Wednesday, June 15, 2011

On Credibility, Conspiracies, and Caution (Guest Post by David Palm Re: Robert Sungenis)

As I had begun to write this piece, word went out from the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity about evidence they have found regarding significant wrong-doing by their member, Fr. John Corapi.  I had been told about this breaking scandal a few weeks ago by a friend, who was absolutely convinced that Fr. Corapi had done nothing wrong and that the whole thing is a set-up.  Indeed, there are hundreds, if not thousands of Catholics who, at least right now, believe that "They" are out to get Fr. Corapi.

It's a theme that plays out again and again on the Internet.  "They" are all lying to you.  "They" are all trying to lead you astray.  "They" are all corrupt.  Now, let me tell you the "Real Truth" that "They" don't want you to know.  (And oh, by the way, won't you buy my book and send me a generous donation so that I can continue my important work of exposing "Them"?)

Watch out.

Fr. Corapi had a reputation for "telling it like it is", for being blunt and bold in his teaching.  People like that, they gravitate toward it.  And now, with allegations breaking out about his personal conduct, some refuse to look at any evidence that might call Father's credibility into question.  It is all about him.  "They" are out to get him.

And yet, the evidence is coming in and with it serious questions about his credibility.  Phil Lawler has an excellent piece on this—"Corapi: Why were warning signs ignored?"—which can serve as a paradigm for other such situations.

An Emerging Pattern

What other such situations?  Well let's say someone claims to be a "prophet" and insists that "They" is an entire ethnic group.  Maybe "They" are the Jews, who are alleged to be the "slave masters" and somehow responsible for more or less anything bad that happens.  Let's say that someone claims that "They" represents pretty much every scientist for the past three hundred years, including eminent Catholic and other Christian scientists, who, with respect to the true nature of the universe "Know It, But They're Hiding It" from ordinary people.  Or let's say that someone claims that "They" are all the popes of the last three hundred years and all the bishops in communion with them, who should have been teaching against what is claimed to be a "formal heresy" but who have been inept or cowardly, duped by conspiracy and subterfuge or purposely subversive.

With claims like those, wouldn't you say that this "prophet's" personal character and credibility might just be an important factor in evaluating how seriously to take such claims?

I've been bemused in the ongoing debate over neo-geocentrism that whenever the general credibility of its main proponent, Bob Sungenis, is called into question the hue and cry goes up from his supporters that it's a fallacious ad hominem attack.  Here's just the latest example:

It never fails to amaze me how when the subject of geocentrism is discussed on the Internet on forums such as this you will almost invariably find people engaging in immediate ad hominem attacks against those individuals who have expressed a belief in geocentrism.  This is especially true in the case of Robert Sungenis (posted by James B. Philips).

What makes this complaint particularly amusing is that it's deployed in defense of a person who has an entire appendix in his book Galileo Was Wrong entitled, "The Personal Lives of: Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo, Newton, Einstein".  And not just there, but throughout the pages of both volumes of GWW, Bob accuses those men and others of a whole panoply of moral failings including lying, subterfuge, homosexuality/pederasty, adultery, occult practices, plagiarism (oh, what irony!—see below), theft, and murder.  He seems to have no problem with weaving these observations into his public talks.  Bob clearly believes that these alleged moral failings are germane to the discussion of whether their scientific views are correct. But his own behavior is somehow off-limits when it comes to these discussions.  This is just one more example of "one standard for me and another for thee" when it comes to Bob Sungenis.

Wikipedia notes on the argumentum ad hominem that:

The ad hominem is normally described as a logical fallacy, but it is not always fallacious; in some instances, questions of personal conduct, character, motives, etc., are legitimate and relevant to the issue. (my emphasis)

Now, a genuinely fallacious ad hominem attack would be something like, "Fr. Corapi must be guilty because you know how those Italians are," or "You can't believe a word Bob says because he's Italian." (Which is in practice what Bob does with Jews, by the way—if you're a Jew or he even suspects that you might be a Jew, you're suspect.)

