Friday, January 04, 2008

The Blessing/Curse of Anonymity

Doug Wilson is peeved at Mark T., a blogger who hosts a blog that is (to put it mildly) frequently critical of Doug. Now, MT has located some private emails from 2003, which seem to put some of the Federal Vision folks in a bad light. One of the participants (not Doug) even uses some rather unbecoming language. I had expected this to simply be ignored. However, it is being publicized by Doug Wilson himself in one of his recent blog articles (link).

Doug criticizes Mark T. (perhaps validly) for disclosing something that was clearly supposed to be secret, but also criticizes Mark T. for his anonymity. He makes goading comments like, "I am not ashamed of my baptized Christian name," which are simply not helpful.

But it is the last ditch attempt of those who seek to apply ad hominem to anonymous people.

So, that's the blessing/curse of Anonymity. You remove all the other ad hominems, but you leave yourself open to the "if you were a real man, you'd name your name" silliness. Shame on Doug for stooping to that level.

The divulging secrets argument was tenuous at best - it could have been the postscript to a "So what? Everything in those emails, taken in context, is perfectly harmless," defense. Frankly, if that's the best smoking gun evidence from the Biblical Horizon's list, there's not much dirt to be dug.

Finally, while it seems unlikely that this occurred, there are other ways than someone breaking their word that the emails could have been leaked. Suppose that one of the participants carelessly neglected to wipe his computer harddrive before a yard sale? Suppose someone's child happened to stumble upon printouts of the emails? I can think of plenty of ways that the information could leak without a direct divulging taking place. But, possibly one of the participants leaked the information, and - in doing so - broke his word (assuming he did not get permission from the participants, which - of course - we have no way of knowing). Oh well, given that the allegedly foul-mouthed participant has apparently threatened legal action, it will be interesting to see how this plays out.

-Turretinfan

12 comments:

natamllc said...

TF,

with much humor I offer another way:

My son's pigeon, Nebo. Nebo is the product of Poopy and Shanel. Poopy is a pigeon I brought home one day several years ago. My sons go to a private Christian School which I happily helped found.

My oldest was sick at home the day I came to the school to pick up number 2.

While waiting for classes to end I noticed a pigeon, Poopy, huddled under the door sill of the school. As children came out of school the pigeon did not move. That caught my eye. So I asked number 2 to go get that pigeon!

Number 2 went, HUH? WHAT?. I pointed to the pigeon. He quickly jumped from the van and picked up a very wounded and sick pigeon.

I brought the pigeon home to my sick number 1 son.

Well, wouldn't you know it. Number 1 got well and so did Poopy. I will leave it to your own imagination why the bird is named such.:)

Well now as things go now that Poopy was claiming "her" territory I took number one and two to get ice cream. As we went to the ice cream parlor, number one said, Dad, there are a bunch of pigeons that I saw the last time we went for ice cream. I saw a "white" pigeon. I believe I am going to catch that pigeon and bring him home to be Poopy's companion.

Yeah, right, I thought as we drove on. Well, as it happened, I saw the event with my own eyes!!!, my number one while licking an ice cream walked right into a bunch of pigeons and as they all took flight, number one, to my utter amazement reached out and caught the white pigeon!!! WoW.

So, now we have two pigeons at home. I am sleeping on the couch! grrrr.

Anyway, Poopy and Shanel turns out to be, a black pigeon, female and a white pigeon, male! Ah, yes, eggs! Squabbs!!!, now four pigeons. Poopy, Shanel, Zoe, the white offspring and Nebo, the "bald eagle" looking pigeon.

He, one day came out and started walking on the "keys" to the computer keyboard and inadvertantly stepped onto the "send" button to an email which somehow ended up being sent to a lot of people! Hmmmmm, ooops, as we started getting responses to this email that Nebo sent! grrrrr.

We had quite an explanation to give. Some believed. Some still think it was an intentional act of malice on my part, hmmmmm!

I admit it. It is my fault. Not the sending of the email, but the kindness in my heart for my sick son in bringing home a sick pigeon, wounded by some "gun shot" wound to the breast area to be his sick companion.

I have to admit that not in a moment of time did I ever think that wounded pigeon would get well or my son would go on to breeding pigeons!

I don't sleep on the couch anymore. Now my wife does! :)

Does Doug own pigeons?

That's my story and I am sticking to it!

Michael

Turretinfan said...

Can you imagine!

It provides a whole new twist on Ecclesiastes 10:20.

-Turretinfan

natamllc said...

If you want, I can arrange for number one to send a jpeg photo album of the four to this blog site? :).

It's quite a sight to see!

One white. One black. One brown and white. One, Nebo, the bald white head pigeon with all white wing features and an all black body!!

That would, at a minimum, quench the humors, ah, rumors swirling around in the heads of those bloggers less fortunate reading your blogs, who might have to experience the King's wrath, Ecc 10:20.

Oh, by the way, my two sons went off last year on a two week vacation with my sister and her husband and my two nephews.

They got caught in the major forest fire up here in the northern part of California. While being rescued from the fire disaster themselves, fleeing the dangers of this major forest fire, they 'caught' and rescued a kitten, fire singed and lost. They came home with this kitten.

"No, no, no I said repeatedly and heatedly"!!!!

