Saturday, January 28, 2006

As readers of this weblog are aware, there was the publicly manifested intention of your humble servant at Rerum Novarum to hand over to a positional adversary some arguments against the war in Iraq. This will be done for them to fashion into coherent arguments with which to have a fruitful dialogue on the matter which is true to the discipline and not a sham masquerading as a "dialogue" as certain parties of late have tried to do.

To facilitate this occurrence happening sometime in February, some examples were jotted down into a private email to be sent approximately five minutes after the posting of this thread. The email thus sent will be reproduced on this weblog with Our initial comments on each argument advanced as they were noted to Our positional adversary. Anyway, the process is now underway and the ball is in the court of Our most humble of interlocuters to utilize which of the arguments (to be sent by Us) into the overarching theory (with its corroborating theses) they have constructed thus far (and intend to defend in the upcoming dialogue).

[Update: The most recent thread on this subject can be read HERE. - ISM 1/29/06 2:20pm]

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Friday, January 27, 2006

"Tracking the Ever-Elusive So-Called 'Neo Con'" Dept.

The previous installment in the series can be read HERE while one would go HERE to start from the beginning of the thread.

It seems appropriate to remind the readers of something posted back on December 4, 2005 (when launching this series at Rerum Novarum) about this whole so-called "neo-con" and whether or not they actually exist. Pardon Us a bit of indulgence in quoting Our past work on this matter in some detail to reframe the subject before moving onto the contents of this current installment:

Readers of this humble weblog are asked to consider what the Loch Ness Monster, Sasquatch, and the existence of aliens have in common. In all three cases, there are those who are in varying degrees obsessed with proving the existence of those creatures but thus far, there has been no incontrovertible proof brought forward. However, despite that and the way some of those zealots can react when their hobby or (perhaps in some cases, livelihood) is challenged, at the very least they have brought forward some evidences (whatever else you want to say about them) to attempt to substantiate the claims made. The same cannot be said for zealots of another type and with a different agenda...the latter being the subject of this thread posting you are currently reading.

There are after all certain individuals who similarly have a kind of fetish with the term "neo con" and like to use the expression (usually in a derogatory fashion) in application to a lot of different people. This attitude is of course similar to a kind of cultic deadagenting whereby the cult member seeks a pre-emptory assassination attempt of the character of a critic rather than have the common decency to consider the criticisms made on their merits or lack thereof. Your host cannot be the only one who believes that if the zealots who love to throw around the term "neo con" in a blanket and derisive fashion were to meet us all at least as far as the apologists for Nessie, Sasquatch, and space aliens have that the aforementioned people could be taken at least somewhat seriously. However, that has thus far not happened. With that in mind, Our intention with this series (and any additions to it) is to assist the aforementioned ideologues in establishing what could be called motives of credibility[...] for their claims...

[W]ith the case of certain personages who love to use this term who have thus far shirked in true chickensh*t fashion from taking responsibility for their own past and present statements, it seemed appropriate to your host to issue a very simple challenge to such people to identify the characteristics of what a so-called "neo con" is, what their underlying philosophies are, what are signature issues where they have readily identifiable positions, etc.

This is surely not a difficult thing to do; however, the manner in which the perpetrators have fled like vampires from a crucifix from the aforementioned challenge has been for Us very telling to say the least. Certainly We understand why they want to avoid that one so it seemed appropriate to issue the second and much easier challenge: produce evidences to argue for the existence of these so-called "neo cons." We at Rerum Novarum first noted this idea publicly in late October of 2005 in an audioposting[...] and followed it up a bit later with a brief revisiting of the subject with Christopher Blosser. In other words, it has not been for want of trying on the part of some people to challenge these kinds of people to put up or...well...you know the rest.

The aforementioned unsavoury sorts (to put it nicely) have ignored such simple requests for accountability and have continued to prattle on about these so-called "neo cons" including labelling certain parties as such when they have not bothered to explain what their criteria is for doing this. Your host must confess as a result of these circumstances that he has greater faith in the existence of Nessie, Sasquatch, space aliens, etc. than he does for those carping critics actually proving either (i) the existence of their fabled "neo cons" or (ii) that they even have a spine themselves and are not invertebrates. That is all that We can conclude based on what has happened thus far so it seems appropriate to establish a series where this issue can be dealt with intermittently. [Excerpts from Rerum Novarum (circa December 4, 2005)]

Of course as predictably as the sun rising in the east, the parties called to account for their usage of this term (and labeling others with it) without explaining what they mean by the term first have been quieter than a tick passing gas in the fur coat of a sheepdog. But once again it seems appropriate to remind readers of their cowardice before moving onto another reader who sent this note back in December of last year for Our consideration. Their words will be in black font.

Shawn,

I have been pondering the use of the term "neo-con" after reading your recent posts. I too have wondered about it's definition. "Neo-con" is clearly used as a pejorative, but nonetheless there does seem to be something behind it, a kind of visceral reaction to something.

I concur with that observation.

Let me be clear that I have never used the term myself, except about myself as a joke. I told Christopher Blosser I laughed and laughed when he posted the quote from Stephen Hand on his masthead, ". . . hoping to turn good Catholics into good, card carrying, NeoCons." I half suspect that if I had a blog, I might get tagged as a "neo-con" since I have a great fondness for Fr. Neuhaus snd "First Things".

Yes, Fr. Neuhaus is labeled as a "neo-con" by the same people who do not bother to explain what the meaning of the term is. Or as I noted to another emailer on the matter back in December:

[D]o you think that these "neo-cons" have to have a particular position on certain issues other than abortion??? For example, does a "neo-con" have to have a particular position on the war in Iraq, on the death penalty, on environmental policy, on free trade, on government spending, on taxes, on labour, on mass transit, on "social justice", on civil rights, or on a myriad of other issues commonly bandied about by those who utilize (in a generally derisive fashion) that label of expression??? Are there certain issues noted above (or others I may have missed) which are prerequisites for being a "neo-con" and certain others which are more of an optional import??? Often certain people of Jewish descent are also referred to as "neo-cons" who are not Catholics (i.e. David Horowitz, Michael Medved) so I am wondering if catholicity is a non-negotiable requirement to be a "neo-con" or is it a frame of mind or reference that can be had by people of any demographic but merely is more common in the demographic you refer to above than in other demographics??? [Excerpt from Rerum Novarum (circa December 4, 2005)]

These are all trenchant questions and frankly deserve to be answered by anyone who would label Fr. Neuhaus or anyone else as a "neo-con."

Last night I was reading Thomas Sowell's "A Conflict of [Visions]". The thought occurred to me that those who use the term "neo-con" are often, although probably not exclusively, exemplars of what Sowell called the constrained vision. I fear that I may be over generalizing, but the people who I have seen use the term often have a strong preference for tradition in a Burkean sense, a kind of cultural conservatism that resides deep in their bones. I feel I should clarify what I mean by cultural conservatism, since I mean not a conservative in the culture wars, but someone whose conservative outlook was more absorbed from the environment than arrived at by rational reflection.

Hmmmmmmm, that is an interesting theory actually. I will have to ponder it over before commenting on it with any degree of certainty.

I am not entirely satisfied with this criterion, but perhaps the specific examples that I used may help. When I think of conservatives-in-their-bones, I think of people like Steve Sailer, Fred Reed, or John Derbyshire. In contrast to these men, I think of conservatives like Father Neuhaus, George Weigel, or Michael Novak, all neo-conservatives in the original sense. Although today, "neo-con" is just as often used to describe most anyone who writes for "National Review", regardless of their path to conservatism.

Would you be referring essentially to those who see conservatism in some kind of reactionary and static preservationism as opposed to those who see conservatism as something pro-active and vibrant???

While I can discern some difference between the thinking of these two groups of men, I can also see a number of similarities. In some ways it could perhaps be attributed to the way in which they use reason to articulate their positions, but that isn't entirely correct, because Steve Sailer is as much an intellectual as Michael Novak.

This is why an outline by those who use that term so liberally (and usually in a pejorative sense) is something that if those people had any integrity whatsoever they would consider important enough to set forth. But we all know why they will not do this presumably: it is easier to make assertions without backing them up or take a position without sustaining it by viable argumentation than to do the work necessary to present a theory properly constituted for the perusal and critique of others.

Perhaps it comes down to something of a slight, but important, difference in outlook. The men I've identified as deep-in-the-bones conservatives seem a little more likely to feel that we are sharply limited in what we can do to limit the negative consequences of human frailty, while the "neos" have a slightly larger, but I really mean slightly, sphere of action where we can try to make a more good and just public life through the prudent application of right reason.

Perhaps so, but until the parties in question define their terms, we will never know what their "rationale" is or even if they have any at all. And (of course) without that information, there is no reason whatsoever to presume that they have any real motives of credibility{1} for anything they say on this matter whatsoever.

So perhaps the term "neo-con" is then something of a visceral reaction against what is perceived to be impossible, or at least very imprudent, namely the attempt to guide events in the public sphere in a positive direction.

Well if that is so, then such individuals are a hinderance to society and not a help. And if they are Catholics, it would do them well to consider what Pope Benedict XVI wrote in his first encyclical letter published a couple of days ago about the role of the laymen in society:

The Church's social teaching argues on the basis of reason and natural law, namely, on the basis of what is in accord with the nature of every human being. It recognizes that it is not the Church's responsibility to make this teaching prevail in political life. Rather, the Church wishes to help form consciences in political life and to stimulate greater insight into the authentic requirements of justice as well as greater readiness to act accordingly, even when this might involve conflict with situations of personal interest. Building a just social and civil order, wherein each person receives what is his or her due, is an essential task which every generation must take up anew. As a political task, this cannot be the Church's immediate responsibility. Yet, since it is also a most important human responsibility, the Church is duty-bound to offer, through the purification of reason and through ethical formation, her own specific contribution towards understanding the requirements of justice and achieving them politically.

The Church cannot and must not take upon herself the political battle to bring about the most just society possible. She cannot and must not replace the State. Yet at the same time she cannot and must not remain on the sidelines in the fight for justice. She has to play her part through rational argument and she has to reawaken the spiritual energy without which justice, which always demands sacrifice, cannot prevail and prosper. A just society must be the achievement of politics, not of the Church. Yet the promotion of justice through efforts to bring about openness of mind and will to the demands of the common good is something which concerns the Church deeply...

We can now determine more precisely, in the life of the Church, the relationship between commitment to the just ordering of the State and society on the one hand, and organized charitable activity on the other. We have seen that the formation of just structures is not directly the duty of the Church, but belongs to the world of politics, the sphere of the autonomous use of reason. The Church has an indirect duty here, in that she is called to contribute to the purification of reason and to the reawakening of those moral forces without which just structures are neither established nor prove effective in the long run.

The direct duty to work for a just ordering of society, on the other hand, is proper to the lay faithful. As citizens of the State, they are called to take part in public life in a personal capacity. So they cannot relinquish their participation “in the many different economic, social, legislative, administrative and cultural areas, which are intended to promote organically and institutionally the common good.” [21] The mission of the lay faithful is therefore to configure social life correctly, respecting its legitimate autonomy and cooperating with other citizens according to their respective competences and fulfilling their own responsibility. [Pope Benedict XVI: Encyclical Letter Deus Caritas Est §28; §29 (circa January 25, 2006)]

Now I do not know if you are a Catholic or not but those whom I had in my rangefinder who like to use the term "neo-con" in a pejorative sense and refuse to explain what they mean by it would not find comfort in what was just quoted above. Nor for that matter could similar statements in the writings of previous pope give them comfort. They in other words make pretentions of being loyal but in reality their loyalty is to their own ideologies. They have shown that when push comes to shove that the teaching of the popes is only accepted by them when it is convenient for the advancement of their agendas which I must say (in the cases of some of them) looks and sounds a lot like marxism under a clever mask of "social justice", "peacemaking", and the like.

In short, even if your description of the term is correct, the so-called "neo-cons" (if these people actually exist mind you) would be acting in accordance with the teaching of Pope Benedict XVI and his predecessors viz. the importance of taking a proper and pro-active role in the shaping of society. Meanwhile, those who hurl the epithets and frequently claim to be the most "loyal" to the popes would be the ones abdicating proper responsibility.

But of course all of this is a moot point if those who throw the term around do not have the integrity to explain what they mean by it. At the very least sir, you have provided us with some food for musing which is a lot more than those I have been critical of have done.

To be Continued...

Note:

{1} What is meant by motives of credibility are criteria that themselves contribute to substantiating the potential veracity of what is being asserted. Thus, for those who propagate and widely apply the term "neo con" who do not bother to provide said motives of credibility for their usage and application of that term, there is no reason to presume that they have any credibility on the matter in question. [Excerpt from Rerum Novarum (circa December 4, 2005)]

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The Rerum Novarum Miscellaneous BLOG has been updated!!!

The subject dealt with in that update is my long-held policy towards private correspondence.

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Thursday, January 26, 2006

Guest Editorial on the Atomic Bombings, the Continued Emphasis on it Publicly by Certain Apologists, and the Goal of Catholic Apologetics:
(Written by Dr. Art Sippo)

I am astonished that the American use of the Atomic bombs on Japan which occurred over 60 years ago would continue to be a source of controversy among Catholic apologists after the extended discussion we had over the Summer. I think that it is clear that there is no one Catholic position on this and that no one can claim to speak Magisterially on this matter other than the Pope and the Bishops in union with him. While I respect Dave Armstrong's right to his opinion, I do not agree with him and I think he has been seriously misinformed about the facts surrounding these historical events. Furthermore, the only competent authorities who could give a definitively Catholic response to this matter have remained scrupulously silent about it. This includes six Popes and one Ecumenical Council.

Catholic apologetics has as its goal the defense of the faith against attack both within and without the Church. Competence as an apologist does not extend to the moral casuistry necessary for complex moral issues such as the uses of the Atomic bomb in WWII. In fact this topic has no relevance to Catholic apologetics. Consequently, I would call upon all Catholic apologists to return to the real business of apologetics and not be distracted away from it by peripheral issues of no real importance to our current problems.

Art
Omnes semper - ad Jesum, per Mariam, cum Petro!

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For Preserving the Historical Record:

For only the fourth time in the history of this weblog, it has been necessary to backpost a thread to preserve historical continuity of sorts or (in this case) not post after the recent guest editorial. Having noted that, We at Rerum Novarum found it interesting that in one of Dave Armstrong's comments boxes, he invites Greg Mockeridge and your humble servant to participate and then deletes what We posted there. Obviously the more "you got slapped like a redheaded stepchild" threads are one thing to remove{1} but We also weighed in there with a correction to Dave's egregious misrepresntation of something written by Us to him via an email over three years ago (which he used in a paper with Our concurrence to do so).

The subject in question pertained to the Acta Apostolicae Sedis, the official journal of the Holy See where all official texts are published. In writing on the matter involving a papal epistle clarifying the intention of Pope Pius X on a matter pertaining to doctrine over three years ago or so, We wrote the following which Dave quoted at the time at length:

Catholic apologist Shawn McElhinney adds another clarifying comment, pertaining to matters of authority of various papal writings:

Sidebar: We bristled then at the reference to Us as an "apologist" and it is even less palatable to Our eyes to see it now. Nonetheless, onto what was written as quoted by Dave...

Mr. King is correct that if this document was solely a private correspondence, there would be no "official bearing" per se (though the idea that someone would express privately a sense of interpretation so remarkably at variance with his own official statements is a remarkably schizophrenic outlook). But I digress . . .

