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Bob's words will be in blue. Older cited words of his will be in green. Some older words of mine that Bob cites will be indented.
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I can't state my suggested policy for ethics all the time, but it is permanently on the sidebar. Here are some highlights of it, and I urge everyone to comply with this, especially in this discussion, since you have voiced your objection in no uncertain terms:
GOOD TALKIn order to better understand each other, we need to communicate, listen to each other, and become friends, if possible. Experience and knowledge of human nature teaches us that good, constructive dialogue is not possible unless there is openness, charity, and respect and courtesy shown to the other person. God gave us two ears and one mouth, but it seems that many folks use their one mouth four times as much as their two ears. I want dialogue to occur here, not lectures, speeches, and "mutual monologues." By all means, render your own opinion, but then be open to talking about it and having it challenged in a friendly manner.
RESPECT OTHERS AND ACT CHARITABLYPLEASE keep in mind at all times that just because a person may hold what we believe is an erroneous viewpoint, that this is not necessarily (and, I think, relatively rarely) because they are wicked, evil, or obstinate. They may need to simply be more educated. They may have had extremely bad teachers and mentors, or a terrible life history (i.e., various influential and debilitating handicaps). They may in fact change their mind very quickly if shown another viewpoint. Act like Jesus did towards the Roman centurion. Give them the benefit of the doubt, and be unassuming about their motives and intents. We can't read minds or hearts. In any event, "you catch more bees with honey, not vinegar." And we can learn many things from almost anyone.
This is a complete falsehood and bum rap. I have never made geocentrism an issue at all: especially (as you claim) not in terms of introducing it in some cynical ploy to make you look like a nut, in order to discredit everything you say. I only made a few responses in passing when you or your friends brought it up and intruded it into the unrelated discussion on God's attributes. This is easily proven by the public documentation of this whole sordid "pseudo-debate." In my original first critique on the topic (that is now modified to a general paper without reference to you at all) neither the words "geocentrism" nor "heliocentrism" ever appeared at all. In the 44-comment combox for that paper (now removed), I made one simple statement:
But of course, Sungenis wars against Einstein too, as well as heliocentrism, and he thinks the earth doesn't rotate.That was enough, Dave. It is plain from the way you phrased your objection that you were out to make me look like a nut. Many others have said the same, and with the same intent. I suggest you go read over your context again and reexamine your original intent.
I'm more than happy to reexamine the context and my intent, and will now analyze that at some length, since you insist on making a non-issue a huge issue. You're reading an awful lot into a one-sentence passing remark in a combox, and you are convinced that I am on a vendetta to prove that you are a "nut." You put me in the box with all your severe critics (probably more than half of them fellow "traditionalists" and/or former direct associates of yours in your apostolate: neither of which I have ever been), as if there is no distinction between us, when there certainly is. That's one issue.
Another question in this regard is just what one would have to say to be making out that someone is an actual nut or lunatic or kook (which, of course, goes far beyond merely disagreeing with their positions). Mark Shea and several other of your critics have said this about you, but to my knowledge I have not. One must, along these lines, distinguish between the following propositions:
1. I disagree with position x of person y.Note how the judgments get progressively more severe as one goes down the list. Your critics cover the whole spectrum. Your severest ones fall into the #6-8 range. At what point does the list start describing personal, ad hominem attacks? I think it is clearly true of #6-9, and arguably, but not necessarily of #5. My own position with regard to geocentrism (please note: this is extremely important if we are to progress forward) is #4. I also have applied some of the description in #5 to you, because I think espousal of such a view suggests serious problems in reasoning, as I have already stated.
2. I disagree strongly with position x of person y.
3. I profoundly disagree in the very strongest terms with position x of person y.
4. I think position x of person y is manifestly ludicrous.
5. I think position x of person y is so exceedingly ludicrous that it casts doubt on the person's fundamental reasoning or logical capacities.
6. I think position x of person y is so exceedingly ludicrous that it casts doubt on the person's fundamental reasoning or logical capacities and his character as well.
