Hurry, Hurry; Read All About it! My Harshest Anti-Catholic Protestant Critics' Opinions of Me and My Work

Dave Armstrong

It's fun once in a while to see what the disloyal opposition is saying about one (generally, in my case: folks who are anti-Catholic: that is, they don't think the Catholic Church is a Christian institution). I don't participate on Internet discussion boards anymore (see my reasons) and was banned from this particular one anyway at the time these comments were posted, so I couldn't defend myself.  But I am delighted to publish this on my website so people can see what goes on in certain venues, and judge it for themselves. I would simply direct people to my papers to make up their own minds about my methods, ethics, supposed lack of rudimentary intellectual and theological abilities, willingness to repond to criticism of my ideas, etc.  Juicy, tantalizing tidbits of the latest gossip and slander will be added as they are discovered! Don't miss it! I make a few responses concerning matters of verifiable fact that ought to be clarified for accuracy's sake.

To read opinions of Protestants with polar opposite opinions and impressions (generally those who think Catholics are Christians too), see my web page: Non-Catholic Accolades For This Website.

From: NTRMIN Discussion Forum / The Areopagus (public and archived)
Thread: "Dave Armstrong is Banned"
http://pub84.ezboard.com/fntrmindiscussionboardfrm9.showMessage?topicID=329.topic

Dr. Eric Svendsen 6/30/03 5:07 am

Armstrong's . . . whining doesn't surprise me, though. God has reserved a special place for martyrs; but He's reserved a different place for those with a martyr's complex.

Dr. Eric Svendsen 6/30/03 7:02 am

But Armstrong is apparently more interested in passive-aggressively ignoring the repeated requests of this board so that he can (in pseudo-martyr fashion) whine about his consequent expulsion than he is in workable solutions.

Dr. Eric Svendsen 6/30/03 3:41 pm

What? No reference to me? Then it must not yet be finished. He can't put up an article without complaining about how I won't engage him in debate. It's impossible; can't be done.

From: NTRMIN Discussion Forum / The Areopagus (public and archived)
Thread: "A Response to Dave Armstrong"
URL: http://pub84.ezboard.com/fntrmindiscussionboardfrm9.showMessage?topicID=389.topic

Tim Enloe 7-25-03 7:44 AM

[responding to Jason Engwer, with whom I have had many debates]

I kept wanting to say that you should just completely ignore Armstrong, . . .

You're right that the man not only follows the typical RC apologist path of totally misrepresenting the point of your series, but he also simply doesn't even comprehend some of the most important issues that are being debated. I didn't have to read far into his posts to find him positing false alternatives such as "If the Fathers weren't Catholic just like me (albeit 'undeveloped'), they must have been Protestants just like you (albeit 'undeveloped')," and acting as if "sola" Scriptura means that Scripture is the only authority and that it is to be interpreted solely by isolated individuals, and then refuting that silly idea--that no informed Evangelical holds, anyway!--simply by pointing to examples of Fathers who talked about other authorities than Scripture.

I think you did an excellent job of exposing the tremendous fallacies of his apologetics, and you didn't have to write absurdly lengthy responses (he was bragging to Greg about how his replies are already 300K in length) to do it. Great work, Jason!

Jason Engwer 7/25/03 10:13 am

Tim,

I've noticed that many people at CARM and on Greg Krehbiel's board are commenting on various errors in Dave's posts. These people, for the most part at least, probably have much less apologetic experience than Dave has. Why can they so easily see errors in his reasoning and his historical assertions, while he himself repeatedly fails to see these things? Thanks for the encouragement, Tim.

Tim Enloe 7/25/03 1:11 pm

. . . Mr. Armstrong continually refuses to engage criticism of his methods that go deeper than the surface-level ones he himself has bothered to think about.

Dr. Eric Svendsen 7/26/03 7:24 am

I keep forgetting there are some who are just now discovering this. Having had an extended dialogue with DA about seven or eight years ago, and then being horrified at seeing that dialogue posted on his web site--complete with "new material" (of course, he didn't bother to inform his readers that his "final thoughts" were not part of the original dialogue, else they would have been refuted too)--I came to the same conclusions early on. Then, after witnessing others debate him in written correspondence, and after seeing him miss point after point after point--apparently guided by the philosophy that overwhelming his opponent with verbosity is equivalent to making a salient argument--I decided I wasn't going to become another victim of "the world according to Dave." . . . Yes, "Dave's got answers!" But, caveat emptor, having "answers" is no guarantee that those "answers" address the questions asked. Apparently, in RC apologetics, "having an answer"--any answer--is good enough; and the more verbose, the better.

Ray Aviles 7/26/03 9:06 am

Dave won't engage you [Eric Svendsen] in a formal open debate. I mean, if the fingers aren't on the keyboard, and there is no time to come up with the "answers", he simply cannot function.

