Saturday, March 18, 2006

Points to Ponder:

When oppressed people read Mr. Chomsky’s article, they are bound to be deeply confused. For how are they going to reconcile the harrowing fact of their subjugation with the celebration by a famous western intellectual of their supposed freedom on the pages of a respectable British daily?

How can anyone among us explain to these poor souls the meaning of Mr. Chomsky’s monstrous claim?

The truth is we can’t. Mr. Chomsky’s anomalous reasoning is the symptom of a psychological condition for which there is no simple rational explanation. Still, there is a little something we can do. We can at least define it.

I would hereby like to coin the term “Chomsky Paradox.” The Chomsky Paradox is a singular phenomenon which takes place in the brain of a western leftist when he looks at an oppressed people and thinks they are free.

I am aware that it is nearly impossible to conceive how anyone could see the world in this way, but apparently there are such people and Mr. Chomsky is one of them. Long, indeed, is the stretch from un-free to free as the two are diametrical opposites. Logic, reason and language fail us when we try to understand the thought process which led Mr. Chomsky to arrive at his conclusion, but now we at least have a term by which to call it. [Vasko Kohlmayer]

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Reasoning and Logic Revisited (Part Deux):
(With Apolonio Latar III)

As in the previous installment of this thread, my previous words will be in blue font, any previously cited words from others will be in darkgreen font, and any sources I cite will be in darkblue font.

Hey Shawn,

Hi Apolonio

This is actually interesting since it keeps my mind awake during spring break.

:)

I do not think any college courses actually teach the rudimentary parts of logic and reason. Granted, these can sometimes be developed further in college classes (or even retarded in many instances) but the ingredients are generally put into place prior to college for most people who are capable of rational thought.

Response:
The bad thing about taking a logic course in my experience here is that people who teach them are graduate students. It became really boring and I just didn't want to get into it. It was all about memorization and not enough about interacting with arguments. The more I think about it, I could have learned it by my own. And this is actually what I am learning now. The things you learn in college, you can really learn by your own...unless, of course, there is a really good professor or a well-known philosopher/theologian with his own ideas that you would want to learn about first hand.


And how often are there teachers like that???

Kreeft is good certainly but I am hesitant to recommend individuals over the tools required for someone to ascertain these factors themselves. There is too much of a tendency to lionize people when we recommend individuals rather than common approaches or tools that a variety of great thinkers have possessed and utilized.

Response:
That's true. The reason why I recommended the Kreeft dialogues is that it is a good start to detect fallacies. They're also entertaining and makes you keep reading. And the more you see how one can detect fallacies, the more you will detect fallacies when having an argument. Of course there are many other things involved, but it's a good start, at least for me.


Ok.

The words "other than" seem to suggest that there are no other premises that one can reject an argument except when it is invalid.

There is a difference between dismissing an argument and rejecting it. My criticism is the former not the latter.

Response:
You got me there. I think you could have hammered me a bit more, but you were just being modest :-)


Perhaps.

Point two involves a self-reference point which is circular. It would be akin to me saying "hey Apolonio, I am an honest fella. If you do not believe me then just ask me." The root of the whole statement therefore involves the fallacy of begging the question.

Response:
(2) was a premise, not an argument though. I will say more on this below. But let me get to (2), which is, "'Hamlet' refers to Hamlet." I don't think it is a self-reference point. If it is self-referring, it means that "Hamlet" refers to "Hamlet" and not Hamlet. In other words, the name Hamlet would refer to the name Hamlet, and not the character Hamlet. But let us grant that it is self-referring. Is it vicious? Certainly, "Shawn McElhinney" refers to you and there is nothing wrong with that.


I guess the question is if you are referring to it as an identifying trait or not.

Also, if everything referred to must exist then you are claiming that certain mathematical derivations such as the square root of negative one exist when in reality they do not.

Response:
The square root of negative one is meaningful, but has no referent.


It is a fictional integer which cannot be proven to exist but is assumed in order for higher math formularies to be computed. In a sense, one assumes something they cannot prove to do higher math much as one assumes that anything we say or do has any relevance to reality at all. Technically, we cannot prove the latter since we assume what we intend to prove so it is begging the question. That is why at bottom it requires faith in order to utilize reason and logic at all.

And of course I can refer to nothing and by your assertion, nothing exists.

Response:
Well, (2) was talking about proper names or names in general. The person must exist if the name refers.


