Thursday, 13 December 2018

Catholic Abuse News - Cardinal Pell "Convicted"

Cardinal Pell convicted of sexual abuse in Australia | Catholic News Agency

Despite a gagging order preventing any reporting of the trial, the Catholic News Agency (CNA) is reporting that Cardinal Pell has been convicted unanimously by an Australian court of the historical sexual abuse of two altar servers in the late 1990s when he was Archbishop of Melbourne.

This has not yet been confirmed by the Australian judiciary, which remains under the gagging order. The same source which reported this conviction the CNA is the same source which reported that a mistrial had been declared last October when the jury was deadlocked at 10-2 in Pell's favour.

The reason for the gagging order is that there is a second trial scheduled for early 2019 concerning allegations of other abuse of minors when he was a priest in Ballarat in the 1970s. The judge decided this trial might be influenced by the Melbourne trial making a fair trial impossible.

Cardinal Pell is the highest ranking Catholic cleric to stand trial on sex-abuse charges, being effectively number three in the Vatican, as prefect of the Holy See’s Secretariat for the Economy.

Christian Sexual Abuse News - Others Do It Too!

They were terrorized, trapped and even sexually abused. Now, these former members of independent fundamental Baptist churches share how their experiences will affect the rest of their lives.
Fundamental Baptist church pastors cover up sex abuse, rape | Fort Worth Star-Telegram

In the spirit of Christmas when Christians purport to feel goodwill to all, it seems only fair to Catholics to bring news that shows their priests, bishops and cardinals are not the only Christian clergy who take advantage of their position to sexually abuse children and vulnerable adults. As these two reports show, the clergy of other Christian churches do the same when the opportunity arises.

First, a report in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram revealing how the practice of sexually abusing vulnerable people by pastors in Independent Baptist churches is commonplace, as is the practice of cover-up and moving priests to other locations where they can continue abusing an unsuspecting congregation, just like the Catholic Church does:

Tuesday, 4 December 2018

Earliest Primates Were From North America

The unusual tooth sockets in UF specimen 333700 upended the hypothesis that Teilhardina brandti was a younger species in the genus. The sockets closely resemble those in Teilhardina asiatica, thought to be the most primitive Teilhardina species.

Credit: Florida Museum image by Paul Morse
Oldest-known ancestor of modern primates may have come from North America, not Asia – #FloridaMuseumScience

The earliest known primate may have come from North America!

But! Creationists should calm down! This is not another opportunity for a 'Nebraska Man'-style hoax*. It is from a time when Eurasia and North America were part of the same landmass about 56 million years ago. At that time, Earth was warm enough for palm trees to grow around the Arctic Circle.

This discovery by scientists from Florida University suggests the earliest known example of basal primates, a genus named Teilhardina did not come from Asia as was once thought. A detailed analysis of 163 teeth and jaw fragments recovered from Wyoming’s Bighorn Basin, showed that specimens found in North America which had been classified as Teilhardina asiatica were more primitive and were those of an earlier species, now named T. brandti.

Thursday, 29 November 2018

Malevolent Designer News - Getting Ready to Hit Back

Staphylococcus epidermidis
The potentially deadly bacterium that’s on everyone’s skin.

You may not have heard of Staphylococcus epidermidis but you have almost certainly heard of its close cousin, S. aureus, that in its antibiotic resistant form (MRSA) has become such a problem in hospitals, causing life-threatening infections in wound sites. Now, scientists have warned that S. epidermidis, an abundant, commensal bacterium on human skin, has the potential to become a serious health risk.

If you subscribe to the intelligent design notion, the only possible interpretation of this news is that a designer with malevolent intent has prepared for the eventuality of human medical science overcoming its current favourite harmful pathogens, like MRSA and Escherichia coli.

S. epidermidis is a close relative of S. aureus, the antibiotic-resistant form of which (MRSA) is a major health risk, especially in hospitals, following surgery. S. epidermidis is a normal, commensal bacterial species found on the skin of every human being. Normally, it is harmless but, in the right circumstances, it is also a serious health risk following surgery when it infects operation sites.

