Bad Atheist Arguments: “Science Can Explain Everything” (2 of 2)

Andy Bannister The Atheist Who Didn’t Exist bookThis is the conclusion of a response to Andy Bannister’s attack on the atheist argument, “Science can explain everything.” (Part 1 here.) You may be saying that atheists and in particular scientists don’t make that argument. I agree. Someone needs to tell Bannister that.

You know how authors sometimes put a slogan somewhere on their desk to focus their attention on the core idea of their project? If only Bannister had put up the subtitle of this book, “The dreadful consequences of bad arguments,” perhaps he would’ve caught a few of his stupid blunders.

The limitations of science

Bannister tells us that science is a great tool, but it’s only a tool. You can’t paint a portrait with a shovel—each tool has limitations. “We need more tools in our philosophical toolkit than just science if we’re going to answer all the wonderfully rich and varied questions that are out there to be explored.”

What do you have in mind? Of course I agree that physics, chemistry, and geology have limits, but show me a discipline that gives us reliable new information (say, philosophy recommending ethical standards for a new technology or economists understanding how people respond to incentives) that doesn’t use evidence and hypothesis testing—that is, scientific thinking.

Atheist scientists admit their bias?

To support his position, he quotes geneticist Richard Lewontin who states that scientists “have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism. . . . Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.”

Aha! Have the scientists finally admitted their biases? Not at all, if we read what comes next (which Bannister omitted):

. . . we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door. The eminent Kant scholar Lewis Beck used to say that anyone who could believe in God could believe in anything. To appeal to an omnipotent deity is to allow that at any moment the regularities of nature may be ruptured, that miracles may happen.

Lewontin wasn’t saying that we must conclude beforehand that the supernatural isn’t possible but rather that using science with a God option is like blowing up a balloon with a hole in it. You can’t get anywhere since everything must have a God caveat. It’s “F = ma, God willing” or “PV = nRT, if it pleases God.” When you make a measurement in a world where God messes with reality (that is, you “allow a Divine Foot in the door”), what part of that measurement is the result of scientific laws and what part was added by some godly hanky panky?

Where does science fit in?

Bannister wants us to know that he’s a reasonable guy. He doesn’t hate science—far from it.

I’m simply arguing for “science and”—science and the humanities; science and philosophy; science and art; science and history; science and theology. . . . Why can’t we throw open the shutters, fling wide the doors, and embrace a world of knowledge that is vastly bigger and more glorious than just the physical sciences?

That sounds fine, but let’s stick with the scientific method. Andy “Mr. Reasonable” Bannister doesn’t look so reasonable when you notice that he slipped Theology in, hoping we weren’t paying attention.

Tell you what, Andy: when Theology can get its own story straight, get back to me and we can reconsider if this discipline actually has anything worth telling us. At the moment, it can’t even figure out how many gods there are or what their names are (more).

In one final attempt to show those smug scientists the limitations of science, he asks about the origin of the universe. He ticks off a few options—it came uncaused from nothing, there’s a multiverse, and the obligatory “God dun it.” What’s common about these, he says, is that “each one takes us outside science. . . . [Science] is entirely the wrong tool . . . to explain how we got stuff in the first place.” A hammer is good for hitting nails but bad for telling us where nails came from.

But what tool do we have to study this question besides science?? Bannister wants to drop science, the discipline that has actually told us uncountably many new things about reality, in favor of theology, the discipline that uses faith rather than evidence and has never taught us a single new thing that can be verified.

The obligatory Hypothetical God Fallacy

Bannister wraps up with an appeal to God.

[And if there is a god,] we need to ask the next question: is there more that can be discovered about God than simply what we can discern about him from his handiwork as revealed in the structure of the universe? Is it possible to learn about the artist himself, not just his works?

When I read, “If there is a god,” I might as well have read, “If unicorns exist.” Unicorns don’t exist, so what follows must be hypothetical. And gods don’t exist—certainly not as far as Bannister has convinced us—so what follows can only be speculation about a world that isn’t ours and is therefore completely irrelevant to me. (More on the Hypothetical God Fallacy here.)

I marvel that any Christian can casually drop in that phrase, oblivious to how bold a speculation it is. This progression might help: think of something incredible (a unicorn). Now, make it more incredible (a thousand unicorns). Now make it more incredible (a thousand unicorns that grant wishes and cure disease). Keep going with this, and you get to the Christian claim: a god created everything, knows everything, can do everything, is everywhere, cares about you, and will do what you ask him to. It’s the biggest possible claim. Don’t make it without evidence to back it up.

Continued to part 8.

Faith is a process substitute
the way margarine is a dairy product.
— commenter Greg G.

Image credit: Hey Paul, flickr, CC

About Bob Seidensticker
  • Brad Feaker

    Science is both cumulative and provisional…and it can never “explain everything”. “I don’t know” is a perfectly fine answer – and is the answer that drives science itself. Scientists want to know…that is why most of them became scientists in the first place! And all the obtuse hand waving encompassed in theology will never change this simple truth – science is the only reliable method we have found to uncover facts about reality.

    • adam
    • Greg G.

      science is the only reliable method we have found to uncover facts about reality.

      But as soon as a better method is developed, I’m switching to it.

      • TheNuszAbides

        why, you–you–fair-weather methodologist!

        • Greg G.

          I’m reliably fickle that way.

    • Kompi

      If I can add another emphasis, I’d also note that Scientists want to know.

      Not the popular “wanting to believe“, but instead “wanting to know” – to go beyond the unreliable feelings of certitude and attempt to verify, in ways that are as independent of observer bias as possible.

      • epeeist

        I’d also note that Scientists want to know.

        Something that Aristotle was over optimistic about, the Metaphysics starts:

        All men by nature desire to know.

        • Phil Rimmer

          I think a cynical rendering makes this entirely true.

          All men by nature desire an answer. Brains need to scratch that tormenting itch and make it go away and get back to a lower energy-use state.

          Clouds bumping into each other making thunder calmed me when I was four. By six I’d noticed lightning bolts and knew my mum had cheated me.

  • eric

    On science fitting in – you are exactly right. It’s not the case that science denies the possibility of ‘other ways.’ Its that we want someone to show us that their specific ‘other way’ works before we think its a reasonable thing to invest time, effort, and confidence in. So if people want to quibble about empiricism vs. science and say that studies like history, economics, and math don’t count as science, then as a scientist I will agree that they are still ways of discovering useful things. The fallacious argument used by theologians, however, is to first claim that such other ways are possible (true, and obviously true if you define science narrowly), and then conclude that their theology is one of those other ways. No, you have not shown that. That’s like arguing that because some rockets can take men to the moon, I should believe the one in your back yard does. Nooooo, if you want to convince me your rocket can do that, you’re going to have to give me some reason to believe your rocket, not just some hypothetical rocket can do that.

    On the ‘obligatory god’ hypothesis – I would take a slightly different approach. Which is to say that the Bible and Jesus count as “god’s hands works.” So if they really think we should throw out empiricism, its then really hard to arrive at Christianity. In fact, without those things, nobody in history ever arrived at them, and its unlikely anybody ever honestly would. Raise a human without any access or awareness of CHristianity, and they won’t spontaneously develop it. So while maybe its possible to learn about God without looking at his handiworks, it certainly won’t be Christianity’s God that people arrive at in that circumstance.

    • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

      Nooooo, if you want to convince me your rocket can do that, you’re going to have to give me some reason to believe your rocket, not just some hypothetical rocket can do that.

      Doesn’t Jesus agree with you:

      “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will recognize them by their fruits. (Matthew 7:15–20)

      Yet wisdom is justified by all her children.” (Luke 7:35)

      ? There’s also Paul:

      But I will come to you soon, if the Lord wills, and I will find out not the talk of these arrogant people but their power. For the kingdom of God does not consist in talk but in power. (1 Corinthians 4:19–20)

      Demanding to see power and not just talk seems perfectly reasonable. I like the way that Jacques Ellul puts it:

          The difficult is precisely that one cannot say: “Certainly our practice is poor, but consider the beauty, purity, and truth of revelation.” We have insisted on the unity of the two. We have to understand this. No recognizable difference exists apart from the life and witness of those who bear it. The life of Christians is what gives testimony to God and to the meaning of this revelation. “See how they love one another”—this is where the approach to the Revealed God begins. “If you devour one another, you do not have the love of God in you,” etc. There is no pure truth of God or Jesus Christ to which we can return, washing our hands of what we ourselves do. If Christians are not conformed in their lives to their truth, there is no truth. This is why the accusers of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries were right to infer the falsity of revelation itself from the practice of the church. This makes us see that in not being what Christ demands we render all revelation false, illusory, ideological, imaginary, and nonsalvific. We are thus forced to be Christians or to recognize the falsity of what we believe. This is undeniable proof of the need for correct practice. (The Subversion of Christianity, 6–7)

      • adam
        • Giauz Ragnarock

          “Doesn’t Jesus agree with you:

          “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will recognize them by their fruits. (Matthew 7:15–20)”

          Jesus doesn’t seem to agree with that passage. He doesn’t have anything to say about it.

          Edit: Sorry, wrong person.

      • adam
      • Giauz Ragnarock

        “Doesn’t Jesus agree with you:

        “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will recognize them by their fruits. (Matthew 7:15–20)”

        Jesus doesn’t seem to agree with that passage. He doesn’t have anything to say about it. I have been asking repeatedly, and I even mistakenly replied to someone else, first.

        • Greg G.

          I even mistakenly replied to someone else, first.

          Those “Reply” links all look alike to me, too.

    • MNb

      “if people want to quibble about empiricism vs. science and say that studies like history, economics, and math don’t count as science”
      Math OK. But history and economics?

      Historians of Antiquity have predicted since long that east of the Rhine Roman military camps would be found. The prediction was way too modest.

      http://www.ancient-origins.net/news-history-archaeology/massive-roman-military-camp-unearthed-germany-001654

      If history isn’t science then paleontology (and Evolution Theory) and cosmology aren’t either.

      Economy predicts monetary inflation when you print too much money.

      Fun fact: when researching Antiquity history uses two branch-specific methods that contradict each other:

      http://www.livius.org/articles/theory/maximalists-and-minimalists/

      A few years ago it became possible to test this by means of radiology (ie physics).

      http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/tiny-seeds-at-israeli-archaeological-dig-could-sprout-a-biblical-treasure-1.455652

      Unfortunately the explanation is in Dutch. Short version: dating the seed at 970 BCE favours maximalism, dating it at 940 BCE favours minimalism.

      https://mainzerbeobachter.com/2012/08/03/goed-nieuws-uit-megiddo/

      Sure enough the “exact” science of radiology couldn’t decide.

      https://mainzerbeobachter.com/2015/07/27/israelische-archeologie/

      So much for the natural sciences providing hard data.

      • eric

        Sometimes its worth conceding a point for sake of argument. If a science critic wants to define science very narrowly, then I’d agree with them that a narrow definition leads to the conclusion that “other ways” outside of science-narrowly-defined provide reliable information. Rather than going down the rabbit hole of whether history is science, let’s point out that the claims of theology are like neither of them.

  • Michael Neville

    Okay, Bannister, what insights to the world, the universe or the human condition have theology given us? Considering that we can find theologians coming down firmly on all sides of any theological question, then theology doesn’t appear to have much to say about those things. Although it does say what it says very loudly.

    • PacMan

      While there are a lot of Theology departments & Theological colleges/universities, they all seem to be “teaching colleges” rather than “research institutions”. Each one teaches their own version of theology, or a small range of creeds. Presumably there have been something that passed for research at some point, to bring about each split in beliefs, but I don’t know of any theological institution that has tried to formalize the process and test various interpretations to see which ones live up to their claims.

      Terry Pratchett had some research theologians in his “Diskworld” books, but they are sadly lacking in reality.

    • MNb

      I’m waiting for the Introductory College Theology co-written by a conservative catholic (from say Opus Dei), one who advocates Liberation Theology, an orthodox protestant and a progressive christian. Oh – and let’s not forget eastern orthodoxy either.

  • Rudy R

    An alternate response to not letting a Divine foothold in the door is Laplace’s response to Napoleon. When Napoleon asked Laplace why he didn’t mention the author of the universe in his huge book on the system of the world, Laplace remarked he had no need of that hypothesis. Materialism has nothing to say about the supernatural, because it has no reason to.

    • Kevin K

      I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating. The only reason Laplace is reported to have denied the need for that hypothesis is that Isaac Newton inserted “god” into his calculations of planetary motion. Newton couldn’t make his calculus concur with observations — and god went right into that gap.

      Laplace corrected those calculations without the need to invoke a deity. And so, therefore, Napoleon would have been astonished at that. After all, Newton was world-famous and invented the system to calculate the planets’ motions (calculus).

      • Rudy R

        There’s always context, but Laplace’s response has a larger meaning in that there is no need for a supernatural explanation, when there is a natural explanation. Just like Yogi Berra’s “fork in the road” comment. Both directions will lead you to the same place.

        • Kevin K

          I’ve actually been on the road to Yogi’s house…and it is quite true that when you come to the fork in the road, you take it…either way gets you there, because it merges again into a single road before you get to his house.

  • Joe

    Judging by this chapter, it makes me wonder if Bannister typed his book up on a computer, or magically made it appear on stone tablets?

  • Greg G.

    If unicorns don’t exist, where do marshmallows come from? Checkmate, Athiests!

    I think when you edited “But what tool”, you deleted the wrong word and left “But tool.”

  • Kevin K

    Quote mining, the last refuge of the theological scoundrel.

    • T-Paine

      Quote mining, the first and last refuge of the theological scoundrel.

      • Joe

        Quote mining, the first and last, my Everything refuge of the theological scoundrel.

  • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

    What do you have in mind? Of course I agree that physics, chemistry, and geology have limits, but show me a discipline that gives us reliable new information (say, philosophy recommending ethical standards for a new technology or economists understanding how people respond to incentives) that doesn’t use evidence and hypothesis testing—that is, scientific thinking.

    I suspect your definition of ‘information’ is highly charged. I suspect that what you mean, when it comes down to brass tacks, is “knowledge which gives me more control over reality—animate and inanimate”. Pretty much any religion I’m aware of, on the other hand, is chiefly concerned with what kind of reality we’re bringing into existence. Your ‘information’ greatly enhances the means, while lots of religion questions ends.

    Let’s try a thought experiment. Increase humanity’s ability to control and dominate reality (both human and non-human), to bend it to the whims of those with appreciable social power. Is the resultant reality better? We just gave it more ‘information’. Is that all the ‘truth’† that is needed?

    Suppose you say that what we need is more empathy. @oldnewatheist:disqus recently recommended Patricia Churchland’s Braintrust: What Neuroscience Tells Us about Morality, which the WSJ reviewer says “finds that morality is all about empathy”. Well, how can there be truth about properly functioning empathy vs. improperly functioning empathy?

    † From part 1 we have that Nobel Prize winner Harry Kroto said “Science is the only philosophical construct we have to determine truth with any degree of reliability.”; it would appear this is also the stance of this blog.

    • Kevin K

      No kidding, none of what you just wrote made a lick of sense.

      Try smaller declarative sentences. Those work. What you’re doing now … doesn’t.

      • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

        I’ve actually found that plenty of people on Cross Examined can understand that kind of writing. If you can’t, perhaps you would be best off choosing other interlocutors?

        • adam

          “I’ve actually found that plenty of people on Cross Examined can understand that kind of writing. ”

          Yes, we understand your dishonesty

          And your convolutions.

          And your God of the Gaps approach.
          Never mind I said dishonesty already.

        • epeeist

          And the constant JAQing off.

        • Rudy R

          We understand he defends Catholic Church sexual abuse cover-ups.

        • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

          False. Unless you mean that I’ve challenged people on whether they have the knowledge and wisdom to go in and improve the situation, given that neither they nor the folks in the RCC as pristine human beings. I’m happy to say that both the pedophilia and cover-ups are/were heinous acts.

        • Kodie

          So you are saying we shouldn’t expect an organization that advertises itself as a moral authority to behave any more morally than any other organization, and I would say no, of course we shouldn’t, and that’s also a good reason to be skeptical about its claims of morality, authority, god, and everything else the scam of religion pretends to be.

        • Rudy R

          Your words:

          ..so if we do away with the slander that the Roman Catholic Church approves of child rape…

          The Catholic Church covered-up child rapes at the highest levels, and you focus on the semantic use of approves. Would you disagree with allowed? If no, how would that lessen their immorality?

          If this were a secular organization, I would condemn them with as must zeal as I do a theist organization. Wonder why theists like yourself don’t? Could it be that the whole house of cards would come crashing down if you did?

        • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

          Your words:

          LB: ..so if we do away with the slander that the Roman Catholic Church approves of child rape…

          “approve ≠ condone”

          The Catholic Church covered-up child rapes at the highest levels, and you focus on the semantic use of “approves.”

          Yes, and it’s very telling when people are willing to fight that battle, instead of retreat to the slightly less intense word, ‘condones’. It means that they see the difference between the two words to be very important, and that it is very important that the RCC be painted with an ‘approves’ brush instead of just a ‘condones’ brush. Sorry, but your personal hatred of an institution doesn’t let you bastardize language and still be a person of integrity.

          Would you agree that they allowed it to happen? If yes, how would that still not be immoral?

          Yes they allowed it to happen and yes it is immoral. In fact, I used harsher language: “I’m happy to say that both the pedophilia and cover-ups are/were heinous acts.”

          If this were a secular organization, I would condemn them with as must zeal as I do a theist organization. Wonder why theists like yourself don’t condemn theist organizations? Could it be that the whole ‘theists are more moral than atheist’ house of cards would come crashing down if you did?

          I take a very different stance in criticism when I actually know how to solve the problem and when I don’t. See, pretending that I have all the resources necessary to solve the problem when I don’t is both to be arrogant and to believe in falsehood. Believing in falsehood makes you less able to actually change the bad situation. Arrogance closes you to deeper understanding. Can you find anything remotely irrational in this paragraph?

          Now, if you are more interested in virtue signaling than actually solving problems, then just say so and I will stop raining on your parade. But when folks act as if they could go in and solve the problems with the RCC when in fact they have no such ability or competence, what results is false ideas of how hard the problem is, which makes us impatient and prone to salivate over quick fixes. If you want to be part of the problem instead of part of the solution, we can part ways.

        • Rudy R

          Cardinal Law resigned as bishop of the Archdiocese of Boston, because he protected pedophile priests and now he’s working at the Vatican. You’ve been doing triple backflips just to defend those immoral assholes and one has to wonder why.

        • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

          It is so interesting that my insistence that ‘condone’ is more accurate than ‘approve’ is so important to you, that you’re willing to accuse me of performing “triple backflips”. This, despite the fact that I said up-front that “I’m happy to say that both the pedophilia and cover-ups are/were heinous acts.”

        • Rudy R

          It is also interesting that I never once mentioned the word ‘condone’…you did. I asked if you would agree that they [Catholic Church] allowed it [sexual abuse] to happen. And if they did, would that not be immoral.

        • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

          It is also interesting that I never once mentioned the word ‘condone’…you did.

          Why is it interesting?

          I asked if you would agree that they [Catholic Church] allowed it [sexual abuse] to happen. And if they did, would that not be immoral.

          They certainly allowed it to happen, and yet it was immoral. Are you under the impression that everything an institution allows to happen is something that it approves of?

        • Rudy R

          Why is it interesting?

          For some reason, you felt the need to mischaracterize what I said.

          Are you under the impression that everything an institution allows to happen is something that it approves of?

          I’m not under the impression. It’s my position. Yes, if an institution allows something to “consistently” happen, as the Catholic Church did, then they are at least unofficially approving that action. Nevertheless, whether the Catholic Church allowed or didn’t allow, condone or didn’t condone, or approve or didn’t approve child sexual abuse, they chose to protect pedophile, sexual offending
          priests to the detriment of children and thats immorality at the highest order.

        • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

          For some reason, you felt the need to mischaracterize what I said.

          I fail to see what I mischaracterized. Let’s recall:

          RR: The Catholic Church covered-up child rapes at the highest levels, and you focus on the semantic use of “approves.”

          LB: Yes, and it’s very telling when people are willing to fight that battle, instead of retreat to the slightly less intense word, ‘condones’. It means that they see the difference between the two words to be very important, and that it is very important that the RCC be painted with an ‘approves’ brush instead of just a ‘condones’ brush. Sorry, but your personal hatred of an institution doesn’t let you bastardize language and still be a person of integrity.

          To date, you haven’t had the balls to deal with that.

          LB: Are you under the impression that everything an institution allows to happen is something that it approves of?

          RR: I’m not under the impression. It’s my position. Yes, if an institution allows an action to consistently happen, as the Catholic Church did, then they are, at the very least, unofficially approving that action.

          Fascinating. So, given the 2016-06-16 Bloomberg article The UN Peacekeepers Rape Scandal Gets Worse, does the UN “approve” of rape, including child rape? Given that US politicians lie and the electorate does not [effectively] hold them to account for it, that the electorate “approves” of its politicians lying? I’m just trying to see whether this ‘position’ of yours applies equally to all situations, or whether the RCC is actually a special flower.

        • Rudy R

          Like I said before, I would condemn all organizations, secular and religious alike. Exactly how is the UN and US politicians misdeeds germane to the Catholic Church allowing, approving, or condoning child sex abuse? If it is relevant to the discussion, is the Catholic Church no more morally bound to humanity then the UN and politicians? Does not the Catholic Church adhere to a higher moral standard?

        • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

          I believe we ought to be consistent in our language use, instead of using nicer language for the in-group and nastier language for the out-group. I do realize that I am fighting the tribal version of the fundamental attribution error in saying this. So be it. I am too aware of the social power wielded when language is used according to double standards.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Yeah, but the nicer language and nastier language isn’t in-group/out-group dictated.

          I gave you an example of an in-group member who got a barrage of what you call nasty language when you were here once before, remember?

          It is topic dictated and ramps up through individual frustration.

          MNb can get “nasty” with a number the in-group when the subject of JM comes up. Just one example.

          I guess you’d prefer cool heads to prevail all round and at all times, but that’s not human nature, nor has it ever been, but we are all getting better..even if just a wee tiny bit at a time.

        • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

          I suspect that it is in-group/​out-group dictated and topic dictated. I suspect the fundamental attribution error well-describes some of the dynamics. Cooler heads would be one option; another would be non-escalation. And as always: if it’s wrong for them to do it to you, it’s wrong for you to do it to them.

        • adam
        • Ignorant Amos

          The thing is Luke, it is all water off a ducks back. We don’t get all bent outta shape about a bit of name calling. Perhaps it’s because we/me are so used to it.

          Me being compared to a creationist because I lean towards the ahistorical Jesus angle, doesn’t fizzle on me because I know it is a false equivalence. Being compared to a knuckle dragging creationist is a lot worse than being compared to a human shit stain for someone like me. But I’m not about to fall out over it because that is the opposing view of someone who considers my position to be as bad as that of creationism. blood boils, end of…move along. Dragging it up in every conversation is boring…you must know that by the number of times I resort back to “that single data point” incident? When you start your antics, everything else goes on the back burner, because of some silly pedantry that could be cleared up straight away. Instead, it is hole digging time and everyone sets up the defences…some of which will undoubtedly take the form of attack.

        • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

          We don’t get all bent outta shape about a bit of name calling. Perhaps it’s because we/me are so used to it.

          It’s a lot different when it’s many vs. one. It’s also a lot different when I’m trying to make a point and the other person is making all these little errors which press-fit my argument into a stupid mold. Both these things make discussion tedious and onerous. And so, I try to increase the cost of such behavior. And… yeah, I know I’m quite terrible at playing along with the name calling game.

          When you start your antics, everything else goes on the back burner, because of some silly pedantry that could be cleared up straight away.

          It’s so funny that somehow I start such antics, but only on websites like CE, EN, and DC. Elsewhere, magically I don’t start such antics. I wonder if in fact I’m not the one to start the antics, nor the sole one who continues them. 😀

        • adam

          “It’s also a lot different ….. other
          person is making all these little errors which press-fit my argument
          into a stupid mold.”

          Luke it is not the ‘other’ person

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/d8f82112e9aa98ed162df006dec18435bb9ed6eb055a24971ba22654647b2e45.jpg

        • Susan

          It’s so funny that somehow I start such antics, but only on websites like CE, EN, and DC.

          I have no idea what happened at DC and am not interested in investing any more energy in researching Luke Breuer.

          But I will note that at CE and EN, you showed up with the Luke Show pontificating on subjects about which you were uninformed, ignored efforts by others to provide evidence you could examine to get yourself informed and when people reacted negatively (in many cases as diplomatically as could be asked), you got upset about attacks on your character and it always devolves from there with you. .

          On those websites, it’s perfectly reasonable that you are accused of “antics” in these cases. It’s reasonable to assume that you had the same problem at DC. Again, I don’t really care.

          How many comments now, Luke? Not a speck of evidence for your Yahwehjesus. Just creationist strategies.

          Gish Galloping and Matt Slickery.

        • TheNuszAbides

          i agreed to avoid responding directly to Kodie on older threads, but i didn’t want to let this gem just sit there, so i’m replying to you because it ties in with the perverse parallel universe in which we somehow get so caught up in slagging Luke that we devote an entire website to it. this would be the banner at the top of every page:

          You are not in the group of people who are not pains in the ass.

        • Kodie

          Luke, you really just are a pain in the ass. You are not in the group of people who are not pains in the ass. If you want to behave like a pain in the ass, you’ll be talked to as though you are, and it’s your fault for not admitting it to yourself.

        • Susan

          I suspect that it is in-group/out-group dictated and topic dictated.

          I suspect the fundamental attribution error well-describes some of the dynamics.

          Of course you do. You’ve been doing this for a couple of years now, at least.

          I suppose I could show up on a site, have done no research on the systemic raping of children by an institution that claims to be the moral authority on Earth, fixate on language control without justification and ignore evidence that people provide, and suggest that secular solutions that are effective wouldn’t be as effective as solutions I provide without showing any evidence that my solutions for a problem about which I haven’t bothered to inform myself would be effective in the least.

          After many individuals from many walks of life and many parts of the world start to get frustrated with my hubristic oblivion and call me names (even going so far as explaining WHY they call me names), I could tell them that I suspect that sexism is part of the problem.

          It’s because I’m a woman, isn’t it?

          In-group/out-group behaviour is real. As is sexism. As is racism.

          But if I am a female asshole, I don’t get to tell people that I suspect it is sexism that motivates people to call me an asshole. Especially if they would call a man an asshole who conducted himself equally.

          You really seem to think that you are educating people with your blue links.

          When you are really just being an asshole.

        • TheNuszAbides

          … Especially if they would call a man an asshole who conducted himself equally.

          “ay, there’s the rub.”
          my initial empathy for Luke’s walls of text didn’t last because i eventually noticed they smelled just like the shilly-shallying i used to do when more mired in addiction and apathy and head-in-sand, minimal-nuance relativism. special pleading that gets made as convoluted/disguised as possible because convolutions are easy for significantly motivated word-lubbers.

          EDIT: no attempt to attribute apathy/relativism in particular to Luke. mostly the second sentence. i don’t claim to read minds but i’m getting comfortable identifying similarities.

        • adam

          ” I am too aware of the social power wielded when language is used according to double standards.”

          Because THAT is what you use on a daily basis…

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/32a8ffcdaee0703b996e6a81b2e4640ff89f649ad01748d74aeea4ea7775ee98.jpg

        • Michael Neville

          Luke is fond of the tu quoque fallacy. It lets him feel superior to us atheists and deflects attention from his fellow Christians’ approval of child rape.

        • Halbe

          No, you’re right, it was far worse than ‘approve’ or ‘condone’. The right term would actually be ‘facilitate’. Facilitate by actively moving abusers to fresh hunting grounds instead of stopping these criminals.

        • Greg G.

          Thank you! “Facilitate” is the word I was looking for.

        • TheNuszAbides

          the one that came to me sooner was ‘expedite’, which i blame on my stint at Taco Bell.

        • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

          The term ‘facilitate’, as I’ve usually seen it used, indicates wanting the thing to happen more. It indicates intention. It’s not clear to me that the Roman Catholic Church intended more children to be abused. It does seem clear that they didn’t want to actually deal with the problem. This is something for which they are deeply culpable. But it takes it to another level to say that they wanted more child abuse to happen, and to say that they “facilitated” it takes it to that level. At least, as I understand the word. Your understanding may be different.

        • Halbe

          The CC purposefully moved abusing pedophiles to countries where they knew the criminal behaviour would not be reported, i.e. facilitating the abuse by making it easier for the perpetrators to do it without repercussions. African countries were a favourite of the CC to hide abusive clergy from scrutiny and punishment. Facilitate is absolutely the right word.

        • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

          The CC purposefully moved abusing pedophiles to countries where they knew the criminal behaviour would not be reported, i.e. facilitating the abuse by making it easier for the perpetrators to do it without repercussions.

