Tuesday, February 13, 2007

What is to be done

A couple of points, not the least of which being that I think Greg and Joe have a lot more beef with Mark than Victor or myself. As we have repeatedly stated, we want Mark to mind his manners rather than lose his livelihood. The man does, by all accounts, a fairly good job as a Catholic apologist and I see no reason to deprive him (or the faithful of that right now). I'm also not sure how Akin or Keating could realistically discipline him other than telling him to cool it, given that the source of our arguments against him was always that he mind his manners rather than lose his livelihood. Victor and I have been quite clear on this one from the beginning.

Look, when Victor first discussed the idea of this kind of site, I have to admit that I was rather skeptical of it. But as long as Mark is going to keep misreading and distorting our positions as well as demonizing us, I really don't think it's that much to ask that we create a forum to fire back.

IMO, both threatening lawsuits (wasn't that how we knew that Comerford was flaky) and online petitions are silly, especially given that the intended target is at the end of the day little more than an annoying stranger.

65 comments:

Greg Mockeridge said...

Torq:

I never threatened a lawsuit. Joe broached that idea. I don't agree with it. Besides, I don't think it hold up in court.

But what I am saying is that since Mark is a well-known Catholic apologist, he should be held accountable for his wretched conduct by his peers in the apologetics, especially those who endorse him by employing him in certain capacity.

Here we have a man who, according to Victor (and perhaps yourself), has engaged in slander. But yet you say that his career as an apologist should not suffer as a result.

Please explain to me how this thinking isn't incoherent as all hell.

Greg Mockeridge said...

that was supposed to be "apologetics establishment"

Anonymous said...

JOSEPH D'HIPPOLITO SAYS...

Torq, my suggestion of a class-action lawsuit was just that: a suggestion. While I hope it would be taken seriously (it was meant seriously), I have no problem with people disagreeing with the idea or saying that it's not appropriate. After all, the whole point of comment threads is to discuss ideas in an amicable, mature fashion w/o fear -- something to which Mr. Shea, obviously, is totally oblivious.

Diane said...

Thank you for this post. I thought all the talk about threatening Mark's livelihood was truly, truly scary.

Diane said...

As for lawsuits: There's so much slander and libel on the Internet that even lawyers could not hope to keep up with even a fraction of it. The Internet appears to be its own alternative reality.

I've certainly been on the receiving end of my share of Internet slander (not from Mark Shea, BTW). The lawsuit idea, I confess, actually crossed my mind when I was in the heat of anger. But I knew it was crazy...I was just blowing off steam.

Donald R. McClarey said...

"Torq, my suggestion of a class-action lawsuit was just that: a suggestion."

Speaking as an attorney, such a lawsuit would only result in sanctions and attorneys fees against the plaintiffs. It would be completely meritless, and there are statutes in both the state and federal judicial systems to punish frivolous litigation.

Time for everyone to take a deep breath. My criticisms of Mark are directed against some of his positions and not against him personally. He has a penchant for invective and over the top rhetoric that I believe has served him poorly, but that is his cross to bear. What some stranger on the internet says or believes is ultimately of little importance to me, other than as a matter of debate on the internet. Taking any of this personally, as I think Mark and some of his critics do, is a waste of time.

Diane said...

Time for everyone to take a deep breath. My criticisms of Mark are directed against some of his positions and not against him personally. He has a penchant for invective and over the top rhetoric that I believe has served him poorly, but that is his cross to bear. What some stranger on the internet says or believes is ultimately of little importance to me, other than as a matter of debate on the internet. Taking any of this personally, as I think Mark and some of his critics do, is a waste of time.

Amen.

Anonymous said...

JOSEPH D'HIPPOLITO SAYS...

Donald and Diane, while I respect your attempt to bring some perspective into this matter, please understand that (to the best of my knowledge) neither of you have been the target of an obsessive vendetta that has lasted five years. A large part of that vendetta includes going into seemingly every Catholic blog in creation to enter into conversations that didn't concern the person pursuing the vendetta merely to start flame wars that would get the target banned.

And anybody wonders why I call Shea "evil"?

All I want is a public acknowledgement on his blog that he engaged in such a vendetta and a public apology on that same blog and a public committment not to continue with his vendetta. Yet Shea doesn't have the decency to do either.

This is the type of man you're dealing with, Donald and Diane.

Christopher Fotos said...

Diane and others may not be aware that Mark threatened at least part of Joe's livelihood some time ago when he urged people to write to Front Page Mag to discourage them from publishing his work. And if I'm wrong about that, I'd appreciate being corrected.

That being said, writers should never file lawsuits against other writers except in truly extreme circumstances. If someone blogged that my house should be set on fire and provided Mapquest directions, okay then.

As for the rest of it, I have no interest in it, even though I think the level of abuse is quite serious, speaking from personal conviction. It's enlightening to realize a prominent Christian apologist can just flat out misrepresent what another fellow is saying with impunity. That tells me everything I need to know about how to best spend my time. In any case CFF continues to serve a function by documenting the more spectacular debacles at CAEI.

And Joe, for all of that, it's just going overboard to describe Mark with the E word. That's the kind of description reserved for monsters--which is one reason why it's so hyperventiating, in an Andrew Sullivanesque way, when Mark describes Michael Ledeen that way (The other reason being he has yet to accurately convey what the man says).

Andy Nowicki said...

Donald, I agree with you that a lawsuit is a foolish idea, but your whole "pipe down you hotheads, I'm the voice of reason here and I'm going to set you all straight" schtick isn't terribly endearing.

And contrary to what you seem to think, the problem with Mark Shea isn't his take on issues (though some have more problems with his opinions than others), it's his tendency to be a jerk. In other words, much as you might not want to face or admit it, the problem with Shea IS a personal one-- it relates directly to his personality, specifically, the shabby way he tends to treat people who disagree with him and who aren't his high-profile Catholic apologist mini-celeb buddies.

Donald R. McClarey said...

"And contrary to what you seem to think, the problem with Mark Shea isn't his take on issues (though some have more problems with his opinions than others), it's his tendency to be a jerk."

There are lots of jerks in this world Andy. That a total stranger to me is a jerk I find completely uninteresting. What interests me are the areas in which I differ from Mark as to ideas and positions that he has promulgated. That he seems to have an anger control problem when he writes is a problem for him, and not for me. I believe it weakens the effectiveness of his arguments and clouds his ability to learn from opposing viewpoints.
Obviously some people take his remarks a good deal more personally than I do. Joe and Mark have had a feud going back several years for example. I simply think it is wasted emotion to get upset about the fact that Mark often writes in an insulting manner, as opposed to being concerned about the positions he puts forward on the Church's teaching on torture.

Andy Nowicki said...

Donald, I humbly submit that if you had been personally impugned and insulted by Shea, you might have an easier time taking it personally and finding it "interesting."

I further submit that it's not a sign of irrationality to dislike someone who's been a creep to you, even if he's only abused you through an electronic format rather than in person.

Donald R. McClarey said...

"Donald, I humbly submit that if you had been personally impugned and insulted by Shea, you might have an easier time taking it personally and finding it "interesting.""

Not really Andy. I've crossed verbal swords with lots of people on the internet. Long time readers from Open Book can recall the many debates I had with the "Americanist" for example. Sometimes my antagonists can get quite heated. I do not. Exchanges with strangers on the internet do not involve me emotionally. I do understand that many other people take these things a good deal more seriously than I do.

