Wednesday, April 08, 2009

The Dawkins Delusion: "90% safe is better than 100% safe"

"The Dawkins Delusion: Benedict XVI is 'stupid, ignorant or dim'", Gerald Warner - Telegraph

What the Pope actually said about condoms on March 18, 2009:
"I would say that this problem of AIDS cannot be overcome with advertising slogans. If the soul is lacking, if Africans do not help one another, the scourge cannot be resolved by distributing condoms; quite the contrary, we risk worsening the problem. The solution can only come through a twofold commitment: firstly, the humanization of sexuality, in other words a spiritual and human renewal bringing a new way of behaving towards one another; and secondly, true friendship, above all with those who are suffering, a readiness - even through personal sacrifice - to be present with those who suffer. And these are the factors that help and bring visible progress." -Catholic News Agency

Like many others who have attacked the Pope over these remarks, Richard Dawkins apparently thinks it a bad thing to criticize the distribution of condoms in the fight against AIDS. After all, condoms often block transmission of the HIV, which causes AIDS. Dawkins claims that "the Pope is either stupid, ignorant or just dim".

But condoms, according to the United Nations, have only a 90% protection rate against HIV transmission. On the other hand, marital fidelity and abstinence from premarital sex has an essentially 100% success rate at preventing HIV transmission.

The Pope's critics may not wish to acknowledge that objective data demonstrates promiscuous condom users are at a much higher risk of HIV infection and AIDS than individuals who reserve sex to marriage. Their loud, indignant objections are not based on science, but upon other interests that influence their judgment.

Consequently Dawkins can't fathom how a 100% effective plan is better at stopping AIDS (and ennobling individuals) than the destructive and dehumanizing gamble of rubberized, promiscuous sex.

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