          If you can support this with decent evidence, I may agree with ‘facilitate’. The one quibble would be if the RCC itself implemented some sort of statistically effective monitoring on the transferred priests. I don’t trust the criminal justice system as much as you appear to, so I’m willing to extend some credit to demonstrated effective self-monitoring. But let’s examine some evidence, shall we?

          BTW, I’ve never dug deeply into the evidence on this matter. Instead, I have observed a lot of noise and a lot of severe language which seems to indicate that the speakers of that language think that they could fix the situation. That is, they don’t just know what is immoral, but they can cross the gap between knowing the path and walking the path. That concerns me, because such people could easily contribute to terribleness like The UN Peacekeepers Rape Scandal Gets Worse. There is a balance between severity of punishment of infractions given a certain evidence level, and how much information flow is restricted—information relevant to detecting whether infractions are possibly happening. Dealing with evil is a bit like Whac-A-Mole: if you focus all your energy and severity in one place, it’ll just pop up elsewhere and you may have de facto blinded yourself to it.

        • Halbe

          http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2015/09/17/us-priests-sex-abuse-relocate-south-america/32551455/ – this is what a 10 second Google search gives (although it is not Africa, but South America). Now you provide some evidence for monitoring; it was not in place in these cases…

          And you seem to be (partially) blaming other sex abuse scandals on the people that are rightfully outraged over the CC scandal!? I would say that it is people like you that are downplaying the severity of what happened within the CC that contribute to new atrocities, by refusing to learn from history.

        • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

          Now you provide some evidence for monitoring; it was not in place in these cases…

          The article you presented says nothing either way on this matter. In the absence of evidence, what is the rationale for assuming it is one way or the other? The article doesn’t even say that the priests in the new parishes regularly continued to abuse children.

          And you seem to be (partially) blaming other sex abuse scandals on the people that are rightfully outraged over the CC scandal!?

          That’s ridiculous. To say that people like you could be more rigorous and shrewd in how you criticize the Roman Catholic Church doesn’t make you somehow guilty for them.

          I would say that it is people like you that are downplaying the severity of what happened within the CC that contribute to new atrocities, by refusing to learn from history.

          How am I downplaying the severity? Be precise, please. Let’s see if what I’m doing is insisting on rigorously true descriptions instead of the kind of rhetorical exaggeration which happens when you hate the target of the description, when every time there is no evidence either way, you choose the worst plausible interpretation. Here’s what I recently said to @eircc:disqus; I suspect it applies to you, “utterly blind” included:

          LB: What you seem utterly blind to is that I’m actually attempting to strengthen your/​the argument against the RCC. Strength comes from truth, not from rhetoric. At least, that’s the case if you’re Plato, over against the Sophists. But perhaps you prefer the Sophist style of argumentation, whereby truth just doesn’t matter all that much*? I started out with the assumption that you despise the Sophist style‡; was I incorrect?

          † Let’s recall that I said the following: “I’m happy to say that both the pedophilia and cover-ups are/were heinous acts.”
          * Edit: Perhaps it would be more precise to say: truth does not exist in that domain and/or is not knowable in that domain. See the following note for more.
          ‡ I very specifically say “the Sophist style” because I don’t think it means the same thing as dictionary.com: sophistry. There is similarity, but sophistry indicates that there is truth to which one could appeal; under the foundational dogma that “Science is the only philosophical construct we have to determine truth with any degree of reliability.”, there isn’t necessarily truth when it comes to whether one ought to use words this way vs. that.

        • Halbe

          Whatever. I am glad yet another Christian gave me the opportunity to show how he is more concerned about the PR damage to Christianity than about the real damage done to the victims. You fool nobody here with your transparent wordplay and so-called concern for the truth.

        • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

          I am glad yet another Christian gave me the opportunity to show how he is more concerned about the PR damage to Christianity than about the real damage done to the victims.

          That’s the most irrational thing I’ve heard in a long time. Somehow, “I’m actually attempting to strengthen your/​the argument against the RCC”“more concerned about the PR damage to Christianity than about the real damage done to the victims”. Whatever your rationale behind that “⇒”, the world needs less of it.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Catholic Church ‘facilitated’ abuse

          The Catholic Church in Ballarat ”effectively facilitated” child sexual abuse by leaving known paedophiles in ministry and was ”unChristlike”, former Ballarat Bishop Peter Connors conceded on Monday.

          http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/catholic-church-facilitated-abuse-20130429-2ip15.html

          The Catholic Church’s Worldwide Sexual Abuse Scandal and Cover-Up

          While the scope of the problem is huge, so too has been the Church-sanctioned cover-up; its refusal to cooperate with civil authorities, and the rampant reassignment of priests accused of sexual misconduct. “The vast majority of the priests who committed acts of sexual violence against children and vulnerable adults have faced no punishment or criminal sanction for their actions; many continue to work, and have privileged access to future victims because of their status as a member of the Catholic clergy,” the report noted.

          “The high-level officials of the Church who failed to prevent and punish these criminal actions, and too often facilitated or enabled the acts of sexual violence described herein have, to date, enjoyed absolute impunity as well.”‘

        • eric

          They certainly intended for the incidents to go unreported to the police and therefore uninvestigated and unpunished by civil authorities, because they didn’t report them. AFAIK, to this day, the RCC’s official position on the duties and obligations of priests when they become aware of such incidents is that the church orders them to not go to the police, but to inform the church only. That is clearly an intent to withhold information of a potential, heinous crime from the civil government.

        • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

          They certainly intended for the incidents to go unreported to the police and therefore uninvestigated and unpunished by civil authorities, because they didn’t report them.

          Sure. But such intention does not automatically translate to approval of the incidents. What we really need is a detailed analysis of what the RCC did to try to stop the child abuse from recurring. Possibly they failed so badly that we could say that they approve of child abuse. But such things require evidence. At least, they require evidence if your goal is to have the maximum likelihood of actually fixing the problem. If instead all you are interested in is virtue signalling, then truth takes a back seat. However, I was under the impression that here on CE, truth is considered rather important.

          All this bitching and moaning about my “defense”† of Roman Catholicism is really a giant attempt to excuse (i) a disregard for shouldering the burden of proof; and (i) the kind of rhetorical exaggeration which gives guilty parties rational, moral basis for objection. I suggest atheists here on CE take several doses of this medicine:

              A second type of faulty analysis involves a distortion in evaluation. The distinction between description and evaluation is not hard and fast, of course (even in science), but it is important. Let me illustrate. One evening, after dining at one of the Oxford colleges, Lord Nuffield was surprised at the porter’s accurate memory in handing him his hat. “How did you know it was mine?” he asked.
              The porter replied, “I didn’t, Sir! All I know was that it was the one you came in with!” Such a cool and judicious refusal to make judgments that go beyond the evidence is exactly what is rare among Christians today. (The Gravedigger File, 43)

          What you seem utterly blind to is that I’m actually attempting to strengthen your/​the argument against the RCC. Strength comes from truth, not from rhetoric. At least, that’s the case if you’re Plato, over against the Sophists. But perhaps you prefer the Sophist style of argumentation, whereby truth just doesn’t matter all that much*? I started out with the assumption that you despise the Sophist style‡; was I incorrect?

          † Let’s recall that I said the following: “I’m happy to say that both the pedophilia and cover-ups are/were heinous acts.”
          * Edit: Perhaps it would be more precise to say: truth does not exist in that domain and/or is not knowable in that domain. See the following note for more.
          ‡ I very specifically say “the Sophist style” because I don’t think it means the same thing as dictionary.com: sophistry. There is similarity, but sophistry indicates that there is truth to which one could appeal; under the foundational dogma that “Science is the only philosophical construct we have to determine truth with any degree of reliability.”, there isn’t necessarily truth when it comes to whether one ought to use words this way vs. that.

        • Paul B. Lot

          All this bitching and moaning about my “defense”† of Roman Catholicism is really a giant attempt to excuse (i) a disregard for shouldering the burden of proof; and (i) the kind of rhetorical exaggeration which gives guilty parties rational, moral basis for objection.

          Possibly.

          Or.

          Possibly we had already examined the evidence. Possibly we assumed, because of the corrollary of the Dunning-Kruger effect, that [the fact that you chose to open you mouth about the subject] meant that [you had also done so].

          Perhaps we assumed that [your confident weighing-in] was related to your having [any fucking idea what the evidence was in the first place], and so we never doubted that [you were not as fucking ignorant as you, in fact, are].

          Given that premise, that you were not simply a tone-policing jack off; your thousands of words spilt quibbling over [how much the RCC “approve” approved, vs. merely “condone” approved] seemed very much to us like the sort of equivocation and whataboutery used by religious people of all stripes to avoid the lash of righteous anger.

          The fact that your initial objections also centered around [can you find a comparable organization which does it better] fits in precisely with that framework.

          So, here we are again, @LukeBreuer:disqus .

          Either:

          1) You’re right about all of us, and we’re all Sophists who don’t care about the truth at all…

          or

          2) You’re mistaken about that, but your goal was worth while and just got lost in the shuffle because of your ineptitude

          or

          3) You’re mistaken about that, AND you are a morally twisted person who uses [shoot-from-the-hip intuitions] as an ad-hoc justification to [attack the moral indignation a dozens other people] because he feels he’s [on a crusade to stop anti-religious bullshit] and [no one’s indignation is as righteous as his own]….despite not knowing word fucking one about the topic.

          I wonder which is more likely?

          You know what would be helpful? If we had some sort of prior example of you doing this exact same thing to help us assess this likelihood. Hmmm…

          *Edits for word-choice*

        • eric

          Sure. But such intention does not automatically translate to approval of the incidents.

          IMO “merely” intending for the incidents to go unreported, uninvestigated, and unpunished is horrific and evil. “Merely” ordering priests not to inform the police is horrific and evil.

          My opinion is that an organization loses its claim to any and all moral authority when they order their members not to report suspected assaults on children to the civil authorities. Do you agree or disagree?

        • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

          IMO “merely” intending for the incidents to go unreported, uninvestigated, and unpunished is horrific and evil.

          Are you under the impression that you’ve been more severe than I was when I said, “I’m happy to say that both the pedophilia and cover-ups are/were heinous acts.”?

          My opinion is that an organization loses its claim to any and all moral authority when they order their members not to report suspected assaults on children to the civil authorities. Do you agree or disagree?

          I disagree, because I do not see the civil authorities as necessarily more righteous/​just. I’m sure that sometimes they are, but sometimes they aren’t. Want an example? Here’s a fun one:

              A third reason for the reduction of clerical involvement in the witch-hunt was the growth of a considerable reluctance among church lawyers and judges to tolerate the procedural abuses upon which successful witch-hunting depended. There is no little irony in the fact that papal inquisitors, who earlier had taken the lead in violating many of the procedural rules governing the use of torture, were among the first to recognize that these violations had resulted in numerous miscarriages of justice and to recommend caution in further proceedings. Ecclesiastical officials, moreover, manifested a greater reluctance to mete out harsh sentences in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, indicating a return to the traditional penitential and admonitory functions that ecclesiastical justice had originally served. Secular courts, by contrast, being concerned for the maintenance of a public order that was being seriously challenged, generally manifested fewer compunctions. (The Witch-Hunt in Early Modern Europe, 91)

          I like that change of heart; it seems like some pretty good “moral authority”, especially in comparison to the “Secular courts” at the time. The game you’re playing is to make the civil authorities—the secular realm—out to be the most righteous/​just of them all. It is a game well-described by William T. Cavanaugh in The Myth of Religious Violence: Secular Ideology and the Roots of Modern Conflict. Briefly stated, people were convinced to die for the State instead of Christianity. This shift in loyalty was absolutely disastrous when it came to Nazi Germany. There, the Confessing Church was a much better standard of morality than the secular authorities.

          If you want a more direct comparison, let’s ask whether your average civil servant would avoid jail-time for Hillary Clinton’s nonsense with the email server. My claim to you is no; with power comes freedom from some laws. Our secular system of justice is not blind to social power. (Note that much of social power can show up in preventing one from even going to court.) As the empirical evidence indicates, power corrupts rationality and turns it into rationalizing. I have zero reason to believe that, on average, this happens more in the Roman Catholic Church than in the US justice system.

        • eric

          The game you’re playing is to make the civil authorities—the secular realm—out to be the most righteous/​just of them all.

          No, I’m not saying that at all; you’re now arguing against a straw man you just made up.
          An argument for the morality of reporting doesn’t depend on them being ‘most righteous’. It depends on the fact that society has made the decision to trust the investigation of crime to the government. The church is part of that society. Deciding the civil authorities are too corrupt to be trusted and that they’re going to decide for themselves who is guilty, who is innocent, and what the appropriate response will be is basically a form of vigilantism. Moreover, it robs the plaintiff of their right to representation, right to a trial and a right to a jury of their peers. That’s wrong.
          Look, public school teachers are mandatory reporters. Which do you think is more ethical: that they stay mandatory reporters, or that we change the rules so that from now on they are no longer mandatory reporters, and in fact any allegations of abuse will be settled by the principal without involving the police, or lawyers, or the (claimed) victim, or their family?
          Why should I accept hat the way the RCC treats abuse cases is okay, and is only okay when the RCC acts that way? If you really think their no-report policy is fine and dandy, shouldn’t you want that same policy implemented throughout society? I sure don’t, and I’m very consistent about it. Such a no-report policy is horribly unethical for teachers. Its horribly unethical for Penn State coaches. And yes, it’s horribly unethical for the RCC too.

        • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

          An argument for the morality of reporting doesn’t depend on them being ‘most righteous’. It depends on the fact that society has made the decision to trust the investigation of crime to the government.

          Your whole argument seems predicated upon the idea that society defines what is ‘moral’; I disagree. I was implicitly rejecting this idea.

          Look, public school teachers are mandatory reporters. Which do you think is more ethical: that they stay mandatory reporters, or that we change the rules so that from now on they are no longer mandatory reporters, and in fact any allegations of abuse will be settled by the principal without involving the police, or lawyers, or the (claimed) victim, or their family?

          In our current climate, it seems best to have public school teachers be mandatory reporters. I think it’s ridiculously sad that there need to be a law for them to report such things. And I have very little faith in the power of law to effect long-term reform. I’m more convinced by the kind of reasoning Chris Hedges employs, here:

              The anemic liberal class continues to assert, despite ample evidence to the contrary, that human freedom and equality can be achieved through the charade of electoral politics and constitutional reform. It refuses to acknowledge the corporate domination of traditional democratic channels for ensuring broad participatory power. Law has become, perhaps, the last idealistic refuge of the liberal class. Liberals, while despairing of legislative bodies and the lack of genuine debate in political campaigns, retain a naive faith in law as an effective vehicle for reform. They retain this faith despite a manipulation of the legal system by corporate power that is as flagrant as the corporate manipulation of electoral politics and legislative deliberation. Laws passed by Congress, for example, deregulated the economy and turned it over to speculators. Laws permitted the pillaging of the U.S. Treasury on behalf of Wall Street. Laws have suspended vital civil liberties including habeas corpus and permit the president to authorize the assassination of U.S. citizens deemed complicit in terror. The Supreme Court, overturning legal precedent, ended the recount in the 2000 Florida presidential election and anointed George W. Bush as president. (Death of the Liberal Class, 8–9)

          The Bible can be viewed as a huge warning against putting too much trust in law. If you want a non-biblical version, feel free to consult Philip K. Howard’s The Death of Common Sense: How Law Is Suffocating America. Humans are really, really good at gaming systems of laws, thwarting their purposes. They’re also really, really good at taking intense amounts of pride in laws which are nothing but shams.

          I’m going to make this my last comment on the topic, unless you want to take what I’ve said above seriously. (You may just not be interested enough.) I suspect there is a deep philosophical difference about how we view human nature, and I’m not interested in having a discussion, here, which doesn’t deal with that directly.

          Why should I accept hat the way the RCC treats abuse cases is okay, and is only okay when the RCC acts that way?

          It’s my turn to accuse you of constructing a straw man.

        • eric

          In our current climate, it seems best to have public school teachers be mandatory reporters.

          I agree. And I think the same goes for the RCC. I think you disagree that they should have the same regulations put on them. But both are groups entrusted with kids. So why should priests get a bye?

          Note I’m not really demanding just the RCC do this. Though it would certainly be simpler for the Pope to just issue a directive! Priests are priests, and yes for consistency if Catholic ones are to be mandatory reporters, the rest should be too.

          I think it’s ridiculously sad that there need to be a law for them to report such things

          There are many reasons for mandatory reporting, but one of them is to help individual teachers resist the subtle organizational coercion that might come from bosses who might otherwise not want them to drag the organization through the mud. IOW, it’s actually to protect and empower teachers. To make it easier for them to do the right thing even when their employer may get sued for it. And it protects their job when their employer does get sued, because it then becomes illegal – even for a private organization – to fire someone for doing what the law requires them to do. Put simply, it’s not done because they would otherwise turn a blind eye (though that may be another reason to do it), it’s done at least in part because their bosses might otherwise pressure them to turn a blind eye. But with a legal requirement in place, the bosses’ pressure loses a lot of its force.

          And all of that reasoning applies very, very well to the RCC. That’s why its needed. That’s why mandatory reporting is the right thing to do; because it will empower lower ranked priests with the ability to resist Vatican pressure – real pressure from a senior priest, or even merely erroneously percieved pressure – to hide or paper-over accusations which might create legal suits and other actions against the organization.

        • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

          LB: In our current climate, it seems best to have public school teachers be mandatory reporters.

          e: I agree. And I think the same goes for the RCC. I think you disagree that they should have the same regulations put on them. But both are groups entrusted with kids. So why should priests get a bye?

          Why not require every adult to be a mandatory reporter? (I’m honestly asking the question; I’ve never investigated the on-the-ground impact of mandatory reporter laws. I am aware that many good-sounding laws have had unfortunately adverse effects, sometimes even making the situation worse. We can get into examples and why, if you’d like.)

          Note that something else interesting is going on, here. Citizens are not, really, in any interesting way, expected to just report heinous stuff like this. I think it’s worth considering what that says about humanity.

          There are many reasons for mandatory reporting, but one of them is to help individual teachers resist the subtle organizational coercion that might come from bosses who might otherwise not want them to drag the organization through the mud. IOW, it’s actually to protect and empower teachers.

          I understand that sort of dynamic, as well as that motive. Does it work? Do we actually have empirical evidence on how well it works—or doesn’t work? Remember, pretty little ideas are only that until there is hard empirical evidence.

          FYI, I’m friends with a sociologist doing bleeding-edge research on how institutions actually work. I’m very interested in this issue. But I’m also aware that the modern mind is filled with many fictions about human nature and the character of society. (I can start listing them if you’d like, with expert testimony and data.) And so, I’m going to be rather obnoxious to people who want their ideas about human nature and society to remain unquestioned. And yes, there are many in this category†.

          One of the results of this research is the dependence of character upon institutional support. I’m under the impression that John M. Doris’ Lack of Character: Personality and Moral Behavior makes this precise point; I know that Christian Smith does in Moral, Believing Animals: Human Personhood and Culture. So it’s not wrong to think that something like laws requiring mandatory reporting might be a good thing. But I’m deeply suspicious about the sole power of law; I worry that too often, it is used as a substitute for good character. I worry that too many citizens in the West are too scared to stand up to significant evil, and that this problem cannot be solved by more laws.

          † The following is sobering:

              There are several reasons why the contemporary social sciences make the idea of the person stand on its own, without social attributes or moral principles. Emptying the theoretical person of values and emotions is an atheoretical move. We shall see how it is a strategy to avoid threats to objectivity. But in effect it creates an unarticulated space whence theorizing is expelled and there are no words for saying what is going on. No wonder it is difficult for anthropologists to say what they know about other ideas on the nature of persons and other definitions of well-being and poverty. The path of their argument is closed. No one wants to hear about alternative theories of the person, because a theory of persons tends to be heavily prejudiced. It is insulting to be told that your idea about persons is flawed. It is like being told you have misunderstood human beings and morality, too. The context of this argument is always adversarial. (Missing Persons: A Critique of the Personhood in the Social Sciences, 10)

        • Kodie

          Humans are really, really good at gaming systems of laws, thwarting their purposes. They’re also really, really good at taking intense amounts of pride in laws which are nothing but shams.

          That’s how religions are invented. Obviously to me, people who run religions are only humans, and they are doing their jobs at those religions to attract more people into the assurance that they uphold the moral values that are best for humanity. That’s pretty much all they do. They are marketing themselves as the place to heal from a sinful meaningless existence and get saved, and a haven from all the sin going on outside in the rest of the world.

          If they cannot provide that, if they cannot demonstrate that, oughtn’t they get the fuck out of the business entirely? Their laws are shams, and their efforts to handle those laws is shameful. How can a religious organization not have a zero-tolerance policy on child molesting, when their whole organization is built on the foundation of the filth of sex and lust? How can parents trust their children to be alone with priests?

          I remember in the 1980s, child abduction was a big scare, and we were all warned that kidnappers aren’t mean or ugly or shabby looking – they tend to fit in with everyone else. I feel like I’ve been taught my whole life that criminals look like anyone else, that they can be in the family, your school, your church, your coach, scouts, camp – literally any adult you might trust could take advantage of their position. It used to be considered safe enough to trust your children with a woman, but seemed strange that any teen boy or man would want a job caring for younger children or teaching them, and generally the habit to be in pairs at all times and never be left alone with a child. I have had lots of jobs working with kids where I didn’t have to supply any certification. It used to be the common thinking that people didn’t take jobs with kids if they weren’t protective of their innocence naturally.

          Now here is where it’s so fun, yeah. Exactly what does the RCC need with young children? It’s so prestigious to be an altar boy and chosen, and get to help out in the spectacle of mass. Teachers and schools need children to teach, that’s their job. But priests need young boys to light candles… very odd. They invented this theatrical exhibition that required auditioning children to perform tasks, to make this a prestigious position, and because priests vow celibacy, hey, you don’t automatically think “perv”. Why not? What did they ever need with children? They are not serving children, but exploiting voluntary children competitively to serve their own fucking business, to make their presentation look a certain way.

        • Ignorant Amos

          You and your wordplay mind wankery.

          You could do that thing you advise others to do…

          facilitate: to make easier : help bring about

          https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/facilitate

        • Otto

          “The term ‘facilitate’, as I’ve usually seen it used, indicates wanting the thing to happen more.”

          verb (used with object), facilitated, facilitating.
          1. to make easier or less difficult; help forward (an action, a process, etc.):
          Careful planning facilitates any kind of work.
          2. to assist the progress of (a person).

          Both definitions of which very accurately describes what the Catholic Church did.

        • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

          You just don’t get it. If you use words which have any senses which are plausibly false, you give the person/​group criticized legitimate wiggle room. If you are very careful to use words which are utterly and completely applicable in all senses, you deny them any and all wiggle room. Do you see no power in denying wiggle room?

          I guess the strategy that best describes the sentiment that ‘approve’ and ‘facilitate’ are appropriate is one of exaggeration, in the hope that an exaggerated version—even if slightly exaggerated—will be more rhetorically powerful. The point is to make a potent emotional impact, not to very carefully communicate truth. At root, the purpose is manipulation, not rationality. Rationality may be the veneer, but all the little errors between the precise range of denotations and connotations and what is actually true are carefully engineered so that they rhetorically strengthen one’s case, after the pattern of the Sophists, over against Socrates.

          This strategy may well be the optimal one if Harry Kroto was correct to say, “Science is the only philosophical construct we have to determine truth with any degree of reliability.” But if he were wrong, and there is a kind of truth in the moral realm, maybe part of that truth is that engineering little errors as I described above is wrong. Maybe part of the reason to endorse Kroto’s stance is to legitimate manipulative social relations, instead of doing the harder thing of employing non-manipulative social relations.

        • Otto

          No you don’t get it Luke. There is no wiggle room. Facilitate is exactly what the Catholic church did. There is no way out of it. The evidence speaks for itself.

          I think it is rather ridiculous that you admit you don’t know much about the case against the Catholic Church and yet you think you can tell me and others that we are exaggerating for effect. The information is out there in spades, do your homework…and no it is not my job to do it for you. You are being a complete asshole…stop it.

        • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

          No you don’t get it Luke. There is no wiggle room. Facilitate is exactly what the Catholic church did. There is no way out of it. The evidence speaks for itself.

          Suppose I were to consult some of the relevant experts who are attempting to reduce the amount of actual evil carried out by the Roman Catholic Church in this domain. How much $$$ would you wager on your strategy being superior to mine? Perhaps we could set up a bet and the loser would donate that amount of money to charity. We would agree upon the experts and you’d get contacted directly, not through me.

          I think it is rather ridiculous that you admit you don’t know much about the case against the Catholic Church and yet you think you can tell me and others that we are exaggerating for effect. The information is out there in spades, do your homework…and no it is not my job to do it for you.

          If you think it is ridiculous for someone to require the evidence be sufficient for the allegations, then so be it. If you think it is ridiculous that the one making the claim is under obligation to provide sufficient evidence for precisely that claim, then so be it.

          You are being a complete asshole…stop it.

          Let’s see how you answer my charity bet offer. I’m quite aware that I’m probably hurting your feelings and the feelings of others. Perhaps you have been abused yourself, and have white-hot anger inside. Or maybe a friend or family member was. But I have to weigh two things:

               (1) your feelings and others’ feelings
               (2) fighting heinous evil

          Now, is it the asshole who prioritizes (2) over (1), or is it the asshole who prioritizes (1) over (2)?

        • Otto

          “If you think it is ridiculous for someone to require the evidence be sufficient for the allegations, then so be it. If you think it is ridiculous that the one making the claim is under obligation to provide sufficient evidence for precisely that claim, then so be it.”

          Luke if someone makes a comment condemning the complicity of the Nazi’s in the Holocaust and you then ask them to provide evidence for it before you will accept their condemnation, you are being an asshole…which you are, stop it. You are wrong here and it isn’t even close. Do your own homework or STFU.

          “Suppose I were to consult some of the relevant experts who are attempting to reduce the amount of actual evil carried out by the Roman Catholic Church in this domain.”

          Quite honestly I don’t give a fuck….I don’t go around worrying about softening my language in regards to the actions of the Hell’s Angels because I think a ‘reduction of Evil’ assessment needs to be done first. Don’t be a twit.

          “I’m quite aware that I’m probably hurting your feelings and the feelings of others.”

          You can go ahead and hurt my feelings all you want, but the bottom line is you are being an asshole. I asked you nicely to stop and it is your choice on whether you want to continue behaving that way or not…so far it is the former.

        • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

          Luke if someone makes a comment condemning the complicity of the Nazi’s in the Holocaust and you then ask them to provide evidence for it before you will accept their condemnation, you are being an asshole…which you are, stop it. You are wrong here and it isn’t even close. Do your own homework or STFU.

          No, I think your reasoning here is an abomination. I have a friend who is Jewish by descent. Before he was five years old, he was having conversations with his mother about how the Holocaust could have happened. Surely not every German was really that evil? This was excellent priming for understanding the “banality of evil”—how so much evil is quite low-key, not carefully planned out, not meticulously intended. Sadly, this friend saw his mother shoot herself in the head, with brains splattering on the wall, and she didn’t even die right away. She fell down the stairs and moaned for a while. There is good reason to think that she had been experimented on by Project MKUltra folks. Now, shall we say that those folks intended for many of their experimentees to commit suicide in horrible fashion? That they facilitated horrible suicides? That they approved of them? Well, it all depends on whether you are more interested in truth or in something like virtue signalling.

          I have also seen and experienced horrors. Such horrors can lead to self-destructive hatred, leading to suicide attempts which can succeed. They can also lead to a white-hot anger which can be wielded to fight evil. But if that anger is not carefully controlled—like a fusion reactor vessel must keep plasma millions of degrees hot from touching its walls—it is at most useless and often destructive. Don’t believe me on how anger must be handled to be effective? Read Chris Hedges’ Building the Institutions for Revolt.

          LB: Suppose I were to consult some of the relevant experts who are attempting to reduce the amount of actual evil carried out by the Roman Catholic Church in this domain.

          O: Quite honestly I don’t give a fuck…

          I see, you were never actually interested in fighting evil with maximum effectiveness.

        • Otto

          Your example of your friends mother is irrelevant to my point.

          Did the Nazi’s facilitate the the atrocities committed against the Jews…yes they did. Did the Catholic Church facilitate the atrocities committed against children worldwide…yes they did. Just because raping children was not the end goal does not mean they did not facilitate the situations (i.e help the situation continue through their actions knowingly).

          “I see, you were never actually interested in fighting evil with maximum effectiveness.”

          I see you are a dishonest asshat. You ever had someone tell you that if you continue acting a certain way they will stop communication with you? I bet you have many times…consider this mine to you.

        • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

          Your example of your friends mother is irrelevant to my point.

