Thursday, August 11, 2011

Recap of NFP Discussion

Someone asked for the URL to read the whole dialog regarding cathmom5's comments and my support of her.  Well, there was no single URL so I am making one (long) article to recap the discussion which started with an article by me, a comment by cathmom5 which was followed by Mr. Hays reductio ad absurdum.   I'll not be including EVERY comment - if anyone is interested they can follow the combox comments which are included in each posting started by Mr. Hays and myself.  At the end of this article I'll also be including the chronology of postings - so anyone who wants to read every comment in the context of the article they were posted, they can.  Text I am adding in this recap will be in purple (as here).

It starts with an article by Mr. Hays, which I quoted entirely in my response to it - so I will begin here with my response:

On Triablogue there's an out of context quote from Alexander Pruss and comments which should be answered...
Pruss writes:  In fact, the biological union does not even require the couple consciously to will the striving towards reproduction. The biophysiologically united man-woman organism instinctively and automatically on a biological level strives toward that end. What is required is only that the couple should not place an obstacle in its way, because the act of placing the obstacle is an act of disturbing the union. The act of contracepting is opposed to the end of the teleological process by which union is constituted. A distinction between permitting and causing is relevant here.
The couple that contracepts is the intentional cause of their infertility. The NFP-using couple, when infertile, is not the cause of the infertility: the natural cycles of the female body are the cause of the infertility, which cycles are independent of the couple’s decision to use NFP. The couple permits the infertility, and draw good from it, even though it would be wrong for them  directly to will this infertility. That the distinction between permitting and causing is a significant one can be seen in at least two other examples. One is the distinction between letting die and killing, often discussed in the context of euthanasia.

Note please, Pruss does indeed state that it is WRONG to directly will this infertility.  Thus a couple who directly wills infertility is wrong and mortally sins in doing so - by WHICH EVER MEANS they choose to be infertile.  With NFP the couple cannot willfully refuse one another - regardless of the time in the woman's fertility cycle.  They may "plan" to participate in "the marriage act" during the time of infertility - and that's the "planning" part - but I reiterate, they cannot refuse each other during the time of fertility.  If the desire is there, then they must allow "the marriage act" to go on unimpeded - by ANY means of contraception.

On to the illogic on Triablogue:
It’s odd that someone as astute as Pruss would leave it at that. It’s of course true that the distinction between causing and permitting can sometimes be morally relevant or exculpatory. But it’s easy to come up with counterexamples where that distinction is morally irrelevant or culpable.
But Pruss didn't "leave it at that!"  If one investigates the link provided by Mr. Hays they can see that Pruss indeed explained further:
The other example is that of theodicy. God never causes an evil.  However, in order to draw a greater good out of it, He sometimes permits evils. The greatest and clearest example of this was the crucifixion. God did not cause Judas to betray Jesus and Pilate to condemn Him, but He permitted it, in order to bring a greater good out of it. It is essential to the way that sexual union as one body is constituted that while willing the union one not simultaneously unwill the end (reproduction) the biophysiological striving towards which constitutes the union. However, it is not necessary that one explicitly will this end, only that one not will anything contradictory to it. The implicit willing of the unitive meaning of the sexual act, in the absence of a contradictory willing, suffices to make the teleological striving that constitutes the union be a willed striving—and hence a striving of the person, and not merely of the body, thereby effecting a willed personal union.
It is a bit disingenuous of Hays to say Pruss left it "at that."  Hays even quotes that Pruss says there are "at least two other examples" and then only quotes one of them - and has the audacity to accuse him of "leaving it at that."
In The Little Foxes, Regina doesn’t cause her husband to die from a heart attack. Rather, she permits him to die by withholding his heart medication.   In that situation, letting him to die is morally equivalent to murder, even though she didn't positively bring about his demise.
Sorry, but "withholding medicine" which is not an extra-ordinary means of keeping someone alive DOES CAUSE HER HUSBAND TO DIE!  Certainly "the cause" is the underlying heart condition - but if one willfully withholds the medicine from another against his will - that would be murder.  A clearer example of this would be a mother refusing to feed her newborn infant... that is negligence and murder for the mother has caused the death of her baby.  No rational human being with any sense of charity or concern for the helpless/innocent would simply say the baby died of starvation and leave the mother's culpability out of the picture.  Clearly in The Little Foxes, Regina does kill her sickly husband by withholding his medicine, which IS Hays' point here - but the point Hays misses is the fact that "planning" to participate in "the marriage act" during infertile times is not the same as "doing it" during fertile times and then killing the seed by some chemical or physical barrier.
Natural family planning has a contraceptive intent, and–where successful–a contraceptive effect.
This illustrates the problem with Catholics who use natural law to ratify a conclusion they arrived at by other means.
I'm sure that those who condone contraception believe this to be the case, but if the intent is contraception then the couple is in mortal sin.  The intent is to have "planned" participation in the period of infertility of the female cycle.  If either party refuses the other during a period of fertility then that person has committed a mortal sin.  Hays uses either false logic here - or demonstrates ignorance of what the Catholic Church really teaches on the matter of NFP.

Other comments on this article (at the time of the publication of this article/response):


BBB said:
One of the main proponents of John Paul II's "Theology of the Body", Christopher West, uses this kind of reasoning as well.
He says that some people ask "What's the difference between causing infertility, and just waiting for the woman to be infertile?" His response is "what's the difference between killing grandma, and just waiting for grandma to die?"
The same illogic as above and has already been explained/dismissed.

James said:
Most Catholics (1) don't abide by the Church's stance on contraception anyhow. In any rate, (2) there's no substantive difference in intent between contraception using a calendar or with a piece of rubber (or a pill). (3) Doesn't the Church keep reminding us that contraception is "ineffective"? If it is, then there's not a greater likelihood of preventing pregnancy with a condom than with NFP.