But there is no logical fallacy in saying that the views of someone who regularly proves himself to be sloppy, inaccurate, and at times downright malicious ought to be taken cum grano salis, with a hefty grain of salt.


What About Bob?

So what about Bob?  It seems clear that Bob loves to stir up dissension, animosity and controversy because he's been doing it for the better part of 35 years. In Surprised by Truth, he fittingly entitled his autobiographical account, "From Controversy to Consolation." According to Sungenis himself, he left the Catholic faith in early adulthood and spent the next 18 years embroiling himself in one controversy after another. In his conversion story, Bob reveals something significant about his temperament and his manner of searching for truth. For example, here's his account of a conversation with a friend named Gerry Hoffman who disagreed with him in regard to religion:

"My conversation with Gerry [Hoffman] was different. Even though I gave him a few of the standard objections to Catholic doctrines, for some reason, his answers did not make me feel combative. In fact, his explanations made me feel like listening instead of attacking. As those who knew me at that time would have attested, this was not my normal response to a conversation about politics or religion -- especially religion."
There are numerous other examples in his autobiographical conversion story that illustrate his penchant for creating dissension, animosity and controversy (see e.g. here).

The time of "consolation" to which he refers occurred immediately after his reversion to the Catholic faith. At that time, he had a season of grace and relative peace that allowed him to produce his fine “Not by” series. Sadly, that season passed and he's returned to his old ways.

For the past decade, he's returned to extreme controversialism – attacking and slandering Jews, his own bishop, and many others.  We have recently taken the opportunity to yet again defend Bishop Kevin Rhoades against Bob's unjust attacks.  In this vein I wrote:

Given the seriousness of the charge and the office of the one against whom it is leveled, I think it’s very fair to ask, is this the sort of man to bring a charge against a successor of the Apostles?  Has he been fair and just in his dealings with others?  Has he comported himself well with those who are outside our Faith?  Has he been responsible and accurate in his handling of his sources?  Does he have the marks of a “prophet”, as he self-styles himself?

Does Bob have the credibility to support such serious accusations?  The record indicates not.  Although this incident with Bishop Rhoades is the most egregious example, unfortunately there is a long-standing pattern of this sort of behavior from Bob.

Long-standing indeed.  A partial list of additional individuals to whom Bob has attributed inaccurate or fraudulent quotes include: Pope John Paul II, Gen. Tommy Franks, Attorney General John Ashcroft, Congressman John Rarick, mathematician Clifford Truesdell, Benjamin Ginsberg, Gen. Ariel Sharon, Carl Sagan, David Brooks, Jerry Falwell, Bill Cork, Leon Suprenant and Mike Sullivan of CUF, Roy Schoeman, Michael Forrest, Mark Shea, Christopher Blosser, Michael Lopez, and David Palm.

These are fully documented here:  Sungenis and the Jews--Fraudulent Quotes

But the most egregious example by far is Bob's continued accusations against Bishop Rhoades, which the bishop himself has called "slanderous and erroneous".  Bob has accused His Excellency of promoting a pro-Jewish heresy to “unsuspecting Catholics” because he has greater “allegiances” to Jewish causes than to the Catholic faith.  The charges themselves are absolutely false, but to make matters worse Bob has attempted to prop up those accusations with a narrative that is shot through with demonstrable falsehoods and self-contradictions.  This has been documented here:

Bishop Rhoades and the Dual Covenant Theory

An Open Invitation to Bob Sungenis

A Defense of Bishop Rhoades from More False Accusations by Robert Sungenis

Sungenis' Own Standards of Heresy: Why Don't They Apply to Bishop Rhoades?

He's back to attacking popes (see here). When he's confronted about his behavior, he typically lashes out and blames everyone else. He even accuses his critics of secretly being Jews (for but the latest case of this click here - go down to the last comment posted by Jared Olar).