Flambeaux said...

Donald,

FWIW, I've long admired your sangfroid.

Andy Nowicki said...

Having a heated debate is one thing, Donald. Mark Shea does considerably more than debate heatedly. He's a bully, plain and simple. What makes a bully morally reprehensible isn't his opinion on any particular issue-- it's the fact that he gets his jollies from hurting other people.

It's one thing to stay unruffled during a verbal sparring contest. It's another to remain indifferent to another man's aptitude for cruelty. In the former case, I like Flambeaux can give you points for maintaining calm. In the latter case (i.e. your indifference to Shea's cruelty and general assholishness, for lack of a better word) I'm not in the least impressed.

Anonymous said...

JOSEPH D'HIPPOLITO SAYS...

Andy, profound thanks for your comments and support.

Christopher Fotos, you are absolutely right about Shea targeting (and encouraging others to target) Front Page Magazine for a possible boycott of my services.

The idea for a lawsuit against Shea concerns his gratuitous, unsubstantiated and never-ending personal attacks, not his stands on issues. He has every right to take the stands that he does; he doesn't have the right (at least morally) to abuse others in the process.

Moreover, while I understand that the word "evil" can lose its power when liberally applied, I believe it fits Shea because (as Andy so righly noted) Shea is a bully and, to at least my way of thinking, bullies are evil. Not evil in the extreme way that Hitler, Khomeini, Castro, Charles Manson and others like them demonstrated. Nevertheless, there are gradations of evil.

Diane said...

Andy:

I can see where you're coming from, because I have been at the receiving end of precisely such nonsense from Rod Dreher. It is the reason why I find Mr. Dreher so profoundly off-putting, regardless of the merit (or lack thereof) of his ideas. Nasty, vicious name-calling is the resort of the playground bully.

Joe: I agree that threatening anoyone's livelihood is just plain wrong.

Susan said...

Apparently a lot of people have a lot of time on their hands.

Greg Mockeridge said...

Torq:

Since I made it clear that I neither threatened a lawsuit or an online petition, I request you retract your implication that I did, please.

Victor said...

Greg:

I'm sorry, but Torq never said you did and did not in my opinion imply it. The only mention of a lawsuit is in his last paragraph. The only mention of you by name is in his first -- that you and Joe "have a lot more beef" (which is true).

You immediately said in the first comment is "lawsuit was Joe only" (true) and neither Torq nor anyone else has said otherwise since. I don't think there's any implication to retract.

Greg Mockeridge said...

IMO, both threatening lawsuits (wasn't that how we knew that Comerford was flaky) and online petitions are silly, especially given that the intended target is at the end of the day little more than an annoying stranger.

Well, when you consider that Joe and I are the only names specifically mentioned, who do you think Torq is referring to when he says "both" then?

Contexually, the only conclusions are Joe and myself.

Greg Mockeridge said...

Besides the fact that Joe and I are clearly who Torq has in mind when he says "both" when read in context, he compares us to Richard Comerford, whom he referes to as being "flaky" for which I am doubly offended. I expect an apology as well as a retraction.

And Vic, I find your attempt at trying to say that Torq is not implying that I was threatening a lawsuit insulting to my intelligence.

The fact that no one else said anything else since is irrelevant and you know it.

Pauli said...

...both threatening lawsuits and online petitions are silly...

Maybe, but an online petition is free. And at least as fun as a low-fat wienie roast with light beer. Lawsuits are expensive and boooooooooooring....

Anonymous said...

JOSEPH D'HIPPOLITO SAYS...

Greg, you have too much going for you as a person to be excessively offended by Torq's comments. Perhaps you just woke up on the wrong side of bed that morning. It happens even to the best of us.

Torq, Comerford's threat of a lawsuit was baseless because he was not the target of slander. You, I, Greg and others, however, are and have been for quite some time. If a lawsuit against Shea for slander is neither viable nor legitimate nor good strategy, then so be it.

Throwing that and other ideas on the table is a means to get people thinking about not just how to hold Shea accountable but how to stop him from bullying others. I hoped that this would start a discussion of pertinent, viable strategies to deal with him. Instead, this has deteriorated into taking excessive personal offense at an ally's comments.

Greg, I know you're white-hot angry. Shea does that to people (just ask me and Andy Nowicki). But you're behaving just as Shea would behave -- just as Shea would want you to behave, mind you, so that he can enhance his own meager credibility. Don't give the bastard that kind of ammo. You're far better than that.

Since a lawsuit against Shea for slander does not have the support of most of the correspondents, does anybody have any other ideas that might work?

Mark Adams said...

Greg,

In the phrase, "both threatening lawsuits . . . and online petitions", Torq is using the word "both" to refer to lawsuits and petitions not you and Joe.

Mark Adams said...

Reading it any other way would require an extremely -- ahem -- tortured interpretation.

Greg Mockeridge said...

Greg,

In the phrase, "both threatening lawsuits . . . and online petitions", Torq is using the word "both" to refer to lawsuits and petitions not you and Joe.


It is possible, maybe even likely, that your interpretation is correct. If it is I apologize for and retract my reaction because it would be out of line.

That said, it is not at all impossible to read it in the way I originally read it. If Torq could clarify, I would appreciate it.

Mark Adams said...

it is not at all impossible to read it in the way I originally read it.

Um I suppose it's not impossible -- after all you did read it that way. But seriously dude, go back and read it slowly. It really doesn't make sense to think the "both" refers to you guys. Torq mentions you both at the very beginning but then never makes another direct reference. No "they're" or "they".

Torq is a decent enough writer. Were he saying what you seem to think he wouldn't he have written something like, "They both are pretty sill with their threatening lawsuits and online petitions." or "Both Joe and Greg, threatening lawsuits (wasn't that how we knew that Comerford was flaky) and online petition, are pretty silly."

Dave Armstrong said...

I must say I find it a bit ironic that a blog devoted to documenting Mark Shea's personal attacks has a link to Shawn McElhinney: a guy who has been engaging in public vitriolic (often rather extreme) personal attacks for a good year and a half now, not only against myself, but also against Stephen Hand, Karl Keating, Mark Shea and even (lately) Jimmy Akin (the latter three, plus myself, he refers to as the "apologetics oligarchy").

Greg Mockeridge often joins him in this, in guest editorials and polemical appearances on other blogs (yet we see him demanding apologies and retractions lately for stuff that is like profuse praise compared to what he writes about others).

I'm all for a higher quality of Internet discourse (I've written many papers about that), but it is not only "professional apologists" who have to be policed (if anyone has to be); it is also some fellow "amateur" bloggers who exercise a more or less continual double standard in how they attack others and then turn around and engage in very similar behavior themselves.

I have tried to reason with Shawn off and on through the months, with various blog posts, to no avail, and so recently decided to remove all the material from my blog where he and I were going at it, or where I was documenting his personal attacks (much as you do here with Mark), or responding to various serious charges alleging my atrocious lack of ethics or logical prowess.

You might consider doing the same (just a suggestion, and totally optional). You can only try to reason with a person for so long. If they don't respond, then it seems to me that at some point there is an important question of how prudential and edifying it is to post all this wrangling between fellow Catholics. It presents a very bad witness to the world, and gives the devil a victory ("divide and conquer," etc.). This is true no matter how one views the blameworthiness of either party. The divisiveness is scandalous, regardless of who is at fault, or relatively more at fault.