(1) What this undocumented "most Catholics" may or may not abide by is not relevant to the moral position of the Church.  If a Catholic does not abide by the Church's stance - then, all rationalizations aside, they are in mortal sin.
(2) On this point James MAY be correct - IF the INTENT of the couple is contraception AND they have deliberately refused one or the other during a fertile period.  THE point here is INTENT.  If the couple PLANS to only participate in "the marriage act" during infertile periods - but "the mood" arises during a fertile period - then they cannot refuse each other without committing a mortal sin.
(3) Whether or not artificial forms of contraception are "effective" or not is NOT the point!  Again, THE POINT is that it is a sin to artificially prohibit conception and it is still a mortal sin if the couple engaging in NFP refuses one or the other during a fertile period.


Tom R said:
Well, yes. And the Spartans didn't practice infanticide, strictly speaking - they just left imperfect babies exposed on the hillside overnight.
The irony is that in other spheres, "Catholic social teaching" is scathing of the "just leave people alone" thrust of Whig Protestant capitalism. Governments, say various Popes, have an affirmative duty to ensure that their subjects have healthcare, food, etc. You can't just ignore them while they starve, like Dives with Lazarus, or the "goats" on Judgment Day. Yet when it comes to methods of contraception, the Vatican has copied Judith Jarvis Thomson's "live and let die" defence of abortion http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Defense_of_Abortion and moved it a stage earlier in the life-cycle.
Well, J.J. Thomson's "violinist" analogy (the "unplug and let die" analogy) is 1) not taught by the Catholic Church in NFP and 2) how this violinist "gets connected" is not the same way most women "get connected" to their babies - in fact - the only possible comparison would be to that of where pregnancy resulted from rape (very few abortions are because of rape).  The obvious difference here is that an innocent child dependent upon his/her mother is not the same as a presumably not-so innocent violinist who him/herself could choose not to remain connected - regardless of how this person (male or female) may feel about it. Tom's comparison is fatally flawed.

cathmom5 responded:
It just seems to me that the attempt to compare NFP--used with the correct intent--and contraception is just an excuse to justify the fact that they want to use contraceptions. Those "christians" who use contraception, I believe, know deep down they are morally wrong. The FACT that the majority of contraceptives are abortifacient doesn't matter. The FACT that contraceptives (the pill) causes cancers and infertility for thousands of women doesn't matter. The FACT that the legalization of the pill, historically, led directly to the legalization of abortion doesn't matter. Those "christians" must find a way to justify their disobedience of God's will by "taking down" the Church's moral stance--like the bully on the playground making himself feel better by making the others feel bad. Why else would this ignorant (in the dictionary sense!) argument keep coming up?
My husband and I do use NFP, however, as you pointed out, our intent is not to be closed to the possibility of life. I am almost 50 and have 5 children. I don't know if my body could handle another child, but I tell you what, I trust God enough to believe that if I were to become pregnant He would have it all under control! And, I refuse to commit a mortal sin by using other artificial means to kill my baby or slowly kill myself.

Steve Hays responds to cathmom5:
cathmom5 said: It just seems to me that the attempt to compare NFP--used with the correct intent--and contraception is just an excuse to justify the fact that they want to use contraceptions [sic]. Those "christians" who use contraception, I believe, know deep down they are morally wrong...Those "christians" must find a way to justify their disobedience of God's will by "taking down" the Church's moral stance--like the bully on the playground making himself feel better by making the others feel bad. Why else would this ignorant (in the dictionary sense!) argument keep coming up?

Well, if that’s what motivates Protestants, then by parity of logic, it just seems to me that the attempt by popes to defend “natural family planning” is just an excuse to justify the fact that they want to fornicate with nuns and hookers without wearing a condom or fathering a kid out of wedlock. Popes who defend “natural family planning,” I believe, know deep down they are morally wrong. Lascivious popes must find a loophole to excuse their lechery. Why else would they concoct so many ad hoc distinctions?

Scott Windsor (CathApol) responds to Steve Hays:
Mr. Hays reaches a new low with me in this response.  His response to cathmom5 is nothing short of anti-Catholic BIGOTRY.   Have SOME popes been "bad popes" and sinned as Hays accuses?  Perhaps - but it is NOT the norm and neither is the rationale behind Natural Family Planning.  It appears to me that cathmom5 struck a nerve with Mr. Hays and he lashed out irrationally.  For example of this irrationality - Pope John Paul II was a public proponent of Natural Family Planning* - and I would challenge Mr. Hays to provide PROOF or at least some SOUND EVIDENCE of any such "lechery" - such as "fornicat(ing) with nuns and hookers" with Bl. Pope John Paul II.  Such debased language without some sort of support is irresponsible, invalid argumentation and even un-Christian.  

Now, perhaps Mr. Hays is objecting to cathmom5's use of "Christian" (in quotes) as if to imply those who practice Artificial Birth Control (ABC) are not even Christian.  As I explained to "BBB" (who was much more respectful in his approach) - from a Catholic perspective, those who would accept and even embrace such violence against the sanctity of the marriage act - and against innocent life, well - it IS hard to consider them to be "Christian" at all.  Perhaps Mr. Hays is ignorant of the fact that virtually ALL of Christendom opposed ABC methods prior to 1930 and it has been just since that time that non-Catholics began embracing this mortally sinful practice.  I reiterate, it is difficult to see those who are WILLFULLY engaging and embracing MORTAL SIN to be "Christian" at all.

