Shock horror: Homophobic obscurantist has top job

I discovered an interesting fact about Italy’s National Research Council (CNR) today, thanks to a letter in Repubblica. The CNR is a state-financed public organization that, according to its website, exists “to carry out, promote, spread, transfer and improve research activities in the main sectors of knowledge growth and of its applications for the scientific, technological, economic and social development of the Country.” (I love that capital ‘C’.) This is a laudable aim but it’s a little hard to square with an event entitled Evoluzionismo: il tramonto di una ipotesi (Evolutionism: the twilight of an hypothesis), organized (although not apparently financed, for which much thanks) by the CNR, and intended to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Darwin’s birth. This is rather like celebrating the anniversary of Mother Teresa’s birth by holding a lap dancing competition but there you go, there’s nowt so queer as folk, especially scientific folk. Especially scientific folk in Italy’s top scientific body.


The conference was organized by the deputy president of the CNR, a certain Roberto de Mattei. You’d expect someone in such a prestigious position to have a pretty impressive scientific curriculum, and you’d be right. Let’s have a look. De Mattei is professor of that rigorous discipline, the history of Christianity and the church, in a place called Università Europea di Roma. No, I hadn’t heard of it either, but that’s hardly surprising. It’s run by the Legion of Christ (currently under investigation by the Vatican) and only started handing out degrees three years ago, after being granted permission to do so by the then-Berlusconi government. The Legion of Christ is justly famous for its level-headed approach to molesting children scientific endeavour, as is another richly spiritual organization, the Lepanto Foundation, of which the same De Mattei is the president. Judging from its site, which claims that the stated mission of the foundation is to “defend the principles and institutions of Western Christian civilisation”, the Lepanto Foundation is a sort of vanity press for the works of its main man. These include: “Turkey in Europe: benefit or catastrophe?” (I’ll leave it to you to work out the answer to that one) and “Holy War, Just War”. Just the sort of thing that qualifies a man to become second in command of a national research council and to make him supremely competent to talk about evolution. Sorry, evolutionism.

And if you’re still not quite convinced of the man’s credentials, here’s the clincher. After the 2000 Gay Pride in Rome, which culminated in Piazza San Giovanni, de Mattei and some chums went along to the square to perform, in laboratory conditions naturally, a rite of expiation. So that’s all right then.

(One last thing. The acts of the conference, edited by de Mattei, have since been published ‘with a modest financial contribution’ from the Publications and Scientific Information Office of the CNR.)
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This entry was posted in creationism, homophobia, italy, religion, science, very dark cave. Bookmark the permalink.

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