Monday, March 29, 2010

“We are at war with Eastasia. We have always been at war with Eastasia.”

Richard Dawkins in 2006:

Priestly abuse of children is nowadays taken to mean sexual abuse, and I feel obliged, at the outset, to get the whole matter of sexual abuse into proportion and out of the way. Others have noted that we live in a time of hysteria about pedophilia, a mob psychology that calls to mind the Salem witch-hunts of 1692… All three of the boarding schools I attended employed teachers whose affections for small boys overstepped the bounds of propriety. That was indeed reprehensible. Nevertheless, if, fifty years on, they had been hounded by vigilantes or lawyers as no better than child murderers, I should have felt obliged to come to their defense, even as the victim of one of them (an embarrassing but otherwise harmless experience).

The Roman Catholic Church has borne a heavy share of such retrospective opprobrium. For all sorts of reasons I dislike the Roman Catholic Church. But I dislike unfairness even more, and I can’t help wondering whether this one institution has been unfairly demonized over the issue, especially in Ireland and America… We should be aware of the remarkable power of the mind to concoct false memories, especially when abetted by unscrupulous therapists and mercenary lawyers. The psychologist Elizabeth Loftus has shown great courage, in the face of spiteful vested interests, in demonstrating how easy it is for people to concoct memories that are entirely false but which seem, to the victim, every bit as real as true memories. This is so counter-intuitive that juries are easily swayed by sincere but false testimony from witnesses.

(The God Delusion, pp. 315-16)

Richard Dawkins in 2010:

"Should [Pope Benedict XVI] be investigated for how cases of abuse were handled under his watch as archbishop of Munich or as the Vatican's chief doctrinal enforcer?"

Yes, of course he should. This former head of the Inquisition should be arrested the moment he dares to set foot outside his tinpot fiefdom of the Vatican…

"Should the pope resign?"

No. As the College of Cardinals must have recognized when they elected him, he is perfectly - ideally - qualified to lead the Roman Catholic Church. A leering old villain in a frock, who spent decades conspiring behind closed doors for the position he now holds… a man whose first instinct when his priests are caught with their pants down is to cover up the scandal and damn the young victims to silence: in short, exactly the right man for the job. He should not resign, moreover, because he is perfectly positioned to accelerate the downfall of the evil, corrupt organization whose character he fits like a glove, and of which he is the absolute and historically appropriate monarch.

No, Pope Ratzinger should not resign. He should remain in charge of the whole rotten edifice - the whole profiteering, woman-fearing, guilt-gorging, truth-hating, child-raping institution - while it tumbles, amid a stench of incense and a rain of tourist-kitsch sacred hearts and preposterously crowned virgins, about his ears.


  1. "A leering old villain in a frock, who spent decades conspiring behind closed doors for the position he now holds…"

    How strange that he several times offered his resignation to the last Pope, then! A bluff no doubt...

  2. Or rather, asked for permission to retire.

  3. I wonder who Dawkins is going to blame. Where does he think the responsibility lies?
    And why should these perpetrators be arrested? Surely he does not want retribution.

    It just does not gel with his dangerous idea.

  4. There is something incredibly childlike about Dawkins, Hitchens, Myers and the rest. In some ways it's sad to see what their ideology does to them, but it's only to be expected.

  5. Anonymous: "I wonder who Dawkins is going to blame. Where does he think the responsibility lies?
    And why should these perpetrators be arrested? Surely he does not want retribution.

    It just does not gel with his dangerous idea.

    Let's all stop beating Basil's car

    Exactly, Anonymous.

    I've used that very piece to demonstrate that Dawkins is a liar (and worse than a liar), and a self-admitted one, at that. If one is attending to what one reads, one can see that in that very piece he openly admits that he himself doesn't actually believe the (false) things that the piece is meant to convince others to believe are true.

  6. This is soooooooo off topic. And I apologize in advance for putting this here.
    But slowly and slowly I've becoming more conservative/traditional in my viewpoint since graduating from college. I've had a series of severe set backs in my life recently (death of mom, loss of friends...) that have really shook up my life.
    I'm going back and forth with some of my friends who can't believe that I'm making the changes I am (liberal to tradition/ agnostic to Catholic). Regularly they throw news pieces at me from the Huffington Post (which I used to really enjoy.... but I just can't anymore).
    Is there a website out there with a corresponding yet conservative/traditionalist view on the world that also is very up to date with recent happenings in the world (like the HuffoPo).
    Again. I'm sorry for putting this here!!!

  7. Changing, there are all sorts of such sites; for instance, some of those on Mr Feser's sidebar (most of the ones under 'News, politics, and culture') would fit your bill.

    Also, you might try Bob Parks' Black & Right blog, though his most common type of post simply pulls together links to various "mainstream" news items, leaving it to his reader to build his own opinions about the content of those items.

  8. ... also, while I assuredly do not endorse everything the man does or says, you might try Lawrence Auster’s View From the Right

  9. Changing,

    Boy, do I feel your pain! Went through the same kind of thing once myself.

