Saturday, February 17, 2007

Revisiting the Subjects of Evolution and the Importance of Rational Thought:
(From the Mailbag)

This was a response on a discussion list to someone who took issue with some books on the subject of evolution that were recommended for their edification. Their words in reply will be in dark red font.

On 2/14/07, XXXXX XXXXXXX wrote:
My friend, I have read these and several other books on evolution. After much research from both sides of this debate I'm afraid I must personally conclude that the theory of evolution is just that - a theory. It is not based on scientific evidence but on speculation and wishful thinking and the part of atheistic scientists.

XXXXX, as I have told many people over the years (including not a few incautious "apologist" sorts), a theory is not a will-o-wisp conjecture. It is instead at the apex of rational inquiry and a solid point of reference for intellectual exposition. Art is correct that your statements show you lack a proper understanding of science or any training which would presume to lend any authority to your opinions provided that the latter were advanced and sustained by rational argumentation. I would like to take the occasion of your note to remind people of the building blocks of rational thought. The first is a thesis which I have defined as follows:

Thesis: An abstract principle or proposition
to be advanced and maintained by argument.

A thesis is essentially a position that you assert before it has been substantiated by argument. Scientists who advance theses on evolution and people of your outlook who make statements against it are both on the same playing field. Where it differs is in the realm of the hypothesis. The latter is defined as follows:

Hypothesis: An explanation of a subject, circumstance, or event which is advanced on tentative grounds by a proposed thesis or series of theses and is open to further examination or being potentially disproved before it reaches the stature of a viable theory.

A hypothesis in other words is a thesis or a coordinative series of theses which are set forth in explanatory form for examination, testing, etc. for potential flaws which could invalidate it. Among the flaws in potentia (but by no means the only ones) are errors of fact, errors in logic, formal contradiction, etc. If a hypothesis withstands this kind of scrutiny and remains intact, it can validly be considered a theory. A theory is therefore defined as follows:

Theory: A set of non-contradictory abstract ideas (or as philosophers like to call them, principles) which purports to give either a correct description of reality or a guideline for successful action.

A theory in other words is a solid point of reference and is not to be dismissed as a mere whim. And that evolution is past the point of a hypothesis has been recognized by major church leaders in recent years including the late pontiff John Paul II.

When Pope John Paul II said in a 1996 Allocution to the Pontifical Academy of the Sciences that evolution was "more than a mere hypothesis", he was by logical extension referring to it as a theory properly understood. To wit:

Taking into account the scientific research of the era, and also the proper requirements of theology, the encyclical Humani Generis treated the doctrine of "evolutionism" as a serious hypothesis, worthy of investigation and serious study, alongside the opposite hypothesis. Pius XII added two methodological conditions for this study: one could not adopt this opinion as if it were a certain and demonstrable doctrine, and one could not totally set aside the teaching Revelation on the relevant questions. He also set out the conditions on which this opinion would be compatible with the Christian faith—a point to which I shall return.

Today, more than a half-century after the appearance of that encyclical, some new findings lead us toward the recognition of evolution as more than an hypothesis. * In fact it is remarkable that this theory has had progressively greater influence on the spirit of researchers, following a series of discoveries in different scholarly disciplines. The convergence in the results of these independent studies—which was neither planned nor sought—constitutes in itself a significant argument in favor of the theory.

What is the significance of a theory such as this one? To open this question is to enter into the field of epistemology. A theory is a meta-scientific elaboration, which is distinct from, but in harmony with, the results of observation. With the help of such a theory a group of data and independent facts can be related to one another and interpreted in one comprehensive explanation. The theory proves its validity by the measure to which it can be verified. It is constantly being tested against the facts; when it can no longer explain these facts, it shows its limits and its lack of usefulness, and it must be revised.

Moreover, the elaboration of a theory such as that of evolution, while obedient to the need for consistency with the observed data, must also involve importing some ideas from the philosophy of nature.