[And Eric refused a written debate with me (why is one thing "worse" than the other?). In an e-mail letter dated 1-31-01, Eric gave as his reasons being too busy, wanting to make the most efficient use of time, and his belief that public debates foster more respect between opponents. To his credit, he apologized for the way in which he turned down a written debate. But the fact remains that I challenged him and he refused. So if I am to be blamed for refusing an oral debate (which I have never done, and which I oppose on principle, for various reasons), then it seems only fair that Eric and people like James White should be criticized and pilloried also for turning down written debates -- as they are both authors with several published books]

"Intrepidus44" 7/26/03 11:13 am

I've tried to read his work, and just plain don't have the time for it. I wonder how many of his supporters actually read what he has written.

Dr. Eric Svendsen 7/26/03 11:27 am

Good point. I'm convinced it's more of a case of, "Oh good, Dave wrote an article on it; therefore, there must be an answer for it," without bothering to read it and realize that the supposed "answer" is just a bunch of words strung together to form nonsensical sentences.

Tim Enloe 7/26/03 11:43 am

Along with the fact that DA reworks every conversation into a "dialogue" format that sometimes doesn't match the way the original discussion took place and adds his own final thoughts in after the fact, both I and Jason have noticed that he likes to promise that he will most assuredly "refute" things that haven't even been written yet, once they appear. It's an interesting insight into the way a mind works when it so believes in its own rightness that it can be sure it will have an answer to whatever the opponent says, before he even says it. Amazing.

Tim Enloe 7/27/03 9:29 am

The more DA writes, the less he says anything of consequence to the debate. And the more you explain your position, the less he even remotely begins to understand it and interact with it.

You're right, Jason, when you tell him in your most recent response that the simplicity of his apologetics is the problem. Over and over and over again we see DA pretending that he has some kind of rational(istic) certainty about the "essence" of his opponent's position, which then becomes the benchmark for everything else he writes. No matter what you say, he's right in his critique because he has that "essence" figured out and relentlessly unpacks its "internal dynamic" in order to show how silly and "anti-Catholic" it is. He did this we me on Archibald Bruce and A.W. Pink re: private judgment, he did that with James Swan on Luther, and he's doing that with you on the patristic view of authority.

What incredible harm to reasonable debate this view of the mind's ability to rationally abstract and infallibly analyze "essences" does!

Tim Enloe 7/27/03 10:24 pm

"Jason keeps overwhelming me with posts..." This from the man who usually thinks it nothing to spend all day sitting at his computer banging out endless inanities about "Anti-Catholics" and doctrinal "essences" that apparently only Catholics can understand because only they have what others of his buddies have called "the virtue of faith in the Objective Revelation", cutting and pasting endless irrelevancies and obfuscations from past "dialogues" into present discussions, writing stupid "satires" of materials such as my own which he plainly doesn't even understand, and compiling new 300+ kilobyte documents that he (who apparently because of watching video rentals can't keep up with the few relatively short posts Jason has written and who expects answers to his own posts forthwith, regardless of whatever else his opponents might be responsible for) expects everyone else to read upon pain of being accused of wanting "soundbites" and upon which they are supposed to comment "line by line" or else be accused of "ignoring" the "substance" of Dave's views. I think this particular discussion has got to be the worst I've ever seen DA come off, in any of his activities on the Internet that I've seen.

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brianberean Mon Nov 24, 2003 10:02 pm

http://forums.catholic-convert.com/viewtopic.php?t=8867&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=15&sid=b1e3b104fb0413b4d5bc1cdb4fb5350f

I do support Tim, Jason, and Dr. Svendsen . . . By the way, I was one of those people that Jason mentioned who challenged DA on Greg's board and CARM. It was about one of the ECFs regarding Sola Scriptura. DA must not have deemed my posts worthy of a response.

[at the time, the arrangement -- made very clear on the CARM Board, by the moderators -- was for Jason Engwer and I alone to do this debate, in a separate debate forum. Jason was sending in tons of posts, rapid-fire; I had little time to respond to others even if I wished to. I had already stated openly for months that I would not answer anti-Catholics on the board, anyway, except for special cases, such as this particular debate. The discussion was a critique of Jason's hypothesis. I was criticizing that and he was defending his position. As it was, Jason departed -- with silly insults and evasive rationalizations -- after dealing with only four of the ten Church Fathers that I wrote about at length. See: Reply to Jason Engwer's Catholic But Not Roman Catholic Series on the Church Fathers: Sola Scriptura (An In-Depth Analysis of Ten Church Fathers' Views Pertaining to the Rule of Faith).  The debate proper came out to a whopping 277K. There was also an accompanying discussion: Dialogue on Sola Scriptura and the Church Fathers, which ended up being an even longer 337K for a total of 614K: the length of a long book. All of this occurred in 4 or 5 days, I believe; less than a week for sure. But "brianberean" wanted me to incorporate his comments into the discussion, too? Another person, "Centurion" (an extremely harsh critic of mine -- so much so that he was publicly censured for insulting me and violating board rules, on this Protestant board -- see below) has made the same unreasonable complaint and foolishly acted like my refusal to answer "proved" my supposed inability to do so]

By the way, a couple (James White and Eric Svendsen) have challenged DA to an oral debate which he has refused to do.

