[the following are comments underneath my Amazon review of Dr. Taylor Marshall’s book, Infiltration (now listed as both the “top review” and “top critical review”), with my replies. The words of others will be in various colors. I had previously written three Facebook posts documenting further, the innumerable ad hominem personal attacks I have received over this issue (one / two / three), and also commented on Taylor Marshall’s “response” (choke).]
Mike: You write: “Conspiratorialism is a dead-end street; the fool’s way out, and a plain dumb and intellectually naive and vacant interpretation of very complex events and ideas.” Thank you David for the eye-opener: So it wasn’t Judas and the pharisees after all, right?
To criticize the preoccupation with or mindset of conspiratorialism is not to deny that there were any conspiracies ever. As I wrote in my review: “I agree that many groups have tried to infiltrate the Church. The radical homosexuals are the ones in our day. The liberals have been trying to wreck Catholicism since the French Revolution. ”
That is not denying that conspiracies do occur, or even that infiltration of the Church has occurred. Most people who know Church history would readily agree. That itself is not the issue: it’s what God will do about it, and about indefectibility.
What God usually does when Popes and even most of the church fall into error (Arian…) is to raise a brave remnant few to shout at the darkness and fight for the light. When popes do not believe in a Catholic trinitarian God, God leads the erring church back on course VIA HUMAN AGENTS. . . . How sad catholic brothers are in arms against one another as during the Arian crisis… Then, as now, a reigning Pope had publicly attacked the doctrine of the trinity.
Of course Pope Francis has never attacked the Holy Trinity. Do the lies never end?
Kim: It seems incredible to me that so many people found this pathetic review helpful – I guess it is because Armstrong’s boorish screed is like heroin that blunts Catholic common sense and makes them feel that all is OK in the Church.
That must be why I wrote in my review:
I agree that many groups have tried to infiltrate the Church. The radical homosexuals are the ones in our day. The liberals have been trying to wreck Catholicism since the French Revolution. My mentor, Servant of God Fr. John A. Hardon, SJ (who received me into the Church and enthusiastically endorsed my first book, A Biblical Defense of Catholicism) said often that modernism is the culmination of all heresies, and that the modernist crisis is the greatest in the history of the Church. I agree 100%!
This proves either that you either 1) have the greatest difficulty reading, 2) have a big problem comprehending what you read, or 3) suffer from a severe case of amnesia. And that’s assuming you even read my review.
Armstrong (a former protestant with no academic credentials)
And of course, Taylor Marshall is a former Protestant, too, except that he was much more recently (before 2006) than myself (before 1990). How is this relevant at all?
attempts to portray Taylor Marshall as some type of retrograde Catholic backsliding into Protestantism for contending that the Church is (1) doctrinally corrupt and that (2) this is due to the infiltration of the Church by her enemies. These two facts have been witnessed to by Catholic men and women of impeccable credentials (unlike Armstrong).
G. K. Chesterton had no degree whatsoever. He took a bunch of art classes for a year or two in college, and literature and no theology. Does that mean we shouldn’t read his books and that he is “a professional Catholic”?
Poisoning the well (or attempting to poison the well) is a type of informal logical fallacy where irrelevant adverse information about a target is preemptively presented to an audience, with the intention of discrediting or ridiculing something that the target person is about to say. Poisoning the well can be a special case of argumentum ad hominem, . . . (Wikipedia, “Poisoning the Well”)
Dr. Jeffrey Mirus wrote an absolutely scathing review of Infiltration. He has a doctorate. Does that mean his review will now be rapturously received because he has “credentials”? Of course not. Those who are fans of Dr. Marshall’s book that have taken notice of him have been even more critical of him than of me. He has more relevant credentials than Dr. Marshall, in terms of writing a book about history:
Mirus received a Ph.D. in Intellectual History from Princeton University in 1973, with a dissertation focusing on Dominican reform and the defense of the Papacy in the Renaissance. During his early teaching career in the University of North Carolina system, he founded and edited the Catholic interdisciplinary journal Faith & Reason. In 1977, Mirus collaborated with Dr. Warren H. Carroll in founding Christendom College.
[taught] economics at George Mason University. . . . Morse has worked as a part-time research fellow at the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty, taught at Yale, and also served as a research fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution.
I’m sure, then, that her negative review will be ecstatically received, because she is more highly edum’cated than me.