But the Acta Apostolae Sedis (prior to 1915 it was referred to as the Acta Sancte Sedis) is a catalogue, if you will, of papal pronouncements that have official sanction. A document does not necessarily have to be in this compendium to be binding of course (particularly if it is simply reaffirming previous teaching). However, correspondence of less than a normal degree of official sanction (such as Allocutions or private letters) which the pope intends to make official are listed in this directory.

The fact that it was listed in the Acta makes it binding teaching. In this sense the pope supplied an interpretation of his own encyclical letter. Hence, anyone claiming that the pope contradicted this interpretation two years later with the Oath Against Modernism has the weight of proof on their shoulders.

Besides, anyone who knows what they are talking about on this issue knows that the "evolution of doctrine" referred to in Lamentabili was directed towards the theories of one Alfred Loisy. Abbe Loisy asserted (in responding to his contemporary Adolph Harnack) that Catholic dogma was "an evolution with its roots in the Primitive Church". Many of the texts from Lamentabili were taken practically verbatim from the writings of Loisy, Tyrrel, and others of their ilk. If Mr. King does not know this, then he has absolutely no business commenting on these subjects as if his view is somehow "certain".

So in closing, as this common protocol can be easily verified by Mr. King -- if he is as committed to honesty as he claims -- he has some reassessing to do. The question, of course, is this:

Will Mr. King admit that he erred here on this point and do so as publically as he made the original assertion???

My guess is that he will ignore it and post his next objection in the tradition of "apologists" who appear to have an axe to grind with Rome. But of course I am open to being surprised by Mr. King should he decide to take the higher road here.

Now then, a careful reading of what I wrote above (which Dave has prooftexted more than once absent context in that comments box thread btw) points out that I was referring to the Acta being a collection of texts of varying grades. Once again, I noted in the above blurb (which was written off-the-cuff btw) the following:

But the Acta [Apostolicae] Sedis (prior to 1915 it was referred to as the Acta Sancte Sedis) is a catalogue, if you will, of papal pronouncements that have official sanction.

That is, the texts there are official. However, there are two kinds of official texts in the Acta: ones which are magisterial (i.e. pertain to matters of doctrine or discipline) and official statements or acts of the pope which do not meet this criteria. Dave has attempted to use a text I wrote which was dealing with a text pertaining to a matter of doctrine (i.e. the orthodoxy of Newman's theory on development) and has sought to make every utterance he can find from the popes on his new pet issue and treat an inclusion in the Acta as being defacto binding and magisterial. That is not how it works at all. I even noted this in an email correspondence to Greg which was duplicated in Dave's comments boxes (the aforementioned fourth deleted thread) in these words:

As you can see, it was a matter pertaining to doctrine which was the issue, not particular events or circumstances. The former inclusions in the Acta are magisterial, the latter ones denote official policy. Dave is once again engaging in context-switching on the matter. [Email Correspondence to Greg Mockeridge (circa January 23, 2006) later posted to Cor ad Cor Loquitur Comments Box and Deleted by Dave Armstrong]

When one understands this key distinction, the rest of what was written makes perfect sense:

A document does not necessarily have to be in this compendium to be binding of course (particularly if it is simply reaffirming previous teaching). However, correspondence of less than a normal degree of official sanction (such as Allocutions or private letters) which the pope intends to make official are listed in this directory.

Notice once again the two tiered classification: texts pertaining to doctrine or matters of ecclesiastical discipline which are considered binding when included in the Acta and other texts which are matters of official policy which are not.

The fact that it was listed in the Acta makes it binding teaching. In this sense the pope supplied an interpretation of his own encyclical letter. Hence, anyone claiming that the pope contradicted this interpretation two years later with the Oath Against Modernism has the weight of proof on their shoulders.

Once again, the context of that correspondence was on a matter pertaining to doctrine. In retrospect,We should have made a better distinction but it was also thought that Dave was capable of discerning the distinction. Obviously based on his current Handian antics, it is clear that he either cannot or will not.

Oh and something else noted by Us in that thread Dave removed was this observation on what was said in retrospect about David King then and the parallels to Dave Armstrong now:

Ironically, what I noted about David King in that example applies in spades to Dave in this one. But that is neither here nor there as you can see, I refer to the Acta as having pronouncements that have "official sanction" and the one in question in that citation as being "binding teaching." Dave's attempt to apply the latter bit to the entire scope of the Acta is blatantly disingenuous and shows that he has a very fundamentalist understanding of these matters. [Email Correspondence to Greg Mockeridge (circa January 23, 2006) later posted to Cor ad Cor Loquitur Comments Box and Deleted by Dave Armstrong]

And that is not the only example of Dave playing the role of the marxist who airbrushes the historical record...indeed We posted an entire thread earlier this week where even more examples were given. But rather than end at that point, let Us consider some recent comments by Kevin Tierney when the latter read Dave's latest "the circle is really a square" posting:

[Update: What was noted here previously was an example of Dave engaging in ad hominem. He apologized to Kevin Tierney for what was included there; ergo at Kevin's request, I am snipping that part of the text. -ISM 1/27/06 11:52am]

Though the above text has been omitted, the principle behind its posting remains intact: that Dave attempts to spin things as his adversaries engaging in ad hominem sans argumentation while Dave attempts to make himself look as if he actually takes on all comers and interacts with their arguments. But the above examples are just a few which disprove this notion. Indeed, from From what We can discern on the matter in question, Dave has an amazing double standard in place if we consider his own words on interacting with the views of others:

Ah, the time has come for new year's resolutions! I have kept to my resolution for 2005, which was to not debate theology any longer with anti-Catholics (with the exception of those who attempt point-by-point refutations of any of my papers). To understand the reasons why I made this decision, see the resolution itself. I engaged in exactly one theological "debate" in the year 2005 under these "loophole conditions": with James White on the Bible and Tradition matter of "Moses' Seat". I mistakenly (albeit charitably) thought he had answered point-by-point, because he did indeed issue a very lengthy reply to some writing of mine on that subject, and so I issued a rebuttal.

Of course anyone with a normal intact functioning brain can see that We interacted point by point with one of Dave's papers and all he can do is focus on the tone of the piece which (if you consider how he has acted) was completely justified on Our part. Apparently, Dave would rather interact with anticatholic sorts and prefers to ignore point by point demolishings of one of his papers by a fellow Catholic. What was Dave's response to the anticatholic he refers to above whom he wrote a response to???

Needless to say, he fled for the hills after my long reply (as he always does after the first round), and hasn't been heard from since (with regard to his usual potshots and personal attacks against yours truly).

Gee Dave, that is what you have been doing...not so much the personal attacks as much as the potshots and refusal to actually engage the arguments We made back in August and September. Oh and lest anyone forget, Dave has admitted to what your host asserted all along about that btw.{2}

The man does at least know when he has been bested in argument, whether or not he will admit it.

Which is an improvement over your situation Dave since you do not realize when you have been beaten and soundly at that.

Some folks go on and on replying, no matter how ridiculous and irrational further answers are (e.g., Steve Hays, or Frank Turk, to a lesser extent). Others know when it is futile to continue and so cease (with or without conceding defeat; usually the latter).

A fine example of self-diagnosis on Dave's part in Our opinion...

2) I still remain committed to responding to attempted point-by-point rebuttals of any of my papers. As such replies are exceedingly rare (virtually no one ever tries to do it), this won't come up very often, if at all. But it remains true that if any of these anti-Catholic fools truly want to engage me in debate, the opportunity is still there. They need only take on one of my papers point-by-point. No one who does that will ever lack a reply from me: even anti-Catholics.

So much for that new year's resolution on Dave's part. But enough on this matter for the immediate future. The bottom line is, when it comes to Dave and the historical record, as far as people such as Kevin, Greg Mockeridge, and your humble servant are concerned (to paraphrase that great western philosopher Joe Louis) "Dave can run but he cannot hide."

Notes:

{1} It is his comments box and Dave has shown to have a very thin skin but those are not significant threads anyway. Thus, We do not object to their removal in the same way as We do to the other example covered in this note...though if Dave really meant what he said about participation in those boxes, he would have left those threads in. (Of course some of the points We made in those threads were pretty damning of his actual position so We can see why he removed them...if your host was in his shoes and had a similar lack of concern for the historical record and for truth in publishing, the same thing probably would have been done by Us that he did.)

{2} Dave, I made a very logical and factual analysis with many facets to the equation and backed up every bit of it with sound analysis and you treated it from the get-go without an ounce of respect. Furthermore, you have admitted now exactly what I said all along about not only dodging my arguments but refusing to dialogue properly. Thanks for vindicating me Dave even if only in private. [Excerpt from an Email Correspondence With Dave Armstrong and Some Others (circa January 19, 2005) as quoted in a Rerum Novarum posting (circa January 23, 2006)]

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Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Pope Benedict XVI's first encyclical letter.

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Tuesday, January 24, 2006

In light of Sunday's steamrolling of a very tough Carolina Panther team, it is officially a very good season for the Seattle Seahawks now. (Depending on how they do on February 5th it could possibly be upgraded to a phenomenal season.) I was almost too leery to predict they would make it to the Superbowl in light of how often in the past my predictions of their season have blown up in my face{1}, but they are there now and will be in for a heck of a war. Pittsburgh is frankly the last team I wanted to make to the Superbowl{2} because they are the one team in the AFC who can play smashmouth ball as the Hawks do. But I have to say, I was spooked about getting Carolina over Chicago in the NFC championship and other than the second play of the game, I was not concerned once the game started. Heck, when you have a team starting their backup QB at wide receiver in the game and he gets his first reception for nearly 30 yards and a first down, you know things are going like clockwork for your team but I digress.

I predict this will be a lowscoring game, a game with a lot of hard hits, and I predict a Hawks victory by seven points or less. Scorewise, I will say Hawks 17 Steelers 10. It may be higher or lower scorewise, but I see a spread of seven points or less. In other words, I do not see either team dominating the other the way the Hawks did the Panthers or the Steelers did the Broncos. It should be a sensational matchup and I like the fact that the sixth seed Steelers are being favoured over the first seed Hawks...gives our boys motivation to not try and mail it in come February 5th in Detroit. To slightly modify a lyric from that great western philosopher Aaron "T-Bone" Walker:

"The eagle will fly on February 4th...and on the fifth the Hawks will come to play"

Go Hawks!!!

Notes:

{1} See this thread for details on that if you are interested in seeing your host's botched football predictions over the years.

{2} And I took that view despite the Steelers being my second or third favourite team over the years btw.

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Monday, January 23, 2006

I heard the other day about the death of the mother of one of my oldest friends. I mentioned her inevitable passing back in December and it has now come to pass. Before I forget to mention it on the weblog, I want to post this thread to ask if you can please remember both her and her family in your prayers.

God rest her soul...

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For Preserving the Historical Record:
(Aka "Armstrong Illusions" Dept. Revisited)

Allow me to preface this post with an excerpt that will encapsulate what the aforementioned post itself will deal with.

When you take it down to brass tacks, Dave does not make his own arguments on the subjects I raised. Instead, he makes a laundry list of people who agree with him irrespective of their actual agendas or the arguments they advance to arrive at their conclusions and opinions. This is nothing more than the fallacious form of appealing to authority which I pointed out in my last posting. [Excerpt from Rerum Novarum (circa September 6, 2005)]

Now for those who read the first quote of this posting and decide to not read the rest of it, I frankly do not blame them as I really did not want to have to go into this again. However, it is obvious now (if there was ever any doubt previously) that Dave Armstrong has a problem over how things went down last year when he tried to discuss a subject in the public forum that he (by his own admission) was not well-read on. But before we delve into it, a bit of disclosure will be noted for the readers in case they wonder why on earth I am both posting this thread and also (prior to its posting) added to the side margin of this weblog three posts deliberately left out of the last update. All of this may appear confusing to the seven people still following this stuff so allow me to briefly explain it before moving into the meat of this posting. I apologize in advance for any grammar glitches or spelling mistakes as I do not have time to review the work and fix them now. (Maybe later this week if I am inclined to revisit this stuff again and have time to.)

To start with, after attempts to dialogue with Dave last year failed, there was a period of no contact. Certain events happened last month that potentially paved the way for private discussions and attempts were made at a reconciliation.(*) I did not initiate these contacts but I did agree to participate in them. In doing so, I noted in one of the emails I sent that I had no interest in publicly revisiting this issue again at the present time.

Unfortunately, Dave again sought to take a private discussion public without warning or warrant to do so and yet again refused to actually consider what I outlined in a couple of email circulars on what I saw as problematical with his whole approach to the controversial issues in question. Thus, with the continual refusal to interact with my actual arguments and another public attempt to grandstand by Dave undertaken, I cannot stand by and let these diversions from the subject at hand go unanswered.

[(*) Clarification: Greg Mockeridge after reading this thread told me that a reconciliation was not the original intention he had in emailing Dave. Obviously, once contact had been established, that issue came up but Greg told me that was not his original intention; ergo I retract my original recalling of this event since Greg would know his original intentions a lot better than I would - ISM 1/24/06 3:14pm]

Due to the fortunate circumstance of a rare block of time to do so, I decided to interact with Dave's original posting and ignore all of his subsequent attempts to deny what he really said and did. The real beef I had was him in this whole incident can be boiled down to a few points, namely (i) his violation of the private forum with posting on matters discussed there publicly without prior notice, (ii) what he wrote originally, (iii) the poor quality of his argumentation, and (iv) the objective lack on his part of following the disciplines of a proper dialogue. Later on, this spread to (v) all of his subsequent attempts to distract from that by claiming he did not say and do what his own words reveal by any objective review. For this reason, those subsequent posts will be summarily ignored in this posting except where needed to clarify certain points subsequent to his original posting. Dave's words will be in black font with sources of his italicized. My sources will be in darkblue font unless otherwise noted. Without further ado, here goes...

The Nuclear Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki: Do They Meet Catholic Just War Standards of Morality? (vs. Greg Mockeridge and Shawn McElhinney)

Notice how off the bat Dave tries to spin this as a kind of "handicap match" as if he is taking on two people at once. (This would hardly be an issue if not for the fact that Dave seems to actually think in this way; ergo all of his "x vs. y" kind of denoting personalities in his papers.) The truth is, Dave has more time for this stuff than any three or four people I can think of; ergo readers should keep that in mind when going over stuff of this nature where he is involved. (If you do not feel like revisiting this issue after reading this far, feel free to scroll down and read other entries to this humble weblog from recent weeks -a number of them linked in this sentence for your convenience.)

Introduction

In an e-mail to my good friends Shawn McElhinney, Greg Mockeridge, and Christopher Blosser (the first two having basically brought up the subject), I wrote (more or less "off the cuff"):

As for my $00.02 on this, I think the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was clearly immoral by just war standards, and cannot be morally justified. Pre-emption is a notion I have no trouble with, and I believe it can be synthesized with traditional just war standards, but killing 100,000 civilians, whether at Dresden or in Japan, cannot.

The decision may have been "complex" or "understandable" at the time, but with the benefit of hindsight we would fully expect to have a more informed, objective opinion on it 60 years later, than we did in the frenzy and passion of (justified) war.

It should be noted that in responding to that email back on in early August{1} that I deliberately did not use Dave's name in it. The reason for this should be obvious but since for many people it is not apparently, I will touch on it here. There is always a problem with bringing personalities into the picture when dealing with the discussion of ideas. The reason I have rarely made things a matter of personalities in recent years was because of how often I noticed that it leads to public confrontations which are not edifying and where the ideas themselves get short shrift.

Since the latter is the last thing I want to see happen, it makes sense to me to cloak interlocuters in confidentiality to keep the subject matter as the point of focus and not the persons involved. And though I have already dealt with this; the recent public attempts to "airbrush" the historical record of what happened{2} requires that I set the record straight once and for all in a post for the archives here at Rerum Novarum.