[And I have challenged them to do a written debate and they have refused  (in James' case, off and on for almost eight  years now, since our big "postal debate" in 1995). A few years ago, I was willing to meet James more than halfway and do a live chat in his room --  which seems to me more like an oral debate than like writing. Knowing that he was reluctant to truly engage me, I offered to let him question me all night -- all to be recorded on my website -- if I could question him about anything for just one hour. He refused. I have a longstanding principled, heartfelt objection to oral debates with anti-Catholics, and in fact, have urged all Catholic apologists (in lengthy discussions) to not engage in them, but to stick to writing -- for a variety of reasons]

brianberean Mon Nov 24, 2003 10:22 pm

In oral debates its easier for one debater to force the other into explaining their position and producing evidence, to put up or shut up. According to some, DA is an expert of ducking and dodging during written debates. He will pick and choose what to respond to and then attack the other debater for not addressing every single point he tried to make.

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jetbrane (Bret L. McAtee) 6/7/03 2:03 pm

http://pub141.ezboard.com/fgregsdiscussionboardgodtalk.showMessage?topicID=2367.topic&index=12

You know anybody who really believes something and isn't triumphalistic doesn't really believe it. For example I can't stand Dave Armstrong but I will give him this much credit ... he is triumphalistic about what he believes ... even if he is abjectly wrong. Indeed the only thing I can admire about the gentleman is that he is triumphalistic but then that admiration turns to sadness when I think of how much he has invested in cisterns that can not hold water. Triumphalism ... it is an endearing quality.

jetbrane (Bret L. McAtee) 1/10/04 11:15 am
Theological Mechanics Institute
http://pub92.ezboard.com/fabettercountryfrm28.showMessage?topicID=14.topic&index=168

Usually the foaming at the mouth stuff you are talking about is reserved for the Dave Armstrongs of the world.

jetbrane (Bret L. McAtee) 1-16-04
On Tim Enloe's blog:(http://societaschristiana.blogspot.com/)

Dave Armstrong ... A legend in his own mind . . . your incessent self trumpeting of your great genius waxes old after only 1 post. Get a real job Dave. Maybe you can debate people and lose for a living.

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Hilasterion 2/27/03 7:20 pm

http://pub92.ezboard.com/fabettercountryfrm13.showMessage?topicID=462.topic&index=65

I guess then we can see how sincere you are about wanting to discuss scripture. That is, not at all.

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centuri0n Tue Jul-15-03 07:18 PM (removed due to violation of board rules)
#63877, "Soctaric Dialogue?"
CARM Forum Catholic Board

Mr. Armstrong, when someone like you says they have some relationship with the Socratic Dialogue -- that is, someone who is on-record repeatedly avoiding the topic and avoiding exchanges with those who get the better of you -- one has to wonder what you think the Socratic dialogue method is.

centuri0n Wed Jul-16-03 07:23 AM (removed due to violation of board rules)
#64020, "TertiumQuid and Me, for two"
CARM Forum Catholic Board

You are reknown [sic] for these tactics in the circles of popular apologetics. I have contacted several "professional" apologetics ministries [most, if not all, probably anti-Catholic] about you to see if there was something I was doing wrong in approaching your position and your person, and they all, unanimously, said that you do not participate in any kind of fair method of dialogue (one method of which is Socratic, by the way) but instead expect to be taken as a final authority.

centuri0n Wed Jul-16-03 07:29 AM (removed due to violation of board rules)
#64022, "I'm not objecting to Socratic dialogue"
CARM Forum Catholic Board

I'm objecting that Armstrong does not, in even the least-stringent point of view, participate in a Socratic dialogue. In the best case for him, he lectures endlessly with references to his own work (which is not Catholic Dogma, by the way, but his interpretation of Catholic dogma).

centuri0n Sun Jun-29-03 04:59 AM
#56055, "As one of TQ's "anti-catholic" buddies . . ."
CARM Forum Catholic Board
http://new.carmforums.org/dc/dcboard.php?az=show_topic&forum=107&topic_id=55966&mesg_id=55966&page=&topic_page=2

I'd like to point out that you never finished the very first exchange you and I had here at CARM. Your "explanation" (not to say excuse) for failing to complete that exchange was that I was "uncivil", which (even if true) left vast questions open on the matter of consistency in Catholic teaching. Does that mean you have no "guts" (your word)? You are a very interesting person, Armstrong.

