Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Morning Scepticism: Will

While I agree that to some extent we have control over our actions, the concept of free will is something that is quite problematic. To have ultimate responsibility, then there would have to be some conception of the self akin to a Cartesian model. But we don't have that, we have conflicting drives and desires that make up our will. It's not just as easy as saying that it's their choice, it's true in a way but misleading to talk in such terms.

Monday, 29 November 2010

Morning Scepticism: Productive

Every time I hear about how X many millions of dollars is being wasted away at work through workers engaging in non-work activities I've got to wonder just how they calculate it. It seems there's the blunt figure of time lost equals dollars lost, which I wonder how much quality of work factors in. I know from my line of work keeping people overtime doesn't necessarily mean they get more done. So when figures quoting Facebook are put in the economy's deficit, I've got to wonder if someone using Facebook for an hour makes them happier and that helps productivity then the quoted figures are naive speculation.

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Morning Scepticism: Genius

I really wonder about people who think they are a genius. While no doubt geniuses exist and there are remarkable people who will go unacknowledged, it takes quite a lot to think that you are one of them. Perhaps how good the illusion of consistency is in the brain, that you "get it" when everyone else doesn't. It makes sense to you, you see its internal consistency, and no-one else is buying it because they fail to live up to your genius. And what's really more likely, that you have some revolutionary idea that will overthrow the direction of humanity or your just some hack who's convinced otherwise?

Saturday, 27 November 2010

Morning Scepticism: Labels

If I were to reject psychic powers because my magic 8-ball said its nonsense, that would be a bad reason to believe that there's no such thing as a psychic. Yet a well-reasoned position on why psychics are deluding themselves holds the exact same appearance as doing so because of a magic 8-ball or because a man in a white coat said so. To get hung up on what the belief is as opposed to why it is believed is leading to arguing the label rather than the argument. One can argue against the position with the most uncharitable interpretation as possible, and sadly this happens all too frequently.

Friday, 26 November 2010


"Theodicy is the philosophical contortion that seeks to justify child sacrifice or the Holocaust or juvenile cancer as a route to a higher order of good in society." - Robyn Williams

Morning Scepticism: NLP

If Neuro-linguistic Programming really did work, and we were able to manipulate others through precise use of language, then what's the difference between using NLP to get sex and rape? Thankfully the technique is dubious at best, but at what point does conversation become manipulation? After all the intent of NLP is an attempt at mind control. If it really worked then the only difference between forcing yourself on someone physically and doing it through manipulation is the brutality of the act. But aside from the apparent consent the acts are indistinguishable.

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Morning Scepticism: Representing

The Invention Of Lying was based on an interesting premise, what would a society be like without any sense of the make-believe? The movie followed the idea that whatever someone said was true must be true, but that requires something impossible: a perfect representation of the inner-self. Take a society of completely honest people who can't lie there would still be the need for detecting falsehood as brains aren't perfect. So logically speaking some things would still be wrong.

Of course it's just a movie, and as far as films go I enjoyed it. Had a few laughs and found a few things to think about.

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Morning Scepticism: Moral Progress

One reason I'm sceptical of those who say there's no such thing as morality is that there's been great progress in the flourishing of the human condition over the last few centuries. If morality was nothing more than a cultural construct, then there shouldn't be any clear direction to changes through time. Looking back especially over the last few hundred years there's been a clear trend towards improvements in the quality of life for as many people as possible. While there's always more work to be done, the cultural relativistic implications clearly don't match with the data. It's a failed hypothesis in the most fundamental sense as it simply doesn't explain the data and is even contradicted by it.

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Morning Scepticism: Godwin

Whether Hitler was in fact an atheist or influenced by Darwin are historical curiosities that don't influence on the validity of either. Yet much ink is spilled over Hitler's atheism despite there being very little evidence to suggest he was and much to suggest he wasn't. I've found one a priori argument used to establish Hitler's atheism.
  1. To be a Christian is to be a good person
  2. Adolph Hitler was not a good person

  3. Therefore, Adolph Hitler was not a Christian (thus an atheist)
Of course when the conjecture is that Christianity doesn't mean someone is a good person, excluding all those who are Christians who do bad things is about as effective as talking about prayer having a 100% success rate when God chooses to answer it. But I don't think for a minute that it matters whether Hitler really believed or not, when the argument is that a society without God leads to immorality Hitler suits just fine.