Now to answer Mr. Hays disgraceful polemics - he DID ask a question which I will respond to:  "Why else would they concoct so many ad hoc distinctions?"  I would need Mr. Hays to clarify just who the "they" are who have participated in such "concoctions" and repeat my challenge for Mr. Hays to document those who have "concoct(ed) so many ad hoc distinctions" actually participating in "fornicating with nuns and hookers."  Further - please explain at least SOME of these unnamed "ad hoc distinctions."

Will Mr. Hays clarify his position(s) and present some VALID argumentation - or should we dismiss him as a bloviating anti-Catholic bigot?  Will he back down and even apologize (as a Christian should do) or will he entrench himself in his debased argumentation?  Or, will he just try to ignore this and hope it passes by unnoticed?  

I would also hope that other non-Catholics would join me in condemning Mr. Hays argumentation.   

I state, here and now, if Mr. Hays can VALIDLY support his argumentation - I will acknowledge that.  I do not believe it is possible for him to present valid argumentation to support what he's said - so what I would expect from an honest Christian debater is a retraction (or, again, VALID support).

Scott adds a comment to his own article:
It IS encouraging to see that at least SOME non-Catholics ARE taking Mr. Hays' approach to task on his blog. Kudos to them.

Hays also explains that "It's often useful to take a foolish position to its logical extreme." Perhaps Mr. Hays would consider first challenging cathmom5 to clarify her statements (as I believe I have, if I was not too bold in speaking for her) before calling them "foolish" and then lashing out as he did and CALLING it a "logical extreme."

cathmom5 responds to Scott’s response:
Thank you, Scott, I appreciate your clarification of my comments on Triablog. It was not my intent to insult anyone personally, but several times when I've made comments on an issue, I have been personally attacked. I don't believe anything I said was foolish or I wouldn't have said them. I am sorry if my style or passion made anyone feel insulted.

Just to say one thing--I don't think what I said, in any way, would lead to Hays' so-called logical extreme. To me that argument about a pope using NFP as an excuse to do what he please isn't even on the same planet as what I said. What I believe I said is that ABC and NFP (practiced as intended) are not the same, and those who try to claim they are, are looking for justification for what, I believe, they know deep down is morally wrong.


Back on Triablogue under “Team Players,” Steve responds:
Mr. Hays reaches a new low with me in this response.  His response to cathmom5 is nothing short of anti-Catholic BIGOTRY.  

If a Catholic indulges in a blanket, prejudicial smear of Protestants by impugning the motives of all Protestants who support “artificial” birth control, even though said Catholic is in no position to know their motives, that’s not anti-Protestant bigotry–but if a Protestant responds with a reductio ad absurdum, that’s “anti-Catholic BIGOTRAY”!

Windsor betrays the insular mindset of the team player. The team player automatically cheers his own team and automatically jeers the other team. The team player keeps a tally of every real or imagined foul by the other team while turning a blind eye to every foul by his own team.

It’s the Mafia mentality. One standard of la familia, another standard for outsiders.

Have SOME popes been "bad popes" and sinned as Hays accuses?  Perhaps - but it is NOT the norm and neither is the rationale behind Natural Family Planning.  It appears to me that cathmom5 struck a nerve with Mr. Hays and he lashed out irrationally.  For example of this irrationality - Pope John Paul II was a public proponent of Natural Family Planning* - and I would challenge Mr. Hays to provide PROOF or at least some SOUND EVIDENCE of any such "lechery" - such as "fornicat(ing) with nuns and hookers" with Bl. Pope John Paul II.  Such debased language without some sort of support is irresponsible, invalid argumentation and even un-Christian.  

Here’s a guy who presumes to be an apologist for Rome, but he can’t grasp basic forms of argument. He doesn’t grasp the nature of a tu quoque, or a reductio ad absurdum.

An argument from analogy only has to be analogous to be valid. The counterargument doesn’t have to be any truer than the argument it opposes.

That’s the point. For the argument works either way.

If it’s valid for cathmom5 to impute immoral motives to millions of Protestants she’s never met, then it’s valid for me to impute immoral motives to the popes.

Notice that Scott Windsor doesn’t demand any evidence or proof from cathmom5 for her defamatory allegations. That’s because she’s a fellow teammate, so the rules are different for her.

My argument is predicated on a conditional premise: if her argument is valid, and my argument is analogous, then my argument is valid.

But Scott Windsor is one of those sociopathic partisans who will fly into a rage the moment you make their team play by the same rules. A loyalist can never step out of his own viewpoint to see an issue from the viewpoint of the Other. It’s the same thing we see in the political sphere every day. 


cathmom5 comments:
First off, thank you Cathapol for your defense of my comments and, more importantly, NFP and the Church's moral stand on openness to life.

Secondly, my intent was not to insult anyone. I find it ironic that certain things I say are taken personally by some protestant readers of this blog. I think it may be my style or my passion, but it is my intent to support the truth of the Church's teaching not offend Protestants. I think if we were to talk to each other face to face there would be less misunderstanding of motive or intent.

As Cathapol explained, some find it hard, I admit including me, to call those Christian who do not follow Christ's teaching. The sacredness of life was one of His core teachings. I believe that Christ's Sacred Heart is wounded every time a woman who claims to be a Christian puts a birth control pill in her mouth. She is not only injuring her own God-given body but could be killing an innocent life--both mortal sins.

Third, I don't believe I created any "straw men." I was a Protestant for over 30 years. I went to a Protestant, Bible-based College. I heard and I know the attitude toward and acceptance of contraceptives in that arena. My own mother, a wonderful Christian mother took ABC for 20 years--she no longer does, thank God, for personal reasons.