Some kind folks on the Catholic Convert Message Board decided to defend me against some of the nonsense above (top of paper: from the Areopagus board). Thank you, my friends. I appreciate it very much.

(http://forums.catholic-convert.com/viewtopic.php?t=8867)

weunice Mon Nov 24, 2003 2:06 pm

Nothing makes me angrier than this type of behavior because for one thing they are attacking the readers of Dave's web site ... that includes ME. His summary of Catholic distinctives throughout history was the final blow to my doubt about the Catholic Church. I took the painstaking time to verify many of his sources because I wanted to trust that what I was reading was certainly true.
. . . These folks must think we are not capable of reading the other side. I LIVED the other side for 10 years. I accepted those doctrines hook line and sinker without ever challenging them. At what point in my life was I being intellectually dishonest? Geesh ... I am not even Catholic yet. How do you folks deal with this stuff? Do you see it often or is it just me?

beng Mon Nov 24, 2003 5:55 pm

Dave Armstrong has the coolest site there is. His work is a blessing. God really works through him in his writing. Those who hate him are just haters. There's nothing more to it . . . It's useless. I hope he keeps on writing. If I [wasn't] a struggling poor student with no money, I would've sent him some money.

Scottgun Mon Nov 24, 2003 8:58 pm

This part was particularly rich:

Dave won't engage you [Eric Svendsen] in a formal open debate. I mean, if the fingers aren't on the keyboard, and there is no time to come up with the "answers", he simply cannot function.
DA has repeatedly said he has little talent in oral debate and that's why he doesn't do it. Seems reasonable to me. This comment is like calling a swordfighter a coward because he won't engage in a gunfight.

beng Mon Nov 24, 2003 9:51 pm

Dave is open to challenge. He WELCOMES all of them, and he will put their rebuttal and his response on the site. But most of them are "too busy".

beng Mon Nov 24, 2003 10:13 pm

And YES, Dave refused oral debates numerous time because he doesn't feel comfortable with oral debate. This doesn't say anything about his reasoning ability. In retrospect, why can't those people do written debate, where more detail and thorough analysis are used?

ZackF Mon Nov 24, 2003 10:51 pm

I've read that Dr. R.C. Sproul Sr. sees little use or purpose in oral debates between Catholics and Protestants yet Svendsen and White don't seem to criticize him.

[exactly! Good for you! I made this same exact point years ago in responses to James White, trying to highlight the double standard involved. In fact, I got the information right from White's own website, where he reported a conversation he had with Sproul, in which they disagreed on the wisdom and constructiveness of such debates. White presented it as simply a brotherly disagreement between two men of good will. Yet when I take the identical position from the other side, he assumes I am being insincere and that it makes me a chicken and a coward and proves I am scared of his profound ideas and "unanswerable" argument. Go figure . . . ]

GoodForm Tue Nov 25, 2003 9:53 am

My thoughts on oral debates are that all they seem to prove is who is the better tactician; who is the better chess player. I think written debates are much more interesting for the simple fact that the correspondents can do their homework. They also cannot use one liners to buzz the crowd with. I am a lousy debater. I'm just not that quick on my feet. Does that mean I'm wrong on a given topic? No, and I think this argument swings both ways. A Protestant who can't answer a Catholic on a given subject isn't necessarily wrong because of that. He just may not be that quick on his feet.

Student Tue Nov 25, 2003 10:40 am

I couldn't agree more. The search for Truth is not a contest to see who has more charisma and more pieces of information in their brain.

Tim Enloe, 12-18-03
From his blog (http://societaschristiana.blogspot.com/)

. . . anyone who has read a good body of Dave's work knows his major tactic of dealing with opposition to Catholicism -- most often reducing it to simple cases of "rebellion" or "prejudice" against "objective truth."

. . . Dave has been THOROUGHLY refuted numerous times regarding his various highly inaccurate views of Luther.

. . . There is no doubt in my mind whatsoever that Dave Armstrong has TERRIBLE difficulty citing sources and analyzing them properly and FAIRLY. This has been demonstrated time and time again over the course of YEARS of MANY people dealing with his works. He is simply not a reputable source of information and arguments about the Reformation or its conflict with Rome.

. . . were I to follow Dave's method I'd probably lose the joy of doing history because, ironically given his charge against me, I actually WOULD have to run away from most of it on the grounds that it simply didn't fit the perfectionistic scheme that I had specified in advance as "the Truth."