If you had a split personality, would naming the other personality mean that there was a different person per se??? Not necessarily.

Now, the word "nothing" is actually a very interesting word. But it is not a name of an object, but a quantifier and the scope of the quantifier is embedded in the context. Suppose, though, that you said, "Nothing exist." The proposition is not true and therefore does not refer.

But if you are using the word "nothing" to refer to an absence of something, then you are using it as a kind of name.

And since most reasonable people would look at my Riverside Shakespeare book and see the play of Hamlet, they would conclude that something referred to as Hamlet exists; ergo point three is falsified as well.

Response:
I don't think Hamlet exists. This is actually a fun topic to discuss, that is, fiction characters and this is where I think Al Plantinga is wrong in his metaphysics. I take "existence" as that which an ordinary person takes it to be, meaning that they take the word to mean that which is real.


But of course this is a controverted subject matter. You have gone from non-normative to normative argumentation in the above paragraph and thus have context-switched.

Now, one might say, "Well, he's real since he's a real character." And I think that's where the confusion is. He is *not* a real character. What then does "Hamlet" refer to? It doesn't.

Hamlet could be said to be progeny of the mind of William Shakespeare.

"Hamlet" is simply a property, or a description such as, "the son of Gertrude." In other words, we must distinguish between a property or a "sense" with the referent. Frege (and Russell with his definite description theory) noted this a long time ago (although it does have its problems as Kripke and others have shown). For example, "Hesperus" and "Phosphorus" have the same referent, but have different senses, one being the evening star and the other being the morning star.

Okay my highly educated friend, now things are getting hard to follow...

So with the first step being falsified by violating non-contradiction, the second being built on the fallacy of begging the question, and the third falsified by demonstration, it would appear to me that my original assertion remains intact.

Response:
But that shows the premise is built upon a fallacious argument, not that the premise itself is fallacious, which would show that the premise is false. So far, you might have shown that the argument built upon the premises are false, but that simply shows that arguments are false.


What you noted did not disprove my original assertion. Furthermore, if the premise is built on a fallacious argument, it is in invalid premise at least in how you phrased it.

My point in the statement was that arguments or positions need to be weighed on their respective merits or lack thereof and any attempt to dismiss them on any other premise then that is going to have an intrinsic fallacy to it somewhere.

Response:
Then I think I agree with that. I think that's a better stated principle than the first one.


Ok.

The fallacy of non-sequitur comes to mind when reading the above syllogism. (There is no reason to logically presume that one would not know they have hands if they do not know they are not a brain in a vat: the latter is one possibility sure but not the only possiblity.) Furthermore, the validity of an argument cannot be accepted if one of the premises is obviously false without violating the law of non-contradiction; ergo there is an intrinsic invalidity to the above argument as you structured it and my original assertion remains intact.

Response:
Oh no! You're not going to deny closure are you?


It depends on how things are structured. If you mean do I deny that an argument can be resolved into a solution, then obviously I do not. (The logical end result of that would be relativism.) But the idea that all attempts at an argument achieve closure yes I do deny that.

Take the argument again:

(4) I do not know that I am not a brain in a vat (BIV)

Double negative. You are essentially saying that you know you are a brain in a vat. Of course how you know this is not explained but instead it is presumed. So at the very least, this would appear to be a questionable premise situation which is itself fallacious form argumentation known as fallacious even if valid.

(5) If I do not know that I am not a BIV, then I do not know that I have hands.

So if you know you are a brain in a vat you do not know if you have hands???

(6) I do not know that I have hands.

This step is technically unnecessary since it is covered in step five if you account for the double negative.

I actually had a similar position of yours and then read the problems of it. Dretske denies the principle of closure and there are problems with that. See "The Case for Closure" by John Hawthorne[.]

I would also disagree with you that the argument is invalid. *If* (4) and (5) are true, then (6) must be true. That's why it is valid. I think you were referring to soundness on your last statement rather than validity right?

Well, is there not a lack of soundness in a double negative approach in argumentation would you not agree??? ;-) But yes, the argument above is fallacious even if valid...I probably overstepped a bit in my rush to finish the email to say it was invalid (mea culpa!!!). But the charge of fallaciousness is still applicable so the end is the same even if the means of arriving there differ. (See, I can get all Scholastic too.)

One could also argue that the statement itself constituted a false dilemma and thus was logically fallacious from the get-go.