7. I think position x of person y is so exceedingly ludicrous that it casts doubt on the person's fundamental reasoning or logical capacities and his character as well, and moreover, discredits him as utterly incompetent in his field and altogether untrustworthy.
8. I think position x of person y is so exceedingly ludicrous that it casts doubt on the person's fundamental reasoning or logical capacities and his character as well, and moreover, discredits him as utterly incompetent in his field and altogether untrustworthy, and, worst of all, it causes one to suspect mental illness and possibly some actual severe clinical emotional disorder as well.
But is that a personal attack? You have thrown the same thing back at me, suggesting my reasoning as seriously disturbed. So really, I have stated no more about you than you have about me. If you condemn me for doing that, you have to condemn yourself by the same token.
It is my contention that saying a person is hindered by severe reasoning and logical difficulties on a particular issue, is definitely not a personal attack (though I can understand on an emotional level why a person would perceive it as such). It is still going after a person's argument, insofar as their logical process is part and parcel of same. It is distinct from #6, where one starts to question a person's character, which is unarguably ad hominem. That's how I view all this. Keeping it in mind, let's now look at my one little ol' sentence that you are wrongly convinced proves that I am trying to make you out to be a nut:
But of course, Sungenis wars against Einstein too, as well as heliocentrism, and he thinks the earth doesn't rotate.As with all controversial statements, it has to be interpreted in context. Especially important in understanding my meaning and intent are the two preceding paragraphs and the one ending line that was after the comment:
Placing God in time . . . smacks of process theology and rationalistic cults like Jehovah's Witnesses or Mormons, that try to make God to be too much like human beings, and do not comprehend His marvelous transcendence.Is this making you out to be a nut, or is it simply an argument about your views? I say, the latter. I know this because I am the world's biggest expert on my own opinions and what is in my head when I write things. Was it strong language? Yes, for sure; very forceful indeed (as my arguments usually tend to be). Is it legitimate? Yes.
It also makes an idol out of Newtonian science, as if time is an absolute that even God is subject to. This is not true. God created time, and time is relative to the observer: be he a person or God. Thus, Einstein's relativity was more in line with Christianity than Newtonian physics, raised to an absolute metaphysical position in the universe.
But of course, Sungenis wars against Einstein too, as well as heliocentrism, and he thinks the earth doesn't rotate.
Likewise, the Big Bang cosmology is more in line with the Bible than what preceded it (steady state universe, etc.).
First and foremost, it is a simple question of fact. You do oppose Einstein. You do oppose heliocentrism. You do think the earth doesn't rotate. So in a very straightforward, prima facie sense, how can it be ad hominem to merely accurately describe a person's view? How is that attacking them? You could argue, I suppose, that there is a cynical insinuation behind the remark. You think you can read in-between the lines. It's implied that no sensible person would hold such a view, so you may think. Well, that is half-true. As I said, my position is that of #4, meaning that I hold geocentrism to be manifestly ludicrous. So I think it is quite insensible to hold the view; absolutely. But does that reduce to attacking you or thinking you are a literal nutcase? No! It does not!
I think, for example, that anti-Catholicism is intellectual suicide. It doesn't follow, however, that everything an anti-Catholic writes is also intellectual suicide. I recommend lots of things written by anti-Catholics: for example: James White's writings on Muslims, or higher critics, or Mormonism, or the KJV-only folks. I recommended an article by Phillip Johnson, in my own recent writings, because his views on God's attributes (immutability, impassibility) are identical to my own. Obviously, if I felt these two men were nuts I couldn't recommend anything by them, because being nuts affects all of one's views.