I alluded above to the rich irony of Bob Sungenis, of all people, accusing Albert Einstein of plagiarism.  It cannot be put more delicately than to say that Bob is a habitual plagiarist.  According to the definition given by Bob's own alma mater, plagiarism is, "intentionally representing the words, ideas, or sequence of ideas of another as one's own in any academic exercise; failure to attribute any of the following: quotations, paraphrases, or borrowed information."  A large body of evidence for his literary theft been marshaled here, but I would urge the reader at the very least to read two pieces that document the most egregious examples: Dr. Bill Cork's "Antisemitism and the Catholic Right" (section 3) and my own "Sungenis Comes Full Circle".  There Bob's words are placed side-by-side with the sources from which he plagiarized them.  He has recently reproduced the essay critiqued in "Sungenis Comes Full Circle" in his most recent "book" The Catholic/Jewish Dialogue and put it on sale—particularly ironic considering the fact that Bob previously sought to redefine "plagiarism" by restricting it solely to those materials which one steals and then sells for personal gain.  Even by Bob's own self-servingly restricted (and false) definition he's certainly committed plagiarism now.

Bob now owns a phony "Ph.D." from a New Age diploma mill.  He self-styles himself as a "prophet" in the tradition of Ezekiel, Isaiah, and Jeremiah.  He claims that, for centuries, the popes have submerged and obscured what is really the official teaching of the Catholic Church on geocentrism.  And on the scientific front he sets his personal views of cosmology against the studied consensus of the entire scientific community for the past three hundred years.

Bob regularly peddles a whole panoply of conspiracy theories including, but not nearly limited to: NASA faked the lunar landings, the attacks of 9/11 were an "inside job" and the Jewish owner of WTC Building 7 purposely leveled that building with pre-set explosives, NASA creates crop circles to "get our minds off the Bible and Christ", the Jews sent Monica Lewinski in to take Bill Clinton down because they didn't like his foreign policy toward Israel, and so on....

And this kind of thinking even muddles his biblical commentary, which he and most people consider his greatest strength. For example, he has insisted in multiple places that the “context” for Romans 11 and St. Paul’s teaching on the Jews is the destruction of Jerusalem in A. D. 70, which took place at least twelve years after Romans was written and 3 years after St. Paul was dead! On this and other related issues see “The Theology of Prejudice”, “The Pope’s ‘Blunder’ or Sungenis’ Prejudice?”, and “Sungenis on Romans 11: Theological Bias in Biblical Exegesis”. Notice too that Bob hasn't been able to get an imprimatur on any of his works for many years now, having been turned down multiple times (see here.)

Returning to the topic of neo-geocentrism, it seems to me that Galileo Was Wrong is just more controversialism and sensationalism brought forth by someone trying to make a name for himself. He’s repeatedly misused the name “Catholic” to give him an appearance of authority that he doesn’t rightly possess – harming the Church in the process – and that’s exactly why he was told by his bishop to stop calling his organization “Catholic.”

Why Don't They See It?

One thing that has long puzzled me is how certain individuals continue to cling to Bob as credible long after they should have known better.  In part this can be explained by a phenomenon that we noted long ago, namely, that the more Bob's apostolate comes to be defined by fringe conspiracy theories the more he will draw his supporters from like-minded crackpots and cranks.  Crackpots and cranks are, by definition, seriously lacking in common sense.

But this is not to suggest that Sungenis' small group of followers is comprised exclusively of dimwits and social misfits.  For example, the Media Director at Robert Sungenis' website, Laurence Gonzaga, has a master's degree in child psychology and will soon be working to earn his doctorate in psychology.  He has a nice conversion story, is a catechist at several parishes in the Diocese of San Bernardino, and seems like a bright young man.  But, especially in light of his training in psychology, it's particularly odd that Gonzaga doesn't seem to see the problems with Bob, his behavior and the content of his teachings.

I know this is a lot of information. But in light of the sad, unfolding Fr. Corapi debacle, I thought it important to bring forth. Everybody likes a straight shooter. But when there are warning signs that something is seriously amiss, prudence says you'd better watch out. The warning signs are all over this. Don't let your loyalties be blind.

