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Pope Cancels Speech After Scientists Protest

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the probably-could-have-used-a-bit-of-forethought-there dept.

Education 1507

Reservoir Hill writes "Pope Benedict XVI canceled a speech at Rome's La Sapienza university in the face of protests led by scientists opposed to a high-profile visit to a secular setting by the head of the Catholic Church. Sixty-seven professors and researchers of the university's physics department joined in the call for the pope to stay away protesting the planned visit recalled a 1990 speech in which the pope, then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, seemed to justify the Inquisition's verdict against Galileo in 1633. In the speech, Ratzinger quoted an Austrian philosopher who said the ruling was 'rational and just' and concluded with the remark: 'The faith does not grow from resentment and the rejection of rationality, but from its fundamental affirmation, and from being rooted in a still greater form of reason.' The protest against the visit was spearheaded by physicist Marcello Cini who wrote the rector complaining of an 'incredible violation" of the university's autonomy. Cini said of Benedict's cancellation: 'By canceling, he is playing the victim, which is very intelligent. It will be a pretext for accusing us of refusing dialogue.'"

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1507 comments

Dialoge? (1, Flamebait)

jawtheshark (198669) | more than 6 years ago | (#22072660)

You don't need dialogue with irrational nutcases. If you could have rational dialogue with them you'd already have shown that their beliefs are irrational. It's sad really...

Re:Dialoge? (1, Informative)

easyTree (1042254) | more than 6 years ago | (#22072732)

Generally I find when talking with religious types that they do hold rational beliefs, lots of them. It's just that they don't all fit together into a coherent picture of the world; something which usually goes unnoticed.

By the way, you spelt 'frist psot' wrong =)

Re:Dialoge? (3, Informative)

erikvcl (43470) | more than 6 years ago | (#22072762)

I agree. I'm a Catholic and I think it's safe to say that the current papacy is an absolute joke. If it was just this issue, maybe we could give ol' Benedict a pass. But it seems like every month he says something ridiculous, ignorant, or backwards. It's like he just stepped out of the 17c.

Re:Dialoge? (4, Interesting)

peragrin (659227) | more than 6 years ago | (#22072894)

he is the catholic pope. the 17 century would be an improvement. Pope John Paul at least publicly forgave Galileo though. Benndict seems to be on a mission from god to undo everything that Pope John paul did.

Re:Dialoge? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22073256)

Which is more than a bit ironic given that these people are supposedly infallable.

Re:Dialoge? (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 6 years ago | (#22073266)

I think you've got it all wrong. JPII was an ultraconservative, just like Ratzinger. What Ratzinger hates was Vatican II, not JPII.

JP2 forgave nothing (1)

phonicsmonkey (984955) | more than 6 years ago | (#22073288)

John Paul II said the church was wrong about Galileo - because God's wisdom was speaking through Galileo's lips. Now would be a good time to vomit.

Re:Dialoge? (4, Insightful)

Fx.Dr (915071) | more than 6 years ago | (#22072794)

The funny thing about rationality is that it's entirely subjective (however irrational that rationality may be, and vice versa, ipso-facto, falcon punch, etc... now I'm just confusing myself).

Re:Dialogue? (2, Insightful)

omris (1211900) | more than 6 years ago | (#22072806)

the conundrum here is that by protesting his appearance before he said anything, he was given the opportunity to walk away, and the excuse to call foul later. although i agree that there is frequently nothing to gain in trying to rationally discuss issues with someone relying on a system other than rationality, there was most likely a way to save more face. sadly, it probably including letting him spout off a pile of nonsense.

Re:Dialoge? (4, Insightful)

Jhon (241832) | more than 6 years ago | (#22073082)

You don't need dialogue with irrational nutcases. If you could have rational dialogue with them you'd already have shown that their beliefs are irrational. It's sad really...
If you label someone an 'irrational nutcase', you are essentially refusing to have a dialogue.

Have you READ his remarks?

But why talk about anything "rational", when such an "irrational" reaction like yours is acceptable? After all, EVERY day is bash-a-christian day.

Re:Dialoge? (0, Flamebait)

IdleTime (561841) | more than 6 years ago | (#22073138)

After all, EVERY day is bash-a-christian day.
Indeed! And as it should be. Why should religion have a free pass for all the insanity they produce? It's nothing but 2000+ year old goat herder and camel driver scifi and not reality.

Re:Dialoge? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22073208)

Scifi? Surely, you just mean "fi"?

Re:Dialoge? (2, Insightful)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | more than 6 years ago | (#22073270)

Well, considering these scientists were protesting the Pope giving a speech without knowing what he was even going to say (as far as I could glean from TFA), I'd say that makes them irrational nutcases (or at least, assholes). So, really, you need to look in another direction than the pope for irrationality here.

The Pope Speaks (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22072704)

The only dialog I see coming from The Church these days is [plugs ears] "I CAN'T HEAR YOU LA LA LA LA LA LA LA".

Re:The Pope Speaks (4, Funny)

pilgrim23 (716938) | more than 6 years ago | (#22072748)

Talking to scientists is can be ever so tiring. Some days you are just too pooped to Pope.....