Monday, 22 November 2010

Sanity Prevails

PARENTS will have the right to ethics classes as an alternative to scripture in their child's school even if the principal and the majority of the school community opposes them.

The state cabinet is expected to approve the introduction of ethics classes to primary schools today after a successful trial this year. They will begin as early as term one next year.

While the classes will be voluntary for schools, the Herald has confirmed that parents who want their children to attend the classes will be able to appeal to the Education Department if the principal opposes them.
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As long as the St James Ethics Centre, which will run the classes, is able to provide volunteers and there is a reasonable number of children to attend them, the department will ensure they are offered.

Students in years 5 and 6 are likely to be the first to be offered the classes, because they are the years in which the trial was run. Eventually classes will be offered in years K-6.
Looking back on my time spent in scripture, it would have been much more productive to be in an ethics class than it would that time in Scripture. All that effort to try to convince me (along with the rest of my class) of the factual nature of Jesus and of the importance that faith plays in life didn't work. Meanwhile I didn't get to study ethics in any sense formally until my third year of university. My sense of morality was pieced together from paternal figures, common sense, experience, intuition and works of literature. While I don't think this is exactly a horrible way of doing it, it would be a shame to not give young people a formalised way of thinking about such issues.

I look at it like language. Yes people can pick it up and do generally fine without formal education. After all language long pre-dates schools. But it would be absurd to think that language lessons are useless, or its systematically imposing one language on students ahead of its culture (even if language is arbitrary and culturally-dependant), language lessons add a proper structure to what we intuitively acquire. While morality could be argued is a lot less culturally-dependant, I think they are analogous at least in the respect of the value of teaching.

Anyway, this is great news for parents in NSW who have children in years 5 or 6 next year. The question of Jesus or the importance of faith is what churches are for, not public schools.

Morning Scepticism: Herbal

It's been said that alternative medicine at works is just called medicine. I there's a very easy indicator of success: the cost. While pharmacies do a great disservice by selling herbal products alongside real medicine, there's a clear difference in cost. Now while it could be taken as Big Pharma profiteering, the difference in price can best be explained by the fact that one works and the other doesn't. I tend to think that the price of herbal pills is a "what do I have to lose?" approach to sales, meanwhile real medicine is priced in such a way that if it didn't work then there'd be no reason to buy it. This might not be always true, but it seems a good rule of thumb.

Sunday, 21 November 2010

For The Love Of Christmas!

Tim Minchin's song White Wine In The Sun is the best summation of what Christmas means to me. And it seems I'm not the only one who thinks so, a cover has appeared on a Christmas CD for charity. And it has caused outrage!
Major Neil Venables said the organisation was disappointed by the song, which was at odds with its Christian ethos, but hoped people would still buy it.
I really don't get that, at "odds" with the Christian ethos? There are a a few jabs at the dogma but at the core of the song lies a message of meaning and the importance of family. This is what I'm repeatedly told is the Christian ethos. Or does it only count if those values are part of the veneration of the silly rituals and superstitions?

The original:

The cover:

Morning Scepticism: Flat Tax

A flat tax would only serve to exacerbate income inequality and has no redeemable features. It's not a fair system as it puts a disproportionate burden on those who don't have disposable income. It's been a nice trick to convince people on lower incomes that the problem is the free-loaders at the bottom rather than those hoarders at the top, the complaints of unfair taxation of the prosperous means putting the burden on those who aren't.

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Morning Scepticism: Gamble

I don't gamble, which is to say I don't exchange my money for a statistically-rigged chance of increasing it. But I can hardly pretend that I don't really gamble, even if I limit the scope to finance then I'm gambling with my choice in job. Do I risk instability and financial ruin to chase a bigger pay packet? Is my money better saved or exchanged for quasi-necessities? Is it wise to put myself in great debt for the chance to own a home? Gambling is a part of life, the immorality of gambling to me is putting odds that guarantee diminishing outcomes for the perception of unlikely gain. There's little more pathetic than watching a problem gambler in action.