I don't believe that about you. In fact, I stated this outright: "Folks, we ought to ignore the geocentrism foolishness. Talking about it simply plays into Bob's hands and his suspicion . . . that we dismiss everything he says because he is a geocentrist." Now, if I thought that being a geocentrist proved in and of itself that you were a nut and a kook, then how could I make this statement? It's the exact opposite of what you think. I said the exact same thing about Ben Douglass:
"Dave": Yet your more rabid/avid supporter, the youngster Ben Douglas appears to be totally is committed to the geocentrism theory....per his own site.Ditto with you. But nuthood, it seems to me, would entail dismissing a person altogether (just like the anti-Catholics do with me!). Therefore, by my own internal logic, I can't possibly consider you a nut. I see severe problems with your reasoning processes. That is where I see the problem as residing: a logical difficulty, not a mental or emotional or moral problem. And I state that in the original combox from last May a little bit after my statement above that you so object to:
Me: How is that relevant to anything? If Ben accepts it, then he accepts a ridiculous position. Doesn't mean all his other positions are ridiculous . . .
(1-19-09 on my blog)
I think part of Bob's problem is that he is caught in a rut between his former Calvinist beliefs and Catholic heterodoxy. It's an example of what I mean by being "insufficiently converted." He is not yet thinking fully "Catholic" or "like a Roman,". . .Now, you'll probably bristle at that and not like it at all (I wouldn't like it, either, said about me, and in fact, some anti-Catholics have made exactly this argument about me, too), but it is not a personal attack. It is a critique of a position that, in my opinion, shows profound influence from your former non-Catholic affiliations. You do something exactly analogous when you accuse "neo-Catholics" of being influenced by Catholic liberal modernists: some influence other than orthodox Catholicism. You just don't like it when others opine the same about you. We see aspects of fundamentalist Calvinist interpretation and theologizing in some of your views.
Moreover, my contextual point in the disputed statement was as follows (this was my line of thought):
1) God is outside of time. This is the Church's positions. In this current debate, that was backed up, courtesy of Ben Douglass, from the Catechism:
205: He is the God who, from beyond space and time, can do this and wills to do it, the God who will put his almighty power to work for this plan.2) Einstein's position on relativity with regard to time, therefore, is in line with the Church, whereas Newton the Arian's position is not.
338: Nothing exists that does not owe its existence to God the Creator. The world began when God's word drew it out of nothingness; all existent beings, all of nature, and all human history are rooted in this primordial event, the very genesis by which the world was constituted and time begun.
600: To God, all moments of time are present in their immediacy. When therefore he establishes his eternal plan of "predestination", he includes in it each person's free response to his grace:
645: Yet at the same time [Jesus'] authentic, real [resurrected] body possesses the new properties of a glorious body: not limited by space and time but able to be present how and when he wills...
646: In his risen body he passes from the state of death to another life beyond time and space.
3) In other words, the Church agrees with standard, orthodox physics, as accepted today.
4) But we would fully expect Bob Sungenis to dissent, seeing that he not only "wars against" Einstein but also against "heliocentrism, and he thinks the earth doesn't rotate" too (both diametrically opposed to current scientific consensus).
5) This is what I describe in context as making "an idol out of Newtonian science, as if time is an absolute that even God is subject to."
6) So the conclusion is that Sungenis finds himself at odds with the Church's agreement with the profound scientific consensus concerning time.
You can take me at my word or not. Your choice. Your critics are not one huge homogeneous mass of clones, believe it or not.
First of all, I'm under no obligation to spend hours of my time defending every single sentence that I write in passing. That is not reasonable. If we followed that strict of a guideline in everything we wrote, you and I both would be in a heap of trouble, as it would take more than a lifetime to comprehensively defend for eight hours every sentence that we write. So this is a completely unreasonable demand.
Secondly, as I've shown repeatedly, geocentrism is not my concern. Believe it if you like. It doesn't affect anything else directly. Believe what you will about the universe. But don't expect that people won't find that strange, either (on an intellectual level). At any rate, it's not my beef, and not what I am willing to spend time on. My concern is with Church dogma concerning God's attributes. That is what I have defended and argued about. Geocentrism continues to have nothing to do with that. Others (including Gary Hoge) have fought that battle.
Thirdly, it's a fallacy that I have to be able to exhaustively defend everything that I hold. This is like the Protestant misconception that every single Christian must have exhaustive theological knowledge and know how to defend every jot and tittle of their belief, or else not hold it at all. I'm not required to do that (just as I am not in theology, even being an apologist). I accept heliocentrism on the massive authority of scientific consensus. I have no problem with you holding the contrary if you like. I just think you are wrong.
