Is your trust in science based on faith or based on science?

What I mean is this: how much do you actually know about the science most atheists parrot? Most atheists know as little science as most Christians know as little theology. Just as a Christian trusts his priest to tell him what he believes, an atheist trusts scientists with a Ph.D. tacked to their name to tell them what they believe. But how many times have the scientists turned out to be wrong? I only ask this because it seems this is central to the problem that most atheists have. They are repulsed by the phrase “believe” – they are addicted instead to the phrase “know”. But honestly, do you really know, or are you just believing what you’re told? I would like to remind you that in the 1970′s the scientists of the day were seriously concerned that we were about to enter an ice age, and less than 30 years later they are now convinced Earth is about to turn into a desert.

Unless you’ve observed something yourself, or observed and interpreted the evidence yourself and drew your own conclusions, you are just as guilty as faith as any religious person.

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She's a droneless, NSAless Australian.

And no doubt one of those awful people living with gun control too!

Thanks @Strega/@arch for the tip.

Professor, I wrote above, "In the Univ. of Fla. natural history museum I saw skeletal similarities and, amazed, asked How can humans and [other] animals not be related?"

You asked "Why must there have been some [anti-evolutionary dogma]?"

You saw the word "amazed" and it didn't penetrate the screen you keep in place to protect your dogma. Even my boldfacing it didn't help it penetrate.

You are indeed well protected.

I referred to the Catholic schools I attended and you reply "We have no particular problem with evolution."

Note my first person singular pronoun, here both bolded and underscored.

Your screen kept you from seeing that your plural pronoun differed from my singular pronoun.

I understand your difficulty. I worked for about three years with a man who'd done well on the math portion of the GRE and poorly on the language portion. I beat him at chess and he cleaned my clock at table tennis.

I saw him let opponents score twenty unanswered points before he scored twenty two consecutive points. Is something other than language your strength?

@Tom, I'm sorry.  I thought you were trying to make an argument, not simply relate personal experience.

I respect your personal experience, and have to take at face value as what you remember of your childhood. 

Anecdote is not the singular of data, however.  I apologize if you had poor teachers, but what you describe has not been the teaching of the Catholic Church in many lifetimes.

From the definitions of the legal term "child abuse" in the statutes of those states.  You can peruse them at .   For example, in the current statutes in Massachusetts, reportable child abuse is defined as the "nonaccidental commission of any act by a caregiver upon a child under age 18 that causes or creates a substantial risk of physical or emotional injury..."

Then one must look at the legal definition of "caregiver" in the state, in both statute and case law.  Massachusetts definition is very broad compared to most states, and yet even now it likely does not include priests outside of a school/foster care setting.  "Caregiver" does include parents/guardians, household members entrusted with a child's care, and other persons providing child care or services (schools, daycare, foster/group care, etc.). 

Most states are more restrictive than Massachusetts, though the trend has very definitely been toward expanding the definitions.

Again, it is not enough to quote isolated text that you feel is authoritative, in this or any discipline.  There are reasons why people who practice in the field engage in many years of specialized study and internship.   Absent that study, there is a high burden to do sufficient research on principles, context, and actual practice which govern interpretation of the text if you wish to build a genuine understanding.

Why were priests excluded in the first place?

In U.S. child abuse reporting laws, traditionally only those with professional expertise in recognizing signs of abuse were mandatory reporters:  health care workers, teachers, etc.  People with real expertise and training.

The standard here in the U.S. for reporting is "reasonable suspicion", and those reports start time-consuming and invasive investigations that can result in taking children away from their parents.  You don't want that sort of thing going on because the nosy neighbor doesn't like that the kids are running around the yard.  So mandatory reporting for "reasonable suspicion" was limited to those with professional training whose reasonable suspicion could be relied on.  That did not include priests.

Re child abuse reporting laws. During my years at San Francisco Sex Information:

1) I had the training and might have reasonable suspicion. But knowing only what phone callers told me, I was unable to identify the location and was not a mandated reporter.

2) I described my work as a wonderful remedy for twelve years in Catholic schools.

Here's a word you probably haven't seen; bizarrerie - the Catholic sexual ethic.

Okay, it's my definition, not New Oxford American's.

Posting a non sequitur link and a partial definition of child abuse in Massachusetts does not refute that.