I have no wish to re-enter the discussion of my own conflicts with Shawn and Greg (particularly the nuclear issue, which has been beaten to death). I won't be diverted into that nonsense. But Greg will almost certainly attempt to bait me into it again, if experience is any guide.

My present point (which I would love to discuss) is, rather, a general one of the problem of personal attacks on the Internet. Having been the recipient of many such, I can quite relate to how Torq and Victor feel . . .

I might add (if it is even necessary) that we apologists can get a lot of bum raps too. We're not immune from that sort of thing. So it is unhelpful to engage in the rhetoric that (often subtly implied by several commenters here) "apologists" are somehow doing all this personal attack, as if it is characteristic of us as a class.

Often I have read here, e.g., that Mark Shea gave me a pass in the torture discussions because I was a fellow apologist. I agree that I was treated a bit differently than Torq and Victor were. I didn't receive the direct personal attacks that they have been subject to.

But on the other hand, I wouldn't say I was treated with any particular courtesy, let alone personal warmth (and I have met the man and drove him around town when he spoke in the Detroit area). My comments were routinely ignored or misrepresented in subsequent posts, and Mark himself said that he didn't even read most of my stuff on the issue. Fellow apologist or no, this fact didn't change how I was responded to all that much. It was certainly not normal discourse, by any reasonable definition.

I regard it as a basic courtesy to at least read the other guys' material, if one is claiming to be in a "discussion" with him.

Anonymous said...

Mark Adams:

Like I said, after reading your interpretation, I find yours more probable than the one I initially went with.

While I'm not going to make excuses for my overreaction, it was an honest mistake. One that was probably filtered through my own fustration over what I thought (and still think) is not an adequate interaction with my view that I think the problem with Mark is part of a bigger problem.

It seems he is able to misrepresent and (to use the words of Chris Fotos and maybe even both Vic and Torq) slander other Catholics and still be able to enjoy the reutation he does as a Catholic apologist. While I understand and sympathize with their desire not to harm Mark financially, I find such view logically irreconcilable. He does not have the right to use his means of livelihood and his stature as a Catholic apologist to harm others, which is what he is doing. And it is apparent that certain influential figures in the apologetics establishment refuse to even acknowledge that there is a problem with Mark, despite the fact that they have beend made aware of it.

Greg Mockeridge said...

that last anonymous was me.

Greg Mockeridge said...

Greg, I know you're white-hot angry. Shea does that to people (just ask me and Andy Nowicki). But you're behaving just as Shea would behave -- just as Shea would want you to behave, mind you, so that he can enhance his own meager credibility. Don't give the bastard that kind of ammo. You're far better than that.

I appreciate you help and kind words. But I cannot in good conscience blame my own overreaction on Mark. I take full responsibility for that. Whatever skill Shea has at pushing buttons, I am still responsible for my reactions.

Dave Armstrong said...

typo:

". . . a more or less continual double standard in how they attack others and then turn around and engage in very similar behavior themselves."

should read:

". . . a more or less continual double standard in how they complain about others engaging in personal attack, and then turn around and engage in very similar behavior themselves."

Dave Armstrong said...

Here is a case in point, in double standards. I will use Greg's words and modify them a bit in order to illustrate the problem:

Greg:

"It seems he [Mark] is able to misrepresent and (to use the words of Chris Fotos and maybe even both Vic and Torq) slander other Catholics and still be able to enjoy the reputation he does as a Catholic apologist. While I understand and sympathize with their desire not to harm Mark financially, I find such view logically irreconcilable. He does not have the right to use his means of livelihood and his stature as a Catholic apologist to harm others, which is what he is doing. And it is apparent that certain influential figures in the apologetics establishment refuse to even acknowledge that there is a problem with Mark, despite the fact that they have been made aware of it."

My parody to illustrate double standards:

"It seems Shawn McElhinney is able to misrepresent and . . . slander other Catholics and still be able to enjoy the reputation he does as a Catholic blogger (with many links on other blogs). While I somewhat understand their desire not to note Shawn's hypocrisy and shortcomings, I find such [a] view logically irreconcilable. Shawn does not have the right to use his stature as a respected Catholic blogger and prolific social commentator to harm others, which is what he is doing. And it is apparent that certain influential figures and his friends in the blogosphere refuse to even acknowledge that there is a problem with Shawn, despite the fact that they have been made aware of it."

BINGO! I've written to several mutual friends, in attempts to get them to rebuke Shawn for this behavior, but none as of yet felt it necessary to make any public comment (though one, apparently, did so to some extent, privately).

But one apologist who is much-admired by Shawn and a mutual friend, did; thus renewing my faith in humanity.

I, on the other hand, spoke out against Mark's excesses on his blog, and even Greg acknowledged this on my own blog recently.

Also, I rebuked Stephen Hand twice publicly, even after I had a (much-despised by Shawn and Greg) reconciliation with him (that they have mocked as insincere). I even threatened to ban him from my blog when he kept saying ridiculous things. And we are friends!

I have been consistent in this. If I think something is wrong, and it is a public thing, I will rebuke it publicly, whether the recipient is a friend or fellow apologist or both, on the biblical grounds of "faithful are the wounds of a friend."

But apparently Shawn's friends (with few exceptions) do not take such a view, where he is concerned. Maybe he is personally threatening to them (I don't know). He never has been to me, and never will be.

Victor said...

Dave:

I don't speak for Torq obviously. But I really hope you're not trying to get us to take down our link to Shawn. I confess that, the Bomb issue aside, I don't know the basis for yours and Shawn's animosity. I certainly acknowledge that in the Bomb discussion, Shawn could have been less strident (especially since he was right). But regardless of all that, I really don't think any person has any right to choose another person's friends (or bloglinks). I have never approached anybody in St. Blogs, including people with whom I'm quite friendly, to say "please take down your link to Shea. He is a contemptible ass and here's the details, blah-blah."

To the other points. I agree that all-Shea, all-the-time is not good. Ironically, I just got through with some private correspondence which included occasion to write the following:
---------------------------
As for your comments about "repetitiveness" at CfF, I think you're right. We need to start writing about stuff other than Mark's lying (though we'll never not make note of it). Or develop some shtick like a no-comment "Shea Moment/Lie/Howler of the day/week/whatever."

As for "what to do about Shea," the thing is I'm simply very pessimistic about anything having any effect. The man is who he is, and he isn't like a student or an athlete or a priest or someone else formally "under authority." ... I think that we've made our intellectual/moral case against Shea publicly to the extent possible for all with eyes to see (and this is not unrelated to what I say in the previous graf about needing to branch out. Look at the earliest days of the archives, BTW. The site didn't start out this way). Shea is now not a problem to be solved but an aggravation to be borne.
------------------------------
So yes, Dave, I take your point, you can only reason with a person for so long, though I will not delete anything as you did in re Shawn. I think documentation is vital should it be necessary to point out that Shea is a chronic liar who should never be believed in any construction "Someone-else said X."