The upshot of all of this is that matters of character and credibility are highly important, especially if someone is claiming to be a "prophet" while peddling sweeping conspiracy theories.  As we continue to explore the various aspects of neo-geocentrism and its supporters' claims to be in possession of the "true" teaching of the Catholic Church and the "real" scientific truth, it makes a lot of sense to consider the source.

11 comments:

Steve Ray said...

Dave

Read your post on Dave Armstrong's blog. Nice job!

My last correspondence with Sungenis was some years ago when he wrote to me to complain about something -- don't recall the issue. 

I told him he was talented and bright but was going off the deep end and becoming irrelevant at best. I told him he should be cautious and humble, there was a biblical principle that a prophet should be subject to the prophets; in other words, a teacher should be willing to listen to other teachers ( I referred to Akin, you, Armstrong, Brumley, Madrid, the bishops, etc.).

He said, "Your prophets are not mine!" I told him he was "nut." 

He said, "Stop calling me a nut! Don't call me a nut just because you disagree with me."

I replied, "I don't call you a nut because I disagree with you. I called you a nut because you are a nut."

It was our last correspondence.

I agree with your thoughts on Corapi too, what a train wreck.

Nice to hear from you again!  I always said you're one one the best and brightest and glad to see your fingers and mind back in the tumble. 

Sent from my iPad

SupTrace said...

Mr. Armstrong,

I am a young Catholic in college who is contemplating pursuit of the (strenuous!) vocation you have pursued. If time affords you, I would like to get into some kind of contact with you to speak more about this path.

I have started a collection of apologetic thoughts recently through my blog:

http://suptrace.blogspot.com/

Thank you.

-Paul

williamthegreat said...

Martin: "If Sungenis is a nut for teaching geocentrism as part of the Catholic faith, why is Sungenis a nut and the church fathers are not nuts, even though the church fathers were unanimous on the doctrine of the stationary earth?"

Well, the short answer would be that if they had, it would be the consequence of simple ignorance, with regard to certain scientific realities which were beyond their means of investigation. They interpreted certain passages of Scripture according to their own understanding of Astronomy, which at the time was deficient. What separates persons such as yourself and Sungenis from the Fathers, is that the deficiency lies in your reasoning, rather than the sources of knowledge which are readily available to you.

Such is what renders people who believe in the Loch Ness monster, alien abductions, British Israelism, and sadly Robert Sungenis, worthy of being rightly labled "nuts."

williamthegreat said...

Martin - "... Pope Leo XIII has bound Catholics to the unanimous consent of the fathers, therefore their consent on a doctrine is to formally teach the church on that doctrine. As such, to claim the fathers were in error because of the science of the day or because of bad exegesis of scripture is to deny the value of the fathers unanimous consent, the action of the holy spirit in the church fathers, the binding nature of Pope Leo XIII’s statement and the action of the Holy Spirit to protect the Popes from teaching error on faith an [sic] morals."

The value of Patristic teaching and commentary on Sacred Scripture, with regard to orthodox theology, is confined soley to those statements which concern matters of faith and morality; and it is in these areas alone that their unanimous consent is to be observed by the faithful. When the Fathers offered interpretations of Scripture touching upon matters which are properly part of the natural sciences, they frequently made errors in accordance with the common scientific understanding of the age in which they lived. Apropos of theological matters, this fact is quite irrelevant.

Martin - "What separates you and Mr. Palm from the church fathers, scripture, the Popes and modern science is a complex of misunderstandings concerning the value of these authorities and an unwillingness to think consistently on what those authorities have said."

I'm not losing any sleep. Our theological worldview is quite consistent when it comes to these matters. It's persons such as yourself who spend the night stuffing old shirts full of straw to prop up in the wastelands of your maimed intellects, as imaginary impediments to the acceptance of either the Faith or natural science, thus your penchant for category errors where the perview of the Church's infallibility is concerned.

Martin - "again [sic], this sort of low level thinking is common among anti-geocentrists who hand wave their way through real problems in their position."

Well, to be honest it's not so much a hand wave really, it was more a gentle pinch of the fingers and flick of the wrist, as we turned the pages in our highschool physics textbooks... ah, those were the days.