Response:
I think "If evil exist, then God does not exist" constitutes a false dilemma, but it makes the proposition false, not fallacious.


False dilemma is a fallacy whether in premise or argumentation.

Nice to have this exchange however geeky or exciting it looks :-)

Well, I am sure of the seven people who followed this sequence, maybe three of them remained interested.

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Friday, March 17, 2006

Points to Ponder:

A good college education is usually more of time management, not really how smart you are. [Apolonio Latar III]

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Thursday, March 16, 2006

Reasoning and Logic Revisited:
(With Apolonio Latar III)

My previous words will be in blue font, any previously cited words from others will be in darkgreen font, and any sources I cite will be in darkblue font.

Hey Shawn,

This is a follow-up to your recent post at Rerum Novarum. It's not a critique, but a "supplement."

"Most of my education of this sort was self-obtained because colleges do not teach people how to think. That is why I am and always have been critical of those who try to ascribe knowledge to higher education degrees and the like: the two are not one and the same."

Response:
I guess it depends on what college you are in. A good college education is usually more of time management, not really how smart you are.


I think I may use that in a future points to ponder thread.

There are many smart people in college who fail because of laziness.

I could have gotten better grades than I did in several classes but a number of factors were involved in me getting what I got (laziness may have been a small part of it in retrospect but the primary factors were other things). As a result, my cumulative GPA was good but not great.

But here in Rutgers, I did learn who to think critically. One course I had was "Advanced Sophomore Philosophy" which I took pride in and when I got into the class, I thought I made a mistake. It was pretty much math and science and I hated it. But it did get me to think. Got a B in that class and I was glad. Another course was philosophy of language which I will get to in a sec.

I do not think any college courses actually teach the rudimentary parts of logic and reason. Granted, these can sometimes be developed further in college classes (or even retarded in many instances) but the ingredients are generally put into place prior to college for most people who are capable of rational thought.

The acquisition of knowledge and the prevailing tendency to challenge conventional wisdom more and more got me into dutch in college when I would challenge presuppositions of my professors in some areas.

Response:
I came to my first philosophy class ready to refute the professor which was a sign of pride. It was Stephen Stich. I came to his office hours and argued for God's existence. I was using the argument that we cannot trust our cognitive faculties if we admit naturalism and we went back and forth. I asked him, "Do animals have beliefs?" And he said, "Yes." I actually didn't know how to argue against it then. The stupid part was that his expertise is on philosophy of mind and I should have known better and research more of it rather than just try to nail him on things. I learned my lesson.


To your credit, you learned from this mistake. Far too many people do not learn a similar lesson -including not a few who call themselves "apologists" or "beholden to the living magisterium alone" or whatever.

This might sound like a stupid question, but which book/website would you recommend for a person that is interested in logic and the many fallacies people fall into when debating or discussing a topic?

I would recommend any Peter Kreeft dialogues.

Kreeft is good certainly but I am hesitant to recommend individuals over the tools required for someone to ascertain these factors themselves. There is too much of a tendency to lionize people when we recommend individuals rather than common approaches or tools that a variety of great thinkers have possessed and utilized.

However, there is a general principle that I follow and which I would recommend to you and to anyone else and it is this:

---Anything that seeks to dismiss an argument on any premise other than "is this a valid premise/argument or not" is intrinsically fallacious.

Response:
I guess I disagree with that principle.


Ok.

The words "other than" seem to suggest that there are no other premises that one can reject an argument except when it is invalid.

There is a difference between dismissing an argument and rejecting it. My criticism is the former not the latter.

For example, take this argument:

(1) Everything referred to must exist.
(2) 'Hamlet' refers to Hamlet.
(3) Hamlet does not exist.


This seems to be a valid argument.

One could point to two fallacies in the above analogy.

If everything referred to must exist, and 'Hamlet' refers to Hamlet, then Hamlet does not exist.

Point two involves a self-reference point which is circular. It would be akin to me saying "hey Apolonio, I am an honest fella. If you do not believe me then just ask me." The root of the whole statement therefore involves the fallacy of begging the question.

But suppose one rejects (2) because he believes it is false. It seems to me that it is not fallacious to reject (2) because he believes it is false.

