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I am a former middle and high school science teacher pursuing a doctorate in Science Ed. at George Mason University, with a concentration in cognitive science and the evolution of cognition and learning. Postings on this blog represent my own views, not those of my employer or school. All writing displayed on this page is original work unless otherwise noted, and thus copyrighted.

17 September 2010

And Darth Ratty would know...

Pope Joseph Ratzinger has declared that the "extreme atheism" in UK and other places is akin to Nazism. No, really, Godwin's law has come to life, and of all people to make the comparison, it happens to be someone who was a member of the Hitler Youth and the German Army circa 1944. Compulsory or not, you might think someone that had those experiences would be a tad more tactful in invoking the analogy.
     Let's talk about this...
   We can leave aside the previous experiences of the Pope, but a rudimentary examination of his comments reveals a few very obvious errors.
  1) "The tyrannical rule of the Nazis sought to eliminate God." Since the motto on WWII German belt buckles was Gott mit Uns (literally 'God is with Us'), it seems rather unlikely that a political party that had the express consent and collaboration of the Catholic Church was seeking to eliminate religion from anything. Feel free to make comparisons to whatever Marxist regime you please, but the Nazis used the church to their own ends and had no desire to eliminate it, especially since it was helping them to exterminate, well, everyone it wanted to exterminate. You might note that they were rather successful in that endeavour as well, but that's beside the point, if you don't wonder if they might have been less so if the church had chosen not to turn a blind eye (in official cases) or help (in a large number of cases. After all, these was the same religious organisation that condoned pogroms in Eastern Europe only a generation earlier.) The analogy falls apart on more important grounds as well; atheists, however extreme Ratty might consider actually speaking their mind to make them, can't be tyrannical because we aren't in power anywhere. The Christian persecution complex is fucking hilarious in this particular case, since they outnumber atheists in pretty much any nation of consequence and certainly those about which the old codger was speaking.
 2) The more important point: an organisation dedicated to spreading its point of view worldwide for the last millennium, responsible for several wars and more deaths than the Nazi regime to which it compared others (think Spanish missionaries here) has decided that atheists who choose to speak their mind are "imposing their views on others." Irony, thy name is Benedict.

  The British Humanist Association has already made a rather apt statement that I'll use to close this point, since I can't put it any better:

The notion that it is non-religious people in the UK today who want to force their views on others, coming from a man whose organisation exerts itself internationally to impose its narrow and exclusive form of morality and undermine the human rights of women, children, gay people and many others, is surreal.

   I'd wondered about the decision of the Catholic Church to put in power someone who was intimately associated with the Nazi Party and the former head of whatever the Inquisition calls itself these days, and frankly, I don't wonder now. If they agree with this man, they're absolutely bugfuck crazy, and at least they're making sure we can't mistake that fact.

 For a bit of geeky humour, see any similarities here?

1 comment:

  1. ...except it's all backwards. The Galactic Empire officially denied the existence of woo and supernaturalism even though they had its two foremost practitioners in the world on staff, while the Catholic Church goes out of their way to ridicule atheism and promote magic in a galaxy very, very close while led by a wicked old bigot whose only power is the ability to get anyone to believe this shit.