BISHOP ADMITS RAPU RAPU REPORT BASED ON CONSCIENCE, "PHILOSOPHY"Translation: BISHOP BASTES LIED!
The head of a commission that looked into mining operations on Rapu-rapu island in Albay has admitted that his team relied not on scientific studies, but on "philosophical thinking, probabilities and conscience" when it blamed an Australian firm for mercury contamination in the waters of Albay and Sorsogon. "Our studies were not scientific like those of the experts (from the University of the Philippines and Bureau of Fish and Aquatic Resources). We focused on the historical background and on our personal knowledge," said Bishop Arturo Bastes of Sorsogon, head of the Rapu-rapu Fact-finding Commission (RRFFC) at a Press Conference the other day.
"Our conscience dictates and the historical background could assure us of our findings. We follow our conscience, that's why when we decide, we are sure we will not falter," Bastes explained.Lafayette Mining Corp. earlier criticized the report completed by the RRFFC for lacking scientific basis. According to Bastes, before "there was no mercury in the Albay Gulf. But after the toxic spill (of Lafayette), it was found that there was mercury," he said. Lafayette has insisted it does not use mercury in its operations. Later in the briefing, Bastes admitted that the mercuy presence was "very little, but if you think philosophically...there is a high probability" that Lafayette was to blame for the mercury contamination."
This is what happens when a professional moralist, like a Catholic bishop from the province of Sorsogon, decides to put the considerable prestige of his Bishopric in the service of political and ideological correctness, especially the kind associated with environmentalism.
If facts get in the way of what one already believes or are inconveniently inconclusive, perhaps even contrary to a desired result, the good Bishop Bastes shows the way out and around the problem, being the sagacious Chairman of a Fact Finding Commission. Why, just use your philosophical conscience, says Padre Bastes, to guess at what the facts are then come to the conclusion you want to anyway. Along the way, you can throw out provocative phrases into the feeding frenzies of the equally ideological Press, making any wild claim or insinuation whatever, and be guaranteed it will be adequately ventilated in a well-connected world. Later, after admitting being wrong, nay, being intellectually dishonest, how can all the lies that are still circulating in Media and Web ever be recalled or corrected?
Now, far be it for me to wag a moral finger at the good Padré Bástes, (I would prefer a different digit anyway) , but it poisons the well of knowledge from which we must all drink to survive in a dangerous and deprived world, for a man of the Cloth to act so cavalierly with the Truth, and especially scientific truth. The ability to methodically discover the truth via the scientific method, is what distinguishes Homo sapiens from lower life forms, (such as Homo Casuisterensis in religious drag. ) We cannot allow Bishop Bastes to denigrate truthseeking standards, any more than we can let Gloria Macapagal Arroyo or any other liar proclaim Big Lies and expect to go unchallenged.
I can take such crap from ordinary cretins, like politicians or media hacks. But Bishops and their Big Media adjuvants, disgust me intensely, when they exhibit the regressive genes of Padre Padre Salvi and Don Custodio. Or indeed when they create occasions for the environuts at Greenpeace, and the anti-imperialist, anti-capitalist international Left, to issue "piling it on" statements like this. which of course the insane propagandists will never bother to correct despite the admission of Bishop Bastes' forked tongue.
How dare this Padre Bastes talk and act and pontificate as if Pope John Paul II hadn't already apologized to Galileo Galilei for three centuries of being in cruel denial of the basic facts, and of the sanctity of the Scientific Method, even to the Catholic Church.
The Catholic Church, despite lapses, was ever and always a friend of Science, except in certain very famous instances. But truly, the long history of the Church is on the side of Knowledge and truth. But not Bastes!
In the case for example of Rapu-rapu, all reasonable persons should want that God's truth about the incident be brought out and appropriate measures taken. But what Bastes has done is bastos. He was not appointed by the President to look deep in his mental navel for the answers. That was not what his duty, nor I bet his conscience, actually required of him.