Friday, 19 November 2010


"The infliction of cruelty with a good conscience is a delight to moralists — that is why they invented hell." - Bertrand Russell

Morning Scepticism: Charity

For all those who bring up history's greatest monsters as being atheists as proof of the immorality of atheism, do they have to inversely accept that atheism makes people more charitable because the two most charitable men in history have both been atheists? Perhaps an apologist would contend that its because of their upbringing in a Christian society that made them charitable, but by that logic then Stalin's atrocities can be attributed to his time in seminary school.

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Only Game In Town

Something I have seen come up a number of times is that atheists argue for Darwinian evolution because that's the only game in town. While theists can believe that God created through an evolutionary process, an atheist doesn't have the luxury of choice. The insinuation is that perhaps the support of evolution isn't for scientific reasons, but to justify a prior-held world-view.

I find this argument deceptive in a number of ways. Firstly it's ignoring the quality and predictability of explanation for its propagation. Second, if the argument were true then we should see parallels in other areas of explanation where this happens. Finally, that it's a misdirection to cover up their own doctrinal commitments.

Triumph of explanation
Consider the following statement:
Atheists need to accept a heliocentric solar system because there are no natural explanations for a geocentric universe.
Such a statement highlights the absurdity of what is being proposed. The reasons to support a heliocentric universe are because of the predictive success of modern scientific advancements in understanding gravitation and the observational data that a heliocentric model is able to explain. Scientists have used this model to land craft on Mars and send vessels to explore other worlds hundreds of millions of kilometres away.

The heliocentric model is the only realistic game in town, I say realistic because anyone could come up with a speculative suggestion about the nature of stars in the sky but we don't take seriously those stories. Evolution by natural selection is much the same, while there are many different possible explanations, it's the Darwinian paradigm that is the only realistic game in town. Not because it's the way to cast off God, but because it through empirical observation and analytic consideration is found to be able to explain life on this world.

Evolution by natural selection isn't the only game in town, but the only realistic one. Through an examination of the fossil record, the genetic code, geographic distribution and comparative anatomy. Through many different experiments on many different facets of biology, including on the addition and removal of various selective pressures. Through analytic contemplation of underlying philosophical considerations. Through all these the modern evolutionary synthesis has been deeply examined and has been found to be triumphant. It's the only realistic game in town for those reasons.

The cosmic competitors
Even if evolution by natural selection is the only game in town for good scientific and philosophical reasons, its propagation might be through atheists who don't understand a thing about it except that its a counter to the teleological argument. That is to say that the assumption that God made life as it is would be an incredibly powerful argument if not for Darwin's idea.

Yet the teleological argument doesn't only exist to explain life, but to explain the cosmos. The seemingly arbitrary values of a number of constants need to be so precise for life to exist that a personal intelligence would be the best explanation.

If this holds true that atheists are just grasping at whatever comes there way then we should see a uniformity in explanation - a tentative hypothesis billed as the only game in town. If there is one that can account for the universe that atheists default to, I can't for the life of me think of what it is. Of course my ignorance is not an argument against there being one but I'd actually be surprised if atheists in general really had sufficient knowledge of cosmology to be able to even comment on the assertion's coherence.

But why does it actually matter? The validity of evolution stands with the evidence for it and the issue is one big red herring. If I were to argue that astrology was nonsense because my magic 8-ball says it's crap, the problems of astrology persist irrespective of my reasoning for it. While my personal attack on astrology would be absurd, the discipline of astrology is neither strengthened or weakened by my argument.

My real rejection of astrology, however, comes from an understanding of what planets and stars are. I reject it because constellations are an artefact of our current position in space-time and there's nothing we know that could even suggest a link between the relative position of planets and stars with events in our lives. We can navigate by constellations, start wars on the position of Mars, but that's not the causal relationship needed for astrology to be valid - it's just us finding a pattern (that's not there) and acting upon it.

When people make a doctrinal commitment to the inerrancy of The Bible and that commitment leads to rejection of any contrary information, then a rejection of evolution can be said to be done out of necessity. Likewise, when those who are crusading not for creationism but to get more people to Christianity could be said to arguing against evolution out of necessity. After all if evolution makes God unnecessary then it's taking away a strong reason to believe. Indeed this is what the Wedge Strategy, just like so many other attacks on evolution indicate, spelled out. Evolution is just the tip of the iceberg in the larger culture wars.

