Wednesday, March 18, 2009

PZ Myers: The Pope is an Evil Quack

What he said:

You've all heard the news by now, I'm sure: the pope was traveling to Africa, a continent plagued with widespread sexually transmitted diseases and also, coincidentally, one of the few places where Catholicism is growing, and he dispensed a little medical advice:

Speaking to reporters on his way to Cameroon's capital, Yaounde, the Pope said HIV/Aids was "a tragedy that cannot be overcome by money alone, that cannot be overcome through the distribution of condoms, which can even increase the problem".

The solution lies in a "spiritual and human awakening" and "friendship for those who suffer", the AFP news agency quotes him as saying.

Consistent condom use is associated with a reduction in the incidence of HIV infection of approximately 80%. It does not increase the problem. I know the Catholic church is reliant on the denial of human nature, something demonstrated regularly by the activities of its own priests, but at some point they have to recognize a simple reality: people like to have sex. You aren't going to talk them out of it without warping their psychology in a truly pathological way (again, witness the Catholic priesthood), but you might be able to get them to practice sex in a way that protects their health.

Claiming that condoms increase the problem is disinformation and outright quackery — it's a lie that will kill people. That is what the pope is doing on his little tour, spreading lies, doing harm, and setting back efforts to materially help the afflicted. "Friendship" won't help the children of a woman dying slowly of AIDS, nor will gilt-robed old men whispering about "spirituality" do one scrap of good against a dangerous reality.

Via Pharyngula.

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