          Was your point divorced from what is true and what you know (via your own expertise or someone who has established the requisite expertise) will be maximally effective in preventing future children from being abused by Catholic priests? If so, I’ll accede to your “irrelevant”.

          Did the Nazi’s facilitate the the atrocities committed against the Jews…yes they did.

          My guess is that most people will understand “facilitate” to involve intention. Let’s look at some empirical evidence for what happens when one mistakenly imputes evil intention:

          LB: Then why speak deceptively? Surely you can acknowledge that a good number of people will see “the immorality of” as having a different meaning than “my personal dislike of”?

          […]

          MN: I had to back away from here because I was extremely angry. I made a statement which was obviously an opinion (but I gave an example to give a basis for that opinion) and you said I was speaking deceptively.

          And this was just the result of having one’s intentions wrongly imputed by a random person on the internet! Switch to something as intense as child rape and the angry reaction would surely be more severe.

          I see you are a dishonest asshat. You ever had someone tell you that if you continue acting a certain way they will stop communication with you? I bet you have many times…consider this mine to you.

          I believe you are the first. Perhaps it would help to know that on the websites which… facilitate unsubstantiated character assassination by the regulars, I tend not to fare well. Where such behavior is considered unacceptable, I tend to do well.

        • adam

          “My guess is that most people will understand “facilitate” to involve intention.”

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/cb8bacc3a48ee1276d73b5f2cef9beda8c65426fe4638f944175aa8abc66c042.jpg

        • Otto

          “Was your point divorced from what is true and what you know (via your own expertise or someone who has established the requisite expertise) will be maximally effective in preventing future children from being abused by Catholic priests?”

          I have all but ensured that my children will not be abused by Catholic Priests by me divorcing my family from the Catholic Church. I encourage other people to do the same and if they did I would argue that doing so would be maximally effective for such an end.

          “My guess is that most people will understand “facilitate” to involve intention. Let’s look at some empirical evidence for what happens when one mistakenly imputes evil intention:”

          If I go out and drink alcohol, run through a red light thereby causing 2 other cars to collide did I intend for that to happen? Did I leave in the car with the thought on my mind that “I intend to make 2 cars have an accident”? No.

          Now let’s say I do this 100 times and 80 times 2 cars got in an accident. Can we say I was facilitating the probability that an accident like that would happen? Yes I think we can and I do not think saying so is hyperbolic nor is it an exaggeration. That is what the Catholic Church did except is was far, far more than 100 times and the results were far worse. It happened over 100’s of years and happened in virtually every area of the world the Catholic Church was in.

          Now Luke, defend that that does not fall under the definition of “facilitate”. I would even like you to defend the idea that the RCC did not “intend” for children to be raped under such a scenario. I would find it rather astonishing that you would even want to try.

          “I believe you are the first. Perhaps it would help to know that on the websites which… facilitate unsubstantiated character assassination by the regulars, I tend not to fare well.”

          I don’t believe you character has been “assassinated” here. Aren’t you the one that argues that exaggeration of terms leads to problems? I think sometimes people have unfairly characterized you, it happens to me too on other sites but I have never claimed my character was assassinated.

          Additionally I have done no such thing to you so stop.

        • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

          I have all but ensured that my children will not be abused by Catholic Priests by me divorcing my family from the Catholic Church. I encourage other people to do the same and if they did I would argue that doing so would be maximally effective for such an end.

          Ok, but I think it was rather obvious that I was speaking about putting pressure on the RCC to stop which is something other than “reduce the RCC to nothing by every single person abandoning it”.

          If I go out and drink alcohol, run through a red light thereby causing 2 other cars to collide did I intend for that to happen? Did I leave in the car with the thought on my mind that “I intend to make 2 cars have an accident”? No.

          Now let’s say I do this 100 times and 80 times 2 cars got in an accident. Can we say I was facilitating the probability that an accident like that would happen? Yes I think we can and I do not think saying so is hyperbolic nor is it an exaggeration. That is what the Catholic Church did except is was far, far more than 100 times and the results were far worse. It happened over 100’s of years and happened in virtually every area of the world the Catholic Church was in.

          So 8 out of 10 Catholic priests is known to have molested a child?

          P.S. I do like the drunk driving analogy; too often we impute intention to others when it was unintentional. And as you or someone else noted recently, we recognize criminal negligence. Heinous evil does not require intentionality. Wrongly imputing intentionality is to engage in falsehood. Engaging in falsehood hamstrings our ability to change reality.

          I don’t believe you character has been “assassinated” here.

          Then you are blind.

          Additionally I have done no such thing to you so stop.

          You upvoted a comment containing the following:

          PBL: You’re a human shit stain, Luke. You, on a day to to day basis, make the world a worse place with your evil behavior.

          Therefore, I call bullshit.

        • Otto

          “Ok, but I think it was rather obvious that I was speaking about putting pressure on the RCC to stop which is something other than “reduce the RCC to nothing by every single person abandoning it”.

          I would say the large number of Catholics leaving the church IS putting pressure on it.

          “So 8 out of 10 Catholic priests is known to have molested a child?”

          You have in my opinion knowingly misrepresented the analogy.

          How many times out of 10 did the Catholic Church allow a pederast priest to re-offend after they identified the criminal behavior? How many times did they alert the authorities to the crime? How many times did they either take no action or took action that actually helped these criminals to do it again and did so knowing what the likely outcome was? Oh that’s right you have no idea because as you have admitted yourself you know very little about the case, so apparently it is your self-appointed duty to minimize the immoral behavior of the RCC organization. Talk about despicable….

          “Wrongly imputing intentionality is to engage in falsehood. Engaging in falsehood hamstrings our ability to change reality.”

          If I do not know how a gun works and I accidentally fire a gun killing someone I can claim it was unintentional. If I continue to fire shot after shot and kill another person with each pull of the trigger at what point can I stop claiming it was unintentional Luke? THAT is why your argument is so laughably stupid and irrelevant to the facts.

          “Then you are blind.”

          Quit playing victim and take you own advice about exaggeration.

          “Therefore, I call bullshit.”

          Good for you…i.e. I don’t care.

        • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

          I would say the large number of Catholics leaving the church IS putting pressure on it.

          No doubt. But I think more pressure can be applied, via being shrewd in the language used.

          You have in my opinion knowingly misrepresented the analogy.

          Nope, I rather obviously implied that if you had used accurate numbers, your analogy would have been weaker. What you can quibble about is whether you were employing exaggeration for effect and the true numbers don’t really undermine your point. I see you didn’t, which indicates that the quibble would fail.

          Oh that’s right you have no idea because as you have admitted yourself you know very little about the case, so apparently it is your self-appointed duty to minimize the immoral behavior of the RCC organization.

          The one making the claim bears the burden of providing evidence. Or does that only apply to people you don’t like? Do you† get a pass?

          † Recall @disqus_4rvHZwPMCR:disqus’s “Are you under the impression that I am speaking for myself alone, or even primarily?”

          If I do not know how a gun works and I accidentally fire a gun killing someone I can claim it was unintentional. If I continue to fire shot after shot and kill another person with each pull of the trigger at what point can I stop claiming it was unintentional Luke? THAT is why your argument is so laughably stupid and irrelevant to the facts.

          That’s a terrible analogy. You’re really quite terrible at this. Here’s an argument which would be powerful to precisely the people you actually need to convince (vs. preaching to the choir). Let’s take the secular expectation that people reasonably suspected of pedophilia be investigated by the law. Now let’s take the RCC’s refusal to abide by this standard. This makes the following prophetic statement apply to them:

          “Thus says the Lord GOD: This is Jerusalem. I have set her in the center of the nations, with countries all around her. And she has rebelled against my rules by doing wickedness more than the nations, and against my statutes more than the countries all around her; for they have rejected my rules and have not walked in my statutes. Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: Because you are more turbulent than the nations that are all around you, and have not walked in my statutes or obeyed my rules, and have not even acted according to the rules of the nations that are all around you, therefore thus says the Lord GOD: Behold, I, even I, am against you. And I will execute judgments in your midst in the sight of the nations. (Ezekiel 5:5–8)

          Judging people by their own standards—or things they claim to be their own standards—can be (frequently?) more potent then attempting to impose your own. And guess what? No need to impute lots and lots of intentionality to do what I just did.

        • Otto

          “But I think more pressure can be applied, via being shrewd in the language used.”

          Good for you Luke.

          “Nope, I rather obviously implied that if you had used accurate numbers, your analogy would have been weaker.”

          Your obvious implication was a straw man.

          “The one making the claim bears the burden of providing evidence.”

          The evidence take 2 minutes to look up Luke…do your homework. The fact that you continue to argue this from a position of willful ignorance is telling.

          “That’s a terrible analogy. You’re really quite terrible at this.”

          Apparently it is so terrible you can’t eve bring yourself to explain what is wrong with it.

          “This makes the following prophetic statement apply to them:”

          Yeah because throwing Bible verses definitely (as in almost never) produces some religious person to take a step back and agree they were wrong.

        • Paul B. Lot

          Here’s an argument which would be powerful to precisely the people you actually need to convince (vs. preaching to the choir)

          Not only was your attempt to teach-by-example a dismal failure in that you produced nothing interesting or compelling; your response itself is built on the premise that we needed to frame each and every comment on the subject as-if they would be used “to convince [the guilty parties of the RCC]”.

          A laughable, and false, premise.

        • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

          Not only was your attempt to teach-by-example a dismal failure in that you produced nothing interesting or compelling […]

          It was never meant to be compelling to you†, and you’ve demonstrated zero competence in understanding the kind of people whom I’m targeting. So your judgment on this matter is meaningless to me.

          † Recall your “Are you under the impression that I am speaking for myself alone, or even primarily?”.

          […] your response itself is built on the premise that we needed to frame each and every comment on the subject as-if they would be used “to convince [the guilty parties of the RCC]”.

          Incorrect.

          A laughable, and false, premise.

          Correct.

        • Paul B. Lot

          Incorrect

          Show, don’t tell.

        • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

          Are you saying I should act like you, or unlike you, along this dimension?

        • Paul B. Lot

          Incorrect

          Show, don’t tell.

        • Ignorant Amos

          That’s something else that baffles me about Luke’s thinking process too.

          Perhaps I shouldn’t be vociferous about the atrocious antics of ISIS if I’m only going to preach to the choir. I mean who am I to bad mouth those chaps in such a non-productive way if what I say is going to have no effect, eh?

        • Paul B. Lot

          Luke’s asserted your analogy was terrible, but given that assertion no teeth.

          That’s because you’re analogy was quite good.

          You’re not, in fact, terrible at this. Luke is projecting as usual.

        • adam

          “. Perhaps it would help to know that on the websites which… facilitate unsubstantiated character assassination by the regulars, I tend not to fare well. ”

          And on those who facilitate substantiated character EXPOSURE, you do not fare well, OBVIOUSLY.
          .

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/7705a7b044e2a6c055f0b07497e0100e3629fa5559fc8e1683401795e234bb88.jpg

        • Kodie

          Let me say, you have really low standards of morality. You really really absolutely do. You will twist everything to hold absolutely no one accountable for the sexual abuse scandals. If there is badness in child molestation, which you seem to agree there is, the good thing to do is report the piece of shit and condemn them to whatever the law has in store for them. The RCC organization decided from the top down to handle the child-rapers with kind acceptance, hiding them and holding them off-limits from the congregation where they fucked a boy or several, so the victims could not get any recourse, no reparation for their damage, and offered them maybe some kind of short course mandatory religious counseling to go through the shitty motions of pretending to address the problems, and then assign the priest somewhere else.

          You are not thinking of the victims of these crimes at all. The RCC has a zero-tolerance policy on a number of offenses, but their priority here was retaining priests, which I imagine are difficult to attract, actually, given they have to be grown-ass men who can’t have any sex forever. So, either the idea here was, well, fucking little boys doesn’t make you gay and doesn’t count and they are going to probably have nowhere to go with their shame but into the priesthood. What about the vows of celibacy, what about the sin of lust? Yeah, those aren’t secular laws, but apparently not heinous enough to boot these rapers from their vocation, or the church entirely, but THE VICTIMS. Who in the church cared about those victims? As far as I can tell from what it looks like, it was purposeful, allowed, almost expected, and considered harmless… until they had to pull fugitive when rumors arose in the congregation.

          THOSE VICTIMS never got justice. THE CONGREGATION was left with the impression that “one bad apple don’t spoil the whole bunch” and their new priest or mostly any other priest would be virtuous as advertised, and their old priest was just an anomalous monster, and when we never see or hear from him again, figure the church at least dealt with him with the defrocking and excommunication you’d expect.

          Well, that was not so. They did nothing of the sort. They tolerated this behavior from their priests, they went soft (let’s just suppose religious punishment, when they want to “forgive” someone is to have too much faith in themselves and not enough knowledge of reality, which is the main thing). Your response was instead of condemning the RCC for systemically rallying around and protecting molesters and rapists and giving the victims an unsatisfying “there, there” as they awaited the child to channel their horrifying trauma toward the priesthood! Your further response to critics of the RCC was to assume they had been molested and were merely having an emotional reaction.

          YOUR FUCKING MORALS ARE FUCKING FUCKED BY RELIGION. You don’t know what’s right or wrong, you don’t know who to protect, you don’t know who to criticize it, and in your classic anti-social style, you think a person has to be emotionally traumatized by something to recognize it as a heinous crime by the world’s largest moral authority.

        • Paul B. Lot

          But if that anger is not carefully controlled—like a fusion reactor vessel must keep plasma millions of degrees hot from touching its walls—it is at most useless and often destructive….I see, you were never actually interested in fighting evil with maximum effectiveness.

          How ironic, the man who cannot or will not contain his own ego on this subject is lecturing others about the dangers of being out-of-control.

          In a (?happy?) funny twist of fate, it turns out that [your comments] on the subject of [the dangers of out-of-control-anger] are, in fact, quite educational – but perhaps not for the reason(s) you might think.

          Once again: thank you, @LukeBreuer:disqus. Your (perhaps unintentional) evil behavior, loudly and (eventually) plainly presented, provides a wonderful warning to us.

          You’re a fantastic exemplar of how not to act given the pressures and dangers involved.

        • Otto

          I didn’t want to be part of the problem, the solution for that was obvious. I left the Church and never returned.

          If the owners and management at Denny’s acted in such as fashion as the hierarchy of the Church I don’t think any ethical person would eat at Denny’s anymore.

        • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

          I’m a Protestant. I was never part of the Church.

          Denny’s doesn’t shape your moral DNA. The RCC probably did. Leaving didn’t automatically purge you of any and all bad shaping, although it did probably cease any further shaping.

        • Otto

          Stunted my my moral DNA would be a more accurate description.

          I never claimed leaving the church purged me of bad shaping…seriously, quit being a dick.

        • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

          Stunted my my moral DNA would be a more accurate description.

          According to the evidence†, corrupted is more empirically accurate. Are you willing to consider this empirical possibility, or are your feelings going to get in the way?

          † Alistair McFadyen’s Bound to Sin: Abuse, Holocaust and the Christian Doctrine of Sin. He explores terrible stuff like how sexually abused children can be taught to ‘request’ the abuse, e.g. so that they get some reward. This shapes their active wills; treating them as mere passive victims has been shown to harm their recovery.

          I never claimed leaving the church purged me of bad shaping…seriously, quit being a dick.

          That wasn’t my point. Instead it was this: to the extent that { the corrupted morality which contributes to making child abuse more probable in the RCC } has corrupted your own morality, your attempts to fight the RCC could backfire. This include things like, “How do you act when you have significantly more social power than the other person?” If you were truly interested in maximizing your ability to fight the RCC’s child abuse, you would have to understand this sort of thing. But perhaps you are more interested in something like virtue signalling. I didn’t want to assume that up-front, because I think virtue signalling is making the world a worse place, not a better one. But it is a possibility, and may explain a bunch of the social dynamics I’ve seen here on CE.

          But hey, maybe your feelings are more important than being maximally effective at fighting heinous evil? If my rejection of that makes me a dick, so be it.

        • Otto

          “According to the evidence†, corrupted is more empirically accurate. Are you willing to consider this empirical possibility, or are your feelings going to get in the way?”

          So you think you get to tell me how I should best phrase my experience…GFY Luke.

        • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

          So you think you get to tell me how I should best phrase my experience…

          Is that code for, “My ability to introspect is pretty much perfect—the chance I’m wrong is so unlikely that it can be ignored.”? So much for Eric Schwitzgebel’s 2008 The Unreliability of Naive Introspection. So much for self-delusion. So much for truth. Oh wait, there cannot possibly be truth about “my experience” if Kroto is right in saying “Science is the only philosophical construct we have to determine truth with any degree of reliability.” After all, we can’t really use science to probe “my experience”. Instead, what we want is for people to trust us about our experience. And yet has anyone on CE ever really extended such trust to me when I give account of my experience? I wouldn’t be surprised if the answer is a “no”. And yet, I’m supposed to extend that privilege to others. Curious.

          P.S. I’ll have to try that reasoning on CE regulars when they question how I “best phrase my experience”. My guess is that’s a privilege for those with social power. The rest have to let those in power dictate their experience.

          GFY Luke.

          I thought you didn’t believe in hell? And yet you want to put me there. That’s how I experience your words.

        • Otto

          “Is that code for, “My ability to introspect is pretty much perfect—the chance I’m wrong is so unlikely that it can be ignored.”

          No that is code for, ‘my assessment of MY experience is much better than yours is of my experience’….asshole.

          “After all, we can’t really use science to probe “my experience”. “

          I really think you should quit probing your ass with your head.

          “I thought you didn’t believe in hell?

          Apparently you don’t know what GFY means…it means Go fuck yourself…I wouldn’t wish hell on my worst enemy, which make me more moral than the God a lot of Christians believe in.

        • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

          No that is code for, ‘my assessment of MY experience is much better than yours is of my experience’….asshole.

          Does science back this up, or am I supposed to believe this just because you say so? I ask this because generally I am treated as if “my assessment of MY [@LukeBreuer:disqus’s] experience” is 100% irrelevant, in all circumstances, on websites such as CE, EN, and DC. I can work under such conditions, but I like verifying that I have properly characterized things.

          O: GFY Luke.

          LB: I thought you didn’t believe in hell? And yet you want to put me there. That’s how I experience your words.

          O: Apparently you don’t know what GFY means…it means Go fuck yourself…I wouldn’t wish hell on my worst enemy, which make me more moral than the God a lot of Christians believe in.

          Oh, I’m quite aware of what it means, and quite aware that you don’t believe in a God-made hell. But you don’t need that; you can construct a human-made hell for others to inhabit—at least if you have social support. So for example, we can take a comment which includes the following—

          PBL: You’re a human shit stain, Luke. You, on a day to to day basis, make the world a worse place with your evil behavior.

          —and note that the following regulars upvoted it:

               • @Ignorant_Amos:disqus
               • @disqus_a9H6kflDom:disqus
               • @oldnewatheist:disqus
               • @disqus_xYWVllyPLU:disqus
               • @disqus_K3l83uMZuy:disqus

          It’s really not a big step from this, to the following excellent description of a hell constructed for other human beings:

              We have to try to understand the meaning of this inhuman insanity. To scorn is to condemn the other person to complete and final sterility, to expect nothing more from him and to put him in such circumstances that he will never again have anything to give. It is to negate him in his possibilities, in his gifts, in the development of his experience. To scorn him is to rip his fingernails out by the roots so that they will never grow back again. The person who is physically maimed, or overwhelmed by mourning or hunger, can regain his strength, can live again as a person as long as he retains his honor and dignity, but to destroy the honor and dignity of a person is to cancel his future, to condemn him to sterility forever. In other words, to scorn is to put an end to the other person’s hope and to one’s hope for the other person, to hope for nothing more from him and also to stop his having any hope for himself. (Hope in Time of Abandonment, 47)

          Now, you and the other up-voters have nowhere near the competence to get anywhere near the above. But I meant to take your† incompetence into account when I wrote, “And yet you want to put me [in hell].”

          † Singular or plural “your”; see @disqus_4rvHZwPMCR:disqus’s “Are you under the impression that I am speaking for myself alone, or even primarily?”

        • Otto

          Look Luke, explain to me why you think your phrasing of my experience more accurately describes my experience?

          The point you are arguing is not just that my experience or the way I phrase my experience is, or might be inaccurate, you are claiming your phrasing of my experience is actually better and more accurate!

          That is what is making me perceive you as an asshole in this exchange.

          “But you don’t need that; you can construct a human-made hell for others to inhabit—at least if you have social support.”

          Whether you inhabit this “little piece of hell” that we have apparently constructed is completely your choice, I don’t feel even a little bit bad for you. Hell is inescapable, this isn’t. Additionally you do not have to conduct yourself in the shitty way you have, don’t pretend you have no responsibility in our little coroner of hell Luke.

        • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

          Look Luke, explain to me why you think your phrasing of my experience more accurately describes my experience?

          I do it based on the empirical evidence and expert analysis of child sexual abuse (that this matches up with RCC pedophilia is incidental) in Alistair McFadyen’s Bound to Sin: Abuse, Holocaust and the Christian Doctrine of Sin. There is an important empirical difference between “stunted… moral DNA” morality and corrupted [moral DNA]”. The former is a child whose will is passive while being forced to be sexually abused; the latter is a child actively willing his/her own abuse. According to the former model, once the child is out of the abusive situation, there would be zero impetus toward further abuse. According to the latter model, there would be impetus toward further abuse.

          McFadyen’s point is that the same difference between stunting and corrupting that is made salient with child sexual abuse applies to plenty of other situations. He merely picks out a poignant example for illustrative purposes. There is simply a very big difference between the RCC failing to teach you the right moral lessons (= “stunted”) and the RCC teaching you wrong moral lessons (= “corrupted”). Now, from your own perspective you won’t be able to distinguish between “stunted” and “corrupted”—unless you choose to trust some other perspective. Does that make sense, or do I need to further elaborate?

          The point you are arguing is not just that my experience or the way I phrase my experience is, or might be inaccurate, you are claiming your phrasing of my experience is actually better and more accurate!

          That is what is making me perceive you as an asshole in this exchange.

          Do you simply not believe that this thing I’ve done to you, has been done to me all my life? Answer that and I’ll proceed.

          Whether you inhabit this “little piece of hell” that we have apparently constructed is completely your choice, I don’t feel even a little bit bad for you.

          You appear to be incredibly naive as to how social power works. Yes, in this particular situation, I know exactly what it is going on, and thus can escape. But I bet y’all do this to people who don’t know what is going on. That, I claim, would be despicable.

          Additionally you do not have to conduct yourself in the shitty way you have, don’t pretend you have no responsibility in our little coroner of hell Luke.

          Straw man.

        • Otto

          I don’t give 2 shits what MacFayden says. Let me ask you though does MacFayden actually use the word “stunted” or did you just decide that stunted coincided with his distinction?

          ” There is simply a very big difference between the RCC failing to teach you the right moral lessons (= “stunted”) and the RCC teaching you wrong moral lessons (= “corrupted”)”

          These 2 thing are not mutually exclusive.

          “Do you simply not believe that this thing I’ve done to you, has been done to me all my life? Answer that and I’ll proceed.”

          Quit playing victim Luke.

          And your claim of straw man makes zero sense.

        • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

          I don’t give 2 shits what MacFayden says.

          Would you care more if I gave you some peer-reviewed articles? What we’re talking about here is (i) empirical evidence; and (ii) expert testimony. Unless you think you can instantly be an expert on how to best model survivors of child sexual abuse?

          Let me ask you though does MacFayden actually use the word “stunted” or did you just decide that stunted coincided with his distinction?

          No, he does not use that precise term. He does say “corruption of the dynamics of willing” (BtS, 188), which is quite close to corrupted [moral DNA]”.

          These 2 thing are not mutually exclusive.

          Correct. “corrupted” ⇒ “stunted”, while “stunted” ⇏ “corrupted”

          LB: Do you simply not believe that this thing I’ve done to you, has been done to me all my life?

          O: Quit playing victim Luke.

          Ahh, so only you get to be the victim? Only you† get to say stuff like “So you think you get to tell me how I should best phrase my experience…GFY”?

          † We must recall @disqus_4rvHZwPMCR:disqus’s “Are you under the impression that I am speaking for myself alone, or even primarily?”.

          And your claim of straw man makes zero sense.

          I have never claimed, nor pretended, that I “have no responsibility”. It is possible for multiple people to contribute to a bad situation, such that each is guilty in a nontrivial way.

        • Otto

          “No, he does not use that precise term.”

          Then stick it up your sanctimonious ass and shut the hell up. You are literally making stuff up and being a complete ASSHOLE.

          Admit now you have no basis to compare my term “stunted” to what MacFayden was saying or I am done responding to you… ever again. Your choice Luke.

          “Ahh, so only you get to be the victim?”

          I am not playing victim Luke, I will just walk away.

        • Paul B. Lot

          Is this your first case of influkenza? If so, know that it’s happened to lots of other good people before.

          You’re not alone.

          It’s not your fault.

        • Otto

          No it’s not. This is probably my 8th go around with Luke. I think the first time I noticed him I read through a discussion you had on Loftus’ site. I know you and him have a long history.

          I think the frustrating part for me is that Luke is a very intelligent person and I cannot fathom how he can be so dense at times.

        • Paul B. Lot

          “Dense” is too kind, I think.

          But, despite that, I admire how calm you manage to stay.

        • Otto

          I don’t think you have seen all my replies today….lol. He is wearing thin quick with his minimization of the complicity of the RCC, I am a recovering Catholic and the abuse scandal was what finally got me to leave never to return. I can honestly thank the RCC for making me examine my beliefs to the point of ending at atheism. The child abuse scandal is a huge sore point with me.

        • Ignorant Amos

          The child abuse scandal is a huge sore point with me.

          Me too….and I’ve read enough about it to know Luke is talking ballix. The thing that get’s me is that he has admitted commenting from a position of ignorance, though he seems to have got himself up to speed on some other institutions in order to provide some sort of “whataboutery” defence like we won’t condemn other examples of abuse of authority.

          The thing is, even if the UN, the US Navy, and even the BBC, were equal to the RCC in this issue, which they are not, the one overarching point that Luke doesn’t get is that what the RCC claims, that the others don’t, is the RCC’s aspirations to be the guardians of the moral exemplar as YahwehJesuses representative here on Earth. Now we know that’s ballix in reality, nevertheless,millions believe it, so ought to hold the institution to a higher standard, but they are not even held to a normal standard. Am impressed that you seen it for what it is and walked away.

        • Pofarmer

          The people who explain it away as “It was only a few priests” are worse.

        • adam

          ” I cannot fathom how he can be so dense at times.”

          He’s not, that’s DISHONESTY.

          Dishonest gods breed dishonest followers.

        • Otto

          “After all, we can’t really use science to probe “my experience”. Instead, what we want is for people to trust us about our experience. And yet has anyone on CE ever really extended such trust to me when I give account of my experience?”

          There is a huge difference between ‘this is my experience in ‘X’ organization and ‘this was my experience on the spaceship the aliens picked me up in last night’. If you don’t understand that distinction we will never have a fruitful discussion about experiences.

        • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

          Not what I was talking about.

        • adam
        • Paul B. Lot

          If you were truly interested in maximizing your ability to fight the RCC’s child abuse, you would have to understand this sort of thing. But perhaps you are more interested in something like virtue signalling.

          One of the key steps in [fighting a problem] is [being able to acknowledge it and openly talk about it].

          You can snidely call what we have said about the RCC “virtue signalling” all you like, the truth is that open discussion of issues is one of the ways to help ameliorate the issue.

          Once again, this all about control for you. People are not doing things your way, and so you have to accuse them of not wanting to fight child rape.

          You’re a human shit stain, Luke. You, on a day to to day basis, make the world a worse place with your evil behavior.

        • Susan

          Once again, this all about control for you. People are not doing things your way, and so you have to accuse them of not wanting to fight child rape.

          Breathtaking, isn’t it?

          And on the back end, he always has ingroup/outgroup behaviour standing at the ready to explain why so many people find his approach so appalling and unpersuasive.. Because when a majority of individuals find your approach appalling and unpersuasive, there can only be one explanation. Ingroup/outgroup behaviour.

          Without having to build a case with evidence for that accusation. . Without having to show a distinction between someone being attacked solely because they are different and someone being confronted and criticized because they wander into a friendly discussion and piss all over the coffee table.

          See his brief exchange with Greg G.

          He sees himself as a martyr.

          I’ve never seen him fight evil in my life.

          He’s straight out of A Confederacy of Dunces.

          I will say this. I have asked him and seen many others ask him to clarify and provide evidence for his position and he is having none of that. That’s when he has archived bullet points of butthurt which he uses to protect himself from having to do so.

          Once again, I’ve broken my rule by talking about Luke Breuer.

          It’s a rule I keep trying to adhere to because there is nothing Luke Breuer seems to love so dearly as people talking about him and there is almost nothing so useless to discussion.