Dr. James White and David T. King
In his blog on 12-16-03, Tim Enloe (who is feuding with White and King) confirmed their frequent derogatory references to me in White's chat room (which, of course, I have long known about):

It's frankly unbelievable to me that you would ask for proof of Dr. White's "guilt by association" arguments. If you have not heard REPEATEDLY that this or that person he is criticizing "looks like" or "sounds like" Scott Hahn or Dave Armstrong or some other heretic or liberal or whatever, you simply haven't been paying attention . . . No one came to my defense when David King used my relative ignorance of the subject at that time to humiliate me in front of the entire channel and on the basis of his own stupid "that thing Schlissel said looks like something Dave Armstrong would say" suspicion . . .

Tim Enloe, 12-19-03
From his blog (http://societaschristiana.blogspot.com/)

Only going to say this once, Dave.  This is not a forum for your rantings about my rhetoric and your self-serving, discussion-destroying belief that I'm deliberately "lying" about you and your work.  Keep that crap on your own website where it belongs.  Oh yes, sir, if I had the time I could go traipsing through my own message board archives and dig out all manner of similar--and WORSE--statements made by you over the last few years about those who oppose you.  You can waste your time doing this if you wish; I have better things to do.

But now that you've provided the context of the snippet you earlier cited, it is pretty plain that I was talking about a very specific sub-category of Roman Catholic apologists--that is, those who do the numerous stupid things I listed in my post to Rosco.  I'm talking about Fundamentalist Catholics who use their message board privileges to write insular, insulting remarks like "If the Roman concept of the Papacy isn't true, then Jesus lied" and who respond to serious historical questions about their allegedly historical faith by going "Sigh.  You just don't understand the Objective Revelation set up by Jesus Christ in the face value reading of Matthew 16 and these thirty-two patristic citations I ripped off from Surprised By Truth, Part 1,234."  This sort of stuff is NOT serious engagement with the important issues that divide Christendom; it's just sheer introverted partisanship of the same rubbish-like quality as Jack Chick's asinine belief that St. Augustine was a willfully-nefarious instrument of building "Romanism".

THAT's the kind of Roman Catholic I was talking about in the "ubiquitous dishonesty" remark, and NOT just Roman Catholics generally or even apologists generally.  If I knew just one "apologist" who was capable of dealing with history WITHOUT going "It's all about development of doctrine, you silly rebel-heretic-innovator", I might feel differently than I do.  But sadly, the largest mass of Roman Catholic apologetics that I have encountered on the Internet is simply a reverse-Fundamentalist phenomenon, entirely uninterested in understanding why others don't find Catholicism as dazzling as it does and possessed of the remarkable ability to simultaneously TALK big about history while being entirely unable to DEMONSTRATE anything but the most superficial acquaintance with the things it so grandly pontificates about.

Patristic rhetoric about the glories of "Peter" is one of the best examples I can think of in this regard.  I don't know a SINGLE Romanist apologist who can join to his stupid "face value" interpretation of such passages any kind of meaningful understanding of the discipline of classical rhetoric which the Fathers were steeped in and the conventions of which they used with marvelous facility in nearly everything they wrote.  I'm not going to give the time of day to some Fundamentalist convert who thinks some Church Father talking big about "Peter" necessarily puts us on a step-by-step "logical" path to Vatican I.  I'm not going to be "nice" to convert-apologists who simply repeat mantras like "To be deep in history is to cease to be Protestant" whilst they demonstrate that the LAST thing in the world they themselves are is "deep in history". The worst you can charge me with in terms of complaining about that would be a charge that would burn you yourself because of all your rantings about "contra-Catholics".  I guess we're equal on the score of noting the many problems in the other side's common polemic rhetoric, so deal with it.

Stop using my blog in the manner in which you've been using it.  No one cares about "The Dave Armstrong Vs. Tim Enloe Show, Episode 1,423", so take it somewhere else.  I have dealt with your actual arguments MANY times and found them to be fallacious.  I think your historiographical approach is shallow and self-serving, your citation methods atrocious, and your belief that you're being "lied" about rather than merely "honestly disagreed with" to be as unhelpful and uncharitable as certain similar things I've recently blogged about.  I'm sorry you are offended by that, but that's how it is.

Tim Enloe, 1-10-04
From his blog (http://societaschristiana.blogspot.com/)

. . . at present your mind is so motivated by sheer apologetic felt-needs about "history" that you appear to be unable to take any other way of thinking seriously . . . the extremely unbalanced nature of your approach to matters of Truth and conscience . . .