See my previous comment. Also, if everything referred to must exist then you are claiming that certain mathematical derivations such as the square root of negative one exist when in reality they do not. And of course I can refer to nothing and by your assertion, nothing exists. But if nothing exists, then how can one verify this since there is nothing to verify. Ergo, we have formal contradiction and you have to either accept nothing existing on faith or recognize that not everything referred to actually exists. But once you do that, you implode the syllogism at the first step. And since most reasonable people would look at my Riverside Shakespeare book and see the play of Hamlet, they would conclude that something referred to as Hamlet exists; ergo point three is falsified as well.

So with the first step being falsified by violating non-contradiction, the second being built on the fallacy of begging the question, and the third falsified by demonstration, it would appear to me that my original assertion remains intact.

My point in the statement was that arguments or positions need to be weighed on their respective merits or lack thereof and any attempt to dismiss them on any other premise then that is going to have an intrinsic fallacy to it somewhere. This is on the plane of pure reason and logic mind you. Obviously with matters of faith they to some extent transcend pure reason and logic though (of course) they are not contrary to reason and logic properly understood.

Or take the argument:

(4) I do not know that I am not a brain in a vat (BIV)
(5) If I do not know that I am not a BIV, then I do not know that I have hands.
(6) I do not know that I have hands.


This is a valid argument. Yet, one can accept its validity but still reject the argument because one premise (5) is false.

The fallacy of non-sequitur comes to mind when reading the above syllogism.{1} Furthermore, the validity of an argument cannot be accepted if one of the premises is obviously false without violating the law of non-contradiction; ergo there is an intrinsic invalidity to the above argument as you structured it and my original assertion remains intact.

One of the things I learned when dealing with arguments is analyzing the language. For example, take your statement:

Anything that seeks to dismiss an argument on any premise other than "is this a valid premise/argument or not" is intrinsically fallacious.

One way to show how an argument is bad is to show in what way the words used can be refined. Regarding the statement above, the words used are "is this a valid premise/argument or not." What I would ask is, in what way can this statement be true and be false? How can it be refined? The words "valid premise" can mean something. It might mean that premises 1,2, and 3 are invalid which is fine. Yet, it can also mean, is such a premise valid? But validity means, if the premises are true and logical, then the conclusion must be true. In other words, validity refers to arguments, not premises. Premises, on the other hand, are either true or false, not really valid or invalid.

Actually, there are arguments which are fallacious even if they are valid and arguments which are fallacious because they are invalid. But I do not want to go off on too many tangents here. Furthermore, you overstate things when you say that validity means, if the premises are true and logical, then the conclusion must be true. It would be more accurate to say that validity means, if the premises appear true and logical, that the conclusion they support is likely true. Strictly speaking, reason and logic work best as negativizing elements; meaning, if I give you ten varying theories,{2} an examination of them would be most productive if one centers on falsifying one or more of them to eliminate the probability of choosing an invalid theory amongst those pro-offered.{3}

That's probably one of my advices especially when it comes to modal logic, that is, to see in *what way* a word can be ambiguous which makes the argument weaker. In other words, what possibilities are there for such a proposition be considered false? Take the premise:

"If evil exists, then God does not exist."

"If, then" (p-->q) statements are entailment statements. This means that there is no possible world where p is true and q false.

I will touch on this in a moment.

As long as you can think of a possibility where p is true and q is false, then the argument fails.

True.

With regards to the statement above, it is possible that God would allow evil and not let His creatures know the good that comes out of it.

True.

Maybe God has a reason that we cannot know why evil exists, but it is for a greater good. Such is a possibility.


True.

Therefore, it is possible that evil exists and God exists.


True.

Therefore, the statement above is false.

One could also argue that the statement itself constituted a false dilemma and thus was logically fallacious from the get-go.

Well, it's late at night and I just wanted to exercise my mind. If what I said above is annoying (I would probably be annoyed when I read it tomorrow), I apologize in advance.

No problems.

I remember arguing with a person who always analyzed word by word and I hated it because he took everything literally and didn't understand words that we assume we know. Yet, that's actually a strength when it comes to argumentation.

True. Hope what is noted above does not annoy you :)

[Update: This thread was extended in a followup posting which can be read HERE. - ISM 3/30/06 4:00pm]

Notes:

{1} There is no reason to logically presume that one would not know they have hands if they do not know they are not a brain in a vat: the latter is one possibility sure but not the only possiblity.

{2} [W]hen one is dealing with a theory, they are dealing with both abstract notions as well as coordinating dynamic principles of action. One of the author's intellectual mentors once defined a theory as "a set of non contradictory abstract ideas (or as philosophers like to call them 'principles') which purports to be either a correct description of reality or a guideline for successful action."...