Saturday, 24 November 2018

Catholic Abuse News - Bash the Gays

Cardinal Müller. Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (2012-2017)
"Nobody told me!"
Catholic Cardinal: LGBTQ People Are to Blame for Sex Abuse Scandal

The latest senior Catholic cleric to jump on the bandwagon and join the growing tendency to externalise the child sex abuse scandal by blaming it all on others, is Cardinal Gerhard Müller.

Cardinal Müller is the former Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. In other words, the Pope's enforcer who job it is to make sure the church's dogma and Papal diktats are complied with. He joins a growing list of senior Catholics and Catholic apologists who have formed an alliance with the extreme right and are taking the opportunity to simultaneously try to dissociate the Catholic Church from culpability in the world-wide clerical sex abuse scandals and victimise and stigmatise the LGBT community.

Friday, 23 November 2018

Christianity News - Abusing the Gullible in South Korea

Lee Jae-rock. 15 years for "habitually" raping his followers.
South Korean Church Leader Sentenced to Prison in #MeToo Case - The New York Times

Continuing the tradition of Christian cult leaders exploiting the gullibility of their followers for sexual gratification, one such leader of a Christian cult in South Korea has been convicted of "habitually" raping his female followers and sentenced to 15 years in prison.

75 year-old Lee Jae-rock, who founded the mega-church, Manmin Central Church in Seoul, South Korea, has been the subject of allegations of corruption such as extortion, faud and sexal abuse for several years but it was only when the #MeToo movement caught on in South Korea that eight former members of his cult came forward with specific allegations. Some of them alleged that he had lured them to his apartment and ordered them to strip off "as Adam and Eve did in the Garden of Eden", then he raped them.

Wednesday, 21 November 2018

Malevolent Designer News - Sleeping Sickness

The parasite that causes African sleeping sickness can cause death in humans if not treated.

Credit: College of Science
Researchers reveal secrets of parasite that causes African sleeping sickness

The intelligent designer hates Africans. This is obvious from the way it has designed a nasty little parasite and a clever delivery system, that is designed not only to make Africans sick and die but also prevents them using the same domestic animals that allowed Eurasians to develop agriculture. The nasty little parasite is a trypanosome that causes sleeping sickness.

This parasitic trypanosome and its tsetse fly vector have huge economic importance to Africa because while the African native megafauna are all unsuitable for domestication, the Eurasian animals that were used as transport and to pull ploughs in agricultural cultures are all susceptible to it and so agriculture could never spread south of the Sahara to any significant extent, nor could food sources such as sheep and pigs, save in the highlands of Ethiopia, where the tsetse fly is absent.

Friday, 16 November 2018

Catholic Morality News - Fleecing the Flock

Fr. Lenin Vargas-Gutierrez
Court docs allege priest lied about cancer diagnosis, sex addiction therapy and charity projects | Starkville Daily News

According to a report by Ryan Phillips in Starkville Daily News, Father Lenin Vargas-Gutierrez, a pastor at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Starkville, MS, USA, in the Diocese of Jackson, is alleged to have hit on a novel solution to two problems: how to cover up the fact that he is HIV positive, and how to supplement his income and provide a living to which he feels entitled.

The report says:

According to a 37-page affidavit filed Friday by Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Special Agent William G. Childers in U.S. District Court in Jackson, an ongoing investigation into Father Lenin Vargas-Gutierrez, a pastor at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Starkville, shows the priest is accused of lying about being diagnosed with cancer and soliciting money from parishioners for treatment and other pet projects.

Wednesday, 14 November 2018

Catholic Abuse News - Vatican Blocks Child Protection Plan

Cardinal Daniel DiNardo.
President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops
Vatican tells U.S. bishops not to vote on proposals to tackle sexual abuse, spurns outside investigations - The Washington Post

In a quite extraordinary intervention, the Vatican has ordered the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to drop plans to debate and adopt a code of conduct that would strengthen measure to protect children and prevent their abuse by Catholic clerics.

This proposal was to be debated today at the Conference AGM, but on Monday the Conference president, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, told them that the Vatican’s Congregation for Bishops, acting on instructions from the Holy See, had blocked it pending a meeting of world-wide Catholic leaders next February.

Tuesday, 13 November 2018

Hypocrisy News - Kim Davis

Kim Davis - Rejected
Apparently, Jesus has decided on a change of career for Christian arch-bigot, Kim Davis, now she has been rejected in favour of a Democrat by Kentucky voters in the midterm elections.

