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EOW & Paul VI: Common Ground

EOW refers to Paul VI & [[ASIN:0898707285 Humanae Vitae: Encyclical Letter of His Holiness Paul VI]] (HV) twice. [pp 192, 252-253]

In doing so, EOW demonstrates or enacts part of his own thesis about group selection: Group competition often involves stylized exhortation of the Excellent Us vs. the Demonized Them. [See, e.g., pp 57-58] Specifically, in his remarks about HV, EOW is like a politician flattering an appreciative crowd of his own New Secular Science Party while insulting the Old Religious Ignorance Party.

Fair enough. However, ...

Unfortunately, in his harangues, EOW betrays the values of his own Science Party: accuracy, objectivity & fairness.


  1. After accusing Paul VI of ignorant, unintentional omission of "some important factor or other," [p 252] EOW drastically (but unintentionally?) misrepresents Humanae Vitae, virtually chopping it in half; but,
  2. Ironically, upon examination, what Humanae Vitae has to say about what's good & right in marriage (albeit founded upon entirely different metaphysical grounds) is strikingly similar to EOW's claims.

Put differently,

  1. EOW sets up a silly strawman to insult & rail against, committing the very sins he accused Paul VI of; but,
  2. Amusingly, the real opponent looks a lot like EOW himself.

Those two points I will demonstrate below by: (1) summarizing EOW's caricature of HV; (2) summarizing EOW's own position; & (3) comparing EOW's position to what HV actually says.

[It might be useful beforehand to make a short list of what I am NOT arguing, what I am NOT saying:

I limit myself to the two points above: (1) EOW gets HV wrong, making the very mistake he says Paul VI made; & (2) EOW's position isn't all that different, practically speaking, from HV.

EOW's Caricature of HV

EOW paraphrases the reasoning of HV as follows: "God, [Paul VI] posited, intends for sexual intercourse to be limited to the purpose of conceiving children." [p 253]

Yea, but ... That "leaves out a vital fact." [p 253] It involves such an obvious omission that one wonders if EOW has even read HV! [IDK. I guess I'm willing to call it ignorance, an unintentional omission, to use EOW's words.]

EOW's Own Position

EOW goes on to say: Science, "has revealed that there is another, additional purpose to sexual intercourse. ... Both men & women, when bonded, invite continuous & frequent intercourse. The practice is genetically adaptive: it ensures that the woman and her child have help from the father. For the woman, the commitment secured by pleasurable nonreproductive intercourse is important ... [during the] ... long period of [an infants'] helplessness ... [in the] level of support ... she obtains from a sexually and emotionally bonded mate." [p 253]

(Although EOW doesn't say so explicitly, one assumes that his discription of "nonreproductive" savannah sex has nothing to do with artificial contraception. [Unclear. IDK what scientists have been unearthing with the spear points, etc.] I assume he's describing a period of infertility when young children are nursing? That is, I think he's describing something like an australopithecine "rhythm method?")

Now, Compare EOW's Position to What HV Actually Says

Bottom line, common ground between EOW & Paul VI: It is a fact of human nature that sex is both unitive & procreative.

So what? What difference does it make that EOW did not do justice to Paul VI & HV? Not much.

However, a few observations:

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