To do this properly though will require referencing some stuff that I wrote recently for a targeted audience including Dave. I will however only quote what I wrote in those emails in doing this and not anything from Dave or anyone else. When the idea of a possible rapproachment was raised by someone in late December, some correspondence was exchanged. Here are substantive parts of what I wrote to Dave earlier this month in response to his claim that he did not engage in argumentation fallacies in August and September with regards to the subject of dispute at that time:

[Y]ou engaged in the fallacy of argumentum ad vericundiam all over the place and when you were not doing that, your whole response consisted of unsubstantiated statements...Furthermore, after I dispatched with some of your so-called "experts" in the posting of August 28th, you continued to refer to them as "experts" which is another argumentation fallacy altogether...

It was at the point when you started reiterating discredited arguments/opinions (of certain parties I will mention later on) that I decided to expose in detail the flimsiness of your so-called "experts" as well as deal with a number of areas, which you had either ignored or given the impression that you did not well understand them. That was the genesis of the two posts [I and II] from September 6th... [Excerpts from an Email Correspondence With Dave Armstrong and Some Others (circa January 12, 2006)]

As far as the claim from Dave that he was "attacked" by your humble servant, this was also dealt with in the aforementioned correspondence:

Dave, the only things I said which could in any way be constituted as an "attack" were these:

---You lacked by your own admission sufficient knowledge on the matter...something you said the day before you left for vacation in private and reiterated in your posting on 8/25. (The day of your return if I recall correctly.)  

---Your quickness to jump into the fray immediately upon returning from vacation was suspicious at best since you were unlikely to have studied these matters much in ten days...certainly nothing to compare to the degree of study I have conducted on them.

---The degree of nuance involved with the matters in question requires more than a surface familiarity if all facets of the equation are to be accounted for with any hope for completeness of exposition. But as I noted in more than one place, you were misunderstanding and misrepresenting certain key principles, which demonstrated that you had no business publicly discussing these matters. (If you recall, I agreed to a private dialogue and it was because of your admitted lack of knowledge on these subjects.)

---Despite being warned of the problems with certain questionable sources and arguments they made, you used such sources anyway...after I had already proven well beyond a reasonable doubt (with historical facts and mathematical models) that the numbers originally used to justify the figures they parroted did not square with reality.[...]

---You engaged often in argumentum ad vericundiam...Your subsequent attempt to spill type explaining why a circle is actually a square only indicated to me that you were trapped in a regress-spiral and were beyond dialogue with on that matter...

---Though I mentioned it at the outset this fallacy in your argumentation (and did so a few times including in one weblog posting at RN), I only focused significantly on the latter argument after making mincemeat of your paltry offering of so-called "experts" from Doug Long's site which you obviously posted without adequately vetting them first. That is why there was a nine day delay in my response when you presumed I had "withdrawn" from the discussion when indeed I had not. I was doing the research on the sources which you simply played "cut and paste" with. Do not tell me that you vetted those sources before using them because it is as evident as corn in Iowa that you did not.

---Furthermore, you sought to bolster your position with opinions from writers of very dubious repute (to put it nicely) but I did not want to deal with that issue myself in much detail.

Far from being any kind of "attack" I was merely relating what was happening and what you were doing. If that constitutes an "attack" than any reporting of events or circumstances constitutes an "attack." [Excerpts from an Email Correspondence With Dave Armstrong and Some Others (circa January 12, 2006)]

What is noted there is adequate to set the stage for dealing with the material for which Dave claims he actually made arguments in doing. But Dave privately admitted precisely (i) what I have been saying all along on these matters and (ii) will demonstrate in this post by subjecting his first post to a thorough examination. Since I am not about to reinvent the wheel on the matter, here is how I responded to Dave's private admission that he had no interest in dealing with many of the arguments I made on the subject of dispute:

[Y]ou prove that you were not interested in dialogue in precisely what you note above: if you had no intention of interacting with my arguments then WHY THE HELL DID YOU POST ANYTHING ON THE SUBJECT TO BEGIN WITH???...

You should have had the decency to have admitted to it publicly rather than try to pretend that you wanted to dialogue...I take dialogue and the discussion of ideas seriously and have no interest in wasting it with sophists who talk the talk and then fail to walk the walk. And on those issues Dave, that is what you were acting as. Now one can act like a sophist without necessarily being one so do not read into this anything more than what I noted above: that on THIS ISSUE that is how you came across. That does not mean it necessarily translates into other areas too; ergo my reason for this clarification up front...

No Dave, I made a very logical and factual analysis with many facets to the equation and backed up every bit of it with sound analysis and you treated it from the get-go without an ounce of respect. Furthermore, you have admitted now exactly what I said all along about not only dodging my arguments but refusing to dialogue properly. Thanks for vindicating me Dave even if only in private. [Excerpts from an Email Correspondence With Dave Armstrong and Some Others (circa January 19, 2006)]

In short, Dave has privately conceded what he would not concede publicly. Since I cannot stand this kind of "rational dualism", I have quoted my words in response to what he wrote privately to set the stage for looking at what he wrote and posted on the day he returned from vacation. And yes, those who find this approach by Dave as odd are not the only ones as I have noted it several times in various mediums already. However, for the moment that will have to be set aside as the meat of what Dave claims he "made arguments" in will now be looked at in detail. His words will continue to be in black font. Parts excised either for the sake of economy of response or which were duplicated in posts I wrote subsequent to this posting will be in purple font and in brackets.

In a second informal response, responding more directly to comments by Greg, I stated:

With all due respect, I think what you provided in that last letter doesn't even come close to justifying it or overcoming the weight of the Catholic just war criteria. I think it is a slam dunk. One can never deliberately do evil in order to prevent further evil. One must always use just means. I can understand "unintended consequences" and so forth, but when you are deliberately dropping a bomb like these were, you know what is going to happen, and many thousands of women and children who had nothing directly to do with the Japanese war effort were slaughtered. This is immoral and unjustifiable. Period. I think it is even in natural law, before you even get to Catholic moral theology, developed over 20 centuries.

Readers should bear in mind that Dave claimed his position was a "slam dunk" but then later on chose to not interact with the arguments I set forth countenancing an opposing view to his. This strongly indicated to me from the get-go that he had no interest in an actual dialogue but instead wanted to turn what was a private discussion on a very theologically complex subject matter into a public spectacle.

Is this blunt? Sure, as usually in my writings, for better or ill. I'm a straight shooter, and always will be. Overstated or "undiplomatic" or insufficiently nuanced and qualified? Perhaps; indeed quite possibly. But that's why I am doing this present paper, which shall explore (with attempted fairness, if not total objectivity) both sides of the moral debate over this tragic event (all sides at least agree that it is tragic).

Remember readers, Dave has now admitted that he did not have any interest in many of the arguments I set down; ergo his claim to want to "explore...both sides of the moral debate" was...well, I will let you draw your own conclusions there.

Just before my vacation, I wrote to the same group, primarily addressing Shawn:

Obviously, you and Greg have studied this particular matter in far more depth than I have. So I eagerly look forward to considering your arguments carefully when I return. If you can convince me, great. I would like to think that the act was a morally justified one. Thus far, from what I know (and admittedly there is a lot more to learn about the whole thing) I maintain my present opinion. But I love a challenge; I love to discuss ethical issues such as this one, and I'll never impugn your motives in such a discussion.

Of course subsequent to this he did precisely what he has claimed he would never do, again the readers can draw their own conclusions here.

The last clause of the last sentence above is key, and I wish to emphasize it at the outset of this debate among friends, who respect each other's thinking ability and integrity. In all that follows, I will not be suggesting in the least that anyone who disagrees with my own position on this matter (whatever it is, or turns out to be) is any less of a good or orthodox or moral Catholic, or any less concerned with the seriousness of the ethical question and the larger question of just war and the tragic necessity of war at times, or some kind of simplistic, sheeplike, unthinking fool, as has been the unfortunate tendency of some Internet webmasters who especially fancy themselves "peacemakers," while spending tons of energy condemning those who take a different view on vexing issues, in good faith and good conscience, all the while as endlessly touting their own alleged moral superiority and impeccable Catholic pedigree.

And of course the person Dave refers to in the above paragraph as a so-called "peacemaker" is one he has now supposedly "reconciled" with while he has made a complete 180 on the rest of what he noted in the above paragraph. The readers should consider those facts in light of what is presented below to get the full measure of whom we are dealing with here but to avoid getting offtrack, back to what Dave purports to be arguments for his view.

All of us in this particular group of blogging Catholics favor the war in Iraq and consider it just, both in theory and (for the most part) in practice. That's why it is interesting that we don't have the same moral-political agreement concerning the bombings of Japan. Greg and Shawn believe these acts of war to be morally justified: if not entirely, then at least partially, or to a large extent, by the Catholic just war criteria. Christopher Blosser and I do not.

Frankly, this is not an accurate representation of Chris Blosser's views. Chris admitted initially that he shared Dave's view but that was before the material I wrote on this matter pointing out the myriad of problems with Dave's view in a variety of ways. Since that time, Chris has given every impression of taking an agnostic approach to this issue but he can speak for himself; ergo ask him how he views these things if you like.{3}

Many prominent Catholics, and many in the apologetics movement (of which I am a part) oppose the bombings as immoral and unjustifiable.

This is true. I would argue however that it is because those persons are not properly considering all the factors involved in making a proper evaluation of this matter which is why they have the views that they do. That should hardly surprise since this issue has many layers to it (including historical and military factors) that Catholic apologists as a rule are ill-equipped to discuss. Apologists do not deal with issues of this kind of complexity very often and usually when they do, they muff it up really badly due to oversimplification of more complex factors and the latter's accompanying nuances. But nonetheless, what Dave noted above was (and is) accurate.

For what it's worth (I'm not appealing to the ad populum fallacy; simply stating what I believe to be a fact), I believe Greg and Shawn's position to be a minority view among orthodox Catholics.

Again, this is correct and there is no fallacy being committed in pointing out a fact as Dave does in the above sentence. However, when you consider how few Catholics (or people in general) get beyond the surface soundbytes on these kinds of issues, it makes sense that only a minority of them do. There is also quite possibly some in that minority who take their positions based on some kind of jingoistic nationalism or "my country does no wrong" also; however neither Greg nor I have done this.

That doesn't make it automatically wrong; it has to be discussed on its merits or demerits.

Which Dave has yet to do and has since admitted that he did not want to do in the first place mind you. (And yes, I have on file him admitting to exactly this in private.)

I shall survey the two opinions pro and con, debate and challenge a few particulars, and allow readers to reach their own conclusions, as is my wont and desire. I'm no expert on this, which is why I am citing many others who are much more so, and better placed to authoritatively comment on this issue. I will learn as I go along, and develop and cultivate my position, or change my mind, as the case may be (and I am including the discussion which will follow this paper, in the BlogBack).

Readers who followed the threads Greg and I wrote are aware that we exposed as sham sources some of the very sources Dave appealed to in this paper and subsequent to it. And this was done not only publicly but also privately as well; ergo Dave's appeal to them again would appear to show a lack of interest in discussing these matters equitably as he previously claimed to want to do.

Shawn's words will be in blue; Greg's in red; prominent military historian Victor Davis Hanson's in green. Karl Keating's words will be in purple, and Mark Shea's in brown. Other citations will be indented (the colored ones will not be).

Shawn McElhinney Lays Out the Catholic "Pro" Case

In a series of blog posts ( one / two / three / four / five / summary link post containing all articles), Shawn has vigorously asserted his position that the bombings were at least morally neutral, not immoral in and of themselves. Extensive excerpts follow (As throughout this paper, I won't use ellipses for major breaks; these will be indicated by new paragraphs):

Of course I was not through posting material at that point but it matters not since Dave will show a lack of attention paid to what I had written to that point with what follows from here.{4}

[Snipping of quotations from one of my weblog posts as quoted by Dave]

For readers to get a better taste for what I wrote than the snippets Dave quoted, go HERE to the thread itself and read what was written. Dave also quoted a snippet from this thread also. At that point, he quotes some from a post written by Greg Mockeridge:

Greg Mockeridge Makes His Case for the Moral Use of the Atomic Bomb in Japan

From his article: The A-Bomb Drops on Japan: Is There Room In the Catholic Conscience to Support Truman's Decision? :

[Snipping the quotes from Greg's article]

See the link above to read what Greg wrote rather than mere snippets from it.

Greg also prominently links to Victor Davis Hanson, military historian, conservative Democrat, senior fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, and frequent contributor to National Review, describing one of his articles as a "smackdown on the revisionist historians and hand wringers." We shall turn to this article next.

Notice that Dave is not really interacting with any of what he is quoting. For that reason, he cannot be said to be truly engaging in dialogue as the latter requires both listening as well as assimilation of argument and interaction with arguments. On all three points, Dave came up well short of the mark. Moving on though...

Victor Davis Hanson's "Smackdown on the Revisionist Historians"

First of all, it should be noted for the record that Hanson is not a Catholic. It took some doing to discover this but I was curious enough to pursue it.

Of course Dave quotes from a few sources who also are not Catholic (read: Zinn and Raico) but he does not seem to want to point that out to his readers. In light of how he made Hanson's non-Catholic status a major point in his paper at this point, the lack of equal treatment for certain sources he would reference to try and countenance a view different from that which Hanson made is very troubling to say the least. But I digress.

At length I found a statement of Hanson himself: "I am a 48-year-old Swedish-American Protestant . . . " Most Swedes (and their American offspring) who are religious at all are Lutherans, and that would be my best guess here, unless Hanson converted to something else later on. That doesn't mean that Hanson could not accurately portray or reflect in his own opinions, classical Catholic just war theory (I did so myself in my former Protestant days), but it is just a tad bit strange that a Catholic has to appeal to a Protestant in order to uphold primarily Catholic just war thought and ethical considerations.

Notice dear reader that Dave tries to hold Greg's sources to a standard that he nowhere imposes on his own!!! But that is not all for you see: Dave made the mistake of claiming that Greg was "appeal[ing] to [Hanson]" when Greg was merely referencing Hanson to substantiate arguments he had already set down. This is a far cry from appealing to a source, gentle readers...

In fact, in the article cited by Greg: 60 Years Later: Considering Hiroshima , Hanson never once uses the terms just war or Christian or Catholic.

The purpose of the article Greg cited was to touch on the options available at the time for dealing with the Japanese enemy. It was an article for National Review and Dave oughta know that when you publish articles there are word and space limits to consider. It is not even remotely possible to cover the complexities of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings in a mere sixteen very short paragraphs nor could Hanson have been intending an indepth dissertation with the article anyway. But notice Dave trying to make the article do more than it was obviously intended to (or capable of) doing in the space allotted for it.

And when he uses the word morality in reference to the bombings, it is in a sense decidedly non-Catholic, and arguably relativistic, merely utilitarian, and an instance of situation ethics (I shall cite that portion below, in a separate section).

Notice that Dave now attempts to put an unfavourable interpretation onto the views of Hanson in the above paragraph without warrant for doing so (aka an uncharitable interpretation). But granting him his premise anyway, Dave seems to presume without adequant warrant to do so that one would have to argue this from a relativistic, merely utilitarian and as an instance of situation ethics.

Furthermore, he strongly implies that the bombings were indiscriminate actions in precisely the sense that Catholic teaching clearly condemns. So this is a strange source for Greg to cite in favor of his outwardly Catholic position.

Of course readers who look at the two threads will notice that Greg did not cite Hanson's article in his piece from 8/19 at all!!! It was instead a link posted on 8/07 dealing with the subject of historical revisionism. Dave's attempt to posit the Hanson article as one that Greg cite[d] in favor of his outwardly Catholic position only points out that Dave did not read Greg's piece very closely at all. Furthermore, the statement implies that Greg's position is not a Catholic one but Greg can deal with that if he wants to.

