Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Education Science

Pope Cancels Speech After Scientists Protest 1507

Posted by Zonk
from the probably-could-have-used-a-bit-of-forethought-there dept.
Reservoir Hill writes "Pope Benedict XVI canceled a speech at Rome's La Sapienza university in the face of protests led by scientists opposed to a high-profile visit to a secular setting by the head of the Catholic Church. Sixty-seven professors and researchers of the university's physics department joined in the call for the pope to stay away protesting the planned visit recalled a 1990 speech in which the pope, then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, seemed to justify the Inquisition's verdict against Galileo in 1633. In the speech, Ratzinger quoted an Austrian philosopher who said the ruling was 'rational and just' and concluded with the remark: 'The faith does not grow from resentment and the rejection of rationality, but from its fundamental affirmation, and from being rooted in a still greater form of reason.' The protest against the visit was spearheaded by physicist Marcello Cini who wrote the rector complaining of an 'incredible violation" of the university's autonomy. Cini said of Benedict's cancellation: 'By canceling, he is playing the victim, which is very intelligent. It will be a pretext for accusing us of refusing dialogue.'"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Pope Cancels Speech After Scientists Protest

Comments Filter:
  • Once again we see (Score:4, Insightful)

    by N3WBI3 (595976) on Wednesday January 16, 2008 @06:48PM (#22072736) Homepage
    That its only Christians and conservatives who are intolerant... Its not like a rational scientist or tolerant liberal would shout down someone they disagree with... /sarc
    • Re:Once again we see (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Erioll (229536) on Wednesday January 16, 2008 @06:51PM (#22072796)
      In a local article about this, I read that a former Pope FOUNDED the school, which I find quite ironic.
      • Re:Once again we see (Score:5, Informative)

        by orzetto (545509) on Wednesday January 16, 2008 @08:36PM (#22074156)

        In a local article about this, I read that a former Pope FOUNDED the school, which I find quite ironic.

        Not just any pope either, it was Boniface VIII [wikipedia.org]. Dante [wikipedia.org] hated him and destined him to his hell for simony (with the other damned asking "Is Boniface here yet?"). Since Dante's Inferno is the most read of the three books of the Commedia [wikipedia.org] and compulsory reading for high-school students in Italy, pretty much every Italian connects Boniface VII with corruption, greed, hypocrisy and lust for power. Which brings us back to the current pope...

    • by spun (1352) <loverevolutionary@@@yahoo...com> on Wednesday January 16, 2008 @06:56PM (#22072876) Journal

      That its only Christians and conservatives who are intolerant... Its not like a rational scientist or tolerant liberal would shout down someone they disagree with... /sarc
      SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT UP!
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by AaxelB (1034884)
      Exactly. I've always said the truly tolerant must tolerate intolerance.

      Of course, that means it's a pain in the ass to be truly tolerant, so I'd settle for being "mostly tolerant" or something like that.
    • by YA_Python_dev (885173) on Wednesday January 16, 2008 @08:26PM (#22074034) Journal

      Sorry but your are wrong: no one has "shout down" the Pope. He owns a newspaper and a radio, and he's the politician that we see more than anyone else in TV here in Italy, even more than Silvio Berlusconi that owns half of the Italians TV stations.

      Yes the Pope acts exactly like a politician in Italy: he tell which laws should be passed or not, or changed, for whom to vote and sometimes even tell people not to go voting, like in a recent referendum. And it's far from nice and good: the Vatican opposes (successfully, thanks to corrupt politician) the right of women, gays and lesbians, is opposing right now an anti-racism law (you read it right: they aren't opposing racism, they are trying to shout down an anti-racism law) and they even opposed a donation from Italy to a children hospital (they didn't oppose the use of the same budget money for the war in Iraq a few years ago), because they want to have the exclusive of charity in the minds of the Italians (the stupid ones, at least) so they get more donations.

      And we already know exactly what he was going to say: that abortion is murder, even if it's a simple embryo one day from the fertilisation. And abortion must be completely illegal (in Italy we have a very sensible and balanced abortion law, that has reduced to less than half the number of abortions from when it was completely illegal and all abortions were clandestine, and saved countless women). I know this because I see him every day on every television news always saying the same things, and insulting women, gays, scientists and atheists.

      Well he's free to says what the hell he wants, but scientists are also free to not invite him to say those things in a university. He can say the same thing but not in my home. This isn't censorship!

