Pope Accused of Covering Up Child Rape in Argentina

Just a reminder that the Catholic Church’s child-abuse coverup scandal isn’t over.

According to Le Monde (in French only; sorry. But here’s a story from last year about this case), lawyers are accusing the Catholic church of covering up child rape and abuse in Italy and Argentina, the current pope’s old stomping grounds. Not only that, but they say that Jorge Bergoglio, now better known as Pope Francis, was personally warned about fifteen abusive priests in 2014, and that he did nothing.
One of the victims claims to have given a copy of the letter to the pope in person, in 2015. So this isn’t ancient history, and it can’t be blamed on the previous administration.
The current case involves children at the Provolo Institute for the Deaf in Mendoza, Argentina. Not only were the victims children, which is bad enough, but they were deaf, meaning that they had additional difficulties making themselves understood, since sometimes even their own parents didn’t know sign.
Although the Catholic church has allegedly conducted its own investigation, it hasn’t shared its results with the Argentine authorities. In other words, the Catholic church was shielding child abusers from justice, as of just a few years ago.
That makes it a criminal organization. If you’re still a Catholic, why?

Ironic Story Is Ironic

This Is Plymouth (Devon, UK) reports:

A CHURCH worker whose job was to protect young people from abuse had thousands of indecent pictures of children, a court heard.

Married father-of-four Christopher Jarvis, aged 49, advised the Roman Catholic Church in Plymouth how to keep youngsters safe but had more than 4,000 pornographic images of children, Plymouth Magistrates’ Court was told.

At this point, I’m suffering from irony fatigue, so supply your own punchline in the comments. The winner gets… oh, I don’t know. How about if I transubstantiate an item of baked goods into the deity of your choice?

On a more tragic note, the thing preventing me from simply pointing at a bunch of hypocritical fucktards and giggling is the fact that Jarvis appears to be a victim himself:

Jodie Baker, for Jarvis, said he had been the victim of abuse. She said he was abused aged 11 by a family friend through a church social club.

Miss Baker said: “At the age of 16 or 17 he admitted to a priest that he had a homosexual encounter and he was then abused by that priest.”

She said that two suicide attempts which led to Jarvis being arrested and produced in custody were ‘half-hearted’ and a ‘cry for help’.

Is there anyone the Catholic church hasn’t fucked up? (*cough*LouisCK*cough*)

And could someone tell me why anyone still remains a Catholic? It’s not like there aren’t other churches out there. In the US, at least, it’s a buyer’s market and always has been.

Teasing Information Out of Noise

Humanist Symposium

Bennett Haselton has an interesting
at Slashdot about how to develop a “scientific” test for child

Given that Slashdot is all about technology and gadgets and stuff, you
might expect the article to describe a new image-recognition algorithm
or something, and wonder how it could possibly work on such a
subjective problem. But he doesn’t; in his proposal, the
“measurement”, if you will, consists of people looking at photos that
may or may not be illegal pornography.

In other words, the problem is that we don’t have a good
scientific instrument that we can point at a photo and have a red
light go on if it’s illegal pornography. All we have is people, who
have to make a judgment call as to whether a given photo is legal or

One problem with this is that we’re asking people to make a subjective
judgment call. And that means they’re likely to get the wrong answer.

So Haselton’s approach is to use people as his instrument, then say
okay, we know that this instrument is unreliable; let’s find out under
which circumstances this instrument fails, and try to counter that.

For instance (he claims), you can take a given photo, mix it in with a
bunch of others that are illegal, and people will condemn the whole
set. But you can then mix the same photo with a bunch of innocent
photos, and people will declare the whole set legal. This tells us
that our instrument is a) unreliable (a photo can’t be legal and
illegal at the same time), and b) affected by context. He then proposes ways to work around this problem.

What I found interesting about this article is that Haselton tries to
apply the scientific method to a highly-subjective area. A lot of
people think science is about labs and test tubes and computer models
and such. But as I’ve argued
the hardware is secondary, and the core of the scientific method
is really a mindset, and asking the questions “what is the world
like?” and “how do I know this isn’t garbage?”

The other remarkable thing about this article is that it demonstrates
how to tease information out of noise: you have witnesses making
subjective judgment calls on an emotionally-charged subject, biased
prosecutors, biased defenders, and fuzzy legal guidelines. You might
be tempted to throw up your hands and declare that under these
conditions it’s impossible for justice to be served reliably. And yet,
he takes the optimistic approach that no, we can serve
justice, or at least improve our odds of getting the right answer.

It’s a bit like John Gordon’s
summary of coding theory
(aka the biography of Alice and Bob):

Now most people in Alice’s position would give up. Not Alice. She has courage which can only be described as awesome.

Against all odds, over a noisy telephone line, tapped by the tax authorities and the secret police, Alice will happily attempt, with someone she doesn’t trust, whom she cannot hear clearly, and who is probably someone else, to fiddle her tax returns and to organise a coup d’etat, while at the same time minimising the cost of the phone call.

A coding theorist is someone who doesn’t think Alice is crazy.

I often hear that such-and-such problem can’t be approached
scientifically (morality, the existence of God, beauty, whether
something is pornographic or obscene, etc.). A lot of times, though,
it’s because people either haven’t bothered to see how far a
scientific or rational approach can take them, or else they’re unaware
of how much can be done with such an approach, or how
simple it can be. (The reason I don’t make a big deal of whether a
restaurant serves Coke or Pepsi is that my brother and I once tried a taste
test, and I found that I couldn’t really tell them apart.)

It’s also awe-inspiring to think about how far we’ve come, as a
species: not only have we improved our instruments — from naked
eyes to Galileo’s telescope to Hubble — but through statistical
methods, experimental design, and others, we’ve increased the amount
of information we can glean from existing instruments.

Not bad for a bunch of naked apes with oversized brains and a knack
for cooperation.