Dave Armstrong hosted a guest post by hatchet man Paul Hoffer.
The Problem With Placing One’s Faith On a Pseudonymous Blogger Rather Than In a Visible Church (Part I) (by Paul Hoffer)
i) TFan doesn’t ask readers to put their faith in him. Rather, he argues for his positions, using reason, evidence, and Scripture.
ii) By the same token, it would be a mistake to put your faith in bloggers who are not anonymous or pseudonymous, like Paul Hoffer and Dave Armstrong.
iii) The Mormon church is a visible church. Should we put our faith in the Mormon church because it’s visible?
…and on an article posted by my friend, David Waltz...
It’s ironic that a Catholic epologist like Hoffer would elicit the support of an anti-Trinitarian lapsed Catholic like Waltz.
…to the identity of Turretinfan, a pseudonymous blogger in the service of James White…
TFan works with White, not for White. TFan had already established himself in the blogosphere before White invited him to join Alpha & Omega Ministries. Indeed, it’s because TFan had distinguished himself apart from that ministry that he was invited to join.
Since some of those who commented on the above sites suggested that Mr. Fan is an Ohio attorney, and since some the accusations leveled against Mr. Fan implied that he may have violated some of the canons of the Ohio’s Code of Professional Responsibility…
Have they publicly recanted their scurrilous accusations?
…to see if I could learn the name of the individual who has caused scandal and consternation for so many, especially fellow Christians who do not share his blinkered-version of Calvinism.
i) A classic example of straining gnats while swallowing dromedaries in one gulp. Hoffer belongs to a denomination with a spiraling scandal of clerical pederasty, yet he fixates on the trumped up “scandal” of anonymous blogging.
(I offer this explanation before I go any further lest someone wishes to suggest that I was motivated from ill-will, malice or a desire for “pay-back” which typifies the modus operandi of so many of the modern-day disciples of the dead lawyer from Geneva.)
i) Needless to say, if Hoffer were motivated by ill-will, malice or a desire for “pay-back,” we’d expect him to issue this preemptive disclaimer. Since when does someone motivated ill-will, malice or a desire for “pay-back” openly admit that he’s motivated by ill-will, malice or a desire for “pay-back”? So this calculated, self-serving disclaimer is worthless.
ii) Notice, moreover, the blanket smear regarding the modus operandi of so many Calvinists.
Further, I will state unequivocally no confidences have been betrayed nor have I used any secret legal resource in any manner to ferret out Mr. Fan’s mild-mannered alter ego.
Once again, if he had betrayed a confidence or resorted to secret legal resources, wouldn’t we expect him to issue a preemptive disclaimer to the contrary? He calls himself to the stand as a character witness for himself. The exercise is transparently and viciously circular.
Now before I discuss Mr. Fan’s real identity, I wanted to touch upon the whole premise of his choice of blogging pseudonymously. Personally, unless one is writing pseudonymously out of humility or out of obedience to the directives of a superior, I believe that one must be prepared to own one’s words. If I am not willing to sign my name to an opinion, then it is not worth publicizing. In order to own your words, you have to have the courage to stand behind them, to be accountable for what you say. As poor as my writing may be, I have never been afraid of putting my name to it or being held accountable for what I write.
Is he accountable? I notice the conspicuous absence of contact information, either at the end of his post, or over at his own blog, which would enable readers to report him to his parish priest or diocesan bishop in case of misconduct. By the same token, I notice that Armstrong hasn’t made that information publicly available either. Yet Armstrong is hosting a post about personal accountability. Hoffer and Armstrong pay lip-service to the accountability-system of the Roman church while they shield themselves from direct accountability to their religious superiors. If they have the courage to stand behind their words, why don’t they provide the contact information for their religious superiors in case a reader has a grievance to lodge with superiors over their conduct?
Mr. Fan so long as I am not doing so out of malicious intent, have not breached confidences, and used legal means to ascertain his identity.
Isn’t there something self-incriminating about the steady repetition of the same tendentious disclaimer? Why does he feel the need to keep assuring us of his stainless motives?
It’s like a man who shows up at the police station, waving a newspaper in the face of the desk officer as he angrily proclaims his innocence, even though he was never named in the article as a suspect. Constant protestations of innocence before anyone even accused them of wrongdoing are not the way truly innocent men ordinarily conduct themselves.
…he has no expectation of privacy especially when he engages in speech that some consider to be abusive and un-Christian.
Actually, Hoffer’s post, which is laced with mock solicitude, the better to sugarcoat malicious intent, is arguably abusive and unchristian.
Now if anyone has a reason to “out” him, I would have a good reason to do so. In 2007, I wrote an article stating my reasons for critiquing Professor White’s misuse of cross-examination after he made the scurrilous (and frankly actionable) claim that I had engaged in a form of taqiyya in service of the Catholic Church. Rather than seriously engaging the points I made, Mr. Fan chose to attack the article and myself by directing the reader to my suspension from the practice of law for several months in 1999 for failing to appropriately deal with a health condition that was seriously impacting my practice.
Hoffer has just given us a good reason to suspect that he’s motivated by a personal vendetta.
Indeed, Hoffer’s whole post is an extended exercise in the rhetorical ad hominem device known as paralypsis. The speaker loftily denies that he will mention something, as if that would be beneath him, yet he incorporates what he’s not going to mention in the denial itself. “Far be it from me to point out that my esteemed colleague reportedly had sexual congress with a syphilic cow. I refuse to stoop to such ungentlemanly expedients.”
Despite what he and his fellow contra-Catholic bloggers may think of us, we Catholic apologists are a far more honorable, a far more charitable, and dare I say it, a far more Christian breed than he and they would credit us. If anyone is going to reveal Mr. Fan’s name, let it be either himself or one of his Protestant brethren to do so.
If, on the other hand, Hoffer’s motives were less than honorable, then we’d expect him to sugarcoat his dishonorable motives in a show of faux gallant oratory.
No, I do not intend to “out” Mr. Fan. Returning unkindness with unkindness is not my way. Our Lord taught us a different way to return such conduct.
Except that if he did intend to return unkindness for unkindness, we’d expect him to preface his vindictive agenda with preemptive disclaimers about his kindly motives.
No one should infer nefarious intent by not revealing his name. I am not withholding his name to coerce him or extract from him a promise not to attack the teachings of the Catholic Church.
Except that if he were issuing a veiled threat, we’d expect him to deny his true intentions.
Because of the stumbling block of pseudonymity that Mr. Fan has placed in the path of fellow Christians, witness the many unkind words that some have uttered against his pseudonymity, more so than over the subject matter conveyed by his words themselves.
As if Hoffer isn’t using the unkind words that “some” have uttered against TFan has a pretext to do the very same thing without acknowledgement.
Hoffer’s entire post is a study in the psychological dynamics of self-deception.