      And the Earth is not flat. It's approximately spherical! And it goes around the Sun, not vice versa. I don't care what the Pope says about it: Galileo Galilei was right and the Bible is wrong!

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Vellmont (569020)
      ... Its not like a rational scientist or tolerant liberal would shout down someone they disagree with

      Where did you hear about someone being shouted down? I didn't read that anywhere.

      The article is pretty sucky in terms of what actually happened. But it's pretty clear there was no shouting down going on. It makes a nice strawman argument though.
  • by Jerry Coffin (824726) on Wednesday January 16, 2008 @06:48PM (#22072738)

    The protest against the visit was spearheaded by physicist Marcello Cini who wrote the rector complaining of an 'incredible violation" of the university's autonomy. Cini said of Benedict's cancellation: 'By canceling, he is playing the victim, which is very intelligent. It will be a pretext for accusing us of refusing dialogue.'"

    Let's see. He asks that the visit be canceled. The visit gets canceled. Then he complains about the visit having been canceled.

    This sounds like the guy's ready to complain no matter what happens.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by ShatteredArm (1123533)
      As someone whose grandfather is Italian, I ask:

      You haven't met very many Italians, have you?
    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 16, 2008 @07:01PM (#22072942)
      It's not as simple as that. The pope wanted to come, make a speech and leave. No questions allowed, no debate. The physicists wanted to be able to respond and have a proper debate on his stance on scientific issues in general if he was to come at all. By backing off, the pope paints himself as the victim, avoiding a debate that would make him look like the medieval remain that he is.
      This has cause a big stir because, in general, the Italian political system is completely captive to the Vatican. Every day the media reports any move of word of the pope no matter how minor. Any talk show always has at least a priest as a guest. The church has huge properties and pays no taxes. The church get 0.08% of the tax collected unless one goes to great lengths to direct it somewhere else et.c etc.
  • Big Deal (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MightyMartian (840721) on Wednesday January 16, 2008 @06:48PM (#22072750) Journal
    Why the hell should any science department give a rat's ass what any religious leader has to say? Does the Pope have any degrees in any sciences? Does he have any expertise, academic or otherwise that would apply in any way, shape or form, to the sciences?
    • Re:Big Deal (Score:5, Insightful)

      by LordKazan (558383) on Wednesday January 16, 2008 @06:53PM (#22072814) Homepage Journal
      No he doesn't have any expertise, no he doesn't have any degrees in sciences - yet millions of people still think he knows more about science than the greatest experts in the various fields of science
      • Re:Big Deal (Score:5, Informative)

        by Foobar of Borg (690622) on Wednesday January 16, 2008 @07:14PM (#22073100)

        yet millions of people still think he knows more about science than the greatest experts in the various fields of science
        Um, Catholics don't care what the Pope has to say about scientific matters, nor is it relevant to his position. He is only considered infallible on issues of faith and morals, and even then it is only when it is done in an official capacity (ex cathedra as it is called). I think you are confusing the Pope with some nutter like Pat Robertson. Catholicism != Modern American fundie Evangelicalism.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Troloon (1030784)
        The Pope doesn't particularly talk about the actual mechanics of science as much as the philosophy that it is connected to. And a lot of scientists simply "do" science without ever thinking about the philosophy which comes first: is science the ONLY way to attain knowledge?

        Oh, and the Pope (as Cardinal Ratzinger) has written hundreds if not thousands of pages on that topic.
  • by ajs (35943) <<moc.sja> <ta> <sja>> on Wednesday January 16, 2008 @06:48PM (#22072754) Homepage Journal
    OK, I think the previous comments were off-the-hook, and indicated just how conservative this new pope is when compared with the previous. That said, I'm not sure what the physicist in question was trying to accomplish.

    Did he want the Pope to visit? Why complain when he cancels? He pretty much admits that any move the Pope made would have been viewed as some sort of ploy or insult. And he complains about the Pope not wanting a dialog? And what dialog? Why does the Pope need a dialog with this University?!

  • Flaimbait article (Score:4, Insightful)

    by pembo13 (770295) on Wednesday January 16, 2008 @06:49PM (#22072774) Homepage
    with almost no relevance to Slashdot as there isn't even a specific technology in question here.
  • Mecca and Medina (Score:3, Insightful)

    by iamacat (583406) on Wednesday January 16, 2008 @06:53PM (#22072830)
    Since when are religious people prohibited from "entering secular institutions"? This smacks of muslim holy sites. An intelligent scientist welcomes a chance to meet any prominent individual, even if they don't subscribe to each other's theories.