This is why I think that such arguments are projections. There was nothing in declaring myself an atheist to make a commitment to evolution by natural selection. There are atheists who don't think that natural selection works, or that it's insufficient to explain life. The charge of the only game in town is trying to put the focus of doctrinal commitment away from those who have one.

Morning Scepticism: Blasphemy

Blasphemy is far from a victimless crime, for those who commit it put themselves in danger. For those who wish not to hear blasphemy, is it worth not having blasphemy if its achieved through fear of reprisal? A nod might be as good as a wink to a blind bat and not blaspheming out of respect and fear have the same functional outcome, but surely it taints the gesture. For those who are actually seeking respect, that reticence is achieved through fear must only give hollow comfort.

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Morning Scepticism: Unicorns

Imagine if any talk of unicorns began with "you can't prove that unicorns don't exist" and that anyone who argued that unicorns were a fictional construct were told such statements are an article of faith. Yet this is exactly what happens if you replace unicorns with God. Because despite how trivial such a statement is, its perceived profundity means that atheism is forever going to be considered an unjustified leap of faith. While you can't prove the non-existence of unicorns, there's absolutely no reason to consider that unicorns exist and good reasons to think otherwise. In other words, absurd until demonstrated plausible.

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Morning Scepticism: Art

In combating piracy, I think part of the problem is that its a fight against human nature. To put a price tag on culture is just antithetical to its proliferation. Something that is freely shared has instead a limitation based on affluence and willingness to trade that affluence for the admission of a shared experience. When the same technology that enables the ability mass=produce art also just as easily allows the subversion of it, the containment strategy of fighting piracy is fighting a losing battle.

Monday, 15 November 2010

Morning Scepticism: Unfavourable Support

The argument over global warming is one of science versus anti-science. The scientific issue as it stands is well supported by those who are experts in various aspects of climate science, so to be against it is being unscientific. It doesn't matter if there are tree-hugging lefties who have no idea of the science and are arguing a political agenda, to be against global warming is to be against science and those political ideologues are incidental to the scientific validity. No matter if its a communist or even a terrorist who thinks global warming is true, it's a scientific issue and the beliefs of non-scientists should not matter one bit.

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Morning Scepticism: Quantum

The surest way of knowing that a product is crap is that they are advertised with science-sounding words. A computer uses quantum mechanics to work, yet its selling point isn't its harnessing of quantum mechanics. It works and to the consumer it doesn't matter how it works. So it should be a pretty good indicator that a product is bunk is if it is advertised with science-sounding words. Products with good science behind them just work, products that don't try to sound scientific to compensate.

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Morning Scepticism: Gym

Gyms are a for-profit enterprise, like any other, and if they can get top dollar then all the more power to them. But there seems something strange about how expensive gym memberships are at a time when there's an obesity epidemic.

Friday, 12 November 2010


"Never ascribe to malice that which is adequately explained by incompetence" - Napoleon

Morning Scepticism: Modern Arguments

Focusing on what the modern arguments are for the existence of gods to me misses the point. Modern arguments aren't why those beliefs began, and they certainly weren't what convinced people through the ages. It would seem to indicate that the reasons to believe weren't there until recently, yet its meant to be defending the same basic idea. And besides, a homoeopath talking about quantum vibrations is certainly a modern argument but does it really need to be engaged to dismiss homoeopathy?

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Morning Scepticism: Healthcare

It might be perplexing that there are those who will call the American healthcare system the greatest system in the world when it has such a high cost per capita and fails to cover such a large number of people. Are they out of touch with the facts? No, because the only fact that matters is America is the greatest country. The logic goes as follows:
  1. The greatest country in the world has the greatest healthcare system
  2. America is the greatest country in the world.

  3. Therefore, America has the greatest healthcare system.
It's not ignorance or dishonesty, just blind patriotism that strives what would sound like absurd statements. To suggest that it's broken is an admission of the country's fallibility.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Morning Scepticism: Sales

If sales people are less useful than the internet for product information, then what's the point of buying in-store that which can be purchased online? We've created sales points with almost no expertise required, the ability to sell is the ability to be polite to the customer and give the pretence of interest. Perhaps this is a good thing, then stores will be purely about price and availability and all those sales people can be replaced by a computer.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Morning Scepticism: Constitution

It perplexes me that Bill O'Reilly would look to a 222 year old document for authority on socio-economic measures. Even neglecting that its no longer 1788 and circumstances have drastically changed, there's over 200 years of intellectual exploration in social and economic theory as well as many different implementations by different countries around the world with varying success. It's like neglecting solar power because the founding fathers did just fine burning wood.