Having established a working meaning of the term theory, it is worth noting also that the word thesis according to the Merriam Webster Thesaurus is related to the word theory. (Both of them having a foundation in the term assumption.) A good way of looking at this in the current context is to view a thesis as "an abstract principle or proposition to be advanced and to be maintained by argument" and a theory as incorporating a thesis -or a series of theses -with a guideline for successful action. The reason for this is because a theory by its nature must involve either (i) a correct description of reality or (ii) a guideline for successful action. For this reason, any viable theory involves several principles if you will which work together.

Or another way of looking at it would be to consider that a theory is being conceived of a series of non contradictory coordinative theses or points of presupposition. When viewed in this light, a theory clearly is only as strong as the theses which support it. [Excerpt from the Rerum Novarum Miscellaneous BLOG (circa January 14, 2004)]

{3} Assuming for a moment that the correct description of reality or proper guideline for successful action is found amongst the ones I presented to you of course.

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Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Points to Ponder:

The first requirement of anyone engaging in an intellectual or academic debate is that he or she be able to give a proper account of the opposing position(s). [Christopher Hitchens (circa March 1, 2006)]

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A Picture From January's Vacation:

I took a few while down there but this one in particular (of a staplet owned by my good friend Tim Tull) I could not resist ;-)

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Monday, March 13, 2006

"Restrain Your Leaps of Illogic" Dept.
(With Apologies to Mr. Spock)

[Update: I tweaked this thread a bit earlier today and included a few more links in spots, fixed the tense in a couple of sentences, etc. - ISM 3/14/06 12:00pm]

Though this is a dip into the mailbag, the subject is argumentation fallacies. And though the emailer does not themselves engage in any, based on the subject of what they sent me, I could not resist bringing a Mr. Spock quote into the mix. Nonetheless...

Dear Shawn,

I really enjoy reading your website, you've obviously been educated well and I appreciate the information you post in regard to argumentation fallacies.

Most of my education of this sort was self-obtained because colleges do not teach people how to think. That is why I am and always have been critical of those who try to ascribe knowledge to higher education degrees and the like: the two are not one and the same. I learned principles for utilizing reason and logic both directly as well as indirectly very early on from several sources which placed an emphasis on it either explicitly or by logical inference. I noted this process (and some of the influences I had) in the blogosphere book meme from last year.

The acquisition of knowledge and the prevailing tendency to challenge conventional wisdom more and more got me into dutch in college when I would challenge presuppositions of my professors in some areas.{1} It became more and more apparent to me over time (and continues to this very day) that most people do not properly utilize the tools of logic and reason nor do they care to.

This might sound like a stupid question, but which book/website would you recommend for a person that is interested in logic and the many fallacies people fall into when debating or discussing a topic?

That is a question I will have to think about because I cannot recall any offhand that deal with the matter in more than a snapshot format. However, there is a general principle that I follow and which I would recommend to you and to anyone else and it is this:

---Anything that seeks to dismiss an argument on premises other than "is this a valid premise/argument or not" is intrinsically fallacious.

That is the essence of the problem in a nutshell, the rest is to varying degrees commentary.

I have been following the Stephen Hand discourse, and he seems to be stepping into all kinds of logical fallacies and lazy thinking patterns.

Without question. This is something I have pointed out many times and is presumably a key reason he avoids me like the plague. Logic and reason are tools he and not a few of his ideological allies either do not have or do not know how to properly utilize. This is most glaringly evident when one peruses the public threads where those sorts dogmatizing of issues where they lack the necessary competence to discuss the complexities involved therein. Combine this with an obvious ahistorical weltanschauung and the combination is for rational thought and analysis what one part carbon and one part oxygen is for breathing. That is why he refuses to be accountable for his past statements or to explain what he means in his utilization of various buzzwords ala the deadagenting tactics common to cult leaders.

I want to become better acquainted with these techniques in argumentation.

Ok. I will continue to illustrate various facets as they come up in the natural sphere of things. But a good place to also look is any attempt to distract from the validity or lack thereof of an argument or position. That is not to say that one cannot do the latter at all of course, only that if it is not obviously a significantly ancillary element to dealing with the validity/invalidity of the argument question, then there will inexorably be an intrinsic argumentation fallacy somewhere in the mix.{2}

I have a bachelors degree in finance/economics and an mba, but I never was exposed to this type of thought, and it interests me greatly.