And to tell the truth, rather than speaking about the theory of evolution, it is more accurate to speak of the theories of evolution. The use of the plural is required here—in part because of the diversity of explanations regarding the mechanism of evolution, and in part because of the diversity of philosophies involved. There are materialist and reductionist theories, as well as spiritualist theories. Here the final judgment is within the competence of philosophy and, beyond that, of theology. [LINK]

He defines "theory" a bit differently than I do but the gist of it is the same: a theory is validated by study, research, testing, etc. and stands as long as the arguments advanced to sustain it do. There is also the issue of multiple theories on the matter which the pontiff noted above and they are not devoid of scientific evidence as you claim XXXXX. In fact, they are quite well supported by scientific findings in not a few ways because a theory of a scientific nature requires for viability to have consistency with the data observed.{1}

Whether we like it or not the "pseudo-scientific drivel from the so-called "scientific" Creationists" (your words) has a much more robust foundation to the dribble of so many scientist seeking to make a name for themselves by trying to prove something unscientific - Evolution. Why are so many afraid to admit that God spoke and it came to being?

Art is right about this XXXXX, the so-called "Creationist" drivel has so many errors in fact, analysis, and internal contradiction to it that it does not pass muster as a viable theory. And part of the reason for this is that the Creationists themselves do not provide any way for their theses to be rationally disproved. The reason is because they base all of it on their own interpretation of the Bible which they do not even bother to substantiate the viability of. Instead, they claim it and then play cut and paste with the scientific data to try and make it fit their preconceived reading rather than accepting the evidences for what they are and adjusting their interpretation of the text accordingly.

I would suggest that you be a lot more cautious in your attempts to dismiss the theories of evolution and a lot less blindly accepting of the contradictory, factually-challenged pseudo "science" of the Creationist crowd. We are not fundamentalists XXXXX and do not accept the Bible as a science text. That is important to remember also though persons such as DDDDDDDD tend to forget that far too frequently.


{1} Theories not of a scientific nature but instead of the abstract notion of principles which purport to give a correct description of reality (or a guideline for successful action) have a similar requirement to be consistent with the known facts on which it is constructed.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Points to Ponder:

The sacred rights of mankind are not to be rummaged for among old parchments or musty records. They are written, as with a sunbeam, in the whole volume of human nature by the hand of the divinity itself and can never be erased or obscured by mortal power. [Alexander Hamilton (circa 1775)]

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Guest Editorial on the "Zionist Conspiracy" and Your Host's Supposed "Complicity" or "Support" Thereof:
(Written by Henrik Hassen)

While longtime readers are aware that your host does not always agree with the opinions posted in this format, it seems appropriate to note upfront that in the case of what you are about to read, that your host most definitely does not agree with the opinion about to be rendered. For those who wonder why it would be posted, it seems appropriate to remind readers who do not know or may have forgotten that Mr. Hassen first emailed us last November with the accusation of complicity in some grand conspiracy for world Zionism. At first I was hesitant to say anything about what he sent except to (i) correct his misspelling of my last name, (ii) point out that our views here are often caricatured by polemicists, agenda provocateurs, and apologists of varying persuasions, and (iii) to reiterate the consistency of your host's approach over the years to people who make public accusations of others. As Mr. Hassen claimed to have "irrefutable proof" of his assertions, I agreed to play along. He sent another email and I blogged the text figuring the longer things went without him supplying his claimed "proof", the greater the likelihood that this would be another case of someone who was not going to follow through. (A view that was reinforced to some extent when he sent me a mocking email not long after Christmas which I also blogged.) But he recently sent me the text below and presumably it is aforementioned "proof" that I did not have the "guts" to post. So I post it here as a guest editorial and readers can judge for themselves as to the merits or lack thereof of Mr. Hassen's "irrefutable" proof but without further ado, here it is...


The Zionist Conspiracy Deepens
By Henrik Hassen

After recent reflection and investigation I have come to the disheartening conclusion that the Zionist conspiracy goes far deeper than even I imagined. The Jews have managed to achieve objectives that ought to disturb even the most skeptical among us. In truth, I have reached the point where I am forced to wonder, is there no one we can trust?

My investigations recently took an unexpectedly disturbing turn when I discovered the duplicity of a member of my organization who claimed to be on the side of truth and objectivity in the quest to expose the Zionist agenda. Many of us once unhesitatingly affirmed him as one of our very best but now his duplicity been revealed.

The reality is, this man, who once fearlessly investigated and exposed Zionist conspiracies and plots across the globe by means of such ironclad proof as: Pope Paul VI wearing a Jewish ephod, FDR’s likely Jewish ancestry and Pope John Paul II’s secret love of bagels, is a Zionist himself. This founding member of The National Alliance Against Zionist Imperialism, has betrayed everything in which we believe. I will now offer proof that is as incontrovertible as any offered by the conspirator himself, Robert Hanswurst.