Martin - "Lets be honest and point to one fact in the Galileo case where his position on the moving earth was condemned as being against the faith. This decision has not been reversed and as such is still binding today. What do the anti-geocentrists have to say on this matter, other than hand waving and vague references to JPII’s non binding and vague statements about Galileo to the PAS. Honestly, anyone with a whit of critical reflection can see the superficiality of such a response."

You do realise that within the context of a dialogue (especially one which might be happened upon by persons unfamiliar with the subject matter), when a statement is prefaced by remarks such as "Let's... point to one fact" etc., alluding to a particular citation, the person making that statement ought to present it for the benefit of his own argument, right? Your rhetorical shortcommings aside, what you fail to reflect upon, is that for the sake of argument Galileo could have made any number of errors in propositions dealing purely with natural science, which the Church may or may not have rightly condemned him for - but in so doing, the issue of infallibility does not come into play.

williamthegreat said...

Martin - "Let’s face it, notwithstanding any personal faults Robert Sungenis may or may not have, his case for geocentrism is very strong and his book “Galileo Was Wrong” stands as a foundational document for the restoration of the Catholic church at the forefront of society again as the bastion and defender of the truth."

Alas, what prophet recieves acceptance in his own land, eh? Wherever would psuedo-scientific crackpots and conspiracy theorists be without their ever-present martyr complex ...and the handfull of equally ignorant people who laud them as heroes, let's not forget to give unto each credit where it's due. Perhaps I'm being overly cynical though, and unduly critical with my comments. Maybe it is Robert's divine task to return Holy Mother Church to Her former glory as the safeguard of revealed truth. If only he could find some... oh, I don't know... watchtower to proclaim it from! Yes, that's it! Or provide proof of the validity of his claim to be a true prophet, like the Urim and Thummim, or some golden plates perhaps? I've heard these worked well for previous men whom God appointed to restore the fallen Church.

Paul said...

JM: "Comparing Robert Sungenis to Mormonism or Jehovah Witnesses is merely more smear."

True. It's not fair to the Mormons and JW's. The Mormons and JW's are less culpable than Sungenis because they're already working within a false belief system. Sungenis has had the benefit of living within the true faith for some time now but has distorted it for his own purposes.


JM: "Why is it so difficult for modern Catholics to see Robert Sungenis has done a great service to the church?"


Why in the world would any Catholic not appreciate the fact that Sungenis is promoting himself at the expense of the Catholic Church? Why in the world would any Catholic not appreciate that Sungenis is doing his best to paint the Church as being as anti-Semitic as he is? Why would any Catholic not appreciate that Sungenis is doing his best to paint the Church as being as paranoid and conspiracy-prone as he is? Why would anyone not appreciate that Sungenis is doing his best to paint the Church as being scientifically stuck, just as he is, about 4-500 years ago?

I just can't imagine why. What a service he's doing.

:-/

williamthegreat said...

Martin - "Look at the illogic of this argument."

Surely you mean "illogicality?" Or are you of the opinion that the patristic authors unanimously held to some view of grammar which deviates from the modern norm as well? ;)

Martin - "WG begins by stating the fathers comments on scripture were only orthodox when those comments were on faith and morals..."

I appreciate your deference in referring to me in the third person, I accept it as a gesture of respect. On the contrary however, what I actually stated was that patristic commentary was to be observed only insofar as orthodoxy is concerned, viz. when matters of faith and morality are spoken of.

Martin - "...yet this simply ignores the faith value as taught by Leo XIII on the unanimous consent of the fathers."

Not at all. Providentissimus Deus, citing from the Council of Trent and Vatican I, is most clear on this point:

"[I]n things of faith and morals, belonging to the building up of Christian doctrine, that is to be considered the true sense of Holy Scripture which has been held and is held by our Holy Mother the Church, whose place it is to judge of the true sense and interpretation of the Scriptures; and therefore that it is permitted to no one to interpret Holy Scripture against such sense or also against the unanimous agreement of the Fathers."