I did read quite a bit of Gary Hoge's critique. I would agree with that. If I recall correctly (I might be wrong), one of his arguments was that, for the entire universe to rotate around the earth every day, this would require galaxies and stars to travel faster than the speed of light, which is impossible. That would be a legitimate, respectable argument against your position. Others can make that attempt. I don't claim to be any expert in science. But I have a working knowledge of the main beliefs of science and it is not irrational to appeal to that. We all do it in many areas of life, and it is foolish to deny that we do.
Now, I realize that you have taken a lot of flak from a lot of people on this issue and others, and it is quite understandable from a human or emotional perspective that you may have mixed me up in all that, but there are facts here to be grappled with and you are making false charges against me that have no truth in them at all. It remains a fact that I didn't in the past, and haven't been recently making geocentrism an issue. I made a simple reply to someone who brought up geocentrism n my blog:
Of course heliocentrism has been proven. Do you think the earth's rotation is not proven either (as Bob thinks?). It's not a matter of personal opinion, but of scientific demonstration. Sorry to hear that you are so undecided.The same person then replied again:
Yet your more rabid/avid supporter, the youngster Ben Douglas appears to be totally is committed to the geocentrism theory....per his own site.Again, I made a very short reply:
How is that relevant to anything? If Ben accepts it, then he accepts a ridiculous position. Doesn't mean all his other positions are ridiculous . . .And I made a brief argument about the alleged non-rotating earth:
Astronauts could see the earth rotating as they were in space. What is that: an optical illusion? It is certainly empirical observation, which falls within the general or broad realm of scientific inquiry. And of course they could see that the sun was not moving in relation to them, whereas the earth was rotating and proceeding in its orbit of the sun. Otherwise, the calculations for landing on the moon would have been all off. They would have come back to the earth but it wouldn't be there, because they had assumed heliocentrism and a moving earth. So instead of landing in the Pacific they would have landed nowhere and proceeded on in space. :-) I believe Gary Hoge (who has since utterly disappeared from the Internet for some reason) made this argument or similar ones in his discussion with Bob.How is this disrespectful at all? It was simply an argument made. It may be a good or bad argument, like anything else, but it was not trying to mock or make out that you were a blithering idiot. It was simply a nutshell version of some of the argument that Gary Hoge made: the same one you have publicly thanked him for, in terms of his being a gentleman.
Unfortunately, you opened up this can of worms when you said: "But of course, Sungenis wars against Einstein too, as well as heliocentrism, and he thinks the earth doesn't rotate."
See my above lengthy explanation.
Also, Jordanes had stated earlier in the combox thread that he didn't think you asserted that the moon landings were faked. Someone ("Pete") produced "documentation" that you did believe this. I find this to be insufficiently documented, as it was based on "gossipy"-type hearsay from a former associate, and from a post on a hostile website. So if you think the lunar landings actually happened, I'd be happy to hear you clarify that, so that it can be stated as a matter of record on my blog that this is an unjust charge against you.
I do not know whether they were real or fake. But even if I did believe they were fake, would it be any sillier than NASA believing there might be life on Mars because they found some methane gas beneath the surface, as they touted the other day on national television, or would it be any sillier than believing in 2003 that there were actually WMD’s in Iraq, or would it be any sillier than believing in 2007 that credit default swaps were good banking practices? Pick your poison, Dave. The fact that your blog buddies even brought this up, and that you, now, are trying to make an issue of it, shows that you will dig up and publicize any piece of dirt or suspicion about me to create a negative image.
It is relevant if a person believes something that is considered extremely eccentric or bizarre by 999 people out of a 1000. You reiterate that you don't know. I was fair enough to you to get your opinion directly, rather than from hearsay. You want to take an agnostic position now. That's fine. But you have to accept that it is a very radical position to take. I would place this one on #5 of my spectrum above, of disagreements. I see it as a more serious error than geocentrism.