The truth struck me after recently reading a couple of Hanswurst’s myriad exposés on Jewish conspiracies in The Redundant and E. Meschugge Kleinhirn’s Kosher Wars. Here are a few incontrovertible pieces of proof:

First, in order to counter the inevitable objections of Hanswurst’s most ardent supporters, no amount of quoting from the Protocols of the Elders of Zion could dissuade me from reaching the conclusion that he is, in fact, a Zionist. Some of the most damning proof has been right in front of our eyes from the beginning but we were blinded by his anti-Zionist credentials and personal assurances. We all recall when Hanswurst courageously quoted from The Protocols only to eventually distance himself from the document because it had Nazi connections. It was of little solace that he defended and stood by the veracity of the material itself while disclaiming such a venerable source (a tactic we have also seen employed by the Jew, Dan Rather, one might add).

Second, Hanswurst recently wrote in an article that only 95% of Jews despise Christ. This is a monumental slip-up for any member of the National Alliance Against Zionist Imperialism. The figure we decided upon at our very first meeting was 99%. Only one percent of Jews are not Christ-despisers: the ones who become Christian (this much should be obvious). Of course, this is not to suggest that Jewish converts can ever be trusted. Hanswurst was at least not foolish or careless enough to suggest that, rightly exposing the secret Zionist agendas of David Moss and Roy Schoeman. Be that as it may, what I once saw as praiseworthy work in the cause of truth is now revealed as a mere tactic to hide his own Zionist efforts.

Third, Hanswurst consistently used the term “Jews” instead of “Zionists” in his first exposés and responses, even somewhat recently, in spite of direct and repeated warnings he was exposing our true views and aims. While he has most recently avoided these blunders, I believe the reason for these “accidents” has become quite clear. In fact, they were no accidents at all.

Fourth: It is true that Hanswurst publicly exposed the Zionist myth that six million Jews died in the Holocaust. But again, this was another matter of cleverly attempting to maintain credibility. Furthermore, notice that he chose a relatively obvious and innocuous charge in this case, too. Anyone with an ounce of objectivity recognizes that the Holocaust was a miniscule price to pay for what was at that point a sparsely inhabited wasteland of desert and swamp about the size of New Jersey. The Jews, as ingenious and energetic as they are with all things green, knew that this relative wasteland would become fertile, plush and desirable after decades of work there and that they would be able to parlay the convenient threats of immediate annihilation from their peaceful, oppressed Arab neighbors into further concessions and aid from future American presidents. This is, of course, all very obvious to those who are not blinded by Jewish propaganda.

Recall that after hundreds of hours of exhaustive research, pouring over thousands of original documents, Hanswurst personally uncovered the truth that the Jews orchestrated the Holocaust themselves, precisely because no one would expect it. As Hanswurst proved, by attempting to eliminate themselves from the face of the earth (or at least Europe), the Jews were able to slyly garner the worldwide sympathy necessary for them to establish that geo-political entity now commonly known solely by Zionists as the state of “Israel”. Jewish conspirators ingeniously manipulated the oft-maligned Adolf Hitler and Joseph Goebbels and millions of others into doing their will: a frightening testimony to their ingenuity and potency.

The point is simply this: Hanswurst has unwittingly tipped his duplicitous hand to all who were watching closely. Thankfully, this kind of treachery and deception could never continue for long in a group as vigilant as the National Alliance Against Zionist Imperialism.

Who else but Hanswurst is going after the Jews with such sustained intensity and notoriety? Who else but Hanswurst has even managed to elicit sympathy from our ally Louis Farrakhan toward the Jews by his constant, ferocious attacks (“Those poor Jews!” Louis Farrakhan, August 2005)? Who else but Hanswurst has clandestinely tipped the enemy off as to our real views and aims by incredibly damaging “accidents”? The truth is there for the objective to see: Hanswurst is using the same tactics he proved that the Jews used back in the days of the Holocaust: fomenting intense global distrust of and anger against the Jews with the underlying intent of eliciting sympathy which in turn will facilitate the spread of Zionism. The conclusion is thus inescapable: Hanswurst is a Zionist.

For those die-hard skeptics who remain unconvinced, I will offer one last piece of incontrovertible evidence. Hanswurst’s new supposedly anti-Zionist Catholic protégé, Christopher Dunkelhaft (author of The Fake Mirage), dated a girl who once worked next to a kosher deli in Brooklyn. Shocking but true. Anyone who dares to ignore my Revelations is living in a fool’s paradise.