I think Shea himself has jumped the shark, and gone into full-bore obsesso-stalker mode re: us. Just yesterday, he went over to Rod's on Beliefnet, trying to ... I dunno what, but armed with the knowledge that Rod and I are real-time friends. Thankfully he's being deservedly ignored. And hopefully that will continue to be his fate whenever, as he has done with Joe, tried to inject himself and his obsesso-stalking into the non-related comment fields of others.

Victor said...

Susan said...
Apparently a lot of people have a lot of time on their hands.


And apparently a lot of other people have so much more time on their hands that they can comment on others' having a lot of time on their hands.

Dave Armstrong said...

Hi Victor,

I said nothing about taking down links (so your fears are completely unfounded there). That's none of my business; it's your blog. I simply noted the irony and pointed out that, arguably, Shawn has done everything that Mark has done, and more, while he sits there and lambasts Mark, myself, and others.

If Shawn allowed comments on his blog, it would be just as much a free-for-all circus, no doubt, if not more, than Mark's blog; once one sees, e.g., the sort of relentless personal attack he (along with his ever-agreeing comrade Greg) has often launched on my own blog (yet neither one is banned, to this day: Greg was temporarily, but I removed it).

You say Shawn "could have been less strident." At what point does one conclude that perpetual "stridency" has become outright lying, as you have concluded with Mark? I don't wish to revisit all the ugly things written about me (I won't even document any here, because I am through with that), but I can assure you that it is every bit as insulting and slanderous and false as what Mark has said about you two.

If anyone wants to verify this for himself, simply go to Rerum Novarum and do a search of my name. You'll find it quick enough (and try to imagine being the recipient for a year and a half of all that rotgut).

I really don't think any person has any right to choose another person's friends (or bloglinks).

I completely agree. Again, I'm not making "demands" along these lines. Quite the contrary; I'm calling for existing friends to rebuke Shawn in love, just as you are rebuking Mark, with (it seems to me) generally the right motivation (reparation rather than utter condemnation).

It's interesting to see your thoughts in your middle portion, citing private correspondence.

I think it would be good to broaden the subject matter of your blog, as you and Torq have a lot of substance and thoughtfulness to offer, beyond chronicling Mark's follies (wherever they occur). I'm happy to hear that you are thinking the same.

That intellectual firepower and energy could be put to a lot better, more positive and constructive purposes, in my opinion.

Dave Armstrong said...

It would be nice, by the way, to discuss nuclear ethics sometime with some Catholic (who favors the bombings of 1945) who could refrain from personal insult and continual misrepresentation of his dialogical opponents' views and methods.

I managed to do that regarding the Iraqi War (I favor it, though I am becoming more skittish as time goes on), but not the nuclear issue. And, of course, I've done that on a host of other issues (nearly 400 dialogues posted). But this is an emotional one; I suppose that accounts for a lot of the acrimony and hysteria.

Particularly, I would love to be directed to some leading orthodox Catholic moral theologian who argues the way Shawn and Greg did (their application of "double effect"; use of the factor of conscription of the entire Japanese population, etc.). They have yet to produce one (IIRC), but apparently that didn't faze or trouble them a bit.

Diane said...

LOL--I was going to comment on Susan's comment, too. If she is the same Susan I'm thinking of, she seems to practically live on certain blogs. So, she clearly has a lot more time on her hands than, for instance, I do. :) :)

Victor--are you really Rod's friend in Real Life? Lord have mercy. In my experience, Rod is capable of about 100 times more ornery cussed mean-spirited nastiness toward his comboxers than Mark Shea could ever muster. His nasty invective is often completely unchivalrous, too. And, unlike Mark, he never apologizes.

But eh, maybe he's different in Real Life. ;)

Anonymous said...

JOSEPH D'HIPPOLITO SAYS...

Mr. Armstrong, I consider myself Shawn's friend. We correspond frequently. In all the time I've seen Shawn's blog and in our corresponsdence, I have never seen him stoop to the kind of deliberate misrepresentation of arguments or gratuitous personal attacks that have become Mark Shea's staple. Whenever we disagree, he always points to articles, facts or logic to substanciate his points, not rely on mindless rhetoric. For you to compare, let alone equate, Shawn and Mark is outrageous.

Regarding what he calles the "apologetics oligarchy" (and what I call the Catholic Apologetics Mafia), Shawn is an honest man who tells the truth as he sees it. Shawn is right to oppose such garbage that describes Shea's MO. He is more than right to try and hold so-called "apologists" accountable for behavior that demeans others and embarasses Christ and His Church.

The problem is that people like you, Shea, Stephen Hand and Karl Keating are so infatuated with your own opinions and with your "Catholicity" that you don't see what you're doing.

Shawn said...

It would be nice, by the way, to discuss nuclear ethics sometime with some Catholic (who favors the bombings of 1945) who could refrain from personal insult and continual misrepresentation of his dialogical opponents' views and methods.

David, if you bring this"continual misrepresentation of dialogual opponents views and methods" canard up again, I will make for public consumption in post form an explanation in detail of why what you note above is a bunch of hogwash.

As I noted before, there never was a dialogue, you did not want one, your writings substantiated this premise more than adequately enough, and what you claimed was "methodology" was in fact a rolling together of various fallacies of argumentation. This has been dealt with to death but never in one post spelling it all out in detail. You cannot escape this no matter how you try amongst a crowd of thinking people. So say the word David and I will explain once and for all this distinction in detail and beyond any shadow of reasonable doubt objectively speaking.{1}

What you intended or did not intend is not the issue here as I have told you before -even taking you at your word as to what your intentions were. And you know from where I will draw the material for that explanation so you would be wise to stop prevaricating about me publicly.

I managed to do that regarding the Iraqi War (I favor it, though I am becoming more skittish as time goes on), but not the nuclear issue.

Of course I had a few different discussions with people on the nuclear issue where there was no animosity whatsoever. But then again, those persons at least tried to make what any reasonable person could discern as arguments against the theory I set forth, not bs positings of various opinions and conclusions of others as if said viewpoints were in and of themselves persuasive.

And, of course, I've done that on a host of other issues (nearly 400 dialogues posted). But this is an emotional one; I suppose that accounts for a lot of the acrimony and hysteria.

Considering which of us was the one constantly falling back on emotionalist approaches (including the mainstream media attempt to influence by pictures what they could not by rational argument), you should be careful in whom you finger for being "hysterical" David.

Particularly, I would love to be directed to some leading orthodox Catholic moral theologian who argues the way Shawn and Greg did (their application of "double effect"; use of the factor of conscription of the entire Japanese population, etc.). They have yet to produce one (IIRC), but apparently that didn't faze or trouble them a bit.

No David, this does not faze me for an instant and with good reason:

I set forth a non-contradictory abstract idea which purported to provide both a correct description of reality (viz. what happened) and a guideline for successful action (viz. what at the time was both feasible to do and was the best approach to take under the situation as it presented itself at that time).

This is what is called a theory David and it trumps any assemblege of opinions and conclusions from any number of people you can scrounge up (no matter whom they are). That is why it matters not if I cannot find someone who argues as I did or not, only if my arguments themselves are valid or invalid in accordance with objective criteria.

Am I aware of theologians who concur with my view on this??? Perhaps I am. Perhaps I am not. Either way, what matters is the arguments I made and the fact that there is no way to verify how those whose opinions or conclusions you posted arrived at those conclusions and opinions.