Does the Pope shit in the woods? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22072712)

Well, step aside my friend
I've been doing it for years
I say, sit on down, open your eyes
And open up your ears

Say
Put a tree in your butt
Put a bumblebee in your butt
Put a clock in your butt
Put a big rock in your butt
Put some fleas in your butt
Start to sneeze in your butt
Put a tin can in your butt
Put a little tiny man in your butt
Put a light in your butt
Make it bright in your butt
Put a TV in your butt
Put me in your butt
Everybody say

I, hey, that's, man, I ain't putting no trees in nobody's butt,
no bees in nobody's butt, putting nothing--
You must be out your mind, man,
y'all get paid for doing this?
Cause y'all gotta get some kind of money
Cause this don't sound like the kind of--
I'd rather golf, to be perfectly honest,
than put somethin in somebody's butt
to be truthful

Well step aside my friend and let me
show you how you do it
When big bad E just rock rock to it

Put a metal case in your butt
Put her face in your butt
Put a frown in your butt
Put a clown in your butt
Sit on down in your butt
Put a boat in your butt
Put a moat in your butt
Put a mink coat in your butt
Put everything in your butt
Just start to sing about your butt
Feels real good

who cares? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22072718)

who cares?

Duke. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22072728)

Dogs fucked the pope... no fault of mine.

Once again we see (4, Insightful)

N3WBI3 (595976) | more than 6 years ago | (#22072736)

That its only Christians and conservatives who are intolerant... Its not like a rational scientist or tolerant liberal would shout down someone they disagree with... /sarc

Re:Once again we see (1, Interesting)

LordKazan (558383) | more than 6 years ago | (#22072780)

because having little tolerance for absurd ideas and bigoted people is TOTALLY the same thing as having little tolerance for people living their life their own way.

the following two actions are SOOO the same
1) Tell someone they're not welcome because they're asinine bigoted ideas
2) Pass laws against someone, condemn them to hell,etc because they don't live by your rules and therefore are second class citizens

Re:Once again we see (0)

N3WBI3 (595976) | more than 6 years ago | (#22072826)

"because having little tolerance for absurd ideas and bigoted people is TOTALLY the same thing as having little tolerance for people living their life their own way." Ahhh another who does not get it... Youre not tolerating shit if it something that does not offend you to the core! Me saying: " I think X is sinful and shameful and within the context of this closed group is not allowed, but in society at large you are free to act as you wish" is tolerant You saying " So long as you're not a nutball or hold no position I find too stupid/offensive youre free to speak at universities otherwise shut the hell up" is *not* tolerant Tolerance is about putting up with crap that makes you see red!

Re:Once again we see (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22072850)

No offense, but maybe you should let someone less utterly stupid than yourself argue this side.

Re:Once again we see (with improved POT format ;) (0)

N3WBI3 (595976) | more than 6 years ago | (#22072868)

"because having little tolerance for absurd ideas and bigoted people is TOTALLY the same thing as having little tolerance for people living their life their own way."

Ahhh another who does not get it... Youre not tolerating shit if it something that does not offend you to the core!

Me saying: " I think X is sinful and shameful and within the context of this closed group is not allowed, but in society at large you are free to act as you wish" is tolerant

You saying " So long as you're not a nutball or hold no position I find too stupid/offensive youre free to speak at universities otherwise shut the hell up" is *not* tolerant

Tolerance is about putting up with crap that makes you see red!

Re:Once again we see (with improved POT format ;) (5, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 6 years ago | (#22072908)

So it's perfectly okay for a Creationist to demand that he be allowed to give a speech at a biology department? It's perfectly alright for a Holocaust Denier to give a speech at memorial to Nazi genocide victims?

No one is censoring the Pope. Quite the opposite, the man gets far more attention than I think he deserves. That he isn't showing up at a university for some sort of glorified photo op where he gets to pretend he's cozy with science is hardly some vast attempt to silence him.

Re:Once again we see (with improved POT format ;) (1)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 6 years ago | (#22073034)

If protests and letter writing aren't an attempt to silence him, what is?

Re:Once again we see (with improved POT format ;) (4, Informative)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 6 years ago | (#22073096)

Going out and putting a gag on him, or making it illegal for him to speak. Other than that, it's a group of scientists who find his position on Galileo, and how that speaks to his views on science, troubling, and feeling that he really has no place speaking at an institution. The Pope has plenty of places he can say his spiel.

Re:Once again we see (with improved POT format ;) (1, Funny)

ThePlague (30616) | more than 6 years ago | (#22073120)

Putting him under house arrest and threatening him with execution if he doesn't recant would be.

Hmmm, that sounds familiar...

Demand? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22073316)

I thought they invited him, not that he demanded to speak. Where do you get the "demand" bit? I'd have to tag that [[citation needed]].

Re:Once again we see (3, Insightful)

digitig (1056110) | more than 6 years ago | (#22073194)

because having little tolerance for absurd ideas and bigoted people is TOTALLY the same thing as having little tolerance for people living their life their own way.

the following two actions are SOOO the same
1) Tell someone they're not welcome because they're asinine bigoted ideas
2) Pass laws against someone, condemn them to hell,etc because they don't live by your rules and therefore are second class citizens

Oh, absolutely they're different. And what the scientists did was neither of those. They didn't tell the Pope he wasn't welcome, they campaigned to prevent him speaking at the university. They didn't pass laws, because mob rule doesn't like laws. And I bet none of them have bothered to find out why Galileo was really excommunicated and just assumed the popular myth was true (simplistically, he was excommunicated for effectively calling the Pope an idiot when the Pope asked for scientific evidence of what was considered a discredited crackpot theory by the scientists of the time, which Galileo insisted on teaching. It was the equivalent at the time of removing the teaching accreditation of somebody who insists on teaching creationism and calls anybody an idiot who asks them to justify it. Yes, "condemning to hell" might seem over the top, but only if you believe in hell. Otherwise the Pope did pretty much what the scientific community of the time required.)

