Every week I look forward to cleaning up a bit on Monday. After my husband goes to work, I update my iPod and blast The Skeptic's Guide to the Universe while I tidy up. I love the Rogues. I learn an awful lot from them. They spark my interest in various topics and have helped me to learn to be skeptical.
So, the reason I'm sharing that is because I want to share part of the most recent podcast with you. It was Episode 191 and they talked about the Pope who was in Africa talking about Aids recently. Pope Benedict Ratz-en-evil said,
"(HIV/AIDS) is a tragedy that cannot be overcome by money alone, and that cannot be overcome through the distribution of condoms, which even aggravates the problems."
Um, WTF? That is reprehensible. The pope, the spokesman for god, is basically telling people who are uneducated and fully indoctrinated into the god myth that condoms are unhelpful and even harmful when it comes to spreading AIDS. That is evil.
Here are some of the other stances he's taken regarding science:
"Science has narrowed the way life's origins are understood."
"The Darwinist theory of evolution is not completely provable because mutations over hundreds of thousands of years cannot be reproduced in a laboratory."
"god created life through evolution."
"The trial of Galileo for heresy because of his support for the Copernican system was justified in the context of the time."
"Saving humanity from homosexual or transexual behavior is just as important as saving the Rain Forest from destruction."
The contraceptive pill is polluting the environment and is in part responsible for male infertility."
"Embryonic stem cell research, artificial insemination and the prospect of human cloning have shattered human dignity."
It's one thing to say the church wants you to behave in a moral way. It's another thing to lie to the billions of people around the world who look up to you as the spokesman for their god. To lie and distort the truth just to control and manipulate people, especially in a moral context, is beyond despicable. It's evil. I won't even get into the whole child molestation problem the church tries to hide. That can be a topic for another day, I suppose.
Dr. Steven Novella wrote about this in more detail on his Neurologica blog.
Anyway, the Rogues got into a discussion about ethics and morals that I found quite interesting. I have always struggled to remember the difference between the two but Dr. Novella explained it quite well. Here is a transcription of what he said. Note, I transcribed the explanations and definitions but left out the side talk:
Morals: Things that people choose for themselves and they involve sometimes naked value judgments. Value judgments are just that, they might be informed by facts, logic or reason, but they don't have to be, and they are personal choices.
Ethics: A system of behavior, of deciding what's right and wrong based upon reason, knowledge and facts, and an internally consistent logical system that can be applied broadly and universally. You can make an argument for why people shouldn't kill other people. You don't have to have faith or a belief system. Based upon first principles we can arrive upon ethics we can all agree upon that are reasonable, and base our laws and our society on.
Morals: Someone says, "I believe you should not have sex outside of marriage. That's my personal morality. I think it's important because I think it's a virtue or for whatever reason, and I think that's how one should live their life. I'm not saying it's scientifically a better way to go or that there's any specific advantage to it, that's just a personal moral decision I make for myself."
Ethics: We should make a law saying that it's illegal for people to have sex before marriage because you can derive from first principles an ethical argument that says that it's wrong, that there's some moral hazard involved there.
That makes sense! But he mentions something that we need to define:
First Principle: in philosophy, a first principle is a basic, foundational proposition or assumption that cannot be deduced from any other proposition or assumption.
Ok, good to know.
So what do you call it when someone claims to represent an invisible man in the sky and then lies about scientific theories and practices to manipulate people to act in bad faith, which they will call morals, which will lead to the deaths of countless of those people and others? Bad ethics? If you force your skewed socio-pathic morals on others in the name of the invisible man in the sky, so that they then make horrible choices that lead to their death or the death and sickness of innocent people, maybe you'd just call it heinous, cold-blooded murder.
Hey, christians, you're not off the hook either. rick warren, that slimeball, supports martin ssempa who has burned condoms in Africa in the name of jesus. So don't be thinking it's just the catholics.
I think when you put yourself above others and think you have moral superiority for whatever reason, especially for religious reasons, you are painfully wrong. Morals are personal. Forcing them on others is just plain wrong. Of course, I'm beating my head against a brick wall on this, I know. That's partly what religion seems to be, feeling morally superior to people who don't worship the same god as you. Well, it's ridiculous. Thank the Invisible Pink Unicorn that I'm a happy, ethical atheist.