Sunday, January 02, 2011

The moral immaturity of a six year old

There’s a little psychological exam that’s used to determine the relative ethical maturity of a child. The question involves the breaking of cups. One child breaks 10 cups by accident; the other child breaks one cup in a fit of anger. The question is, which child deserves to be punished? Typically, a six-year-old child would say “10 cups,” being unaware of basic principles of moral culpability.

Just sayin’.

In my recent interactions with Scott Windsor, over the forged Donation of Constantine, he actually went through every paragraph of that document to say, “yes, that was a lie,” or “no, that was not a lie.”

After doing so, he made the following bold claim:
To be clear here - I do not "defend" the forgery, I simply proved - quite succinctly, that the document is not "a complete lie" - as Bugay falsely charged. While its origin is not from the Emperor Constantine, many of the statements within the Donation of Constantine are quite true. To be "a complete lie" there could be NO truths within it. Mr. Bugay needs to realize his hyperbole has been called and his next step should be to acknowledge what I have said - there are SOME truths within the Donation of Constantine document. Yes, there are SOME false attributions in it, in fact the whole document is falsely attributed to Emperor Constantine - but to say it is "a complete lie" is not a truthful statement.
Never mind that the mere intention to deceive is what makes the thing a lie. In the words of Augustine: “But the fault of him who lies, is, the desire of deceiving in the uttering of his mind (“De Mendacio”).

As I noted in my previous post, “the so-called Donation of Constantine was a thoroughgoing forgery, made for a specific purpose, at a particular place and time. It was the means chosen to achieve a specific end in a desperate situation.” (from Derek Wilson, “Charlemagne,” New York, London, Doubleday Publishing ©2006, pg 24).

According to Wilson, a secular historian, the forgers were “criminals,” and the individual who delivered it, Pope Stephen II, produced the document, with the intent to deceive, in order to persuade Pepin, King of France to defend himself and indeed Rome against Alstulf, the Lombard king.

J.N.D. Kelly notes that this document was indeed “drafted in the papal chancery.” Perhaps Scott will want to say that perhaps the papal chancery produced this document without any input from the pope. And he may say that “Pope Stephen” really didn’t hand that document to Pepin in the course of his negotiations with him.

But really, I tend to think that such things would be types of things that the six year old would say. In the real world, leaders are responsible for the doings of their underlings. In the real world, a real leader would take responsibility for his actions, instead of shifting the blame somewhere else. And after all, the intention to deceive is what makes a thing a lie, not the fact that there may be some truth imparted for the purpose of making the lie more believable.

16 comments:

EA said...

Windsor's take rests on an equivocation, to wit: The Donation of Constantine cannot be classified as a "Complete Lie" as it contains some truths. To use this particular tactic is grasping at straws.

John Bugay said...

EA, it goes beyond equivocation, though. Far beyond. I am at a loss to comprehend how he can look at that statement in its historical context and say, "there are SOME truths" in it.

I'm sure Hitler and Stalin even managed to tell the truth every once in a while. But that did not in any way validate their, uh, governmental efforts.

Constantine said...

It seems that Paul was fairly adamant against such equivocation and talks of "Godly sincerity", as can be read here: (2 Corinthians 1: 12-14; 17; 18-19)

Was I fickle when I intended to do this? Or do I make my plans in a worldly manner so that in the same breath I say both “Yes, yes” and “No, no”?

And Jesus said, "All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one." (Matthew 5:37)

There, therefore, seems to be ample Biblical admonition against any teaching that is partially true and partially false.

Just sayin'

Welcome back, John, and Happy New Year!

Peace.

John Bugay said...

Hi Constantine, thanks and Happy New Year.

There, therefore, seems to be ample Biblical admonition against any teaching that is partially true and partially false.

Yeah, but with the infallible Magisterium and all, they can do what Windsor did, and pick thru the truth and the lies, and tell the faithful exactly what they need to believe.

Brigitte said...

A partial lie, I guess, is like a partial justification; it somehow makes sens to some people. ?

John Bugay said...

Hi Brigitte: A partial lie, I guess, is like a partial justification; it somehow makes sens to some people. ?

hmmm....

Andrew said...

Dear Mr. Windsor,
Since Satan spoke partial truths in his lie to Eve, and his attempt to tempt Christ.....oh, never mind.

Jeph said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jeph said...

Oh yes, Satan himself can also tell "some truths" and yet the Bible tells us plainly that there is NO truth in him. Half truth is no truth at all.

John Bugay said...

Hi Jeph, yes, I can imagine Scott going through Satan's lies and saying, "yup, that's true, no that's not true. But at least Satan is not a total liar, so we can learn some good things from him."

CathApol said...

JB: Hi Jeph, yes, I can imagine Scott going through Satan's lies and saying, "yup, that's true, no that's not true. But at least Satan is not a total liar, so we can learn some good things from him."

SW: John, please don't fabricate (lie) about what I've said and didn't say - or imply that would be my response. Consider what you and others have already affirmed above! Satan is NOT a "total liar" for he has told "some truths!" Again, I did NOT endorse the DofC and explicitly stated I do not defend it - I only stated it is not a "total lie" - as you stated. Why you continue to expose yourself to your own folly is beyond me. It seems as though others in blind hatred of anything a Catholic might say - especially if it is in correction of a non-Catholic - follow you in that folly.

CathApol said...

Yes, REJECT the DofC - it SHOULD be rejected! I simply corrected you on the FACT that while it contains lies, not EVERYTHING in it is a lie so therefore it is not a "total lie."

You're making much ado about nothing here. I do not support the DofC.

Methinks thou protesteth too much.

John Bugay said...

Even the so-called true statements were included for the purpose of deceiving. The entire project was one big, calculated effort to deceive. In that regard it was a total lie. But you don't seem to be able to grasp that distinction.

CathApol said...

JB: "In that regard..."

OK, I can accept your modified statement. Thank you for clarifying and adding that.

John Bugay said...

I did not modify my statement. It is a total lie in the sense that any thinking person would understand a forged document, forged with the intent to deceive, a complete lie.

You show your deficiencies very clearly in suggesting that there are any redeeming qualities at all in that document.

CathApol said...

> JB: I did not modify my
> statement.

SW: Well, originally you did not include "in that regard" so that IS a modifier. You add a similar modifier next:

> JB: It is a total lie in
> the sense
that any
> thinking person would
> understand a forged document,
> forged with the intent to
> deceive, a complete lie.

SW: Italics mine in the above, but you've added "in the sense" which also modifies the original statement.

SW: So again, I accept your modified statement, even if you deny modifying it - I accept it. Your original statement was hyperbolic - why is it so hard for you folks to admit you've made a mistake or an overstatement? OK, it's hard for me to do too at times, but CLEARLY you've gone from a blanket "it's a total lie" to "in that regard" or "in the sense..." that it "is a total lie."

> JB: You show your deficiencies
> very clearly in suggesting
> that there are any redeeming
> qualities at all in that
> document.

SW: To use your modified terminology, in the sense of taking the document as a whole, there are no redeeming qualities to it. That is not to say that one cannot find truth within the document. There are some redeeming qualities to Mormonism too, but that doesn't make Mormonism, as a whole, redeeming at all.

Scott<<<