Yes, the Pope and the RC church have a lot to answer for, but did you notice how the scientists played it so that he couldn't win? They campaigned to stop him from speaking, then when he cancelled they accused him of playing the martyr. In a liberal democracy, people are allowed to express ideas and the ideas are allowed to stand or fall on their own merits, but those scientists clearly don't believe in that; it seems that they believe that their ideas can only stand if they suppress competing ideas. Religion doesn't have bigotry DRM'd, evidently. Or maybe the scientists have managed to crack it?

Re:Once again we see (1)

Blakey Rat (99501) | more than 6 years ago | (#22073206)

Aren't scientists (the Environmental Sciences kind) the ones wanting to pass laws to restrict what I can buy/drive?

Face it, everybody has a bit of control freak in them. There's nothing someone likes more than to make someone else jump through hoops-- that's why our society has so many hoops. Doesn't matter if they're a scientist or not.

Re:Once again we see (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22073272)

Yep it's exactly the same thing...it's attempting to deny someone a voice because you think they're wrong. I personally would prefer to argue about the subject and discuss it seeing all sides bring their viewpoints, wrong or right, to the table. That let's me make my own decision having heard all sides. Call me crazy but I trust my own judgment of what's bigoted or stupid rather than yours, let me hear it and then decide for myself.

Re:Once again we see (5, Interesting)

Erioll (229536) | more than 6 years ago | (#22072796)

In a local article about this, I read that a former Pope FOUNDED the school, which I find quite ironic.

Re:Once again we see (1)

Joe Jay Bee (1151309) | more than 6 years ago | (#22072798)

There's shouting at someone because you disagree with their position, and shouting them down because their position is widely respected and mimicked despite having no rational basis in reality.

True, reasoned dialogue is what everyone should be aiming for, but they aren't doing it to censure someone else's views, merely to avoid a pointlessly irrational viewpoint to be expounded at length.

Re:Once again we see (1, Insightful)

Hogwash McFly (678207) | more than 6 years ago | (#22072804)

You shouldn't be so open-minded that your brain falls out.

Re:Once again we see (0)

N3WBI3 (595976) | more than 6 years ago | (#22072904)

Letting someone speak is *not* being open minded its being tolerant. I dont care if you stick your fingers in your ears so you *dont* hear what they have to say but when you attempt to deny them a venu to speak to others you are not tolerant..

Re:Once again we see (1)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 6 years ago | (#22073058)

I'm not going to give resources to someone to allow them to speak nonsense. It would seem as if I were at least tacitly giving credence to their theories. You aren't about to give a lecture hall to the guy on the corner yelling about the sky falling, are you? Why should you give a lecture hall to the Pope to say things that are equally insane, simply because he's a figurehead?

Re:Once again we see (3, Funny)

spun (1352) | more than 6 years ago | (#22072876)

That its only Christians and conservatives who are intolerant... Its not like a rational scientist or tolerant liberal would shout down someone they disagree with... /sarc
SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT UP!

Re:Once again we see (1)

Elentari (1037226) | more than 6 years ago | (#22072976)

This isn't the product of intolerance; the scientists in question do not seem to want a religious representative being given a podium within the walls of their educational facility, which is understandable, as I have yet to see a Physicist guest-speaking in church.

Re:Once again we see (3, Interesting)

Obfuscant (592200) | more than 6 years ago | (#22073260)

Universities are intended to provide a well-rounded education and a forum for debating issues and ideas. Churches are not. They serve radically different purposes.

To say that religious discussion at a University is unwelcome because scientific lectures are not welcome in church services is displaying both ignorance of the functions of both venues and intolerance.

Our local Uni regularly has theological discussions open to the public. It drives our local token athiest nuts, but at least people get to hear the ideas and judge for themselves.

Re:Once again we see (2, Insightful)

AaxelB (1034884) | more than 6 years ago | (#22073226)

Exactly. I've always said the truly tolerant must tolerate intolerance.

Of course, that means it's a pain in the ass to be truly tolerant, so I'd settle for being "mostly tolerant" or something like that.

neither will I tolerate defecation in my kitchen (1)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 6 years ago | (#22073228)

intolerant
Ratzinger: "an ancient human and Christian system of reference [...] has the right to remain faithful to its method of preserving the earth in relation to human dignity"

FTFA: Cini also recalled a colloquium on Darwin held by Benedict in September 2006 in which the "intelligent design" movement was given precedence over the theory of evolution.
"The Church can no longer use pyres or corporal punishment," [...] Cini said of Benedict on Thursday: "By cancelling, he is playing the victim, which is very intelligent. It will be a pretext for accusing us of refusing dialogue."

Re:Once again we see (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22073330)

Its not like a rational scientist or tolerant liberal would shout down someone they disagree with...

There's a difference between shouting someone down and not inviting them to your wedding.

From what I understand, the pope was (rather inappropriately) invited to an event that fell more in the wedding category and less in the academic debate category. I suspect that there would be a huge number of academic scientists who would be rather pleased to have the pope invited to an event where they had an opportunity to stand up and challenge the validity of his ideas.