I am sorry to be the bearer of such news, but as you know, we at the National Alliance Against Zionist Imperialism vowed to never be cowed by censors or facts. This is our divinely ordained prophetic call and, God willing, we will follow it faithfully until death. Our director of internal affairs, Lou Cifer, has reminded us of our duty to foment distrust, fear and hatred between Christians and Jews in the service of God.

Next week I will expose Wal-Mart’s plot to sell Christmas tree stars with six points.

Henrik Hassen

National Alliance Against Zionist Imperialism


As far as your host's opinion of this "irrefutable proof", all he will say is "no comment."

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Despite taking a rather cynical approach to the whole St. Blog's "Awards" issue in a posting written in late January and posted earlier this week, I must admit that it appears that there is a greater effort to police abuses that have happened in recent years. And for the sake of a bit of levity, I will register some votes of my own here and also some non-votes and try to explain within reason why I approach this issue as I do.

To start with, some of these categories are far too normative or subjective by nature in the absence of any way to verify emperically the subject matter being "voted" on. I will note those categories and separate them from those which -while admitting of some normative factors nonetheless are more easily able to be assessed by emperical data and thus be considered to a greater degree non-normative - categories with a * include this humble weblog as a nominee:

Smartest Catholic Blog*
Best Overall Catholic Blog*
Best New Catholic Blog
Funniest Catholic Blog

The reason I say they are much more normative is that they have factors that are overall not emperically verifiable. Other than one involving humour (and this is an area where different temperaments find different things funny; ergo non-normative standards do not apply) and the new blog factor (meaning: less than a year), the other factors are not objectively discernable without a degree of personal bias making the matter suspect. Nonetheless, here are my votes and the reasons why I voted as I did:

Smartest Catholic Blog: Sacramentum Vitae

Intelligence requires a degree of manifested learning but there is also the issue of creativity and originality of thought. I always place a high premium on these areas but not in and of themselves. And I have to admit it, by any criteria in which this is judged, most of those in this category did not deserve to be nominated. However, of the few that did I went with Dr. Michael Liccone's blog because (i) I respect his intellectual acumen even when we do not agree, (ii) Dr. Philip Blosser (Pertinacious Papist) somehow was not nominated here, (iii) Ian Mclean (Secret Agent Man's Dossier) did not blog this year enough for consideration, and (iv) I am loathe to vote for myself if that is reasonably feasible. And with all those factors in mind, Sacramentum Vitae stands out in bold relief from the others on this list and therefore gets my vote.

Best Overall Catholic Blog: Eve Tushnet

Chris Blosser's blog has more stuff of a various degree connected with it; ergo if he was nominated here he would get my vote. But as(i) he was not, (ii) I am not familiar with many of these nominees, (iii) as I am not about to vote for myself, (iv) Eve Tushnet's blog deserved to be nominated for stuff a long time ago and was not, and (v) as she covers a lot of subjects on her blog and therefore is to a certain extent eclectic enough to qualify for an overall categorization, she gets my vote for this category.

Best New Catholic Blog: An Examined Life

Determining what is or is not "best" smacks of a normative nature that is undeniable. However, in picking Dr. Scott Carson's blog, I do so for his rounded intellectual acumen. I believe this is an area which does not get enough play in society in general and if I were to base "best" on spirituality factors, it would boil down to individual preferences and I am as susceptible to my own biases colouring my objectivity there as anyone else's. In a non-normative sense, intelligence is capable of to some degree being ascertained and in this area, Dr. Scott Carson's work stands out in several impressive respects. He therefore gets my vote here both for what he writes on and the contributions he makes to improving overall intelligence and understanding: important and often-overlooked assets but ones that your host takes seriously himself and therefore wants to recognize it in others who act in like manner.

Funniest Catholic Blog: The Curt Jester

There are some funny blogs out there but Jeff's stuff is the most original and creative: two important criteria for me when voting in any subject matter whatsoever. Of honourable mention here is Dale Price's Dyspeptic Mutterings.

Best Individual Catholic Blog*: Dyspeptic Musings

This is far too subjective a subject matter. I readily admit that I am not familiar with many of the blogs here and do not have time to inform myself to make the most educated of judgments. I did not want to vote for myself, and I could find no other category where Dale Price was nominated where he was at best not a definite bridesmaid and not the bride (and at worst did not deserve nomination); ergo I voted for Dale Price's blog in this category.