Besides, that was a guy named Armstrong who first walked on the moon, and I'll fight to the death any such aspersions cast upon one of my own clan! We're quite proud of that accomplishment.
Once the facts are in, then, it is readily apparent that I am not guilty of what you accuse me of: using geocentrism as part of my overall argument, in an attempt to mock and discredit you, and to help cause others to pour scorn out upon you for holding these positions. I've never gotten into all that debate. In fact, I have often advised several of your worst critics to lay off of you, and simply ignore these things. Obviously, they haven't followed my advice. But it is the opposite of the truth for you to include me in quite paranoid fashion as part of all these massive efforts to cast aspersions upon you.
Are the Fathers really an issue for you, Dave? After all, the Fathers were in 100% consensus on geocentrism against the Greek heliocentrists, yet you reject it out of hand.You also cited my earlier words against a non-rotating earth:
Patristic consensus is not applicable to science, but to theology.
This is where you got your wires crossed, Dave. Cardinal Bellarmine, Pope Paul V, Pope Urban VIII all said that geocentrism is applicable to the patristic period because geocentrism is taught by Scripture, and to deny Scripture means that one has denied the faith. If you don’t believe me, then I have a whole book for you to read on the subject, fully documented. I’ll send it to you free of charge.
Science has proved them wrong. It is not a matter of faith or morals. I gladly accept all free books!:
PO Box 3262
Melvindale, MI 48122
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So I find it rather hypocritical that you call the Fathers to your aid on another topic.
Not at all. It's the difference between science and theology. Very simple.
Interestingly enough, Ben Douglass is a geocentrist, yet you wouldn’t be able to figure that out on this particular blog.
It was mentioned on my blog.
How convenient for him to keep silent about his allegiance to one view when he wants to use group pressure to win an argument on another issue. So much for honesty.
His or yours? He openly acknowledged it on my blog and I stated that I thought it was a ridiculous view.
Astronauts could see the earth rotating as they were in space. What is that: an optical illusion? It is certainly empirical observation, which falls within the general or broad realm of scientific inquiry.Again, you don’t know the issues, Dave. Both the heliocentric and the geocentric coordinates would give the same results, because the distances and geometric proportions between the earth, moon and sun, are the same. This is why NASA and JPL can either use what they call the ECI frame (the geocentric frame) or the SBC frame (the solar barycentric or heliocentric frame), and they switch back and forth between the two. Actually, the ECI frame is easier since it involves less math.
This just shows how much out of your league you are to argue against geocentrism, Dave. Anyone who is the least bit familiar with physics knows that if the astronauts are rotating with the universe as it rotates around the earth, then the earth will appear to them to be rotating. Try again. God be with you.
The only problem with that is that (I"m sure) NASA didn't do the math involved in calculating moon landings and returns to earth by assuming a medieval scientific position of a rotating universe around the earth. So they still would have been unable to return the rocket back to earth if they had done massively wrong equations. Therefore, heliocentrism is supported by the successful space launches (as my friend Gary Hoge argued). Apollo 13 had problems, though. Maybe they did geocentric equations for that flight, which is why it didn't work . . . :-) :-)
Great; if I don't know the issues, all the more reason that I shouldn't debate them. Thanks for backing up my contention. Others do know all the relevant issues involved, and they overwhelmingly disagree with you.
I have simply said I think geocentrism is a ridiculous position. I never said you were a "nut" or anything like it. These are your positions. If you are embarrassed by them, that is your problem. I've made a few passing remarks when it was brought up by others. I dared to make one small argument about the rotating earth and was rewarded by a blisteringly personal, condescending, mocking remark by one of your associates.
As I stated, free speech reigns on my blog. Some things have been said about you that were too harsh, and that I wouldn't agree with. You are a controversial figure, whether justly so or not, but you are. So people have strong feelings. I'm a bit controversial myself, so I understand that. I've been called everything in the book and then some. It's all part of our job as apologists, I reckon. One person stated that he thought you might be using a different name and posting on another site. I defended you and said I would not make such an accusation without solid proof.