Readers will remember how the (now former) Rowan County clerk gained notoriety and became the poster-girl for white right Christian extremism when she decided her religious prejudices entitled her to victimise homosexuals by denying them marriage licences for same sex marriage, while being paid by Kentucky taxpayers for doing a job she was refusing to do. She even achieved glorious martyrdom by being sent to prison by a court for refusing to do the job she was taking money for doing.

She acquired even more notoriety and the adoration of the extreme Christian right, when she helped Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò embarrass Pope Francis and give hope to the extreme right that his reforms were mere PR and not to be taken seriously. Viganò , then Papal legate to Washington and bearing a grudge, arranged a clandestine meeting between Davis and Pope Francis at the end of his visit to the USA, in which Francis appeared to encourage Davis to continue breaking the law in his host country. Details of the meeting were immediately released to the press by a triumphant Viganò.

Saturday, 10 November 2018

Intelligent Designer News - E. Coli Success

Transmission of Antibiotic Resistant E. coli Mapped in Wild Giraffe Social Networks

A progress update on the Intelligent Designer's campaign to make human and other animals get sick and die, using the bacterium Escherichia coli.

The story so far:

E. coli is the name of a highly diverse group of bacteria which displays far more genetic diversity than entire families of multicellular organisms with only about 20 percent of genes being common to all strains. Some authorities believe the taxon is overdue for revision and that some bacteria classified as Shigella should be reclassified as strains of E. coli while some E. coli, for example, the K-12 strain, should occupy a different taxon. Some strains have no flagellum, so lack motility.

Thursday, 1 November 2018

Rapid Evolution of Barn Swallows

Barn swallow, Hirundo rustica
Barn swallows may indeed have evolved alongside humans

Barn swallows (Hirundo rustica) are one of only a handful of species that have co-evolved with humans but are not parasitic on us. This commensal evolution depended on the ecological niches we have provided during our own evolution and, in this case, as with House sparrows, particularly the social evolution of agriculture and settled dwellings on and in which to live. Barn swallows nest almost exclusively in man-made structures, hence their popular name.

Now researchers have tentatively establish when the species took up residence with humans and when they radiated relatively rapidly into the six regional subspecies now recognised.

Wednesday, 31 October 2018

Dinosaur Eggs Confirm Bird Evolution

A selection of bird eggs and a fossil theropod egg (on the right).
Image credit: Jasmina Wiemann/Yale University
Dinosaurs put all colored bird eggs in one basket, evolutionarily speaking | YaleNews

More evidence today, if any more were needed, of the dinosarian origin of modern birds. This time it is evidence that the pigments birds use to colour their eggs evolved in dinosaurs who needed to camouflage their eggs in open or partially open nests on the ground.

The study also changes our thinking on how and when bird egg colour evolved.

It had been believed that birds evolved egg colours multiple times according to environmental pressures, however, all bird use the same two pigments, red and blue, in various combinations and patterns to achieve the different markings. This study challenges that view by showing that dinosaurs also had pigmented shells.

Monday, 29 October 2018

Catholic Abuse News - The Pope's Attack Dog Is Snarling Again

Bill Donohue, Catholic League President
The Pope's Pit Bull
Let Activists Dig Ireland's “Mass Grave” – Catholic League

The self-appointed Pope's pit bull, president of the American Catholic League, Bill Donohue is snarling and yapping again. This time, it is to mock and denigrate those trying to uncover the full horror of exactly what happened at the Bon Secours Mother and Baby Home in Tuam, Galway, Ireland at the hands of sisters of the Catholic Bon Secours order, and give their victims a decent burial.

Saturday, 27 October 2018

ECHR Ruling on 'Paedophile Prophet'

Conviction for calling Muhammad a paedophile is not in breach of Article 10 | ECHRPDF

On the face of it, the ruling yesterday by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) that the conviction of 'E.S.' by an Austrian court for 'disparaging religion' by suggesting that Muhammad had paedophile tendencies, should be upheld, is disturbing to say the least. However, it needs very careful scrutiny.

It does not, for example, as some are claiming, make it illegal to call Muhammad a paedophile. Nor does it give any special protection to Islam not available to other religions.