Tim Enloe, 1-11-04
From his blog (http://societaschristiana.blogspot.com/)

You keep assuming that my periodic attacks on "Catholic apologists" translates to "All Catholics are dumb bigots completely unable to be reasonable."  No.  Those periodic attacks are exactly what they say they are--attacks on apologists for being so damned obtuse and condescending to others on issues that are so deeply wrapped up in the sheer, inexpressible mysteries of human conscience and finitude.  The community you serve, Dave, and indeed, you yourself, are simply mirror images of the things you most want to fight.  It's impossible to carry on reasonable conversations with most of you because you have simply defined all other positions out of the very sphere of "reasonable" before the conversations even begin.  You don't give respect and courtesy, Dave, so it's no mystery why you don't receive it back . . . and that's why sustained reasonable conversation is not possible with you.

. . . you simply haven't earned the right to be taken seriously in serious discussions about serious historical issues.  You're a propagandist and an apologist, not someone who wants to understand where others are coming from and who tries to take them seriously on their own terms.

. . . You're only talking to yourself and those whose "Catholic" faith is so ignorant and weak that it has to resort to sophomoric sloganeering, whining about "anti-Catholics", pretending that anyone with 1/2 a brain just ought to see how obvious "development of doctrine" is, saying that non-Catholics are forever led astray by a "priesthood of scholars" because they "don't have faith in 'the Objective Revelation'", and so on.  What a bunch of introverted, nonsensical quackery.  Really.

Eric L., 1-10-04
From Tim Enloe's blog (http://societaschristiana.blogspot.com/)

. . . it is much better for me to engage the church catholic on a broader scale with those who don't take a mastabatory [sic] delight in their own rhetorical flairs and plethora of words.  From simple observation over these past few months I can see you are simply a time-suck that in no way would yield a positive return for anyone involved. My advice to Tim is to let you continue your ranting inanities all you like, and instead find ways to trade time that would have been hopelessly lost on you and others like you -- regardless of their theological or ecclesiological persuasion -- to trade that hopeless divergence in abstract head-banging in . . .

F. Turk (centuri0n), 1-11-04
From Tim Enloe's blog (http://societaschristiana.blogspot.com/)

I find this thread where Tim is chastizing DAVE ARMSTRONG!  Hi Dave!  Seems I'm not the only one who thinks you're a cry-baby who is unable to rightly handle historical primary sources.
Theodoret, chum.  Theodoret . . . Sicc'em Tim.  You and I may not have a lot in common, but anyone about to stick a needle in the balloon which is Armstrong's alleged arguments deserves support and kudos.

[To the preceding two remarks, I wrote: "I respond with a blessing, Philippians 2:1-3, and James 3:6-10."]

Not to be outdone, the so-called "traditionalist" Catholic crowd: the ones who frown upon Vatican II, the Novus Ordo Mass, ecumenism, etc., have their definite opinions about me as well:

Emerald (emerald1@cox.net), October 19, 2003
(http://www.greenspun.com/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg.tcl?msg_id=00BRHy)

Dave Armstrong is part of that narrow, clustered source of a body of anti-traditional Catholic thought . . . I feel safe enough saying that I think they have a hand in the destruction of the Faith . . . in general terms, I believe that they do immense damage to the Church. I'm not buying Armstrong's declining to enter this lowly forum to debate the traditional Catholic vs. neo-Catholic topics. When one boasts clarity of Catholic knowledge in public circles and then declines to follow through in the particular application of it, as in this forum, it runs counter to their stated claim to fame . . . I do not believe he has the truth on his side.

The following insults came from an ill-fated attempt at discussion: Dialogue on Materialist Evolutionary Theory and Intelligent Design, from November 2002, which brough forth some of the silliest, most ridiculous, distorted ad hominem attacks I have ever been subjected to, in nearly eight years online (from supposedly intelligent, highly-educated "scientific-minded" types: one even was a scientist). Here is a sampling (all quotes, about me or my opinions), from five separate opponents:

I'm "not interested in serious argument."

I am utilizing only an "argument from ignorance."

I supposedly "want to feel smarter than anyone else" which is my "security blanket."

I was supposedly engaging merely in "handwaving and pseudo-philosophical mumbo-jumbo."

I was told that I had an "utter lack of knowledge" concerning what is entailed in microevolution (which I fully accept).

I use "hysterics." I form "knee-jerk" opinions, rather than informed ones. I am a "martyr" who demonstrates "immaturity."

I was engaged in "trollery."

. . . "poor martyred Dave" . . . [I'm less able to engage in conversations than] "fundamentalists at the Pizza Parlor" . . .

People on the forum (so one tells me) think I am an "arrogant, smug, pseudo-philosopher." I "behave like an ass," and my posts are "braying."

I was called a "crybaby." I "clearly" have "no understanding" of "basic philosophical method." My comments are "riddled" with "logical fallacies and valueless tautologies." I have a lot of "smug assertions" and "pseudoscientific" points. I engage in "name-calling" and "hollow ridicule" and "baseless accusations" and my remarks have no "substance."

