The Spectacle Blog

Secularist Articles of Faith

By on 7.21.06 | 8:35AM

Ross Douthat and the Catholic News Service both caught Arlen Specter promoting the old (and largely manufactured) war between science and religion during the stem cell research debate in the Senate. He suggested the study of human cadavers was blocked by the Catholic Church during the 13th century. Wrong. And that Michael Servetus ran afoul of the church for his study of cadavers in the process of learning about the circulation of blood. Wrong. Servetus got in trouble over the Trinity, not medical practice or study.

I've played the staffer role enough times to know what happened here. The big strategy is to paint opposition to stem cell research as purely religious and to draw the noose tight with a good story about how irrational religion has been. So, you go out trawling issues of Village Atheist or books by Prometheus Press and you get what you're looking for.

After the voting's over, who cares if any of it was true?

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