Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Armstrong on Recent IC Discussion

Dave Armstrong has commented on the tactics of "John Q. Doe" regarding the recent Immaculate Conception discussion between James Swan and myself.  See Dave's article here.

Dave writes:
DA: Another tactic is presently being used by Doe. The game is to set one Catholic apologist over another with empty flattery and bogus praise: that Catholic Apologist A is so vastly superior to Catholic Apologist B, who is a dishonest rogue (it's sort of related to the famous "good cop bad cop" ploy). Thus, in this instance (Luther on the Immaculate Conception: A Response to Scott Windsor), I am cast in the worst possible light, as the villain, and Windsor is praised as the hero:
JS: I have no doubt that Scott is a man of integrity, and that he'll make the necessary corrections to his entries. I don't find him to be anything like the other apologist, who, when confronted with this information, has simply kept calling me names while benefiting from my research.

I can see Dave's point, and I did see James comments as him pitting me against "the other apologist" - whom I suspected was Dave, but wasn't sure (Swan refers to a few other Catholic apologists he's responded to on this topic).  In the "If the shoe fits" analogy, Dave just put that shoe on.  That being said - I did not see Dave's responses as "simply calling (James) names," in fact Dave reached many of the same conclusions I did in my responses.  James also claimed Dave finally conceded he (James) was correct on the matter of the Immaculate Conception; I never saw that concession.

Dave continues:
DA: What is far more interesting to me is the cynical use of lying and distorting past history in order to suck up to Scott Windsor now. I highly doubt the sincerity of this present vast change of mind of Doe with regard to Windsor, because I know of past encounters between the two that suggest quite a different state of affairs.
Well, I have to agree with Dave here, at least to a point.  Yes, James in the past has been quite critical of me personally, going off on me personally and not responding to what I've actually said.  Again, Dave cites some examples in his article.  I am trusting of my fellow man, and perhaps to a fault (which I'm sure is what Dave is getting at here).  From my perspective, what James was saying about me was true - I did not resort to namecalling and I have shown the willingness to correct the web page/article on my site.  I did not see the need to make a comparison to me and "the other apologist" - and until now, I really haven't commented on James' comparison.  Perhaps James truly appreciated my approach?  Fine, he did not need to draw Dave into this.  Perhaps James deliberately made this comparison to either draw Dave into the discussion again - or he was trying to play me against Dave for some other purpose - which I won't speculate on.  Regardless - we should ALL refrain from going personal as such discussion end up looking quite petty to an objective onlooker.

My desire and goal is to present the TRUTH.  I have no desire of making this a battle of testosterone.  Frankly, it does not matter who finds something first - so long as the TRUTH is being posted.  Now, is it common courtesy and scholarship to credit ones sources?  Sure thing!  We should strive to do that all the time.  One frustration I have had with James in the IC series is that he has, more than once, referred to "online sources" but does not provide a link, as if he wants me to "work" at it.  This could, however, be perceived as him not wishing to share these sources because perhaps I (or others) will find things in these sources which may not be in James' favor and he's deliberately not sharing sources for that reason.  Whatever the reason - I've found sufficient sources and cited them as I go.  Some I found on my own, some came from Dave's site - and some came from James' blog(s).  Again, if the TRUTH is coming out - who said it first is immaterial; WHAT was said is what we should be our primary concern.

Enough said?



  1. Hey Dave! What's with the date on your blog? Your article is in the November archives, when it was clearly written within the last day or so.

  2. James Swan replies:
    Scott from your recent article:

    sw: One frustration I have had with James in the IC series is that he has, more than once, referred to "online sources" but does not provide a link, as if he wants me to "work" at it. This could, however, be perceived as him not wishing to share these sources because perhaps I (or others) will find things in these sources which may not be in James' favor and he's deliberately not sharing sources for that reason. Whatever the reason - I've found sufficient sources and cited them as I go.

    Often, simply for time. Like, with Grisar's books Scott, it should've taken you all of about a minute to put "Hartmann Grisar" + Luther into Google or the Internet Archive search engine. I'm assuming, given your years of work defending Rome, you're familiar with the Internet Archive search engine. Grisar's books are easily available, last I checked.

    Well, have you tried "Hartmann Grisar" + Luther in Google? It's not quite as straightforward as you're making it to be - however I have found a source and saved it for future reference.

    And yes, on another level, I've been in countless discussions with people disagreeing with me or challenging me that want me to do all the grunt work for them of looking up sources and extracting quotes. My blog has two search engines, and each will provide a lot of the material in question. Use it.

    I did. My only real complaint would be when you mention something and don't quote or cite the source (like Luther removing from later documents - that was a vague reference which did not show us the same document minus IC references in later publications). If you're going to make claims, all I ask is that they be validly documented claims; undocumented assertions may be (and typically will be) dismissed.