So what we have is my conclusion and opinion more than adequately substantiated by cogent logic and reasoned argumentation and a bunch of unsubstantiated opinions and conclusions from other people presented by you as if it is somehow of equal worth.

There is no reason for me to say any more until what I argued is interacted with (i) utilizing reason and logic, (ii) on the merits of what I argued, (iii) accounting for all the factors I accounted for in my presentation, and (iv) in the same context which I set my arguments within{2}. Until that is done, it does not matter how many (if any) theologians I produce who may or may not agree with me.

As far as your quip about comments boxes, you could at least have the common decency to let readers know that I have principled reasons why I do not have comboxes and have written on this subject before -including recently. You know about that thread because I sent it to you via email so let the readers of this thread know that you were aware of this and have decided for some reason to not tell readers about it. They can deduce from your deliberate omission of this information whatsoever they will.

Notes:

{1} I did not intend to say anything else but I will not be lied about David by you or anyone else. And as you are not unaware, I need not write anything new to cover that ground as the material was already written.

{2} And not a single person who took issue with me stayed in the same non-normative (read: objective) context in which I framed my theory. Instead, they all to a man and woman argued normatively (read: subjectively) even in the cases where they presented actual arguments of their own for consideration. Others (such as you David) appealed to opinions of others as if opinions trumped sound argumentation, posted pictures to try and play on emotions, etc.

You can delete all that stuff you want from your archives but the internet archive will have it in a year or so. And a year from now, my criticism of you on this score will be as valid now as it was when I first made it eighteen months ago.

Shawn said...

I've written to several mutual friends, in attempts to get them to rebuke Shawn for this behavior, but none as of yet felt it necessary to make any public comment (though one, apparently, did so to some extent, privately).

But one apologist who is much-admired by Shawn and a mutual friend, did; thus renewing my faith in humanity.

He rebuked both of us David -I have the email on file and would gladly post it if you like. Pravda in the old days had nothing on your selective presentations. Have you no shame at all about it?

Dave Armstrong said...

Hi Joseph,

The problem is that people like you, Shea, Stephen Hand and Karl Keating are so infatuated with your own opinions and with your "Catholicity" that you don't see what you're doing.

1. On what basis do you conclude that I am "infatuated" with my own opinions?

2. What exactly is it that I am "doing"?

3. Are you a Catholic?

Dave Armstrong said...

Whether Shawn has provided substantive arguments or not is irrelevant to my criticisms and observations made above, since they weren't about arguments in the first place, but about behavior.

Even y'all on this blog agree that Mark Shea also provides plenty of substance in between his insulting materials (especially in his books and straight apologetic material).

Likewise, with Shawn. He has plenty of substance. But I won't interact with it if my dialogue opponent goes down the road of personal insult and misrepresentation of opposing opinions, motivations, etc.

It's exactly like you guys on this blog and your criticisms of Mark Shea. That's why I made the comment. The parallels were so uncannily close I simply couldn't resist.

This is especially true, in light of comments by Greg and others about fellow apologists supposedly giving Mark a pass, and noting the hypocrisy of that. I didn't give him a pass when I thought he was acting uncharitably and unfairly.

So I have pointed out that the dynamics in Shawn's case work exactly the same. His friends defend him at every turn and refuse to see the path he has taken of progressively more bitter, negative , even slanderous materials on his blog. Or they do nothing: the old "good men do nothing" routine.

If you can see this in Mark, I can't imagine how you could miss it in Shawn's vapid, flatulent ravings that are a recurrent feature of his blog.

If you wish to see another gifted writer pollute his materials with garbage, that's up to you. I think it is a shame and a waste of God's gift. I can no longer reason with Shawn, because you see what he thinks of me. But some of you still can.

Dave Armstrong said...

Art Sippo, M.D., mutual friend of Shawn and I, and active online apologist, wrote the following in a public guest post on my blog (10-7-06):

---------------------

Over the last two years, I have noticed a disturbing trend of internecine conflict within the Catholic apologetics community. We Catholic apologists are a contentious lot and we enjoy a good argument. Now, though, instead of arguing with the critics of our faith, we are starting to argue amongst ourselves. In many cases the issues at stake have been political or personal and have had little to do - if at all - with Catholicism or its defense against its detractors. In fact, the rhetoric has gotten so out of hand that we are now attacking each other's reputations and integrity.

Enough is enough.

My friend Dave Armstrong has been one of those who has been put under pressure and he felt the need to respond in kind on his blog. Dave has been doing Catholic apologetics for 25 years [correction: Catholic apologetics for 15 years, and Protestant / general Christian apologetics for another ten before that] and has published articles in the Catholic Answers' magazine This Rock along with several books on apologetics. He also maintains a comprehensive apologetics website that is one of the great resources that is available to Catholic defenders of the faith. I have used his site quite often and I have found it an indispensable tool.

The tone of Dave's response concerned me and so I wrote to him. He showed me that he was responding in like manner to those who had attacked him. After some discussion, Dave agreed to unilaterally remove the response from his blog. We agreed that the continued in-fighting was undermining the credibility of Catholic apologists and giving aid and comfort to the enemies of the Catholic faith. Furthermore, as disciples of Jesus Christ, we should be willing to suffer persecution for the sake of the Gospel and seek reconciliation instead of escalation of the conflict.

It was in this spirit that I asked Dave to allow me to publish this note on his site calling upon all Catholic apologists to cease and desist with ad hominem attacks. It is entirely legitimate for us to air differences of opinion amongst ourselves and in some cases to discuss issues in the public forum for the good of the Church. But once we have made our views known and discussed them frankly, we should have the grace and courage to reconcile when we can or agree to disagree and move on. There is no justification for continuing the disagreement beyond the issues to make accusations concerning the integrity or motivation of one's opponents.

http://socrates58.blogspot.com/2006/10/open-letter-to-catholic-ap_116024389558116246.html

-------------------------

It was based upon Art's recent advice that I decided to remove all the material about Shawn, or our discussions about nuclear ethics, that got very ugly, from my site. He doesn't agree at all with all the public in-fighting and character assassination that is going on, as you can see from the above remarks.

And, by the way, Art basically agreed with Shawn's position in the nuclear debate, so his opinions above are not based on bias for my side of that issue. He is discussing behavior, wholly apart from the issues being debated.

Dave Armstrong said...

Joseph used the phrase:

. . . so-called "apologists" . . .

How does one determine who is a "so-called 'apologist'" and who is a real apologist? Please give examples of both and tell us what the essential difference is. Thanks!

Dave Armstrong said...

He rebuked both of us David -I have the email on file and would gladly post it if you like.

I find it absolutely fascinating that Shawn feels perfectly at liberty to post private e-mails from someone else without their permission, simply on the request of one of the persons it was addressed to.

Yet it was Shawn who bitched and moaned and groaned for months, accusing me of unethically "violating the private forum" by simply alluding to some disagreements we were working through privately (concerning a debate which had already been public and highly visible) and posting my own thoughts publicly (without citing one word of his).

This is one of the many idiocies in our ongoing squabble that has been going on for a year and a half.

I refuted this BS in a very lengthy, copiously-researched and documented post dealing with this groundless charge of my supposedly violating privacy. But Shawn simply ignored it and kept on saying the same stupid stuff: accusing me of things I never did.