So what does he want? (5, Insightful)

Jerry Coffin (824726) | more than 6 years ago | (#22072738)

The protest against the visit was spearheaded by physicist Marcello Cini who wrote the rector complaining of an 'incredible violation" of the university's autonomy. Cini said of Benedict's cancellation: 'By canceling, he is playing the victim, which is very intelligent. It will be a pretext for accusing us of refusing dialogue.'"

Let's see. He asks that the visit be canceled. The visit gets canceled. Then he complains about the visit having been canceled.

This sounds like the guy's ready to complain no matter what happens.

Re:So what does he want? (1)

N3WBI3 (595976) | more than 6 years ago | (#22072790)

Of course he was but its ok its an anti-catholic thing (no I'm not Catholic).. I

Re:So what does he want? (1)

riseoftheindividual (1214958) | more than 6 years ago | (#22072880)

That's the main thing that stuck out in the article for me. That and he is printed in something called "the communist daily II manifesto", but I'm sure that has nothing to do with it. :rollseyes

Re:So what does he want? (1)

Dan East (318230) | more than 6 years ago | (#22072916)

Quite right. The logical thing for him to have done was kept the protest simmering down low so the Pope wouldn't be scared off. Then, while the Pope was giving his speech, he could have stood up and made a big scene, and refuse to leave when confronted by security. Then he would have to be physically removed, which would likely result in a good tasering. While being tased he could have made some pathetic, whiny statement like "Don't tase me bro!" to increase public sympathy. Of course it would all be caught on video, which would quickly propagate all over the net. Thus he could have played the victim, while the Pope could only stand there impotently surrounded by his mean bodyguards.

Well, I guess there is one big flaw with that. The venue wasn't going to be here in the United States, so the whole tasering thing wouldn't have happened in the first place.

Oh, and Marcello Cini doesn't have a future as a politician - you have to be far more subtle and clever than that.

Dan East

Re:So what does he want? (1)

Otter (3800) | more than 6 years ago | (#22073028)

While being tased he could have made some pathetic, whiny statement like "Don't tase me bro!" to increase public sympathy.

Nonlo tazeri, fratello!

Re:So what does he want? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22072942)

It's not as simple as that. The pope wanted to come, make a speech and leave. No questions allowed, no debate. The physicists wanted to be able to respond and have a proper debate on his stance on scientific issues in general if he was to come at all. By backing off, the pope paints himself as the victim, avoiding a debate that would make him look like the medieval remain that he is.
This has cause a big stir because, in general, the Italian political system is completely captive to the Vatican. Every day the media reports any move of word of the pope no matter how minor. Any talk show always has at least a priest as a guest. The church has huge properties and pays no taxes. The church get 0.08% of the tax collected unless one goes to great lengths to direct it somewhere else et.c etc.

Re:So what does he want? (1)

omris (1211900) | more than 6 years ago | (#22072956)

i got the impression FTA that it was a small faculty thing, then some students got their fingers in it, and it got much bigger.

having a small demonstration when he was there would have acually made some sense. a few professors to point out that the church has spent hundreds of years trying to subjugate science, who would probably then want to listen carefully to everything he said so they could explain exactly where the fallacies in his reasoning were. it's what i would have done.

but it probably got huge when some angsty student types got ahold of the idea, and didn't realize that the plan wasn't to make him not come, just to point and laugh when his "reasoning" fell flat. but he had the out and took it. now the scientists who started it look like the assholes, who wouldn't allow the pope to make a speech.

passion really can be overly abundant.

just my two cents.

Big Deal (4, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 6 years ago | (#22072750)

Why the hell should any science department give a rat's ass what any religious leader has to say? Does the Pope have any degrees in any sciences? Does he have any expertise, academic or otherwise that would apply in any way, shape or form, to the sciences?

Re:Big Deal (5, Insightful)

LordKazan (558383) | more than 6 years ago | (#22072814)

No he doesn't have any expertise, no he doesn't have any degrees in sciences - yet millions of people still think he knows more about science than the greatest experts in the various fields of science

Re:Big Deal (1)

easyTree (1042254) | more than 6 years ago | (#22072946)

If the whole of humanity were a single person, science is using your senses to walk around the world whereas religion is closing your eyes, ears etc. and sitting still for ever.

Re:Big Deal (1)

smaddox (928261) | more than 6 years ago | (#22073282)

That isn't entirely true.

It might be true of mainstream religion now-a-days. They were originally formed to explain phenomenon (most importantly life and death) that had not been explained.

However, today they are supported by people who don't care about the true explanation. These people prefer an explanation that goes like this: "It is so because God says it is so. You must BELIEVE this or you will have something bad happen to you." Only un-inquisitive types believe these types of explanations.

Of course, then there are still the inquisitive people who have "belief" so deep rooted in their mind, that they will never change.

I prefer to take nothing for granted. Never make assumptions, and you will never be wrong. Then again, perhaps there is no objective truth, in which case no one is right. I don't "believe" that either, though.

Re:Big Deal (4, Informative)

Foobar of Borg (690622) | more than 6 years ago | (#22073100)

yet millions of people still think he knows more about science than the greatest experts in the various fields of science
Um, Catholics don't care what the Pope has to say about scientific matters, nor is it relevant to his position. He is only considered infallible on issues of faith and morals, and even then it is only when it is done in an official capacity (ex cathedra as it is called). I think you are confusing the Pope with some nutter like Pat Robertson. Catholicism != Modern American fundie Evangelicalism.