Monday, 8 November 2010

Morning Scepticism: Tower 7

9/11 truthers love to bring up tower 7 as the clinching evidence that shows that the WTC was an inside job. But if someone was trying to pull off the twin towers bombing, why would they blow up something that allegedly doesn't fit with the fireball explanation for the twin towers? The supposed clinching piece of evidence makes the conspiracy explanation seem even less plausible.

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Morning Scepticism: Liberal Defence

With the rise of vocal atheism, liberal theists seem to have two separate counters. If the attack is on the beliefs of evangelical Christianity then the response is to label such attacks as caricatures of true faith and complain that it doesn't capture the essence of what God is. Attack the beliefs of liberal Christianity then the response is to question why one would go after such beliefs when it's the evangelical forms that are the problem. When there's an attack on the sense of the sacred why should we expect anything else?

Saturday, 6 November 2010

Morning Scepticism: Scientism

Being a defender of science seems to inevitably bring the accusation of scientism - the notion that all truths are scientific. Because to engage in scientism, one defends the notion of gravity despite the testimony of levitation, or insists that the mind is a physical construct despite reports of Out of Body Experiences, or even that evolution is true even though there are creation myths that tell a very different story.

Friday, 5 November 2010


"Nature is neither good nor bad. Nor does nature care about individual life, or even whole civilisations. Life is simply a matter of being in the right place at the right time, and likewise death tends to be a matter of being in the wrong place at the wrong time." - Lawrence Krauss

Morning Scepticism: Passion

It was the great sceptic David Hume who said "reason is, and ought only to be the slave of the passions". In the desire for rationality it's often forgotten that we aren't perfectly rational beings. And it's a good thing too, passions are what make life worth living. But it leaves the problem for the sceptic of neglecting that we are at the core all human. For a sceptic who fails to recognise this still argues from the passions, but the passions are then an unexamined bias that undermines what they set out to achieve by use of rationality to begin with.

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Morning Scepticism: Natural

Far from removing humanity from the natural world, scientific inquiry has made humanity more a part of nature than ever. Not only are we of the same origin as all other life, but we are made of the same stuff as non-living material. Far be it from life being somehow distinct from the universe, it's an expression of it! Yet it seems that this notion is undesirable to some, wanting the universe to be an expression of us rather than us being an expression of the universe. The natural it seems is not enough for those who crave it.

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Morning Scepticism: Big Bang

Like evolution denial, the Big Bang is something similarly mocked by creationists. The parallel of "from goo to you" is "nothing created everything", "how can chance build an eye?" becomes "how can chaos cause order?" Yet I wonder just how many take into account the predictive success of the theory, which should be the main criteria for rejecting a scientific hypothesis. Any idea taken on face value can be ridiculed into absurdity but when it comes to science one must engage with the question scientifically, hence why no matter how absurd the notion of a Big Bang sounds that it persists in academia.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Undeserved Wealth

If you're like me, then you're experiencing the US midterm elections through the hilarity that is watching the Teabaggers[1] show just how removed from reality people can be without subscribing to cultural relativism. Wear a flag shirt, write a stupid messages and complain about taxes. And it looks like they're going to stick it to those Washington "elites" who have lost touch with "real America" too!

And while the birthers, those making racist slurs about Obama, and those crazy kooks on the religious right provide much entertainment, it's sometimes hard to remember just exactly what they're outraged against. As much as we like to think we're experts, not all of it can be attributed to the Dunning Kruger effect[2]. Most people aren't sociologists, they aren't political scientists, and they aren't economists. Yet those issues are at the centre of the political discourse. We're impotent to rule on them, to discuss them on their merits, and to make informed decisions. Much has been made of the use of the word socialist, and I think that's key to understanding just where the Teabaggers are coming from.