That's just one example. But as I said, I don't intend to revisit this whole sad affair. If anyone is truly interested and wants to fairly hear both sides, I have most of my major public responses, defending myself against Shawn's relentlessly imbecilic and groundless attacks on my integrity and character and honesty and intellect, etc., etc. (formerly on my blog), on file, and would be glad to send them to you in html files.

I can't imagine anyone is interested, but I just wanted to make it known that I have more than enough materials that (I believe) thoroughly vindicate my name against these charges.

I still have one posted response that dealt with two of Shawn's frequent accusations: one a logical lapse and the other an ethical shortcoming. They were both easily disposed of:

The Hiroshima and Nagasaki Debate: Did I Commit the Fallacy of Appeal to Authority or Call My Opponents "Murderers"?
http://socrates58.blogspot.com/2005/09/hiroshima-and-nagasaki-debate-did-i_10.html

Victor said...

Dave:

You have given adequate public notice of where and how you think Shawn has offended. You do not wish to revisit this whole sad affair. I take you at your word, and I agree with Mr. Sippo's letter that there does come a time to shake the dust off the shoes.

I have noted that I think Shawn was needlessly promiscuous in resorting to the "rhetorical bitch-slap" mode (as you and Chris Blosser have both told me that I can do). To say more than that would require revisiting this whole sad affair.

And before anyone should point these out, I do plan on following my own advice on this topic in re Shea. And I have made a private request to Shawn.

Dave Armstrong said...

Thanks, Victor. Fair enough. I won't take up any further space on your blog with this. I appreciate you letting me air my opinions freely.

I did, however, ask Joseph a few questions. What if he replies? What should I do then? Nuthin'? He has made a serious (albeit nebulous) charge against me here, too.

Your call. I'll abide by whatever you think is best on that one.

Dave Armstrong said...

Joseph? [yelling out, with cupped hands] "Joseph?" Has anyone seen Joseph? I asked him a few questions, but he seems to be gone now. Hmmmm; odd thing, seeing what he stated about me. I was hoping to have a discussion, not to sit in a pew and be preached at.

roger h. said...

This whole thread is apparently aStar Chamber.

Odds are he either he doesn't know what the term means or he only "skimmed" the post and comments.

Victor said...

Not that I especially care, but every time Shea acts as if he wants peace, he does something like that "Star Chamber" comment (love the video also), which makes taking it seriously impossible.

It's as if this post's first sentence had said "every time the liar acts as if he wants to get out from under his slanders ..."

Anonymous said...

JOSEPH D'HIPPOLITO SAYS...

Dave, I'll answer your questions off-line to respect Victor's request. Please send your e-mail address to Victor and he can e-mail it to me.

Dave Armstrong said...

Hi Joseph,

Victor said I could interact with you on this thread (I'm refraining from further responses to another of my critics), which is important because you made the charge against me publicly, here; therefore it needs to be dealt with publicly.

Plus, I'm extremely curious to hear your answers (and perhaps others are too). Something constructive might actually be accomplished!

Moreover, just once it would be nice for a severe critic of mine, as you seem to be, to engage in a real, normal, rational conversation with me, in order for me to give my side and have some interaction back and forth (as opposed to potshots made at my expense, either where I am not present, or where the person has no intention whatsoever to document and/or defend his accusations).

I don't intend (just to be clear) for this to be some major new controversy, either. I asked you a few simple questions, is all, and I think I am entitled to hear your answers, if you want to make sweeping negative charges against me (that I say are groundless).

Shawn said...

Greetings Victor:

Dave:

You have given adequate public notice of where and how you think Shawn has offended. You do not wish to revisit this whole sad affair. I take you at your word, and I agree with Mr. Sippo's letter that there does come a time to shake the dust off the shoes.


Agreed. I am sure you would agree with me Victor that those who publicly claim they do not want to revisit a matter but who do are not matching their actions with their claimed intention. (This is not a statement directed at you or the CoF crowd so kindly do not presume it was please.)

I have noted that I think Shawn was needlessly promiscuous in resorting to the "rhetorical bitch-slap" mode (as you and Chris Blosser have both told me that I can do). To say more than that would require revisiting this whole sad affair.

You are not the only person who expressed disagreement with some of the later invective used Victor. (Among those who were most critical were people who actually agreed with my position and felt it detracted from the solidity of my arguments as a whole.) I am not going to over why I used it etc. as that would be to rehash the issue. And other than what I will wrap this posting up with (viz noting in brief a planned future blog posting at Rerum Novarum), I am not going to say anything further on this on your site as per your request.

And before anyone should point these out, I do plan on following my own advice on this topic in re Shea. And I have made a private request to Shawn.

You have. And I have decided in lieu of what David posted in these threads to deal publicly once and for all on my own site with what he keeps claiming I "ignored."

I note here for the first and only time publicly that some of the material I will use for that was sent to David at one point so readers can judge based on what I will say in that posting if I really "ignored" what he wrote because the position was so "convincing" (as he claims) or if there were not other reasons for doing so which were and are valid. (In the aforementioned posting, I will note the day the parts were sent so readers can verify this with what David has claimed in these threads in the past week and draw their own conclusions.)

It is unfortunate that I have to do this but I will not (and never have) given confidentiality promises to those who use them as a shield of sorts from which to misrepresent me -particularly when they have been informed otherwise and obstinately persist in such things.

But I will say no more on it or any of the pertinent subject matter here as Victor has made a request to me privately which he noted on this thread to not discuss these matters. This is his blog, his comboxes, and therefore his rules; ergo I will follow them without questioning them or appearing to tell him how he should or should not run his blog.

Unlike some people, when I say I absolutely will not do something, I follow through. I only request of Victor to leave this post completely unedited. (After all, I have no problem with people holding me to my public promises of an absolute nature.)

Dave Armstrong said...

Matthew 5:11-12,43-45 offer great principles to live by. Victor and Torq can take heart, and so can I. "Rejoice and be glad" . . .

Shawn said...

David:

I also recall the same Jesus counseling people to not contort themselves publicly but instead to do their good deeds and sufferings in private lest they not be rewarded by God for them. Try the same Gospel of Matthew one chapter up:

[(But) take care not to perform righteous deeds in order that people may see them; otherwise, you will have no recompense from your heavenly Father. When you give alms, do not blow a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets to win the praise of others. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward.

But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right is doing, so that your almsgiving may be secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you.

"When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, who love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on street corners so that others may see them. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward.

But when you pray, go to your inner room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you...

"When you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites. They neglect their appearance, so that they may appear to others to be fasting. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward.

But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that you may not appear to be fasting, except to your Father who is hidden. And your Father who sees what is hidden will repay you. (Matthew vi, 1-5; 16-18)]

In other words, there is no merit in calling attention to one's presumed "persecutions" David any more than there is for sounding a trumpet and telling everyone how much they do for charity or giving pretenses towards being pious so people think better of someone. I went over this in a posting before Christmas on the subject of giving and the same principle involved there is involved here: attempts at appearing righteous to look good for others is rebuked by Jesus over and over in the Gospels.

Remember that the next time you play the "I am persecuted so therefore I am blessed" card publicly. By the very uttering of such things to draw attention to yourself, you have already received your reward.

May you have a blessed and fruitful Lent.

Dave Armstrong said...