Now, just because a lot of women in the Catholic Church have been talked into accepting this easy way of "family planning" does not make the Church's moral stance on sanctity of life wrong. Nor does the fact that I accept and agree with the moral and Scriptural stance of His Church on this matter make my passionate defense of it necessarily make me wrong.

Those who try to say that NFP is the same as ABC are just plain wrong. In my experience, those who are the loudest in their protest against NFP or try to pretend NFP and ABC are the same thing are the ones who know the least about NFP or ABC. They, for the most part, want to justify their use of ABC by saying that NFP is the same--trying to take down, so-to-speak, His Church's moral stance on the sacredness of the marriage act. I don't believe that is a straw man--that is from my perspective and my experience.

Having practiced NFP for years, I know that it is not an easy course to take. A couple who practices NFP must communicate with each other, they must be "in tune" with each other morally, they must be in agreement on being open to life, and they must work, as a couple, to make NFP work. In my experience, a couple who is practicing NFP can hardly be doing it with the wrong motives. With so relatively few couples practicing NFP, I would hardly think motives are the problem.

We can also turn it around. NFP, practiced correctly, can also HELP a couple conceive which is one reasons why it is called Natural FAMILY PLANNING and not birth control. Couples have used NFP to conceive a new life, the same cannot be said for ABC.

I have spoken in as general terms as possible. I have not insulted anyone personally. I have expressed how I feel on the subject of NFP--From my personal experienc on BOTH sides of the "church" fence. If one feels personally insutled by anything I have said on the matter, I think they must look to themselves and wonder why what a perfect stranger says strikes such a nerve.


Scott responds to Steve’s “Team Players” argument:
Steve,
Let's be clear - I am not the one calling people names here. Your response to cathmom5 reflected anti-Catholic bigotry (my point) which is not directly calling YOU a bigot - but that the argument was bigoted. There's a difference.

Second, I fully understand your use of the reductio ad absurdum - and I've merely challenged you to put forth some VALID argumentation, like avoiding the common fallacies of rhetoric (ad hominem especially). One thing to bring to the forefront - IF we were to agree that cathmom5 were wrong (which I do not) then please explain to the few who may still be reading along how "two wrongs make a right?" You justified your argumentation saying, "If it’s valid for cathmom5 to impute immoral motives to millions of Protestants she’s never met, then it’s valid for me to impute immoral motives to the popes." (The tu quoque fallacy).

Both cathmom5 and I explained her statements - you did not deal with these explanations in the least, instead you concentrate on ad hominem (also a fallacy).

I challenged you to present valid documentation of ANY pope who publicly supports or supported NFP and also participated in the lechery you stated they participated in. I would remind the reader too - you went well beyond "motives" - you flatly accused popes of participating in fornicating with nuns and hookers and using NFP to rationalize what they had done. You crossed the line of valid argumentation, and you appear to be in staunch refusal of the error of your ways, not to mention the LACK of "Christian" spirit in your response to cathmom5 (and to me too for that matter).

Now, if you wish to rationalize your argumentation down to reductio ad absurdum - then I am willing to accept what you said was absurd and let it go.



Chronology of Posts on This Subject:
  1. http://triablogue.blogspot.com/2011/08/pruss-on-natural-family-planning.html
  2. http://cathapol.blogspot.com/2011/08/nfp-and-false-logic.html
  3. http://triablogue.blogspot.com/2011/08/blunderbuss.html (not responded to as of this posting)
  4. http://triablogue.blogspot.com/2011/08/lecherous-popes.html
  5. http://cathapol.blogspot.com/2011/08/anti-catholic-lechery.html
  6. http://triablogue.blogspot.com/2011/08/team-players.html

20 comments:

  1. Hey - stop being mean and hateful to the Triablogue guys! They are just fair minded partisans all the time. Straight shooters every one.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I don't frequent that blog, for good reason, as this whole flap demonstrates. It has all gone off on a huge tangent.

    Hays, quoted by Scott: "If it’s valid for cathmom5 to impute immoral motives to millions of Protestants she’s never met, then it’s valid for me to impute immoral motives to the popes."

    I stated right up front that my statements were my opinion. I never said that "millions" of Protestants have immoral motives. That is an exaggeration--at best--of what I said. What I said was that those who try to equate NFP and ABC are using that argument to justify using ABC which they know deep down is immoral--and, yes I have a hard time calling them Christians. Christians follow Christ's teaching, and Christ taught us the value and the importance of quality of life. ABC (oral contraception) kills innocent life and can destroy the life of the woman taking the pill.

    As for the motives of "millions" of other Christians using ABC (including Catholic Christians) not making this argument, I believe most of them are ignorant of the consequences of the choices they are making. They may be innocent of mortal sin (that's up to God alone). ABC is not taught as immoral, nor taught as anything but normal in most Protestant churches. (I have stated this opinion from personal experience of over 30 years as a Protestant, and, having been in a Protestant College and the military, I had attended many different churches.) And, I believe, these issues are not preached/talked about enough in our Catholic Churches. But once a person does know ABC is immoral and why, it is imperative that he/she not make justifications for his/her choices.

    Hays quoted by Scott: "Notice that Scott Windsor doesn’t demand any evidence or proof from cathmom5 for her defamatory allegations. That’s because she’s a fellow teammate, so the rules are different for her."

    What defamatory allegations? I have explained my comments. It is the stance of His Church and I agree that the use of ABC is immoral. Those who are ignorant of that fact may be excused by God (after all you have to KNOW it is a sin and choose to do it any way for it to be a mortal sin). However, those of us who do know it is immoral have an obligation to say so.

    Hays quoted by Scott: "My argument is predicated on a conditional premise: if her argument is valid, and my argument is analogous, then my argument is valid."