Re:Big Deal (1)

flaming error (1041742) | more than 6 years ago | (#22073320)

> Why the hell should any science department give a rat's ass
You're right, of course. Mostly.

The history here was that this Ratzinger fellow seems to support how his Church treated Galileo Galilei. So Galileo fans, and inhabitants of the 21st century, are understandably perturbed.

Also, some religious leaders have great influence over their followers. If a leader drops the right hint, some followers would happily expedite the death of, say, Danish cartoonists, or maybe a certain Indian author.

But, however despicable a character, I don't understand their not letting him come. One lesson they might have learned from Galileo is that science and censorship don't mix.

Violation of autonomy? Dialog? WTH? (3, Interesting)

ajs (35943) | more than 6 years ago | (#22072754)

OK, I think the previous comments were off-the-hook, and indicated just how conservative this new pope is when compared with the previous. That said, I'm not sure what the physicist in question was trying to accomplish.

Did he want the Pope to visit? Why complain when he cancels? He pretty much admits that any move the Pope made would have been viewed as some sort of ploy or insult. And he complains about the Pope not wanting a dialog? And what dialog? Why does the Pope need a dialog with this University?!

Re:Violation of autonomy? Dialog? WTH? (0, Offtopic)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 6 years ago | (#22072820)

He probably doesn't like the pope using GUIs, atleast, thats the only reason he'd care about his dialogs. Of course, if he wants to speak to him or not, thats a matter of dialogue. dialog = computer terminology for a window or something of that sort dialogue = a conversational act Now, no one point out what I fucked up in this post, I've never got to be a grammar/spelling Nazi before!

Re:Violation of autonomy? Dialog? WTH? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22073134)

Did he want the Pope to visit? - No.

Why complain when he cancels? - He isn't complaining. He is just saying, in a poorly worded way, that the Pope will use the protesting to make them (the university physicists) look like the bad guys, rather than church.

Irony (-1, Troll)

burtosis (1124179) | more than 6 years ago | (#22072764)

Religon and rational thought can go together. The bible really is infalliable and contains nuthin' but true facts that can only be understood it it's native english. If only they could communicate as clearly as in the old days I'm sure the issue would be dead. Everything all fits togher nicely as long as you only look at small bits at once.

Re:Irony (0)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 6 years ago | (#22072924)

I really hope you were joking, but in the event that you weren't....
Bible infallible? Really? How much flamebait did you want to push? Also, I'd love to find out about your answer to how we came from Adam and Eve and yet our entire human race didn't die off from inbreeding resulting thereof?

Please, I'm tolerant of religion. Do what you want. Don't bother me. But don't dare shove it in my face, or I'm going to give to you in the form of a UFIA. Cept replace the F with fist, or flying spaghetti monster.

If we didn't have religion, people would have one less chance to believe that things "simply can't be explained" and might actually have to realize that you have to figure out how to live your life, and that religion can, at best, only be a guideline for life thousands of years ago. [msn.com] Here, today, 2008, it just doesn't work. The only positives from religion are to be of tolerance and compassion for others. If you ask me though, I believe! [venganza.org]

Flaimbait article (4, Insightful)

pembo13 (770295) | more than 6 years ago | (#22072774)

with almost no relevance to Slashdot as there isn't even a specific technology in question here.

MOD PARENT UP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22072926)

SLASHDOT IS JUST STIRRING THE SHIT AGAIN

cmdrtaco and his bloody holy warz!!!

Reason: Don't use so many caps. It's like YELLING.

Re:Flaimbait article (1)

Sponge Bath (413667) | more than 6 years ago | (#22073090)

There were scientists involved and TFA mentioned Galileo...
isn't that enough to make a nerdling stand on its hind legs and make excited chittering noises?

So rest assured, due to the diligence of /. editors, this story is very relevant and this post is completely on topic.

Mecca and Medina (3, Insightful)

iamacat (583406) | more than 6 years ago | (#22072830)

Since when are religious people prohibited from "entering secular institutions"? This smacks of muslim holy sites. An intelligent scientist welcomes a chance to meet any prominent individual, even if they don't subscribe to each other's theories.

In any case, there is currently no unified theory that explains the connection of the spiritual realm ("soul") and physical world. Certainly there are dependencies (healthy body leads to healthy mind), but this still doesn't explain how we "feel" about the various chemical and electric processes going on in our brains. It only makes sense to study spirituality based on spiritual methods just like we study science scientifically. Perhaps some day we will discover more details about the connection between these two realms, but until then the two groups should just get off each others' backs.

Re:Mecca and Medina (5, Insightful)

Creedo (548980) | more than 6 years ago | (#22072998)

In any case, there is currently no unified theory that explains the connection of the spiritual realm ("soul") and physical world.
Here, let me fix that for you: In any case, there is currently no evidence of the spiritual realm ("soul")...

Re:Mecca and Medina (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22073046)

In any case, there is currently no unified theory that explains the connection of the spiritual realm ("soul") and physical world.
You've begged the question by assuming that there is such a thing as "the spiritual realm" or "the soul".

Certainly there are dependencies (healthy body leads to healthy mind), but this still doesn't explain how we "feel" about the various chemical and electric processes going on in our brains. It only makes sense to study spirituality based on spiritual methods just like we study science scientifically.
Neuroscience and evolutionary psychology have taken us quite far into understanding what leads to our perceptions, emotions, and reactions. There are many scientists who are actively pursuing how to scientifically explain the origin of all these feelings. So I'm not sure such questions are as divorced from science as you claim.