If it helps, I did not learn any of this stuff in my courses in finance, marketing, international business, Japanese business models, international political economy, accounting, business law, international business, economics, psychology, mathematics, or any other college courses taken. The seeds were set down prior to college and I cultivated them throughout my time in college (apart from college itself) and afterwards up to the present day. But none of it was learned in school and that is a sad commentary on what people are taught in school today.

I have had professors of philosophy and theology tell me I should teach classes but in all honesty, only three subjects interest me if I should ever consider teaching as a side-project of sorts. The first is the inculcation of rational principles for productive human physiological development and the second would be the study of the role of law in a just society. Both of these involve by logical extension the cultivation of tools of reason and logic if the person is to get anywhere in properly grasping them.

The third subject is one I mentioned to my good friend Tim Tull, a WWII maestro who has returned to college{3} to pursue a career in engineering. We were hiking in Santa Cruz back in January (when I was on vacation) and the subject of the woeful nature of constitutional understanding was brought up. I mentioned offhand that I might take up as a hobby teaching a class on that subject at some point; ergo those are the three subjects that interest me teaching-wise. All of them have a foundation in understanding reason and logic and would have to involve at least some primer in those areas before the meat of the material could be gotten to.

Thanks. I appreciate your input and insight.

Well, I do what I can. In truth, it bothers me that these matters have to be discussed at all. However, I find myself in my escalating chronological age{4} becoming more and more irritated at the profound lacunas that people have in these areas.

Notes:

{1} Of course being a young smartass at the time probably did not help either but live and learn I suppose.

{2} For an example of the kinds of fallacies that come up regularly, see this thread where I interacted with some made in response to a Wikipedia article on one of my earliest intellectual mentors. (I added four paragraphs to the Wikipedia article on the late Mike Mentzer earlier today.)

{3} Tim wrote an article for the California College Republicans which was also posted to this weblog as a Guest Editorial on the problems with college faculties and true diversity. You can read it if you are interested at the link below:

Guest Editorial on Colleges and Their Lack of Faculty Diversity (Tim Tull)

{4} I say "chronological age" because I look much younger than I am and (usually) feel much younger too (though not today lol). And the goal this year is to be in the best condition of my life by my next birthday...something I wanted to do last year but for various and sundry reasons (including lacking the right motivations) could not be tended to at that time. But the old inner intensity I used to have was only partially realized in recent years. It took an unfortunate loss last year of a good friend: a loss that hit me very hard and close to home. It bothers me that it took that to respark the fire but one must take their motivations where they get them I suppose.

As it is now, I am focusing on cardio stuff with the exception of working certain harder muscles like calves, forearms, abs, and the lower back spinal erectors. I do not anticipate a return to full training until I lose twenty more pounds however long that takes. (As I have resumed a journal counting calories, protein, and the like, right now it looks like May of 2006 will be the time for that.) But I digress.

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Sunday, March 12, 2006

Responding to Various Assertions of Stephen Hand:

[Update: I tweaked two parts of this post earlier today - ISM 3/13/06 11:10am]

This material was posted in Christopher Blosser's comments box but problems with posting the various threads resulted in a number of glitches. For that reason, I have moved the thread to this weblog to correct those glitches. And while this material would be perfect for posting to The Chronicles of Hand, at the moment I will not do that and instead make a longer thread posting at this time to this humble weblog. Mr. Hand's words will be in black font.

Though any number of errors and misunderstandings could be pointed out in Mr. Hand's natterings on this thread, this one is admittedly one I cannot resist dealing with so here goes:

The Jews have their interests (which does not include allowing Palestinians who lived in Palestine for 2,000 years to return and compete in a real democracy, as even liberal Jews themselves lament) as all groups do.

If Ye All Knowing Handness knew his history, he would know that Palestine was named by the British after the Balfour Declaration and included all inhabitants of the areas including the Jews!!! Most of the land that later was made into the state of Israel was owned by the Jewish settlers who settled there in the nineteenth century and developed the desolate territory into a habitable one.

Furthermore, there were more Jews than Arabs in Israel prior to 1939 when Britain (who controlled the territory at the time under the auspices of the League of Nations) curtailed Jewish immigration but did nothing to check the massive infiltration of Arabs after that time.

