Sunday, February 11, 2007

Cardinal Schönborn thinks teaching science is censorship

Our good friend, Cardinal Christoph Schönborn of Vienna, seems to have a fundamentally flawed understanding of what teaching science is all about, and he can't seem to stop sharing his rambling ideas with the rest of the world.

In a speech sponsored by the Homeland Foundation, "a philanthropy that finances cultural and religious programs, many involving the Catholic Church", he made some rather amazingly stupid statements. For example he complained that not debating "the flaws of evolution" amounted to censorship.

“Commonly in the scientific community every inquiry into the scientific weaknesses of the theory is blocked off at the very outset,” Schoenborn said of Darwinism. “To some extent there prevails a type of censoring here of the sort for which one eagerly reproached the church in former times.”

[...]

The cardinal said the Dover ruling meant that schoolchildren would be taught only a materialistic, atheistic view of the origin of universe, without considering the idea that God played a role.

“A truly liberal society would at least allow students to hear of the debate,” he said.


Let us ignore the article's use of the Creationist term Darwinism instead of evolution, and focus on the rest of his comments.

Schönborn clearly fails to understand the basic principles of science and science teaching. Yes, science is materialistic and atheist by nature, since science only deals with the observable world, and not with whatever religious or spiritual idea that people hold. So teaching "a materialistic, atheistic view of the origin of universe, without considering the idea that God played a role", is what good science teaching is all about.

John Lynch has more, and Zeno has more background information on Schönborn

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3 Comments:

Anonymous Skeptico said...

Oh yes, the old Let the kids decide argument. Because of course, kids should only be taught science they agree with.

February 11, 2007 7:36 PM  
Blogger Kristjan Wager said...

Yes, it makes sense doesn't it - epsecially when you consider the fact that the Catholic Church seems to be against sex-ed, because that would lead to the kids having sex.

February 12, 2007 4:22 PM  
Blogger Meg said...

Ah, but it isn't quite true that science deals only with the observable world. Theoretical physics deals quite a bit in ideas, and the forefront of science is sometimes advanced by the predictions of a particular theory, which as our ability to gather real observations about its predictions increases, is either borne out by those observations, or discarded if it is incompatible with observations.
One difference between this system and religious or philosophical belief systems, however, is that this system is always accountable to whatever data we can gather about the material world, even as our ability to observe it, however indirectly, increases. Religious and philosophical beliefs are not subject to reality-check in the material world, and need not be retrofitted to match reality if the believer is inclined to keep his belief unaltered against all evidence.

January 10, 2009 3:24 PM  

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