Ireland - Another Rejection of Religious Bigotry

RTÉ exit poll suggests blasphemy referendum will pass

In another stunning rebuff to basic Christian teaching and to religious privilege in general in the Republic of Ireland, this once staunchly Catholic country appears to have voted overwhelmingly to remove the offence of blasphemy from the Constitution, if exit polls are to be believed.

In the last few years, increasingly secular Ireland has voted by very large majorities to legalise same-sex marriages and to decriminalise abortion, both in the face of vigorous campaigns by the Catholic Church and against fundamental church teaching.

Thursday, 25 October 2018

Another Failed Attempt at Christian Political Subversion

Diane Douglas, Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction.
Credit: David Wallace/The Republic
Arizona superintendent fails in last attempt to limit evolution teaching | Ars Technica

Yet another attempt by entitled Christian fundamentalists to subvert the US Constitution and foist their superstition on vulnerable children at public expense, contrary to the Establishment Clause, has failed, just as it has failed in every attempt when brought before the US courts.

This latest attack on the Constitution was by Christian fundamentalist, Diane Douglas, Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction (an elected position) who abused her position by instructing her staff to edit a set of educational standards to remove any mention of 'evolution'. She later also ordered them to remove any reference to 'climate change'. When these changes were rejected by the Arizona school board she tried another tack and attempted to have the entire educational guidelines for Arizona replaced by those developed by Hillsdale College.

Wednesday, 24 October 2018

Catholic Abuse News - What Pope Francis Knows

Nicola Corradi and fellow priest Horacio Corbacho, left, are escorted to a courtroom in Mendoza, Argentina, Thursday, Dec. 22, 2016.

Credit: AP Photo/Emmanuel Rodriguez Villegas
Argentine abuse investigation involves priest previously reported to Pope Francis

In addition to the unanswered accusations by Archbishop Carlo Viganò concerning Pope Francis's knowledge of Cardinal McCarrick's sexually predatory habits, there are persistent accusations that, as Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, he was informed of the predatory activities of Fr. Nicola Corradi at a Catholic-run school for deaf children in Argentina but did nothing to protect his victims or bring Corradi to justice.

This sorry story starts in Italy where Corradi, a member of the Company of Mary, an Italian religious community which operates schools for deaf children in several countries, including Argentina and Italy, is reported to have sexually abused several deaf children at the Antonio Provolo Institute for deaf and mute children. This allegation came from “Giuseppe” who was born near Verona with a congenital defect that left him deaf and mute. He was eventually enrolled in an Antonio Provolo Institute.

Tuesday, 23 October 2018

Bringing Christianity Into Disrepute - Really?

Pastor Penuel Mnguni of the End Times Disciples Ministries
'Snake Pastor' feeds dog meat to congregants for communion | News24.

In a slight variation on the Catholic tradition of feeding congregants on pieces of wafer and telling them it's really a piece of real Jesus, a South African pastor has come up with a slightly more nutritious alternative. He feeds them pieces of dog. Admittedly dog meat he has turned into a tasty stew.

In fact, it's so tasty so he says, that it simply must be Jesus.

He has also been known to feed them snake, hair, cockroaches and rat.

Pastor Penuel Mnguni of the End Times Disciples Ministries explained:

[I]t is not what goes through the mouth that disqualifies us and defile us but what comes out of the mouth – The heart matters most than what decomposes (Food we eat) (sic). Christianity has shifted so much from time to time, however at End Times Disciples Ministries the move of God has been seen as many peoples faiths has also been challenged. From changing a snake to chocolate – to partaking octopus and frogs – a dog stew was prepared for the Church to partake as Holy Communion.

Evolution News - Giant Mice Threaten Rare Seabirds

Tristan albatross Diomedea dabbenena
Gough Island restoration programme | RSPB

A very nice, even if worrying, example of evolution in progress was illustrated in a report by the RSPB on one of their programmes to protect the seabird population on remote South Atlantic Gough Island. The giant descendants of the house mice that were introduced accidentally to the island in the 19th century, have become predatory on the estimated more than eight million seabirds of twenty-three different species that nest there.

Gough Island is part of the UK Overseas Territory of Tristan da Cunha, and is the nest site of the critically endangered Tristan albatross, Diomedea dabbenena.
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