At the core I think the issue is fairness. The Teabaggers are a group of people who in hard economic times don't want to be paying for the prosperity of others. Bailing out those who took out risky housing mortgages sounds like it's rewarding people for taking risky behaviour. If they didn't want to suffer the consequences then they shouldn't have taken out those loans to begin with[3]. But it goes further than that, as Michael Shermer illustrates in the video link it's about owning the responsibility through being the hard-working person who has to foot the bill for the irresponsible actions of others.

Of course in that respect, the victims would be all those who were put out of work because of the irresponsible actions of people who engaged in irresponsible or malevolent practices. If someone happened to have worked for the company that was bailed out, was it really their risk? And for those who did work that flowed on indirectly from these large companies too, they would all suffer too because of those who were irresponsible. But I suppose that's the way of the system, got to take the good with the bad and if the economy collapses then it's your fault for living in such a place where there was that kind of economy to begin with!

But it's in that outrage where I think we can comment on. Even dogs have an innate sense of fairness[4], and we do too when it doesn't go our way of course[5]. To sacrifice our individual prosperity then it should be for those who are truly needy of it. In Australia we beat up on dole bludgers[6]:
A CURRENT AFFAIR: I work really hard, I pay - half of my salary goes in taxes every week, I promise you that, I work really hard, sometimes too hard.
ACTIVIST: Do you call this working hard?
A CURRENT AFFAIR: Yes, it is hard work sometimes, not all the time. But why should I support you?

Why indeed? It's the sacrificing of individual prosperity for the sake of another's. When it comes down to real numbers it's not very much at all. But that's not the point, it's an affront to our reciprocal altruistic tendencies. It doesn't surprise me at all that there are those who hate the fact that the government is propping up people who don't really need it, that there's a system of middle class welfare that is distributing the funds of some to others. No matter the necessity, no matter the social utility, it's taking someone's hard work and giving it to someone else.

But therein lies the problem with a lot of this rhetoric. It's human to feel cheated, to feel that those who took the risks shouldn't be bailed out. What good is a risk if they have everything to gain and a safety net if they fail? No system is perfect, but when systems that have great utility to focus on those cases where the system is subverted is committing the perfect solutions fallacy. Would it be preferable to see that many people get denied healthcare because there are some people who are poor yet have an iPhone? To remove welfare because there are some that don't even try to get a job yet have nice TVs and can still go drink at the pub?

I think the word "socialist" is a demonic word because it's on face value institutionalising that unfairness. It's not about whether there are individual advantages from certain services being distributed, but that it feels wrong to be paying for someone else's affluence. It's not the wealthy who are the teabaggers[7], they are just regular people. And that's all such outrages needs: regular people. It doesn't matter if people are hypocrites about it, or any matter really[8], it's unfair if other people do it because they don't deserve it. To quote Michael Shermer[5]:
When it comes to money, as in most other aspects of life, reason and rationality are trumped by emotions and feelings.

[1] - They came up with the label.
[2] - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunning%E2%80%93Kruger_effect
[3] - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zo4tXIpDySI
[4] - http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2008/12/dogenvy/
[5] - http://www.michaelshermer.com/2008/01/weird-things-about-money/
[6] - http://www.abc.net.au/lateline/stories/s474408.htm
[7] - http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/17390/210904
[8] - http://www.prochoiceactionnetwork-canada.org/print-friendly/anti-tales.shtml

Morning Scepticism: Dead

While many look to psychics or religion for a connection with the dead, it's technology that's able to provide us the opportunity. It started with simple things like art and storytelling, then changed with the invention of writing. Through paper more was able to be left to us and to have a wider reach, then with photographs then the ability to record voice and now video. We can look to myth and magic all we want to communicate with the dead, but it's through technology that the dead can communicate with us.

Monday, 1 November 2010

Morning Scepticism: Reputation

It's come to light that the cover-up of child rape by the Catholic Church was done to protect the good name of the church. Over and over again. So when the scandal broke, it came out not only as priests committing abuse but the Church engaging in a wide cover-up. So not only was there the problem of the Church's good name being ruined by the scandals, but the added reputation-destroying action of allowing such actions to take place over and over again. Is protecting a reputation in the short term really worth the damage it might take later if such systematic cover-ups come to light? And this isn't even taking to account that there's meant to be some sort of link between religion and morality!