Right . . .
So much for Armstrong’s boorish screed. Instead of helping to deal with and defend the Church in this profound time of crisis – Armstrong is content to aid and abet her enemies. Armstrong being a professional Catholic – I suppose this type of review will ensure him a steady and lucrative income stream.
This nonsense about my supposed “lucrative income stream” was dealt with in my reply to Dr. Marshall’s personal attack, which implied the same idiotic thing. He likely makes $250,000 or more, mostly sitting around making gossipy, muckraking videos (a friend’s estimate based on some public things we know), whereas I struggle along making far, far, FAR less than that. But, as you can see, this sort of sewer scum lying and calumny is about all my critics can come up with. It’s pathetic, isn’t it?
Of all things, to accuse me of being motivated primarily by the profit motive, and making tons of money by being one of the few voices out there who has vigorously opposed this book that is selling multiple thousands on Amazon! It’s Taylor Marshall who is making lots and lots of money, and he is doing it by lying about Church history, peddling third-rate conspiratorialism, and trashing popes and Vatican II alike. As far as I am concerned, it’s “blood money.” I’d rather die in squalor as a pauper, than make a big proportion of my income doing such a thing.
Boanerges: Looks like Mr. Armstrong, a professional catholic as BXVI calls them, thinks his opinion matters. When you have no facts, bloviate. I think he’s worried his cottage industry of self promotion is in jeopardy. He should be. 42 paragraphs…as if anyone cared about this screed. All Armstrong does is presume his unqualified and pedestrian opinions are superior to anyone else. Armstrong has a bachelors degree in sociology and Taylor has a PhD…in Thomist philosophy. Hmmm.
A.M.S.: This review is clearly a personal attack on the author by a modernist. Avoid modernists. Pope St. Pius X warned us. And you Mr. Armstrong should know, “To be deep in history is to cease to be Modernist.” You didn’t even interact with the book contents. Clearly, your agenda is not in line with Dr. Marshall’s, but is your agenda that of the truth? Do you not love the truth? If you love the truth why do you engage in petty reviews such as this one? Would not the very Bl. Newman (who you claim) disown you and your tactics here displayed? Did he not himself say in the Apologia Pro Vita Sua that he only wanted to employ good arguments? Shame on you. I would you had one ounce the desire for Truth such as Bl. Newman had.
I continue to await even one rational interaction with the actual arguments that I made (and I’ve made many more not included in this review, in several articles: for example, about how Dr. Marshall has blatantly misrepresented Pope Francis’ views on both divorce and hell. It’s nearly 100% personal attack. This impresses no one. It merely proves to the neutral observer that fans of the book are (overwhelmingly) operating on an irrational plane and are incapable of defending it with reasoned argument (as is, apparently, the author himself). Thus, all that is left is personal attack. It’s the fool’s way out; the fool’s recourse.
A.M.S. lies about me and claims I am a modernist. I’m as much of a “modernist” as I am a water buffalo. How fascinating, then, that just a few years ago, Dr. Marshall himself wasn’t aware of that. If it were the case, it would have been perfectly evident these past 26 years that I have been published in the Catholic world. He wrote:
Dave Armstrong’s book A Biblical Defense of Catholicism was one of the first Catholic apologetics books that I read when I was exploring Catholicism. Ever since then, I have continued to appreciate how he articulates the Catholic Faith through his blog and books. I still visit his site when I need a great quote or clarification regarding anything ranging from sacraments to sedevacantists. Dave is one of the best cyber-apologists out there.
How odd that he wrote that . . . Somehow I am a stinking modernist (who has an extensive web page attacking that heinous error and also half of one of my 51 books attacking it), yet simultaneously “one of the best cyber-apologists.” And how strange that a supposed “modernist” has played a role in many hundreds of people coming into Holy Mother Church.
And that is just the ones who took time to graciously send me a note to tell me that my writing helped them come in. This very day I received an unsolicited note from a former Anglican priest (just as Taylor Marshall was): “I am forever grateful for your help in bringing me home to the Catholic Church by means of your writing.”
So if that is the fruit of “modernism,” then either Jesus was wrong that “the good tree produces good fruit” or you people who claim this about me (that I am a modernist or enemy of the Church) are dreadfully mistaken and ought to visit the confessional ASAP.