I don't understand Michael Behe, whom I quote in agreement, because I don't understand "science or logic."

My statements which are "not logically sound" and "disproven" are too numerous to even recount.

My posts proved "closed mindedness," "ignorance," "lack of mental prowess," and/or "laziness." I "bluster about the evidence" and don't even understand my opponents' points.

More nonsense from various sources:

Tim Enloe, 12-3-03
Correspondence

I don't care a whit about any papers you produce about me or anything I do . . . what do I care what a "full time apologist" like yourself is playing games with today? . . . obtuse "religious right" style "conservative" foolishness dressed up as "defending the faith" . . .  I wish you folks on the Roman side of the divide would go about these things differently, but I guess that's just a pipedream.

Dr. James White, 1-15-04
From his website / blog: http://www.aomin.org/

. . . one of the more notorious of Rome's self-congratulatory defenders, Dave Armstrong.

Tim Enloe, 1-18-04
From his blog (http://societaschristiana.blogspot.com/)

Say what you want about my "insults" toward you; the fact remains that precisely because you claim to be doing work on a POPULAR level you cannot FAIRLY deal with what I've written with merely a week of "serious research".  I'm well aware of what the popular Catholic apologetic mind is like, what its notions of "truth" are, and so forth, and you'll pardon me for saying it's mostly a lot of mirror-image Fundamentalist goofiness.  You cater to that community, Dave.  You support it.  You encourage it.  You're NOT a "serious researcher" in these matters, by your own admission of being a populist lay apologist.  Your job is not to UNDERSTAND what someone else is saying and interact with it; your job is to DEFEND THE FAITH and make the Faithful feel like they don't have to take anyone else seriously.  And boy, do you do an admirable job of that, as your fans continually show whenever I'm unfortunate enough to run into them: "David locuta est, causa finita est."

[an evangelical Protestant acquaintance who has long observed the clashes between Tim and I, and who has posted on Tim's own blog and interacted with him calmly, made what I think is a very accurate and interesting observation and analogy in private correspondence to me: "I don't think of you as 'angry' at all, for the record. I do, however, think of you as cheerfully relentless, and it's easy to see that that personality trait would clash with Tim's sterner serious-mindedness and lack of irony. You drive him crazy for the same reason that Bugs Bunny annoys Elmer Fudd, the inevitable fracture between a naturally exasperating and an easily exasperated personality. I'm not sure there's much either of you can do about it!]

Tim Enloe, 1-19-04
From his blog (http://societaschristiana.blogspot.com/)

You are a dogmatic Papalist and you have no intention of taking any other position seriously for even a moment . . .  mostly what you're interested in is keeping the status quo of mutual hostility between Roman Catholics and Protestants alive and well.

[Y]ou have demonstrated NOTHING except your own lack of historical consciousness, your own well-established pattern of sloppiness with historical sources, and your own extremely uncritical advocacy of a mere philosophical preference regarding the nature of "development". Of course, long experience has taught us that merely saying "Dave Armstrong is careless with sources" counts as "ad hominem" to your mind, never mind how that is repeatedly demonstrated. You can make a single "quote" of Luther whose material ranges across several dozen pages of Luther's writing and is therefore put together with numerous ellipses, but you're just getting at the "essence" and the "internal dynamic" of what Luther wrote.

[This is a flat-out lie and has been dealt with more than once. I know Tim observed the original exchange on the Protestant CARM Discussion Board with one "BJ Bear" because he later made reference to it as an example of my allegedly terrible research skills. It later came up with James Swan in our interactions on Luther (Tim has posted his two papers on his site). I wrote about this absurd incident in my second reply to James Swan about Luther's Mariology. "BJ Bear" had made the following blast against me because of this notorious "false quote":

Propaganda isn't as effective when specific references are given. The severe editing
of the text in the original post and the following commentary betrays an incredible
lack of understanding and/or deliberate bias. Using your style of citation and
interpretation an atheist can easily prove that the Bible teaches there never was a
god. Using your method it would go like this, "In the beginning ... There is no god ...
You are gods."
I responded in the above paper:
The entire discussion was about a quote in one of my papers that was from Luther. "BJ" complained that it deleted large portions of material that he found in the 55-volume version of the words under consideration in Luther's Works in English. He argued / insinuated that because I didn't include ellipses [i.e., . . . ], and because there were several pages of material in-between, that I was therefore incompetent and had not the slightest clue of how to document information.