Here are the ones which are more emperically verifiable (read: non-normative) and thus easier to give an emperical assessment thereof.

Best Written Catholic Blog*: No Vote Given

How do we determine a subject matter such as this in an emperically verifiable fashion??? The truth is, we do not unless everyone is subjected to precise analyses and those who do not follow proper diction, grammar, sentence structure, variety of vocabulary utilized, and other factors on a consistent enough basis are eliminated. To do that would be to disqualify a lot of candidates including yours truly as I am unaware of anyone who writes perfectly in the blog format. If Ian Mclean (Secret Agent Man's Dossier) was blogging in 2006 and nominated here, he would get my vote but he was not. In truth, this is generally far too subjective a subject matter, I was not familiar with many of the blogs, and I did not want to vote for myself; ergo in the absence of others I would have voted for if they were nominated, I did not register a vote here.

Best Designed Catholic Blog: Scripture and Catholic Tradition

I know next to nothing about blog design viz. what is the best or not. However, I do know that Dr. Philip Blosser (who should have been nominated in other categories but was not) has a weblog that is well designed. The reason for this is that his son Christopher Blosser designed it -Chris and I have discussed design possibilities for this weblog and I am aware of his talents here which are significant. But much as a leader receives credit for ideas not necessarily their own, in this case Dr. Blosser as owner of the weblog nominated would get the nod.

I do not know about many of the others and out of the ones more easily verifiable emperically I am admittedly on the weakest ground trying to substantiate this selection. I also have a number of personal disagreements with Dr. Blosser on issues despite respecting his brobdingnagian intellectual acumen. But that is not the issue of question here, only the design of the weblog. And certainly his subsidiary weblog (Pertinacious Papist is his main weblog) deserves nomination in a few categories where it was not recognized. For the reasons noted above, it gets my vote however tenuous admittedly in lieu of my general ignorance of more technical design criteria of weblogs.

Best Apologetic Blog: Jimmy Akin

Once again, if we are looking for those who do apologetics at least on a reasonable enough basis to be nominated here, the list of worthies for this subject is small indeed. Out of all of them -and of those I am actually reasonably familiar with- Jimmy Akin, David Armstrong, Jacob Michael, and Al Kimel (Pontifications) are the most obvious ones belonging in this category. I voted for Jimmy Akin even though I have noted some issues I have with him in the past year. I doubt anyone nominated in this category (even those who belong here) could quibble much with that selection so that is all I will say about it.

Best Blog by a Clergy/Religious/Seminarian: Thrown Back

Of those I am familiar with, Fr. Rob Johansen's most impresses me in overall content; ergo he received my vote.

Best Group Blog: Catholic Light

I would have voted for Southern Appeal but they were not nominated again. For that reason, and because I honestly am not familiar with many of these blogs, I voted for Catholic Light.

Best Insider News Catholic Blog: No Vote Given

I was looking for Dumb Ox as my selection in this category but he was not nominated. Of the others, I either do not know enough about them or did not view their nomination in this category as appropriate; ergo, no vote was given.

Most Spiritual Blog: Pontifications

My Dominican biases prevents me from voting for a specific kind of spirituality almost as a kind of self-recusal. Al Kimel's weblog is spiritual as well as intellectual -a kind of bridge if you will of fides et ratio and to a significant enough degree that a vote for him here is one I have no problem making.

Best Social/Political Commentary Catholic Blog*: Rerum Novarum

There were very few nominated here who deserved to be and Southern Appeal (whom I would have voted for if they had been nominated) was not. Therefore, I voted for my own weblog here and objectively would put my contributions in this area in the areas of creativity, originality, prescience on issues, and overall applicability in this category against anyone else's.

Anyway, that is how I voted in these "awards" and why. As usual, comments, criticisms, or whatever are welcome as long as they are reasonably intelligent.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Points to Ponder:
(On The Illogical Approach of Socialists)

Socialism, like the ancient ideas from which it springs, confuses the distinction between government and society. As a result of this, every time we object to a thing being done by government, the socialists conclude that we object to its being done at all. We disapprove of state education. Then the socialists say that we are opposed to any education. We object to a state religion. Then the socialists say that we want no religion at all. We object to a state-enforced equality. Then they say that we are against equality. And so on, and so on. It is as if the socialists were to accuse us of not wanting persons to eat because we do not want the state to raise grain. [Claude Frederic Bastiat: From The Law (circa 1850)]