Yes, I understand the counter-argument that science can explain the origin of those feelings, but cannot explain "how it feels" or "what it means to feel that." The usual argument is that those questions are then the domain of spirituality or religion. However it should be noted that the existence of "meaning" beyond what can be measured and/or predicted is itself debated. See, for example, the philosophical disagreements about qualia [wikipedia.org].

It only makes sense to study spirituality based on spiritual methods just like we study science scientifically.
It's worth noting that some people (e.g. Sam Harris [wikipedia.org]) are actually calling for spirituality to be studied scientifically, in order to learn more about the human condition and in order to rationally work towards human happiness.

I don't claim to have all the answers here... I'm merely pointing out that it isn't a foregone conclusion that there is "something" (spirituality, etc.) that is actually beyond the realm of science. (Note that I do of course agree that science cannot decide things like ethics. Personal choices will always remain separate, but there again ethics doesn't require spirituality/religion/explanation.)

Re:Mecca and Medina (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22073076)

Oh come on. Religions don't have any explanation for the mind/brain connection and few belabor the point as much as you have anyway. Religions are about papal indulgences, quashing other religions, controlling the proletariat, and pretending to have answers to difficult questions as a pretense to authority. All of which are transparent b.s.

There is no god (or gods) of any kind. It's a ridiculous concept.
You don't have an eternal soul. When your body dies, your consciousness dies with it.

I know this is depressing and a lot of people can't face up to the actual pointlessness of life but that doesn't mean the rest of us have to put up with centuries-old lies.

Re:Mecca and Medina (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 6 years ago | (#22073312)

Life isn't pointless unless you let it be so. Sure, there's no overarching Universal principle that governs our lives and controls our destinies, other than the physics involved (ha ... thank God for that) but that doesn't mean that our lives have to be meaningless. Frankly, my life has more meaning than it would if I subscribed to all the monomaniacal metaphysical malarkey spewed by the Pope and others like him, more relevance than if I were just a small cog in the God machine. That's because I know that this is it, I have one shot at life, and I can focus on making the most of what I am in the here-and-now. Accepting that the Universe is a vast, unforgiving place with our Earth the only known bright spot shouldn't make one bitter or afraid, it should make one realize the value of what we have. We are special, if nothing else because there's so few of us in so much emptiness, not because we're some Supreme Being's organic pets.

Maybe if people paid more attention to who they are, rather than what they might be after they're dead and buried, the world might be a better place.

Re:Mecca and Medina (1)

Schraegstrichpunkt (931443) | more than 6 years ago | (#22073188)

It only makes sense to study spirituality based on spiritual methods just like we study science scientifically.

WTF? You don't study "science" unless you're an anthropologist or a high-school student. What "spiritual methods" are well-accepted and *reliable*?

Re:Mecca and Medina (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 6 years ago | (#22073200)

Could you provide some evidence that this notion of "spiritual" even exists?

What you're describing is pretty the root of all quackery; homeopathy, Chinese traditional "medicine", witchcraft and Windows device driver programming.

Re:Mecca and Medina (1)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 6 years ago | (#22073212)

Science is not limited to "sciency" things. Science is a process of understanding the world around us. There's nothing magic about it. There's no way to test for a "soul", so it's outside the scope of science. But if you noticed from your own rantings, you've basically assumed that such a thing exists, which is even further outside of the scientific method. An "intelligent scientist" would tell you to shut up, listen, read a bit and start understanding before you opened your mouth again.

Spiritual thought has no place in a scientific organization, as it is inherently untestable, and therefore un-sciency. Go ahead, "study" spirituality through spiritual methods. Just don't claim it's as valid as using the Scientific Method [wikipedia.org].

Next we ban Santa Claus (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22072838)

Oh come on - the Pope is a figure of universal acceptance and love.
Banning the Pope today from speaking at a University because of what was done to Galileo 400 years ago is the thinest of all possible excuses for blatant anti-religious prejudice.

It is just mean spirited narrow-minded and wrong.

There are religious people who, as we speak, are cutting off peoples heads for being of the "wrong" faith, and putting women in prison for being the victims of rape. And yet their representatives get to speak at Universities.

This situation is just preposterous.

Re:Next we ban Santa Claus (3, Interesting)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 6 years ago | (#22072958)

Oh come on - the Pope is a figure of universal acceptance and love.


This is Ratzinger we're talking about here. He's not even a figure of universal acceptance in love *within* the Church, let alone outside it. He's considered a stiff, uncompromising, ultra-conservative with all the delusions of his predecessor but none of the charm.

Banning the Pope today from speaking at a University because of what was done to Galileo 400 years ago is the thinest of all possible excuses for blatant anti-religious prejudice.


No, it's a statement by Galileo's intellectual heirs that the Church committed a crime, and that the current Pope is one of those group of modern Catholic apologists who are trying to make the Church look good.

It is just mean spirited narrow-minded and wrong.

There are religious people who, as we speak, are cutting off peoples heads for being of the "wrong" faith, and putting women in prison for being the victims of rape. And yet their representatives get to speak at Universities.

This situation is just preposterous.


Indeed, I don't think a guy who claims to get his instructions from God has any business showing up at a university.