    I agree with Scott that the argument was not valid in any way. It is certainly not analogous. Hays' comments did not prove in any way that what I said was anywhere in the same realm as the absurd "analog(y)" he put forward.

    It was not my intend to impune the motives of "millions" of Protestants--an exageration, at best, of what I said. My point was/is that those who equate NFP and ABC (surely "millions" of Protestants do not do that) are only trying to justify what they know is morally wrong by impuning the actual moral, safe choice for women and for life.

    Hays quoted by Scott: "But Scott Windsor is one of those sociopathic partisans who will fly into a rage the moment you make their team play by the same rules. A loyalist can never step out of his own viewpoint to see an issue from the viewpoint of the Other. It’s the same thing we see in the political sphere every day."

    Scott, frankly I could not take this paragraph seriously. I certainly would not call your comments "fly[ing] into a rage." I appreciate your defense of what I said, you did a good job. I know few people less like a sociopath than you. Talk about turning the argument into absurdity. I just want to know why the debate with them so quickly devolves into ad hom.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I have written a post examining this controversy:

    http://socrates58.blogspot.com/2011/08/dialogue-on-how-to-share-and-how-not-to.html

    My position (summarized) is that cathmom's initial statement was (objectively -- judging by the words themselves -- if not in intent) inflammatory and insulting and "anti-Protestant" in a sweeping way, irregardless of how Hays et al have conducted themselves (we all know about that from long experience).

    Secondly, I contend that Hay's reductio ad absurdum counter-response was perfectly legitimate in terms of logic and how arguments work, based on the objectionable nature of that which he was "reducing to absurdity." It was massively misunderstood. Since I often use the same argumentative technique (the reductio), I know exactly what he was trying to do there. The replies, unfortunately, have been barking up the wrong tree.

    cathmom has accepted my criticisms in a great spirit and noted in another combox (where I posted comments) that she has made some clarifications and apologies. I commended her for that and hope that the discussion continues in that more positive direction.

    I haven't yet read her comment above and may have more to say about it.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thanks Dave. I wrote those comments before I read yours in the other comment box. If I had read your comments first, I would not have written that.

    I am suitably humbled by your words and would appreciate being able to bow out gracefully from the conversation.

    I will not be participating in the discussion anymore. My humble apologies to any and all Christians who felt insulted by my words.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Okay, cathmom. I admire that, and admire you for your apology. Now it needs to be acknowledged over at Triablogue, which is a whole 'nother story . . . and we shall see if they decide to act like the Christians that they are, in light of your comments.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I wrote at Triablogue:

    Note that cathmom has now issued two apologies. These ought to be (happily and charitably) acknowledged here: . . . cathmom was humble and classy enough to issue these apologies and cease contending the point. Your responsibility now is to graciously accept her apology and drop the complaint. . . .

    Scott graciously allowed my critiques (partially against himself) to be posted on his blog.

    Catholics are classy enough to publicly retract and apologize when it is necessary, and this was a result of "internal policing." These are characteristics I scarcely ever observe on anti-Catholic Protestant blogs.

    Now that I have given cathmom and Scott a hard time, in love (and have succeeded in persuading her of my position), I shall be observing how you guys respond, and give you a hard time if it is called for, and document how you now act.

    cathmom has acted in true Christian fashion in this instance, and I greatly admire that. Now we shall observe how Christianly y'all react. . . .

    ReplyDelete
  7. Dave,
    First off, thank you for your comments. Secondly, before I join you in fully agreeing with Hays' reductio argument - let's look at what transpired...

    1) cathmom5's comment, as we both (cathmom and I) clarified, from a Catholic perspective is quite accurate. It is difficult to consider anyone to be "Christian" who would participate in ABC methods and/or ANY form of "contraception." NFP is NOT to be used as "contraception" - and if it is, it is still a mortal sin. Mortal sin separates us from God's Grace and salvation. Those who may have taken "offense" to cathmom's perspective need to analyze their relationship with God, our Redeemer and King. He established ONE Church to be led by the bishoprick - whose corypheus (head) is occupied by St. Peter's successor. THAT Church has consistently stood her ground on the matter of contraception. Both cathmom and I have stood firm in our stance in support of the Church's position and her comments (putting quotes around "Christians") are in harmony with the Catholic Faith.

    Now, let's look at Hays' reductio argument... certainly this tactic CAN be used - but HOW he used it is the problem. He did not merely reduce NFP to absurdium! No, he stated: " it just seems to me that the attempt by popes to defend “natural family planning” is just an excuse to justify the fact that they want to fornicate with nuns and hookers without wearing a condom or fathering a kid out of wedlock. Popes who defend “natural family planning,” I believe, know deep down they are morally wrong. Lascivious popes must find a loophole to excuse their lechery. Why else would they concoct so many ad hoc distinctions?" He flatly accused popes who participate in such lechery used NFP as an excuse to justify their lechery (of fornicating with nuns and hookers). I merely asked him to provide evidence of even ONE pope who publicly supports NFP AND participates (or participated) in the lechery he directly named. Now IF there were ANY such evidence - THEN Hays would have a valid point, but there is no such evidence. He concocted this "reductio" out of thin air, presumably to be even MORE offensive than cathmom5 was (in his view). Hays DOES succeed in one way - he was FAR MORE offensive than cathmom5 was - especially when she clarified her intent (as did I).

    2) Hays accuses the "Team Players" of some sort of "cheating" - because I challenged him to provide some documentation of his "absurd" claims - while not requesting cathmom5 to document her claims. Again, both cathmom5 and I presented the REASON behind what she said - and who can deny that ALL forms of "contraception" have the intent of thwarting the natural progression of "the marriage act." With NFP, "the marriage act" did not even take place - and/or when it does, there is NOTHING to impede the natural progression of that act.

