Why Political Pressure is Good For Science

Wednesday, March 3, 2010 \PM\.\Wed\.

It is always nice to see one’s perspectives confirmed by events. In the past I have strongly argued that science and politics are not autonomous or independent from one another. I have always believed that while scientific methods cannot be subject to political control, scientific presentations that do not take political moods into account are as arrogant as they are irrational. The arrogance stems from scientism – the belief that only scientific methodology reveals truth.

What political science – or perhaps, more accurately, political philosophy – teaches is that, following the wisdom of Hobbes, on any matter that touches human interests, there will be political disputes, especially over how data and findings are to be interpreted. Not even physics has been exempt, when we look at the degree to which it was politicized in the USSR and the battle between the “Copenhagen” interpretation of quantum physics and those interpretations preferred by Marxist materialists. And the further one descends from theoretical physics to say, biology, the greater and more politicized the controversies are likely to become.

But there is a vast difference between political control from above, as was exercised by the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, and political pressure from below, such as that which has been exerted upon the climate scientists of the IPCC. While they, and their most rabid defenders, first reacted to the Climategate scandal with utter contempt for the “denying” or “skeptical” masses, they have now actually admitted that they are culpable for the disaster and are in a far more conciliatory mood – indeed, what else can they do in the wake of scandal after scandal after scandal?

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Stupak: Senate Health Care Plan Dead in House

Wednesday, March 3, 2010 \PM\.\Wed\.

A very interesting interview from a man who is rapidly becoming my favorite Democrat in Congress:  Bart Stupak.  Stupak flatly states that the Senate Obamacare bill will fail and for two reasons:  public funding of abortion, and the tainted process by which the bill was passed in the Senate (think the Louisiana Purchase and the Cornhusker Kickback).  Stupak says that if the Senate bill isn’t changed it won’t even come close to passing in the House.  Stupak has been in Congress since 1993 and I suspect his view of the status of the Senate bill in the House is dead on accurate.


Anglican Church in America Asks Entry Into Catholic Church

Wednesday, March 3, 2010 \PM\.\Wed\.

Breaking news as the House of Bishops of the Anglican Church in America has formally requested to enter the Catholic Church. All 99 parishes and cathedrals!

Here is the complete text [emphases mine]:

Orlando, FL – 1 pm EST – Bp. George Langberg

Released by the House of Bishops of the Anglican Church in America, Traditional Anglican Communion 3 March 2010

We, the House of Bishops of the Anglican Church in America of the Traditional Anglican Communion have met in Orlando, Florida, together with our Primate and the Reverend Christopher Phillips of the “Anglican Use” Parish of Our Lady of the Atonement (San Antonio, Texas) and others.

At this meeting, the decision was made formally to request the implementation of the provisions of the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus in the United States of America by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Reverend Mark Siegel, the Dean of the Cathedral of the Incarnation in Orlando, Florida, expressed his desire and excitement in this historic move by a large Anglican body in more or less the following words.

‘I can’t say anything more than what the ACA announcement says, but we are all excited with this first step.’

Deo gratias!

_._

Biretta tip: Notes on the Culture Wars.


Now Showing: The Tudors

Wednesday, March 3, 2010 \PM\.\Wed\.

The following is a column posted by Brad Miner of The Catholic Thing on Monday, March 1, 2010 A.D.:

John Timothy McNicholas, Cincinnati’s archbishop from 1925 until 1950, went to a New York convention in 1933 and heard the Apostolic Delegate to the United States, Amleto Cicognani (future Vatican Secretary of State), rail against Hollywood’s “massacre” of American moral innocence and call for the “purification of cinema.” McNicholas took the message to heart and founded the Catholic Legion of Decency (CLOD). As TIME magazine reported in 1934, the organization’s mission was simple: the faithful should stay “away from all motion pictures except those which do not offend decency and Christian morality.” So popular did the Legion’s campaign become that Jews and Protestants joined the crusade, and the organization was quickly rechristened the National Legion of Decency.

The Legion’s descriptions of films were exclusively condemnatory; calling only for protests about and boycotts of films deemed impure. And some of the films CLOD listed have been subsequently delisted by its successor, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Office for Film and Broadcasting. For instance, “Finishing School,” a Thirties production starring Billie Burke, Ginger Rogers, and the too-often ignored Frances Dee, was condemned by CLOD as portraying an “attempted seduction and an accomplished seduction. . . . Protest. . . . Protest. . .” Today, the USCCB rating of the film is A-III, in essence: It’s a quality movie. Go ahead and watch it – you’re grown-ups.

Archbishop McNicholas

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Cardinal George Opens Cause for Sainthood for First African-American Priest

Wednesday, March 3, 2010 \AM\.\Wed\.

[HT: Devin Rose] The Catholic News Agency has news on a cause for sainthood opened by Cardinal George for Fr. Augustus Tolton:

Fr. Augustus Tolton, a man born into slavery who became the first American diocesan priest of African descent, is now being considered for canonization. Cardinal Francis George announced on Monday that the nineteenth century priest’s cause for sainthood has been introduced in the Archdiocese of Chicago.

“Many Catholics might not ever have heard of Fr. Augustus Tolton; but black Catholics most probably have,” the Archbishop of Chicago wrote.

Born in Missouri on April 1, 1854, John Augustine Tolton fled slavery with his mother and two siblings in 1862 by crossing the Mississippi River into Illinois.

“John, boy, you’re free. Never forget the goodness of the Lord,” Tolton’s mother told him after the crossing, according to the website of St. Elizabeth’s Church in Chicago.

The young Tolton entered St. Peter’s Catholic School with the help of the school’s pastor, Fr. Peter McGirr. Fr. McGirr would later baptize him and instruct him for his first Holy Communion. Tolton was serving as an altar boy by the next summer.

The priest asked Tolton if he would like to become a priest, saying it would take twelve years of hard study.

The excited boy then said they should go to church and pray for his success.
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Obama Believes in the Free Market

Wednesday, March 3, 2010 \AM\.\Wed\.

Enough said.


President Kennedy Was Wrong

Wednesday, March 3, 2010 \AM\.\Wed\.

Hattip to Sandro Magister. On September 12, 1960 John F. Kennedy, running for president, spoke to the Greater Houston Ministerial Association to assuage the fears of many in the country that his loyalty would be to the Pope rather than to the Constitution.  (The irony of course was that JFK took his faith quite lightly, to put it politely.)  The text of the speech is here.  On Monday March 1, 2010, Archbishop Chaput, at Houston Baptist University, gave a reply to this speech.

The core of the speech is that Kennedy was wrong:

Fifty years ago this fall, in September 1960, Sen. John F. Kennedy, the Democratic candidate for president, spoke to the Greater Houston Ministerial Association. He had one purpose. He needed to convince 300 uneasy Protestant ministers, and the country at large, that a Catholic like himself could serve loyally as our nation’s chief executive. Kennedy convinced the country, if not the ministers, and went on to be elected. And his speech left a lasting mark on American politics. It was sincere, compelling, articulate – and wrong. Not wrong about the patriotism of Catholics, but wrong about American history and very wrong about the role of religious faith in our nation’s life. And he wasn’t merely “wrong.” His Houston remarks profoundly undermined the place not just of Catholics, but of all religious believers, in America’s public life and political conversation. Today, half a century later, we’re paying for the damage.

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