    You might try out the "What's Wrong With the World" website (Dr. Feser contributes to that one as well, plus some other luminaries, like Francis Beckwith). There's a link to it on the sidebar. Or follow some of the other links. "The Anchoress" is also a great blog dealing with current events from a Catholic perspective - it's on the "First Things" website (a great traditionalist e-zine itself).

    Hope this helps. There IS light at the end of the tunnel, even though that can be hard to believe some days.

  10. Thanks for the sites.

    One thing that just really shook me was my anger for people like Glenn Beck, eventhough I don't know a friggin THING about Glenn Beck (this is just one example).
    All of the emails my friends would send back and forth with Glenn Beck standing by a cross burning, or his face superimposed over Hitler.
    A friend of mine, around the time my old views were just starting to become absurd to me, said "Glenn Beck makes my body physically wretch".
    A comment like that would usually have me being like "oh yeah, that fool". But this time all I asked was "seriously? the thought of this guy actually makes your body wretch? Isn't that alittle over the top?".
    And bam, I was flooded with emails from him and almost everyone else on our email chains. And I really didn't care if he said Glenn Beck or Mao, it was just crazy to think that someone would have that reaction, let alone tell others that they are so emotionally sensitive that they would even think they could have that reaction.
    For the time being they shut me up and I went back to falling in line, but I started reading 'different' things.
    It was a truly universal acid, it changed everything for me.
    Another silly example. I used to love the shows on Showtime Penn & Tellers show, Nurse Jackie, Californication, Weeds..... but they just upset me now. The nihilistic or situational ethics that bubble up in each and every episode. The mocking of everything traditional and objection.
    Not too long ago someone told me a line by GK Chesterton about old stories and new stories - how the old stories were about a boy and his adventures into some absurd landscape (like dealing with dragons). But the new stories start with that absurd, off-center character and his 'adventures' into absurd, off-center worlds - but the result being monotony. Incredibly fitting description.

  11. Changing,

    If you want a good mainstream conservative political website, you couldn't do better than National Review Online. Basically a secular version of "First Things". Between those two, you should have more than enough ammunition (if that's what you want) to deal with the kind of intellectual adolescents you're describing.

    Welcome to the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy (TM)!

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  13. Welcome out of the Half-vast Left-Wing Conspiracy (VLWC/2)!

  14. A few years ago I would have told you to go to Right Reason, Changing.
    But don't look for it now. It will only frustrate you to search for it.
    It truly was a great site. Many great minds posting there.
    Also, there was Moral Accountability - but that even had a shorter run than Right Reason. Again, a shame - many great minds posting topics there.

    Public Discourse has alot of great articles if you're interested in reading more 'meaty' pieces of work (opposed to news briefs like with Huffington Post).

  15. Changing...

    Also try American Thinker. Conservative essays that are good, and commentary by many that is even better. :-)


  16. I found Moral Accountability and it doesn't look like it's a dead site. But I can't even find info on Right Reason. But I do find links that seem to lead there but then you click and you get a warning that the site is not even archived.

  17. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  18. Changing,

    The Right Reason archives are available via the Wayback Machine. Try this link:*/

  19. Damn, it got cut off. Well, just go to the Wayback Machine:

    and do a "Take me back" search for:

  20. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  21. Dawkins was a so called Professor of Public Understanding of Science. Oxford had to make up this post because the man's own scientific achievements were very thin on the ground. I doubt that he knows more physics than the average high school student. thus it was clearly a Pravda job created for him with money from Microsoft. It is rather good that Dawkins and Hitchens have come swinging like this, those of us who don't care for them owe them no courtesies anymore.

  22. Have any of you, in having your worldview change (I put it that way, because to some extent it feels like it's beyond my simple decision - a new friend used the word "grace" to describe it)....
    have any of you lost friends in the process?

  23. I can't say that my world-view has really changed ... it has deepened and matured, which is superficially ‘change,’ but is a fundamentally different thing from what you're talking about.

    And the change you're experiencing isn't really beyond your control; it never is: you're a moral free agent ... you always have the option to deny the new-to-you truths you now are coming to understand.

    And, yes, you will lose friends: some because their interests now bore you (and doubtless yours them), and so you will drift into mere acquaintance and eventually lose track of one another; others because they will feel threatened by the changes in you and your new interests, and so they will turn vicious.

    The reason the second group feels threatened is generally due to one of two causes:
    1) They’ve already been where you are now, and deliberately chose to deny and fight understanding the truths you are now seeing and working through;
    2) They are even now going through roughly the same process as you and do not wish their world-view to change, but also haven’t yet totally set themselves to the task of denying the truth they see.

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  25. With so many contributors, how did Right Reason fold?
    It just seems like there would be enough people to keep it going.

  26. You seem to be contrasting -- and doing so harshly -- Dawkins over a comparison based not so much on the notion that he compares apples to oranges as apples to eaten apples.

    One can easily and honestly have two different views, one on a broad institution and another on a specific indibidual.

    Moreover, one can urge support for the notion that one is guilty until proven innocent and later, having decided that the guilt was proven, maintain the person is not innocent.