    3) How can NFP be an "excuse" for fornication? There is no excuse for "the marriage act" conducted outside the state of marriage, period.

    4) Let us also keep in mind that virtually ALL of Protestantism was in FULL AGREEMENT with the Catholic stance on ANY form of contraception until the 1930's. In less than 100 years we've gone from this consensus to flat out disagreement - which side changed their stance here?

    5) I ALSO stated that this caricature of those who accept and participate in ABC methods (putting "Christian" in quotes) applies equally to Catholics and Protestants!

    So, with this in mind - how could Hays' reductio ad absurdum be validly applied to what cathmom5 said AT ALL?

    Your thoughts?
    In JMJ,
    Scott<<<

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  8. Further...

    As I stated initially, Hays misapplies the reductio ad absurdum argument. Let us look at a standard definition of it:

    reductio ad absurdum [rɪˈdʌktɪəʊ æd æbˈsɜːdəm]
    n
    1. (Philosophy / Logic) a method of disproving a proposition by showing that its inevitable consequences would be absurd
    2. (Philosophy / Logic) a method of indirectly proving a proposition by assuming its negation to be true and showing that this leads to an absurdity
    3. application of a principle or proposed principle to an instance in which it is absurd
    [Latin, literally: reduction to the absurd]
    Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003


    Hays did NOT reduce cathmom5's argument to absurdity! No! He threw in a red herring (invalid argument) by accusing unnamed popes who support NFP with unsubstantiated charges of lechery. The red herring Hays used has thrown many "off the scent" of the REAL discussion at hand! THEN after this attempt to derail the argument - he further reduces his position through direct ad hominem.

    Now IF Hays had STAYED THE COURSE - THEN - we would have had a chance to discuss this in a more civil tone.

    In JMJ,
    Scott<<<

    ReplyDelete
  9. Hi Scott,

    Thanks for your good-natured discussion, too (as always), even in our disagreement.

    He flatly accused popes who participate in such lechery used NFP as an excuse to justify their lechery (of fornicating with nuns and hookers). I merely asked him to provide evidence of even ONE pope who publicly supports NFP AND participates (or participated) in the lechery he directly named.

    You're still missing the point. He wasn't intending to literally claim these things. He was taking cathmom's premise that all (or very many) of Protestants who contracept have a bad motivation, and applying it to a Catholic context. This is how the reductio works. You keep digging yourself deeper into a pit.

    He doesn't have to provide evidence because it was a non-literal, humorous reductio reply in the first place. He knew Catholics would be offended by it, but you are playing right into his hand by showing offense.

    I've already argued the whole thing already and have put enough time into this. I removed it out of charity to cathmom, because she apologized and retracted. Some elements of my original argument remain in the revised version of the paper I put up.

    Hays' reductio is a legitimate reply to the premises that were presented. cathmom has agreed that she was uncharitable, but you are still hanging on to her premises and think they can be defended. But by doing so, you bolster Hays' reductio and can't defeat it logically. You can only do so by rejecting the false premises that he built his analogous reductio upon. You should give up that effort and simply argue the merits of the case for NFP and against contraception.

    His reductio remains untouched, in my opinion. His ubiquitous personal insults are wrong, as they always are, but that is another issue. He is also wrong on the issue itself. I'm in full agreement with you and cathmom on the Catholic teachings. I simply disagreed with the conclusions made about Protestants who have a different view.

    I think they are massively ignorant and therefore relatively less culpable insofar as they are ignorant. It remains a grave objective sin, though.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I just posted over at Triablogue:

    It's now past six hours since I documented how cathmom had apologized, and still no acceptance of it here, in Christian charity. Why should it take so long? Is it not part of Reformed Christianity to accept and acknowledge a heartfelt apology when it is offered? It was certainly part of my evangelical Christianity . . .

    On my blog she even said she went to confession over it, so obviously she is sincere in intent. Or is that what you deny? Otherwise, why the great gap in response?

    ReplyDelete
  11. Dave said: You're still missing the point. He wasn't intending to literally claim these things. He was taking cathmom's premise that all (or very many) of Protestants who contracept have a bad motivation, and applying it to a Catholic context. This is how the reductio works. You keep digging yourself deeper into a pit.

    I could agree with you IF Hays had used cathmom5's argument and used the reductio on THAT argument. Hays takes a completely DIFFERENT subject and then relates it by saying popes use NFP as an excuse for lechery.

    MY POINT remains untouched and the whole reductio is nothing more than a RED HERRING being used to draw people off the REAL DEBATE (which I have been saying all along).

    KEEP IN MIND both cathmom and I explicitly stated that the view she expressed is FROM A CATHOLIC PERSPECTIVE - and if it were FROM A PROTESTANT PERSPECTIVE IT WOULD BE DIFFERENT! I agree with scotju - she had NOTHING to apologize for! It was an expression that FROM THE CATHOLIC PERSPECTIVE these "Christians" are going against the Will of God and FROM THIS PERSPECTIVE, it is hard to consider them to be Christians. Does this "offend millions of Protestants?" Well it should If it "offends" then don't shoot the messenger! Investigate the FACTS of the matter and rationally prove cathmom's position to be right or wrong. Again, Hays' tactic was to throw in a completely irrelevant topic (popes who participate in lechery) without ANY basis in fact - at least in so far as his reductio (saying those popes who participated in this lechery did so using NFP as an excuse). Hays comparison of cathmom's REAL perspective to his INVENTED perspective is PATENTLY FALSE and THAT is why his reductio is an INVALID COMPARISON/ARGUMENT.