It serves neither Chrisitianity, nor environmentalism, nor the local folks at Rapu-rapu to have Bishop Bastes befouling the air with his lies that facts derived from philosophical consciences such as his are to be believed as Gospel truth. For all we know there really has been an environmental Armageddon at Rapu-rapu, or maybe not. It is precisely this ignorance that is evil, and it is precisely the dishonesty of Bishop Bastes that thwarts the knowledge we need to take the correct action. As wiser men have pointed out, treating Environmentalism as Religion is very unwise, for it leads to bad decisions with unforeseeable consequences for real human beings. It is not only the Catholic Bishops who remember Marinduque and that much ignored and unheeded disaster. But that is at least in part because of mental pollution, which can be worse in many ways than even a toxic spill.
I am prepared to believe there is a truth-seeking sense left in Bishop Bastes, and that he will make amends, even if the Headline Writers won't and the lies he has told will go on in the rest of the foetid atmosphere they've created around the mining issue.
To be sure, there are serious environmental challenges involved in the mining industry, now just getting going in the Philippines. Which is all the more reason for us to uphold scientific integrity in all public and private utterance about so monumental a fact of our future lives, and to combat the kind of B.S. the Bishops are apparently capable of, in spades!
Why Did God Not Give Us Oil? is the question posed in a recent post on the mining issue and Rapu-rapu.
UPDATE: The PCIJ/Blog has two interesting posts up today. The first says Greenpeace wants Islands and Oceans protected from mining.
Hmmm...I guess that still leaves the air for mining then....But in Land HO! Oops It's the Tubbataha Reefs I remember the last time Greenpeace visited the Philippine Archipelago. They rammed the precious Tubbataha reefs with their Rainbow Warship and broke a 1000 square foot chunk off the Living Coral Gem of the Sulu Sulawesi Sea! Oh yeah they paid a small fine for their little scuba diving expedition to that pristine underwater site. That was right after their land and sea attack on the Masinloc Power Plant. I just hope Comrade Jens has recovered from his head wounds--both physical and ideological.
The second is on the "abolition" of the death penalty by a Bishop-sopping Lower House, no doubt at the Palace's beckoning, given the stiffening response of the Catholic Bishop's Conference to chaha. The news is that the CBCP will participate in, a "Prayer Rally" on Independence Day June 12, opposing moves to force Charter Change down people's throats.
I think this new found resolve of the Congress to abolish the Death Penalty in the Philippines will only last until the next sensational criminal is brought to justice. Speaking of which, just minutes ago, CNN Breaking News says that ABU MUSAB AL-ZARQAWI is DEAD -- killed by a coalition air strike on an isolated house near Baquba, Iraq. Here is one instance of "capital punishment" that really ought to be re-applied to his remaining molecules for every man woman and child he murdered in the name of Terror these past few years. Yet it is a happy day for Iraq, I would think and a happy day for the world, that at least one more faltering but certain step has been taken towards true Democracy in that First Arab Democracy of Iraq. It's the beginning of the end for "Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia."
I think taking capital punishment off the table weakens the Law and its enforcement in the Philippines. I am for a RARE application of the death penalty, not its complete banning. I am against the making all sorts of "heinous crimes" punishable by death. It only demeans the tragic gravity of the application of capital punishment.
UPDATE: (Thanks to the Hillblogger for a Comment that reminded me of this):
The sinking of the Rainbow Warrior, codenamed Operation SATANIC, was a special operation by the "action" branch of the French foreign intelligence services, the Direction Générale de la Sécurité Extérieure (DGSE), carried out on July 10, 1985. It aimed at disabling the flagship of the Greenpeace fleet, the Rainbow Warrior, in the port of Auckland, New Zealand, to prevent her from interfering in a nuclear test in Moruroa.
Fernando Pereira, a photographer, drowned on the sinking ship. Two of the French agents were subsequently arrested by the New Zealand Police on passport fraud and immigration charges. Following questioning, they were subsequently charged with arson, conspiracy to commit arson, willful damage and murder. The ensuing scandal resulted in the resignation of the French Defence Minister Charles Hernu, and the subject became so touchy that it was not until twenty years afterward that the personal responsibility of French President François Mitterrand was officially admitted.