Posted by Tony Listi on June 3, 2011
“…historians are now discovering that the common notion of the Spanish Inquisition as some horrible, fanatical, all-encompassing bloodthirsty monster could not be further from the truth. Their conclusions come from the first-time ever study of the actual cases taken from the archives of the Inquisition itself…. Studying the archives of the Inquisition demolished the previous image that all of us had.” (BBC documentary “The Myth of the Spanish Inquisition”)
“The reason why accurate information about the Inquisition fails to penetrate the popular mind is not such a mystery at all. Numerous people have a vested interest in keeping the traditional image alive…. Those who resent the Church’s claim to moral authority use as their most effective weapon the allegation of hypocrisy….” -James Hitchcock, Professor of History at St. Louis University
There are so many myths, lies, and half-truths surrounding the history of the Inquisition. In this post, I’m going to set aside the philosophical, moral, and prudential considerations surrounding the issue. Let’s focus on the historical facts first, shall we? Some historical accuracy and perspective should be enough to defuse much of the hatred and animosity aimed at the Catholic Church.
First, some general historical facts:
The Inquisition technically had jurisdiction only over those professing to be Christians (i.e. Catholics). It did not have jurisdiction over those who did not claim to be Christian like Jews and Muslims.
States and kingdoms of the time explicitly and officially endorsed and embraced the Christian faith as the foundation of their own authority and the peace of civil society. Thus they saw an attack on the unity and purity of the Christian faith as an attack on them, their authority, and the public peace. This was not a new or unique idea in the previous history of the relationship between religion and politics. Furthermore, even by some imperfect modern standards, in point of fact, these heretical sects were indeed in many cases violent and destructive of civil society.
The Inquisition was a response to statist encroachment into doctrinal territory and overzealousness of the State and mobs of people in executing heretics. In the early 13th century, the Inquisition was born most likely in response to popular mobs’ and the State’s aggressive prosecution and punishment of heretics, especially the Cathari, a sect that taught that sexual intercourse and marriage was evil and that suicide was good under certain circumstances. The Church likely saw these secular tribunals as an encroachment on its authority with regard to what is true doctrine and what is heresy. So it decided to create its own body of judges that would exercise doctrinal authority and judgment in the name of the pope.
The Inquisition was not an all-powerful institution with unlimited power and supreme authority. Rather, it was under the authority of the pope and diocesan bishops and competed with the State and the local aristocracy in many instances. It was often overshadowed in the city and powerless in the country.
This rest of this post is going to focus on the Spanish Inquisition.
My primary source of historical information is going to be a TV program that the BBC that aired in 1995 called The Myth of the Spanish Inquisition (see videos below). Why? Because this TV documentary presents the views of scholars who actually examined the original and detailed achival records of the cases that came before the Spanish Inquisition. These internal records were never intended for public viewing. The documentary draws primarily upon the work of Professors Henry Kamen and Stephen Haliczer. There is also a Wikipedia article devoted to the new historical findings.
You can watch the documentary yourself, starting with the first YouTube video below (of five videos):
The documentary is no more than an hour long and well worth the watch. For those who don’t want to watch it or don’t have the time to, I’m going to highlight some key facts that it brings to light.
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in Catholicism vs. Protestantism, Church History, Religion and Theology, Written by Me | Tagged: bigotry, Catholic, chambers, defense, execute, executions, hate, hatred, heresy, heretic, historical, history, Inquisition, intolerance, kill, lies, murder, myths, nobody expects, oppression, rack, religion, Religious, spanish, suppression, torquemada, torture, true, truth, tyranny | 6 Comments »
Posted by Tony Listi on March 13, 2008
Jason Mattera of Young America’s Foundation teams up with HotAir.com to confront Senator John Kerry about his Winter Soldier testimony and lies about American soldiers in Vietnam.
Posted in American History, Government and Politics, Politicians, Vietnam War | Tagged: Jason Mattera, John Kerry, lied, lies, on tape, Video, Vietnam War, Winter Soldier, Young America's Foundation | 2 Comments »
Posted by Tony Listi on January 22, 2008
The Piltdown Man
In 1912 in Sussex, England, amateur paleontologist Charles Dawson discovered what appeared to be a skull with a human-like cranium and an ape-like jawbone. The “missing link,” a transitional organism fossil, had apparently been found.
But in 1953 radiocarbon dating revealed that it was a fake. Dawson had attached a modern orangutan jaw modern to a 1000 year old human skull. In fact, the jaw was stained with potassium bichromate and the teeth where filed down to make them look more human.
In 2000, this half-bird, half-dinosaur found in China and smuggled to the U.S. was also proven a hoax. A fake tail had been glued on another fossil to try and increase its value when sold on a black market.
The Peppered Moths
I remember being taught this example in school. It was supposed to be a real life demonstration of natural selection at work. According to this story, black moths evolved from white moths. It was theorized that that the white moths were easily seen on industrial revolution-blackened trees and thus were easily seen and eaten by predators. The black moths, however, blended in and avoided predators. Thus the environment naturally selected darker moths. In the 1950s, Oxford biologist E. B. Ford actually set up an experiment to test this theory. It was a fraud though.
Ford and his assistant placed lightly-colored moths on black tree trunks in broad daylight. But lepidopterist (moth specialist) Ted Sargent and others pointed out that peppered moths do not rest on tree trunks but on the underside of high branches and are nocturnal! Thus the experiment was rigged; placing moths where they would not normally be at a time that they would not even be active.
Yet evolutionary fundamentalists won’t let go of this one that is still taught in schools.
I remember seeing embryo drawings in my biology textbook. German biologist, eugenicist, racist, and proto-Nazi Ernst Haeckel first drew the embryos of various vertebrate animals. They all looked the same and thus were evidence that they all had a common ancestor in the evolutionary chain. Darwin himself claimed the “facts” of embryology to be “second to none in importance” and “by far the single strongest class of facts” supporting his theory.
But in the 1990s, British embryologist Michael Richardson and his team of researchers actually looked at vertebrate embryos through a microscope. Photos were published in the August 1997 issue of the journal Anatomy & Embryology. The photos look nothing like Haeckel’s drawings! In fact, Haeckel had used the same woodcuts for some embryos and doctored others to make sure they looked alike. Even his contemporaries charged him with fraud.
Computer Simulations of Eye Evolution
Richard Dawkins, well-known evolutionist, claimed in his book River Out of Eden that computer models exist that can simulate or recreate the evolution of the eye.
However, the senior author of the study on which Dawkins based his claim, Dan E. Nilsson, has explicitly rejected the idea that his laboratory has ever produced a computer simulation of the eye’s development.
Posted in Evolution, Creationism, Intelligent Design | Tagged: archaeoraptor, computer simulations, Darwin, Darwinian evolution, Darwinism, embryo drawings, evolution, exposed frauds, eye evolution, fakes, frauds, lies, peppered-moths, Piltdown Man | 4 Comments »