Hanson's argument does not (at least not prima facie) proceed from Catholic or even general Christian principles, it seems to me. Could it be tied into the "double effect" principle? Possibly, but I am not yet persuasded of it.

See my previous comments. It also bears noting that Dave proved later on that he had no idea what double effect actually was...arguing it in a normative and subjectivist fashion which was contrary to its intention as a non-normative and objective point of reference for moral and ethical analysis.{5} But that is a subject for another time perhaps.

[Snipping the Hanson article excerpts since Dave was quoting a source Greg did not use in his blog post from 8/19]

The Horrors of World War II and the Dangers of the Benefit of Hindsight

Dr. Art Sippo wrote (as recorded on Shawn's blog) -- I agree with what he states:

[Snipping the quotes from Art's article]

I would suggest ignoring Dave's snippets and instead reading the entire email Art sent me HERE.

Likewise, George Weigel describes some horrific details of Japanese resolve, citing William Manchester's book, Goodbye, Darkness:

"After the great banzai obliterated their army, depriving them of their protectors, they decided that they, too, must die. Most of them gathered on two heights now called Banzai Cliff, an eighty-foot bluff overlooking the water, and, just inland from there. Suicide Cliff, which soars one thousand feet above clumps of jagged rocks.

Saito [the Japanese commander] had left a last message to his civilian countrymen, too: "As it says in the Senjinkum [Ethics], 'I will never suffer the disgrace of being taken alive,' and I will offer up the courage of my soul and calmly rejoice in living by the eternal principle." In a final, cruel twist of the knife he reminded mothers of the oyaku-shinju (the parents-children death pact). Mothers, fathers, daughters, sons— all had to die. Therefore children were encouraged to form circles and toss live grenades from hand to hand until they exploded. Their parents dashed babies' brains out on limestone slabs and then, clutching the tiny corpses, shouted "Tenno! Haiki! Banzai!" (Long live the Emperor!) as they jumped off the brinks of the cliffs and soared downward. Below Banzai Cliff U.S. destroyers trying to rescue those who had survived the plunge found they could not steer among so many bodies; human flesh was jamming their screws. .. . But Suicide Cliff was worse. A brief strip of jerky newsreel footage, preserved in an island museum, shows a distraught mother, her baby in her arms, darting back and forth along the edge of the precipice, trying to make up her mind. Finally she leaps, she and her child joining the ghastly carnage below. There were no survivors at the base of Suicide Cliff.

. . . These deliberately sanguinary tactics help explain the carnage that ensued in February 1945 on Iwo Jima, an island only 5 miles by 2.5 miles in size. There, out of a Japanese garrison of 20,000, only 200 were captured alive, at the cost of 6,000 American deaths and 25,000 wounded Marines. Then there was the invasion of Okinawa in April 1945, the last stepping-stone before the Japanese home islands: 100,000 Japanese soldiers died there, as did 150,000 Okinawan civilians, while the U.S. Marines and Army suffered 75,000 casualties before the island was secured in mid-June.

Was Use of the A-Bomb Understood as Indiscriminate Killing to More or Less Extent?

Dr. Art Sippo in the above-mentioned article appears to at least partially affirm this (emphasis added):

[Snipping the quotes Dave supplied]

Again, read Art's whole thread rather than just snippets from it.

In my opinion, much of the present argument will hinge upon the necessity for the proponents to prove that there is a crucial moral / tactical distinction between Hiroshima and Nagasaki vs. Dresden and Tokyo, which even many of the proponents of the former acts condemn, along with those of us who decry all four instances as objectively immoral and inconsistent with time-honored Catholic moral-ethical principles.

Dave by all appearances did not absorb what I had written and therefore makes an unnecessary stipulation here. Furthermore, he frames the locus of the argument in a way that presumes apriori what he says rather than seeking to demonstrate his assertion first. For those interested in logical fallacies, this is what is called questionable premise.

Catholics Who Oppose the Bombings as Immoral

Here is where Dave moves into pure argumentum ad vericundiam citing names of people and opinions as arguments.

Karl Keating, in his e-letter of 3 August 2004 , writes:

Many justify the bombings of Nagasaki and Hiroshima by saying the abrupt end to the war saved as many as a million American lives that would have been lost had Japan been invaded. I don't know where the figure of one million came from. My understanding is that the War Department estimated a maximum of 46,000 casualties in an invasion. That was a worst-case scenario, meaning the likely number of casualties would have been far lower.

Some commentators have argued that no invasion was needed at all, since Japan no longer had an air force or navy and had no domestic source of oil for its industries. A blockade would have resulted in the Japanese war machine and economy grinding to a halt. The war thus could have ended without an invasion, though the end probably would have come long after the summer of 1945.

Be that as it may, what concerns me is the attitude, so prevalent among political conservatives (most of whom are religious conservatives), that there are no limits in defensive warfare: If the other guys started the fight, they deserve whatever they get. In a defensive war it is not a matter of "My country right or wrong" but of "My country can do no wrong," which is an odd thing coming from conservatives who, on domestic matters, can be highly critical of their government's moral failings (as regards abortion or homosexuality, say).

To achieve a good, you may not perform a sin. To provide your family financial security, you may not rob a bank. To protect your wife's health, you may not abort the child she is carrying. And to defeat an enemy in war, you may not violate just war principles. But we did--and more than once, sad to say.

The atomic bombings of Nagasaki and Hiroshima, like the fire bombings of Dresden and other German cities, cannot be squared with Catholic moral principles because the bombings deliberately targeted non-combatants. The evil done by our enemies did not exonerate us from the moral law. Their evils did not provide us justification for evils of our own. Being a Christian in peacetime is difficult; it is more difficult, but even more necessary, in wartime.

Fat Man exploded directly above the Catholic cathedral in Nagasaki. The city was the historical center of Catholicism in Japan and contained about a tenth of the entire Catholic population. The cathedral was filled with worshipers who had gathered to pray for a speedy and just end to the war. It is said their prayers included a petition to offer themselves, if God so willed it, in reparation for the evils perpetrated by their country.

Of course Dave does not tell his readers that I had already dealt in detail with the above arguments in my posting from 8/17 -particularly the 46,000 stat which was based on fraudulent War Department calculations (along with a naivete of both the will and capabilities of the Japanese) which did not manifest themselves in reality. Ergo, for Dave to appeal to them here as he did unfortunately shows that he was not interested in dialogue on this issue.

The Catholic Answer Guide, Just War Doctrine (presumably agreeable to Karl Keating), expands this reasoning a bit:

The treatment of non-hostile individuals in wartime is not the only consideration involved in the just prosecution of a war. The existence of weapons of mass destruction poses special moral challenges. In this regard the Catechism states:

Every act of war directed to the indiscriminate destruction of whole cities or vast areas with their inhabitants is a crime against God and man, which merits firm and unequivocal condemnation. A danger of modern warfare is that it provides the opportunity to those who possess modern scientific weapons -- especially atomic, biological, or chemical weapons -- to commit such crimes (CCC 2314).

Dave is now engaging in the fallacy of questionable premise once again since he presumes (without actually bothering to substantiate it) that the bombings were indiscriminate in how they were directed. This is not an acceptable way to argue.

The U.S. has not always been committed to this principle. In the Civil War, World War I, and World War II the United States violated it. Grave violations during World War II included the firebombing of Dresden and the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Of course these are opinions given without sustaining arguments; ergo to rely on the opinions or conclusions of an authority rather than examine the arguments they made to arrive at those opinions and conclusions is a textbook example of argumentum ad vericundiam as I noted on this weblog some time ago and on more than one occasion. But notice Dave appeal to a source which gives opinions as if that constitutes a valid argument. Moving on...

Those were not attacks designed to destroy targets of military value while sparing civilian populations. They were deliberate attempts to put pressure on enemy governments by attacking non-combatants. As a result, they were grave violations of God's law, according to which, "the direct and voluntary killing of an innocent human being is always gravely immoral" (John Paul II, Evangelium Vitae 57).

I dealt in detail with the falsities in that line of argumentation in my post thread from 8/17. The writer of the above text was obviously quite ignorant of the wartime situation but rather than simply accept my assertion of it, consider some of the pertinent data which obviously was not considered by the writer of that text (whether it was Karl Keating who wrote the text or not).

It is important to recognize what this principle does and does not require. While it does require strenuous efforts to avoid harming innocents, it does not require the result of no innocents being harmed. Such a result is impossible to guarantee. Even with the smartest of smart munitions, it is not possible to ensure that no non-combatants will be harmed in wartime. As tragic as it is, collateral damage to innocents is an inescapable consequence of war. Catholic theology recognizes this. It applies to such situations a well-established principle known as the law of double-effect. According to this law it is permissible to undertake an action which has two effects, one good and one evil, provided that certain conditions are met.

This much of what is noted is true.

Although these conditions can be formulated in different ways, they may be enumerated as follows: (1) the action itself must not be intrinsically evil; (2) the evil effect must not be an end in itself or a means to accomplishing the good effect (in other words, it must be a foreseen but undesired side-effect of the action); and (3) the evil effect must not outweigh the good effect. If these three conditions are met, the action may be taken in spite of the foreseen damage it will do.

There is more to it than those points including some key elements not taken into consideration above. To be blunt about it, the Catholic Answers guide poorly framed the conditions for double effect to begin with leaving out a couple of important distinctions. The proper criteria for double effect (taken from the 1967 New Catholic Encyclopedia) is as follows:

---The act itself must be morally good or at least indifferent.

---The agent may not positively will the bad effect but may merely permit it. If he could attain the good effect without the bad effect, he should do so. The bad effect is sometimes said to be indirectly voluntary.

---The good effect must flow from the action at least as immediately (in the order of causality, though not necessarily in the order of time) as the bad effect. In other words, the good effect must be produced directly by the action, not by the bad effect. Otherwise, the agent would be using a bad means to a good end, which is never allowed.

---The good effect must be sufficiently desirable to compensate for the allowing of the bad effect. In forming this decision many factors must be weighed and compared, with care and prudence proportionate to the importance of the case. Thus, an effect that benefits or harms society generally has more weight than one that affects only an individual; an effect sure to occur deserves greater consideration than one that is only probable; an effect of a moral nature has greater importance than one that deals only with material things. [Excerpt from Rerum Novarum (circa August 26, 2005 and December 30, 2004)

Having noted those points, let us consider what else that source has to say on the matter...

The law of double-effect would not have applied to the cases of Dresden, Hiroshima, and Nagasaki.

It is absolutely disgraceful that this text puts Dresden, Hiroshima, and Nagasaki in the same category when there are key differences to each of them. But then again, Catholic Answers has never impressed me with their ability to deal with more complex subject matter anyway so this does not surprise me. And if Dave thinks citing this source is some kind of boon for his position, he was (and is) mistaken.

In these situations though the act (dropping bombs) was not intrinsically evil and though it is arguable that in the long run more lives were saved than lost, the second condition was violated because the death of innocents was used as a means to achieve the good of the war's end.

This is where the argumentation of the source goes astray. First of all, it is not only arguable that more lives were saved than lost, it is an indisputable fact as anyone with a smidgen of knowledge of the war situation in Japan during WWII is well aware. Secondly, the idea that there were all of these "innocents" in Japan and that their deaths was a means to achieve the end (rather than a derivative effect of the action taken) is also misguided. All that is required is for the good effect to be sufficiently desirable to compensate for the allowing of the bad effect. And with most of the populace in Japan under conscription, there were very few who could be called "innocent" and even with those that were who died it does not get in the way of a proper understanding of the principle of double effect.

[Small snip]

Mark Shea concurs ("If Killing You is Wrong, I Don't Wanna Be Right" ):

I like Mark but he has not shown any evidence that he understands this issue any better than the crowd at Catholic Answers does. Nonetheless...

In discussion of the nuclear annihilation of Hiroshima and Nagasaki that Keating's letter provoked on my blog, somebody wrote: "If I was never forgiven for this by my God, I believe I can honestly say I would sacrifice my own soul so that Japanese deaths (as well as American) could be reduced."

What strikes me about a statement like this is how much it reminds me of Milton's Satan. There are certain temptations to wickedness which present themselves under the guise Noble Self-Sacrifice. Different flavors of human see different forms of (mark this) grave rebellion against a Holy God under the delusional appearance of courage and selflessness. But the underlying temptation is always the same: We persuade ourselves that we are being, not rebels and sinners, but heroes.

Leftist rebellion against God, obsessed as it is with "pelvic issues" often takes the route of cloaking its rebellion in the garb of Forbidden Love Standing Against Authority: ("If loving you is wrong, I don't wanna be right")--the theme song of every degenerate, stalker, pedophile, and adulterer in the world. It sings brave, self-glorifying songs about defending Sexual Freedom and Choice while it pursues the death of innocents for a Higher Cause. To normal, healthy people the prideful self-delusion is obvious. These people are not heroes. They simply want what they want and God can go to hell for all they care if he stands in the way of their desires. But to themselves, they appear as Great Romantic Heroes, such is sin's power to blind.

But the problem of prideful self-delusion is not simply found on the Left. To those on the Right, the temptation to cast God as Perverse Authority Opposed to the True Good tends to happen more in the arena of Anger than in the arena of Lust.

So it's not just the Left in the Church that often seems to sees God's justice as a system of rules which must be sometimes broken by Heroes who must defy the Old Man Upstairs for the sake of their Own Heroic Vision of the Good. The Right can also fall into this deadly trap. And in making that choice, they can even become what they hate: champions of the ruthless murder of innocents for a Higher Cause. The One Ring can corrupt even (and perhaps especially) the Bold Men of Gondor.

There is no denying that what Mark notes about the temptations of all sides of an issue to cut corners in the interest of a kind of utilitarianist approach to solving problems. However, that admission does not in any way detract from the arguments I and others have made on these matters. Notice that Dave cites opinions and conclusions from others as if these are viable arguments. Once again argumentum ad vericundiam is present in Dave's work for all to see along with context-switching and questionable premise (the latter in Dave's presumption that what Mark wrote on this matter actually applies to how Greg and I argued for our positions on the subject in question). But there is more...

Catholic apologist Jimmy Akin also agrees:

. . . regardless of what one may think of particular instances in the U.S.'s record (which is not perfect; the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were wrong), it remains the case that the U.S. is (d) a stable nation (not likely to become a "failed state" like Somalia) that (c) has a large number of citizens today who will not tolerate leaders who use such weapons indiscriminately (as at Hiroshima and Nagasaki) and (b) will not pass them to terrorists or (a) proliferate them to unstable states.

So Jimmy thinks the bombings were wrong. He is of course entitled to that opinion but his opinion doth not an argument against them make.

So does Chris Burgwald:

. . . the standard defense for dropping the bomb is this: if we hadn't done so, we would have lost perhaps a million men in an invasion of the Japanese home islands, and many more Japanese would have died in that fighting than did in the dropping of the two nukes. This is the basic form of the argument by the pilot of the Enola Gay mentioned above.

response: so what?

The fact of the matter is this: if we consider the moral act of dropping the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki objectively -- i.e. apart from the subjective factors involved for those who ordered & carried out the attacks (more on this below) -- there is no doubt that it was an immoral act, in that thousands of innocent non-combatants were deliberately killed (as is well-known, neither city had any real military value). I don't care that it (may have) saved lives, both American and Japanese. On the objective level, there is no moral ground for deliberately killing an innocent non-combatant. (Here it comes...) the ends never justify the means. . . . It is in war especially that moral considerations must be made, to ensure that our cause and how we carry it out is just.