Well, yes, it in fact does.  Because you see, the mandatory reporting applies only to child abuse.  If something does not meet the legal definition of child abuse, then the mandatory reporting statute and its protections for good-faith reporters do not apply. is actually an official source, because states are required to provide the federal government with information on their child abuse statutes annually under CAPTA.  That is different from your link to RAINN, which is a special interest lobbying organization.

In fact, one glaring omission from the reporting requirement you quoted suggests the source is questionable. Medical professionals (who are not caregivers) are required to report

No omission, just your lack of understanding.  There is a difference between who can commit child abuse or neglect, and who is a mandatory reporter of child abuse or neglect.  A priest, being non-custodial, cannot commit child abuse, and therefore none of the mandatory reporters are obligated by law to report.  If they choose to report, they are not protected by the statutory immunity provisions of the reporting law, and can be subject to civil lawsuit for slander.

A priest can of course commit the crime of sexual battery (rape) or other lesser offenses.  Like all ordinary crimes in the U.S., there is no legal obligation to report.  Moral obligation?  That is between you and your God(s) or personal philosophy.  I would say there is a moral imperative to do so for felonies at least, but the standard for making such a report may be higher than "reasonable suspicion."

my "genuine understanding" is that if an employee tells his boss he's been raping children, the boss reports him to the proper authorities

An employee may tell his employer that he's been raping children, and then claim that he said no such thing. What a man tells his bishop in a moment of candor can be quite different from what he will admit to in public. If the employer reports (a public record), then the employer may be subject to a slander suit by the employee, where the burden of proof shifts to the employer.   This is a challenge for many employers, particularly in cases where the evidence may be weak or witnesses unwilling.

That being said, it is a consideration, not an excuse.  A person in a leadership role should have the moral fortitude to do what is right even in the face of legal or personal risk.

Blaming the law for Cardinal Law's failure to act is disgusting, Robert.

Except that's not what I'm doing, and you know it.  I'm blaming the law for its inability to prosecute Bernard Law for that failure.  There's a difference.  Bernard Law's failure to act was contemptible, and I condemn it unequivocally. 

@Gallup, all this is just chasing your tail.  The fact is that Bernard Law was not a mandatory reporter, because under the laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts that were in force at the time, (1) child abuse could only be committed by a guardian, and (2) only professionals in child care as defined by the statute were mandatory reporters.  Besides, failure to report is typically a misdemeanor.

So there wasn't a legal case to be made, and the reason had nothing to do with some vast imagined conspiracy.  It had to do with how child abuse was treated historically under the law everywhere.

read this summary of mandatory reporting requirements for child abuse

Which you conveniently neglect to admit goes on for 5 paragraphs about exceptions and limitations.  There's no question, though, that the trend is toward increased mandated reporting, and both statutes and case law are in flux many places.   Like many laws put in place in the quest for perfect security, those also have implications for liberty and protection of the innocent.

Priests cannot commit child abuse? There's a difference between mindless gainsaying and spreading misinformation that could actually lead to children getting hurt.

Priests can commit sexual battery, gross sexual imposition, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, etc.  We are talking legal definitions here, and "child abuse" has a different legal meaning than colloquial meaning in many jurisdictions.

The employee may figure it out, but then it's up to the employee to prove the employer went to the police or child protection agency.

No, that's not the way it works.  The childrens' services agency only has jurisdiction as defined by law, and only childrens' service agencies have legally mandated protections for reporters.   For any crime outside the jurisdiction of childrens' service agencies, like rape, law enforcement agencies have sole responsibility, and in the ordinary criminal justice system those are public records because defendants have a right to confront their accusers.

What Bernard Law did was horrendous, but according to the chief law enforcement official of the state it was not provably illegal.  So if you're mad that he's not in jail, blame the state.  If you're mad that he's an ass, blame him.

What is truly irrational is to blame a worldwide church community who happened to share his religious philosophy.  That worldwide church community is what "Catholic Church" means

@Bob - However, in honesty you must admit that you know very little about me -

Oh, I have the measure of you, an apologetic catholic, who keeps on saying, 'Oh, they are doing over there as well - so much diversion Bob, does not sit well with me. You helped get rid of Bernard Law, but the problem is Bob, he is sitting pretty, as are many other pedophiles and pedophile protectors, who have scuttled off, to all to be protected by successive popes.

