Controlling truth

The Pope seems to have an interesting theory of knowing. According to remarks made recently to a meeting of university professors, truth needs to accommodate itself to the wishes of the people, and not force people to accommodate their understanding to the truth.

Ok, he didn’t phrase it quite exactly in those terms.

Pope Benedict XVI has told a gathering of academics that science should serve rather than enslave humanity, warning that the reduction of human beings and nature to mere ‘objects’ is not good for the spirit of reasoned enquiry….

“It’s more important than ever to educate our contemporaries’ consciences so that science does not become the criteria for goodness,” he told the audience.

Scientific investigation should be accompanied by “research into anthropology, philosophy and theology” to give insight into “[humanity]’s own mystery, because no science can say who [we are]s, where [we] come from or where [we are] going”, Benedict declared.

A human being is not “a bundle of convergences, determinisms or physical and chemical reactions,” the Pope added, and should not be treated as such.

In other words, we know what sort of answers we intend to find, and science should not be allowed to interfere with us reaching those conclusions. Objective, rational scientific investigation into the truth must not be allowed to discover who we are, nor should it be permitted to learn where we come from or where we are going. Those domains are reserved for more dogmatic and less-verifiable disciplines, like theology.  If we approach the real-world facts without a firm commitment to reach a predetermined conclusion, it’s “not good for the spirit of reasoned enquiry.”

In other words, pay no attention to the man behind the curtain. I am Oz, the Great and Powerful.

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