Oh, wouldn't you know it!! My wife loves the kitten. She calls it Mee Ming. Now, in my home, living with us, is one gecho, one guinea pig, one cat and four pigeons. They do things all over this house. And now this fully grown cat chases the birds around looking like she's having fun! I have no life in this house but blogging! :).

I do find some satisfaction though, when the cat, my wife's beloved feline, well fed and highly protected from me, knocks over her valuable vases trying to catch one of my son's birds! Oh, I have so much fun now!!!

The boys have to clean up the house now because neither one will admit to whose idea it was to bring the cat home!

So, the king ruled, "well then, you both are responsible for their mess" seeing your mother loves the cat so that I can't get rid of it and you two love the birds flying all over the place.

I get to sit back now and watch all the fun that goes on daily in my house as I read the blogs and comment too! :)

Yes, hmmmmm, I was wondering, what, pray thee tell, Solomon was meaning by those infamous secret words there?

TF, thanks, now it does make sense!

Michael

Turretinfan said...

If you'd like to send a jpeg I could try to add it to the Ecclesiastes 10:20 post. My email is obtainable through my blogger.com profile.

natamllc said...

ok,

when the son returns I will see what can be arranged then.

michael

Mark T. said...

When Wilson writes, “I am not ashamed of my baptized Christian name,” he underscores the principle problem in the Federal Vision controversy, i.e. he has no shame.

Thank you.

Mark t. said...

When Wilson writes, “I am not ashamed of my baptized Christian name,” he underscores the principal problem in the Federal Vision controversy, i.e. he has no shame.

Thank you.

(ooops, typo in the previous comment)

Turretinfan said...

I don't really think the FV controversy is about DW not having shame - I think it has more to do with DW not being an imprecise theologian who is overly loyal to the wrong friends - which I suppose we could connect to shame some way or another.

Nevertheless, it is just absurd to suggest that anonymous folks are "ashamed" of their names.

-Turretinfan

Mark T. said...

One important point that emerged during the Slavery Scandal was that while Wilson thought himself a historian, those of us who live in real life understood him as a revisionist. In the FV controversy, while Wilson deems himself a theologian, you categorize him as imprecise. The problem is that he’s no more of a theologian than he is a historian. He makes it all up as he goes, spinning his way out of one statement to the next, hoping he never runs out of yarn — or time — and always blaming others when they catch him in a contradiction. In this respect — the endless spin cycles with all their mood swings — Wilson has no shame.

You are absolutely correct about the loyalty factor. He requires unquestioning loyalty of his subjects and he offers them semblances of loyalty in return. But people need to understand what’s going on here. Why is he so loyal to these lawless renegades? — You see it, I see it, but we have to ask ourselves what’s in it for him? And the answer to that question explains the whole FV agenda, that is, if you grant my assumption that he leads the FV.

Turretinfan said...

I'm not worried about whether Wilson held a politically correct view on slavery, or whether he has an overly Romantic view of the Old South. I'm not particularly concerned about the way he handled the criminal that was a student at NSA for a while. I'm not all that concerned about "Trinity Fest" or the zoning battles. I'm not even all that concerned by the way he shepherds his flock in Moscow (without taking sides there, as I don't have enough information).

I'm concerned about the Federal Vision masquerading as historic Reformed Theology, just as I am worried about the New Perspective on Paul, and unlimited atonementists trying to do the same thing.

Why? Because those things are not the truth.

I don't much care if Wilson is wrong on Southern History, but it is a problem when he is wrong about Reformed history. I don't even much care whether DW is the head, or just one of the heads of the movement. He is certainly prominent in it.

This, for me, though is not about DW the man, but about the FV theology. I think DW has done a lot of things right, which is why the homosexuals and modern liberals in Moscow hate his guts. On the other hand, he's plain wrong about some theological issues, and those need to be addressed.

-Turretinfan

Turretinfan said...

Mark T.,

Thanks for your further comment, which I have decided not to publish. It seems you generally agree that the other matters are secondary, though you seem to believe that the reflect a systemic problem (if I may dare to paraphrase/summarize).

You also bring up a good point, just because homosexuals and modern liberals hate a person does not mean that they are doing something right. Both probably hate the folks from the Hayden lake area, and we would not conclude that consequently the views of that radical group are right.

In other words, their antipathy is ambiguous evidence.

Fair enough.

In any event, if anyone's point is simply to run down Doug Wilson (the man) I'm not on board. He has failings, as do we all. He has made mistakes, and perhaps there are some that need to be addressed by his session/pseudo-presbytery.

But that's not how I want to win the theological debate: by exposing the tangential failings of the man, because frankly there have been plenty of mean, lordly TRs who are bad at history and/or who have surrounded themselves with "Yes" men and established fiefdoms.

If the question is, "should I join Christ's Church in Moscow, ID?" then the question of DW's pastoral abilities needs to be asked and answered.

If the question is, "Is the FV a deviation from orthodoxy?" then whether DW is a good man is not the issue, except if someone says "It be orthodox, because DW said it..." something one is unlikely to hear outside the CREC.

-Turretinfan

natamllc said...

Oh yeah MT, while I am at it attacking your common sense, why would you post a picture of DJW next to an honorable and noble beast of the African sand?

Shame, shame, shame!

That elephant doesn't deserve the smear!

Michael