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    Festival Of Idiots #7: Pope Benedict XVI For Putting Dogma Before The Truth
    By Josh Witten | March 27th 2009 02:01 PM | 12 comments | Print | E-mail | Track Comments
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    POPE BENEDICT XVI (aka Benny Four-Square)
    Benny Four-Square
    We will not accept the Pope being made the object of mockery and offence, in the media or elsewhere
            - Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, Archbishop of Genoa
    Cardinal Bagnasco, if you find mockery of His Holiness so unpalatable, you may want to advise him to stop making free with the stupid.  Oh, yeah, you may also want to stop reading now, because according to The Festival of Idiots management: 
    We will not accept the science being made the object of mockery and offence, by religious leaders or elsewhere
    As a result, we've decided to let His Papalness jump The Festival queue to gain free and instant admission*. 

    Let's be clear from the get-go, The Festival is not in the business of criticizing anyone's moral dogma, including that of the Roman Catholic Church.  Individuals and voluntary groups have a right to their own value judgments, no matter how wrong or ridiculous outsiders might think they are.  They are not, however, entitled to their own scientific knowledge or logic.  For example, we will not be criticizing His Pontifficity for the excommunication of a those who helped a 9-year old Brazilian rape victim terminate the resulting pregnancy, but not the rapist**.  This is a value judgment, not a question of science or logic. 

    Fans of The Creative Assembly's Medieval: Total War computer strategy games may know the Pope best as a meddling foreign potentate that whines at you and excommunicates you whenever you kick France's ass.  In the Information Age, the Pope has changed focus, becoming a meddling foreign potentate that undermines efforts to combat the spead of HIV in Africa. 

    During his recent trip to Africa, Benny Four-Square spake thusly on the topic of HIV:
     . . .a tragedy that cannot be overcome by money alone, that cannot be
    overcome through the distribution of condoms, which can even increase
    the problem. . .

            -Pope Benedict XVI (emphasis mine)
    Unfortunately, the CDC, based on scientific evidence, disagrees completely with the last part of this statement:
    Latex condoms, when used consistently and correctly, are highly effective
    in preventing heterosexual sexual transmission of HIV, the virus that causes
    AIDS. Research on the effectiveness of latex condoms in preventing heterosexual
    transmission is both comprehensive and conclusive. The ability of latex condoms
    to prevent transmission has been scientifically established in laboratory studies
    as well as in epidemiologic studies of uninfected persons at very high risk
    of infection because they were involved in sexual relationships with HIV-infected
    partners. The most recent meta-analysis of epidemiologic studies of condom
    effectiveness was published by Weller and Davis in 2004. This analysis refines
    and updates their previous report published in 1999. The analysis demonstrates
    that the consistent use of latex condoms provides a high degree of protection
    against heterosexual transmission of HIV.
            -The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
    As does The Lancet:
    . . .by saying that condoms exacerbate the problem of HIV/AIDS, the Pope has
    publicly distorted scientific evidence to promote Catholic doctrine on
    this issue.
            -The Lancet
    Had the comments been restricted to the the Catholic Church's position on the relative morality of condom use compared to the utility of condoms in disease prevention there would be no scientific issue.  Had the comments simply reiterated the effectiveness of practicing abstinence in HIV prevention, as opposed to making incorrect factual claims about condom use, His Infalliblness would have not found himself at loggerheads with science and the truth.
    It should be noted that condom use
    cannot provide absolute protection against HIV. The surest way to avoid transmission
    of HIV is to abstain from sexual intercourse or to be in a long-term mutually
    monogamous relationship with a partner who has been tested and you know is
    uninfected.
            -The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
    For promulgating scientific falsehoods to discourage condom use in a region devastated by the spread of HIV/AIDS from the bully pulpit of, well, the Papal pulpit , The Festival of Idiots is incredibly disappointed to have to welcome Pope Benedict XVI to the fold.

    *We were really just waiting for the UN to decide whether insulting the Pope constituted an international crime.  Fortunately for us, the UN decided not to ban "defamation of religion" this week.
    **Consider Benny Four-Square's well well-poisoned***.
    ***Not to be confused with poissonPoisson = delicious.  <>Poison = Not so much.

    Comments

    adaptivecomplexity
    Fortunately for us, the UN decided not to ban "defamation of religion" this week.
    That's a relief! I'd hate to see you sharing a cell with Radovan Karadžić.
    Mike
    I am proud of you young man. Very proud. Well written and sensitively articulated. The world's leaders are often frightening to behold. I applaud your clear-sighted beholdering. (I happened on this blog today. I am an epidemiologist until next tuesday, after which I will be an unemployed house painter. And I so loves me some science.)
    Go forth and behold!

    HedgehogFive
    Young man, you are exceeding rude.  Even I, who grew up with a strong anti-Catholic bias transmitted by the Ould Ulster Hedgehog, feel this article is offensive.

    While you have made a number of valid points in your article, you have vitiated their impact through the African Tortoise Effect.

    And while the Ould Fella (as he was known in Ulster, at least when I was a young prickleball) seems to have got himself into a tangle here, the idea is not so far-fetched.  It does seem that in Bloaten at least, the efforts by the goverment to promote "sex education" among young humans has led to an increase in teenage pregnancies and single parenthood.  (My Martian friend is confused - have the Earthlings initiated a new method of reproduction?)
    logicman
    I can never stop giggling whenever someone refers to the pope as the primate.

    Erinaceologist:  thanks for the link on the African Tortoise Effect.  I was trying to find a source for that very thing recently.  Thank you also for promoting my Essay Concerning Wings.  You cheque is in the mail.
    Comlete garbage. Who is the real Idiot?

    jtwitten
    Actually, we've been keeping a list.

    Festival of Idiots Roster:
    #1: Senator Orrin Hatch
    #2: Dr. Joseph Pachorek
    #3: Dr. Andrew Wakefield
    #4: Frosted Mini-Wheats
    #5: Jenny McCarthy
    #6: Senator Tom Harkin
    #7: Pope Benedict XVI
    Maybe Benny4-Skin will now retract the Vatican's apology, 500 yrs too late,
    for the crimes against Galileo, or defend its failure to criticize Nazi concentration camp atrocities,
    or gay priests who abuse children.
    After this condomaxim, who can fail to see the utter lunacy of the entire religulous trip
    which has enslaved mankind for > 2 millinenia to a doctrine of irrational insanity in return for
    `salvation', yet we keep putting up with this BS !!!???
    Imagine UFO's landing tommorrow & dispensing instant cures for all diseases, incuding HIV/AIDS
    STDs, and perfect birth control. The Vatican would be out of biz in a heartbeat, with nothing left to
    chastize people over & no carrot or stick, no doubt claiming the UFO benefactors were the devil in disguise...

    aaanouel
    Excellent article...!!! You hit the nail again.

    But if you'd read something about Hugo Chávez, president of Venezuela (once a beautiful country)...
    ... you'd put him in the very first place of your list, no matters which any other stupid on earth you could compare him with. I assure that to you...!!!!



    jtwitten
    I have a long list of idiots awaiting treatment.  Unfortunately, there seems to be breaking idiocy almost every week that claims the spotlight.
    aaanouel
    I understand you completely... ... anyway the person I tell you brakes all the records almost daily...
    Unbelievable...!!!

    jtwitten
    True.  Here in the US, however, it is Chavez's political antics that get the attention, and I try to limit The Festival to misinterpretations/ignoring/misrepresentation of science.  While I am sure that Chavez is no friend to science, such news is less likely to cross my path.  I am after all, like a puma, an opportunistic hunter.
    aaanouel
    Hahaha... Good...!!!