I came across this article at a Catholic site called "The Catholic Thing":
At one point the author compares the development of Catholic dogma with the development of the discipline of computer science. But, I think this comparison misses an important point about scientific knowledge: eventually scientific knowledge changes, and what once was commonly accepted among leading academics may change and become obsolete. That is particularly true of a field like computer science. New scientific theories have the task of explaining phenomena explained by older theories and in addition resolve problems that arise with old theories; sometimes a new solution changes the direction of research and may even overthrow the explanations given in the older theories. But, this is not the case with religious dogma: it must remain the same because, since its believers think it is infallible, why would anyone want to change it? Therefore, any new language introduced into dogma must seek to conform with old dogma in a manner that new scientific opinions may not have to agree with older scientific opinions.
Egopapism and the Arlington FiveThis is because computer science, like numerous other fields of study, is a knowledge tradition.
Over time that tradition, like all others, develops standard practices, ways of assimilating new discoveries and insights into already established understandings, and a hierarchy of expertise that grounds the authority of those in the profession.
Egopapism and the Arlington FiveAll that the Church is asking the Arlington Five is that they treat the Church’s theology and its development with as much respect and deference as Ms. Riley expects others to treat the knowledge tradition about which she is an expert.
Another interesting parallel that this author makes is between academics working on scientific research and the priestly caste that governs the Catholic Church. But, again, there are crucial differences. On the one hand, there is no need in principle no requirement except perhaps some previous serious study to engage in an academic debate. But, in order to be a part of the body that makes Church doctrine, one needs fit certain criteria that can arbitrarily exclude other people.