I guess, you would say, well at least he isn't in a position of protecting any more pedophiles, when in fact, you should be helping other catholic parents and other good people in the catholic church to get these criminals charged by law to answer to their crimes.

It's not my calling, though.  I teach and do research.  -

It is not mine either, Bob, but I can put myself in the shoes of a parent whose child's life has been ruined, who has been raped and sodomized, and then those dregs are then protected by your church, and re-acted as any decent, upright, ethical moral citizen in any country, of any political, religious or secular persuasion, would do. Did you sign the petition Bob, or how about you start one on your own in your country - don't just sit on your hands, and say "What a good person am I, I helped move Bernard Law out of Boston - Yayyyy.

You do what you can when it's in your neighborhood -

No, nowhere near it - I know what is going on in America, I know what is going on in Nigeria, where people are screaming out for contraception, to stop a mother from having too many children, that they know will starve to death, all because of the catholic church.

Are you truly judging me and others by the same yardstick you judge yourself?

Absabloodylutely, Bob. I could not sleep at night, if I knew that an organized group that I was a member, professing to be the best 'group' on earth, was protecting pedophiles, and I did not do anything about it. I find it really distressing, disappointing and truly sad, that a supposed catholic, thinks it OK to sit on their hands. If that were the case, Bob, pedophilia would remain as rampant as ever.

Get out of your bubble, Bob.

I will admit to being somewhat pedantic and professorial at least -

Pedantic yes, about protecting your religion, making excuses, apologist, blinkered, yep, all these, that is how you come across.

It has always baffled me, that when one claims to be an educated christian, the education stops at a certain point, in your case, it seems to be genesis, how the catholic church came into being, and how the vatican came to be protected.

Why do you call yourself a catholic, when this particular group doesn't give a fig for the lives it has destroyed.

Do you think contraception should be used?

This is not catholic bashing bashing per se, Robert, this is pedophile bashing, it is just the fact the catholic church is at the top of the pile, a protected species, in a systematic campaign of protection, and the only ones to get away with it are catholic priests etc, hundreds, if not thousands of priests, protecting their assets, while successive popes have hidden pedophiles and pedophile protectors behind state boundaries, that is a crime against humanity, and that is what is happening.

Because Bernard Law clearly did not learn of the abuse of children through a religious confession - who cares how he was found out, the fact is, he was found out, and of course, it was a surprise to him that he was found out. The only reason he absconded, was the fact his parishioners, the sheep who propped up this particular diocese, cut off the money supply. Oooops, time to go.

I really don't believe you could be so blind with the following statement - Bernard Law of course was not housed in the Vatican.  He was made the pastor of the Major Basilica of St. Mary in Rome - Splitting hairs, Bob.

Question: Why is he not in the US being charged for his crimes of protecting pedophiles.
Answer: Because he is being protected by Pope Francis, and therefore the vatican.

Where non-performers or those who have made poor judgments - No Bob, this is not poor judgment nor non-performer, this person is a criminal, and along with many others, are being protected by the catholic church, your church, I do believe Bob.

I don't approve of the practice - I not only not approve of this, it is obscene, repulsive, a stain on humanity.

but it does have the advantage of avoiding litigation and being relatively expedient -

My jaw is now dropping on ground, and you just don't get it, which is why nothing will change in the catholic church, if it depended on the likes of you, and the other millions just like you. Leave it to the distraught parents of these children, leave it to secular people, leave it to people who want to uphold justice.

You just stay in your bubble, Bob.

You helped get rid of Bernard Law, but the problem is Bob, he is sitting pretty

It seems to me the problem you have is with western jurisprudence, which places restrictions on ex post facto laws and bills of attainder, and which generally errs on the side of protecting the accused.   You are correct, I support those legal protections, and that does mean that sometimes guilty parties or just plain bad people get away with things.  I think the protections are important, though, to prevent other forms of intimidation or abuse.

All of your anger seems to come down to that issue, displaced onto religion.  So to answer your "question" properly:

Question: Why is he not in the US being charged for his crimes of protecting pedophiles.

Answer:  Because the Attorney General of Massachusetts decided that he had not committed any crimes, and chose not to prosecute.


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