I noted in Karl Keating’s E-letter that Catholic Answers was going to put up some forums on their website just a few weeks ago. I have been traveling (obviously), and am home for just a few days before heading back to Long Island, so I took advantage of a real Internet connection to check it out. First, this is a real high-quality system. Very nicely done, no question about it. Kudos to whoever designed it/runs it. Of course, web boards are the black hole of time, and hence though I have registered on the board, I am there to lurk, not to debate.
What is very interesting is to note that while the forums are relatively new, I already have my own personal threads—at least two of them, in fact. It is fascinating reading, let me tell you. What people will say about you when they don’t think you are around is utterly amazing. So many of these folks repeat utterly unfounded rumors without showing (in most cases, anyway) the slightest concern for accuracy or fairness, let alone factuality. When “in the house” the ad-hominem flies fast and furious, though those practicing it will always seek to say they are just reporting the facts. I truly would not like myself if a tenth of the stuff reported about me in such forums was true. Of course, it is frustrating to realize that the vast majority of the rhetoric is 1) either bald-faced lies, or, half-truths utterly divorced from a context, and 2) the ones repeating it would never have the temerity to say the same things to my face. I’ve witnessed it a million times: keyboards make lions out of kittens. Over the years I’ve dropped notes to folks who have gone on and on about how horrid I am, only to get lame replies or downright apologies when I simply asked for documentation.
It was especially interesting to see some of the more notorious amateurs, like Phil Porvaznik, chiming in on the threads about me. Folks who would never, ever consider debating publicly, and whose work has never appeared in print above the level of a vanity publisher, find those forums their best way of self-promotion, at the cost of accurately representing the truth. Someone posted a question about me, asking for information, and it was fascinating to watch the RC spin machine kick in at full throttle. If the replies were any indication, there are only about four debates these folks feel my opponents did well enough to even recommend to folks, and one non-debate (the BAM show with Akin). Of course, they don’t put it that way. Unless the fellow who asked the question stumbles across my website (and I hope he does), he will have no idea of the number of debates and topics we have done. Indeed, if you grant the list of debates these folks mentioned were “wins” for the other side, I’m still winning about 85% of the encounters! 🙂 (Oh, that will be taken as back-slapping self-congratulation, too).
Anyway, I’ll lurk as time allows. Kudos to Jason Engwer, who is holding off the hordes there just about by himself. No one can do that for long.
Also, no DL’s this week, as I am traveling Tuesday and busy Thursday on Long Island. Lord willing and I get my flights, we will be doing a live DL Tuesday, June 1st.