P versus NP…the Hodge conjecture…the Riemann hypothesis…the Yang–Mills existence and mass gap The Navier–Stokes existence and smoothness. The Birch and Swinnerton-Dyer conjecture. These are some of the unsolved problems of mathematics, but they are child’s play compared to the unsolvable ethics dilemma concocted at Harvard College.
Is Harvard right to allow students to hold a historic recreation of a Black Mass? Is Harvard wrong? Is it unethical for the students to engage in the project? Is it gratuitously insulting to religion, particularly Catholicism? Does it even matter if it is?
To bring you up to date:
The Harvard Extension Cultural Studies Club is planning to recreate a “satanic black mass” on campus next week, enacted by Satanic Temple, a New York-based, Satanist group that engages in outrageous displays to draw attention to First Amendment rights. “Our purpose is not to denigrate any religion or faith, which would be repugnant to our educational purposes, but instead to learn and experience the history of different cultural practices,” the HECSC said in a statement.
The statement lays the foundation for a hung jury in seeking an ethics verdict. Since the Black Mass was originally devised to denigrate the holy mass, saying that recreating the mass isn’t intended to denigrate religion is the kind of thing Captain Kirk used to say to evil, logic-bound computers to make smoke come out of their hard drives. “It-is-true-but- it’s-not-true-but-nothing-can-be-true-and-not-true–KABOOM!“ Continue reading