By 1948, there were more Arabs than Jews but the creation of the state of Israel was not a taking of land from the Arabs to give to the Jews as the historically ignorant assert. Instead, it was a recognition of the previous century of Jewish emigration to the area and obtaining the land fair and square.

Those called the "Palestinians" today were the late arrivals on the scene and they were not there "for 2000 years." It is really difficult to take seriously those who make these kinds of assertions. But then again, Santayana's dictum was not enunciated without reason and it was because far too many people do not care to study and learn from actual history but prefer to believe whatever revisionist nonsense confirms their particular ideology.

While we are at it, let us touch on a few others in no particular order...

Homework: Try to figure our the difference between the celibacy suggestion and opposition to the Vatican / Pope on the war.

Simple. The celibacy requirement is a matter of ecclesiastical discipline which falls under the prerogatives of papal primacy and the viewpoints on the war do not. Another way of saying it is that the celibacy position falls at least indirectly under the rubric of Lumen Gentium 25 requiring religious submission and the position on the war does not: a distinction with a difference.

...apart from some interesting incidental matters, found it deficient on the major issues it sought to address, being knee-jerk uncritical with regard to things political; it was an ideologically driven diatribe which strained at the gnats and ignored the brutal facts...

The above is a good self-diagnosis of much of your own work Stephen. I have always thought your best stuff is when you stay away from geopolitical issues and focus on more mystical stuff. Teilhard was no theologian but he wrote very poetically... your best stuff has the same traits to it. However, poets are like artists and both of them do not as a rule make good geopolitical commentators.

Some of your most influential neocon mentors have left you behind

Since you raise that derisive epithet once again as a shibboleth, how about explaining it for the benefit of others??? Or have you forgotten about that challenge as well...your bobbing and weaving on the matter would put Jack Dempsey, Jersey Joe Walcott, and Muhammed Ali to shame :(

This is also the reason you and your friends have been so preoccupied with TCR---using the most fallacious and ridiculous arguments and ignoring replies

Stephen, I have not read TCR since October of last year except to check things people have sent to me. The last time I read your site was in composing the four questions I set forth for you to answer at that time and I did so because David Jones deleted the threads from his site where I originally got your statements.{2} I challenge you for the ninth time since October to be a man and be accountable for your past statements. And if my work is so shoddy and seventh-rate as you claim, you should be able to prove it by responding substantively to those questions.{3} And while you are at it, you can respond to the "neo-con" challenge to explain what a so-called "neo-con" is and define your use of terms rather than continue to lazily throw an undefined term around as you have a very bad habit of doing.

Shawn thinks the A-bomb on Japan was morally justified.

The bombings as conducted can be justified by Catholic moral and ethical principles yes. I recognize that some may well disagree with this assessment and I have no problem with that provided that proper canons of Christian charity and magisterial guidelines are observed of course.

Thus far though, the only one who has disagreed with me on that matter who has actually sought to (i) keep the subject civil, (ii) observe the aforementioned canons on charity and magisterial guidelines, and (iii) make actual arguments against what I wrote (and not throw out a slew of argumentation fallacies and various polemical devices) was Jim Scott. I obviously do not agree with his arguments and he does not agree with mine but we agree to disagree and leave it at that. Incidentally that is what Catholics are supposed to do with issues where there is no Catholic doctrine involved.

Now there's discernment!

Well, if you knew how to utilize reason and logic properly, you would realize that yes, there was discernment involved in coming to that conclusion.

The Popes called it butchery.

Of course it is doubtful that the popes have looked into these matters as I have done Stephen...they have many other things on their plate of far greater importance. Furthermore, I have been privy to information going into those decisions that the popes were not and are not. But that is neither here nor there.

As far as the decrying of death by the popes after those bombings, how could they do otherwise Stephen??? Death is never to be celebrated; however, sometimes it happens in the course of just or otherwise morally acceptable circumstances. The popes also decried the distruction of WWII: a just war opposed to both Nazi and Japanese military aggression. I would frankly be concerned if any pope ever celebrated wartime destruction and loss of life. Even just wars and legitimate military targets/maneuvers can result in the loss of life. That does not mean though that the war so fought or the military targets/maneuvers are therefore unacceptable.

But Shawn knows better than any pope!

Notice the logical fallacy of argumentum ad vericundiam here in appealing to the opinions or conclusions of a given authority rather than assessing their actual arguments for merit or lack thereof.