Sunday, February 11, 2007

On the St. Blogs' "Awards" for 2006:
(Musings of your humble servant at Rerum Novarum)

Jeff Miller of The Curt Jester{1} recently noted that there are some differences in this year's St. Blog's "Awards" event. The question of course is if they are going to have some committee again deciding which of the nominees are "sufficiently Catholic" or not. That is what they did last year and frankly it is absurd: someone either is or is not Catholic. And that is what should be considered, not how many genuflections one makes to various forms of popular piety, how many "atta boys" are given to the Holy Father, how much is focused on any one area of subject matter, or whatever. And if such an idea is again implemented, than what is the use since it is no different than a political intrigue and not a genuine voting process???

There is (of course) a disturbing pattern I have noted in past years of nominating people for categories they have no business being nominated in. I remember in 2004 being nominated for "best social commentary" with two other blogs which were worthy of that ranking and two which had no business being there. I explained this at the time and fortunately one of the others which deserved to be there won -referring to the recently shut down Southern Appeal who would be my vote for the 2006 category{2} if I was going to bother with such things.

As it is, I reiterate last year's predictions (on which I went 3-0) and have no doubts I will be vindicated again on at least two of them. I also harbour no illusions about being nominated for anything this year if I was not last year -particularly with a certain committee presuming to decide on whether my blog is sufficiently "Catholic" or not on normative critieria{3} which is absurd. Social commentary awards should not go to those who involve themselves in boilerplate unspectacular "commentary" as it has in years past or downright shoddy "commentary" absent a proper Catholic sensibility and mindset.{4}

But as I said, I doubt I would be nominated this year if I was not last year{5} and am not sure I want to be anyway. Hopefully though, those who are nominated for categories actually belong in the categories they are nominated in -otherwise this whole thing is a joke. On "social commentary", if Mark Shea wins again, then we know the quality of these "awards" is pretty low fare. At the very least a weblog like Southern Appeal (which won for 2004 and which closed up shop in late 2006) deserves recognition in that area. So too does some kind of "St. Blog's Hall of Fame" where the late Gerard Seraphin (God rest his soul) is recognized for the body of work he contributed over the years he was in cyberspace. I would give the "best blog by a woman" to Amy Welborn. Most humourous belongs as an institution of sorts to Jeff Miller as no one else is so repeatedly hilarious in original ways as he is. "Best apologetics blog" will probably go to Jimmy Akin and if it does, at least he deserves to be in that category.

Now Mark Shea will probably win for "best blog by a man" -and whatever the merits or demerits of that may be, at the very least he could qualify for that category legitimately. But to give his misinformed babblings on social issues a "best social commentary" award would be as silly as giving a non-Catholic a "best theological" award in a Catholic awards show -oh wait, that was done back in 2004.{6} I realize these are a kind of game and that is fine in and of itself but remember folks: people will judge the quality of St. Blogs overall by who wins in these categories. And whatever one thinks of certain parties, there are some categories that different people can fit into and some which they cannot.

Hopefully things will run better this time in many ways if only because it could rehabilitate the process to some extent. But I am not too optimistic{7} that it will avoid the problems in past years.


{1} One of the few Catholic blogs which generally deserves the categories in which it is regularly nominated (and wins) in I might add.

{2} By the way, I figured in early 2005 if I lost to either Southern Appeal or Dust in the Light that at least I would have been beaten by a blog that deserved consideration in that category. The same would not have been the case for the others nominated that year which finished ahead of me -nothing against them personally, only that the category of nomination ("best social commentary") they did not have any business being in.

{3} For example, how often do I quote the Catechism of the Catholic Church, how many religious symbols are on my blog page, how often I deal in apologetics-style material, how often I take up for certain committee-approved "causes", etc.

{4} As what happened last year.

{5} Actually I was as the one who nominated me told me. Apparently I did not do enough of what is noted in footnote three to make it to the stage of being considered a "finalist" for voting. (And you can be sure I will do nothing this year differently so there is the answer in a nutshell.)

{6} The winner that year should not have even been nominated in a Catholic award show as he was not at the time Catholic. Though since that time, Alvin Kimel has won the award legitimately (read: after becoming Catholic) and if he were to win it again this time, I would have no objections to it.

{7} Ergo, I renew my predictions from last year and expect to go 2-1 this time instead of 3-0 as I did previously.