Re:Next we ban Santa Claus (1)

BagMan2 (112243) | more than 6 years ago | (#22073114)

Universities are about learning, not necessarily about science. Most major universities have entire departments devoted to the study of religion and history. I wouldn't expect a religious leader to speak to the physics departments per se, but for the physics department to try to ban him from coming to the University at all is ridiculous.

Re:Next we ban Santa Claus (1)

Schraegstrichpunkt (931443) | more than 6 years ago | (#22073232)

Except the pope wasn't banned. A relatively small group told him that he wasn't welcome, and he cancelled his speech in a huff.

Apparently he only goes where he is universally liked. It sounds like some wannabe-management types who surround themselves with yes-men: They're always useless.

Padre Ratzinger the Pederaster (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22072858)

it's just as well. He will only stay at home and molest some little boys.

The Galileo Myth (5, Informative)

geoffrobinson (109879) | more than 6 years ago | (#22072934)

http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=OWU5ZDk3NGY3OGI4NDY1OTdmNzc2NmEzYjUzZWQxNWE= [nationalreview.com]

The story of Galileo is a tad more complicated than the simplistic version we're used to. I'm no Roman Catholic, but this meme needs to be corrected.

Re:The Galileo Myth (1)

daeley (126313) | more than 6 years ago | (#22073176)

The story of Galileo is a tad more complicated than the simplistic version we're used to. I'm no Roman Catholic, but this meme needs to be corrected.

The story of Jesus is a tad more complicated than the simplistic version we're used to. I'm no Roman Catholic, but this meme needs to be corrected. ;)

Re:The Galileo Myth (0, Offtopic)

goofyspouse (817551) | more than 6 years ago | (#22073284)

From your link:

Galileo's James Carville was no preacher, but a scientist named Schreiner (it helps if you say his name the way Seinfeld says "Neumann").
If this guy has difficulty getting facts straight about modern references (It was "Newman", not "Neumann"), how can we trust his accounting of details from the distant past? Just a thought.

That, and the word "meme" just annoys the crap out of me. Everybody...stop using it. Yuck.

So Have Him Clarify (1)

MBCook (132727) | more than 6 years ago | (#22072948)

The Catholic Church has declared public that they know they were wrong with Galileo. They can't listen to this man? Having him walk on their grounds stops them from being autonomous? That simple act forces them to bend to his will? I didn't realize the leader of my faith had that kind of power. I'd think we'd have more followers if that was the case.

You don't have to agree with all his points of view. Let him come. Ask him to clarify his statement (made 17 years ago). Debate him. Don't just exclude him. It's not like he's saying the holocaust didn't exist. The church has already admitted they were wrong.

I can't agree with this. Am I the only one who thinks this makes the scientists who signed on look petty?

It's great when institutions of higher learning show opposing viewpoints and respectful debate. Wait...

Re:So Have Him Clarify (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 6 years ago | (#22073072)

Why are you under the impression (delusion) that the Pope is going to involve himself in any such debate?

Not surprising (4, Insightful)

dedazo (737510) | more than 6 years ago | (#22072952)

While I am the first to admit that religions have a good side, the amount of damage (direct and indirect) that has been perpetrated on humanity in the name of vague ethereal omnipotent beings is so stunning that very few people even realize it. But we shouldn't be surprised at Ratzinger's stance, even if we say to ourselves that it's the 21st century and what are these people smoking? The catholic church is desperate to hold on to its constituency and one of the ways to do that is to harden their stance on issues like these. You see, the vast majority of catholics in the world are poor, uneducated people for whom religion is a refuge from the usually harsh reality of existence. By essentially going back in time, Ratzinger is clinging to the good old days where the Holy Church was always right even if it was wrong, because it derives its wisdom from divinity. This in turn reaffirms the trust that people place in the church's judgment.

Ratzinger was elected for two very specific reasons. First, he is already old so he won't spend 30 years on the throne. That's important to the church hierarchy because they don't want another John Paul II setting policy for that long and progressively going soft on them. The second is that he's essentially a hardcore, old-school catholic. You'll see a lot more of this crap in the next few years, along with a resurgence of the more traditional major and minor orders within the church organization, slowly displacing the more enlightened groups that gained a lot of power during John Paul's tenure.

We'll have to wait about a decade or so to see if this new angle will work for them. Personally I don't think it will. The world has largely moved on. But so much power (most of it very subtle) concentrated in the hands of a group of people who think it wasn't so bad to punish people for claiming that earth is not the center of the universe cannot be good. To paraphrase someone, it's not God I dislike - it's his fan club that scares the crap out of me.

Re:Not surprising (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 6 years ago | (#22073008)

The Church smells trouble in the future. We're already seeing the Anglican Communion busting to pieces, and I think the Church hierarchy are all too aware of the dangers that await them. You're right that Ratzinger was chosen because he won't be a long-term Pope. It gives them a chance to figure out what to do next, and just as importantly to get a few years beyond the cult of personality that was fostered around JPII.

Re:Not surprising (1)

Jhon (241832) | more than 6 years ago | (#22073292)

While I am the first to admit that religions have a good side, the amount of damage (direct and indirect) that has been perpetrated on humanity in the name of vague ethereal omnipotent beings is so stunning that very few people even realize it.
I think there's a pretty good argument that much of the "damage perpetrated on humanity" wasn't due to "vague ethereal ... beings", but more often then not those "vague etherel ... beings" were used as an excuse. Much of that damage was due to resources and or control.