    In any case, there is currently no unified theory that explains the connection of the spiritual realm ("soul") and physical world. Certainly there are dependencies (healthy body leads to healthy mind), but this still doesn't explain how we "feel" about the various chemical and electric processes going on in our brains. It only makes sense to study spirituality based on spiritual methods just like we study science scientifically. Perhaps some day we will discover more details about the connection between these two realms, but until then the two groups should just get off each others' backs.
  • The Galileo Myth (Score:5, Informative)

    by geoffrobinson (109879) on Wednesday January 16, 2008 @07:00PM (#22072934) Homepage
    http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=OWU5ZDk3NGY3OGI4NDY1OTdmNzc2NmEzYjUzZWQxNWE= [nationalreview.com]

    The story of Galileo is a tad more complicated than the simplistic version we're used to. I'm no Roman Catholic, but this meme needs to be corrected.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by strech (167037)

      So, taking the article you link to at face value -

      Galileo Myth:

      Galileo persecuted by a powerful, monolithic church for disagreeing with religious dogma.

      Galileo Reality:

      Galileo persecuted by a powerful, conflicted church for disagreeing with religious dogma when his political enemies raised enough of a stink.

      I'm not exactly sure how this is supposed to get the Church off the hook. Plus, Goldberg's attempt to minimize house arrest by saying "which is where he did all of his research anyway

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      The story of Galileo is a tad more complicated than the simplistic version we're used to. I'm no Roman Catholic, but this meme needs to be corrected.

      And you've provided absolutely nothing in the way of doing that, other than some rant by Jonah Goldberg that makes a bunch of claims without citing sources.

      Great job.

    • The Galileo Fact (Score:4, Informative)

      by Scrameustache (459504) on Wednesday January 16, 2008 @07:54PM (#22073628) Homepage Journal

      http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=OWU5ZDk3NGY3OGI4NDY1OTdmNzc2NmEzYjUzZWQxNWE= [nationalreview.com]

      The story of Galileo is a tad more complicated than the simplistic version we're used to. I'm no Roman Catholic, but this meme needs to be corrected.
      From your link: "After Galileo went back to Padua, the leading scientific mediocrities started complaining. It was the scientists who said that challenging Aristotle was heresy -- not the Church."
      From the Chuch: 1571, Paul IV issues the first formal Index Librorum Prohibitorum, including such works as De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium by Copernicus.

      Galileo was 7 when that happened. Stop listening to people who are arguing that it was ok to censor the man's empirical proof of a heretical scientific theory.
    • by Vellmont (569020) on Wednesday January 16, 2008 @08:39PM (#22074218)
      For those of you that don't know, The National Review is a conservative magazine that publishes political opinion pieces. It's not exactly a scholarly journal of well researched historical fact.

  • Not surprising (Score:4, Insightful)

    by dedazo (737510) on Wednesday January 16, 2008 @07:01PM (#22072952) Journal
    While I am the first to admit that religions have a good side, the amount of damage (direct and indirect) that has been perpetrated on humanity in the name of vague ethereal omnipotent beings is so stunning that very few people even realize it. But we shouldn't be surprised at Ratzinger's stance, even if we say to ourselves that it's the 21st century and what are these people smoking? The catholic church is desperate to hold on to its constituency and one of the ways to do that is to harden their stance on issues like these. You see, the vast majority of catholics in the world are poor, uneducated people for whom religion is a refuge from the usually harsh reality of existence. By essentially going back in time, Ratzinger is clinging to the good old days where the Holy Church was always right even if it was wrong, because it derives its wisdom from divinity. This in turn reaffirms the trust that people place in the church's judgment.

    Ratzinger was elected for two very specific reasons. First, he is already old so he won't spend 30 years on the throne. That's important to the church hierarchy because they don't want another John Paul II setting policy for that long and progressively going soft on them. The second is that he's essentially a hardcore, old-school catholic. You'll see a lot more of this crap in the next few years, along with a resurgence of the more traditional major and minor orders within the church organization, slowly displacing the more enlightened groups that gained a lot of power during John Paul's tenure.

    We'll have to wait about a decade or so to see if this new angle will work for them. Personally I don't think it will. The world has largely moved on. But so much power (most of it very subtle) concentrated in the hands of a group of people who think it wasn't so bad to punish people for claiming that earth is not the center of the universe cannot be good. To paraphrase someone, it's not God I dislike - it's his fan club that scares the crap out of me.