I want to make it clear that I am not passing judgment on Truman, the pilots, or anyone else involved in ordering & carrying out the strikes: as they say, war is hell, and the pressure the situation brought to bear on all of them greatly reduces their culpability, in my opinion. As I have noted, my argument focuses solely on the objective level -- whether or not it was (and is) right to nuke a civil population for any reason.

I know that many of you -- including fellow Christians -- may disagree with me. Great. I'd love to receive emails or see another blogger engage me on this issue, because it's possible that I've neglected something. But at this point, I don't see how anyone who values innocent human life could endorse dropping The Bomb on Japan.

See my previous comments and insert Chris' name in place of Jimmy's. Chris is dead wrong about the cities not having "real military value" though I could see if he thought that how he could arrive at the position he holds. Nonetheless, it is virtually certain that neither he nor Jimmy have looked into this issue with the depth that I have and besides...what needs to be considered here are the arguments for a position not the opinions or conclusions of various persons. And argument-wise, there are plenty of problems with what Chris set down...the one I noted above being the most obvious of the problems.

("WWII and the Bomb")

It also bears noting that Chris wrote that three plus years prior to the squabble with Dave and it is quite possible that he would modify his views in light of some of the arguments I have set down on the matter. (Certainly he admitted to being open to such a possibility which I have no reason to doubt him on.)

Mark's argument is basically this: dropping the bombs was justified because it saved more innocent lives than it killed and it ended a war that caused untold suffering (Mark also points to the fighting "character" of the Japanese).

While I understand Mark [Sullivan]'s argument, I have to disagree. As Catholics who uphold the unique dignity of every human being -- even of those against whom we may have to fight -- we cannot perform a numerical analysis to determine the pluses and minuses of a particular action in order to decide how to act. Although I'm sure that it was not at all his intention, Mark's argument sounds dangerously like that of ethical utilitarians, who argue that the best course of action is that which maximizes pleasure (or money, or power, or whatever standard you choose) and minimizes pain & suffering, regardless of the nature of the act itself.

Such a view clearly runs against Catholic moral thought. Some acts are -- in and of themselves -- immoral, and no circumstances can mitigate that reality. Intentionally killing thousands of civilians is such an act . . .

("More on the Bomb")

See my previous comments. I have no idea how Mark Sullivan argued his position and it is certainly possible he did so in a utilitarian fashion (unwittingly or otherwise). I however did not do this nor did Greg!!! For that reason, Dave's posting of this part of the text and appearing in his doing so to imply that we did was another example of him not paying attention to what we actually did write. But then again, Dave already has admitted to this privately and I have those notes on file though I am not going to quote his words on the matter publicly of course.

Lane Core concurs with the above:

Notice the endless appeal to the opinions and/or conclusions of others. Now if Dave wanted to take the arguments these people made and make them his own, that would be one thing. However, thus far he has shown no indication of actually doing that. Nothing he has noted thus far in the arguments of others he has posted either has not been dealt with by yours truly or others or would be too much trouble in the case of the ones we did not deal with. But at least these parties have made arguments of their own however flimsy and/or not pertaining to the matter at hand that they happen to be. Dave thus far has not done this except in the case of the Hanson piece. But since those arguments did not interact with what Greg actually wrote, they need not even be given the time of day by me or anyone else interested in the original subject under discussion.

I agree with this analysis. Especially since (1) I cannot believe that other potential targets, entirely of the Japanese military, were not available and (2) I cannot believe that destruction of Japanese military targets by atomic weapons would not have had the same effect, though perhaps not in such a short time. I do not mean, by this, to lend aid and comfort to America Haters who beat their breasts (and try to beat us over the head) at the beginning of August every year.

Fr. Jim Tucker provides further argumentation along these lines:

The reader should know up front that this is the same Fr. Jim Tucker who made the following public assertion on the bombings on his weblog:

That is why the Vatican of Pope Pius XII condemned these actions as crimes against God and man. And Pius XII was certainly no push-over liberal.

Greg Mockeridge told me months ago that he sent Fr. Jim some private emails requesting that he substantiate the assertion of papal condemnation with a source. Thus far, Fr. Jim has not done that. Furthermore, Dave omitted adding that part of the text in his quote and he omitted putting in ellipses to show that part of the quote was being removed so here is what Dave quoted with that part of the text inserted in blue font:

Today is not only the feast of Edith Stein, it is also the 60th anniversary of the atom bombing of Nagasaki. We patriotic Americans aren't supposed to question the morality of what our government did in that war, but we're going to do it anyway. When the bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, tens of thousands of lives of men, women, and children were snuffed out in a single instant, and over a quarter of a million would eventually die of the effects. For centuries, Catholic morality has taught us that it is intrinsically evil to target a civilian population and to resort to indiscriminate killing and destruction, which is exactly what happened in both the atom bombings.That is why the Vatican of Pope Pius XII condemned these actions as crimes against God and man. And Pius XII was certainly no push-over liberal.

It's important for us to consider this and come to terms with it -- not because we should feel guilty. We shouldn't feel guilty about Hiroshima and Nagasaki, any more than today's Germans should feel guilty about the Holocaust. We didn't do it, but we are under a moral obligation to form our consciences so that this sort of thing will never happen again. And it's not just about atom bombs: the moral structure of this issue touches all sorts of other cases that abound in today's world. Our bedrock principle is this: we may never commit an intrinsically evil act, for whatever reason, however good that reason might be. So, even though it's good that the war ended quickly after the bombings, and it's good that our soldiers were spared a bloody invasion of Japan, those good ends can never excuse using immoral means to achieve that end.

Nagasaki is also connected to another of the saints of World War II, St Maximilian Kolbe, a Polish priest killed by the Nazis at Auschwitz. Most people don't realize that Nagasaki was the one place in Japan that had a strong Christian presence. Nagasaki was one of the chief places that the crucifixions of the Japanese martyrs had taken place centuries before. It was also at Nagasaki that St Maximilian Kolbe went to build one of his "Cities of the Immaculata." So, when Harry Truman's atom bomb fell on Nagasaki sixty years ago today, many of the victims burned to ashes and melted away were not just fellow human beings, but fellow Roman Catholics.

If Dave wants to cite as one of his sources someone who makes such unsubstantiated statements and then does not substantiate them in the same forum when challenged to do so, all I will say on that is this: it is not the way someone interested in authentic dialogue conducts themselves. Furthermore, many of these Catholics that Dave is citing are obviously emotionally attached to this issue in light of the number of Catholics who died in the Nagasaki blast. For that reason, one could perhaps argue that they are allowing a bit of what is called provincialism to cloud their judgment on the matter at hand. And while the latter is not always an argumentation fallacy, it often is and thus that kind of mentality needs to be carefully held in check lest it cause those who have it to lose a proper sense of perspective.

Furthermore, Dave does not reveal to his readers that Karl Keating's wife is Japanese; ergo one could ask the question if he can detach himself from that significantly enough to write on this issue equitably. However, since the quality of Karl's argumentation is so weak and based on discredited assertions, I saw no need to bring that up. Despite that, I note it here because like the Hanson article from earlier and the careful snipping from Fr. Tucker's text, there is a manifested failure to disclose certain biases that some of his sources may have which could unduly colour their judgment. But those will be dealt with as they come up in the rest of this posting.

Cardinal Alfredo Ottaviani wrote in 1947:

Alfredo Ottaviani was not a cardinal in 1947.

The extent of the damage done to national assets by aerial warfare, and the dreadful weapons that have been introduced of late, is so great that it leaves both vanquished and victor the poorer for years after.

Innocent people, too, are liable to great injury from the weapons in current use: hatred is on that account excited above measure; extremely harsh reprisals are provoked; wars result which flaunt every provision of the jus gentium, and are marked by a savagery greater than ever. And what of the period immediately after a war? Does not it also provide an obvious pointer to the enormous and irreparable damage which war, the breeding place of hate and hurt, must do to the morals and manners of nations?

These considerations, and many others which might be adduced besides, show that modern wars can never fulfil those conditions which (as we stated earlier on in this essay) govern - theoretically - a just and lawful war. Moreover, no conceivable cause could ever be sufficient justification for the evils, the slaughter, the destruction, the moral and religious upheavals which war today entails.

Of course Dave does not point out that he is taking the text out of the context of Ottaviani's writing. Here is the text Dave draws from with the parts he omits quoting in blue font:

At the [First] Vatican Council the Fathers intimated to the Pope their desire that some definite statement be drawn up which might induce men to abandon warfare altogether or at least induce them to conduct their wars according to humanitarian principles. The salvation of certain Christian peoples was the chief cause of their concern; not simply because these peoples were then in the throes of war but "rather because of the horrible disaster" with which they were afflicted as a result of war. War, they were gravely troubled to note, was the occasion of disasters not the least of which, a lowering of moral standards, accompanied and persisted after war, and made shipwreck of the faith of so many souls. We in this century have even further cause for concern:

On account of the great development of communication in modern times and the desire on the part of nations to extend their interests to all parts of the world, excuses for war are now all too frequent.

The disasters which worried the Fathers at the Vatican Council now affect not only soldiers and armies at war but also entire peoples.

The extent of the damage done to national assets by aerial warfare, and the dreadful weapons that have been introduced of late, is so great that it leaves both vanquished and victor the poorer for years after.

Innocent people, too, are liable to great injury from the weapons in current use: hatred is on that account excited above measure; extremely harsh reprisals are provoked; wars result which flaunt every provision of the jus gentium, and are marked by a savagery greater than ever. And what of the period immediately after a war? Does not it also provide an obvious pointer to the enormous and irreparable damage which war, the breeding place of hate and hurt, must do to the morals and manners of nations?

In these days, when the world itself has become seemingly shrunken and straitened, the bonds between the nations of the world are so close and exigent that almost the whole world becomes involved once war is declared.

A regime may be under the impression that it can engage in a just war with hope of success; but in fact secret weapons can be prepared to such effect nowadays that they, being unforeseen, can upset and utterly thwart all calculations.

These considerations, and many others which might be adduced besides, show that modern wars can never fulfil those conditions which (as we stated earlier on in this essay) govern - theoretically - a just and lawful war. Moreover, no conceivable cause could ever be sufficient justification for the evils, the slaughter, the destruction, the moral and religious upheavals which war today entails.

In practice, then, a declaration of war will never be justifiable. A defensive war even should never be undertaken unless a legitimate authority, with whom the decision rests, shall have both certainty of success and very solid proofs that the good accruing to the nation from the war will more than outweigh the untold evils which it will bring on the nation itself, and on the world in general.

Otherwise the government of peoples would be no better than the reign of universal disaster, which, as the recent war has shown, will claim its victims more from the civilian population than from the combatant troops. In what way then shall international crises be dealt with on future occasions? "Discussion and force", says Cicero, "are the main ways of settling quarrels, the former of which is peculiar to man, the latter to brute beasts". The former therefore is ever to be preferred; the interests of peace must be our chief concern ever - and it is not the forming of armies but the formation of minds which will best secure this. [Alfredo Ottaviani: The Future of Offensive War (circa 1947)]

Now Dave omits these parts because he is only interested in noting what he can from the source for his own agenda. But to examine the context of Ottaviani's text, he was opposed to all modern warfare period. Dave however believes WWII was a just war if memory serves but he quotes Ottaviani in a way that does not reveal that Ottaviani does not appear to agree with him on that point...presumably banking on his post being so long that no one would bother to fact check it. That is perhaps a good gamble to try with a lot of people but not with me. He then hedges his bet with the following note appended to the bottom of the parts he cites in slightly smaller font:

[I would argue that current-day technology with non-nuclear precision, "surgical" strikes, smart bombs, etc. make just war conditions far easier to fulfill than 60 years ago (indeed I believe that the criteria are fully met in the Iraqi War); but one cannot anachronistically project today's weapons back to 1945; the atomic bombings as they were carried out remain unjustifiable by catholic moral standards]

Notice again that Dave makes an assertion about the bombings but he does not sustain it by an actual argument. He instead reiterates it over and over as if it is self-evident (when in reality it is anything but that). I noted this to Dave more than once in private (albeit not with that analogy) but apparently he still does not get it. Here are a couple examples which could be noted on the matter for the record:

Nice try Dave but again, you failed to interact with all but one of my arguments at all. Most of what you wrote was not even an argument but instead a case of "I disagree and X agrees with me" which is something that no one who respects logic and reason would take seriously as a legitimate response. Either that or you made a bunch of statements in response and treated the statements as if they were credible counter-arguments when they were not. Too much of your stuff followed one of those patterns except for (I must admit it) the response you made to the double effect thread. You did make actual arguments in that thread albeit context-switched ones[...] but that is a subject for another time if you like. I cannot deny that you sought to make an argument in those threads because that would be dishonest of me. But I can say that about the other points I raised because it is true and I could demonstrate it from what you wrote previously. [Excerpt from an Email Correspondence With Dave Armstrong and Some Others (circa January 12, 2006)]

And again:

Dave, if you are arguing as you did against a position taken by someone else (particularly one you claim is a "slam dunk" and "against Catholic principles") and you oppose the sound argumentation countenancing an opposing view with evasion and compilation approaches, you have established nothing. Again, citing the opinions and conclusions of others without their arguments (so that the latter could be interacted with) is argumentum ad vericundiam no matter how you slice it. I covered this stuff eighteen months ago in a weblog posting and revisited it during the Hand episode early on because Stephen was doing it in spades. Strangely enough, you appear to have recognized it then but now you are not...

Again Dave, I dealt with [argumentum ad vericundiam] above. You can claim that what you did was not what it was but without proving that there is a distinction with a difference first, it is one giant question-begging enterprise. And begging the question btw is an argumentation fallacy. Oh and your assertion of falsity of premise in the paragraph above also begs the question since you are asserting something you have not proven. You cannot expect someone concerned about sound rational thought and the use of logic to accept such a matter uncritically... [Excerpts from an Email Correspondence With Dave Armstrong and Some Others (circa January 19, 2006)]

Essentially what we have here is Dave doing something he claims he is not doing.{6} But that is not all for we have another source coming up next and that is one Patrick J. Buchanan.

Pat Buchanan ("Hiroshima, Nagasaki & Christian Morality" ) notes how the decision to engage in immoral, indiscriminate bombing had already been deliberately, self-consciously adopted in the bombing of Dresden:

[Snipping the quotes from Buchanan]

Of course a book could be written about the problems Patrick J. Buchanan has understanding various facets of Christian morality. That is not to say that his stuff is without merit of course but on these kinds of matters, he has a habit of playing fast and loose with his sources -an example of which can be seen with vivid clarity in the way he egregiously misrepresented President John Quincy Adams' view of America fighting battles abroad.{7}

From here there is another blurring of distinctions between firebombing and the atomic droppings and I have no interest in dealing with them again since I did so in detail in a response to Dave's fudging of these distinctions via one of two threads I posted to this humble weblog circa September 6th. For that reason, I see nothing to be gained in interacting with Buchanan's stuff since I made a bunch of distinctions in that thread that he has not and ones which are important to understanding the difference between firebombing and the use of nuclear weapons. He also does not comprehend the true nature of the populace of Japan at the time nor did Dave take this factor into account at all whereas your host has and did:

[L]et us deal with the subject of conscription since it also changes the landscape of this issue and is a detriment to Dave’s argument:

The opposite of voluntary enrollment is conscription, carried out by the nation-state. The resulting military force lacks the moral characteristics of a volunteer army; it is essentially a machine requiring severe discipline, its cohesion being maintained by the threat of punishment. Its great problems, desertion and slackness among the troops, can be kept within bounds only by strong organization and leadership...

