Mailvox: in which we hear from Densa

Clearly the world needs a club to honor those intrepid commenters who don’t let their possession of sub-68 IQs stand in the way of taking part in the grand democratic discourse that is the Internet. Here are three magnificent examples:

“I am extremely disturbed by your complete lack of compassion. I am cursed with the knowledge that all life is one, and it is terrible to know that there are people like you who believe that I will suffer horribly for eternity, and that you are okay with that. And you think of yourself as being ‘righteous’. And some people believe you. My tears will never run dry.”

First, this is absolutely false. One will search eight years of columns and 8,313 posts on this blog in vain for any evidence that I think of myself as being righteous or even ‘righteous’. As a Christian, I know perfectly well that I am not righteous because no one is or has ever been righteous except for the Son of Man. And more importantly, any righteousness that is achieved though him is on offer to everyone. It’s true, I am perfectly okay with people drowning because they are too proud to grab onto the lifeline and burning to death because they reject the idea that the building is on fire. Because if God has troubled to grant them free will, who am I to wish to take it from them? Why should anyone feel any compassion for those who are willfully, pridefully, and unnecessarily embracing their own destruction?

I am extremely sympathetic to the doubters, to the skeptics, and to those who seek and have not yet found. But I have only contempt for those who refuse to see the abyss yawning ahead of them because they are too busy looking back and down at their noses at everyone else, all the while crowing how stupid they all are for going a different way.

Jared Diamond’s argument makes perfect sense. Of course early humans living on what we now call continental Europe were the most environmentally advantaged in the world at the time by having more indigenous domesticable animal and plant species. Wild pigs and sheep were simply easier to domesticate than Africa’s lions or wildebeasts. How hard is this to understand?

It is hard to understand because it doesn’t align temporally with recorded human history. If “early humans living on what we now call continental Europe were the most environmentally advantaged in the world at the time”, it would be inexplicable how continental European civilization should have remained so stubbornly backward in comparison with various non-European civilizations such as the Sumerian, Assyrian, Egyptian, Babylonian, Persian, Chinese, Japanese, and even Mayan civilizations. Even if one cites Greek civilization, in which case one is primarily referring to Athenian society, the Diamond hypothesis doesn’t explain how Hellenic accomplishments eluded what is by far the greater part of continental Europe.

“The church wasn’t persecuting anyone ‘using a scientific or medical process’. No one. Not even Galileo.” …is one of the biggest pieces of nonsense I’ve seen in awhile. No, Galileo wasn’t put in a prison cell, but he was absolutely persecuted for heresy by the Inquisition of the Catholic Church for his writing in support of the Copernican model of heliocentrism and put on house arrest for the remainder of his life. This is well-documented. I’ve heard Christians do lots of revisionist history, but this is a new one to me. Holy crap.

Actually, that is accurate history, not revisionist. Notice how he does not cite a single example of an individual persecuted for using a scientific or medical process, mostly because there aren’t any. As for Galileo, he was not prosecuted for writing in support of the Catholic ecclesiastic’s model of heliocentrism, whose book had been in the possession of every major mathematician and astronomer for the 90 years prior to Galileo’s trial. Even Wikipedia is clear on the reason Galileo found himself in hot water.

The book, “Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems”, was published in 1632, with formal authorization from the Inquisition and papal permission…. Pope Urban VIII had personally asked Galileo to give arguments for and against heliocentrism in the book, and to be careful not to advocate heliocentrism. He made another request, that his own views on the matter be included in Galileo’s book. Only the latter of those requests was fulfilled by Galileo. Whether unknowingly or deliberately, Simplicio, the defender of the Aristotelian Geocentric view in “Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems”, was often caught in his own errors and sometimes came across as a fool. Indeed, although Galileo states in the preface of his book that the character is named after a famous Aristotelian philosopher (Simplicius in Latin, Simplicio in Italian), the name “Simplicio” in Italian also has the connotation of “simpleton.”[99] This portrayal of Simplicio made “Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems” appear as an advocacy book: an attack on Aristotelian geocentrism and defence of the Copernican theory. Unfortunately for his relationship with the Pope, Galileo put the words of Urban VIII into the mouth of Simplicio.

So Galileo disobeyed and betrayed the Pope, then publicly attacked him and made him look like a fool. The fact that Galileo wasn’t simply beheaded on the spot, as would have likely been the case if he had treated any other medieval ruler this way, is testimony to how reasonable the Roman Inquisition was. The most ridiculous thing about the attempt to cite the Galileo incident as proof that the Christianity is anti-science is that geocentrism was a pagan concept while heliocentrism was developed by a Christian canon who took Church orders and may have been a full priest.