Pope Francis vs. the Cure of Reason

Ed Hudgins's picture
Submitted by Ed Hudgins on Sat, 2015-09-26 17:31

Pope Francis vs. the Cure of Reason
By Edward Hudgins

September 25, 2015 -- A young girl was recently interviewed on TV about her encounter with Pope Francis on his visit to the United States. She cried with joy as she described how he touched her on the forehead and offered a blessing. Now, she said, she might get the miracle she’s prayed for. Maybe someday she’ll be able to walk.

Who could not be moved by a crippled child who wants to be cured? But what is really wrenching is the fact that this child and so many others look to faith rather than science and reason.

Medical breakthroughs

On the same day the Pope was touching the little girl, a news story was circulating about a breakthrough in prosthetics. A brain implant has restored to a man with a robotic hand his sense of touch.

Some even express fears that bionic legs in the future could be so good that they will be preferred to the natural ones we’re born with.

The sightless have sought divine intersession to cure blindness since before the time of Jesus. A few days before the Pope toured D.C., a breakthrough was announced that involves applying a light-sensitive protein found in algae to the back of the retinas of eyes to, in effect, replace the rods and cones destroyed by certain diseases. The technique has been successful in mice and human tests are now coming.

This restorative treatment has welcome competition. Last month saw a man receive the first bionic eye implant.

And let’s not forget that deafness is in the process of being vanquished thanks to cochlear implants.

Free markets needed

Free markets, of course, if allowed to operate, will make what are now pricey, experimental medical technologies affordable for most, just as markets have allowed entrepreneurs to create and bring down the prices of computers, smartphones, tablets, Wifi, and all the hardware and software of the information revolution.

Handicapped individuals, like the girl who was so happy the Pope touched her, might have bright futures indeed. But they need to recognize that it is not faith that will make them whole. It is reason.

Human reason needed

It is the power of the human mind, especially in science and engineering, that has brought about the benefits of our modern world. Yet where are the parades, the speeches before Congress, and the celebrations that recognize the sources of such benefits and encourage reason and achievement as foundational values in our culture? Why do so many seek hope in faith and otherworldly miracles when real achievements—“miracles” of the human mind—are all around us? Why do so few understand that training minds and encouraging entrepreneurship is the best way to ensure a healthy, prosperous future? With all the enthusiasm we see for the Pope, where is the enthusiasm for the actual creators and achievers in our world?

Ironically, the Pope, in his economic ignorance, denounces the free market system that could cure that little girl. And he promotes draconian economic restrictions to fight hypothesized global warming, restrictions that would ensure that the poor he says he cares so much about will be with us always. The Pope—and all of us—indeed should empathize with that little girl. But he should be touting reason as the cure. This Jesuit Pope needs to read his Thomas Aquinas!

Those who are enthusiastic about the Pope’s visit because he inspires hope for a better world had better look to the real source of all our blessings: the human mind.


Edward Hudgins, “How Anti-Individualist Fallacies Prevent Us from Curing Death.” April 22, 2015.

Edward Hudgins, “Pope Francis: Beware of Earth Day Thinking.” April 22, 2014.

Edward Hudgins, “Francis I: Pope of the Poor.” March 21, 2013.

Pope Francis = TAS

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Turns out Pope Francis met up with Kim Davis, who went to jail for refusing to issue marriage licenses to gay couples. But now the Pope is trying to deny it, or at least, downplay the meeting. Now, as a gay person I think Kim Davis's position on homosexuality is as ignorant as Ayn Rand's, but I admire her immensely for having the courage of her convictions. And I loathe the gay mafia, the Pink Swastika-carriers, to an extent where I wish I had nothing at all in common with them, disgusting sub-humans that they are. Pope Francis is rather like Objectivists who can't bring themselves to call themselves that, but change their name to "Atlas Society" or some such. He's a coward. I despise him. Interesting, too, that he clearly was unmoved by the greatest moment of his US trip, Lanza-inspired Andrea Bocelli's rendering of The Lord's Prayer in Philadelphia. No one got it at all. Then we got the mass murder of Christians by this guy in Oregon who was a lover of punk rock. No one gets that connection either.

You all deserve what's coming to you.

Science and Reason

Kyrel Zantonavitch's picture

Science and reason should be worshiped -- not "god". That's where the real magic and holiness lies.

Celebrating achievement

Ed Hudgins's picture

Thanks Linz! And this is what's behind my "Human Achievement" efforts. We know the deep contradictions in our culture and in most individuals. But to the extent that individuals appreciate achievement and can have their consciousness raises about it, they will need to move more toward valuing reason and rationality. And note, celebrating reason and achievement indeed means wanting to write the equivalent of Beethoven's 9th to express what those values mean.

By the way, here's another piece on scientists making the lame walk, published the day the Pope arrived in NY. How many of us saw the coast-to-coast 24/7 coverage of this science breakthrough? That's my point. Progress is in labs like these. It should be acknowledged and celebrated in our culture and media. No Exoskeleton, No Brain Surgery: Paralyzed Man Walks Again Using Brain Waves

Outstanding and timely

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Well done, Ed. An eloquent reminder that what the world needs now is reason, sweet reason. And that our greatest challenge is to retrieve the realm of the sacred from superstitionists. Perhaps Bro Bidinotto was right after all: we must make reason theatrical. Smiling Look at that fat Cardinal Dolan, who clearly doesn't believe a word of all the nonsense and is in it just for the alcohol—no one would take him seriously if it weren't for his very impressive drag. And the music, of course. The voodoo-ers have all the best tricks. There'll be parades and speeches re human achievement when the culture changes and reason sates men's spiritual hunger. You'll know that has happened when the masses flock to Brahms and Be My Love heads the pop charts again for 34 weeks. In other words, it won't be happening in the next week. As someone said, it's earlier than we think.

Edit: Andrea Bocelli has just reinforced my point, capping off the Pope's homily before half a million Philadelphians with a glorious rendering of The Lord's Prayer. I wanted to become a Catholic on the spot. Objectivism hasn't yet found a way to match this.

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