The only areas in which the unanimous consent of the patristic authors holds authority, are those of faith and morality. Their opinions, however universally held and expressed in their time, on matters of physical science, are are of no value where Catholic dogmatic theology is concerned.

Martin - "Furthermore WG also ignores the distinction between various opinions of the fathers on matters of science, which have since been disproven and the unanimous consent of the fathers, which cannot be disproven by science and is also a matter of faith."

No self-contained point of natural science is a matter of faith, and as such neither the Fathers, nor the Church Herself, have ever enjoyed any guarantee of Divine protection when addressing them as they are in themselves. This is something... well, one of many things... which people of your ilk seem incapable of understanding, but which the very sources you're so fond of citing state plainly:

""There can never, indeed, be any real discrepancy between the theologian and the physicist, as long as each confines himself within his own lines..." - PD 18

Martin - WG makes an argument unrelated to my statement concerning the evidence for geocentrism found in the church fathers, scripture, the Popes and modern science. Go figure.

My comments are quite relative to your feeble form of argumentation. You and the Prophet Bob bandy around citations from the Fathers all day long, showing that they generally adhered to a Ptolemaic view of the cosmos. The point which I have been making (admittedly within a framework of constructive ridicule) is... so what? It's irrelevant because it is a matter of physics, not of faith or morality. You tear out passages of Sacred Scripture and wave them around which you insist admits no possible interpretation other than that of geocentrism, ignoring the general principle set forth by the Church:

"Hence [the sacred authors] did not seek to penetrate the secrets of nature, but rather described and dealt with things in more or less figurative language, or in terms which were commonly used at the time, and which in many instances are in daily use at this day, even by the most eminent men of science. Ordinary speech primarily and properly describes what comes under the senses; and somewhat in the same way the sacred writers-as the Angelic Doctor also reminds us - `went by what sensibly appeared,' or put down what God, speaking to men, signified, in the way men could understand and were accustomed to.

williamthegreat said...

Martin - JM – previous dialogue on Dave Armstrong’s website should be enough... Or you could always read GWW for yourself here."

I'm afraid I'll have to decline. My afternoons in the garden are currently alloted to re-reading "The Children of Hurin," you see, I prefer my fiction to be well-written and convincing in the sense of realism it conveys. If, however, I should commit any great sin over the comming months, I'll be sure to spend a week of my time reading GWW and watching FOX News all day, as a means of intellectual pennance. Regarding your dialogue with Dave on the other hand, that I have read... you fared about as well as the US national soccer team in any given World Cup.

Martin – Right. I have rhetorical shortcomings and you make this vacuous statement above concerning Papal infallibility. Are you for real?

Last time I checked, but that's more an existential question. My remarks weren't vacuous at all. Again, I wonder how you obtained your instruction in the Faith, principally with regard to the nature of Papal infallibility. The works of William Webster, perhaps? Because there seems to be no difference at all between the cliche' Fundamentalist Protestant misunderstanding of the Papacy and the magisterial authority of the Church, and your own. But then, ice cream is still ice cream, regardless of what flavour it is, and so it is with fundamentalism as well. Again, the opinion of any individual pope on a matter of natural science considered in itself, whether it be privately held, or expressed publicly, does not have about it the charism of infallibility.

Martin - "The Popes set up commissions and made formal states against a moving earth, then had those findings set out to all the bishops of the world and then had the books of Galileo, Copernicus and Newton placed on the index of forbidden books."

This is exceedingly weak. By the middle of the 18th century, the Index Librorum Prohibitorum no longer contained as a matter of principle, works which taught heliocentric cosmology. I suppose the apostasy began all the way back then, eh?

williamthegreat said...

Martin - "In the end, these silly games over Papal infallibility of the Papal decrees against a moving earth are mere semantics to avoid the ongoing problem of Papal authority. If the Papal condemnations of a moving earth have not been rescinded, then they are currently binding and Catholics must follow those condemnations. They have not been rescinded, so Catholics are bound to those decisions. Then again, if the Papal decrees have been rescinded, then there is no formal evidence from papal documents to show such an action has occurred. As such Papal authority is destroyed because no Papal document is required to change a previous Papal statement."

