It seemed these things were popping up in multiple discussions as people like @Suzanne chased me about, so rather than continue the multiple hijacks, maybe putting them here will be more entertaining for everybody.  All I ask is that people be kind, and perhaps answer questions in turn.  These questions come from http://www.thinkatheist.com/forum/topics/mad-at-the-outcome-thought...

1. Why did you choose catholicism over all other religions?

Because it made the most sense to me on several levels.  I of course can't rule out cultural bias, since obviously I'm a westerner and Roman Christianity is culturally pervasive.  For me it was a conscious choice at some point, though I am not a convert.   Interestingly, if I were not Catholic I'd be more inclined to Judaism than the Protestant faiths.  Perhaps the shared intellectual depth of Judaism and Catholicism is a contributing factor.

2. Do you follow the decrees made by the Vatican?

The Vatican does not make "decrees".  The Holy See serves as the administrative center of the worldwide Catholic community, and we do have some administrative rules like any community (our technical term for these is "merely ecclesiastical laws").  For the rest, all we do is teach.

3. Do you agree or disagree with contraception being available to those who would choose to use contraception, if they had access?

I'm not sure why I should care.  Now sometimes when people say "being available" they mean that I should pay for it.  I think that's a different sort of question that belongs more in the realm of public policy.

4. How do you choose which parts of the bible to follow, and not follow.

We don't "follow" the Bible, we read it and refer to it, the way anyone does with a favorite book or reference text.  We try to "follow" God, perhaps, or the example of Jesus or other holy men or women, but not the Bible.  In teaching things or exploring religious ideas, we refer to a wide range of writings and experiences, including long oral tradition, writings of various scholars, journal articles, encyclicals, consensus documents, conciliar writings, etc., much like any intellectual community.

5. Is purgatory in or out, these days.

It's a theory that had moderate but not universal acceptance some centuries ago.  It's still referred to, but not anywhere near as widely as in its heyday.  So it never quite rose to the level of Newtonian Mechanics in physics in terms of acceptance as a theory, and it's perhaps fading faster, but like Newtonian Mechanics it's still referred to in some contexts. 

Tags: Bob, Catholic, Dr., Professor, Robert, Vatican, bible, purgatory, questions

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Bob, the thing you need to consider even more than you have already, is that you and your brethren have created one of the most successful pedophile delivery systems known to history. I am not aware of any other system that has done so more effectively.

That's a claim, now where's the evidence.

The Jay Report, which did a very reasonable and comprehensive study on cases in the U.S., show that the phenomenon of priestly sexual abuse was largely time-limited.  It grew dramatically and then died off equally dramatically with the societal changes of the 60s and 70s.

During the same period, the general incidence of sexual abuse was higher than reasonable estimates of the incidence of priestly sexual abuse.   So in 1992, for example, the average of estimates for 48 states is 246 children per 100,000.  At the same time, the incident rate for priestly abuse in 1992 was 15 children per 100,000. 

Now, that figure is skewed by the fact that the various law enforcement/child protection data sets do not separate out parental abuse, and sexual abuse by parent/family member is the real "most successful pedophile delivery system".  There's no reason, though, to believe that the rate for churchmen in general is any higher than the rest of society, except perhaps during the turmoil of the 70s.

Don't let any data get in the way of your prejudice, though!

@Bob;

What does your 100,000 figure represent? Is it total population group? Is it just children? If so what's the age range? Your stats don't show how many parents per 100,000, nor the number of repeat offenders, nor the number of priests, etc..........I got a book titled "How to Lie with Statistics" It's real informative about understanding how statistics are used.

Some simply calculations shows me out of the total US population there are only 13.3 priests per 100,000, there are about 62,000 children and about 47,693 parents per 100,000. So we have 15 rapes by priests out of each 62,000 kids by 13.3 priests and 246 rapes by 47,693 parents, what kind of risk factor for each of the 62,000 kids does that give us?

Well if we have 47,693 parents raping 246 times we get a ratio of 1 rape per 194 parents, then we have 13.3 priests raping 15 times we get a ratio of 1 rape per .88 of a priest.

So Bob a child from the group has only about a .5% risk of rape if exposed to a parent, but over a 100% risk of rape if exposed to a priest.

Therefore Bob it is substantially riskier for a child to be exposed to a priest then a parent.