          I’m not a fan of unnecessary martyrdom to begin with. But Luke Breuer is one of the least impressive martyrs I’ve ever encountered.

          I’m fairly certain that I’ve only provided him succor and strength by this comment if he even bothered to read it.

          He demands impeccable models from atheists on every subject without showing mastery of any subject. He is a cherry picker.

          A creationist at heart.

        • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

          One of the key steps in [fighting a problem] is [being able to acknowledge it and openly talk about it].

          Of course. And as you so clearly understand, whether or not a word involves intention is very important. The words ‘facilitate’ and ‘approve’ clearly involve intention. If in fact it is false that the RCC intends more children to be abused by priests, then using contrary language is antithetical to [effectively] fighting the problem.

          Once again, this all about control for you. People are not doing things your way, and so you have to accuse them of not wanting to fight child rape.

          Paul, I’ll make the same deal with you as with @disqus_K3l83uMZuy:disqus:

          O: No you don’t get it Luke. There is no wiggle room. Facilitate is exactly what the Catholic church did. There is no way out of it. The evidence speaks for itself.

          LB: Suppose I were to consult some of the relevant experts who are attempting to reduce the amount of actual evil carried out by the Roman Catholic Church in this domain. How much $$$ would you wager on your strategy being superior to mine? Perhaps we could set up a bet and the loser would donate that amount of money to charity. We would agree upon the experts and you’d get contacted directly, not through me.

          Let’s see what you actually believe. I’ll grant that you really do desire that fewer children be abused by priests. Let’s see if this is the top-level desire when it comes to this domain, or whether your own self-righteousness† is more important to you.

          † One can also consider applying “Are you under the impression that I am speaking for myself alone, or even primarily?” here, and change “your own self-righteousness” → “your group’s self-righteousness”.

          You’re a human shit stain, Luke. You, on a day to to day basis, make the world a worse place with your evil behavior.

          More virtue signalling?

          ———

          For my future ease of access, the following registered Disqus users are currently listed as having up-voted your comment:

               • @Ignorant_Amos:disqus
               • @disqus_a9H6kflDom:disqus
               • @oldnewatheist:disqus
               • @disqus_xYWVllyPLU:disqus
               • @disqus_K3l83uMZuy:disqus

        • Paul B. Lot

          Of course. And as you so clearly understand, whether or not a word involves intention is very important. The words ‘facilitate’ and ‘approve’ clearly involve intention. If in fact it is false that the RCC intends more children to be abused by priests, then using contrary language is antithetical to [effectively] fighting the problem.

          Neither The Catechism of the Catholic Church nor the Code of Canon Law list “raping innocent children” as one of the aims of the RCC.

          If that’s all you wanted added to the record; consider it added.


          More virtue signalling?

          I suppose it is virtuous to state the truth, especially in this post-truth age.

        • Ignorant Amos

          It makes me titter when I read…

          …then using contrary language is antithetical to [effectively] fighting the problem.

          It doesn’t seem to matter a fuck to the RCC, they are a law unto themselves, but victims speaking out, along with the support of those of us who wants them to be heard, IS making a difference, contrary to what Luke thinks.

        • adam
        • Ignorant Amos

          Of course. And as you so clearly understand, whether or not a word involves intention is very important. The words ‘facilitate’ and ‘approve’ clearly involve intention.

          Why? Because you, Luke Breuer has decreed it to be so?

          Have you ever heard of the term “accessory”?

          The RCC has been both guilty of accessory- before-the -fact and accessory-after-the-fact.

          The principal is the one whose acts or omissions, accompanied by the relevant mens rea (Latin for “guilty mind”), are the most immediate cause of the actus reus (Latin for “guilty act”).

          Criminal facilitation

          In some jurisdictions, criminal “facilitation” laws do not require that the primary crime be actually committed as a prerequisite for criminal liability. These include state statutes making it a crime to “provide” a person with “means or opportunity” to commit a crime, “believing it probable that he is rendering aid to a person who intends to commit a crime.”

          Knowledge of the crime

          To be convicted of an accessory charge, the accused must generally be proved to have had actual knowledge that a crime was going to be, or had been, committed. Furthermore, there must be proof that the accessory knew that his or her action, or inaction, was helping the criminals commit the crime, or evade detection, or escape. A person who unknowingly houses a person who has just committed a crime, for instance, may not be charged with an accessory offense because they did not have knowledge of the crime.

          If in f act it is false that the RCC intends more children to be abused by priests, then using contrary language is antithetical to [effectively] fighting the problem.

          When an institution knowingly moves a pervert child rapist who is under their authority, to a place that allows said pervert child rapist to continue to commit their crimes in the knowledge that such action is not preventative to the criminal actions, but done with the protection of the institution as the sole purpose in a bid to save lost integrity, then more children are going to get abused…and did. Not informing the community further compounds their facilitating. Whether intended or not, the RCC facilitated the ongoing abuse. They approved of not getting the secular authorities involved, ergo becoming accessories.

          If your son is committing a crime and you know about it and you send him away to live with grandma, where he carries on committing that crime, you facilitated that crime by your actions whether your intention was thus or not. The RCC has been doing gravely more than just that.

        • al kimeea

          I wonder who’s abusing language with integrity…

          condone: accept and allow (behavior that is considered morally wrong or offensive) to continue.

          synonyms: disregard, accept, allow, let pass, turn a blind eye to, overlook, forget, excuse, exculpate, countenance, look the other way, give green light, abet, go along with, justify, okay, overlook, palliate, pardon, permit

          and grin and bear it

          Approval by any other name would smell as sweet

        • adam
        • adam
        • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

          Why? Because you, Luke Breuer has decreed it to be so?

          Because of how I’ve heard the word actually used. From your very comment:

          Criminal facilitation

          In some jurisdictions, criminal “facilitation” laws do not require that the primary crime be actually committed as a prerequisite for criminal liability. These include state statutes making it a crime to “provide” a person with “means or opportunity” to commit a crime, “believing it probable that he is rendering aid to a person who intends to commit a crime.”

          Knowledge of the crime

          To be convicted of an accessory charge, the accused must generally be proved to have had actual knowledge that a crime was going to be, or had been, committed.

          So, can you show that the RCC acted such that it knew more child abuse was going to happen? I buy the argument that they failed to stop child abuse, but that failure can be accomplished via criminal negligence. You’re taking it a step further. I’m not sure the evidence warrants that further step.

          When an institution knowingly moves a pervert child rapist who is under their authority, to a place that allows said pervert child rapist to continue to commit their crimes in the knowledge that such action is not preventative to the criminal actions, but done with the protection of the institution as the sole purpose in a bid to save lost integrity, then more children are going to get abused…and did.

          Meh, I’ll bet the RCC did try to reduce the likelihood that more child abuse would happen post-move. I’ll also bet it was generally ineffective. This would be another example of criminal negligence. But to say that the RCC intended more children to get abused is something which requires evidence.

          If your son is committing a crime and you know about it and you send him away to live with grandma, where he carries on committing that crime, you facilitated that crime by your actions whether your intention was thus or not.

          I have multiple friends who are lawyers. What are you willing to wager, on you being correct in what you claim? My own guess is that under some conditions ‘facilitated’ would be correct, while under other conditions ‘facilitated’ would be incorrect. If you wager something interesting enough (that is, you commit to admitting to some sort of deep error instead of just a little ‘oops’), I’ll figure out a way to ask this question such that you’ll get presented with evidence that does not require you to to trust me in any way. If you don’t wager anything interesting enough, I’m going to suspect this of make-work, such that if I produce the requisite evidence, everyone just goes silent and moves on to the next criticism, Whac-A-Mole-style.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Because of how I’ve heard the word actually used. From your very comment:

          I suggest you read it again, you seem a little confused. The word “facilitate” can be either, or, with regards to implied intent. And culpability is implied even where there maybe no intent.

          So, can you show that the RCC acted such that it knew more child abuse was going to happen?

          Are you suggesting that they were ignorant of it? Did you watch the documentary l posted? Have you not even performed a cursory search for your self?

          http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/times-watchdog/priests-secret-file-details-trail-of-abuse/

          I buy the argument that they So, can you show that the RCC acted such that it knew more child abuse was going to happen?

          Is it your position that with numerous examples of clerical child rapists being moved multiple times and reoffending each time, that the RCC was oblivious of such trends?

          I buy the argument that they failed to stop child abuse, but that failure can be accomplished via criminal negligence.

          Oh, well that’s a step in the right direction for sure. Turning a blind eye, or ignoring the problem, as per the UN or US Navy example’s, that’s criminal negligence. Covering the whole thing up, protecting the criminals from prosecution, accusing the victims as complicit, lying about it, burying evidence, etc., that is taking the issue to a whole new level.

          You’re taking it a step further. I’m not sure the evidence warrants that further step.

          Yeah, that’s the sort of attitude that that resulted in much of the problem in the first place….I think the evidence is sufficient to warrant that step okay.

          What evidence have you looked at? How many reports have you read?

          The Murphy Report?


          It concluded that “the Dublin Archdiocese’s preoccupations in dealing with cases of child sexual abuse, at least until the mid-1990s, were the maintenance of secrecy, the avoidance of scandal, the protection of the reputation of the Church, and the preservation of its assets. All other considerations, including the welfare of children and justice for victims, were subordinated to these priorities. The Archdiocese did not implement its own canon law rules and did its best to avoid any application of the law of the State”. The 720-page report said that it has “no doubt that clerical child sexual abuse was covered up” from January 1975 to May 2004. As charted by the Murphy commission, the complaints of parents and their children were ignored and other families placed in immediate danger as prelates from John Charles McQuaid onwards suppressed scandals and took refuge in canon law to protect offenders at the expense of children. Complainants alleged that most uninvolved priests turned a blind eye to their allegations.

          https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murphy_Report

          The Ryan Report?

          Sexual abuse. Sexual abuse was endemic in boys’ institutions. The schools investigated revealed a substantial level of sexual abuse of boys in care that extended over a range from improper touching and fondling to rape with violence. Perpetrators of abuse were able to operate undetected for long periods at the core of institutions. When confronted with evidence of sexual abuse, the response of the religious authorities was to transfer the offender to another location where, in many instances, he was free to abuse again. The safety of children in general was not a consideration.

          https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commission_to_Inquire_into_Child_Abuse

          I have multiple friends who are lawyers. What are you willing to wager, on you being correct in what you claim? My own guess is that under some conditions ‘facilitated’ would be correct, while under other conditions ‘facilitated’ would be incorrect.

          Who gives a fuck? More of your infantile semantics. If there are any conditions that l’m correct, then the example stands, why the pedantary? My assertion is fit for purpose, regardless of any overarching moral obligation one might have on the matter. You just have to disect every tat and tittle for some morsal of pedantary. Bloody pathetic. Especially give the subject matter.

          And what is this latest fad you are fixated on with betting all about?

        • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

          The word “facilitate” can be either, or, with regards to implied intent.

          I’m sure it has been; I’m not sure it would be when used wrt RCC priest pedophilia.

          And culpability is implied even where there maybe no intent.

          I’ve never disagreed with this, and on multiple occasions I have agreed with this. See all my uses of ‘criminally negligent’, for example.

          [1] Are you suggesting that they were ignorant of it? [2] Did you watch the documentary l posted? [3] Have you not even performed a cursory search for your self?

          [1] People often think they are dealing with a problem when they clearly aren’t, so plausibly they could think they’re doing the best thing to balance saving face and preventing more abuse. If you think they shouldn’t have cared at all about saving face then so be it, but my understanding of politics is that this just isn’t how things work—not in our world. It would be interesting to explore how to change that… [2] No. Videos are obnoxious to quote and discuss. [3] Yes.

          http://www.seattletimes.com/se

          That very article indicates that the RCC did send the priest to a psych hospital for 10 months. That indicates intent to stop the abuse. That they failed can probably be classified as criminal negligence. But you want to go further. You want to use a word which many will (in my judgment, which I’m happy to empirically test) interpret as intending more abuse to happen. That’s what I have a problem with. And I’m done discussing this matter with you or anyone else, unless you have additional evidence which ought to change this evaluation.

          Is it your position that with numerous examples of clerical child rapists being moved multiple times and reoffending each time, that the RCC was oblivious of such trends?

          I actually have no idea if some large percentage of the transferred priests were properly chastised and stopped, or if few did. That’s an empirical matter requiring evidence. This is of course orthogonal to the fact that the RCC helped them avoid the civil penalty for their crimes.

          Covering the whole thing up, protecting the criminals from prosecution, accusing the victims as complicit, lying about it, burying evidence, etc., that is taking the issue to a whole new level.

          Yes, it’s terrible that they would do so much to save face. It is a common human behavior to save face so it doesn’t particularly surprise me, but they are fully culpable for preferring this to protecting those least able to protect themselves. Go read Ezekiel 5:5–8. The Bible is no stranger to the religious elite being worse than the surrounding nations. But apparently folks here don’t actually want to apply the RCC’s own standards against itself in such potent manner. Let’s just say that their model of human nature is at great variance with mine.

          Yeah, that’s the sort of attitude that that resulted in much of the problem in the first place…

          I see absolutely no reason to believe this, and much reason to disbelieve it. According to my understanding of human psychology, every time you characterize someone as plausibly more evil than they actually are, you give them extraordinary psychological resources for rejecting not just the error between how evil they actually are and the plausible exaggeration, but the whole kit & kaboodle. I understand quite well how people play with the ambiguity of natural language. The purpose here is not in any way to convince those in the RCC, but to incite anger against them. At least, that’s the only purpose that’s actually going to be accomplished with the strategy you and others are deploying. Suffice it to say that I doubt the effectiveness of that strategy. Falsehood always ends up biting you in the ass, including falsehood residing in you taking advantage of your words plausibly being more intense than the facts warrant.

          What evidence have you looked at? How many reports have you read?

          Little and few. The one presenting the claims bears the burden of proof. I will not abide double standards on that issue.

          It concluded that “the Dublin Archdiocese’s preoccupations in dealing with cases of child sexual abuse, at least until the mid-1990s, were the maintenance of secrecy, the avoidance of scandal, the protection of the reputation of the Church, and the preservation of its assets. All other considerations, including the welfare of children and justice for victims, were subordinated to these priorities. (WP: Murphy Report)

          This certainly doesn’t indicate that they ‘approved’ of the pedophilia or intended it to continue. It is despicable, but I insist on keeping the descriptions tied to the facts, and not deploying descriptions with plausible interpretations which are more intense than the facts warrant. You and others here apparently have other preferences on this matter. I find it fascinating that I’ve got you all so worked up about this matter. You care so much about getting to use one or two words (primarily: ‘facilitate’, secondarily: ‘approve’). No matter what I say about how evil the RCC is, if I won’t use one or both of those words, the following applies:

          PBL: You’re a human shit stain, Luke. You, on a day to to day basis, make the world a worse place with your evil behavior.

          I’ll take your upvote as an agreement. I find the social pressure y’all are attempting to use on me (I get called mean words if I don’t pretty much 100% align myself with your views) to be very enlightening. Apparently y’all don’t think that cool, rational, evidence-based argument is as much as it’s cracked up to be. Good to know.

          Who gives a fuck? More of your infantile semantics.

          It is so delicious that in insisting, comment after comment, that ‘facilitate’ and perhaps ‘approve’ must be used, that you accuse me of engaging in “infantile semantics”.

          If there are any conditions that l’m correct, then the example stands, why the pedantary?

          Because I don’t think that choice of words is anything like ‘pedantry’, for y’all. If you all didn’t actually care all that much about what specific words are used, none of this would have happened. But you clearly have powerful emotions at play. If you aren’t allowed to use just the word you want, it’s like the world will end.

          And what is this latest fad you are fixated on with betting all about?

          It is a way to see how willing a person is to test his/her claims against reality, instead of continuing with his/her perception of reality.

        • Priya Lynn

          “It is so delicious that in insisting, comment after comment, that ‘facilitate’ and perhaps ‘approve’ must be used, that you accuse me of engaging in “infantile semantics”.”.

          Maybe I missed it but I’m pretty sure I never saw any of your opponents telling you you must use those words. I only saw you berrating them for using and wanting to use them themselves.

        • Otto

          “The words ‘facilitate’ and ‘approve’ clearly involve intention.”

          I don’t think facilitate does clearly involve intention. In the legal system a person can be found guilty of unintentional negligent manslaughter if it is determined their action facilitated (helped cause) the death of another. I think you are trying to re-define words to fit your argument.

          As to your “offer”, it has nothing to do with whether the RCC facilitated the abuse.

          “How much $$$ would you wager on your strategy being superior to mine?”

          A lot, if my strategy of cutting of the support of the RCC was implemented their ability to commit such atrocities would be cut off at the knees.

        • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

          I don’t think facilitate does clearly involve intention.

          If I were to ask the baristas at my local coffee shop whether “The RCC facilitates child abuse” clearly involves intention, what do you think they’d say? We’re not talking about strict dictionary definitions here, we’re talking about how your average person is going to interpret the word.

          In the legal system a person can be found guilty of unintentional negligent manslaughter if it is determined their action facilitated (helped cause) the death of another. I think you are trying to re-define words to fit your argument.

          No, I’m trying to pick careful rhetoric that gives anyone who would defend the RCC minimal grounds for objection. I actually do have some understanding of how rhetoric works.

          As to your “offer”, it has nothing to do with whether the RCC facilitated the abuse.

          It has to do with whether using the language “the RCC facilitated the abuse” is a good way to speak, if you wish to bring the number of children abused by priests to zero as quickly as possible.

          A lot, if my strategy of cutting of the support of the RCC was implemented their ability to commit such atrocities would be cut off at the knees.

          Really, do you think this strategy has any chance of being implemented at the scale required to accomplish your goal?

        • adam

          “If I were to ask the baristas at my local coffee shop whether “The RCC facilitates child abuse” clearly involves intention, what do you think they’d say? ”

          Probably depends on if he he was a child victim of abuse from the RCC or a facilitator of child abuse for the RCC.

        • Otto

          “If I were to ask the baristas at my local coffee shop whether “The RCC facilitates child abuse” clearly involves intention, what do you think they’d say? We’re not talking about strict dictionary definitions here, we’re talking about how your average person is going to interpret the word.”

          Oh now that I have proven to you facilitate does not require intent you are going to move the goalposts.

          Fuck off Luke.

          “No, I’m trying to pick careful rhetoric that gives anyone who would defend the RCC minimal grounds for objection.”

          There is no reason to soften the language, they can object all they want it does not change the facts. Facilitate accurately describes their complicity.

          “It has to do with whether using the language “the RCC facilitated the abuse” is a good way to speak, if you wish to bring the number of children abused by priests to zero as quickly as possible.”

          Minimizing their accountability is not going to help.

          “Really, do you think this strategy has any chance of being implemented at the scale required to accomplish your goal?”

          I think it has a much better chance than your strategy of minimization.

        • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

          Oh now that I have proven to you facilitate does not require intent you are going to move the goalposts.

          In a vacuum, outside of any context, I can see how ‘facilitate’ might not require intent. But in the situation of RCC priest pedophilia, I’m pretty sure just about everyone will think it requires intent. What you’re clearly doing is arguing on a technicality so that you can rhetorically exaggerate without providing the requisite evidence which pretty much everyone else will assume exists, if they give you the benefit of the doubt.

          There is no reason to soften the language, they can object all they want it does not change the facts. Facilitate accurately describes their complicity.

          Shall we consult a lawyer on this one? After all, it would be curious if in the court of law (where you want priest pedophiles to be tried), the word ‘facilitate’ would be deemed inappropriate for the evidence so far presented by folks on CE.

          Minimizing their accountability is not going to help.

          The only reason you want to use the term ‘facilitate’ is because it is strongly associated with intent. That is clear as day.

          I think it has a much better chance than your strategy of minimization.

          I guess it’s a sign of our post-truth era that my desire to use words which match the available evidence is construed as “strategy of minimization”.

        • Otto

          “In a vacuum, outside of any context, I can see how ‘facilitate’ might not require intent. But in the situation of RCC priest pedophilia, I’m pretty sure just about everyone will think it requires intent.”

          That is just asinine. 1. It does not require intent. 2. I have already proven intent was established.

          “After all, it would be curious if in the court of law (where you want priest pedophiles to be tried)”

          I would be happy to consult a lawyer Luke, I work with lawyers everyday in my job and have no question as to using the word facilitate in regards to the RCC here.

          “I guess it’s a sign of our post-truth era…”

          You mean the post truth era where you intentionally misrepresent what I said in my use of stunted and apply that to something someone else wrote as if you KNOW that person would agree with you in your characterization….Jesus Christ on a cracker you are an asshole.

        • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

          2. I have already proven intent was established.

          Where?

          I would be happy to consult a lawyer Luke, I work with lawyers everyday in my job and have no question as to using the word facilitate in regards to the RCC here.

          How about we agree on precisely what evidence we’ll present to our respective lawyer-friends, and exactly what question we’ll ask about ‘facilitate’?

        • Otto

          Where??? When I pointed out that once an organization knows that their actions or inaction helps subordinates continue their crimes and abuse it is no long possible to claim they did not intend for the abuse to continue.

          Yes let’s. We can ask “if an organization knowingly allows a culture of crime and abuse within their organization can they be legally said to have facilitated such crimes and abuse?” Go ahead and ask.

        • Ignorant Amos

          In the United States, a person who learns of the crime and gives some form of assistance before the crime is committed is known as an “accessory before the fact”. A person who learns of the crime after it is committed and helps the criminal to conceal it, or aids the criminal in escaping, or simply fails to report the crime, is known as an “accessory after the fact”. A person who does both is sometimes referred to as an “accessory before and after the fact”, but this usage is less common.

        • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

          When I pointed out that once an organization knows that their actions or inaction helps subordinates continue their crimes and abuse it is no long possible to claim they did not intend for the abuse to continue.

          On that reasoning, does the UN ‘facilitate’ child rape, given the 2016-06-16 Bloomberg article The UN Peacekeepers Rape Scandal Gets Worse? I want to see if your reasoning somehow magically applies only to the RCC, or to all similar situations.

          Yes let’s. We can ask “if an organization knowingly allows a culture of crime and abuse within their organization can they be legally said to have facilitated such crimes and abuse?” Go ahead and ask.

          No, that’s much too vague. Ostensibly, the RCC really did try to decrease the chance of child abuse of all priests, including the transferred priests. Do you know for a fact whether they did or did not so-try? After establishing that, we can get to whether there was reason to think any attempts were likely to have any effect. We can also ask whether they did have any effect.

        • Otto

          Yes the UN did facilitate Child rape since it seems they knew it was going on and failed to attempt to stop it despite the fact it obviously had an obligation to do so. Was that supposed to be a hard question Luke?

          “Ostensibly, the RCC really did try to decrease the chance of child abuse of all priests, including the transferred priests.”

          There are literally hundreds of situations where these priests were relocated to new parishes, the parish they were moved to was not told of the pederast’s predilection, the priests were given unfettered access to children and no family in the parish was told about the priests history. How in the world can you say “Ostensibly, the RCC really did try to decrease the chance of child abuse of all priests, including the transferred priests.”? Now ask yourself was that action of moving a priest to a new location and not telling anyone at the new parish likely to have any effect at stopping the priest from re-offending?

          I know you are an incredibly intelligent person Luke so I can’t believe I have to mind numbingly walk you through this.

          “No, that’s much too vague.”

          I honestly have no idea how my question is vague.

        • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

          Yes the UN did facilitate Child rape since it seems they knew it was going on and failed to attempt to stop it despite the fact it obviously had an obligation to do so. Was that supposed to be a hard question Luke?

          You’re the only one so far who has been willing to apply that language to the UN when challenged. So… apparently it was a hard question; you were just up for it.

          There are literally hundreds of situations where these priests were relocated to new parishes, the parish they were moved to was not told of the pederast’s predilection, the priests were given unfettered access to children and no family in the parish was told about the priests history.

          So I just read the 2015-09-17 USA Today article US priests accused of sex abuse get a second chance by relocating to South America, which contains this bit:

          In response, in 2002 US bishops approved a “zero-tolerance” policy, under which priests who molest children are no longer allowed a second chance to serve in the clergy.

          Have you been careful to use facilitate in the past tense, at least when applied to the US? Have others? Furthermore, from the same article:

          • Father Francisco “Fredy” Montero, accused of abusing a 4-year-old girl in Minneapolis, Minn. He relocated to his native Ecuador, where he was placed in a succession of remote parishes — despite a dossier sent by the Archdiocese of Minneapolis to his new diocese, warning of Montero’s past.

          This indicates that at least once, the recipient parish was told. I doubt there is only one such case where a warning was given. I don’t think it’s too much to ask for evidence that in “hundreds of situations” no warning was given, and to ask what % of transfers had no warning. Oh but wait, there are special rules in place: when it’s a member of the in-group making a claim about a hated out-group, standard rules for the burden of proof are reversed:

          LB: The one making the claim bears the burden of providing evidence. Or does that only apply to people you don’t like? Do you† get a pass?

          † Recall @disqus_4rvHZwPMCR:disqus’s “Are you under the impression that I am speaking for myself alone, or even primarily?”

          O: The evidence take 2 minutes to look up Luke…do your homework. The fact that you continue to argue this from a position of willful ignorance is telling.

          I will probably decline to continue in the face of that particular double standard.

          How in the world can you say “Ostensibly, the RCC really did try to decrease the chance of child abuse of all priests, including the transferred priests.”?

          Because I made an informed guess which the above partially vindicates. Probably I make an error by saying “all”.

          Now ask yourself was that action of moving a priest to a new location and not telling anyone at the new parish likely to have any effect at stopping the priest from re-offending?

          I would call it “despicable”. The abuse was likely to continue. Maybe the person who ‘punished’ the priest by moving them to a less prestigious parish thought that would somehow accomplish some discipline (people can be quite naive), but it would clearly be a case of criminal negligence. Actually, I don’t see how even sending a warning dossier would avoid the charge of criminal negligence.

          I know you are an incredibly intelligent person Luke so I can’t believe I have to mind numbingly walk you through this.

          Such statements are meaningless to me when you will upvote comments containing this kind of thing:

          PBL: You’re a human shit stain, Luke. You, on a day to to day basis, make the world a worse place with your evil behavior.

          Any and all of your evaluations of me as a person are irrelevant while that stands. So maybe save your energy for merely addressing the arguments I make? I doubt you would ever apologize for upvoting that comment.

          I honestly have no idea how my question is vague.

          Law generally cares quite a lot about specifics.

        • Otto

          “You’re the only one so far who has been willing to apply that language to the UN when challenged”

          No it’s not hard, I would tell them the same.

          “Have you been careful to use facilitate in the past tense, at least when applied to the US? Have others?”

          They only changed policy after they got caught to the point they could no longer hide their complicity. They evidence shows they had known about the depth of the problem for literally decades stretching back to the 1950’s and some Priests fighting the issue from within even say it goes back hundreds of years. I am less than impressed to say the least. Would you characterize this as their best effort or as doing the minimum after getting caught? Given their history and their at best token response they have a long way to go before they have earned a the ‘past tense’.

          “In response, in 2002 US bishops approved a “zero-tolerance” policy, under which priests who molest children are no longer allowed a second chance to serve in the clergy.

          An international movement of Roman Catholic priests out of countries where they have been accused of abusing children has continued even after the abuse scandal that swept the U.S. church in 2002, The Dallas Morning News found in a yearlong investigation.

          http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/religion/2004-06-19-church-abuse_x.htm

          And yet the RCC still has not ordered that any priest caught be turned into authorities as a matter of Church policy

          “I will probably decline to continue in the face of that particular double standard.

          Fine by me Luke, I think you should. You ignorance of the issue is staggering.

          “Law generally cares quite a lot about specifics.”

          That question provides more than enough information to be able to ascertain whether an organization could be held liable for facilitating child abuse. Since courts have ordered the RCC to pay billions of dollars for their complicity in the issue I would say that is confirmation that not only lawyers and judges but you standard “barista” (who would have sat on the juries of these courts) agree with the RCC’s facilitation of child abuse.

          https://www.ncronline.org/news/accountability/ncr-research-costs-sex-abuse-crisis-us-church-underestimated

          Are we done now?

        • Ignorant Amos

          You’re the only one so far who has been willing to apply that language to the UN when challenged. So… apparently it was a hard question; you were just up for it.

          Most here I’m sure are not even bothering to give your “whataboutery” the time of day. Most don’t need to justify it with an answer. It should be obvious to even the most ignorant of fuckwits, outside those complicit, that no one else condones the debauchery, nor the facilitation or cover-ups by anyone, including your pet distractions of a part of the UN and a part of the US Navy, but not exclusively those two institutions. |But it is irrelevant to this conversation, it is you engaging in a smoke and mirrors obfuscation exercise of “Look, over there, squirrels”.

          That said, you are fibbing.

          I have said in the past week….

          “Anyone involved in covering up any impropriety also deserves to have the book thrown at them.”