I guess by this idiotic, misapplied criterion, this very blog is run by super-Pharisees, since it is devoted (or has been, anyway) to documenting slanderous comments ("persecutions") towards the blogmasters. It MUST be Pharisaical and self-righteous in motivation. What else could it be?

No one can even apply Jesus' words of comfort without being self-righteous! I've heard that Catholics were supposed to be lousy exegetes, but this takes the cake for stupidity in biblical interpretation.

Anonymous said...

JOSEPH D'HIPPOLITO SAYS...

Very well, David, since you asked:

1. Being infatuated with your own opinions involves forgetting all sense of proportion and propriety. It involves treating those who disagree with you as something less that human. Dr. Sippo's letter says it best. So do Mark Shea's antics. So does the fact that nobody from the Catholic Apologetics Establishment has bothered to attempt to hold him accountable for his bullying. So does the fact that so many apologists (as well as lay Catholics) are so infatuated with episcopal and papal power that they seem to lose the power to think for themselves. That includes setting up a cult of papal personality (as Stephen Hand has done), viewing every prudential papal decision and action as essentially infallible (as Shea has done) and by refusing to offer stern criticism of the bishops responsible for enabling clerical predators.

Fortunately, there are devout, orthodox Catholics who are not apologists who no longer wish to be treated like mushrooms. See the following blogs:

http://www.romancatholicblog.com

http://onelacatholic.blogspot.com

http://www.rcf.org

The last one is the blog of Roman Catholic Faithful, headed by one Stephen Brady, who has fought the good-but-lonely fight against episcopal corruption and papal indifference in the face of the biggest scandal to challenge the Church's moral credibility since the Reformation.

2. The fact that you enter a thread on a blog that, to my knowledge, you have never commented on before merely to continue a previous attack on somebody -- which was not the subject of this thread -- makes me suspicious.

Moreover, I am highly protective of my friends, and I consider Shawn a friend.

3. Yes, I am Catholic. So what? Does the fact that I'm Catholic mean that I should countenance every misstep or misdead executed by the Catholic Apologetics Establishment? Does it mean that I should not think for myself? This isn't a matter of "being Catholic;" it's a matter of personal integrity.

I leave you with the following observation:

As you well know, St. John Chrysostom said that the floor of Hell is paved with the skulls of bishops. Perhaps the mortar used to hold those skulls together comes from the blood of the apologists?

Dave Armstrong said...

Hi Joseph,

1. Being infatuated with your own opinions involves forgetting all sense of proportion and propriety. It involves treating those who disagree with you as something less that human.

Great. Where did I do that? I wasn't asking for definition, but for documentation.

You're the one calling people "evil", and "you're nothing but a miserable silouette of a man who isn't worth three micrograms of dessicated cockroach droppings."

Is that not "less than human"? I've never used this kind of language about anyone in my entire life, including ten years as a virtual pagan. Yet you publicly lecture me about this (clearly a fault of yours), without a shred of documentation?

For heaven's sake; this very day in the post now on top, Torq wrote:

"If our arguments are as twisted and vile as he claims, then what is lost in accurately representing them in order to refute them. Dave Armstrong does this repeatedly, and his ability to argue convincingly while assuming the best possible motives of his opponents was one of the things that helped along with the Holy Spirit to lead me towards converting to Catholicism."

[thank you for your very kind words, Torq; I am humbled by them]

Yet you want to imply that I treat people less than human? And you wink at the mountain of calumny that Shawn has heaped upon me: attacking every aspect of my character: honesty, supposed ill motivations, my sincerity, etc.?

Dr. Sippo's letter says it best.

. . . which I printed on my blog . . . and he loves my blog and uses it all the time (so he told me).

So do Mark Shea's antics. So does the fact that nobody from the Catholic Apologetics Establishment has bothered to attempt to hold him accountable for his bullying.

Your friend Shawn thinks I am part of that "establishment" and I held him accountable. Greg Mockeridge admitted that, once I directed him to it.

So does the fact that so many apologists (as well as lay Catholics) are so infatuated with episcopal and papal power that they seem to lose the power to think for themselves.

I see. You made a particular charge against me. Are you prepared to back it up with something other than vapid bluster and fluffyheaded empty rhetoric? Or do you just rant, figuring that no one will call you on your false accusations or deign to expect you to provide some shred of evidence for them?

That includes setting up a cult of papal personality (as Stephen Hand has done), viewing every prudential papal decision and action as essentially infallible (as Shea has done) and by refusing to offer stern criticism of the bishops responsible for enabling clerical predators.

Again, you made a charge against me. None of this has anything to do with me. If you disagree, then prove it. Put up or shut up (or simply retract the nonsense about me and be done with it).

Fortunately, there are devout, orthodox Catholics who are not apologists who no longer wish to be treated like mushrooms. See the following blogs:

http://www.romancatholicblog.com

http://onelacatholic.blogspot.com

http://www.rcf.org

The last one is the blog of Roman Catholic Faithful, headed by one Stephen Brady, who has fought the good-but-lonely fight against episcopal corruption and papal indifference in the face of the biggest scandal to challenge the Church's moral credibility since the Reformation.


What'sthisgottadowithme? I've spoken out forcefully about the scandal, too. Rod Dreher's articles on it were featured prominently on my "Scandals" page. I have pages on liberalism and many articles speaking out forcefully against homosexual practices.

2. The fact that you enter a thread on a blog that, to my knowledge, you have never commented on before

Good grief. I've been here several times. I defended Victor and Torq on Mark Shea's blog. They have mentioned many times in posts (usu. Torq) about how I came and asked them their opinion on the torture thing, and they cite me as in agreement with Akin and Fr. Harrison. Torq freqently notes that I played (by God's grace) a role in his conversion. Yet you seem to think I can't comment on this blog, or never have in fact. When I was involved myself in the torture discussions I came here quite a bit. But I'm so busy with my blog and other writing projects that I don't have time to visit many other ones, much as I would like to.

merely to continue a previous attack on somebody -- which was not the subject of this thread -- makes me suspicious.

I haven't attacked Shawn; I have simply noted that the man has been engaging in personal attacks against me for a year and a half now. I saw a great parallel with the Mark Shea scenario, and noted that. Big wow. Hang me at dawn for it. I simply defended myself on my blog, but recently decided to remove even those posts, for the sake of Catholic unity.

Moreover, I am highly protective of my friends, and I consider Shawn a friend.

That's great. Now substantiate your charges against me, please, or admit that there is nothing to them.

3. Yes, I am Catholic. So what? Does the fact that I'm Catholic mean that I should countenance every misstep or misdead executed by the Catholic Apologetics Establishment?

And what deeds of this sort have I committed?

Does it mean that I should not think for myself? This isn't a matter of "being Catholic;" it's a matter of personal integrity.

Ditto.

I leave you with the following observation:

As you well know, St. John Chrysostom said that the floor of Hell is paved with the skulls of bishops. Perhaps the mortar used to hold those skulls together comes from the blood of the apologists?


How melodramatic.

We see that you haven't backed up a single thing that you accused me of. To refresh readers' memories, you wrote:

Regarding what he calls the "apologetics oligarchy" [he includes me in that] (and what I call the Catholic Apologetics Mafia), Shawn is an honest man who tells the truth as he sees it. Shawn is right to oppose such garbage that describes Shea's MO. He is more than right to try and hold so-called "apologists" accountable for behavior that demeans others and embarasses Christ and His Church.