    My Reformation research / hobby goes beyond the Internet.

    As does mine.

    I purchase sources when I need to.

    As do I when I can afford to.

    If someone wants to challenge me, they shouldn't expect me to hand over the materials I've paid for so they can be used to challenge my position. They should simply go buy them, read them, then challenge my position. I simply refuse to do work for someone else.

    Except when you make an assertion then the responsibility for documentation lies with you. If the source is available online, and especially if you have used an online source to copy/paste from to save typing - you should cite that source.

    As for me, I don't mind sharing what I've paid for. Truth matters more to me than posturing.

    As to not wanting to share sources so as not to have information exposed that will deliberately contradict my opinions, nonsense.

    Fair enough, I withdraw the implication.

    I look forward to any quotes from Luther or the Reformers you can pull out from his (sic) writings.

    And you have also expressed the fact that you do have occasions of disagreement with Luther. I just believe you're hanging on to the IC one too long - as it has been shown by me and confirmed by a Lutheran pastor from your own citation that Luther accepted the IC throughout his whole life.


  3. (continuing)

    But, as is often the case, those from your perspective don't read Luther in context.

    The condescension can end anytime. I've read the context, I've even granted that in SOME places one MAY get a non-IC interpretation (and that's "MAY" not "WILL"), you just seem to not be willing to accept an argument which "MAY" be contrary to your paradigm of Luther on this topic. Or, perhaps you're a bit like me - and you'll argue your position until there's no alternative and you must accept and/or concede. I can respect that too - just be up-front about it and be honest when you see there "MAY" be an alternative interpretation there.

    Or, Luther is only read if a web page is available. That's not the way I do things. In fact, I typically buy more Roman Catholic books than Protestant. If I'm going to challenge some aspect of Romanism, I invest time and money.

    As do I. I have all of White's books on Catholicism (some he himself gave me, others I've purchased), I have several other volumes from Sproul, MacArthur, Svendsen, Luther, etc., not to mention many more volumes bookmarked from online sources which I do share if cited from them. We don't need to start comparing libraries - just suffice it to say, we both do not hesitate to spend a few bucks when necessary.

    The point is - if an assertion is made, valid documentation is the responsibility of the one making the assertion. You should not make an assertion from Grisar and then tell me to go look it up.


  4. Hi Scott,

    I usually put stuff I write about anti-Catholics off the front page and give them an older date, because it is relatively unimportant in the scheme of things (I've been concentrating on atheists and some pro-life issues lately). I think I wrote it around Dec. 18th.

    I think this is a great and very fair-minded article on your part and can perhaps cause our anti-Catholic friend to reconsider his cynical tactics and methodology in trying to pit us against each other.

    You're a great apologist and I especially appreciate the charity that you bring to your work.

  5. Our friend wrote on his blog:

    For personal reasons, I will not be leaving any comments on that particular blog post of yours. I certainly can understand why this wouldn't make any sense to you. I don't care to explain either.

    I will. He has a policy to never mention me by name. This itself is ridiculous because he plays the game of still having 98 posts devoted or largely devoted to me, while maintaining the pretense that his blog is "DA-free".

    This all started when he started referring to me as a "psychotic" and a wacko and so forth, and I called him on it. I challenged him to stop being obsessed with me if he thinks my work is worthless and he doesn't take me seriously (as he has said innumerable times now), so he stopped mentioning my name.

    But he wants it both ways, so he keeps up these other 98 posts where he plays games of anonymity (even in book reviews!). See:

    Anti-Catholic John Q. Doe Still Obsessed With My Work (98 Posts!): Pretense of a "DA-Free" Blog, Removal of My Name, and Absurd Anonymous Book Reviews

    I tried to put an end to all this nonsense, by offering to remove everything i have about him on my blog if he would reciprocate and do the same. He refused, of course, so I have a few things about him, since I am under no obligation to be subject to his avalanche of insults without having my own say on the matter.

    But the offer remains on the table. I think it is good when two Christians don't publicly go after each other. I am mostly defending myself against the endless scurrilous charges he has thrown my way (publicly).

    It is indeed very ugly. That's why I wanna remove it. I've already removed most of the stuff I had up in the past, but I will document where my sanity is questioned and so forth. I have the right to do that in the face of slander and smearing on a massive scale.

    If the anti-Catholics insist on lying about and mocking Holy Mother Church, we can and should expect no less from them. They will savage us, too, as defenders of the Church, because we represent her, so they think that if they can besmirch our reputations, the Church suffers, too, and that is their avowed goal.

  6. Sorry for the delay in responding, but I also think I will stay out of being in the middle of this battle between you and he, mainly because at the moment my plate is quite full.


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