          And

          “The examples he points to, the U.S. Navy and the U.N. peace keepers are really not in the same league as the RCC…no institution is…the RCC is the worst of the worst.”

          The worst of the worst meaning they are all at least as bad as each other, but imo, the RCC is at least one degree more…and probably a lot more.

        • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

          Most here I’m sure are not even bothering to give your “whataboutery” the time of day.

          That’s not what Whataboutism is. Checking to see whether a person will use a word in all appropriate situations instead of cherry-picked situations is a completely legitimate move in debate. Never once did I say or imply that the UN is as bad as the RCC. You want to pretend that I haven’t come down extremely hard on the RCC, even though I’ve probably presented the deepest possible criticism I could, by comparing them to the following:

          “Thus says the Lord GOD: This is Jerusalem. I have set her in the center of the nations, with countries all around her. And she has rebelled against my rules by doing wickedness more than the nations, and against my statutes more than the countries all around her; for they have rejected my rules and have not walked in my statutes. Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: Because you are more turbulent than the nations that are all around you, and have not walked in my statutes or obeyed my rules, and have not even acted according to the rules of the nations that are all around you, therefore thus says the Lord GOD: Behold, I, even I, am against you. And I will execute judgments in your midst in the sight of the nations. (Ezekiel 5:5–8)

          It’s rather hilarious that you and others just don’t understand this. Y’all really want to control language and force others to use it just like you; if they fail, you either post or upvote things like this:

          PBL: You’re a human shit stain, Luke. You, on a day to to day basis, make the world a worse place with your evil behavior.

          Your charge of “whataboutery” is worthy of Donald Trump. He deploys the same rules of rhetoric I observed in middle school. The liberal elites are so naive that they’ve fallen prey to it. You appear a bit smarter, despite your moniker. But I think I might have done enough exploring of how those rules play out in practice, for the time being.

          That said, you are fibbing.I have said in the past week….[…]

          IA: The examples he points to, the U.S. Navy and the U.N. peace keepers are really not in the same league as the RCC…no institution is…the RCCis the worst of the worst.

          Nope, there’s fib-like about the fact that “You [@disqus_K3l83uMZuy:disqus, are] the only one so far who has been willing to apply that language to the UN when challenged.” When I was discussing the appropriateness of the word ‘facilitate’, I was not talking about whether the UN is “as bad as” the RCC. Either you are terrible at logic, or you’re deploying middle school rhetoric.

          I have said in the past week….

          IA: Anyone involved in covering up any impropriety also deserves to have the book thrown at them.

          I, on the other hand, believe that truth should be in force at all times.

        • Paul B. Lot

          That’s not what Whataboutism is.

          vs.

          what·a·bout-er·y
          ˌ(h)wədəˈboudərē/
          nounBRITISH
          the technique or practice of responding to an accusation or difficult question by making a counteraccusation or raising a different issue.


          Checking to see whether a person will use a word in all appropriate situations instead of cherry-picked situations is a completely legitimate move in debate.

          Your use of the UN example as a check to see if someone here was consistent was predicated on 1) your assumption that you had the competence to adjudicate what a comparable situation might have been, 2) your intuition that no one here is as consistent as you imagine yourself to be.

          1) You certainly lacked that competence at that time, by your own admission – though I have almost no doubt that you still do.

          2) No one gives a fuck about your intuitions any more Luke. You’ve done this too many times, boy who cried wolf: wander into a situation you don’t understand and start questioning everyone’s motives and intentions – as if we should want to meet your standards.


          It’s rather hilarious that you and others just don’t understand this. Y’all really want to control language and force others to use it just like you

          Oh my (nonexistant) god, I have no more irony in my irony meter. “Spoiiing” indeed.

        • Paul B. Lot

          But I think I might have done enough exploring of how those rules play out in practice, for the time being.

          This might be it, folks. Our current fever might be about to break.

          We might never be able to get rid of @LukeBreuer:disqus for ever, but we can at least manage the flare ups.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6jKcsCYeWMM

        • Otto

          “Checking to see whether a person will use a word in all appropriate situations instead of cherry-picked situations is a completely legitimate move in debate.”

          But that is not what you really did now is it? First you started all this by saying certain words were NOT appropriate to use in one situation and only when it was pointed out to you time and time again that it was appropriate did you then bring up the question of ‘well what about this other situation’?

          “Y’all really want to control language and force others to use it just like you.”

          Go back and read your comment Luke, how many times did you tell me and others we were wrong to use ‘facilitate’? Then when is was proven to you facilitate from a dictionary definition standpoint was perfectly acceptable you then leveled the claim we were STILL wrong on a colloquial level. You told me I was wrong to use ‘stunted’ in reference to my personal experience and THAT YOU KNEW BETTER THAN I WHAT WORD I SHOULD USE! Then you attempted to connect the word I used to what some scholar wrote EVEN THOUGH HE NEVER USED THE WORD I USED IN HIS CRITIQUE! Of course you being the self-appointed expert on language usage continued to claim that was exactly what he meant

          Who is trying to control language Luke? Project much?…It is this kind of complete BS that drives people to dislike you to the point of personal insults. A little self-awareness would go a long way.

          “I, on the other hand, believe that truth should be in force at all times.”

          You may believe that but do you really practice it?

        • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

          LB: That’s not what Whataboutism is. Checking to see whether a person will use a word in all appropriate situations instead of cherry-picked situations is a completely legitimate move in debate.

          O: But that is not what you really did now is it? First you started all this by saying certain words were NOT appropriate to use in one situation and only when it was pointed out to you time and time again that it was appropriate did you then bring up the question of ‘well what about this other situation’?

          Yeah, that’s because my understanding of how most will understand the word ‘facilitate’ being used in “the RCC facilitates child abuse” as strongly connoting intention, even if there are denotations which lack intention. When y’all wouldn’t heed that, I went on to pick a similar situation (where child rape has been ongoing) to which I doubted people would want to apply the word ‘facilitate’. It is a very standard human tactic to use different language for the people and groups they like vs. the people and groups they dislike. I was testing that. The charge of ‘whataboutism’ is ridiculous. Obviously the RCC is much worse than the UN.

          Go back and read your comment Luke, how many times did you tell me and others we were wrong to use ‘facilitate’?

          I believe I said that the evidence presented did not suffice to demonstrate the intentionality that most people would infer from the word ‘facilitate’ (in: “the RCC facilitates child abuse”). I always kept open that you had evidence available which gets you the rest of the way, evidence which had not been presented in discussion.

          Then when is was proven to you facilitate from a dictionary definition standpoint was perfectly acceptable you then leveled the claim we were STILL wrong on a colloquial level.

          Yeah, I tried that with definition 2. of ‘deceptive’, and failed. I apply the same reasoning to ‘facilitate’ in this context. And I’m willing to do an informal survey of people to test my point, to see whether they will strongly associate intentionality with ‘facilitate’ used this way: “the RCC facilitates child abuse”. But I’ll bet nobody here actually wants such evidence to be gathered.

          You told me I was wrong to use ‘stunted’ in reference to my personal experience and THAT YOU KNEW BETTER THAN I WHAT WORD I SHOULD USE! Then you attempted to connect the word I used to what some scholar wrote EVEN THOUGH HE NEVER USED THE WORD I USED IN HIS CRITIQUE!

          On review, I see that you subtly shifted the matter from “what was actually the case” → “what you [subjectively] experienced”. I was wrong to follow that shift. Sorry about that. Switching back to the empirical evidence, I don’t think victims of child sexual abuse necessarily see their moral DNA as corrupted. For some, for all they know it’s normal. In order to experience it as abnormal they have to judge themselves by an outside standard.

          Of course you being the self-appointed expert on language usage continued to claim that was exactly what he meant

          I never said that your use of “stunted” matches “exactly” what McFadyen wrote. The closest I got was this:

          LB: There is an important empirical difference between “stunted… moral DNA” morality and corrupted [moral DNA]”. The former is a child whose will is passive while being forced to be sexually abused; the latter is a child actively willing his/her own abuse.

          You were always welcome to say that “will is passive” doesn’t match your intended meaning of “stunted”.

          Who is trying to control language Luke?

          Everyone. On sites where character assassination is generally discouraged (at least sans evidence), I find that I’m much less compelled to fight over definitions and usages of words. I wonder why…

          Project much?

          Sorry, but it takes two to tango on this matter.

          It is this kind of complete BS that drives people to dislike you to the point of personal insults. A little self-awareness would go a long way.

          The weird thing is, people just don’t dislike me on places like The Secular Outpost. In fact, they seem to like me, even though I’m a theist and they’re mostly atheists (including the owner and I think all the authors). I also get along with almost everyone I meet in person remarkably well. So, what I suspect is that places like EN, DC, and to a lesser extent CE foster toxic atmospheres which I innately resist. And whatever you say about my words on CE, I’ve never said anything like this to anyone here:

          PBL: You’re a human shit stain, Luke. You, on a day to to day basis, make the world a worse place with your evil behavior.

          Now, perhaps @disqus_4rvHZwPMCR:disqus thinks he is merely engaging in lex talionis: “You hit me; I hit you back.” If so, he’s wrong. @BobSeidensticker:disqus definitely thinks he engages in lex talionis: “My response is (roughly) tit for tat.” But subsequent testing showed that to be false; I dialed back me snark and became completely civil; he was unwilling or unable to follow suit.

          My best model is that y’all have varying levels of stored-up vitriol (or ressentiment?) which you pour on any theist (or just Christian) who doesn’t dance nigh perfectly to your tune. If the theist resists, you step up your game. Y’all betray a limited belief in rationality; the rest you attempt to accomplish via social manipulation. Anyone interested in this dynamic ought to read Mercier, Hugo, and Dan Sperber. "Why do humans reason? Arguments for an argumentative theory." Behavioral and Brain Sciences 34.02 (2011): 57–74.

          What you and others don’t seem to understand is that the amount I care that y’all evaluate my character (e.g. “human shit stain”, “motherfucking asshole”, “complete asshole”) depends precisely on how much I evaluate your character. That’s because your character is the measuring device you use to make evaluations of others’ character. But perhaps you knew this already, and such insults were always meant purely as virtue signalling.

          You may believe that but do you really practice it?

          More than those who make unsubstantiated character accusations and forever refuse to back them up with the burden of proof atheists are constantly demanding from theists.

        • Paul B. Lot

          Yeah, that’s because my understanding of how most will understand the word ‘facilitate’ being used in “the RCC facilitates child abuse” as strongly connoting intention, even if there are denotations which lack intention. When y’all wouldn’t heed that

          I don’t care what you want us to “heed”, Luke. It is not the case that [because a thought pops into @LukeBreuer:disqus ‘s head] it is, therefore, the case that an entire community of non-Lukes must engage with that thought the way Luke would have them engage with it [on pains of being labeled uninterested in problem-solving child rape.]

          Full stop.

          That you saw a potentially interesting and/or illuminating path which the conversation could go down, does not obligate anyone to humor you.


          And whatever you say about my words on CE, I’ve never said anything like this to anyone here:

          No, indeed. You’ve never been that direct. Instead you take the coward’s route: attacking people’s character and morals using smarmy, slimy, tactics where you pretend to have a well-calibrated “character … measuring device”. You tell people that unless they approach this conversation they way you want them to, they don’t care about ending child-rape. This is an infinitely worse string of characters than “human shit-stain”, Luke, and if you’re right that there’s a Hell to go to after you’re dead, I sincerely hope you have a ticket. Unfortunately you’re probably wrong, so for now your (however mild) discomfort will do in response to manipulative evil like this:

          That’s because apparently I’m the only one interested in actually solving the problem.

        • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

          No, indeed. You’ve never been that direct. Instead you take the coward’s route: attacking people’s character and morals using smarmy, slimy, tactics where you pretend to have a well-calibrated “character … measuring device”.

          lolwut

          You tell people that unless they approach this conversation they way you want them to, they don’t care about ending child-rape.

          We’ve seen what happens when you try to characterize what I’ve said without actually quoting it. Never have I denied that people might tell themselves that they care about ending child-rape and honestly believe it. Similarly, I’m sure plenty of folks in the Roman Catholic hierarchy tell themselves they care about ending child-rape and truly believe it.

          This is an infinitely worse string of characters than “human shit-stain”, Luke, and if you’re right that there’s a Hell to go to after you’re dead, I sincerely hope you have a ticket.

          Your honesty warms my heart.

          Unfortunately you’re probably wrong, so for now your (however mild) discomfort will do in response to manipulative evil like this:

          LB: That’s because apparently I’m the only one interested in actually solving the [systematic and decades-long raping of children by priests] problem.

          Caring about X and having any competence whatsoever to accomplish X are two very different things. I’m sure virtually every drunk driver intends to be safe as [s]he drives home. I’m sure [s]he cares about other human life, quite a lot. It is simply the fact that [s]he has demonstrated gross incompetence in accomplishing that care.

          Unlike you, I will provide the evidence which causes me to characterize y’all (that is, those who have engaged me at length on this issue) this way. There are four lines of evidence to support that claim:

           
          1. Refusal to consider a strategy. Consider the lack of positive response to the following:

          LB: The intimacy of a priest–youth, pastor–youth, or psychologist–youth relationship can all too easily exploit the sinful nature of humans and result in sexual abuse. I’ll continue the story about the Christian I randomly met who is a licensed clinical and forensic psychologist. In addition to noting that his training to be a priest (which he broke off close to being ordained) lacked any warning of such sexual temptation, he said something very interesting. When a psychologist or psychiatrist was accused of misconduct and he was leading the investigation, he would start off the questioning with a single question: “Did you have sex with your client?” He permitted nothing other than a “Yes” or a “No”. If the answer were “Yes”, the psychologist would be fired, end of story, zero appeal possible.

          Were folks here appreciably interested in competently fighting pedophilia in the RCC, at least one person would have appreciated that the above is plausibly a major contributing factor to pedophilia in the RCC.

           
          2. Refusal to heed the experts. Let’s see how folks responded to my suggestion that we I consult experts on fighting RCC child abuse:

          O: No you don’t get it Luke. There is no wiggle room. Facilitate is exactly what the Catholic church did. There is no way out of it. The evidence speaks for itself.

          LB: Suppose I were to consult some of the relevant experts who are attempting to reduce the amount of actual evil carried out by the Roman Catholic Church in this domain. How much $$$ would you wager on your strategy being superior to mine? Perhaps we could set up a bet and the loser would donate that amount of money to charity. We would agree upon the experts and you’d get contacted directly, not through me.

          O: Quite honestly I don’t give a fuck…

          I also tried that with you:

          LB: Paul, I’ll make the same deal with you as with @disqus_K3l83uMZuy:disqus:

          [OLB]

          Let’s see what you actually believe. I’ll grant that you really do desire that fewer children be abused by priests. Let’s see if this is the top-level desire when it comes to this domain, or whether your own self-righteousness† is more important to you.

          Your response ignored that, along with IA’s and GG’s. @disqus_K3l83uMZuy:disqus at least responded with a strategy:

          O: A lot, if my strategy of cutting of the support of the RCC was implemented their ability to commit such atrocities would be cut off at the knees.

          However, lack of willingness to explore options in additional to the nuclear option is kind of pathetic.

           
          3. Refusal to soberly consider rhetorical effect. People really don’t like it when you plausibly impute evil intention or corruption of character and they don’t self-identify that way. Two examples from CE would be @michaelneville:disqus’s “extremely angry” when I mistakenly imputed intentionality to him (via ‘deceptive’) and @disqus_K3l83uMZuy:disqus’s “GFY” response to my suggestion that his moral DNA hadn’t just been “stunted” by the RCC, but corrupted (noting that “”corrupted” ⇒ “stunted”, while “stunted” ⇏ “corrupted””). And yet, nobody has taken seriously that maybe folks in the RCC would react similarly to being accused of ‘facilitating’ and ‘approving’ of child sexual abuse, and that using exaggerated rhetoric could easily hamstring efforts to reduce child sexual abuse in the RCC. Exaggerate someone’s offense (in their ears) and you give them resources to reject any claim of offense at all.

           
          4. Refusal to properly attribute intention. There is a world of difference between intending that more children be sexually abused and having little to no competent intention to prevent child sexual abuse. We would call the former “more evil” than the latter and I recognize that not a few people here probably do think that the RCC is “more evil” than the latter. But emotions ought not dictate facts. As the Holocaust demonstrated, a terrific amount of evil can happen without very much intentionality by very many actors. This is known as the ‘banality of evil’. I believe this fact of human nature is one reason Edmund Burke said, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

          Perhaps the fundamental attribution error explains this refusal. It “is the claim that, in contrast to interpretations of their own behavior, people place undue emphasis on internal characteristics of the agent (character or intention), rather than external factors, in explaining other people’s behavior.” The citation for the following sentence—”The effect’s existence is contested.[1]”—appears to only bolster my point.

          Intentionality is notoriously hard to determine. Plenty of people lie about their intentions. Others are so incompetent that their intentions ought to be ignored, as Noam Chomsky argued to Sam Harris when it came to the ≈ 10,000 Sudanese which occurred in the wake of the bombing of the Al-Shifa pharmaceutical factory. Quite a lot can be explained by intention-free criminal negligence, which we still consider criminal. Falsely attributing intentionality leads one into delusional thinking, which is antithetical to competently acting in reality.

        • adam
        • Paul B. Lot

          lolwut

          LB:That’s because your character is the measuring device you use to make evaluations of others’ character.


          We’ve seen what happens when you try to characterize what I’ve said without actually quoting it.

          Indeed, we have. I’m often quite good at well-characterizing it, even to the point of understanding the implications of your words better than you do.


          Never have I denied that people might tell themselves that they care about ending child-rape and honestly believe it. Similarly, I’m sure plenty of folks in the Roman Catholic hierarchy tell themselves they care about ending child-rape and truly believe it.

          Ah, so. We who criticize [those members of the RCC Hierarchy whose actions or inactions brought about the child-rape epidemic] are really no better than [those members of the RCC Hierarchy whose actions or inactions brought about the child-rape epidemic].

          Both groups tell themselves that they care.


          Your honesty warms my heart.

          Hatred for people like you warms mine – it’s a win/win.


          Caring about X and having any competence whatsoever to accomplish X are two very different things.

          True. Irrelevant, but true.


          Caring about X and having any competence whatsoever to accomplish X are two very different things.Unlike you, I will provide the evidence which causes me to characterize y’all … this way.

          But, @LukeBreuer:disqus ; you’ve displayed incomptence to adjudicate matters such as these time and time again. Do we really need to wade through another set of poorly-thought-out evidences again? *Sigh.*


          Refusal to consider a strategy. Consider the lack of positive response to the following:

          [Someone’s failure to respond “positively” to your lines of inquiry] is evidence of exactly one thing: [a lack of desire to respond to your lines of inquiry.] You may justifiably and responsibly infer exactly nothing else from that.


          Refusal to heed the experts. Let’s see how folks responded to my suggestion that we I consult experts on fighting RCC child abuse:

          [Someone’s failure to respond to your “suggestion”] is evidence of exactly one thing: [a lack of desire to respond to your “suggestion”.] You may justifiably and responsibly infer exactly nothing else from that.


          Refusal to soberly consider rhetorical effect.And yet, nobody has taken seriously that maybe folks in the RCC would react similarly to being accused of ‘facilitating’ and ‘approving’ of child sexual abuse, and that using exaggerated rhetoric could easily hamstring efforts to reduce child sexual abuse in the RCC.

          Show me one exchange where you suggested that [exaggerated rhetoric could possibly be counter-productive] where your interlocutor [denied the possibility]. I’ll wait.


          Refusal to properly attribute intention. There is a world of difference between intending that more children be sexually abused and having little to no competent intention to prevent child sexual abuse.

          You have failed to demonstrate (as far as I can tell) that anyone, let alone all of us, don’t understand this distinction.

          Again, the fact that [people don’t like playing with you] does not mean that [no one has ever considered these facets before].

          The fact that you feel smart and special when you think about them does not, in fact, make you smart and special.

          I don’t call your actions (and therefore you) evil because you enjoy thinking about these things the way you do.

          I call out your bullshit because a) you assume everyone around you is incompetent until proven otherwise and b), much more importantly, you take people’s unwillingness to participate with you as proof of a).

          This seems to be all the justification your warped and stunted moral character needs to act the didact and prophet…to be an missionary/martyr to heathens. It’s pathetic. The heathens just wish you would fuck off for presuming that they hadn’t already considered [whatever just popped into you head].

          Especially given the burden of (self-admitted) ignorance you walked into this conversation bearing.

          I could’ve disabused you of the lies you built into points 1-4 above at any time, Luke, but

          you
          are
          not
          worth
          it.

          And the fact that I deem you unworthy tells you exactly nothing about my position in relation to points 1-4. The fact that you think it does, however, indicts both your rational ability and your moral fiber.

        • adam

          “The fact that you think it does, however, indicts both your rational inability and your LACK of good moral fiber.”

          ftfy

        • Paul B. Lot

          Well, I mean…it’s more satisfying to write out “inability” and “lack” – but they don’t really work with that phrasing.

          If we also changed it to “indict you for your“, then the rest would flow nicely. But without that addition, it’s clunky.

        • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

          PBL: No, indeed. You’ve never been that direct. Instead you take the coward’s route: attacking people’s character and morals using smarmy, slimy, tactics where you pretend to have a well-calibrated “character … measuring device”.

          LB: lolwut

          PBL:

          LB: That’s because your character is the measuring device you use to make evaluations of others’ character.

          the italicized ⇏ the underlined

          LB: We’ve seen what happens when you try to characterize what I’ve said without actually quoting it.

          PBL: I’m often quite good at well-characterizing it

          Oh the irony.

          We who criticize [those members of the RCC Hierarchy whose actions or inactions brought about the child-rape epidemic] are really no better than [those members of the RCC Hierarchy whose actions or inactions brought about the child-rape epidemic].

          I really hate that illogical social protocol. It is antithetical to truth-seeking and so I write as if it doesn’t exist.

          I call out your bullshit because a) you assume everyone around you is incompetent until proven otherwise and b), much more importantly, you take people’s unwillingness to participate with you as proof of a).

          a) False. b) False. But if we change ‘proof of’ → ‘evidence for’, it would apply to 1., kind of to 2., and not at all to 3. and 4.

          The heathens just wish you would fuck off […]

          All the heathens would have to do is stop replying and, on the RCC matter, I would indeed “fuck off”. But the heathens don’t like doing that, do they? They must appear righteous, in their own eyes.

          Especially given the burden of (self-admitted) ignorance you walked into this conversation bearing.

          I vaguely knew everything presented to-date. And I love how you are shifting the burden of proof, away from the person who advanced the claim, onto me. It’s so cute.

          I could’ve disabused you of the lies you built into points 1-4 above at any time, Luke, but

          you
          are
          not
          worth
          it.

          Did you want a star?

          [1] And the fact that I deem you unworthy tells you exactly nothing about my position in relation to points 1-4. [2] The fact that you think it does, however, indicts both your rational ability and your moral fiber.

          [1] True. [2] Not quite. It provides data on rationality_compare(@disqus_4rvHZwPMCR:disqus, @LukeBreuer:disqus) and character_compare(@disqus_4rvHZwPMCR:disqus, @LukeBreuer:disqus).

        • adam

          “It is antithetical to truth-seeking and so I write as if it doesn’t exist.”

          Yes, we know you write as if truth doesnt exist, that’s why you are an asshole.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/1ff8c567e4ff76c46de4ebae90b80341c25f2607da2ec21a4181a532c332d80f.jpg

        • Paul B. Lot

          the italicized ⇏ the underlined

          Show, don’t tell.


          Oh the irony.

          Indeed, it is present – though I doubt you ken where. Eg.


          I really hate that illogical social protocol.

          Which?


          All the heathens would have to do is stop replying and, on the RCC matter, I would indeed “fuck off”. But the heathens don’t like doing that, do they?

          You misunderstand: the fucking off should’ve occurred before you opened your mouth to begin with. At this point, we’re doing damage control and trying to clean up your mess – per usual.


          They must appear righteous, in their own eyes.

          Have you ever asked yourself if your desire to show them that they’re not righteous might’ve clouded your judgement from the beginning?


          I vaguely knew everything presented to-date.

          Oh my god, you vaguely knew it? Oh, jeez Luke. I’m so sorry. I accused you of being a loudmouthed arrogant manipulator for no reason.


          And I love how you are shifting the burden of proof, away from the person who advanced the claim

          What are you talking about? I’m asking you to [refrain from giving us your uneducated opinion]. That’s all.

          I know that’s a burden for you, but it’s one of the bedrocks of civil discourse.

          (As it happens, @michaelneville:disqus did support his claim on his own, and @Ignorant_Amos:disqus did a fair job of adding more support. That you want so badly to find a fault with MN’s comment doesn’t mean that such a fault exists. Your assertion here, that [an unevidenced claim] was advanced back then, is without merit.)


          [2] Not quite.

          Yes, quite. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. That you took it as such is an indictment of your rational abilities and your character.

        • Paul B. Lot

          BTW, @LukeBreuer:disqus , I’m waiting on this:

          LB:Refusal to soberly consider rhetorical effect.And yet, nobody has taken seriously that maybe folks in the RCC would react similarly to being accused of ‘facilitating’ and ‘approving’ of child sexual abuse, and that using exaggerated rhetoric could easily hamstring efforts to reduce child sexual abuse in the RCC.
          PB:Show me one exchange where you suggested that [exaggerated rhetoric could possibly be counter-productive] where your interlocutor [denied the possibility]. I’ll wait.

        • adam

          “What you and others don’t seem to understand is that the amount I care that y’all evaluate my character (e.g. “human shit stain”, “motherfucking asshole”, “complete asshole”) ”

          Then you should work to improve your ‘character’ from being a human shit stain.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/46bdac61c5745ebc4082c344822e63894e85f90de0a86f686b47d20cba19d774.gif

        • adam

          “More than those who make unsubstantiated character accusations and
          forever refuse to back them up with the burden of proof atheists ”

          There is no ‘character accusations’ only character OBSERVATIONS based on the character YOU portray here and https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/e837665e20b0f559722113ef2ddaa0c4b5cb92de117ddba6e3d9af6d7f6c282a.jpg elsewhere.

          It is YOU who are REVEALING yourself, not us.

        • Otto

          “Yeah, that’s because my understanding of how most will understand the word ‘facilitate’ being used in “the RCC facilitates child abuse” as strongly connoting intention, even if there are denotations which lack intention.

          You understanding is flawed.

          ” I went on to pick a similar situation (where child rape has been ongoing) to which I doubted people would want to apply the word ‘facilitate’. It is a very standard human tactic to use different language for the people and groups they like vs. the people and groups they dislike.

          I haven’t seen anyone take issue with me saying the UN facilitated child rape. Believe me if I over step people here have no problem letting me know.

          Additionally just so you know when this issue came to light I was a Catholic in good standing and had a generally favorable view of the RCC. I absolutely felt they facilitated and I was part of the ‘in group’, I left the Church because of it. I talked to a Priest first and and told him I had a problem with what the Church did. He did not have anything resembling a decent answer, so your accusation about using ‘ different language for the people and groups they like vs. the people and groups they dislike’ does not hold water here. You can stop with this now.

          “I believe I said that the evidence presented did not suffice to demonstrate the intentionality that most people would infer from the word ‘facilitate’

          And has been proven to you facilitate does not require intention but you stubbornly will let it go and admit your mistake. The point is you were steadfast that facilitate necessitates intent and when proven wrong you couldn’t drop it you had to double down.

          Do your informal survey Luke, but it does not matter. They would be wrong and you are wrong. And it still does not matter because from a legal standpoint the RCC has been shown to be intentionally negligent over and over to the tune of 3-4 Billion dollars.

          “I was wrong to follow that shift. Sorry about that.”

          Apology accepted. I take back my insults regarding this exchange.

          As to your point about abuse victims having their morality corrupted, it might be valid but I don’t speak for them.

          “I never said that your use of “stunted” matches “exactly” what McFadyen wrote. The closest I got was this:”

          I actually thought about putting in a comment about that being the colloquial use of ‘exactly’.

          “The weird thing is, people just don’t dislike me on places like The Secular Outpost. In fact, they seem to like me, even though I’m a theist and they’re mostly atheists (including the owner and I think all the authors). I also get along with almost everyone I meet in person remarkably well.”

          People are told not to let emotions be a part of exchanges there so it is a bit different. They set down the rules they want met and I respect that, I think the others there do too. Actually I try not to either but you obviously touched a nerve because it felt very personally dismissive from my end. I actually do like you Luke when we can have a reasonable honest discussion and I don’t feel like you are being obtuse. I like many many theists, (most of my friends and family are), but I will take heated issue with them the same as you.

        • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

          You understanding is flawed.

          Can we empirically test this? That is, other than working off of your application of the dictionary definition or my intuition for how many people will likely interpret the word in context: “the RCC facilitates child abuse”.

          I haven’t seen anyone take issue with me saying the UN facilitated child rape.