Well, it turned out that the mistake was not mine at all, but, in fact, that of Will Durant, the noted historian and author of the well-known multi-volume Story of Civilization (from which I got my quote). As far as I can tell (though it is speculative), it turned on the fact that he was citing a German version of Luther's writings, which differed from the English version of that particular excerpt.  I take it as uncontroversial that I, as a non-academic lay apologist, can cite a professional historian (Mr. Swan cites dozens of them in his latest paper, in the same fashion) and trust that he has checked out the primary sources, and so forth. Since Durant made this egregious mistake that "BJ Bear" made so much of, this only goes to show that either the German version of Luther's words was different (in which case it wouldn't be a "mistake" at all, but a case of differing versions) or that professional historians make mistakes in citation (which I already knew, as they are human beings like the rest of us).

But did this error (or differing translation) prove (following my opponent's convoluted reasoning) that Will Durant suffered from "an incredible lack of understanding and/or deliberate bias"? I think not. After I pointed these inconvenient facts out, "BJ Bear" understandably went rather silent (and, strangely, I have never heard from him since). His task was to embarrass me and show me up as an incompetent boob, not to do that to the secularist historian Will Durant (who wasn't exactly an "RC apologist")! The amusement of such folly and comic turn of events more than made up for the offensiveness of the false charge. Now, thanks to Mr. Swan's insistence on bringing up the "embarrassing" incident again, readers can make up their own mind as to who is failing to attain a certain level of "scholarly respectability" and refraining from "hostility and ad hominem."

Tim has now been corrected, concerning this incident. Readers should be clear that this is what Tim is basing his false impression of me as a dishonest researcher on: a flat-out lie and slander.]

[Note: The entire original exchange with BJ Bear is on the Internet Archive: http://web.archive.org/web/20030212231356/http://ic.net/~erasmus/RAZ341.HTM ]

You are NOT interested in understanding or fairness or mutual respect between the children of the Western Tradition.

Jason Engwer 8/5/03 7:30 am
http://pub84.ezboard.com/fntrmindiscussionboardfrm9.showMessage?topicID=386.topic&index=95

Romans45 said:

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Every Catholic makes up their own definition of what "anti-Catholic" means.
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Dave Armstrong recently told me that he isn't an anti-Protestant, since he considers Protestantism a Christian system. Supposedly, what makes a person an anti-Catholic is the belief that Catholicism isn't Christian. By that logic, then, we would expect Dave to refer to himself as an anti-Mormon in his discussions with Mormons, since he doesn't consider Mormonism Christian. But I doubt that he would say that he's an anti-Mormon. Or an anti-Jew. Or an anti-Buddhist. I doubt that Rob would refer to himself in such a way either. I wonder if these people have a definition of "anti-Catholic" that they would apply consistently.

David T. King 8/5/03 7:51 am (replying to the above)
http://pub84.ezboard.com/fntrmindiscussionboardfrm9.showMessage?topicID=386.topic&index=95

I'm convinced that the definition of what constitutes an "anti-catholic" is a matter of private interpretation, in which each member of the Roman communion becomes his or her own "magisterium of the moment." Whenever you're a Roman wanna-be apologist, and your attempted defense runs into problems, just play the martyr's trump card, and pronounce your opponent to be an "anti-catholic," and shazaam, crown yourself with the martyr's crown! Feelings of personal triumph will then swell in your heart, and give you a sense of ultimate victory when all your objections are crashing and burning in flames. Villainize that protestant objector, cast your lot with the Pharisee of Luke 18, and sing praises to the fact that you're not an anti-catholic like all those no good, filthy, objecting, protesting "separated brethren." And if you're really pious, when no one is looking or in ear shot, then say what you really think of them!  After all, we all live in a martyr's fantasy world, where anyone can become a martyr via a baptism of desire rather than death!

Dr. Eric Svendsen 3/22/04 6:58 am
http://pub84.ezboard.com/fntrmindiscussionboardfrm9.showMessage?topicID=763.topic

Every RC who gets banned from this forum--from Dave Armstrong to Scott Winsor--invariably goes crying to some RC forum that we banned him because we could not answer his arguments, or because we were "afraid" to engage his arguments. The reason all of them was banned were because either (1) they broke a forum rule repeatedly (after being warned repeatedly), or (2) they were incapable of avoiding logical fallacies in their arguments (such as double standards, equivocation, red herring, etc.). Only after they were pointed out to them repeatedly, and only after being warned not to use them repeatedly were they finally banned for wasting everyone's time. Both Dave Armstrong and Scott Winsor fall into this category--in spite of Winsor's more heroic (but fully fabricated) story to the contrary. We stopped interacting with them because trying to explain their errors to them became much like trying to explain physics to a five-year old. You can explain these things in vain only so many times before the principle of diminishing returns comes into play.

See also the related paper:

Response to Protestant Apologists Eric Svendsen's and David T. King's Public Charge of My Alleged  "Deceit" and Inability to Debate

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