Basically: "We need water. They have water. They aren't real people like us, so we'll take it." Hell, have you seen how the US portrayed japanese and Germans during WWII? It's easier to kill people who aren't "real people".

So... whats the solution? Ban resources? Ban land? Ban food? Those have been the "direct" cause of much of this damage you speak of.

IMPORTANT CONSIDERATIONS and a VIDEO (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22073084)

Cini said of Benedict's cancellation: 'By canceling, he is playing the victim, which is very intelligent. It will be a pretext for accusing us of refusing dialogue.
I am actually in La Sapienza university. I'm following the unfortunate unfolding of the events. The Pope cancelled the partecipation to avoid confrontation between the police and the "students" willing to "siege" (Their words http://it.youtube.com/watch?v=U6hfyz4LuIY [youtube.com] ) the Aula Magna where the meeting was scheduled. The decision came after the "students" occupied the Rectorate.

More than refusing dialogue it looks to many of us as the Pope was forced not to be present under the menace of riots: One of the students stated "THERE IS NO DIALOGUE WITH THAT INDIVIDUAL" and the leader in his speech claimed the presence of many other collective outsiders to participate in the event to make it as much inhospitable as possible to the Pope. Last image is the invasion of the rectorate and a meal served outside the premises.

I am disgusted to be italian in the same university as those.

I'm disgusted as well to be forced to post as AC because they are VIOLENT-RED-FASCISTS supported by squatters in the SanLorenzo suburb next to the university.

Real bias? (4, Insightful)

mkiwi (585287) | more than 6 years ago | (#22073088)

I'm theologically on the side of the scientists on all these issues, but I cannot fault the pope's conduct here. Many scientists are pushing atheism as the new religion and they seem to want to force everyone to accept it. Just because someone disagrees with you doesn't mean they should not be heard- that has never been a good reason to silence someone. Silencing is the way of Hilter, Stalin, and others. It's exactly what the church did centuries ago to scientists and now its redeveloping on the other side of the coin. Just because religion isn't considered a pure science doesn't mean that it has intrinsic value in its morals/teachings/beliefs.


I would hope that people see that this University is not representative of the broader intellectual community.

Re:Real bias? (4, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 6 years ago | (#22073128)

Perhaps you could cite where any scientist is pushing atheism as the new religion. How would atheism be a new religion, neither being new nor a religion?

Dialogue (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22073098)

It is funny to me how they call it dialogue. Dialogue to me is not a one way communication or a speach.

Did the event provide an opportunity for dissent? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22073122)

Universities hold a range of events. In certain events, such as panel discussions of controversial topics, it is entirely appropriate for the invited guest(s) to be challenged (or even denounced) as to the validity of their ideas - both by other invited guests and by the audience in general. In other events, such as university festivities and celebrations (e.g. commencement), it is entirely not appropriate to challenge (or denounce) the invited speakers ideas.

Generally, in events where it is not appropriate to challenge or denounce the speaker, the speaker should be chosen to represent some aspect of the shared mission of the university. That is, it is a responsibility of the university administration to avoid inviting controversial speakers to university celebrations where there is no opportunity for dissent.

Maybe some slashdot reader associated with La Sapienza can clarify this but my understanding was that the pope was invited to speak at an event where there were no opportunities to challenge the pope on the validity of his ideas. With this in mind, the pope seems to have been an exceptionally poor choice of speaker. I don't necessarily fault the pope for being invited, or even for (initially) accepting the invitiation - but someone in the university administration really messed up and, in my view, deserves to face some serious consequences.

what is this babble? (2, Insightful)

superwiz (655733) | more than 6 years ago | (#22073210)

The faith does not grow from resentment and the rejection of rationality, but from its fundamental affirmation, and from being rooted in a still greater form of reason.
The very definition of "faith" is believing without having a need for reason. He claims that it results from a great deal of reasoning? Well, at the point that all this great deal of reasoning has occurred and things began to be taken on faith, the reason was suspended. So faith still began (and will always begin) where reason stops.

Re:what is this babble? (1)

chromatic (9471) | more than 6 years ago | (#22073300)

The very definition of "faith" is believing without having a need for reason.

I take it you're not a Latin scholar. Explore the word fides sometime.

No decent person should welcome the pope (1, Insightful)

Yahweh Doesn't Exist (906833) | more than 6 years ago | (#22073244)

aside from justifying the horrors done by others he has plenty of his own.

his signature is all over the documents authorising the cover up of child-raping priests. he would be in jail if not for the diplomatic immunity he has as head of state for Vatican City.

the policy he implemented would be to have another priest hear the child-raping-priest's confession, thereby satisfying the need for justice in god's eyes. the raped child would then be told that since catholic confession is a sacrament, any discussion of what had happened to them with parents, police, councillors etc. would violate the sanctity of confession and the *child* would then burn forever in hell. the catholic church has now spent over $1 billion in America alone in compensation because for all their goodness they couldn't recognise that raping children was not a Good Thing.

this is also the pope that labelled a comedian who publically disagreed with him a "terrorist".

something rotten ? (1)

Atreide (16473) | more than 6 years ago | (#22073278)

Pope's coming, what a shame !

Pope's not coming, what a shame !

Only God can do a miracle and save Pope in this kind of situation by providing someting and its contrary still having everyone happy.

Well something's rotten in Rome's La Sapienza university.
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