[Most often], conscription is part of a program of universal military service accepted by the public and carried out in cooperation with it. [Encyclopedia Brittanica Fifteenth Edition: Excerpt from War, the Theory and Conduct of Macropaedia Volume XXIX, pg. 705 (c. 1985)]

Obviously, where you have conscription taking place of giant chunks of the population, that changes the dynamic of a key point of the argument altogether. Again, this is not secret knowledge but to listen to Dave’s arguments, he evinces no familiarity whatsoever with this factor of the overall equation. [Excerpt from Rerum Novarum (circa September 6, 2005)]

Those who wonder why I very quickly tune out those who try to argue about "civilian deaths" in the bombings it is for that reason: the bulk of the populace was not civilian at all as that term is properly understood. Ergo, those who claim otherwise are not only engaging in the fallacy of context switching but they are also betraying either (i) a profound ignorance of the situation in wartime Japan (ii) a profound ignorance of the distinction between civilians and conscripted persons, or (iii) all of the above. But it also is worth noting that in Buchanan's paper (cited by Dave) he refers to the quack "scholar" Ralph Raico as a "historian" instead of as a propagandist. This was yet another example demonstrating a lack of interest in dialogue. To reference part of a note I sent to Dave and others in mid January on this matter:

Let us start with the prior notification you received about the instability and fringe views of Ralph Raico and Howard Zinn. The former was given by Greg ten days before my Hiroshima thread was posted. Here is the relevant part of that email of which you were a recipient at the time:

Speaking of stupid [people], www.LewRockwell.com/raico/raico22.html has an article by Ralph Raicio calling Truman not only a war criminal for dropping the bombs, but a war criminal worse than any Japanese general. [Greg Mockeridge: Email Circular (circa August 7, 2005)]

That was ten days before my thread was posted and nineteen days before you wrote and posted your response. [Excerpt from an Email Correspondence With Dave Armstrong and Some Others (circa January 12, 2006)]

That was the heads up that Dave got on Raico. When he pulled this same stunt with Howard Zinn, he was called out on it by not only myself but also Kevin Tierney. (I had threads on my weblog including one of the five Dave linked to in his response that pointed out the instability and unreliable revisionist approach to history taken by Zinn.) Furthermore, did Dave bother to tell his readers anything about Raico's views on Truman being a war criminal or of WWII not being a just war??? Of course not just as he did not with Buchanan in that first posting or Zinn later on in the sequence. In fact, for that matter he also did not mention that Buchahan also believes that WWII was not a just war. Dave if memory serves does think WWII was a just war; ergo leaving that part undisclosed to the readers would not give them important information on the source being cited here. And surely the readers have an interest in knowing that pertinent data if they are to make an equitable discernment of the statements made by those personages.

In other words, once again, we have Dave not telling the whole story for some reason and probably because those who did not agree with Raico and Buchanan on their assessment of WWII would be less likely to take what they say uncritically. (Not to mention Zinn and his frank admission of not only being a communist but also that he does not believe there can be any objectivity in how history is viewed.)

[Snipping Maclin Horton's gibberish about "targeting non-combatants in war" as per what I noted earlier on about conscription and also the obvious ignorance that Horton displays about the moral and ethical principle of double effect and its proper application thereof.]

George Weigel readily concedes the objective immorality of the bombings, and their clash with just war theory, while noting the limitations of the options of that terrible time (as opposed to maintaining that the actions nwere just because of the complexities of the ethics and military strategy, as Greg and Shawn and Victor Davis Hanson do):

George Weigel is a very good moral theologian but certainly he is not perfect. It would be interesting to see if he would adjust his view or consider doing so in light of the manner in which the atomic bombings conform to the principles of double effect as I have adequately demonstrated on previous occasions. And of course just because George Weigel conceded the point Dave noted it does not mean that the point needs to be conceded. It is possible that he has not been made aware of the approach to the matter that I and others have undertaken. Either way though, in his article he does make some statements that are not substantiated and he does appear to make the common mistake of blending together the distinct approaches of dropping the atomic bombs with the firebombing campaigns. The two are not the same: the end in some respects is but the means are not nor is the formal and active human cooperation element even remotely similar. All of this was dealt with in one of the postings from September 6th so I shant reiterate what I wrote back then at this time.

Secondly, it is a profound oversimplification to state that my arguments were based merely on the complexities of the ethics and military strategy as that is but one facet of the equation only. I will not venture a guess as to why he did this as I am through giving Dave the benefit of the doubt on these matters and have been since September 6, 2005.

In these circumstances, which were the real world circumstances of the time, the use of atomic weapons seems far less a deliberate atrocity than a tragic necessity.

At least Weigel gives some impression as to understanding the environment that we were facing during the war with the Japanese militants...

This is not to suggest that the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was, or is, easily justifiable under the moral criteria of the classic just war tradition. But the moral barrier had been breached long before August 6 and August 8, 1945. So-called strategic bombing, aimed at the destruction of civilian populations, had been going on for five years; none of it met the just war in bello criteria of proportionality and discrimination. Indeed, if one measures the violation of non-combatant immunity statistically, the fire-bombing of Tokyo, Osaka, Kobe, Nagoya, and other Japanese cities was a greater breach of the just war tradition than Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

That is assuming that the atomic bombings were a breach of the just war tradition of course: a proposition I do not accept. That is also assuming that the fire-bombings are a violation of just war tradition as well. I happen to see the atomic bombings as in conformity with the just war tradition and the firebombings as not meeting that criteria. However, I am not shut off from the idea that the latter could not somehow be justified; I simply do not see how they can and that is all I will say about them for now.

That the Germans had destroyed Rotterdam, the British, Hamburg, and the British and Americans, Dresden, does not "justify" the American destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. But certain moral distinctions can and should be drawn between the bombing of cities for purposes of sheer terror (Rotterdam) or revenge (Dresden), and the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which, on the best available evidence, was undertaken with a legitimate strategic purpose in mind. That purpose was summarized succinctly by Truman biographer David McCullough: "If you want one explanation as to why Truman dropped the bomb: 'Okinawa.' It was done to stop the killing."

Yes, a distinction between the two must be made and I am glad to see Weigel making one.

The greater legitimacy of an end does not, of course, justify any possible means. But recognizing the legitimacy of the end does enable us to enter imaginatively and even sympathetically into the moral struggle over means faced by a responsible political leader confronting a brace of bad choices.

I do not completely agree with what Weigel noted in the above paragraph but at least he approaches this matter with a care that very few people seem to want to do.

It sometimes happens, these days, that a parallel is drawn between Auschwitz and Hiroshima, as two embodiments of the evil of the Second World War. But this seems wrong. What Harry Truman did in August 1945 was, strictly speaking, unjustifiable in classic moral terms. But it was understandable, and it was forgivable. What was done at Auschwitz was unjustifiable, maniacal, and, in this world's terms, unforgivable. That is a considerable moral difference.

Weigel's moral distinction between Auschwitz and Hiroshoma/Nagasaki is an important one which many people do not make.

At my parish church on the morning of August 6, 1995, we prayed God to grant "that no nuclear weapons will ever again be used." It was a petition to which all could respond with a heartfelt, "Lord, hear our prayer." Only by facing squarely the unavoidable moral dilemma confronted by President Truman will we gain a measure of the wisdom that might help us avoid similar dilemmas in the future. By reducing the decision to use atomic weapons at Hiroshima and Nagasaki to crudely political, even ideological, categories, the revisionists do a disservice not only to history but to the future, and to the cause of peace.

I concur completely with the above paragraph from George Weigel.

United States Conference of Catholic Bishops: Statement of 6 August 2004 :

[Snipping the text]

Frankly, the USCCB demonstrated their complete incompetence to discuss these matters with their disasterous 1983 Challenge of Peace document. To have followed their prescriptions on the matter there would still be detente and the propagation of the "necessity" of maintaining some sort of "mutually assured destruction" position with the Soviet Union. Furthermore, there would still be a Soviet Union since they would not have been bankrupted as President Reagan did with the arms race. In short, this is hardly a credible source to be referencing...PARTICULARLY fifty-nine years AFTER the fact and with the slew of historical revisionism that has taken place on these matters since at least the mid to late 1960's if not earlier.

Furthermore, the USCCB in their text make the mistake of equating a passage from Gaudium et Spes about the "indescriminate destruction of whole cities" as applying to the atomic bomb droppings when that very factor is highly debatable. It is in my view not debatable with firebombing campaigns and presumably the European bishops and theologians at the Council had the firebombings in mind when that text was written. Certainly it would give every indication of applying to firebombing methods but to attempt to attach it willy-nilly to the atomic bomb droppings is to engage in what can be called questionable premise if not petitio principii (begging the question). But then again, this is the same body whose inability or unwillingness to make proper distinctions on the subjects of the war in Iraq, the death penalty, and certain applications of Catholic social justice doctrines occasioned a letter of clarification from Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI) in his capacity as prefect for the Vatican's highest dicastery the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Ralph Raico, a scholar at the Ludwig von Mises Institute, provides some much-needed factual information:

[Snipping Raico's bloviations]

I see no reason to entertain the nonsense of Raico since I have already demolished the more pertinent arguments he makes in either my 8/17 thread on Hiroshima (i.e. the 46,000 deaths canard, the absurd notion that Hiroshim and Nagasaki were not military targets) or subsequent threads (i.e. the idea that the Strategic Bombing Survey was anything but a propaganda arm of the Air Force whose "conclusions" were of questionable import at best). Raico may well be a member of the Ludwig von Mises Institute but to use the word "historian" or "scholar" to describe him would require the kind of stretching which Mr. Fantastic of the Fantastic Four would labour to accomplish.

Lowell Ponte, after chronicling the Christian history of Nagasaki, describes the grim reality of the bombing :

[Snipping the quotes from Lowell Ponte]

Notice that now Dave is engaging in the appeal to emotions fallacy of argumentation. For those who do not know what this is, it is a fallacy committed when someone tries to get another to accept a claim or position based on an appeal to the emotions. Obviously not all references to emotions are problematical in argumentation but when emotions are used as a key premise or tactic to downplay pertinent information, then the approach is fallacious. Dave starts this fallacy in the post we are looking at now and really hit his stride posting pictures of the bomb blasts in the days after he posted his first thread. It was at that point that I realized that dialogue with him would be impossible and thus far that assessment has been as accurate as the Gregorian calendar.

So why did Marxocratic policymakers inside Roosevelt’s and Truman’s New Deal alter military targeting decisions, commanding instead that Nagasaki – relatively insignificant as a military target – be moved into the bombardier’s crosshairs and that its Christian people be cremated alive into clicking-hot radioactive ashes by atomic bomb annihilation?

Once again, why do I even bother with such ignorant statements??? I like Lowell Ponte a lot -he is one of the few Libertarian talk show hosts who does not annoy me to no end in various ways. (He and I also agree to a reasonable degree on a lot of issues.) But on this issue, he obviously is talking out of his backside since there is no doubt that Nagasaki was a significant target as I noted in the threads from August-September of 2005. As far as whether or not Nagasaki was in the original plans for bombing, it was an alternate target or as one of the sources I cited in one of the two 9/06 threads noted:

In orders issued on 25 July and approved by Stimson and Marshall, Spaatz was ordered to drop the "first special bomb as soon as weather will permit visual bombing after about 3 August 1945 on one of the targets: Hiroshima, Kokura, Niigata and Nagasaki." He was instructed also to deliver a copy of this order personally to MacArthur and Nimitz. [Louis Morton: The Decision To Use the Atomic Bomb pg. 514 (c. 1958)]

Originally the targets were supposed to be Hiroshima and Niigata but in the case of the latter, the weather did not permit an accurate drop so the military did what in football is called "change the play at the line of scrimmage" and went with one of the alternate targets. But as I am aware of how provincialism affects a lot of Christians when approaching issues such as this one, I am as a rule sympathetic to such people of course. However, I do not accept this when it comes to discussing issues where personal feelings should as much as possible be left at the door. We see this problem a lot today with judges who rule according to their own personal whims rather than in accordance with the rule of law; ergo I find it interesting that many people who would oppose this kind of judicial activism do the exact same thing with certain issues themselves. Consistency requires the same approach across the board after all. But enough on that point for now and onto the next one.

Kai Bird and Martin Sherwin, Co-chairs of the Historians' Committee for Open Debate on Hiroshima, wrote to the Smithsonian Institute concerning the Enola Gay Exhibit, in 1995:

[Snipping the quotes of Kai Bird and Martin Sherwin]

Of course Dave fails to inform his readers that Kai Bird is a contributing editor to The Nation which is a profoundly radical socialist periodical (one might even say marxist) actually. Martin Sherwin is also a contributor to The Nation. I trust the readers can see how disclosing this information helps to provide a contextual backdrop to their espoused viewpoints that is lacking without the aforesaid disclosure being made. For those who do not know what the ideology of The Nation is, take the worst features of the MSM and the kook fringe of the Democratic Party and magnify them at least fivefold. Think of what the views of "Jesse Jackson", "Teddy Kennedy", and "Nancy Pelosi" would be if they were consuming Dianabol (a steroid) like it was candy at Christmas and you can get an outline of what we are talking about here. Or as I noted in a comments box posting circa August 27th:

I would be remiss in not noting that you seem to be posting anything (and from whatever dubious sources) in a disjointed fashion to try and make your case. For one example of many which could be mentioned, you cite Ralph Raico and treat his stuff as "much needed information." Dave, I absolutely destroyed many of the arguments he makes in my posting…particularly his regurgitation of the 46,000 figure:

But the worst-case scenario for a full-scale invasion of the Japanese home islands was forty-six thousand American lives lost.

I explained in detail and with actual mathematical models of battlefield casualties in the Pacific theater why that figure was a pipedream. You not only do not interact with my arguments but you place them on the same plain as Raico's drivel. And that brings us to Patrick J. Buchanan who reiterates the same stuff and tries to pass off Raico as a respectable scholar.

I will not go into how shoddy Mr. Buchanan's scholarship is when discussing these issues as I have done this at other times. He is so partisan that he is willing to prooftext sources to present his case. I originally thought that [a certain ideologue] was the culprit when I wrote that thread but discovered later that [the ideologue] got his information from Mr. Buchanan. Now you are citing the same Mr. Buchanan on this matter -not to mention on the subject of just war??? Who will be cited next, Mother Jones??? The World Socialist Workers Party Newspaper??? The Journal of Historical Review??? Any source you can remotely find to give credence to your already held position??? How is that in any sense to be a constructive dialogue.

You should recognize that not all sources are of the same weight and anytime you have third hand quotes (of which many of your quotes happen to be btw) that there can be misrepresentation or quotes could be posited without concern for actual context[...]: all of which mitigates against their viability as evidences...

Remember, people can say anything and I have not merely undermined many of the arguments from many of the sources you cite but have obliterated them. You cannot expect me to take your reposting of them as if they are still viable to be serious…that is not only not authentic dialogue but it is its very antithesis. [I. Shawn McElhinney: Excerpt from Cor ad Cor Loquitur Comments Thread (circa August 27, 2005) as quoted in a Rerum Novarum posting (circa September 6, 2005)]

Of course it is possible that Dave did not know the above information about Kai Bird and Martin Sherwin. But if that is true, then it only lends yet more credence (as if more is needed by this point) to my assertion that Dave was cutting and pasting sources as fast as he could find them without bothering to properly vet them first.

And as I dealt in previous postings with the issue of the Snithsonian exhibit and the bald faced lies set down by the two Nation writers which Dave has quoted from already, I fail to see why I need to do so again. If Dave is actually interested in dialogue, he can interact with what was written there...oh and Dave, the Nation and its marxist cronies are quite good at historical revisionism or have you forgotten about that now too???