    • Re:Not surprising (Score:4, Insightful)

      by crono_deus (796899) on Wednesday January 16, 2008 @08:31PM (#22074104)
      *sigh*

      Right. I'm calling you out on this one.

      You said:

      You see, the vast majority of catholics in the world are poor, uneducated people for whom religion is a refuge from the usually harsh reality of existence.

      I'm going to have to ask you to prove that one to me. I'll bet you a steak dinner that: 1) You can't (it's an unverifiable statement no matter how you slice it) and 2) you haven't met many practicing Roman Catholics.

      Your bias against religion is astounding. Compare your statements "religions have a good side" and "the amount of damage [they perpetrated]... is so stunning...". One could make the same argument about, oh, our favorite topic: Technology. In fact, I think I will: "Technology has its good side, but the amount of damage (direct and indirect) that has been perpetrated on humanity in the name of progress is so stunning that few people even realize it."

      Now, I should point out that I am both religious (Muslim, believe it or not) and a big fan of science and technology. I do not think they are opposite approaches to things. They are actually quite orthogonal. If you think that a world without religion would be a better place, I'm afraid you'd be as sadly mistaken as if you said a world without technology would be a better place. Think about it for a second; the two actually need each other. Religion (or, at the very least, morality) without rationality (without "science") easily veers towards superstition and sorcery. Science without religion just as easily veers towards the cruel and inhuman. Ideally, each should help guide the other.

      None of this is to say that there are not some religious people out there who attempt to undermine the scientific and rational process, but I think you'll find that sort of person could just as easily be areligious. Arstechnica had an interesting article not too long ago debunking a paper on a theory of homeopathy, whose authors all had letters behind their names. On the other hand, a large portion of Western philosophical and scientific thought came from deeply religious people, a lot of whom were Catholics.

      Coming back to your obvious bias against Catholicism: what I find most peculiar is that you happen to pick a religion which has, time and time again, insisted that the Universe is knowable and rational, two necessary assumptions for any scientific progress to occur. Yes, yes, some of them (just like the aforementioned homeopathic charlatans) try to ignore, disregard, or diminish the role of reason, but the stance of the religion on reason is pretty damn clear to anyone whose even bothered studying it. In short, you should spend more time actually reading about Catholicism than reading about conspiracy theories regarding the council of Cardinals, the Pope, and the Church. Its views may differ greatly from yours, but it's not the big scary monster you make it out to be.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 16, 2008 @07:13PM (#22073084)

    Cini said of Benedict's cancellation: 'By canceling, he is playing the victim, which is very intelligent. It will be a pretext for accusing us of refusing dialogue.
    I am actually in La Sapienza university. I'm following the unfortunate unfolding of the events. The Pope cancelled the partecipation to avoid confrontation between the police and the "students" willing to "siege" (Their words http://it.youtube.com/watch?v=U6hfyz4LuIY [youtube.com] ) the Aula Magna where the meeting was scheduled. The decision came after the "students" occupied the Rectorate.

    More than refusing dialogue it looks to many of us as the Pope was forced not to be present under the menace of riots: One of the students stated "THERE IS NO DIALOGUE WITH THAT INDIVIDUAL" and the leader in his speech claimed the presence of many other collective outsiders to participate in the event to make it as much inhospitable as possible to the Pope. Last image is the invasion of the rectorate and a meal served outside the premises.

    I am disgusted to be italian in the same university as those.

    I'm disgusted as well to be forced to post as AC because they are VIOLENT-RED-FASCISTS supported by squatters in the SanLorenzo suburb next to the university.
  • Real bias? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mkiwi (585287) on Wednesday January 16, 2008 @07:13PM (#22073088)
    I'm theologically on the side of the scientists on all these issues, but I cannot fault the pope's conduct here. Many scientists are pushing atheism as the new religion and they seem to want to force everyone to accept it. Just because someone disagrees with you doesn't mean they should not be heard- that has never been a good reason to silence someone. Silencing is the way of Hilter, Stalin, and others. It's exactly what the church did centuries ago to scientists and now its redeveloping on the other side of the coin. Just because religion isn't considered a pure science doesn't mean that it has intrinsic value in its morals/teachings/beliefs.


    I would hope that people see that this University is not representative of the broader intellectual community.

