One of the most common activities of those who defend falsehood goes like this: if you have to twist your sources out of their original contexts, and you know it, then before you do so, accuse your opponent of doing the same thing. If you have to act like a spoiled child, then complain that your opponent was doing it before you did. Just throw enough dirt and dust in the air and you can keep a fair portion of the audience off balance and “survive” almost any encounter.
A number of years ago a group of RC apologists gathered around Robert Sungenis and Art Sippo. They seemed to feed off of each other, and even mentioning them would bring you a flood of replies from half a dozen or more people, spoiling for a fight. It wasn’t that their arguments were at all compelling: they use the Inquisitorial manner of debate: define yourself as the winner and then pour contempt upon anyone who would question you. Well, that group has turned upon itself over the past number of years (and my was that a spectacle), so Sippo has gathered his disciples around himself, and seems to have found a home on the Planet Envoy web board. It is here that yesterday Art Sippo, though admitting he has never listened to the debate, posted a “review” of my debate with Tim Staples on Papal Infallibility, based solely upon very fair, second-hand information. I won’t post it all; if you are interested in gazing upon a true example of how fair you can expect your friendly neighborhood RC apologist to be, go here and pop on down to the article that was posted 5/03/2005 : 01:50:29 AM that starts “I never heard that debate.” But here’s just a portion:
James is very annoying and condescending. He looks down on anyone who does not venerate him as an apologetic god and has no resepct for the heartfelt beliefs of others even in the prot camp. And Tim is a retired Marine who is also a kickboxer. It is very easy for me to imagine White delliberately insulting Staples in the same way he has insulted me and many others who have tried to dialog with him. White so badly insulted Vin Lewis during their debate that Vinny invited him outside after the debate to settle the matter man to man. Only one man went outside and it wasn’t little Jimmy White.
What is hard to imagine is that if James was his usual obnoxious self, that Tim resisted temptaion and did not haul off and remove his front teeth Paris Island Style. If Tim lost his temper and did not dismember James like a boiled lobster, THAT would almost have required divine intervention.
Thankfully, immediately following this article (well, at the moment–articles can sometimes just disappear), Patrick takes Sippo apart, which is rather easy to do when you have listened to the debate carefully and Sippo hasn’t. He even got the links to the debate and the articles I wrote about it into the message (which is why I wonder how long it will be there–I’ve saved it, just in case, and if it disappears, I will post it). For those unfamiliar with the encounter, it is my understanding that St. Joseph’s does not even make it available. In fact, we had been told it was originally going to be marketed with an extra tape, just to allow Staples to argue unopposed; then we were told a book was coming out, but Staples “lost” it when his hard drive crashed, etc. For those interested, here and here are two articles relating to it.
It may be hard for folks who are accustomed to honoring the truth by refusing to behave like a school-yard bully to see the appeal of the Sippo-style apologists. I confess I don’t get it either. But they are out there, and they seem to have a lot of time on their hands.