Republicans and Democrats or Labour and Conservative do it all the time. If one party does something bad the other attacks and the other says ‘yes, its bad, but your always just moaning’. As if the fact that someone complains a lot lowers the right to complain or the standing of an argument. Personally I don’t think it should do.

        As for whether you had done it, no, of course not. The Church? The Church seems to think i’m the ill’s of the whole world. The Devil is in my head apparently. I was born in sin, i’m still in sin, i live a sinful life, hell, i even listen to rock music. I am just pleased that even if my two beautiful children have been born marked with the original sin of mankind they are not risking getting stuck in Limbo because we have not christened them. And that’s just what theology has to say about me. You should hear what some of the priests and vicars in my country have said over the past year. Yep, i’m the cause of all the worlds problems… And the answer – more Catholics apparently, but if that can’t be done just less non-believers. Nice being on the outside hay.

        1. Licentiousness
          This week a Mexican bishop claimed during a press release, that all the sexual abuses perpetrated by members of the church were the result of the “sexual licentiousness” displayed by our current society; and that during these times when sex was displayed and promoted everywhere, it was very difficult to live a life of celibacy.

          So the ‘logic’ of his argument goes like this: Yes, some of us raped your children, but it’s YOUR fault to begin with.

          And for the life of me, I still can’t comprehend how pin-up ads or TV commercials showing beautiful women or handsome men can cause somebody to feel sexual desire for a small child!

          If it is a case of such an amount of sexual tension in a person, that they need to release it with whatever or whomever they find available —in this case, poor altar boys— then I humbly suggest these ‘holy’ men to consider joining the club of the “friendly hand” —i.e. Onanism.

          Ohhh but masturbation is a sin too, right? Well, which is the bigger sin, padre? to have to explain those weird stains in one’s bed sheets, or to scar some innocent kid for life??

          If onanism is out of the question, then they might consider what was customary among many ancient priestly orders that also practiced celibacy: CASTRATION.

          Which would be pointless, IMO, because as I understand it they practice celibacy as a proof of their faith and conviction of Christ’s teachings; and so to render oneself away of all possible temptation is not only meaningless, but cowardly

          But this argument that heavy exposure to commercial propaganda with sexual overtones turns good priests into pervert paedophiles is IMO something that could be contested with good psychological and sociological scientific data. Therefore, I hereby give my permission to Phil, Myers and the amazing Randi to have fun with it 🙂

          1. Avoiding Controversy
            [quote=red pill junkie]But this argument that heavy exposure to commercial propaganda with sexual overtones turns good priests into pervert paedophiles is IMO something that could be contested with good psychological and sociological scientific data. Therefore, I hereby give my permission to Phil, Myers and the amazing Randi to have fun with it :)[/quote]

            Paedophilia accusations may not be a topic that the Amazing Randi wants to revisit (regardless of the truth behind that whole kerfuffle).

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