Vatican shifts on condoms

The Vatican has finally started to move in the right direction concerning condom use.

In a seismic shift on one of the most profound — and profoundly contentious — Roman Catholic teachings, the Vatican said Tuesday that condoms are the lesser of two evils when used to curb the spread of AIDS, even if their use prevents a pregnancy.

The position was an acknowledgment that the church’s long-held anti-birth control stance against condoms doesn’t justify putting lives at risk.

“This is a game-changer,” declared the Rev. James Martin, a prominent Jesuit writer and editor.

The new stance was staked out as the Vatican explained Pope Benedict XVI’s comments on condoms and HIV in a book that came out Tuesday based on his interview with a German journalist.

The Vatican still holds that condom use is immoral and that church doctrine forbidding artificial birth control remains unchanged. Still, the reassessment on condom use to help prevent disease carries profound significance, particularly in Africa where AIDS is rampant.

It would be nice if the next time I go to Africa, my travel doctor doesn’t specifically tell me, “Don’t have sex with the locals.” That’s a long way from happening, but at least the Vatican is doing less to make that dream stay so distant.

Discovery Institute is shut out; whines

The Vatican held another meeting trying to squeeze its tiny God into the ever shrinking gaps of reality as brought to us by science. (Apologies for the FOX Noise link, but it is an AP article.) Even though they have most things fully 1/2 wrong, them there Catholics do have some things entirely correct.

The Discovery Institute, the main organization supporting intelligent design research, says it was shut out from presenting its views because the meeting was funded in part by the John Templeton Foundation, a major U.S. nonprofit that has criticized the intelligent design movement.

Good. The Discovery Institute is filled with hacks who are purely motivated by religion, not science. They are, by definition, liars.

Organizers of the five-day conference at the Pontifical Gregorian University said Thursday that they barred intelligent design proponents because they wanted an intellectually rigorous conference on science, theology and philosophy to mark the 150th anniversary of Charles Darwin’s “The Origin of Species.”

The implication being – though not as eloquently as I am about to put it – is that people who actually think intelligent design is science are fucking mooks who have no idea what science actually is. Honestly. Can any IDist actually give one prediction made by intelligent design ‘theory‘? Does any IDist understand why his failure to do this is one of the major reasons intelligent design is not science?

Muslim creationists also complained about the conference.

Oktar Babuna, a representative of a prominent Turkish creationist, Harun Yahya, was denied the right to speak at the opening session Tuesday.

Notice this says “right to speak”. I assume this is in the same sense that I have a right to swing my fists. That right ends once it impedes someone else’s liberty. At that point, we no longer refer to my fist-swinging as a right: harassing, dangerous, disturbing, etc, perhaps we call it one of these, but certainly not a right. So surely Babuna couldn’t have been figuratively swinging his fists with his gaping mouth of creationist inanity, correct? After all, he was denied a right, not the ability to harass people or spew dumb, disturbing ideas of stupidity.

Participants took the microphone away from Babuna when, during a question-and-answer session, he challenged them to give proof of transitional forms of animals in Darwinian evolution.

Organizers said he hadn’t formulated a question and was just stating his point of view.

Babuna said afterward that the conference was clearly undemocratic. A statement from Yahya said, “Although there are discussion parts, they want this discussion to be one-sided.”

Surprise. It looks like Babuna took his verbal fists and started throwing them around the conference. It’s fortunate there’s no muscle to back them up.

Scientists can keep pointing to these fossils, but creationists just keep asking the same question over and over. They’re like little kids who keep asking their parents “why?” no matter what the answer. They aren’t actually seeking any information, truth, or answers; they just want attention because no one takes their childish ideas seriously.