Again, you miss the entire crux of the issue. As I said last time, let's grant that the writings of yourself and the Prophet Bob are undoubtedly accurate on this point (despite the contrary being true, as everyone here knows, yourself accepted). It still does not matter. The Holy Father has no divinely protected authority when speaking on a matter of natural science, as it is considered in itself. He may speak infallibly with regard to the ethical use of the physical sciences, but the sciences themselves are outside his sphere of compotency. The Church, for example, may condemn the use of nuclear weapons, or artificial reproduction, and these teachings are infallible because they have as their matter human action, i.e. ethical conduct, morality. But the Church can't say anything infallibly about the objective reality of the underlying scientific principles in either case.

Martin - "So in the end, if the doctrine of the stationary earth is rejected, then the authority of the Papacy is destroyed."

This brings to mind the sort of arguments myself and others would employ when I was a Pentacostal: "If you don't believe the Genesis account of creation is literal, how can you accept the Gospels?!" The answer in that case is quite simple of course, those texts are of different literary genres. It's equally simple to answer your charge, simply as a matter of logic, and I just have.

Martin - "The claim that Robert Sungenis is a prophet is actually true. You do realize that through baptism all Catholics are prophets."

We're similarly all kings and priests as well. But if the Prophet Bob is going to apply those titles to himself with the same force and character with which he appropriates the term "prophet," this sorry mess will have mutated from a train wreck, into a circus. Before long he'll celebrating mass in the Kingdom of Sungenisia! Sadly, despite being British and Italian, I'm also part Jewish, so I won't be able to attend.

williamthegreat said...

Martin - "An ad hominems only show the geocentrist the weakness of the anti-geocentric position."

Exactly. For your sort, any form of criticism leveled against your position, or the Prophet Bob himself, is regarded as still more validation that you are on the side of light, while all those who oppose you are part of the grand conspiracy to supress the truth. I was an Anti-Catholic once, so I'm well aware how the game is played. All forms of conspiratorial tomfoolery are essentially the same, though the bogeymen tend to differ. I must admit however, it's rather ironic that you should complain of ad hominem attacks, when in the same breath Dave Palm was one of many...

Martin - "...ignorant, uneducated, intolerant men, who couldn’t be bothered doing the hard yards and reading his book to discover the arguments and evidence presented. [He] thinks his C grade rhetoric somehow undoes all of Robert scholarly work."

While we're on the topic of C grade rhetoric... um, it's supposed to be "Robert's" in this case. Just saying... That aside, isn't Mr.Palm a baptised Catholic himself? That then would make him a prophet as well, so you should be careful of speaking against him ;)

Martin - "Comparing Robert Sungenis to Mormonism or Jehovah Witnesses is merely more smear."

Not in the least. Characteristically, he is essentially no different from Joseph Smith or Charles Taze Russel, or Martin Luther for that matter, in that all of these men set themselves up on the basis of their own authority, as the great saviours of Christendom in one fashion or another. Their methods aren't terribly dissimilar either, with all submitting Sacred Scripture (and in the Prophet Bob's case, Sacred Tradition) to their own private interpretation. Then, as the criticism mounts, they and their followers begin to view themselves in an even more grandiose light, as faithful witnesses being persecuted for trying to restore truth and integrity to Christ's Church.

williamthegreat said...

By way of related comical diversion, I came across the following article this morning:

http://tdn.com/lifestyles/article_2f0bc744-a9bf-11e0-a6c2-001cc4c03286.html

Among the many laughter-inducing quotes contained in the article, these two in particular stood out on my mind:

"'I have no idea who these people [Sungenists] are. Are they sincere, or is this a clever bit of theater?' said Brother Guy Consolmagno, the curator of meteorites and spokesman for the Vatican Observatory."

"[A]strophysics professor Peter Garnavich said. 'There are some people who want to move the world back to the 1950s when it seemed like a better time. These are people who want to move the world back to the 1250s. I don’t really understand it at all.'"

It's always best to find some humour, even in the most tragically stupid situations.