    1) It was not cathmom's intent to offend, as she clearly stated.

    2) When she saw it offended, she apologized.

    3) Hays intention was CLEARLY to offend Catholics.

    4) Cathmom's OPINION was based in REALITY (the reality of the Catholic perspective).

    5) Hays' reductio was based in FANTASY.

    6) MY CHALLENGE TO HAYS to document ANY pope who publicly supports/ed NFP having participated in the lechery he described is an attempt to get him to DEAL WITH REALITY and NOT HIS FANTASY WORLD. IF he could present valid evidence for us to consider, then I would have accepted his reductio as a valid point of consideration. As it stands - Hays' reductio has no place is this discussion.

    7) Let me add a FURTHER CHALLENGE/QUESTION:
    How Christian is it to INVENT SUCH A LIE and then PUBLICLY USE IT? Would a Christian use such a deceitful, even if intended to be a humorous reductio, approach?

    (continued in next comment...)

    ReplyDelete
  12. (continuing from previous....)
    Dave, you say I'm digging myself a deeper hole - and again, I respectfully disagree here. Now a VALID reductio which Hays COULD HAVE USED would be something like, From a Protestant perspective, it is hard to consider Catholics to be "Christians" because on one hand they claim to oppose ALL forms of contraception while on the other they support NFP. That would be taking THE SAME POINT OF DISCUSSION and APPLYING THE REDUCTIO. If THAT had been the argument, I'd have to give him the point! THEN I could go back to cathmom5 and say, "Well, millions of Protestants are probably NOT AWARE that this is a grave sin - and to be a mortal sin there has to be full consent of the will - thus their culpability MAY (God will still judge this!) be lessened." Actually, I don't have to wait - and since you have already stated as much, then on THIS we stand in agreement. I still disagree with you that Hays' reductio was validly used - yes it IS A FORM of reductio in that it takes AN ARGUMENT and reduces it to absurdity - but THAT ARGUMENT had NOTHING to do with the topic at hand unless he could VALIDLY tie the alleged lechery to the alleged motive he proposed - and he cannot for it was purely an INVENTED LIE.

    In JMJ,
    Scott<<<

    ReplyDelete
  13. Let me add...

    Go ahead and use reductio ad absurdum if you wish to in debate. It CAN be used validly. But it ALSO can be used poorly and/or invalidly and if intended to be sarcastic may also be considered to be quite an UNCHRISTIAN tactic.

    Jesus Himself used the reductio tactic on the Scribes and Pharisees. He called them "the blind leading the blind"
    (relating Matthew 23:23-24 to Matthew 15:14). I do not outright oppose the tactic - but it must be used wisely, truthfully and charitably. This is, IMHO, where Hays missed the boat.

    In JMJ,
    Scott<<<

    ReplyDelete
  14. Hi Scott,

    With all due respect, we continue to disagree. You have not understood Hays' use of the reductio and it looks as if yours is almost purely an emotional reaction now, because he used popes in his exaggerated example / rhetoric. In fact, there were whoring popes, so even his polemical example (never intended to be literal), is not far off the mark.

    cathmom has apologized now three times and has gone to confession over it, and greatly qualified her initial criticism of using "Christians" in quotation marks ("What I said was that those who try to equate NFP and ABC are using that argument to justify using ABC which they know deep down is immoral--and, yes I have a hard time calling them Christians."). But you extend what she said (as clarified and qualified).

    It is anti-Protestantism, pure and simple, to classify every Protestant who contracepts as not a Christian at all. I think it is absurd that an apologist like yourself, who has been read out of the Christian faith (like the rest of us pathetic "papists") because of being a Catholic (anti-Catholicism), is now exhibiting the same illogical blanket mentality by denying that many millions, and the vast majority of Protestants (all who contracept) are no longer worthy of the term "Christian" (anti-Protestantism): as if contraception is the very worst sin and wipes out all right to be considered a Christian (a term which, in Catholic use, is primarily doctrinal and creedal: one who adheres to a particular doctrinal standard).

    In doing so, you argue like the ancient Donatists, whom St. Augustine so vigorously opposed, or the Montanists and other rigorist sects; also like the Puritans.

    ReplyDelete
  15. According to Our Lord in the Sermon on the Mount, sin starts in the heart, but most Protestants who contracept don't even know what they are doing; they have never been taught that it is wrong. Therefore, in such cases, it is not a "heart" issue or deliberate, wanton desire to sin and rebel against God. Their consciences have been blunted by our society and lack of teaching in their ranks.

    I have already agreed that the Protestant who actually knows that he knows in his heart that it is wrong, and does it anyway, places his soul in grave danger, and possibly can end up in hell.

    What I'm saying is that very few Protestants are in that place (they are like I was when I was a Protestant, in relation to this issue). Obviously, I wasn't "anti-life" because I was being arrested at abortion clinics at the same time I was contracepting. I knew nothing whatever about the Pill being an abortifacient.

    And if most Protestants who contracept are that ignorant, you have no basis for denying to them even the title of "Christian."

    ReplyDelete
  16. Hays has now refused to acknowledge cathmom's apology, and is now mocking and insulting me as well, even though I defended him in the matter of his reductio, and his classification as a Christian, at the risk of offending or alienating friends.

    You two have accepted my critiques with class (you [Scott] disagree, but have not made it a personal issue). But Hays writes:

    Armstrong’s contribution would have been preferable had he not turned this into yet another pretext for self-aggrandizement. But by hogging the limelight, his intervention now looks purely opportunistic.

    It always has to be a bad, unworthy, unsavory motivation on my part, whenever I do anything, according to "Whopper" Hays. I can never do anything simply because I think it is the right and fair-minded thing to do. And that is because I am (by Hays' estimation), an "evil" person (and a "schizophrenic" to boot).