    • Re:Real bias? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by MightyMartian (840721) on Wednesday January 16, 2008 @07:16PM (#22073128) Journal
      Perhaps you could cite where any scientist is pushing atheism as the new religion. How would atheism be a new religion, neither being new nor a religion?
      • Re:Real bias? (Score:5, Informative)

        by langelgjm (860756) on Wednesday January 16, 2008 @07:42PM (#22073480) Journal

        The public perception in many places is that Richard Dawkins is a spokesperson for scientists (with a position like Chair for the Public Understanding of Science at Oxford, perhaps the perception is warranted). When such a well-known public figure rags on religion as much as he does, it's no wonder that religious people feel threatened by science. In a very real sense, Dawkins does evangelize for atheism. This is one reason why people have started calling it a "religion."

        On the other hand, many extremely accomplished scientists (Stephen Jay Gould, to name one off the top of my head) have a view of religion that is fundamentally different from Dawkin's view, and not nearly as antagonistic.

        • Re:Real bias? (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Vellmont (569020) on Wednesday January 16, 2008 @09:52PM (#22075228)

          The public perception in many places is that Richard Dawkins is a spokesperson for scientists (with a position like Chair for the Public Understanding of Science at Oxford, perhaps the perception is warranted).

          Huh? Saying some is a "spokesperson for scientists" is like saying Linus Torvalds is a "spokesperson for software developers". It's just incredibly inaccurate. Frankly I don't really care if peoples perception is "warranted". I'm sure lots of evil crap that goes down in the world is "warranted". What I care about is if right or wrong, and clearly it's wrong.

          When such a well-known public figure rags on religion as much as he does, it's no wonder that religious people feel threatened by science.

          Religious people feel threatened by science because many of them have built a religion on the gaps of knowledge. As those gaps are filled in, it threatens their belief structure. Rather than modify their belief structure, they choose to challenge science itself. Dawkins has really little to do with it. It's not like this whole science/religion schism just developed in the last several years.

          In a very real sense, Dawkins does evangelize for atheism. This is one reason why people have started calling it a "religion."

          Who are all these people? You? This is honestly the first time I've ever heard someone try to call atheism.. the lack of belief in a deity.. a religion. It's just amazing to me that anyone takes this kind of thing seriously.
    • Re:Real bias? (Score:5, Informative)

      by kindbud (90044) on Wednesday January 16, 2008 @07:37PM (#22073430) Homepage
      Many scientists are pushing atheism as the new religion and they seem to want to force everyone to accept it.

      Atheism is not new, nor is it a religion.

      Silencing is the way of Hilter, Stalin, and others.

      The Pope has not been silenced, not one bit.

      It's exactly what the church did centuries ago to scientists and now its redeveloping on the other side of the coin.

      If ever the Pope is burned at the stake with scientists lighting the pyre, you'll have a point.
  • by superwiz (655733) on Wednesday January 16, 2008 @07:22PM (#22073210) Journal

    The faith does not grow from resentment and the rejection of rationality, but from its fundamental affirmation, and from being rooted in a still greater form of reason.
    The very definition of "faith" is believing without having a need for reason. He claims that it results from a great deal of reasoning? Well, at the point that all this great deal of reasoning has occurred and things began to be taken on faith, the reason was suspended. So faith still began (and will always begin) where reason stops.
  • by moosesocks (264553) on Wednesday January 16, 2008 @07:49PM (#22073552) Homepage
    Has anybody else noticed that Catholicism is quickly becoming the more "accepting/open-minded" branch of Christianity, especially compared to "mainstream Christianity" in the US? Discuss.

    Current Pope aside (who, from what I can tell, isn't even well-liked by most Catholics), the Catholic church has more or less apologized for most of its past crimes, and John Paul II even made a case for evolution. Likewise, the Church has definitely placed a huge emphasis on charitable works, and focused very little on evangelism (which, is effectively very much in line with the text of the New Testament).

    Although I could be completely wrong, Catholicism seems to be one of the more progressive mainstream branches of Christianity, whereas the bible-belt Christians seem to be moving in the other direction. (This is rather significant, given the Church's history)

    Personally, I'm a bit upset at these scientists for protesting a speech from the Pope, which is -- dare I say -- rather dogmatic of them. No scientist should be afraid of ideas, even if they contradict his own.
  • Academic hysteria (Score:3, Insightful)

    by keeboo (724305) on Wednesday January 16, 2008 @07:51PM (#22073576)
    What one would expect from a religious leader? To behave like an scientist? To promote that the truth is only verifiable by scientific methodology?

