Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Randomness for a Wednesday afternoon

Best sentence to be taken out of context I've read all week, from a discussion between Gail Collins and David Brooks in today's New York Times: "Everyone is enthusiastic about the migration of beautiful young women, but the attitude toward a mile-long stack of walruses along the coast is more mixed."

In the same column, the smartest thing David Brooks has ever put in print, viz. his theory that Sarah Palin is actually a Democratic saboteur: "That's the only plausible explanation for the last two years. First she charms John McCain, gets into his campaign and promptly extinguishes any chance he had of winning the presidency in 2008. Then she leads large sections of the G.O.P. into an intellectual cul de sac." Makes me wonder if I've been reading Palin all wrong this whole time. Don't retreat, Sarah Barracuda ... reload!

In wingnut news, you know how sometimes creationists and climate change deniers liken themselves to Galileo—characterizing themselves as lonely truth-speakers persecuted and silenced by the powers that be? Well, Robert A. Sungenis and Robert J. Bennett have gone a step further with their book Galileo Was Wrong: The Church Was Right. (The title is to the point, at least). The publisher's blurb describes the book as "a detailed and comprehensive treatise that demonstrates from the scientific evidence that heliocentrism (the concept that the Earth rotates on its axis and revolves around the sun) is an unproven scientific theory; and that geocentrism (the view that the Earth is in the center of the universe and does not move by either rotation or revolution) is not only supported by the scientific evidence but is admitted to be a logical and viable cosmology by many of the world's top scientists, including Albert Einstein, Ernst Mach, Edwin Hubble, Fred Hoyle and many more."

As writers as disparate as Christopher Hitchens and Michael BerubĂ© have pondered of creationism, why take such specific issue with the theory of evolution when, really, the Big Bang would really be the theory to take down if you want to demonstrate that the earth is only 6014 years old? Well, here's the granddaddy of all intelligent design polemics, written by the president of Catholic Apologetics International and someone who "has been an instructor of physics and mathematics for many years at various academic institutions." You don't say—"various academic institutions"? One wonders how many, and how long he lasted at each ...

Also, a question from the floor: don't Catholics have enough to be apologetic about (internationally) these days without trying to take down Galileo? And Kepler? And Isaac Newton?

As my friend Julia observed, the really scary thing is that the book made it into a second edition


Polly said...

Also, a question from the floor: don't Catholics have enough to be apologetic about (internationally) these days without trying to take down Galileo? And Kepler? And Isaac Newton?

Why should "Catholics" carry the guilt for the "sins" of Mother Church ?

Chris in NF said...

Polly: Answer (1): Well, not all, but certainly some.

(2) That was a play on "Catholic Apologetics International," the organization of which Robert A. Sungenis is apparently president.

Polly said...

This is where this gets rather ambiguous for me .

Catholic Apologetics International (CAI) is a controversial American apostolate, in some measure of conflict with the Catholic hierarchy.

Catholics(internationally),presumably Catholics in general .

The use of the words internationally and International is semantic ambiguity .

Not all Catholics internationally or other wise are involved with the CAI .

The Catholic Apologetics International is not necessarily international .