If one were to pinpoint the epicenter of sanctimonious behavior the past two weeks, he or she look no further than Paris. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC, or COP21) has been a magnet for shareholder activists, nuns, clergy and other religious intent on furthering agendas ostensibly geared toward mitigating manmade global warming, but in reality promote hardship and energy poverty across the economic spectrum.
Mind you, this writer grew up under the tutelage of nuns, and found many of them to be knowledgeable in their respective subject matter while witnessing all of them as paragons of morality. But more and more, I’ve come to find this anecdotal evidence nothing more than a flawed syllogism. Simply because nuns are somewhat knowledgeable and almost always moral doesn’t necessarily add up to the equation nuns are always moral because they are, to a person, knowledgeable.
Your writer has pondered this epistemological conundrum since beginning high school 40 years ago, and the question rears its head time and again: What happens if the knowledge of activist nuns is flawed? Does it then render the morality of their conclusions suspect?
If readers answer the second interrogative in the affirmative, they also recognize the sanctimoniousness of both the nuns and those who point to their opinions as morally superior. I’m not attempting to throw nuns under their vaunted bus, however, inasmuch I’m pointing out they are as subject to buying into bad science and the passions of activism as the next person. Take for example, Sr. Aine O’Connor of the Sisters of Mercy, one of several orders of nuns belonging to the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility, a progressive shareholder activist group. (more…)