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Post Science and Religion, Dan Brown and the Palmarian Catholic Church
Created by John Eipper on 01/02/18 4:35 AM

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Science and Religion, Dan Brown and the Palmarian Catholic Church (Enrique Torner, USA, 01/02/18 4:35 am)

I have been reading with great interest all the WAIS posts on science and religion, creation and evolution. I have kept postponing jumping into the discussion because this is one of my recent research subjects, and I would have a hard time being succinct in a WAIS post. However, I finally decided to give it a try.

First of all, I would like to point out, as I already did in the past, that religion has played a big and important role in recent literature and cinema. I mentioned Dan Brown some time in the past as one of the most important current novelists exploiting this theme. Coincidentally, three or four months ago, he published his last novel: Origin. This last novel happens to takes place, in its majority, in three main Spanish settings: the Guggenheim museum in Bilbao, Gaudí's "Sagrada Familia" temple in Barcelona, and the cathedral of Seville. The usual protagonist of Brown's novels, Robert Langdon, Harvard professor of symbology and religious iconology, is invited to the Guggenheim museum to attend a major announcement, "the unveiling of a discovery that will change the face of science forever." The evening's host is "a forty-year old famous scientist who had been a student of Langdon at Harvard: Edmond Kirsch." Kirsch "is about to reveal an astonishing breakthrough--one that will answer two of the fundamental questions of human existence." (I am quoting from the book cover).

Of course, something happens at the event that sets the thriller in motion. As you can imagine from the title, the announcement has to do with a discovery having to do with creation/evolution. Major representatives of the Catholic Church, Judaism, and Islam will rise together against this threatening announcement, causing further suspense in the novel.

I want to bring attention to one Spanish Catholic schismatic sect that plays an important role in the novel: the "Iglesia Católica Palmariana."  I had never heard of this sect! Does anybody know about it? It turns out it actually exists: it was founded in 1978 in Andalusia by Pope Gregory XVII, and has had an anti-pope ever since. The current pope is Peter III. You can find more information online: it even has a Wikipedia entry. It seems there have been some scandals regarding their finances and other matters.

Regarding the subject of Creation vs. Evolution, I had the honor of meeting the founder of Creation Science in the early 1990s: Dr. John Whitcomb. He was a guest speaker at a church my wife and I attended, and was giving a two-day seminar on Creation. The book that he co-authored with Henry M. Morris, The Genesis Flood (1961), is a seminal book on Creation Science. The seminar I attended started a friendship between Dr. Whitcomb and me, and he got me started in translating Christian books from English into Spanish. Anecdotally, a few years ago, he mailed me a copy of a page of his diary dated May 19, 1947. At the time of this entry, Dr. Whitcomb was a student at Princeton, and an active leader in a campus Christian organization. On that day, his group was showing a movie open to the whole campus entitled "The God of Creation." Guess who attended the movie? Albert Einstein himself! You can see it yourself in my attached document.

One final comment before I end this post: I really enjoyed A. J. Cave's essay of December 31st, and had been thinking of writing a post similar to hers, but she beat me to it! I would like to add that scientists have been disagreeing among themselves about the subject of evolution since Darwin's publications, and they continue to do so. Many present-day scientists find gaps and errors in this theory. Science, Theology, and Philosophy have been battling among themselves since the French Revolution about the definition and description of knowledge. Even scientists debated among themselves, as they still do. That's because there are different types of science. Scientists base their theory of evolution on assumptions which are criticized by other scientists, philosophers, and theologians. That's why we could say that, in a way, scientists operate on the basis of faith when dealing with some issues, especially when dealing with the remote past or the future. The assumption of uniformity cannot be applied to creation or the remote past, since this cannot be observable or reproducible, a scientific requirement. As Dr. Whitcomb states in his book, "the second law of thermodynamics implies decay, but does not say anything about the rate of decay. There is nothing fundamentally inviolable about even rates of radioactive decay." (xxvii)

In case you think that all of today's scientists embrace evolution, here are a couple of links with lists of scientists who believe in Creation:



I want to wish all WAISers a very happy and healthy New Year!

JE comments:  See below.  To have Einstein show up at your campus event--how cool is that?  Prof. E riding his bicycle around Princeton is the stuff of legend.

Enrique, I'm another Hispanist who had never heard of the Palmarians.  Their cathedral is located in tiny El Palmar de Troya, a village halfway between Seville and Jerez.  The Palmarians, per Wikipedia, have 30 bishops, 30 nuns, a pope, and 1000-2000 faithful.  Isn't that a lot of bishops per capita?

A happy 2018 to you and the family, Enrique!

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  • Palmarian Catholic Church Controversies (John Heelan, UK 01/04/18 4:17 AM)
    WAISers comfortable with the Spanish language might like to read a newspaper report alleging that the head of the Palmar Church (Pope Gregory XXIII) absconded in his BMW with 75,000 euros and his Granadina girlfriend. He now is reputed be living in the Sierra Nevada.


    JE comments:  WAISer Rodolfo Neirotti (next) has also commented on the Palmarian Catholic Church (see Enrique Torner, January 1st).  (Ex-) Pope Gregory himself is making the strongest accusations of financial impropriety against the church.

    Sex, lies, intrigue, and illicit money (see link above).  Where have we heard this story before?

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  • Palmarian Catholic Church Controversies (Rodolfo Neirotti, USA 01/04/18 4:31 AM)
    Religion has been a major topic on WAIS recently, and the "The Iglesia del Palmar de Troya" was mentioned (Enrique Torner, 1 January).

    Please see the link below regarding an article published in El País in Spain.

    Best regards and happy New Year.


    JE comments:  Best to you, Rodolfo!  So glad you checked in.  I look forward to WAISing with you in 2018.

    Speaking from exile, ex-Pope Gregory (birth name, Ginés Jesús Hernández) now claims that the miraculous apparition of Mary which spawned the Palmarian schism was a hoax.  El País speaks of the superlative wealth of the Palmarians, who among other revenue streams, have one single donor chipping in €250,000 per month.  I am not clear why the article describes the Palmarians as "ultras."  In Spain this implies extreme Right or neo-Fascist, but the political nature of the Palmarians is unclear.

    There's a photo of Gregory and his girlfriend Nieves at the above link.  Say what you want about the Palmarians, but Gregory doesn't seem Pontifical.  He does, however, look like a guy whose name is Ginés Hernández.

    The Palmarians' numbers have been on the decline apparently, but the Dan Brown novel should renew interest in the sect.

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