Lately, many Catholic Christians (”journalists” or simple bloggers) have declared that: “science proves pope was right about condoms
“… I find the use (or better, misuse) of the rules of logic by those people baffling. I also find the gross misdirection away from the actual problem
with such statements baffling. Let me explain. Here are the facts of the case:
A condom is practically almost 100% effective in preventing transmission of HIV if used correctly (HIV particles cannot permeate the latex barrier)
Condom promotion practices have worked nicely where prevalence became high (such as Thailand and Cambodia apparently)
In regions where “consistent condom use has not reached a sufficiently high level [there was no] measurable slowing of new infections in the generalized epidemics”. So in certain sub-Saharan African countries, condom usage seems unable to grow significantly despite large promotion campaigns.
One reason for failure of such campaigns seems to be “risk compensation.That is, when people think they’re made safe by using condoms at least some of the time, they actually engage in riskier sex.”
Another reason is probably multiple sexual relationships with various different partners without always using condoms.
Yet another reason condom campaigns have failed might be the fact that the pope does NOT like condoms and actively damns them and promotes abstinence-only practises.
Based on these facts, I would argue that the Catholic Church is a major part of the problem
, which is the low prevalence of correct condom usage and bad education on the subject. It may be true that the required level of education on this issue might not be realistically attainable. It might also be true that staying loyal to one or very few partners has good results.
But these cannot change the fact (hell, they are not even mutually exclusive with the proposition) that if people were correctly using condoms every time, then there would be no epidemic to talk about. And the Catholic Church is actively fighting this simple measure… So with what kind of twisted logic can we reach a positive conclusion about the pope?!?
But forget even the conclusions that can be drawn from these facts. Forget about whether the pope was found out to be right in retrospect or not. The main point lies elsewhere: what the heck is the pope doing giving authoritative advice to people about science-related matters?!?
What are his qualifications for doing anything like that?!? What twisted mind abuses so much his authority and influence to give out ANY kind of advice or directive about things he is ignorant?!?
Today he speaks about the use of condoms, tomorrow it could be about the use of medicine (instead of, say, praying). The pope should stick to preaching to the sheep, and let the scientists determine how best to fight the HIV/AIDS epidemic
. Why have people failed to see this in the whole story?
- Malcolm Potts, Daniel T. Halperin, Douglas Kirby, Ann Swidler, Elliot Marseille, Jeffrey D. Klausner, Norman Hearst, Richard G. Wamai, James G. Kahn, and Julia Walsh, "Reassessing HIV Prevention," 9 May 2008, Science, 320 (5877), 749. [↩]