          Ok, suppose I go around asking people (IRL) if “the UN facilitated child rape” means that in some important sense, “the UN intended child rape to happen”. Do you think it is plausible that at least 30% of people would agree to the statement of intent? Feel free to pick a different minimum threshold %.

          I absolutely felt they facilitated and I was part of the ‘in group’, I left the Church because of it.

          You “felt” they facilitated it?

          I talked to a Priest first and and told him I had a problem with what the Church did. He did not have anything resembling a decent answer, so your accusation about using ‘ different language for the people and groups they like vs. the people and groups they dislike’ does not hold water here.

          His lack of an answer is atrocious. And you have provided reason to think that you use the same language for people you like vs. dislike. I cannot say the same for the rest.

          And has been proven to you facilitate does not require intention but you stubbornly will let it go and admit your mistake. The point is you were steadfast that facilitate necessitates intent and when proven wrong you couldn’t drop it you had to double down.

          Incorrect. I asked my wife about this and her initial response was that no, ‘facilitate’ does not require intent. I then asked her whether she would probably infer intent from “the RCC facilitates child abuse”. She paused for a second and then said, “Yeah, you have a point.” I agree with her on all counts. Technically, ‘facilitate’ ⇏ “requires intentionality”. But as you surely know, rhetoric is not technical like that.

          Do your informal survey Luke, but it does not matter. They would be wrong and you are wrong.

          According to whom? Do you really think that dictionaries are anything other than descriptive of how the majority of humans use language?

          As to your point about abuse victims having their morality corrupted, it might be valid but I don’t speak for them.

          All I meant is that the RCC probably taught you some bad lessons that you won’t necessarily be able to figure out are bad without access to an external standard which disagrees with you. I actually missed that you possibly agreed with this—“I never claimed leaving the church purged me of bad shaping.”—because I took the preceding text (“Stunted my my moral DNA would be a more accurate description.”) to preclude that possibility. I was going to head toward the ‘banality of evil’ with this, but then things blew up.

          N.B. Apparently it is better to call them ‘survivors’ rather than ‘victims’. The idea is that survivors have agency while victims do not. I know that UCSF training of postdocs makes this point as well: people who have been sexually abused are not ‘victims’, but ‘survivors’.

          I actually thought about putting in a comment about that being the colloquial use of ‘exactly’.

          That’s such a terrible colloquial definition. It’s like Newspeak. I’m with Emerson: “The corruption of man is followed by the corruption of language.”

          Actually I try not to either but you obviously touched a nerve because it felt very personally dismissive from my end.

          Sure, and I erred greatly in writing as if I could correct your experience. The thing is, historically many people have tried to correct my experience and/or impute incorrect intentions to me. Here’s the go-to response when I claim this has happened:

               • “Quit playing victim” (2x)
               • “you enjoy playing the victim”
               • “That is where you played the Sanctimonious Victim card.”
               • “he regresses to the Sanctimonious Victim card”

          The bottom line is this. @LukeBreuer:disqus’s emotions do not matter. Nothing about them is ever relevant to discussion, except perhaps as a target for mockery. But if @LukeBreuer:disqus has the temerity to even step on someone else’s emotional toes, «wrath and fury». I happen to think that’s lame. Alas, I predict folks here will simply double down on the above. Such behavior would confirm that my own emotions don’t matter. And so I go on, operating on that premise while trying to figure out what it means to respect their emotions when I don’t know what it’s like for that to be done to me. Mirror neurons be damned.

          I actually do like you Luke when we can have a reasonable honest discussion and I don’t feel like you are being obtuse.

          That’s probably why we’ve gotten somewhere. As I said two days ago, “[Charles Taylor told me] that secularism can work quite well, if one is not suspicious of the Other.” Later in the conference where Taylor told me that, David Laitin presented work on Muslim integration in France: Why Muslim Integration Fails in Christian-Heritage Societies. As it turns out, treating people with suspicion happens to be really effective at provoking them to behavior which then legitimates that suspicion. I will have to think about whether it is proper to say that “Treating people with suspicion facilitates suspicious-seeming behavior.” I’ll bet that all too often, I see others as suspicious. I should reserve more of my suspicion for advertisers, too many religious leaders, and politicians.

          As to apparent and real obtuseness: that’s going to happen when you try and really get inside of someone’s head, especially when [s]he understands reality appreciably differently from you. Real understanding often takes hard work.

        • adam

          “Can we empirically test this?”

          We have been since you started post shit and found you a ” “human shit stain”, “motherfucking asshole”, “complete asshole””

        • adam

          “Do you think it is plausible that at least 30% of people would agree to the statement of intent?”

          More than that percentage would agree that evolution isnt how this world works.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/6a92d7da9e7a995a9b958f7e40a354ab3fa5d72a4563067f29d0cb6178258e15.jpg

        • adam

          “I asked my wife about this …” I agree
          with her on all counts.”

          I asked my dog about you and she indicates you are a dishonest human shit stain, I agree with her on all counts.

        • Otto

          “Can we empirically test this?”

          Yes we can, they were found guilty in multiple cases of facilitating child rape to the tune of 3-4 billion dollars. Test over.

          “Ok, suppose I go around asking people (IRL) if “the UN facilitated child rape” means that in some important sense, “the UN intended child rape to happen”.

          Facilitate does NOT equate to intent…if you go around telling people ‘facilitate’ requires intent of course they may agree if you dishonestly set up the question that way.

          What you would need to do is present the facts of the case to people and then ask if in their opinion the “UN” FACILITATED the crimes. You are trying to poison the well. AND I HAVE NO IDEA WHY YOU CAN’T GET IT THOUGH YOUR HEAD THAT FACILITATE DOES NOT IN ANY SENSE OF THE WORD REQUIRE INTENT!

          “You “felt” they facilitated it?

          Yes Luke it was my opinion (i felt) that they knew what behavior was going on with the priests that were abusing children based on the reports I was being made aware of, they took actions (or in some cases inactions) that they KNEW would result in more children being raped, i.e. they FACILITATED the rape of children. My opinion has been verified over and over. Jesus fucking Christ on a cracker Luke how many times do we have to go over the same shit again and again? Why are you being so fucking aggravating about this? It makes no sense.

          So what you wife is now the expert? Did you poison the well with your question like you did above?

          “But as you surely know, rhetoric is not technical like that.

          I really don’t give a shit Luke. Did the RCC facilitate the rape of children through its actions/inactions? Yes or no? If you agree they did I don’t give shits whether you think it is rhetorically correct of not.

          “According to whom? Do you really think that dictionaries are anything other than descriptive of how the majority of humans use language?

          Yeah you are correct, definitions of words are essentially meaningless in your world…

          “All I meant is that the RCC probably taught you some bad lessons that you won’t necessarily be able to figure out are bad without access to an external standard which disagrees with you.”

          OK, whatever. I don’t agree but I am at my wits end with you so I am not gonna pursue this.

          “because I took the preceding text (“Stunted my my moral DNA would be a more accurate description.”) to preclude that possibility.

          Yeah instead of asking for clarification you went with your assumption and ran with it.

          “That’s such a terrible colloquial definition. “

          Yeah you are right I should check with you (the self appointed word police) before I do any such thing like that.

          “I’m with Emerson: “The corruption of man is followed by the corruption of language.”

          Oh the irony.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Can we empirically test this? That is, other than working off of your application of the dictionary definition or my intuition for how many people will likely interpret the word in context: “the RCC facilitates child abuse”.

          Luke, I gave you more than one example of the word “facilitate” being used by agencies to describe what the RCC is doing.

          Three days ago I provided a link to a source containing the very word you are fucking about over.

          disturbing details about the archdiocese’s facilitation of the priest’s pedophilia are documented in internal correspondence, performance reviews and other records contained within what’s known as Cody’s “secret file.”

          Secret archives on accused priests, which Roman Catholic Canon law directs bishops to keep under lock and key, can often detail a diocese’s wider, hidden complicity in clergy sexual abuse dating back decades, those familiar with such records say.

          “These records illustrate a pattern of secrecy,” said Mary Dispenza, Northwest director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, and herself a victim of clergy abuse. “Most bishops are still dragging their feet about releasing them because they’ll be embarrassed or ashamed, and past bishops might be implicated.”

          ….

          The Seattle Archdiocese transferred the Rev. Michael Cody to several unsuspecting parishes in Western Washington in the 1960s and 1970s despite knowing he was a pedophile. Cody later admitted to abusing up to 41 children over 20 years, though the actual number of his victims isn’t clear. At least 19 known or alleged victims of Cody are accounted for in public records, including 10 people who’ve claimed in lawsuits Cody abused them years after Archbishop Thomas Connolly knew about Cody’s sexual deviancy.

          Cody’s secret file demonstrates the Seattle Archdiocese enabled his abuse for years. As late as 1988, Seattle Archdiocese officials were still trying to assess whether the retired priest posed threats in another state.

          Contents of the Seattle Archdiocese’s secret file on the Rev. Michael Cody show that as early as 1962, Archbishop Thomas Connolly and others knew Cody was a dangerous pedophile. Still, the archdiocese repeatedly moved Cody into unsuspecting parishes where for years he sexually abused children. The records became key to a lawsuit filed by a woman who was victimized by Cody as a teenager while he served as pastor in Skagit County from 1968 to 1972.

          http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/times-watchdog/priests-secret-file-details-trail-of-abuse/

          Another source foe what is/was going on is http://bishop-accountability.org/

          How, in the name of fuck, are you going to sort out your ignorance on this subject if the evidence being provided is ignored?

          And you wonder why folk loose their rag with ya?

        • adam

          “How, in the name of fuck, are you going to sort out your ignorance on this subject if the evidence being provided is ignored?”

          It isnt ignorance, but dishonesty.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I was giving Luke a bye-ball because of his self confessed limited knowledge on the subject, but it seems you are correct. If one doesn’t know and makes claims from that position, they’re ignorant. If one is taught their error in thinking and continue to make the same error, they are lying.

        • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

          Unless someone can introduce something new into the conversation about the appropriateness of the word ‘facilitate’ in the phrase “the RCC facilitates child abuse”, this will be my last comment on that particular matter. Shame on anyone who claims that a non-response by me to subsequent prodding constitutes me assenting to something my words to-date do not logically entail. (Social protocols be damned.)

           

          Luke, I gave you more than one example of the word “facilitate” being used by agencies to describe what the RCC is doing.

          So? That doesn’t mean they weren’t being aggressive in the use of language. Let’s recall a bit of drama I unintentionally initiated, based on the following semantic range of a word:

          Merriam Webster: deceptive
          : intended to make someone believe something that is not true
          : likely to make someone believe something that is not true

          Now, when I used that word of @michaelneville:disqus, his response was to get “extremely angry”, even though there was an intention-free definition. @disqus_xYWVllyPLU:disqus claimed that the secondary definition cannot apply to people, but I disagreed and pointed to the range of opinions at SEP: The Definition of Lying and Deception. But this was considered irrelevant, for we all know that when language is used ambiguously—between imputing intention and not imputing intention—if it’s a criticism, the recipient is going to take it as insinuating intention.

          I’m not saying that y’all are technically incorrect for using the word ‘facilitate’ in “the RCC facilitates child abuse”; I’m saying that y’all are rhetorically unwise to do so. But even this takes two branches, for there are two distinct populations y’all could be addressing:

               (I) enemies of the Church
              (II) friends/members of the Church

          Insinuating intent could well bolster your support among (I), stirring up their anger against the Church. I’ve labeled this as a Sophist tactic because it is not rigorously grounded in what is true. But we know that saying “the RCC unintentionally† facilitates child abuse” with footnote “† the evidence only indicates that (i) they simply lack enough intention to protect children; and (ii) they care more about saving face” is weaker than saying “the RCC facilitates child abuse”. It wouldn’t be rhetorically weaker if one weren’t playing on the possibility that child abuse was intended.

          Insinuating intent will definitely backfire among (II). If RCC friends and members model the RCC as really caring about the welfare of all its members, insinuating intent to abuse children will be deeply, deeply offensive. Instead of getting them to admit that the RCC could increase its intentions to protect its children (in comparison to all other intentions), you’d probably get a complete rejecting if not a hardening of the current, weak-intentioned stance. This would be a rather terrible result if you wanted to reduce the amount of child abuse that goes on in the RCC.

          Now, the above reasoning depends on enough people catching that intention is insinuated by the phrase “the RCC facilitates child abuse”. That is why I asked the following of @disqus_K3l83uMZuy:disqus:

          LB: Ok, suppose I go around asking people (IRL) if “the UN facilitated child rape” means that in some important sense, “the UN intended child rape to happen”. Do you think it is plausible that at least 30% of people would agree to the statement of intent? Feel free to pick a different minimum threshold %.

          Otto subsequently moaned and groaned about poisoning the well, as if I weren’t aware of framing effects and survey design. This, despite the fact that in no way did anything in my comment suggest I would do this:

          O: Facilitate does NOT equate to intent…if you go around telling people ‘facilitate’ requires intent of course they may agree if you dishonestly set up the question that way.

          That I would possibly do such a thing is either due to the mind projection fallacy or some incredible suspicion of Christians being downright nefarious, instead of merely (!) criminally negligent and way too concerned about image.

          Now, I’ll readily admit to an apparent lack of a term like ‘facilitate’ which captures the complex enabling of a behavior the term can indicate, while carefully omitting any denotation, connotation, or insinuation of intentionality. The term ‘condone’ is too nonspecific. We need a term for gross bureaucratic negligence. It would allow for a few bad apples in the bureaucracy, but deny that in any meaningful sense, the whole bureaucracy is in favor of said behavior being enabled. Too much apparent conspiracy is really just emergent behavior of institutions. But when the word ‘facilitate’ has such intention-rich synonyms—

          OED: facilitate (thesaurus)
          make easier, make easy, ease, make possible, make smooth, make smoother, smooth, smooth the path of, smooth the way for, clear the way for, open the door for

          enable, assist, help, help along, aid, oil, oil the wheels of, lubricate, expedite, speed up, accelerate, forward, advance, promote, further, encourage

          simplify

          —it just doesn’t seem to be a good fit.

           

          How, in the name of fuck, are you going to sort out your ignorance on this subject if the evidence being provided is ignored?

          I’m ignoring nothing. Because a few people do X and understand X in some way doesn’t mean that most people do and nor does it mean that the vast majority of people do. Furthermore, it is terrible practice to take the worst example of heinous behavior B in an institution and use it as typical of the entire institution. My suspicion is that you would hate it if it were done to you. We like† broad-brushing, but hate being broad-brushed.

          † Even this is probably technically incorrect: my guess is that our tendency to broad-brush is not consciously intended. To engage in a bit of amateur evopsych, my guess is that the penalty for broad-brushing is less than the penalty for narrow-brushing. Kind of like hyper-active agency detection is said to work.

           

          And you wonder why folk loose their rag with ya?

          It is fascinating to see how many people think I am somehow defending the RCC, vs. attempting to accurately characterize what they are and are not doing, what they do and don’t intend. My guess is that it’s scary if all you need to do to be evil (or at least allow evil to fester in your midst) is to not have strong enough intentions for good.

        • adam
        • Otto

          “Unless someone can introduce something new into the conversation about the appropriateness of the word ‘facilitate’ in the phrase “the RCC facilitates child abuse”

          Just so you know I went back and checked, I have never said “the RCC facilitates child abuse”. That seems to be an attempt at a straw man.

          You can’t introduce something new because your argument has been quashed, you just won’t admit your error.

          “So? That doesn’t mean they weren’t being aggressive in the use of language.”

          Oh damn….I forgot. YOU are the word judge and jury, since you have decided the reason for the choice of that word is aggression nothing can change that decision from you, oh Great decider of Verbiage.

          “I’m saying that y’all are rhetorically unwise to do so.”

          And we have repeatedly said we don’t give a shit what you think concerning its wisdom.

          “Now, the above reasoning depends on enough people catching that intention is insinuated by the phrase “the RCC facilitates child abuse”

          A phrase I have never said, faulty premise, faulty conclusions.

          This…

          This, despite the fact that in no way did anything in my comment suggest I would do this:

          Does not jive with this.

          I then asked her whether she would probably infer intent from “the RCC facilitates child abuse”.

          Where again you use the present tense of the phrase that I have never used. That absolutely colors the question. Fuck off with your dishonest BS.

          “instead of merely (!) criminally negligent and way too concerned about image.

          And concern about image over road concern about child rape, thereby concern about image facilitated (i.e. helped) the continuation of child rape.

          “We need a term for gross bureaucratic negligence. It would allow for a few bad apples in the bureaucracy, but deny that in any meaningful sense, the whole bureaucracy is in favor of said behavior being enabled.”

          This scandal (read child rape) literally happened on ever continent of the world (except for Antartica) and spanned decades (at the very least) and you want to argue the few bad apples in bureaucracy and ignore that the RCC knew from top to bottom what was going on. You are minimizing behavior like someone does which is part of an “in group” and they don’t like their group being criticized.

          “—it just doesn’t seem to be a good fit.

          By Luke the authority on what constitutes a good fit…oh Great Decider of Verbiage.

          “it is terrible practice to take the worst example of heinous behavior B in an institution and use it as typical of the entire institution.

          Yeah, it is almost like we are acting like it happened everywhere in the world that the RCC operated….oh wait…

          “It is fascinating to see how many people think I am somehow defending the RCC, vs. attempting to accurately characterize what they are and are not doing”

          Or you are just plain minimizing because of your in group status.

        • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

          I just love that I’ve compared the RCC to the following (twice to you & twice to IA)—

          “Thus says the Lord GOD: This is Jerusalem. I have set her in the center of the nations, with countries all around her. And she has rebelled against my rules by doing wickedness more than the nations, and against my statutes more than the countries all around her; for they have rejected my rules and have not walked in my statutes. Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: Because you are more turbulent than the nations that are all around you, and have not walked in my statutes or obeyed my rules, and have not even acted according to the rules of the nations that are all around you, therefore thus says the Lord GOD: Behold, I, even I, am against you. And I will execute judgments in your midst in the sight of the nations. (Ezekiel 5:5–8)

          —and yet you think I consider them part of my “in group”.

        • Otto

          I let you know I was a Catholic when their whole nonsense came out and that did not stop you from saying I was just part of the out group and that was the reason why I was so willing to ‘misrepresent’ with the word facilitate.

        • Ignorant Amos

          If the in-group he is referring to is Christianity, then yes, of course. The RCC isn’t the only bunch of insipid bastards that is part of that in-group, but there ya go, such as life.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Unless someone can introduce something new into the conversation about the appropriateness of the word ‘facilitate’ in the phrase “the RCC facilitates child abuse”, this will be my last comment on that particular matter.

          There is a god after all.

          That doesn’t mean they weren’t being aggressive in the use of language.

          Yeah, but it means that folk outside this forum not connected to this forum are expressing the actions of the RCC as “facilitation”, ya know, IRL.

          I’m not saying that y’all are technically incorrect for using the word ‘facilitate’ in “the RCC facilitates child abuse”; I’m saying that y’all are rhetorically unwise to do so.

          No, your barney is about the intent part. Perhaps it would behoove you to learn a bit about intent.

          The RCC has an historical problem with child rapists in its ranks.

          The RCC took the position to approve, no, order, the cover-up, protection, posting and secretion of said child rapists, rather than doing the moral and legal requirement.

          The RCC’s intention was to protect the establishment at the expense of the victims.

          The RCC in taking this approach, facilitated the further child raping over decades, if not longer.

          At the very least, the RCC is guilty of oblique intent through facilitation.

          If you throw a fox into a chicken coup in the full knowledge of what foxes do to chickens, your intention is obvious. If you take the same fox and keep throwing it into different chicken coup, you have no defence from intention. You knew the outcome that was inevitable.

          This is known as “oblique intent”.

          Oblique intent (also known as foresight intent) covers the situation where the consequence is foreseen by the defendant as virtually certain, although it is not desired for its own sake, and the defendant goes ahead with his actions anyway.

          So, if an archdiocese moves a known child abusing priest to parish, after parish, after parish, then the RCC is guilty of abuse.

          Culpability is about the RCC’s prior knowledge.

        • Greg G.

          The RCC never seemed to care at all about the victims until they started getting sued by them.

        • Paul B. Lot

          Was it the suing, or was it the Newspapers finally breaking the cover-ups open?

        • Greg G.

          They probably worked hand in hand but I would think that the newspapers were reporting on suits filed rather than people initially filing suits after seeing a newspaper article.

        • Paul B. Lot

          I would think that the newspapers were reporting on suits filed

          Indeed – but much of what the newspaper inquiries uncovered were old and settled lawsuits – evidences of a cover-up which almost succeeded completely. If you haven’t seen it yet, I highly recommend the film Spotlight on these issues; the Archbishop of Boston said of the Globe’s investigation:

          “[the] media’s investigative reporting on the abuse crisis instigated a call for the Church to take responsibility for its failings and to reform itself—to deal with what was shameful and hidden.”

          See also: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sexual_abuse_scandal_in_the_Catholic_archdiocese_of_Boston#Boston_Globe_coverage

          There were allegations and law suits in the ’60s-’90s, but they were generally well-hushed-up by the RCC. The broader public outcry, and subsequent re-opening of investigations and prosecutions, only happened after investigative journalists ‘broke’ the story wide open.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Tremendous movie.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Due in no small measure to the increasing secular attitude growing societies. In Ireland the RCC has now completely lost its grip.

        • Ignorant Amos

          There has been a few voices in the wilderness, but they were generally ignored or told to wind their neck’s right in. The lid blew off the sordid secret in the past twenty years and the suing has made them take note. They still don’t give a fuck about the victims though, that much is apparent.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          I think that not only threats to all their lovely money get them motivated, but also threats to the reputation of the church as an institution.

          The well-being of the individual parishioners? Not so much.

        • Ignorant Amos

          That’s not what Whataboutism is.

          Let me explain to you what I meant by the term “whataboutery” that everyone else here seemed to grasp just fine.

          Simply put, whataboutism refers to the bringing up of one issue in order to distract from the discussion of another. It does not apply to the comparison and analysis of two similar issues in terms such as why some are given more social prominence than others.

          Which I deemed the purpose you were employing.

          Checking to see whether a person will use a word in all appropriate situations instead of cherry-picked situations is a completely legitimate move in debate.

          Give us evidence that the hierarchy all the way up to the top of the U.S. Navy and the United Nations were complicit in the cover-up of ongoing crimes over a period of decades or more and the refusal to co-operate with outside agencies investigating said crimes, thus furthering such facilitation and I have no problem calling them all a bunch of cunts too. You haven’t, you’ve been explained to that we/I fail to see a comparison across the three institutions. Why ta fuck do you get to demand evidence of our position, but a couple links that don’t help your argument is sufficient for us to suck it up?

          Never once did I say or imply that the UN is as bad as the RCC.

          Irrelevant then, why did you bring them up. No one here is denying that there are other institutions where abuse takes place. And if there is evidence that these other institutions facilitated further unnecessary victims to be abused, then they too are a bunch of shitty bastards. How does any of that have anything to do with the facilitation of further abuse by the RCC if not offered in mitigation?

          You want to pretend that I haven’t come down extremely hard on the RCC, even though I’ve probably presented the deepest possible criticism I could, by comparing them to the following:

          I’m not pretending anything. I’m not interested in your limited criticism or any bullshit verses from a bullshit book. That is the same sort of criticism the RCC itself offers, so pah!

          You fuckwit on about what everyone else can do to alleviate the abuse scandal…you offer fuckwittery from a stupid book like it is some kind of wrath. Deepest possible criticism my, my arse.

          It’s rather hilarious that you and others just don’t understand this.

          We understand fine rightly where your criticism goes, we just are not interested insomuch as it is not relevant to the part under debate, which is where your criticism halts and your defence starts…in a state of ignorance according to your own admission.

          Y’all really want to control language and force others to use it just like you; if they fail, …

          You don’t get the irony at all in that comment, do you?

          When you complain about a particular word or phrase and it is pointed out that as it is being used, you are in error, it might be more productive to ask for an explanation, or agree that the alternative definition is plausible, rather than wading in on the insistence that Luke’s definition is the only definition and down the rabbit hole we all must go.

          …you either post or upvote things like this:

          Complain about something I post by all means, I’ll be good for it, but complain about who is upvoting whatever, is just being a silly pants. You have no way of knowing an individuals reasons for their upvote. It might very well have fuck all to do with why you think.

          Your charge of “whataboutery” is worthy of Donald Trump. He deploys the same rules of rhetoric I observed in middle school.

          Your prerogative to think that, I don’t…some others agree with me, but that’ll just be that in-group/out-group dynamic I guess. Still, when folk around here disagree, they usually let ya know, regardless of what camp one is in, so am okay with that.

          You appear a bit smarter, despite your moniker.

          Smarter has nothing to do with it, knowledge is what its all about, and in that my moniker fits just fine. I don’t proclaim to know more than I do. I am very uncouth and a bit hamfisted in my ways, that doesn’t necessarily sit very well with a lot of folk, but hey-ho that’s just me. But I suppose you intended that to be a comment to be a compliment, so for that, “thanks”.

          But I think I might have done enough exploring of how those rules play out in practice, for the time being.

          Oakee-doakee.

          Nope, there’s fib-like about the fact that “You [Otto, are] the only one so far who has been willing to apply that language to the UN when challenged.”

          I was replying to your response to Otto…

          You’re the only one so far who has been willing to apply that language to the UN when challenged. So… apparently it was a hard question; you were just up for it.

          Otto was not the only ONE, but regardless. Your inference, whether intentional or not, is that everyone else not responding to you on that point, is somehow not in agreement that the criminals within the Navy or UN deserve hauling across the coals and it guilty of any misgivings, punished commensurate with the crimes.

          When I was discussing the appropriateness of the word ‘facilitate’, I was not talking about whether the UN is “as bad as” the RCC.

          Then please, clarify what exactly was your purpose?

          Either you are terrible at logic, or you’re deploying middle school rhetoric.

          Perhaps, we don’t have middle schools in my part of the place, we have primary schools, 5-11 year old, and secondary schools, 11-16 year old. But at least I have an excuse, I’m only secondary school educated. Your excuse is?

          I, on the other hand, believe that truth should be in force at all times.

          I’m not sure what you are referring to there. If the UN and US Navy are doing bad shit, then they are bad. That concept is in force until evidence to the contrary is sourced. I shouldn’t need to keep repeating it.That people in general haven’t said same even once, is not beholding.

        • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

          Let me explain to you what I meant by the term “whataboutery” that everyone else here seemed to grasp just fine.

          It’s only a distraction because people (other than @disqus_K3l83uMZuy:disqus) apparently don’t have the balls to simply state their opinion on the matter straightforwardly. (Who else has? Where?) A simple “yes” or “no” would have sufficed. And I think it’s ridiculous to suggest that I would have done anything like permanently distract away from RCC pedophilia. This is an instance of exaggeration on steroids.

          Give us evidence that the hierarchy all the way up to the top of the U.S. Navy and the United Nations were complicit in the cover-up of ongoing crimes over a period of decades or more and the refusal to co-operate with outside agencies investigating said crimes, thus furthering such facilitation and I have no problem calling them all a bunch of cunts too.

          But that wasn’t my purpose. I wasn’t interested in whether you’d call them cunts, I was interested in whether folks would say that “the UN facilitated child rape”. If the term ‘facilitate’ depends on whether one can prove that the top-level person was ‘complicit’ (as a necessary if not sufficient condition), that would have been a valuable output of the activity you’ve ludicrously labeled ‘whataboutery’. Seriously, back off on assuming the other person has evil intentions.

          Why ta fuck do you get to demand evidence of our position, but a couple links that don’t help your argument is sufficient for us to suck it up?

          It’s really not clear that you have anything like an accurate notion of “my argument”.

          How does any of that have anything to do with the facilitation of further abuse by the RCC if not offered in mitigation?

          Falsely imputing intention and using language that is highly suggestive of intention† when such intention hasn’t been demonstrated with evidence are both harmful. If you want to say that moving from “the pope lusted after young boys and joyfully rigged the system against pedophiles getting punished” to “the pope was criminally negligent in preventing pedophilia” constitutes “mitigation”, so be it.

          † Which is determined by social reality, not someone’s interpretation of a dictionary definition.

          That is the same sort of criticism the RCC itself offers, so pah!

          Where?

          You don’t get the irony at all in that comment, do you?

          Actually, I’m perfectly aware that my pushing hard on language is required to show that y’all want an iron grip on language.

          You have no way of knowing an individuals reasons for their upvote.

          Sometimes, I would agree. In this case, when “You’re a human shit stain, Luke. You, on a day to to day basis, make the world a worse place with your evil behavior.” isn’t explicitly disagreed with, it’s tacit approval at least. That’s how middle school social reality works.

          But at least I have an excuse, I’m only secondary school educated. Your excuse is?

          I don’t have a college degree, either. :-)

        • adam

          “That’s how middle school social reality works.”