Military and Political Figures Who Dissented From the Terrible Decision

Now we get to the easiest part of this whole thread to dispatch with...well...easiest now since I already did the work in fact checking Dave on these matters. Nonetheless, here goes...

President Dwight D. Eisenhower

[Snipping Eisenhower quotes]

I dealt with the Eisenhower quotes Dave posted third-hand and the actual degree that Eisenhower was in the loop on these issues in this link:

"Armstrong Illusions" Dept.--Part II (circa September 6, 2005)

To summarize it in brief: Eisenhower was not a source of any special competence or credibility on these matters at all for reasons dealt with in the aforementioned thread.

Admiral William D. Leahy
(Chief of Staff to Presidents Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman)


[Snipping Leahy quotes]

I dealt with the Leahy quotes Dave posted third-hand and the actual degree that Leahy was in the loop on these issues in this link:

"Armstrong Illusions" Dept.--Part II (circa September 6, 2005)

To summarize it in brief: Leahy was not a source of any special competence or credibility on these matters at all for reasons dealt with in the aforementioned thread.

President Herbert Hoover

[Snipping Hoover quotes]

I dealt with the Hoover quotes Dave posted third-hand and the actual degree that Hoover was in the loop on these issues in this link:

"Armstrong Illusions" Dept.--Part II (circa September 6, 2005)

To summarize it in brief: Hoover was not a source of any special competence or credibility on these matters at all for reasons dealt with in the aforementioned thread.

General Douglas MacArthur

MacArthur biographer William Manchester has described MacArthur's reaction to the issuance by the Allies of the Potsdam Proclamation to Japan: "...the Potsdam declaration in July, demand[ed] that Japan surrender unconditionally or face 'prompt and utter destruction.' MacArthur was appalled. He knew that the Japanese would never renounce their emperor, and that without him an orderly transition to peace would be impossible anyhow, because his people would never submit to Allied occupation unless he ordered it. Ironically, when the surrender did come, it was conditional, and the condition was a continuation of the imperial reign. Had the General's advice been followed, the resort to atomic weapons at Hiroshima and Nagasaki might have been unnecessary."

(William Manchester, American Caesar: Douglas MacArthur 1880-1964, p. 512)

I dealt with the MacArthur quotes Dave posted third-hand and the actual degree that MacArthur was in the loop on these issues in this link:

"Armstrong Illusions" Dept.--Part II (circa September 6, 2005)

To summarize it in brief: MacArthur was not a source of any special competence or credibility on these matters at all. Furthermore, Doug Long quotes very disingenuously from Manchester's book --a book I happen to own and have read twice-- but see the above thread for details on that matter.

[Snipping the other MacArthur quote]

I dealt with the arguments advanced by Norman Cousins in the thread link above. The long and short of it is this: MacArthur was not in the loop on these matters and thus not a source of any special competence or credibility for reasons dealt with in the aforementioned thread.

Brigadier General Carter Clarke (The military intelligence officer in charge of preparing intercepted Japanese cables - the MAGIC summaries - for Truman and his advisors)

[Snipping Clarke quotes]

This was the most egregious example of Dave proving he was not even remotely paying attention the whole time.

Indeed, I dealt with the Clarke quotes Dave posted third-hand and the actual degree that Clarke was in the loop on these issues twice and both times Dave ignored them. The first debunking was in a footnote in this link:

Clarifying Some Additional Points on the Atomic Bombing Subject With Dave Armstrong (circa August 28, 2005)

When Dave reiterated those quotes as if they were still credible (and as if Clarke was still an authoritative source), I dealt with them in even greater detail in this link:

"Armstrong Illusions" Dept.--Part II (circa September 6, 2005)

To summarize it in brief: Colonel Clarke was not a source of any special competence or credibility on these matters at all. And Dave proved if there was any doubt on the matter that at the very least he was sloppy and not bothering to read and consider the arguments debunking his sources. For reasons noted in those threads, Clarke was not (and is not) a source of any special competence or credibility on these matters.

Other dissidents cited in this survey include:

Joseph Grew (Under Secretary of State)
John McCloy (Assistant Secretary of War)
Ralph Bard (Under Sec. of the Navy)
Lewis Strauss (Special Assistant to the Secretary of the Navy)
Paul Nitze (Vice Chairman, U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey)
Ellis Zacharias (Deputy Director of the Office of Naval Intelligence) "Zacharias, long a student of Japan's people and culture, believed the Japan would soon be ripe for surrender if the proper approach were taken. For him, that approach was not as simple as bludgeoning Japanese cities . . ."
General Carl "Tooey" Spaatz (In charge of Air Force operations in the Pacific)


All of these so-called "experts" were dealt with in the following thread:

"Armstrong Illusions" Dept.--Part II (circa September 6, 2005)

And summarize it in brief: none of them were authoritative sources on these matters at all for reasons dealt with in the aforementioned thread.

Above, Victor Davis Hanson also mentioned General Hap Arnold, General Curtis LeMay , and Admiral William Halsey.

And those sources would be just as debunkable as the other ones noted for many of the same reasons. In the case of Curtis LeMay, he was opposed to the bombings because he wanted to firebomb those cities. Does Dave disclose that fact to his readers??? No he does not and that gets to the importance of not only being familiar with a subject one is discussing but also with any information that sources they would use to back up their position which would potentially affect the objectivity of said sources.

Summary of Further Catholic Condemnations of the Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki as Immoral (taken from recent related BlogBack comments where they are fully documented)

Notice again gentle reader that Dave is not making an argument at all but instead he is merely quoting the opinions of others whose special competence in discussing this matter has not been established first. Whatever one wants to say about me, I have at least made cogent and compelling arguments to explain why I hold the view on this that I do. The same cannot be said for the various sources Dave quotes.

Pope John Paul II (9-11-99, to the Japanese ambassador Toru Iwanami): [Hiroshima and Nagasaki should remind the world of] "the crimes committed against civilian populations during World War II . . . true genocides [are] still being committed in several parts of the world."

John Paul II made as strident a condemnation of the war in Iraq and the usage of the death penalty as the one above viz. Hiroshima and Nagasaki--presuming for a moment that he was speaking of them in the above speech. I frankly believe what has been documented thus far gives any reader a good reason to question if Dave is handling the sources he references in an equitable manner and with concern for proper context. We know that the views of the pope on those issues were not ones of a binding nature; ergo Dave is in the position of having to prove that that quote has a higher degree of authority than the ones condemning the war and the use of the death penalty.

Furthermore, can Dave demonstrate that Karol Wojtyla was properly informed on all the variables pertaining to the issue in question??? The answer to that question is of course "no" and thus no more needs to be said about it than that except that it is highly unlikely that he had. Oh and lest I forget to mention it, I have read a couple of detailed biographies on John Paul II and in none of them did it even hint that he was as familiar with the various contingent factors going into a solid evaluation of this issue as he would need to be to do the issue proper justice.

Pope Paul VI (Peace Day: 1-1-76): ". . . butchery of untold magnitude, as at Hiroshima on 6 August 1945 . . ."

Can Dave demonstrate that Giovanni Battista Montini was properly informed on all the variables pertaining to the issue in question??? The answer to that question is of course "no" and thus no more needs to be said about it than that except that it is highly unlikely that he had. Oh and lest I forget to mention it, I have read three detailed biographies on Paul VI and in none of them did it even hint that he was as familiar with the various contingent factors going into a solid evaluation of this issue as he would need to be to do the issue proper justice.

Cardinal James Francis Stafford : ". . . the total warfare that was seen in Nagasaki, Hiroshima, Dresden … that is the wholesale disregard for the civilian populations."

First of all, the blending of Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and Dresden together is highly inappropriate (to put it real mildly). Secondly, there is the issue of the person in question properly understanding the diverse elements involved in the issue in question. Can Dave demonstrate that James Francis Stafford was properly informed on all the variables pertaining to the issue in question??? The answer to that question is of course "no" and thus no more needs to be said about it than that except that it is highly unlikely that he had.

Archbishop Fulton Sheen : "When, I wonder, did we in America ever get into this idea that freedom means having no boundaries and no limits? I think it began on the 6th of August 1945 at 8:15 am when we dropped the bomb on Hiroshima."

Can Dave demonstrate that Fulton J. Sheen was properly informed on all the variables pertaining to the issue in question??? The answer to that question is of course "no" and thus no more needs to be said about it than that except that it is highly unlikely that he had. Oh and lest I forget to mention it, I have read the personal autobiography of Fulton Sheen and he did not so much as hint that he was familiar with the various contingent factors going into a solid evaluation of this issue. That does not tarnish my profound esteem for the man mind you, only that on this issue his evaluation is profoundly suspect at best.

Monsignor Ronald Knox: ". . . men fighting for a good case have taken, at one particular moment of decision, the easier, not the nobler path".

The above sentence appears to be a stretch to say that Monsignor Knox was referring to Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Dave could argue that the description given applies to those situation but then he is engaging in the fallacy of begging the question in using that quote as he does. And of course even if he is quoting Knox in proper context, there is no evidence presented that Knox was familiar with the various contingent factors going into a solid evaluation of this issue. That does not tarnish my profound esteem for the man mind you, only that on this issue his evaluation is profoundly suspect at best.

Dr. Warren Carroll (Founder of Christendom College and renowned orthodox Catholic historian): "I don't agree with the use of the atom bomb against Hiroshima and Nagasaki. You don't use a weapon in a way that you know is going to kill primarily women and children. It's a basic principle of moral philosophy that the end does not justify the means."

Now certainly Dr. Carroll is a historian of note; however his specialty if memory serves is church history. Attempting to translate his specialty in church history over into secular history is an example of the fallacy of context switching since a recognized expert in one area is not necessarily of similar authority in other areas. And (of course) Dr. Carroll's argument is specious on its own merits and is hardly to be accepted simply because he says it.

Fr. Michael Scanlan (formerly head of the Franciscan University of Steubenville , 1983): ". . . the sinful atrocities of the contemporary world. Whether it be the ovens of Auschwitz and Dachau, the charred bodies of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the ravages of saturation bombing, . . .

Anyone comparing Auschwitz and Dacau to Hiroshima and Nagasaki has no credibility whatsoever on these matters as they are distinct circumstances with a whole world of differing variables to them. I immediately throw out of the court of viable opinions (on these issues) the opinions of people who fail to make these kinds of elementary distinctions. There is also the issue of questioning if this person has taken the time I have to look at all the pertinent data and consider it carefully.

I realize this sounds like a broken record but I will continue to note whenever my arguments are ignored or opinions are cited without any attempt to explain the arguments whereby those opinions came about. I will do this with Dave much as I do with anyone else.

John Courtney Murray (prominent thinker on church-state issues): "atrocities, . . . savage . . . paroxysms of violence."

See what I noted about the quote from Ronald Knox except insert John Courtney Murray's name instead.

Evelyn Waugh (famous convert and author): "To the practical warrior the atom bomb presented no particular moral or spiritual problem. We were engaged in destroying the enemy, civilians and combatants alike. We always assumed that destruction was roughly proportionate to the labour and material expended. Whether it was more convenient to destroy a city with one bomb or a hundred thousand depended on the relative costs of production."

Obviously a defense of the atomic bomb drops can be made from a utilitarianist approach but it need not be. The problem with Waugh’s statement is that it seems to imply that this is the only way it can be defended and I obviously do not agree for reasons set forth in detail previously.

Joseph Sobran (conservative columnist and author): ". . . mass murder is not an option . . . a complete violation of all principles of civilized warfare. And the development of the atomic bomb was only a cold-blooded extension of this monstrous policy. The whole idea of rules of warfare is to rule out certain atrocities, whether or not they achieve their goals . . . The rule against attacking civilians means that it is forbidden even if it's the only way to win a war. Why is this so hard to grasp?"

Of course Joseph Sobran is a source which is of questionable import for many reasons. And as he commits many of the same fallacious arguments I have already dealt with previously, I see no reason to reiterate anew what I wrote at that time.

Also, note the immensely popular and influential Anglican apologist C.S. Lewis's opinion: "The victory of vivisection marks a great advance in the triumph of ruthless, non-moral utilitarianism over the old world of ethical law; a triumph in which we, as well as animals, are already the victims, and of which Dachau and Hiroshima mark the more recent achievements . . ."

Once again, just because CS Lewis may have thought that there was moral equivalence between Dachau and Hiroshima does not mean that there was. Likewise, just because he thinks that Hiroshima was an exercise in utilitarianism does not mean that it was. I have argued cogently against this notion already; ergo I need not spill more type to do so here. Oh and as with so many of the others quoted above, this lacuna does not diminish in anyway my respect for CS Lewis which is significant.

Conclusion

In conclusion, Dave quotes a bunch of opinions and now he is going to conclude with a position of his own all while claiming he is not engaging in argumentum ad vericundiam!!! What is the very argumentation fallacy of argumentum ad vericundiam except taking a position not on the basis of arguments made to substantiate said position but merely on the basis of presumed authorities one can cite who give an opinion on the matter in question???{8}

I conclude that the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which are defended, as they are, on mistaken utilitarian calculations which are contrary to both fact and probable fact (as exposited by the highest level military commanders), and with apparent ignorance regarding the facts concerning the nature of the target and the number of innocent civilians killed (which could scarcely have been otherwise, given the target of the center of the city, etc.), and without due regard for Catholic ethical principles, were immoral and unjustifiable.

To summarize this enterprise, Dave has just made no argument whatsoever but instead has posited a bunch of opinions and then concluded that those opinions taken together constitute and argument. See what I have written in different parts of this note for what argumentation fallacy that involves.

The figures above were in a position to know much more than mere military laymen and blogsters like Shawn (much as I like the guy's zeal and spunk) and Greg (fellow Michigander and eloquent proponent of the just nature of the Iraqi War), or even prominent and generally respectable historians like Victor Davis Hanson, who is a scholar of the military, yet who argues (whether he deliberately intends to or not) precisely as a secular utilitarian or situation ethicist would.

As I have noted in a series of threads, the figures Dave posited were all not in a position to know what Dave claims. I dealt with every one of them and in detail at that. Dave’s only recourse to my debunking of his sources was to ignore the arguments I made and to act as if such an ignoring of the arguments constitutes a credible position.

Faced with the extreme difficulty of justifying these atrocious acts based on Catholic principle (as George Weigel fully grasps and concedes), proponents must fall back on skewed factual data and mere aversion (by their own outright admission) to apologists stating that certain acts are immoral. But I submit that they are in no better position (all things being equal) to defend them as moral or morally neutral. The arguments they have offered simply fail, and I conclude that, not from any desire for this to be true (quite the contrary: as stated above, I wish that it weren't true), but because the facts and considerations outlined above do not, in my opinion, allow a different conclusion.

In light of what he threw together, Dave should have avoided referring to skewed factual data or mere aversion. Furthermore, any reader who has reviewed what I have written is aware that every assertion Dave makes above can be safely ignored as seriously flawed and not worthy of consideration. That is all a result of what can happen when someone attempts to tackle a subject --which due to their lack of the type of wide-ranging knowledge and depth of study needed to discuss the matter equitably-- falls well out of their field of apologetic expertise.

Furthermore, any reader who has reviewed what I have written is aware that every assertion Dave makes above is lacking in veracity. And Dave should be ashamed of himself for attempting to pass off such a paper as some kind of “serious scholarship.” It is frankly embarrassing to see a person with Dave’s gifts act in this fashion but I am not surprised to see it really. That is what happens with those who have either a provincialist approach to issues or an apologetic "must-debate-anything" mentality coupled with a predictable and "one-size-fits-all" approach to these matters.