    But his reaction doesn't make me regret what I did, because it wasn't predicated on his reaction in the first place. I did it because it expressed what I felt to be the truth. That remains the case no matter how ridiculously or contemptuously Hays acts with regard to my intervention.

    http://triablogue.blogspot.com/2011/08/ambulance-chasers.html

    I don't deny that Hays is a Christian, but he is certainly a miserable, pathetic, pitiful, embarrassing example of one: a disgrace to the name of Christ, as a witness to the fallen world that so desperately needs Him and His gospel. He can't even accept and acknowledge a heartfelt apology; he has to play legalistic, Pharisaical-type games and say it is "irrelevant".

    ReplyDelete
  17. Hey! I've been following all of you and think you lads are doing a great job! MR. Armstrong is famous and I am happy to be on his side, and I have not been here before but only recently have I been reading this webiste. But, I like it! Keep up the good work.....for the Faith! For real, lol...!!! :)

    But, don't take this the wrong way, pleez..... I have to admit, I don't think your being fair to MR. Hays. I agree he has seeerious issues with understanding Catholicism, BUT, I have read some posts of his on TriBlogue before and he is a Christian and he does do a good job against many others like those atheists --- Richard Dawkins and others. In fact he does a great job. We don't have to agree on everything 100%, but, I think he has a place in defending the Faith! Hey, just my two pesos worth, gracias for your time!!!! :)

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  18. Dave wrote: With all due respect, we continue to disagree. You have not understood Hays' use of the reductio and it looks as if yours is almost purely an emotional reaction now, because he used popes in his exaggerated example / rhetoric. In fact, there were whoring popes, so even his polemical example (never intended to be literal), is not far off the mark.

    Dave, I believe I have indeed understood Hays' use of the reductio - and it IS a reductio to the absurd, that much I AGREE with - but the FACT of the matter is that in his reductio he accuses the popes who support as doing so as an "excuse" for the lechery he described.

    The fact that there were "whoring popes" does not relate to those popes who support NFP - not in the least. There are Catholics who use ABC methods of contraception too - no one denies there have been bad popes and that there ARE "bad Catholics" out there. To those "Catholics" who participate in contraception I would have a hard time considering them to be "Christian" too - and especially those who are proclaimed Catholics and KNOW the Church's teaching on the matter and flat out deny it. I will also say that those Protestants who are ignorant of the facts surrounding this issue may be less culpable than those who do - but just how much of "ignorance" can be used as an "excuse," only God can say.

    It is not our duty to preach potential loopholes for the ignorant. It is our duty to profess the TRUTH - even when it may hurt, or even offend some.

    Some are offended by the belief that Catholics partake of the REAL body and blood of our Lord and Savior in the Eucharist... they are so offended they call us "cannibals" - so should we soften our teaching on the TRUTH because of those who might be offended by hearing the TRUTH? Are we doing them any favors in sugar coating the TRUTH and giving them "potential" outs through ignorance? I believe we do them a DISSERVICE if we don't spell it out like it IS. I also expect NO LESS from the Protestant apologist! I don't ask them to sugar coat or pad their blows, but to tell it like it is from THEIR perspective - and then let us have a CIVIL debate over the differences. What I DON'T like to see are the tactics we've seen by Mr. Hays here - well not here, he is not willing to post here, where he takes a statement from cathmom5 which is HER belief (she explicitly stated "I believe...") and "they" expressed deep offense to HER belief - without even ONE of them dealing with her REAL POINTS!

    More in a bit...

    In His Service,
    Scott<<<

    ReplyDelete
  19. Let's LOOK at what cathmom5 ACTUALLY SAID!

    1) Those "christians" who use contraception, I believe, know deep down they are morally wrong.

    2) The FACT that the majority of contraceptives are abortifacient doesn't matter.

    3) The FACT that contraceptives (the pill) causes cancers and infertility for thousands of women doesn't matter.

    4) The FACT that the legalization of the pill, historically, led directly to the legalization of abortion doesn't matter.

    5) Those "christians" must find a way to justify their disobedience of God's will by "taking down" the Church's moral stance--like the bully on the playground making himself feel better by making the others feel bad.

    6) Why else would this ignorant (in the dictionary sense!) argument keep coming up?

    7) My husband and I do use NFP, however, as you pointed out, our intent is not to be closed to the possibility of life.

    8) I am almost 50 and have 5 children. I don't know if my body could handle another child, but I tell you what, I trust God enough to believe that if I were to become pregnant He would have it all under control!

    9) And, I refuse to commit a mortal sin by using other artificial means to kill my baby or slowly kill myself.

    THERE WERE NINE POINTS! Count them! And Hays' & Co. only dealt with ONE, maybe TWO of them (points 1 and 5). The MAIN THRUST of her argument was NOT whether or not these others are "Christians" - but the other 7 or 8 points!

    Then, in dealing with the one or two points Hays "picked" on, he went into an INVENTED SCENARIO which he claims was only a reductio ad absurdum argument - but IN REALITY it just PROVES cathmom5's point #5! Hays tactic was nothing more than a BULLY TACTIC and really a RED HERRING which (quite successfully) drew the attention from the REAL POINTS and focused upon PERSONS instead of SUBSTANCE - and THAT is a classic example of BULLYING.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Correction to the last sentence of my previous comment:

    Hays tactic was the use of the BULLY TACTIC and ultimately a RED HERRING which (quite successfully) drew the attention from the REAL POINTS and focused upon PERSONS instead of SUBSTANCE - and THAT is a classic example of BULLYING.

    ReplyDelete

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