    What if the guy went to the University? Even the fierstest atheist may find interesting what the man has to say, being that either as a filosofical exercise or simply to get the knowledge on how the Catholic Church thinks.

    Now this academic hysteria is completely ridiculous, it sounds more like a science-as-religion bigotry to me.

    And, quite frankly, the academic world (I'm not talking about Science itself) is not in a good position to point any fingers.
    A huge number of academics are simply and only interested in self-promotion, stealing someone else research, professors taking a hike on his/her students' work, busy formalizing bad-science in a flowered paper and... Treating anyone else outside their circle as inferiors.

    You want to meet bigotry, power hunger, deceit and elitism? Politics and religion are not the only options, nor Shakespeare, one would find plenty of such crap inside the Universities.
    • by misanthrope101 (253915) on Thursday January 17, 2008 @03:43AM (#22077786)

      it sounds more like a science-as-religion bigotry to me
      The Pope said that torturing scientists whose research deviates from holy writ is okey-dokey. Well, he said that when they did it in the past it was okey-dokey. I'm not sure if he said, "but we shouldn't do that NOW, mind you..." but Galileo is one of the first dramatic examples of science trying to slowly freeing itself from the shackles of religion. Galileo is a sort of rubicon, where people started saying, "maybe letting religion run everything isn't really a great idea..." And when scientists protest that this apologist for torture is going to speak at their school, you invoke bigotry, the word used in reference to Nazis and the KKK?

      If scientists capture the Pope and threaten to torture him to death unless he recants all religious positions that don't match modern science, then it would be bigotry. It's not "just like" something if it's different. Sorry.

  • by Empiric (675968) on Wednesday January 16, 2008 @08:02PM (#22073716)
    The reality isn't Heliocentrism or Geocentrism, it's arbitrary-centrism. There is no objective "fact" mandating the body you choose as "the center", all the bodies are in motion in a wider context of the universe. It's just simplest (and therefore most conducive to human psychology and conceptualization) to use the system that provides the least-complex description of their respective movements.

    Weird that we have scientists actively discarding science that's been clear at least since Einstein's Relativity, for the sole purpose of maintaining a stance that lets them "stick it to religion" over a largely-misrepresented (misrepresented in terms of the sharp "science versus religion" duality that's commonly touted, if you know the actual history--e.g. Galileo had permission to publish, and it only became in issue when he presented his theory in a politically-inflammatory fashion) wrong of history.

    Since, I think, many will reject this post out-of-hand in that it fails their criterion of "seems to be being said by a theist", I suggest reading Robert M. Pirsig for a philosophical perspective on this very same question. Good reading there on Euclidian-versus-Riemann geometry, too.
  • by mckinnsb (984522) on Wednesday January 16, 2008 @08:02PM (#22073722)
    Do we even know what the Pope's speech was going to be about? Who said it was going to have anything to do with either a) faith or b) science?

    1)He could have just wanted to talk about being a good scholar.
    2)He could have just wanted to assure people that he wouldn't interfere with science...people are allowed to change, he made that comment in the early 1990's, and honestly-weren't some of us wearing ponytails and huge flannel shirts around our waists back then? Also: didn't he recently give a "official pope statement" that tried to re-affirm the Roman Catholic Church's position on evolution...mainly, that it accepts it as true?
    3)He could have just given a very general, non political or religious speech, like one we see at university commencements.

    It seems to me that the university, particularly this one professor, is the one starting the fire. I don't think that "the pope is being intelligent by cancelling", I think the professor is attempting to be manipulative of public opinion by making that statement, and the pope probably just didn't want a rock or whistle thrown in the direction of his pope-mobile. I mean, that thing costs money.

    I'm not religious, I don't go to church every week, and I believe strongly in science. I'm actually really dissapointed with the way in which this Italian professor acted. It doesn't further the goals of science or faith-which are distinct. One deals with facts (science), and the other, belief.

    I think Ratzinger wasn't even making a hard point in his speech in the 1990s. He is very much a scholar- his mind wanders this way and that, considering many options. There is no hard conclusion to his speech, which is a mistake on his part-it lets other people interpret it as they wish. Like said professor. In Ratzinger's comment on the citation he made in his speech that this professor seems to take issue with, "it makes his conclusion all the more drastic" , my translation of drastic was "irrational". I don't think that Ratzinger thinks Galileo "caused the atomic bomb". I think he thinks quite the opposite.

    Ok, done.

"Consistency requires you to be as ignorant today as you were a year ago." -- Bernard Berenson

Working...