Checkmate Catholic!!! (with apologies to Edward Current.)

if exposed to a parent, but over a 100% risk of rape if exposed to a priest

I didn't check any calculations, there's one part that can't be true.

It's the priests fault. :D

These are just gross numbers to point out how easy it is to make stats say what you want them to say.

In the real world I agree with you, there is no such thing as over 100% of a thing, unless you're using stats to make a point. :)

You can look up and read the report @Gregg.

246 children per 100,000 was 246 reported sexual abuse cases per 100,000 children.  That was based on national law enforcement and abuse reporting data sets for the overall population, and varied significantly by state in ways well-correlated with poverty.

Of course, priests don't have access to the general population, they have access only to the active Catholic population.   The active Catholic population can be well approximated by the number of confirmations each year, especially since confirmations are done right at the modal age for abuse.   So the 15 per 100,000 was number of abuse cases by priests/clerics/religious on Catholic children.

Of course those Catholic children are also exposed to all the other sources of abuse, from family, relatives, teachers, coaches, etc. 

The Jay Report was a reasonably well-done research report and summary compiled by professional social scientists, not people trying to say whatever they wanted.  And no, the risk of parental and familial abuse is by far the largest overall in the lives of children.

@Bob;

You can look up and read the report @Gregg.

I did.

Bob have you been listening?

Have you read any comments (even your own) that support adults fucking children?

So we are probably safe in saying that most people do NOT support pedophiles and want to see that activity stopped forever.

What is it about the Catholic Church's past activity that offends so many on this site?  Is it that there are pedophiles in the church or that the church has for centuries protected and hidden these pedophiles from exposure and punishment?

From my POV it's the latter.

As you are aware Bob pedophiles exist in all walks of life, in churches, in organizations, in families, but it is in the Catholic Church that we see a long term deeply entrenched organized effort to support and enable them.

but it is in the Catholic Church that we see a long term deeply entrenched organized effort to support and enable them.

Was watching a docu on the Catholic Church a few months ago, sadly can't provide a link off the top of my head, but apparently the earliest known reports of priests raping children was around 400AD.

How many other organizations out there have been around that "long term" and kept records?   Public schools are only a couple of centuries old.  Sports programs much younger.  In the 1800s there wasn't that much chance to molest 14-year-olds because they were working in the mines, apprenticed in trades or serving as midshipmen on naval warships in combat.

I think what you mean to say is, "how many organizations have been covering up that kind of information for so long".

Those records were locked up in the Vatican vaults until the 2000s.

Are you seriously suggesting that Catholicism is older than sports and schools?

Also, I worry about your state of mind when your reply to your wonderful church molesting children for 1600+ years is, good on them to write it down... Seriously? I would be worried having my children anywhere near your sphere of influence, knowing what we have seen of your replies and comments on this forum.

It takes a really special kind of scum to claim "fucking kids is bad, but if my church uses it's clout to hide the people responsible for over 1000 years, that's okay, at least they wrote it down."

And you keep mentioning that other organizations do it too. Yeah, we know, but those other organizations don't claim to be all good, all loving, nor do they claim that their employees have any special powers or are exempt from the laws of men.

@Intern Bobby;

Hasn't it occurred to you yet that you have painted yourself into the corner of defending the indefensible?

You're lost in the mire of your own delusion, you're trying to find a way out of a position where there is none.

Bob, there are no doGs and all religions poison the minds of man*.

*all of humanity

As you are aware Bob pedophiles exist in all walks of life, in churches, in organizations, in families, but it is in the Catholic Church that we see a long term deeply entrenched organized effort to support and enable them.

Well, you see it.  I expect you might also believe Jews eat babies or that all muslims are terrorists.

I'm open to evidence.  Demonstrate that there is actually a higher long-term incidence rate within the Catholic church hierarchy.  After all, a deeply entrenched organized effort to support and enable should yield a statistically significant and meaningfully higher incidence rate. 

Otherwise, just admit that your position is an irrational one, based on emotion and a belief in myths which you cling to because believing in myths makes you feel better about yourself.

RE: "Demonstrate that there is actually a higher long-term incidence rate within the Catholic church hierarchy.  After all, a deeply entrenched organized effort to support and enable should yield a statistically significant and meaningfully higher incidence rate."

And there lies the Catholic safety net - with the systematic destruction, or otherwise withholding of evidence, that's difficult, if not impossible to do.

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