The problem is that people like you, Shea, Stephen Hand and Karl Keating are so infatuated with your own opinions and with your "Catholicity" that you don't see what you're doing.


And so I asked:

1. On what basis do you conclude that I am "infatuated" with my own opinions?

2. What exactly is it that I am "doing"?

Also:

How does one determine who is a "so-called 'apologist'" and who is a real apologist? Please give examples of both and tell us what the essential difference is. Thanks!

---------------

The only thing you answered that I asked, was whether you are a Catholic (thank you!). You ignored everything else (quite predictably, based on long experience with these sorts of potshots from the dark).

Anonymous said...

JOSEPH D'HIPPOLITO SAYS....

Dave, I have answered your questions. The fact that you don't like the answers isn't my problem.

I have good reason to suspect that you wish to continue your vendetta against Shawn through me and I won't have it. Call me crazy. Call me paranoid. I don't care. If that bothers you, I still don't care.

BTW, have you ever considered changing careers and becoming a laywer? You'd be quite good at it...

Shawn said...

one can even apply Jesus' words of comfort without being self-righteous!

There is questions of course as to the accuracy of the application since anyone can make it.

Jesus is clear that there is no reward for those who try and parade an image of righteousness in front of others so that they may be seen by men and given esteem as such.

And as far as the public righteousness schtick goes, you do play the "I thank God I am not like other men" card which is a variation of the approach condemned in Matthew vi. Well, that one and the "I am being persecuted" card which is played by you to a disturbing degree. And you have the temerity to call Joe's statement about bishops and apologists "melodrama"??? Phuleeze.

Dr. Sippo's letter says it best.

. . . which I printed on my blog . . . and he loves my blog and uses it all the time (so he told me).


Art has said the same things about my writing too. Hopefully you will not class him in with the "fallen angels" for that.

I haven't attacked Shawn; I have simply noted that the man has been engaging in personal attacks against me for a year and a half now.

Rather than go over the problems with your above statement, I remind you that we both told Victor we would not go over these matters on his blog? I know I did in the above thread. So too if memory serves did you. Let me in fact quote you now circa February 17, 2007:

[Thanks, Victor. Fair enough. I won't take up any further space on your blog with this. (David Armstrong)]

Not even a week later, you are at it again showing (apparently) that the "promises" you make are worth about as much as other public promises (some of which are arguably vows) you have made. What a pity.

For it is not unreasonable to consider the veracity of one's assertions to be ascertained by their ability to keep their word. That is all I will say on the matter except to again wish you a blessed and fruitful Lent David.

Dave Armstrong said...

Joseph,

Be well and blessed. Nothing more can be done. You want to make groundless public charges. Join the crowd. I'll do penance for you during Lent.

Others can judge for themselves if your charges have any merit or are yet more examples of the public defamation that you decry in Mark Shea.

And of course God sees all.

Dave Armstrong said...

Shawn has now mentioned twice some old stupid documentation that anti-Catholic luminary Eric Svendsen posted about me, to show that I am supposedly a liar.

So now he not only attacks fellow Catholics with impunity but uses anti-Catholics to do so as well. How lovely.

Svendsen cited a statement I made in 2001 after being fed up with anti-Catholics and their idiocies and evasions. I said I would never talk to them again, and no one else should, either.

This was obviously too extreme of a statement, and impossible for an apologist like myself to abide by (since I have to deal with error of that sort, by profession).

So it was wrong and stupid for me to make such a resolution. So indeed I broke it. But I don't see this as even a sin. We all break resolutions all the time (diets, not being lustful, not smoking or drinking anymore, to control our tempers, better use of time, etc.).

I can admit that. I have no problem with it (I already have done so in public, long ago). I spoke with too much extremity and set myself up for later mockery by these anti-Catholic clowns (little did I know that Catholics would also join in the mockery and the sin of detraction). If mine was a sin at all (I'm not so sure, but possibly) it is certainly venial, and long since confessed.

But both Svendsen and Shawn take it to a whole other level: that of pretending that thus resolution was a vow or an oath. Svendsen has repeated this charge many times (to try to discredit me as a lying fool), but it is a bald-faced lie, and I soundly refuted it. Vows and oaths are an extremely serious matter and of a far higher importance than resolutions.

Anyone can do a word search of the article that Shawn has now linked to twice ("some of which are arguably vows") and see for themselves that the words "vow" or "oath" never appear.

Nor does the word "swear" appear; let alone "swear by God" or "under God" or some such. This is an elementary distinction, so for Shawn to not understand this, shows that he is fundamentally deficient in his understanding of this ethical point of Christian /. biblical / Catholic theology.

A quick glance at the online Catholic Encyclopedia ("Vows" could have brought him up to speed in 20 seconds maximum:

"A vow is defined as a promise made to God. The promise is binding, and so differs from a simple resolution which is a present purpose to do or omit certain things in the future."

But even a vow allows for some "loopholes":

"Dispensation from a vow is ordinarily justified by great difficulty in its fulfilment or by the fact that it was taken without due deliberation, or by the probability of some greater good either to the person taking it or to others, . . . "

My mere resolution was obviously too difficult to reasonably abide by (esp. as an apologist) due to its extremity, and it was made on the spur of the moment without due deliberation (in fact, as I recall, I was goaded into it by another anti-Catholic).

The article on "Oaths" is similar:

"An oath is an invocation to God to witness the truth of a statement. It may be express and direct, as when one swears by God Himself; or implicit and tacit, as when we swear by creatures, since they bear a special relation to the Creator and manifest His majesty and the supreme Truth in a special way: for instance, if one swears by heaven, the throne of God (Matthew 5:34), by the Holy Cross, or by the Gospels."

It's quite clear that I didn't do either one of these.

Later (January 2005) I made a far more limited and sensible resolution to cease dialoguing with anti-Catholics (with some rare exceptions). That was two years ago, and I have observed that to the letter (though Shawn has played around with that and implied that I have not).

Shawn can lie about me again here if he wishes and try to provoke me into replying and then condemn me for supposedly breaking my word. Let him. I am trying privately very hard to try to bring about a change in the impasse we are in.

I would appreciate the prayers of anyone reading this for that end. Thanks.

Shawn said...

Boy, it is amazing what one finds when doing a word search on Google. Oh well, 'tis never too late to set the record straight so here are the threads I wrote (as promised on this thread) pertaining to the structural problems with David's whole line of argumentation on this thread and elsewhere

On the Difference Between Objective Meaning and Subjective Intention (circa February 27, 2007)

The above thread deals primarily with the assertion of my so-called "lies" and why David's assertions on this score fall far wide of the mark. The others are more structural in nature; nonetheless...

On the Appeal to Authority and Distinguishing Between Valid and Fallacious Appeals Thereof (circa March 8, 2007)

More on the Appeal to Authority and Distinguishing Between Valid and Invalid Appeals Thereof -Dialogue With Jonathan Prejean (circa March 24, 2007)

On Ad Hominem, Revisiting Argumentum Ad Vericundiam, and Considering the Core Principle That Is Behind Any Argumentation/Logical Fallacy (circa June 1, 2007)

Those are the only points of reference whereby any reasonable rapproachment with David can be made but he is not likely to take it. Nonetheless, I post them here in the interest of preserving the historical record from false revisionisms.