You will find we agree and differ with Catholic Workers in some points, antiwar activists in some points, neocons in some points, progressives in some points, even the Vatican in some points...etc, etc. That was called critical thinking when I went to school, Chris.

Guess what Stephen??? I agree and disagree with a panopoly of people and groups too. Agreement and disagreement in and of itself does not ipso factp constitute "critical thinking" though...

You accused me of "sedition". Remember that?

Yes I do and I meant every syllable of it.

After Horowitz's site accused Justion Raimondo of the same thing and threatened him with death. Read it.

I first explicitly blogged on the issue of sedition three years ago which was before David Horowitz said anything about Justin Raimondo.

Furthermore, I am well aware of what the penalty for those convicted of sedition could be Mr. Hand. I do not believe threatening anyone (even someone as distasteful as Justin Raimondo) with death is a good idea; ergo if that is what Horowitz did{3} then he was wrong to do it. However, Horowitz is right that Raimondo certainly engages in seditious behaviour but the proper approach to that is to reinstate the sedition act and try such people under the law. And (of course) not all who are found guilty of sedition are necessarily to be given the same penalty as there are degrees involved here as well.

Honestly, you remind me of those who say that because I oppose abortion and believe it is murder that I therefore must favour convicting as murderers every woman or girl who has ever gotten an abortion.{4} It is not that simple and the subject of sedition is no different.

And Shawn is supposed to be considered seriously?? Pleeeze.

Why should anyone take you seriously Stephen??? I at least make viable arguments for my positions which others can look at and assess on their merits. By stark contrast, you engage in a panopoly of logical fallacies and expect those with a normal intact functioning brain to take you seriously.

He burns incense to false gods and the imperium and would turn Christians in to the State, one fears.

Genuine Christians are not seditionists Mr. Hand. If you knew your church history very well you would know this. However, reacting without reasoning is your stock in trade; ergo you make assertions akin to the above. I have never made an assertion about you or anyone else that I have not substantiated by argument Stephen. By the starkest of contrasts, you make unsubstantiated assertions about me and others all the time. Whether your approach or mine is the more Christian one I will leave for the readers to decide...I have no doubt how most casual readers would decide the matter.

As far as the so-called "neo-conned" series, I have said it many times before and I say it again Stephen: I have seen very little (to put it nicely) in the way of substantive argumentation from your camp and that includes the persons who wrote articles for the book you are speaking of. It has gotten to the point to where I have handed over to a friend of mine arguments to use against me in a dialogue we will have on the war to persuade them to take up the mantle and represent the antiwar side intelligently. But enough on that matter for now.

The answer Shawn is to turn your intellect in humility to the Gospels, not to George Bush; to the Church, not to Rumsfeld; to the Pope, not to Michael Novak and Richard John Neuhaus and Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity.

You know Mr. Hand, you betray your ignorance of my views everytime you open your mouth about me. If you were paying attention at all, you would know that I am hardly a fan of President Bush's at all. Nor do I care much for Bill O'Reilly or Sean Hannity as a rule. I also am not a disciple of Michael Novak's{5} and I think Rumsfeld is hit and miss. And while I do read Fr. Neuhaus; nonetheless, he and I do not always see eye to eye on issues.

Furthermore, you once again tacitly presume that the pope by virtue of his office has a special charism for geopolitical matters. I have explained many times before why an objective assessment of church history (including recent church history) should disabuse any sane person of this naiveity but you continue to perpetuate it. You certainly have that right but do not expect those who respect logic and reason to go along with your "logic" since the latter sorts do not respect the antics of SNUFS{6} like you.

But since agreement wherever it can be found should be acknowledged, I want to conclude this thread by concurring with Stephen and Christopher that Dale Vree and NOR are not antisemitic (their other problems aside for a moment).

Notes:

{1} That made it necessary in my mind to see if you duplicated any of those statements on your site so I could link to them.

{2} I added the word "substantively" so that you do not get it into your head that any response to those questions will suffice.

{3} Assuming that is what he said of course: your trackrecord for accurately representing the views of other people or properly citing sources is hardly something a normal person would be proud of (to put it nicely).

{4} I heard that schtick again when listening to your allies on the so-called "progressive" radio network while I was smacking around the punching bag at the gym yesterday.

{5} I am not against the man, I have simply read very little of his stuff over the years and his influence on my outlook is miniscule if at all for that reason.

{6} Miscellaneous Notes on the Unsavoury Antics of Certain Catholic Personages

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