JS Op-ed: The tragic error at the core of artist's 'Eggs Benedict'

The author is Rev. Mr. Michael Bowen, a deacon at St. Monica's in Whitefish Bay, WI.
The Aug. 20 dialogue at the Milwaukee Art Museum on "Eggs Benedict" presented a classic conflict between faith and science. Science, represented by the church, won.

The faith, in this case, was ideological, ridiculing Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI for saying that distribution of condoms had not stemmed the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Africa and had actually made it worse. The science, brilliantly summarized by Dr. Christine Zainer, consisted of detailed empirical studies and opinions from public health experts showing that condom distribution had in fact failed to stem the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Africa; and had, indeed, contributed to spreading HIV/AIDS.

Because of the public health phenomenon known as "risk compensation," condom distribution makes people think sex with condoms is safer than it is. They therefore engage in high-risk sexual activity that they would otherwise refrain from, resulting in transmission of HIV/AIDS to people who would not otherwise contract it. Because no condom is 100% effective, and many fall far short of that (especially if they are re-used), the false sense of security generated by condom distribution leads to HIV/AIDS infections that would not otherwise have occurred.

In short, as explained by Edward C. Green, a senior research fellow at the Harvard University School of Public Health and a self-described liberal and pro-contraceptionist, "The pope was right." Benedict's statement was not the mindless assertion of religious dogma over science-based health care that "Eggs Benedict" falsely portrayed it as being. It was, rather, a courageous witness to human dignity based on religious faith but solidly backed by well-informed scientific opinion and empirical data. It was the artist, Niki Johnson, not the pontiff, who ignored the relevant science.
continue at JS

Absolutely brilliant.

From a reader:
They are taking the piece down at the end of the month according to this article:


I had cancelled my membership to the Milwaukee Art Museum . I won't renew it, but I will feel more comfortable visiting on occasion.

1 comment:

Terrence Berres said...

How about that; there's an art museum in the base of the Calatrava.