That's not to say that it becomes a settled dogma in the Catholic Church (I have approached this matter as an ethical one, not a dogmatic one, which is a different level of discussion altogether). Readers are urged to always remember the many qualifying statements from opponents of the bombings, that I have cited. I agree with all of them.

This whole thing was one giant appeal to authority precisely as I said it was both last year and also at the outset of this posting.

In particular, the justification of "double effect" cannot, I think, be reasonably, plausibly maintained with regard to these bombings. There were simply too many civilian casualties. The scale of death and destruction does not allow it. It is -- with all due respect to my friends, who offer some very harsh criticisms of opponents themselves-- hopelessly naive and muddleheaded and a denial of concrete reality to suggest that these were only peripheral, and non-intentional, while military targets were primary intentions.

As I subsequently pointed out when Dave actually sought to interact with one of my threads (the one on double effect) he does not understand this concept very well at all.

Moreover, given the informed opinions of so many that the bombings were not necessary to force surrender or save 500,000 (or whatever the figure) Allied lives

Once again, we have questionable premise since Dave merely assumes they were informed. Now that is fine when you do not have all the facts but I provided them and Dave would recognize this and account for it accordingly. I would not have written what is in this paragraph back then but in light of what I have seen since that time from him (privately as well as publicly), what is noted in this paragraph is now apropo.

(Eisenhower and MacArthur were militarily uninformed, we ought to believe???!!!!),

Actually, yes they were militarily uninformed on this matter Dave and once again, I went over all of this within the series of threads posted on this subject.

and the nature of the targets, such a view cannot hold water, and must be rejected.

But Dave, the so-called “informed opinions” you cite were not informed opinions at all!!! I have said that and I have demonstrated it more than adequately. It is fairly evident that you were using Google to find sources to support your own preconceived viewpoint rather than seeking to have a genuine dialogue.

From what I have learned, the facts do not justify it.

But based on the way you have gone about addressing these matters Dave, why should anyone lend credence to a mere opinion which is lacking in any sound argumentation to substantiate it???

I can certainly be more educated on the subject (time-permitting), but at this point, my prior far less informed opinion has not changed, and has only been greatly strengthened by what I have learned in my studies.

I am afraid you need to retake the course Dave. I will ask the instructor to give you an incomplete instead of failing you outright to help preserve your "gpa."

I welcome and encourage all discussion and feedback on this issue.

So you say. But your actions prove otherwise and I pointed this out to you more than once and publicly as well as privately. Here are just a few examples that I could note of from the private forum (see the threads from 8/28 and 9/6 along with the ones that followed it in the sequence for the ones already noted publicly). All of what is noted here is only my words and nothing you have said:

Dave, the only things I said which could in any way be constituted as an "attack" were these:

---You lacked by your own admission sufficient knowledge on the matter...something you said the day before you left for vacation in private and reiterated in your posting on 8/25. (The day of your return if I recall correctly.)  

---Your quickness to jump into the fray immediately upon returning from vacation was suspicious at best since you were unlikely to have studied these matters much in ten days...certainly nothing to compare to the degree of study I have conducted on them.

---The degree of nuance involved with the matters in question requires more than a surface familiarity if all facets of the equation are to be accounted for with any hope for completeness of exposition. But as I noted in more than one place, you were misunderstanding and misrepresenting certain key principles, which demonstrated that you had no business publicly discussing these matters. (If you recall, I agreed to a private dialogue and it was because of your admitted lack of knowledge on these subjects.)

---Despite being warned of the problems with certain questionable sources and arguments they made, you used such sources anyway...after I had already proven well beyond a reasonable doubt (with historical facts and mathematical models) that the numbers originally used to justify the figures they parroted did not square with reality.[...]

---You engaged often in argumentum ad vericundiam...Your subsequent attempt to spill type explaining why a circle is actually a square only indicated to me that you were trapped in a regress-spiral and were beyond dialogue with on that matter...

---Though I mentioned it at the outset this fallacy in your argumentation (and did so a few times including in one weblog posting at RN), I only focused significantly on the latter argument after making mincemeat of your paltry offering of so-called "experts" from Doug Long's site which you obviously posted without adequately vetting them first. That is why there was a nine day delay in my response when you presumed I had "withdrawn" from the discussion when indeed I had not. I was doing the research on the sources which you simply played "cut and paste" with. Do not tell me that you vetted those sources before using them because it is as evident as corn in Iowa that you did not.

---Furthermore, you sought to bolster your position with opinions from writers of very dubious repute (to put it nicely) but I did not want to deal with that issue myself in much detail.

Far from being any kind of "attack" I was merely relating what was happening and what you were doing. If that constitutes an "attack" than any reporting of events or circumstances constitutes an "attack."...

When the issue of the quack pseudo "scholars" you were referencing arose in the conversation, I noted that I was not writing on the issue because it was not necessary for the solidity of my argumentation approach in those threads to do so (the additional length of the posts such a project would have involved notwithstanding of course). I did touch on them though in the second of the two 9/6 threads but even then, it was mainly by citing past writings of mine post 8/17 which you obviously ignored in your "response."

If you had not ignored them, you would have presumably not made the serious error of relying on them and then trying to justify that boneheaded decision by appeal to their degrees as if that was the same thing as them knowing what the hell they are talking about. You know darn well that there are plenty of people with higher education degrees who have little actual knowledge about the subject they are supposedly an "expert" in.[...] Furthermore, the appeal to such "credentials" to attempt to sustain a weak argument is a hallmark of the sophist. I know you do not like sophists but when you act as they act, you deserve to be called out for it my friend....[Excerpts from an Email Correspondence With Dave Armstrong and Some Others (circa January 12, 2006)]

And again:

Nice try Dave but again, you failed to interact with all but one of my arguments at all. Most of what you wrote was not even an argument but instead a case of "I disagree and X agrees with me" which is something that no one who respects logic and reason would take seriously as a legitimate response. Either that or you made a bunch of statements in response and treated the statements as if they were credible counter-arguments when they were not. Too much of your stuff followed one of those patterns except for (I must admit it) the response you made to the double effect thread. You did make actual arguments in that thread albeit context-switched ones[...] but that is a subject for another time if you like. I cannot deny that you sought to make an argument in those threads because that would be dishonest of me. But I can say that about the other points I raised because it is true and I could demonstrate it from what you wrote previously. [Excerpts from an Email Correspondence With Dave Armstrong and Some Others (circa January 12, 2006)]

And again:

[Y]ou were proving that you were not able to have a proper dialogue on these subjects...[P]art of a proper (or authentic) dialogue entails the participant actually listening to, entering into the views of, and interacting with the actual positions of the other party. You did none of these things...

Furthermore, you seem to think that responding to someone is the same as refuting them: I remember reading your stuff where you tried to claim that a circle was really a square and thinking you would make a good politician in how you went about that. But let us not consider your defenses of your original words but instead to what you originally said as that was the source from which any assertions made by yours truly attach themselves to. I may well go over that thread in detail (it is saved to this email site exactly as you posted it to potentially facilitate that occurring) and I could demonstrate if I have to exactly what I am saying. The problem is, you wrote it and now you seem to not want to be accountable for what you said and what you did for whatever reason. [Excerpt from an Email Correspondence With Dave Armstrong and Some Others (circa January 19, 2006)]

And yet again:

[Y]ou prove that you were not interested in dialogue in precisely what you note above: if you had no intention of interacting with my arguments then WHY THE HELL DID YOU POST ANYTHING ON THE SUBJECT TO BEGIN WITH???...

You should have had the decency to have admitted to it publicly rather than try to pretend that you wanted to dialogue...I take dialogue and the discussion of ideas seriously and have no interest in wasting it with sophists who talk the talk and then fail to walk the walk. And on those issues Dave, that is what you were acting as. Now one can act like a sophist without necessarily being one so do not read into this anything more than what I noted above: that on THIS ISSUE that is how you came across. That does not mean it necessarily translates into other areas too; ergo my reason for this clarification up front...

No Dave, I made a very logical and factual analysis with many facets to the equation and backed up every bit of it with sound analysis and you treated it from the get-go without an ounce of respect. Furthermore, you have admitted now exactly what I said all along about not only dodging my arguments but refusing to dialogue properly. Thanks for vindicating me Dave even if only in private. [Excerpts from an Email Correspondence With Dave Armstrong and Some Others (circa January 19, 2006)]

To summarize everything covered above in conclusion: I made the assertions at the time that Dave was not interested in dialogue, he did not interact with any of my arguments{9}, and he was attempting to argue publicly on issues he was woefully inadequate to discuss due to his own ignorance on the matter. All of these were substantiated at the time and they have been substantiated once again. This was done not merely by my own words but by looking in detail at Dave's original public utterings on these matters. My original assertions stand intact, stable, and valid and the historical record on the matter has been preserved in light of Dave's recent attempt at historical revisionism. And that is the bottom line really except that I see Dave in the same light as I do any number of sophists out there I could mention.{10} And however Dave tries to creatively re-explain what is written above in public or in private, what I have written above is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth as inconvenient a truth for Dave's position that it happens to be.

For Further Reading (if Interested):

My Other Threads on the Atomic Bomb Droppings, Military and Statistical Calculations, the Moral and Ethical Aspects of the Subject Matter in Question, Etc.

The A-Bomb Drops on Japan: Is There Room In the Catholic Conscience to Support Truman's Decision? (Greg Mockeridge)

Debunking Dave Armstrong’s “Consensus of Catholic Opinion” Argumentation Fallacy Viz. The Atomic Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki (Greg Mockeridge)

A Call for Honesty in Dialogue With I. Shawn McElhinney and Dave Armstrong (Kevin M. Tierney)

[Update: It was recently pointed out to me by a few people that the tonality of this posting detracted from the substance of the points I was making. I do not deny that I was positively livid when I drafted it and my anger was hardly unjustified. However, that does not mean that the manner whereby I responded is automatically appropriate or without deficiency in prudence. So with that in mind, I decided to revisit this posting from 2006 where invective so suffused the arguments I made as to render them far less persuasive to casual readers than they otherwise could have been.

To potentially render this enterprise more fruitful, I asked someone to act as a third party editor of sorts to review the postings and make suggestions of areas to be revised and others to be removed. (This person had no part whatsoever in the original controversy and to my knowledge is on good terms with all parties involved.) They agreed to review this post and made a number of suggested corrections. In all but one instance, I promptly made revisions where suggested and removed material that was recommended to be removed and resubmitted the proposed adjustments to them for follow-up critique, etc. This process continued until areas originally found problematical were adjusted to their satisfaction at which time I made the adjustments to the posting itself and republished it.

The revised posting before you is far more focused on my original arguments and hopefully provides much more light than heat unlike what was written previously. And though I stand by the substance of my original critiques, I do nonetheless profoundly regret letting my anger get the better of me in how I originally responded to Dave Armstrong in this post and extend to him through this effort as well as in words a most sincere apology. -SM 10/2/13]

Notes:

{1} The thread was tweaked a bit, expanded somewhat, and then posted on August 17th of 2005 with the title On Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and the Profound Problems With Ivory Tower Revisionist Pontifications.

{2} This is a common tactic of ideologues as a way of covering for their own embarrassing track record -something I noted in a recent "points to ponder" posting. (The appearance of which is appearing to be prescient in light of Dave's latest public attempt at historical revisionism.)

{3} I figured rather than speculate on this matter that I would contact the person in question to make sure I was representing their view correctly (and that Dave's representation was incorrect). Here is what Chris sent in response to my email request for clarification on that point:

That would be an accurate assessment, if only because I have not studied the issue (or military history) to the extent that is required to come to an informed decision. [Christopher Blosser: Email response to Shawn McElhinney (circa January 21, 2006)]

Chris' honesty on this matter (and frank admission of limitations on an issue) is refreshing. If only certain Michigan residents who claim the mantle of being an "apologist" had this same degree of humility but I digress.

{4} The summary link thread he included in the thread was a later addition to his post (post 8/26/05).

{5} See these threads for details:

Clarifying Some Additional Points on the Atomic Bombing Subject With Dave Armstrong (circa August 28, 2005)

"Armstrong Illusions" Dept.--Part I (circa September 6, 2005)

{6} This is of course a form of a fallacy called argumentum ad vericundiam; however it also entails what is called argumentum ad nausium. Or as I noted to Dave recently in an email correspondence:

Dave, here is the problem in a nutshell: you were chronicling opinions of others which were based on arguments I had already vaporized. You also quoted in doing this at times the precise arguments I dispatched with oftentimes as if they are still viable ones when they are not. That is not to say that arguments for the positions cannot be made but the ones you provided were smashed to pieces and thus in serious need of either being scrapped completely or significantly reworked. Since you were opposing my arguments and confutations of the arguments from which those sources based their opinions, you were engaging in the fallacy of questionable classification at best and argument to authority at worst. Either way, there is fallacy involved; ergo my assertion of argumentation fallacy was correct.

I only started focusing on appeal to authority when you started two kinds of fallacies at the same time: argumentum ad nausium and accompanied with the aforementioned argumentum ad vericundiam. The first was a continual reiteration of the same argument or unproven premises as if repetition of it constituted validity. (The repetition of unproven premises constituted what is called questionable premises btw.) The second was the repetition along the lines of "I profoundly disagree as does Paul VI, Bishop Sheen, Dwight Eisenhower, etc. etc. etc." Once you started doing that, you were engaging blatantly in argumentum ad vericundiam. I realize you think there is some clever distinction to be made between what you did and the latter but ultimately there is not and your attempt to claim there is puts the burden of proof on you to demonstrate it convincingly.

What you are doing would be like me claiming to "invent" a new kind of football defense whereby I put nine defenders on the line to go after the quarterback on every down emphasizing speed and surprise, etc. Then, when an astute football observer claimed that what I was doing was a duplicate of Buddy Ryan's old 46 Defense ala the mid 1980's Monsters of the Midway (Chicago Bears), I were to claim, "I am not ripping off Buddy Ryan and this is not the 46 Defense but instead it is the 'Seattle Hustle'" despite it being exactly the same thing as the schemes that Ryan and company ran. No one would take such an assertion (if I tried to make it) seriously nor should they. Likewise, you cannot ape argumentum ad vericundiam and then claim you are not doing it without being called to substantiate the differences. And thus far, you have not done it but have instead tried to claim (in what you wrote) that essentially the square is a circle. Sorry but that dog will not hunt Dave.

It is obvious that you are presuming something that is not only not self-evident but which if you tried that in a college course on logic and rational argumentation, the professor (if they are doing their job) would fail you for it. Furthermore, utilizing an unproven method as you claim you are doing is in itself a fallacious form of argumentation. It is (as I noted earlier) a form of what is called questionable premise incidentally which basically means that if you utilize or accept an argument based on a premise that your opposition would find either questionable, the argument contains an integral begging of the question or (in other words) another fallacy. [Excerpts from an Email Correspondence With Dave Armstrong and Some Others (circa January 19, 2006)]

{7} See this thread for details:

Briefly on the Founding Fathers and Propagandistic Uses of Their Words (circa September 5, 2004)

I did not know at the time that the person I was critical of in that post had gotten their references from Buchanan; however readers need to consider this significant scholarly problem on the part of Dave's supposed expert source here and whether or not they should uncritically accept anything he says on any subject whatsoever.

{8} See footnote six.

{9} He did later on make some arguments on the subject of double effect but he argued out of context in normative and subjective ways rather than non-normative and objective ways: the context I originally argued in and the context in which the moral and ethical principle of double effect is properly understood. (And I have admitted to him attempting an argument on that issue.)

{10}See this thread to understand the parallel:

On Dialogue and When it is a Waste of Time (circa September 25, 2005)

I know this will not sit well with Dave but it is unfortunately the truth as this thread more than amply demonstrates.

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