          Funny how you leave middle school bullies like YOURSELF, out of the equation.

          Funny, but not surprising.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/be20eada2b37de3b894e21e212219efb332ad17f65d067662b58455f5a644fd6.gif

        • Paul B. Lot

          Most here I’m sure are not even bothering to give your “whataboutery” the time of day. Most don’t need to justify it with an answer. It should be obvious to even the most ignorant of fuckwits, outside those complicit, that no one else condones the debauchery, nor the facilitation or cover-ups by anyone, including your pet distractions of a part of the UN and a part of the US Navy, but not exclusively those two institutions.

          Can you imagine if we had had a courteous interlocutor who wanted to explore the parallels between the RCC / UN / US Navy?

          How many substantive and thoughtful exchanges might have been had?

          Instead we get this….a cyberspace-Saruman trying to convince himself, us, the whole world that he’s worthy and interesting while telling us that we, by contrast, are horrible people for ______________.

          Fucking pathetic.

        • Ignorant Amos

          This indicates that at least once, the recipient parish was told.

          No, your failure to grasp the basics here is outstanding. Your endeavour to rescue this attitude towards defending the indefensible is flabbergasting.

          The archdiocese was informed, not the parish. The parish is the congregants, the archdiocese is the branch of the institution.

          I doubt there is only one such case where a warning was given.

          Irrelevant. We are not talking about the places that got a warning that they were to get a child rapist as their priest, we are talking about the ones where the parish/congregation were kept in the dark which meant said cleric had the same trust as all other clerics which they went on to exploit.

          For some reason you want one possible example to represent possibly more than one example and therefor mitigating the RCC’s responsibility. It really is a twisted way you are thinking about this issue.

          I don’t think it’s too much to ask for evidence that in “hundreds of situations” no warning was given, and to ask what % of transfers had no warning.

          We will never know the real figures. Records are censured by the RCC and the question one hasto ask is how long has the transferring went on?

          I like the way you latch onto “hundreds of situations” like it is of great importance. More than one is too many, less than 200 allows you to jump all over the “hundreds” like the pedant you are. Let’s call it less than 200 if it makes you feel better.

          A Catholic priest, Father John T. Sullivan, bounced around from diocese to diocese for nearly 30 years abusing children before an end was put to it. He never faced a criminal charge for his diabolical ways.

          http://www.bishopaccountability.org/assign/Sullivan_John_T.htm

          Oh but wait, there are special rules in place: when it’s a member of the in-group making a claim about a hated out-group, standard rules for the burden of proof are reversed:

          What percentage would scratch your itch? What evidence would suffice? Does repeat offences count as just one incident, or is it the individual moves can be counted separate?

          The RCC, unlike you, is no longer denying this problem of moving paedophile priests to fresh hunting grounds. The cat is well and truely out of the bag. They are just waffling all sorts of excuses as to why it went on.

          A new order was even created to deal with the problem, Servants of the Paraclete, as far back as 1947.

          Fr. Gerald Fitzgerald, founder of the Servants of the Paracletes, an order established in 1947 to deal with problem priests, wrote regularly to bishops in the United States and to Vatican officials, including the pope, of his opinion that many sexual abusers in the priesthood should be laicized immediately.

          Fitzgerald’s convictions appear to significantly contradict the claims of contemporary bishops that the hierarchy was unaware until recent years of the danger in shuffling priests from one parish to another and in concealing the priests’ problems from those they served.

          It is clear, too, in letters between Fitzgerald and a range of bishops, among bishops themselves, and between Fitzgerald and the Vatican, that the hierarchy was aware of the problem and its implications well before the problem surfaced as a national story in the mid-1980s.

          https://www.ncronline.org/news/accountability/bishops-were-warned-abusive-priests

          As wellas his crimes in Ireland, serial child rapist Brendan Smyth was shifted from one post to another in the knowledge he was a abusing predator.

          Father Brendan Smyth was moved from parish to parish and between dioceses and countries whenever allegations were made. In some cases, the order did not inform the diocesan bishop that Smyth had a history of sexual abuse and should be kept away from children. He abused children in parishes in Rhode Island and North Dakota and at one time worked in Boston, all in the USA, and was suspected of similar actions while on pastoral work in Wales and Italy.

          The Catholic church has refused to release the late priest’s “assignment record” in the US, which would detail the various parishes Smyth was assigned to.

          “He destroyed my entire family. He was moved around four states in the US, from parish to parish within those states. I think it is important for the people of Ireland to know the fraudulent concealment that is still going on within the Catholic church about where this man was based over his years in the US,” she added.

          How much data do you require Luke…or can I stop yet?

        • Paul B. Lot

          No, your failure to grasp the basics here is outstanding. Your endeavour to rescue this attitude towards defending the indefensible is flabbergasting.
          The archdiocese was informed, not the parish. The parish is the congregants, the archdiocese is the branch of the ins titution.

          Hear hear.

          I thought about pointing this out myself, but given @LukeBreuer:disqus’s almost-certainly hopeless situation; I thought better of it.

          The irony, though, eh?

          “Approved” vs. “facilitated”

          “Parish” vs. “Archdiocese”.

        • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

          The archdiocese was informed, not the parish. The parish is the congregants, the archdiocese is the branch of the institution.

          I stand corrected. Do you know for a fact that in that as a result of archdiocese inaction, no good-faith efforts were made to curb the possibility of future child abuse by said priest? Or is this a giant unknown into which you are injecting your own speculation and/or the speculation of others?

          Irrelevant. We are not talking about the places that got a warning that they were to get a child rapist as their priest, we are talking about the ones where the parish/congregation were kept in the dark which meant said cleric had the same trust as all other clerics which they went on to exploit.

          And what does the evidence say about the % of situations which were the underlined? Oh wait, I’m supposed to assume you’re right unless I go find countervailing evidence, amirite? My claims are false until proven true, while your claims are true until proven false. I’m done playing by those rules, so if you’re going to invoke them, you will end the tangent.

          For some reason you want one possible example to represent possibly more than one example and therefor mitigating the RCC’s responsibility. It really is a twisted way you are thinking about this issue.

          Ahhh, I think I see a philosophical difference. Apparently you believe that lowering the level of intentionality behind evil lowers the responsibility. I’m extremely reticent to deploy this reasoning; I probably go further than most do with the concept of criminal negligence. So for example, the blood of the ≈ 10,000 Sudanese who died due to drug shortages in the wake of the US bombing of the Al-Shifa pharmaceutical factory is on the hands of the United States—the government and “we the people”. Sam Harris and Noam Chomsky debated this issue, with Harris arguing that the nice intentions of the US exonerated them. Chomsky called bollocks on this. I agree with Chomsky.

          We can carry out the same kind of examination with the tens of millions of Russians who died due to preventable starvation, as well as the tens of millions of Chinese who also died due to preventable starvation. Did the Communist governments intend those deaths to happen? I doubt it. But they’re still plenty guilty.

          I suspect a more insidious dynamic is at play with false accusations of (i) intention to abuse children; and/or (ii) intention to fail to stop abuse of children. When you make this accusation, you set up a rule: any change in intention validates the charge of (i) and/or (ii). Well, if someone doesn’t want to validate those charges, one is immobilized in a very specific way. Contrast this to what seems like to be closest to the true state of affairs: (iii) a pathetically weak intention to protect children. When you make that accusation, then you authorize a change in intention which doesn’t admit to anything like (i) or (ii). Let’s see if you have the balls to admit this dynamic is plausible, @Ignorant_Amos:disqus.

          I like the way you latch onto “hundreds of situations” like it is of great importance. More than one is too many, less than 200 allows you to jump all over the “hundreds” like the pedant you are. Let’s call it less than 200 if it makes you feel better.

          Incorrect.

          A Catholic priest, Father John T. Sullivan, bounced around from diocese to diocese for nearly 30 years abusing children before an end was put to it. He never faced a criminal charge for his diabolical ways.

          Yes, and if he were the only priest ever to have done this, nobody would say “the RCC facilitates child abuse”. It’s only when the number passes some threshold, which probably isn’t well-defined, where we start saying such things. Doing the best job to get accurate numbers will help us maximally fight the problem. The more truth, the better. Or do you disagree?

          What percentage would scratch your itch? What evidence would suffice? Does repeat offences count as just one incident, or is it the individual moves can be counted separate?

          Suffice for what? Attributing terrific moral culpability to the RCC or me approving your use of the word ‘facilitate’? The former can be done without the latter.

          The RCC, unlike you, is no longer denying this problem of moving paedophile priests to fresh hunting grounds.

          I have denied no such thing. I never said it wasn’t a problem. It is quickly becoming apparent that you play fast and loose with the facts when it suits your purposes.

          They are just waffling all sorts of excuses as to why it went on.

          I would be happy to hear about plausible reasons for why it went on, but I would not allow them to be described or characterized as ‘excuses’, were I face-to-face with someone from the RCC. The term ‘excuse’ indicates that the RCC lacked the resources to have strong enough intentions to sufficiently protect the children under its care. I would give the RCC an option: (i) either deny any appreciable power is available from God; (ii) repent in sackcloth and ashes, keeping Joel 2:12–13 in mind. Does it surprise you that I would confront Christians this way? Does it mismatch your models of me?

          How much data do you require Luke…or can I stop yet?

          Require for exactly what? The word ‘facilitate’, or attributing tremendous moral responsibility?

        • Paul B. Lot

          I am immensely gratified to see you consistently tilting and windmills, only to find yourself dangling by the scruff of your neck.

          It makes it much less confusing that you constantly get things wrong here, with us, to witness you get other interesting and complex topics wrong too. Topics like Neil deGrasse Tyson and this exchange between Harris and Chomsky.

          Harris arguing that the nice intentions of the US exonerated them.

          This is simply a lie. A faleshood. You are lying again, Luke. Tsk tsk.

        • Greg G.

          From the article you linked to:

          Father Jan Van Dael, accused of molesting several young men in his native Belgium before moving to northeastern Brazil, where he started an orphanage for street kids. Van Dael is under investigation by Belgian and Brazilian authorities after accusations of abuse arose in Brazil, too.

          More about that in a link within the article you linked tl:

          South America has become a safe haven for the Catholic Church’s alleged child molesters

          Isn’t it obvious yet to you that the RCC is not doing enough to curb the problem? If they did not notify the archdiocese in Brazil in this case, the RCC officials are accomplices. If they notified said archdiocese, yet allowed him to set up an orphanage, they are accomplices.

        • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

          Isn’t it obvious yet to you that the RCC is not doing enough to curb the problem?

          That was always obvious to me. I didn’t need a shred of evidence y’all have produced to believe that.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Do you know for a fact that in that as a result of archdiocese inaction, no good-faith efforts were made to curb the possibility of future child abuse by said priest?

          Wtf do you mean by “no good-faith efforts” would you be talking about? You mean informing the new dioceses that the new priest they are getting is an all round bad apple and in so doing, allowing some sort of action put in place so the priests are restricted access to the vulnerable, that sort of thing?

          What would constitute a fact for Luke?

          Did you even watch the documentary I posted? I’m not sure ya did.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ODvv6tQ3naQ

          Father Brendan Smyth was moved from parish to parish and between dioceses and countries whenever allegations were made. In some cases, the order did not inform the diocesan bishop that Smyth had a history of sexual abuse and should be kept away from children. He abused children in parishes in Rhode Island and North Dakota and at one time worked in Boston, all in the USA, and was suspected of similar actions while on pastoral work in Wales and Italy.

          Of course you probably prefer the testimony of those lying bastards of the RCC.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lcJT0b-gkIA

        • Kodie

          Wtf do you mean by “no good-faith efforts” would you be talking about? You mean informing the new dioceses that the new priest they are getting is an all round bad apple and in so doing, allowing some sort of action put in place so the priests are restricted access to the vulnerable, that sort of thing?

          I have a question – what would they do if the priest had had a consensual affair with a woman or a man? Considering their requirement of a priest’s vow of chastity, I am concerned that they didn’t at least consider sex with a non-consenting minor the kind of offense that gets you defrocked, at least as far as having sex goes. Maybe they also inform the authorities of a crime, maybe they don’t, but they no longer have that person within their organization to worry about protecting. Zero tolerance policy is what I’m talking about.

          I mean, in the long history of child rape in the RCC, how many other priests lost their vocation for other violations of their vows, no hesitation. I feel like reassigning the priest and letting the new diocese know he’s kind of got some problems isn’t that much better than not telling them, as long as that priest still has a position of power, unless that means the diocese can refuse the priest, and why would they accept him?

          Anyway, to get back to the beginning of my question, I would think a priest lapsing in his chastity with a side romance would be a forgivable type of scandal, because he’s a man with needs that are suppressed, but say it’s homosexual, then they might be really upset, but if it’s a child, that’s the worst, and they blow it off because they have ways of manipulating children not to speak up – that’s all they really care about.

          They main thing I’m thinking is why would they keep him then? It’s sick, it’s a sin to them, it’s an actual crime. Warning another diocese is like, bullshit.

        • Greg G.

          A local Catholic high school fired a coach who had been in a lesbian relationship for about 20 years after an announcement that they planned to get married.

        • Kodie

          I get it now. There’s a rumor around that kids are mistaken, confused, liars, and not credible witnesses. Most of the time, you can even get them not to say anything to anyone with a traumatizing threat, but if they say something anyway, even their parents will not believe them.

          But adults can be “caught” in situations that look bad, and I’m not saying this regarding the example you gave, but if an adult thinks something is true and starts the rumor, even if it is false, the person in question can be scandalized anyway, as though adults have tremendous credibility and never lie or make a mistake or even make something up because they are spiteful and awful and “wise enough” to be creative about it..

          The idea that children are full of innocence, until they tell you something awful, i.e. their innocence has been removed in some fashion, is bullshit. Or they are intellectually incapable of giving an accurate assessment of anything they see, just because sometimes, that’s true in a cute way, but where children may be naive, adults have cunning and guile, but if a grown-up is exposed as a lesbian in a job where that’s a scandal, like in a bullshit religious tyranny, out you go. If you are a priest and that boy’s word is against yours, well, you’re a priest!

        • adam
        • adam

          ” Records are censured by the RCC and the question one hasto ask is how long has the transferring went on?”

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/870086376a3039ed8ff43904fc455354e88f434aa1a491d68683492f7a9e351e.jpg

        • Kodie

          You don’t have any idea how not to get your ass kicked out of Starbucks.

        • Greg G.

          The RCC enabled the pedophiles without warning potential new victims. They had apparently been dealing with the problem for centuries. They knew what happened when they put a pedophile in a new parish. It was an established procedure. They didn’t care. Why argue so pedantically over a word choice. Some of the bishops were pedophiles who approved of it.

        • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

          Hahahahahahaha, are you going to tell @michaelneville:disqus that he “argue[d] so pedantically over a word choice”? And @disqus_4rvHZwPMCR:disqus, who chose to jump in? And all the others who commented on my choice of the word ‘deceptive’?

          “Some of the bishops were pedophiles who approved of it.” ⇏ “The RCC approves of pedophilia.” Unless you want to say that the UN approves of child rape?

        • adam

          It certainly seems more likely that Luke Breuer ‘approves’ of child rape, the way you defend it.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/46bdac61c5745ebc4082c344822e63894e85f90de0a86f686b47d20cba19d774.gif

        • Greg G.

          As I recall, the word “approved” was used by someone and you objected. That was quite a while ago. You are still carrying on with it. The word was used in the sense of at least tacit approval with the reader being expected to understand it.

          Why not start an argument that the acronym should be “CDO” because the letters are alphabetical, as they should be, instead of “OCD”?

        • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

          Double standards, ahoy!

        • adam
        • Ignorant Amos

          For my future ease of access, the following registered Disqus users are currently listed as having up-voted your comment:

          So, for what reason do you think that those users “up-voted” PBL’s comment? Given that I up-vote for a number of differing reasons and I know others do the same. Do you think it is some sort of metric of those commenting here that approve of Paul’s comment? In it’s entirety? Or just some of it? Or just this bit…

          You’re a human shit stain, Luke. You, on a day to to day basis, make the world a worse place with your evil behavior.

          …or even just some of that bit? Or an acknowledgement that I’ve read the comment?

          Is there any comment where you might “like” a percentage < 100% but still deem an up-vote worthy? Do you even bother to up-vote?

          What is the up-vote etiquette according to Luke Breuer? Apart from it's whinge worthiness of course.

        • Kodie

          I don’t know what he means by ease of access. If I don’t upvote someone against Luke Breuer, it’s because every time I open my email and see a thread monopolized by Luke Breuerrhea, mostly I just scroll it off and don’t read any of the responses. When I slow down, maybe I take the time to load patheos each time, but then probably not. There’s way too many.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Exactly. A good number of comments I would otherwise up-vote if reading through the thread, don’t. Because the time to load the comments from an e-mail each time is just too time consuming, so the comment gets binned from the e-mail notification. It annoys me that I’ll be missing some good stuff, but what can one do?

          Luke is presuming that those who up-vote a comment, do so for the reasons he has in his head and are thus agreeing with the percentage of the comment detrimental to Luke’s integrity. This could well be right, but how can he possibly know it to be the case? He can’t.

        • adam

          ” and are thus agreeing with the percentage of the comment detrimental to Luke’s integrity. ”

          Sorry, but you are going to need to provide evidence of such integrity and anything that denigrates his lack thereof.

        • adam

          “You’re a human shit stain, Luke. You, on a day to to day basis, make the world a worse place with your evil behavior.”

        • adam

          Worth upvoting…

        • adam

          “although it did probably cease any further shaping.”

          Why would the RCC stop unless it impacts their bottom line.

          Money IS what gives them power to facilitate child abuse.
          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/caa3de188660881f5c11426e7541c2e3f333e8711ca2a8dacf707b99b85bdaa2.jpg

        • Joe

          Really, we only understand the individual words, not the ill-defined and obtuse ways that they are strung together.

          Pretty much any religion I’m aware of, on the other hand, is chiefly concerned with what kind of reality we’re bringing into existence

          I mean, what does that even mean? Anyone?

        • Paul B. Lot

          I mean, what does that even mean? Anyone?

          I think Malcom’s monologue is what he’s getting at, if clumsily: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4PLvdmifDSk

        • adam

          “what kind of reality we’re bringing into existence”

          FAITH says the world is how you wish it to be…

          If only you delude yourself into believing it is so.

          So it is not ‘reality’ that he is speaking of but DELUSIONS, that deluded people ‘believe’ in. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/c671cf51a9cfa89d0873911cc26b75537ca255878230f942fbd6c0bca0b49121.jpg

        • Kevin K

          I assure you I’m quite conversant in the English language. I’m a professional writer whose job entails synthesizing complex scientific concepts into coherent educational units.

          As a professional writer, I’m telling you that you don’t make any sense. If I can’t make sense of you, it’s doubtful many others can, either. The people responding to you are guessing at what you’re going on about. And you reply angrily because you haven’t made yourself plainly understood.

          If you’re hear to persuade, you’re failing miserably. In part because you are failing to clearly articulate your point of view.

          Say what you mean clearly and simply. Use smaller words that you understand, not bigger ones you think you should be using. The period is your friend. So is active voice.

        • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

          I chose not to deal with your ridiculous hyperbole that “none of what you just wrote made a lick of sense”. I’ll bet I could present the following paragraph to any barista in the coffee shop I’m currently at—

          LB: Let’s try a thought experiment. Increase humanity’s ability to control and dominate reality (both human and non-human), to bend it to the whims of those with appreciable social power. Is the resultant reality better? We just gave it more ‘information’. Is that all the ‘truth’† that is needed?

          —and have him/her find it perfectly comprehensible. Shall I run that experiment?
           

          Obviously I have a lot of room for improvement. But I’m not always interested in trying to extract tidbits of usefulness from massive amounts of exaggeration and/or distortion.

        • Joe

          I couldn’t have said it better.

          I tip my hat to you, Sir.

        • Paul B. Lot

          I assure you I’m quite conversant in the English language. I’m a professional writer….If you’re hear to persuade, you’re failing miserably.

          (I posted this with the shittiest of shit-eating grins – my apologies)

    • eric

      I suspect your definition of ‘information’ is highly charged.

      The solution to this disagreement is simple: offer a definition of your own. If you think Bob’s sort of implied claim “theology doesn’t give us reliable information” is rigged against theology because of his definition of information, why don’t you give us a definition of information you think is not rigged. Then we can evaluate whether Luke-defined information is the sort of thing we care about.

      Of course, I think we can already foresee a major problem, even before you try. Its all those pesky other religions making contradictory claims. Either you’re going to have a definition that includes in it special treatment for one or just a few religions – that’s logically bad, it would be circular – or, you’re going to have a definition that concludes contradictory theological claims count as “reliable information.” Which is also logically bad.

      Or maybe I’m wrong about that last paragraph and you have a definition that avoids both of those problems. I will just have to wait and see what you come up with.

      • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

        LB: I suspect your definition of ‘information’ is highly charged. I suspect that what you mean, when it comes down to brass tacks, is “knowledge which gives me more control over reality—animate and inanimate”.

        e: The solution to this disagreement is simple: offer a definition of your own.

        Did you not see the underlined? Now, it wasn’t a counter definition; I was attempting to get at Bob’s definition. But surely it is responsible to first try and figure out what the other guy is saying before barging in with an alternative?

        Of course, I think we can already foresee a major problem, even before you try. Its all those pesky other religions making contradictory claims.

        That’s not the only problem. Societies and groups within societies have to negotiate matters of ends even if religion isn’t in the picture. But if ‘truth’ only applies to means, then such negotiations would appear to be based in large part on pure, arational power. Something like my preferences vs. yours, weighted by the current distribution of social power. Is that how we think reality works?

        • eric

          So your answer is no, you will not provide me with a creationist-acceptable definition of information? You only want to pick at Bob’s position, and not provide a substantive claim of your own?

          As to the control-based definition, perhaps we can come to an agreement on that one. I think we might both agree that (a) its probably not the best definition but (b) if someone were to use it, for sake of argument only and not implying any philosophical commitment to its correctness, they’d conclude that science provides information but theology doesn’t. I.e. We both agree that that science provides us with an ‘ability to control reality…’ while theology does not.

          Do we agree on a and b?

        • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

          So your answer is no, you will not provide me with a creationist-acceptable definition of information?

          Who said anything about creationism?

          You only want to pick at Bob’s position, and not provide a substantive claim of your own?

          I want to understand Bob’s position. Is that such a horrible thing to want?

          Do we agree on a and b?

          I agree with (a), but not with (b)—for the reason that religion is often used to control people, and successfully.

        • eric

          I want to understand Bob’s position. Is that such a horrible thing to want?

          No, its not. But you’re using it as an excuse not to answer questions about your own position. You characterized his position the way you understood it. You gave criticism of that position. We got it. Your message has been received, argument made, point taken. So now what would be a non-charged definition of information, and what sort of information do you think theology contributes?
          Look, to win a rhetorical debate one can often get by by attacking the other person’s position but never offering one of one’s own. I’m not interested in that. I’m interested in having an intellectual discussion of positions, which yes involves actually having one and not being afraid to present it for criticism. So when you imply Bob’s definition of information is rigged and theology would provide information under a non-rigged definition, I want to know what you propose. Give me an example. What information does it provide? Use your own definition if you prefer, or don’t define the term at all, I don’t care; just give us some examples of how religion provides information to discuss. I’ll even go first: science provided us with the information needed to create that thing you’re reading these words on. See how easy that was? Your turn.

        • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

          Sigh, more metadiscussion.

          But you’re using it as an excuse not to answer questions about your own position.

          If I answer questions about my own position, the conversation will quickly shift to discussion of my position instead of Bob’s. I’ve been around CE long enough to know that. We can shift to my position after I am satisfied with the treatment of Bob’s.

          You characterized his position the way you understood it. You gave criticism of that position. We got it. Your message has been received, argument made, point taken.

          That’s not how I understand rational discourse. I have yet to get any verification from Bob that I’ve understood his position and what it entails with any accuracy. Unlike some on CE, I don’t immediately assume I’ve understood someone properly. Dude, just exercise some patience.

          So when you imply Bob’s definition of information is rigged and theology would provide information under a non-rigged definition, I want to know what you propose.

          Pray tell me, how did I imply that? I didn’t mean to, so I need to understand how I achieved that effect so I can alter how I write.

          Look, to win a rhetorical debate one can often get by by attacking the other person’s position but never offering one of one’s own.

          I agree, but I’m not looking to win a rhetorical debate. What would be the point? I’m commenting on a website dominated by an opposing stance. I’m not reporting back on the results of my discussions to some Central Command. In fact, my experience on CE is that just about everyone here wants to provoke theists into defending their positions—while not being allowed to investigate the atheists’ positions much at all! You’re playing right into that tendency, whether you intend to or not.

        • Kodie

          I have yet to get any verification from Bob that I’ve understood his position and what it entails with any accuracy.

          I don’t believe you ever have understood the positions of Bob or any other poster with any accuracy.

        • Michael Neville

          I would strongly agree with this.

        • eric

          If I answer questions about my own position, the conversation will quickly shift to discussion of my position instead of Bob’s

          Well goodness, we can’t have that now! Someone might poke your balloon!

          my experience on CE is that just about everyone here wants to provoke theists into defending their positions—while not being allowed to investigate the atheists’ positions much at all!
          Bob gave you his position. You aired your opinion about it. I read it. Now I’ve politely asked your opinion. A courteous person would give and take, opine in return once they’ve had a chance to criticize someone else’s opinion. But what you want to do – like so many many theists I’ve encountered on the net – is ask question and criticize, then ignore the question asked to you and instead ask another question and then criticize, on and on and on. You want to have a lopsided conversation where we are on the hook to explain forever, in arduous detail, every minutiae about an atheist position, while you sit back and pretend to play the Socrates role.
          So, I’ll ask one more time. And if you don’t want to answer, don’t worry, I won’t ask again. I’ll assume a non-response this time means you don’t really ever intend to participate in such a give and take. What do you consider to be the ‘reliable information’ theology provides? How do you define “reliable information?” What proclamations of theology do you consider to be reliable information, and how did those proclamations meet your criteria for being reliable and information?

        • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

          “Dude, just exercise some patience.” Seriously, wait a few days and ask again. Or, if Bob engages what I wrote and elaborates a bit, ask then. Or, advance some position of your own, open it up to a bit of critique, and then ask.

          Don’t pretend to know courtesy if you’re going to utter things like “I’ll assume a non-response this time means «manipulatively threaten to stuff words in the other person’s mouth to provoke a response».” That kind of nonsense torpedoes democracy and leads to shit like we have all over the west right now.

        • eric

          So that would be a no. After two days it should be pretty obvious to you that Bob isn’t going to engage in a full-on conversation with you, and IMO its fairly petulant and narcissistic to demand that the site owner do so before you’ll answer anyone else’s questions (given the volume of your posts, it also seems quite…selectively convenient). But I’ll be true to my word, and drop the subject.

        • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

          Given that you seem to be so interested in obtaining my position on the matter, I have a suggestion. The Secular Outpost is a fantastic place for in-depth looks at issues such as the one under contention. Why don’t you suggest to them that you’ll write a guest post on something like the following:

          e: As to the control-based definition, perhaps we can come to an agreement on that one. I think we might both agree that (a) its probably not the best definition but (b) if someone were to use it, for sake of argument only and not implying any philosophical commitment to its correctness, they’d conclude that science provides information but theology doesn’t. I.e. We both agree that that science provides us with an ‘ability to control reality…’ while theology does not.

          ? If they accept, I’ll promise to spend a bit of time (max 6 back-and-forth replies) examining your position, and at that point present my own. If they refuse and you provide me satisfactory evidence of that refusal (probably: tell me whom to ask so I can get it straight from the horse’s mouth), I will present my position here.

          The reason I ask to do this over at SO is their “We’re trying to do something special and different and rare here.”, something which @Ryan_M1:disqus kindly articulated. I think that discussion under those conditions would be much more fruitful than the conditions permitted and encouraged on CE. Don’t worry; SO is dominated by atheists.

    • MNb

      “I suspect your definition of ‘information’ is highly charged.”
      Probably yes. Information here means conclusions arrived at via a method that reliably separates correct from incorrect claims.

      “it would appear this is also the stance of this blog.”
      While I object the phrase “to determine truth” (I’d prefer “to arrive at reliable conclusions”) yes, it is. Thus far no single apologist, neither on this blog or anywhere else, has demonstrated that this is correct.

    • Giauz Ragnarock

      “I suspect your definition of ‘information’ is highly charged. I suspect that what you mean, when it comes down to brass tacks, is “knowledge which gives me more control over reality”

      You assign an implied malevolent intent to learning about our universe, so we should just believe whatever makes us feel good- like becoming freaking immortal and always happy even while people are being tortured just next door? Also, doesn’t knowledge of the universe imply that it is knowledge of the universe? Knowledge has impact. Knowledge can be applied. So, would Jesus be malevolent for “control over reality”?

      • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

        You assign an implied malevolent intent to learning about our universe […]

        What do you have against controlling inanimate matter? I do have something against many of the ways that humans are controlled, but I hope you do, too! So where’s the malevolence you say you detected?

        […] so we should just believe whatever makes us feel good […]

        That would be your domain, if you agree with Kroto’s “Science is the only philosophical construct we have to determine truth with any degree of reliability.” After all, if there’s no moral truth, you get to believe whatever makes you feel good. And then you go about interacting with other people that way and ultimately things get real ugly. But remember: there’s no [knowable] moral truth. So you can’t be wrong. Instead, you can merely be disliked. Morality really is all about what makes you feel good if there is no moral truth. Yeah, you can chuck in some enlightened-self interest, to make sure that when you get what makes you feel good now, you don’t tick someone off who can make you feel bad tomorrow.

        Also, doesn’t knowledge of the universe imply that it is knowledge of the universe?

        Is it Tautology Day?

        Knowledge has impact. Knowledge can be applied. So, would Jesus be malevolent for “control over reality”?

        Jesus did not force his will on other humans, except for one very special case which I’ll get into with the pedants if they wish. Do you regularly force your will on other humans? Whether aggressively or passive aggressively—both are forms of manipulation.

        • Giauz Ragnarock

          “After all, if there’s no moral truth, you get to believe whatever makes you feel good.”

          If gods actually would make moral arguments they would have just as little evidence that they do any different (“But I’m really special! My opinion came before yours! I’m going to hurt you!”). The rest of the paragraph sounds like the claims Christians make about Jesus, God of the Bible, so what is this moral truth thing?

          “Jesus did not force his will on other humans, except for one very special case”

          So, Jesus isn’t the God of the Bible now?

        • MNb

          “After all, if there’s no moral truth, you get to believe whatever makes you feel good.”
          Lukieboy simplifies to such an extent that he becomes guilty of a strawman himself.

  • Kevin K

    This isn’t “science” that is being excoriated. It’s scientism. The fantastic and nonsensical notion that atheists are all emotionless Spocks living in their little nerd worlds of logic and “facts”. So, he’s trying to set up a tribal response — us “real humans” against the alien other atheists.

    This is pure demagoguery. It should be dismissed as such.

    • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

      Who defines ‘scientism’ that way?

      • Warren

        Apologists.

        • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

          Example, please. With citation so that it can be verified.

        • Greg G.
        • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

          I’m sorry, I missed the bit that looks like this:

          KK: The fantastic and nonsensical notion that atheists are all emotionless Spocks living in their little nerd worlds of logic and “facts”.

        • Kevin K

          So, I’m not allowed to have my own thoughts? I have to borrow them from somewhere? If it’s not written down in some leather-bound book, it’s invalid? I need to quote some chapter and verse?

          The accusation of ‘scientism’ is perfectly consistent with my definition of it. If it’s so invalid, why are you arguing against it? Maybe because it hits a little too close to home? Because it aligns almost perfectly with your own accusations against atheists?

          The lady doth protest too much, methinks — William Shakespeare.

        • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

          So, I’m not allowed to have my own thoughts?

          It is bad form to attribute views to others which you cannot demonstrate they have. The problem with failing to demonstrate is that humans have all these cognitive biases and bad memory and such which makes it so easy to distort. For example, compare:

          KK: The fantastic and nonsensical notion that atheists are all emotionless Spocks living in their little nerd worlds of logic and “facts”.

          BS: on p. 126, Bannister says that the hypothesis he’s attacking is “Science is the only reliable way to uncover truth.”

          We can compare the direct quote Bob presented to a stance Bob ostensibly affirms, from the previous blog post in this series:

          Bannister quotes Nobel Prize winner Harry Kroto, “Science is the only philosophical construct we have to determine truth with any degree of reliability.” (Bad Atheist Arguments: “Science Can Explain Everything”)

          Let’s clear away some cruft:

          “Science is the only reliable way to uncover truth.”

          “Science is the only philosophical construct we have to determine truth with any degree of reliability.”

          It seems that Bob might be a believer in ‘scientism’, per Bannister’s definition. Both of these quotes are quite different from your “thoughts”. Sometimes it is good to review what people actually said, rather than your recollection.

        • Kevin K

          The problem with failing to demonstrate is that humans have all these cognitive biases and bad memory and such which makes it so easy to distort.

          Word salad. Meaningless. “There you go again” — Ronald Reagan.

        • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

          Do you trust a creationist every time [s]he claims to be accurately representing some evolutionary biologist’s position?

        • Kevin K

          What does “trust” have to do with it?

          My contention is that the accusation of “scientism” against atheists (by Bannister in the OP, but also others) is based in part on the premise that atheists are devoid of emotion.

          Do you deny this charge has been leveled against the atheist community?

          If so, I’ll refer you to this as a start. https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/our-humanity-naturally/201310/why-oprahs-anti-atheist-bias-hurts-so-much

        • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

          I can’t believe you are unaware of the terrible track record creationists have of accurately representing their opponents’ positions. I’m criticizing you of doing that, when it comes to how apologists characterize ‘scientism’. Now, I’m sure you can find some low-brow apologists who do that, but Bannister doesn’t seem to be that bad. When Bob presented quotes from Bannister on ‘scientism’, there was absolutely no anti-emotion content. Zero.

          Your Psychology Today article is nothing but contention about how words are defined. Clearly what Oprah means by ‘atheist’ is different from what you mean and from what you’ll find at e.g. dictionary.com: atheist. The thing is, dictionaries aren’t normative, but descriptive. If Oprah and others who use the word ‘atheist’ like she does can spread their meaning far enough into culture, it’ll eventually get added to the dictionary. I’m pretty sure Oprah isn’t bigoted toward nonbelievers. Instead, she just thinks there’s a big difference between ‘atheist’ and ‘nonbeliever’.

        • Kevin K

          I can’t believe you think this is about creationists. Clearly, Oprah — who isn’t a creationist — believes that atheism mandates a lack of empathy and an emotionless world view.

          And she’s not nearly alone in that belief.

          What the dictionary says about atheism is neither here nor there — it’s irrelevant to this discussion. What is under discussion is the unfounded accusations made by theists against atheists — which includes the entire and complete book written by Bannister. And those accusations include the charge that atheists are cold, emotionless scientismists.

        • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

          I can’t believe you think this is about creationists.

          Good, because it isn’t—except in the sense that I’m accusing you of acting like a creationist.

          Clearly, Oprah — who isn’t a creationist — believes that atheism mandates a lack of empathy and an emotionless world view.

          False. What she means by ‘atheism’ is very different from what you mean by ‘atheism’. Just like what she means by ‘God’ is very different from what I mean by ‘God’.

          What the dictionary says about atheism is neither here nor there — it’s irrelevant to this discussion.

          This couldn’t be further from the truth.

          What is under discussion is the unfounded accusations made by theists against atheists — which includes the entire and complete book written by Bannister. And those accusations include the charge that atheists are cold, emotionless scientismists.

          What is under discussion here is that you apparently cannot find a single instance where Andy Bannister associates the following—

          KK: The fantastic and nonsensical notion that atheists are all emotionless Spocks living in their little nerd worlds of logic and “facts”.

          —with ‘scientism’. So instead, you have to hand wave and… ¡¿appeal to Oprah?! in order to support your position. That’s called “grasping at straws”.

        • Kevin K

          Oprah is just the first example of many, many, many, many instances where atheists have been accused of being incapable of feeling genuine human emotion. The fact that her voice resonates with many millions of Americans and her statements passed with nary a whimper of protest from mainstream Christianity does not escape my notice.

        • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

          That’s fine, but this has nothing to do with whether or not Andy Bannister accuses atheists of “being incapable of feeling genuine human emotion”. If you can only find low-brow apologists and internet commentators who actually associate those referred to by dictionary.com: atheist as “being incapable of feeling genuine human emotion”, then that would be a very interesting fact. Because we know that one can find among the low-brow (and in many places on the internet) people who treat every population terribly.

          Now, your desire to see more Christians object to such falsehoods is well-taken. But then I might ask, where are all the atheists who object to atheists who say that religion is dangerous without producing peer-reviewed articles and books by scholars and scientists showing just how it is dangerous, replete with rigorous definitions of ‘religion’? It would appear that both groups are pretty terrible at self-policing. How can we all do better?

        • Kodie

          You are just not happy at all if you can’t put atheists down. Why don’t you just mind Luke’s business, and how you can do better. It’s obvious you think we just don’t do enough, but it sounds like you made yourself an excuse not to move if we don’t suit your expectation of improvement also. Religion has absolutely poisoned your fucking mind, so we really have a lot more experience with this than you, who buffer yourself from reality.

        • TheNuszAbides

          Q:

          How can we all do better?

          A:

          True Scottish Humility.

        • Kodie

          Theists get their definition of atheism not from the dictionary but aspersions cast at church. You have to confront the dishonesty of the definition theists get vs. what it actually is, entails, means, doesn’t mean, etc. And for the second part, yeah, her definition of god is different from your definition of god for pretty much the same reason. Churches are marketing efforts exploiting humans and whatever you wish to believe. That means your church tells you god is x and Oprah’s church tells her god is y. None of them want you to walk off, so they will all tell you atheists have no meaning in our lives and are cold robotic and immoral. That’s because y’all get your information from liars.

          As per my previous criticism of your posting style, whenever you get it wrong, you don’t get closer to right, you get stubborn and object to being corrected about what you think is any of our points of view. You are just so brainwashed and egotistical.

        • Paul B. Lot

          False. What she means by ‘atheism’ is very different from what you mean by ‘atheism’. Just like what she means by ‘God’ is very different from what I mean by ‘God’.

          What a vacuous thing to claim.

          1) Prove to us that you know Oprah’s understanding of the word more than her plain usage implies.
          2) Once your finished with #1, take a moment to think about how pointless any discussion would be if we allowed people to weasel out of outrageous position simply by appealing to the tactics you’re deploying here.

          “No, I didn’t say that keeping humans as slaves is right because [group xyz] aren’t human.”

          The offense of [saying that human slavery is OK] is not expunged by turning around and claiming that [group xyz isn’t human], and therefore is exempt from the first claim.

          Similarly, Oprah’s offensiveness (if that’s what it is) in declaring that atheists can’t feel _______ isn’t expunged by her using a definition of “atheist” which would render everyone who claimed to be one a liar.

        • Kevin K

          BTW: I love how you’re throwing your co-religionists under the bus here. Why should I not take creationist views as being representative of those of Christianity at large?

          Because you say so? “That plow won’t scowl” — Abraham Lincoln.

        • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

          BTW: I love how you’re throwing your co-religionists under the bus here.

          Unlike you (apparently), I can criticize particular beliefs and behaviors without marking off the entire person/​group as utterly ignorant and/or evil.

          Why should I not take creationist views as being representative of those of Christianity at large?

          It depends on how much you respect what is true, and in what domains you think it is appropriate to employ stereotypes. For example, I don’t recall creationism being particularly popular outside of America, although I haven’t kept up-to-date on the so-called “Global South”.

          Because you say so?

          No, I do not pretend to wield that kind of power over people. (Others at CE seem to operate differently—to each his/her own.) However, I’m happy to employ this kind of rhetoric: ask belligerent/​dogmatic creationists whether they will wager their salvation on the soteriological importance of whether the earth was created in seven 24-hour days. In other words, I’ll ask if they’d proclaim the following: “Jesus, please damn me to hell if belief in seven-day creationism is not crucial to being saved.”

        • Kevin K

          You think creationism is limited to the US…you’d be wrong then…

          https://jhupbooks.press.jhu.edu/content/creationism-europe

        • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

          From the National Center for Science and Education, 2011-04-25 article Polling creationism and evolution around the world:

          The “evolutionist” view was most popular in Sweden (68%), Germany (65%), and China (64%), with the United States ranking 18th (28%), between Mexico (34%) and Russia (26%); the “creationist” view was most popular in Saudi Arabia (75%), Turkey (60%), and Indonesia (57%), with the United States ranking 6th (40%), between Brazil (47%) and Russia (34%).

          Now, that doesn’t break down by religious belief, but we can go to WP: Creationism § Christianity:

          As of 2006, most Christians around the world accepted evolution as the most likely explanation for the origins of species, and did not take a literal view of the Genesis creation myth. The United States is an exception where belief in religious fundamentalism is much more likely to affect attitudes towards evolution than it is for believers elsewhere.

          Let’s recall that you asked about broad-brushing Christians as creationists:

          KK: Why should I not take creationist views as being representative of those of Christianity at large?

          I’m saying that if you mean to refer to ‘Christianity’ throughout the world instead of just the US, you may have to sacrifice loyalty to truth in order to do so. Perhaps you deem this sacrifice worth it, in order to fight the scourge of religion.

        • Kevin K

          Which was precisely and exactly NOT THE POINT. You declared creationism to be US-only. I showed you otherwise.

          I’m pretty much fucking done with you at this point. You have a great life.

        • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

          You declared creationism to be US-only.

          Utterly false. Here’s how the conversation went down:

          KK: Why should I not take creationist views as being representative of those of Christianity at large?

          LB: It depends on how much you respect what is true, and in what domains you think it is appropriate to employ stereotypes. For example, I don’t recall creationism being particularly popular outside of America, although I haven’t kept up-to-date on the so-called “Global South”.

          What must be meant by “particularly popular”? Well, sufficient so that you can “take creationist views as being representative of those of Christianity at large”. If fewer than 50% of Christians in the world believe in creationism, that seems to pose a problem to you. Now, you could try and say that really it’s the influential Christians who matter, but then you’ll have to actually produce data—which you haven’t.

        • eric

          The NCSE poll was of the population, not merely Christians. So it very very likely that the % of Christians who are creationists will be higher than the reported %, at least for the non-Islamic countries in the survey. For example, only about 62% of Swedes are, today, affiliated with the (Lutheran) Church of Sweden. That would mean that to get to 32% creationists in the total population, about 51.6% of Swedish Lutherans would have to be creationist. That’s of course a high estimate, as the nonbeliever pool and Swedes of other religions will contain some creationists. But the point is, the number of Christian creationists in all the countries surveyed is going to be higher than 30% – unless you think there’s some large cohort of nonbelieving creationists out there.

        • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

          The NCSE poll was of the population, not merely Christians.

          Absolutely correct. It is as if I wrote the following:

          LB: From the National Center for Science and Education […]

          [statistics]

          Now, that doesn’t break down by religious belief, but we can go to WP: Creationism § Christianity:

          [more statistics]

          If you were quibbling that I ought to have said “by religious belief [or lack thereof]”, I’ll label that as obnoxious pedantry and be done. But perhaps you just missed what I wrote.

          So it very very likely that the % of Christians who are creationists will be higher than the reported %, at least for the non-Islamic countries in the survey.

          Sure. So, show me the numbers which would justify the following:

          KK: Why should I not take creationist views as being representative of those of Christianity at large?

          If you can’t (or won’t), perhaps you would be clear that @disqus_PLsnvjzHUV:disqus has not presented the requisite burden of proof for his “representative”.

        • Ignorant Amos

          LB: It depends on how much you respect what is true, and in what domains you think it is appropriate to employ stereotypes. For example, I don’t recall creationism being particularly popular outside of America, although I haven’t kept up-to-date on the so-called “Global South”.

          Aren’t all religious creationists of one stripe or another?

          Creationism is the religious belief that the universe and life originated “from specific acts of divine creation,” as opposed to the scientific conclusion that they came about through natural processes.

        • Paul B. Lot

          I’m pretty sure Oprah isn’t bigoted toward nonbelievers. Instead, she just thinks there’s a big difference between ‘atheist’ and ‘nonbeliever’.

          Oprah clearly and unambiguously states that people who [claim to be ‘atheists’] but [do experience ‘awe’] are [not, in fact, atheists.]

          This entails that anyone who is, in fact, an atheist cannot ever experience ‘awe’. As ‘awe’ is a basic human emotion, Oprah (unintentionally?) denying that atheists experience it is, in fact, an exact and precise example of what you requested of @disqus_PLsnvjzHUV:disqus .

          You should acknowledge that your request was met, instead of playing games to maintain what you seem to think is some sort of high ground.

        • Kevin K

          I didn’t say she was “bigoted”. I don’t think she is. But her conception — her “definition” of atheism, if you will — includes the concept that atheism is emotionless.

          In that regard, she’s in agreement with a fairly substantial proportion of Christians. Contrary to Luke’s implication that only creationists believe that way.

          Bannister basically comes out and says it in his book; which is where this entire thread got started in the first place. Bannister is accusing atheists of relying solely on the cold, emotionless world of facts and figures, without ever looking at the wonderful world of cute little puppies and kittens, and a god that drowned every last one of them along with all of the unborn babies in order that he could invent rainbows. Isn’t it wonderful?

        • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

          Oprah clearly and unambiguously states that people who [claim to be ‘atheists’] but [do experience ‘awe’] are [not, in fact, atheists.]

          Sure; nothing I said contradicts this.

          This entails that anyone who is, in fact, an atheist cannot ever experience ‘awe’.

          No, it doesn’t. If you experience awe, Oprah refuses to consider you an atheist. See for yourself:

          Oprah, however, apparently found this description unsettling, for it seems that in her view atheists must be cold, emotionless rationalists. “Well I don’t call you an atheist then,” Oprah responded to Nyad’s disclosure. “I think if you believe in the awe and the wonder and the mystery, then that is what God is.” (Psychology Today 2013-10-15 Why Oprah’s Anti-Atheist Bias Hurts So Much)

          What you have to realize is that Oprah: atheistdictionary.com: atheist. And I know that you, @disqus_4rvHZwPMCR:disqus, are fully capable of making such distinctions.

          As ‘awe’ is a basic human emotion, Oprah (unintentionally?) denying that atheists experience it is, in fact, an exact and precise example of what you requested of @disqus_PLsnvjzHUV:disqus .

          Also false. Here’s what I requested, in context:

          KK: This isn’t “science” that is being excoriated. It’s scientism. The fantastic and nonsensical notion that atheists are all emotionless Spocks living in their little nerd worlds of logic and “facts”. So, he’s trying to set up a tribal response — us “real humans” against the alien other atheists.

          LB: Who defines ‘scientism’ that way?

          W: Apologists.

          LB: Example, please. With citation so that it can be verified.

          […]

          KK: The accusation of ‘scientism’ is perfectly consistent with my definition of it.

          LB: It seems that Bob might be a believer in ‘scientism’, per Bannister’s definition. Both of these quotes are quite different from your “thoughts”. Sometimes it is good to review what people actually said, rather than your recollection.

          […]

          KK: Do you deny this charge has been leveled against the atheist community?

          If so, I’ll refer you to this as a start. https://www.psychologytoday.co

          LB: I can’t believe you are unaware of the terrible track record creationists have of accurately representing their opponents’ positions. I’m criticizing you of doing that, when it comes to how apologists characterize ‘scientism’. Now, I’m sure you can find some low-brow apologists who do that, but Bannister doesn’t seem to be that bad. When Bob presented quotes from Bannister on ‘scientism’, there was absolutely no anti-emotion content. Zero.

          It is quite clear that @disqus_PLsnvjzHUV:disqus is associating “… emotionless …” with either (i) Andy Bannister: scientism or (ii) Christian apologist†: scientism. Technically his language refers unambiguously to (i), but I’m giving him some leeway by allowing him to conflate Andy Bannister with similar Christian apologists. This leeway never extended to (iii) Oprah Winfrey: scientism atheist. Not only is Oprah in no way a Christian apologist, but she was working with an idiosyncratic definition of ‘atheist’, not ‘scientism’. You managed to be wrong in two ways instead of just one.

          † Strictly speaking, Christian apologists in the same class as Andy Bannister. But that would be clumsy to state in-line.

          You should acknowledge that your request was met, instead of playing games to maintain what you seem to think is some sort of high ground.

          Incorrect. Seriously, I know you can actually be good at pedantry; this was atrocious.

        • Jim Jones

          You guys get them out and I’ll get Oprah to measure them.

      • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

        Is it not clear from the quotes above that Bannister is?

        If you want more, on p. 126, Bannister says that the hypothesis he’s attacking is “Science is the only reliable way to uncover truth.”

        On p. 133, he says, “scientism, the idea that science can tell us everything…”

        • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

          If you want more, on p. 126, Bannister says that the hypothesis he’s attacking is “Science is the only reliable way to uncover truth.”

          Do you consider this equivalent to Harry Kroto’s “Science is the only philosophical construct we have to determine truth with any degree of reliability.”? It seems that you endorse Kroto’s stance.

        • Giauz Ragnarock

          “we have”

          Currently true. If someday this is false, we go with the more accurate and precise method(s). To date, science is the only method that has an excellent- and also any- track record in all history to thoroughly explore and make predictions about our universe.

    • epeeist

      The fantastic and nonsensical notion that atheists are all emotionless Spocks

      Andrew Brown (an “I’m an atheist but” writer for the Guardian) has sneeringly referred to “evidence Daleks” in the past.

      • Kevin K

        Yes. Just because some of us would like to see a carcass of unicorn before we believe that such a thing exists, that does not make us emotionless.

        • Joe

          We might not get invited to their parties, but I wouldn’t want to go to a party where the food and drink are imaginary, yet the guests try to outdo each other by proclaiming it more delicious than the next person.

    • T-Paine

      Like I’ve said in a past thread. His ‘atheists’ are just rhetorical devices.

  • National Disco

    And if there is a god, ergo protestant Jesus QED. You’re welcome!

  • Kompi

    Y’know, the one thing that stood out to me in the “science and” quote is that it also mentions “science and art”.

    So hey sure let’s go with that – theology as art. People already look at it and go hmmm and aaah and talk about deep thoughts and feelings, and no one would roll in a genuine Picasso as an actual argument in a discussion on reproductive rights.

  • MNb

    “science and the humanities;”
    See underneath.

    “science and philosophy;”
    Funny how Bannister wants to talk about the limits of science but neglects the limits of philosophy, which are even tighter.

    “science and art;”
    As soon as Bannister has developed a method of art that reliably separates correct claims from incorrect ones.

    “science and history;
    The humanities are science and that specifically in includes history. The Lewontin quote fully applies to them as well. Read Gibbons, JP Bury, Huizinga, Kershaw, Overy, Braudel – no one allows a Divine Foot in the door.

    “science and theology”
    As soon as Bannister has developed a theological method that reliably separates correct claims from incorrect ones.

    • The Bofa on the Sofa

      “science and history;
      The humanities are science and that specifically in includes history. The Lewontin quote fully applies to them as well. Read Gibbons, JP Bury, Huizinga, Kershaw, Overy, Braudel – no one allows a Divine Foot in the door.

      Just look at all the “Was Jesus real?” discussions. The first thing they do is to ignore all the miracles, because we all know that is bullshit.

      So even the religiousites’ favorite “bible scholars” won’t accept a Divine Footprint.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      That’s a helpful addition.

    • Len

      As a discipline, theology is pretty undisciplined.

  • Rudy R

    When theists like Bannister claim that science is the wrong tool to explain how we got stuff in the first place, do they expect the scientific community to quit the exploration? If they don’t expect scientists to stop, why would they assume science won’t find naturalistic answers? If they do expect scientists to stop exploring, is it because they are frightened that their theology would be proven wrong if naturalistic answers were found?

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      He imagines that our nature (the universe, etc.) came from the supernatural. That’s an interesting claim, but he needs to back that up with evidence, not ungrounded speculation.

      He wonders where our stuff came from. Maybe from nature (not understood at the moment).

  • http://musingsfromacorneroftheuniverse.blogspot.com/ Michael

    Well, it’s possible to make purely logical arguments. Even then however, they are only so good as the premises. Arguments that have entirely valid logic still could be wrong (and have been). So they’re not scientific per se, but empirical data has to come in for checking the premises.

    It’s funny to me how the regularity and order of the universe will get used as an argument for God’s existence, when as Lewontin (plus many others) have noted, miracles throw all this into chaos. Miracles are also used as an argument for God’s existence, and if done by the same arguer easily turns into a contradiction.

    • Kevin K

      1. All elephants like peanuts
      2. Jimmy Carter likes peanuts
      3. Jimmy Carter is an elephant.

      My favorite false syllogism. Even though it’s a bit dated. I wonder how many people understand the Jimmy Carter reference.

      • http://musingsfromacorneroftheuniverse.blogspot.com/ Michael

        Yes, good example. I don’t get your reference myself. That’s before my time.

        • Kevin K

          Jimmy Carter was, among other things, a peanut farmer before he became President.

        • http://musingsfromacorneroftheuniverse.blogspot.com/ Michael

          Oh, right, I forgot.

        • Kevin K

          Yeah, I’m gonna have to come up with a more-modern one. How’s this?

          1. All hookers like to pee on their clients.
          2. Donald Trump likes hookers.
          3. Hookers like to pee on Donald Trump.

          No wait…that’s not a false syllogism… 😉

        • http://musingsfromacorneroftheuniverse.blogspot.com/ Michael

          So it seems.

        • Phil Rimmer

          Explains the colour stain….

        • TheNuszAbides

          i immediately turned to http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/urine-color/basics/causes/CON-20032831

          perhaps he (or his handler) feeds them all ‘laxatives conatining senna’?

  • Paul B. Lot

    Straight from the horse’s mouth:

    If you can support this with decent evidence, I may agree with ‘facilitate’….BTW, I’ve never dug deeply into the evidence on this matter.

    Thank you, @LukeBreuer:disqus.

    Really, thank you: I was contemplating spending the time to dig through a metric shit ton of posts and an imperial fuck load of words and arguments to try to draw the threads together to make this very argument.

    That you were not arguing from a position of knowledge of the topic at-hand. That when you twisted and squirmed and played devil’s advocate, it wasn’t because you had any particular substance behind your contradictions.

    It was simply because you were arguing from a default position of nay-saying – it was because you saw us taking a morally judgmental position, and you don’t like it when we do that:

    Instead, I have observed a lot of noise and a lot of severe language which seems to indicate that the speakers of that language think that they could fix the situation. That is, they don’t just know what is immoral, but they can cross the gap between knowing the path and walking the path. That concerns me, because such people could easily contribute to terribleness like The UN Peacekeepers Rape Scandal Gets Worse. There is a balance between severity of punishment of infractions given a certain evidence level, and how much information flow is restricted—information relevant to detecting whether infractions are possibly happening. Dealing with evil is a bit like Whac-A-Mole: if you focus all your energy and severity in one place, it’ll just pop up elsewhere and you may have de facto blinded yourself to it.

    You argued that our castigation of the RCC’s conduct wasn’t appropriate, you argued that [the word used] to describe the situation wasn’t correct and that [a different] word would be acceptable – even though they mean the same fucking thing, you argued that you, and not we, were the only one trying to fix the problem…..all because you were afraid that we *might* be focusing too strongly on the topic, because YOU decided that WE were misplacing our outrage-stores.

    Do you remember the other day when I called you a slimy piece of shit?

    I take that back, Luke.

    It’s a disservice to all the decent pieces of slimy shit out there to associate them with you.

    Go fuck yourself.

    PS. A big shout-out to @halbehuitema:disqus for calmly and patiently walking Luke down the road to this self-revelation. Much obliged.

    Edits for word-choice and tense.

  • Ignorant Amos

    New report released today…

    Shocking historical child abuse in NI outlined in report

    http://www.itv.com/news/utv/2017-01-20/historic-child-abuse-in-northern-ireland-institutions-outlined-in-report/

    • TheNuszAbides

      it’s a bit like the old ‘yuck, medicine’ trope: i don’t want to know, but i need to know.

  • Mr. A

    Ah, quote mining, for when you wants a strawman bit are too lazy to make one up.

  • Laniakea

    >>Is there more that can be discovered about God than simply what we can discern about him from his handiwork as revealed in the structure of the
    universe?<<

    WOW…Circular reasoning, God of the Gaps fallacy, argument from ignorance…
    3 logical fallacies (+ the ones I've probably missed here) within ONE not even complete sentence, is kinda impressive, I would say.

    Ok, we all know that Christianity and logic are not best friends.
    But at least, apologists are very good at using their pet fallacies in a consistent manner.

    Btw: from an objective point of view, the structure of the universe definitely points to the Only One True God, Our Holy Noodliness *Checkmate Christians!*

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/6b000e7fd2efa7207a4805e0829e503688fd6eb9cd5a9bd9faf0d0070bf87418.jpg

    • Greg G.

      The asteroids are shaped like the pieces of meat in a meat sauce, for that matter.

    • Otto

      If String theory pans out that will explain spaghetti O’s

    • Phil Rimmer

      Perfidious pasta Heretic!!!

      M-theory opens up the true glory, that of Branes in all their girding Bulk. It is not the Flying Spadhetti Monster as told in piratey pasta tales but Lasagna lauded by Hir one true, if portly, prophet, Garfield. May the forks be with you.