Thursday, June 18, 2015

Caution: The Catholic Church Has A History of Getting Science Wrong

Apparently, a copy of Pope Francis' upcoming encyclical (a letter to all bishops) on climate change has been leaked to the press.  In it, he condemns mankind for not being good stewards of the God-given earth.  He also blames the rich and rich countries for much of the destruction due to global warming. For that reason, the rich countries should compensate the poorer countries for any injuries they have or will have as a result of global warming and climate change.

Of course, the political left -- a group that is normally at odds with the Catholic Church because of its stand on gays and lesbians, birth control, and abortion -- is going to politically use this to push their climate change agenda.

But, we shouldn't necessarily believe the Pope on climate change.

There have been many noted scientists whose published works were placed on the Church's list of prohibited books (Index Librorum Prohibitorum) as being heresy.  That is, until, as much as century has passed in proving those works to be valid.  For example, the works of a Franciscan Friar, Giordano Bruno, were on that list and he was tried by the Church for heresy and burned at the stake.  This was truly a case of throwing the baby out with the bath water.  While his execution was as a result of his theological teachings, the Church also banned his scientific preachings.  Preachings such as the stars are actual suns with planets revolving around them; just as is the case with our own solar system.

However, the biggest miss in scientific terms, was that of heliocentrism.  The Church found that believing that that the earth rotated around the sun was also heresy.  For that reason, Galileo was found guilty of heresy in 1633 for promoting such an idea.  This "crime" resulted in his house arrest of 9 years until his death 1642.  It wasn't until 1758 that the Church reversed its position on the earth being at the center of all our planets and the sun, and took Galileo's book off the prohibited list.  Today, we celebrate Galileo as one of the world's greatest astronomers.

Personally, I don't believe the Pope should get involved with anything associated with climate change.  His support of it sounds more like a socialist condemning capitalism and wealth rather than a true supporter of a scientific issue.  Like Darwin's 'Origin of Species', which was never formally condemned by the Church or placed on its prohibited list, silence on climate change would have been the better position of the Church and this Pope. Let's not repeat the problematic support of false science that has plagued the Catholic Church in the past.

One last thing. If the world does buy into global warming, then the cost of energy to light and heat homes will only rise.  This will impact the poor and poorer countries more than anyone else.  As a man who did so much good for the poor of Argentina, doesn't he now have his priorities all wrong?


Pope urges changes to avoid 'unprecedented damage' from climate change in leaked encyclical document:

Galileo affair:

Catholic Church and evolution:

Index Librorum Prohibitorum:

Giordano Bruno:

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