Monday, December 10, 2007

CalvinDude: The Retroactive Trap Reflex

Peter Pike has a reflex that urges him to respond to objections to his posts with: "See! I knew someone would say that! Fell right into my trap!" Goodness knows Pike has "retro-trapped" me too many times to count over at Triablogue, prior to my bannination. Here's Peter retro-trapping Michael Spencer -- the Internet Monk -- who wasn't thrilled with Pike's self-serving analysis of the recent shootings in Aravada and Colorado Springs, CO.

Peter Pike at Triablogue says prayer only makes sense in reformed theology. This follows his post that the shootings at New Life Church- now revealed to be by a disgruntled ex-YWAM member- should make you a Calvinist.

Is there any astonishment left for the hubris and condescension in these kinds of statements? When an Arminian or non-Calvinist says the reverse of these sorts of things, the walls come down under the crush of internet theologians trying to get their 2 cents in to show how offended they are.
Peter first equivocates:
Peter Pike:
Now first I must note that I never said the shootings at New Life Church “should make you a Calvinist.” If Spencer is going to get upset at me, he should at least get upset for something I actually wrote. I said that the response to the shootings at New Life Church demonstrated that Arminians were closet Calvinists. It didn’t make them Calvinists, it demonstrated that they held Calvinists views without realizing it.
That's quite a distinction; iMonk says "make you a Calvinist", and Pike says you should realize you already ARE a Calvinist. But forget that: all one needs to do is look at the title of Pike's orginal post on this topic -- "When Aminians Become Calvinists". Or read it, and see even more clearly how ridiculous Pike protest is here. Flares and chaff set off by Pike as pedantic distractions...


Peter Pike:
Again, anyone can refer to my posts to see I actually presented an argument. Spencer gave us feigned indignation, as if that were a valid response. All Spencer offers is ad hominem, but that’s to be expected from the iMonk.
Pretty good "goof density" in that paragraph. Whether what Pike provided in his original post was an 'argument' is a question I'll leave up to the reader, but it doesn't matter if Pike "actually presented an argument" or not, here; that is not even hinted at as part of iMonk's objection. It's just so much distractive hand waving: Hey, I actually presented an argument you know! He apparently thinks this somehow gets him off the hook, away from the point of iMonk's short observation. Not.

But wait, there's more. "Spencer gave us feined indignation", he informs us. How does he know the indignation is feigned? He doesn't say. But he's confident that it is feigned, which all that he needs to declare iMonk's words 'invalid' here. Now, I'm all for earnest, honest communications, and I can definitely see "feigned indignation" as disingenuous, if that was the case (which hasn't been established in the least), but in no way does feigning indignation diminish iMonk's point; it stands as stated, and we don't need to know or care if iMonk is indignant or not, never mind whether any indignation is authentic.

Pike has provided us a non sequitur in his first sentence, then followed with unsubstantiated charges of dishonesty from iMonk, all to 'prove' another irrelevant point. The last leg of his stool here is a nice bit of unwitting irony; "All Spenced offers is ad hominem, but that's to be expected from iMonk."

Delicious! We can be quite sure Peter has no sense of self-critique here, as this would send up red flags immediately if he did. Here, he criticizes iMonk for his ad hominem argumentation by giving us a nice little ad hominem thumb in iMonk's eye. "That's to be expected", eh? Why? Well, iMonk is just a very bad person, don't you see, a non-Calvinist, and that's reason enough, when Pike thinks about it.

Pike pulls the "drama queen" card, and slaps it on the table:

Peter Pike:
Spencer claims that I have exerted “hubris and condescension in these kind of statements” yet he offers no evidence as to why that would be the case. I guess my fatal flaw was looking at an event and stating what I thought was true about it. I guess we’re not supposed to worry about truth these days, since apparently keeping the offended in Hell is more important.
Heh. I guess we're not supposed to worry about truth these days...

Poor Peter. The 'truth martyr' laid low by the Arminian who would rather keep people in Hell rather than offend them with the Truth of Peter Pike™. Think of it as just another crown for you in Heaven, Peter. Keep your chin up, d00d.

Pike has a flare or two left he wants to fire off as distractions and confusion before he turns the table, bring the full force of his 'retro-trap' down on the unsuspecting iMonk:

Peter Pike:
Anyone can look at my argument and see that New Life Church played no part in it. It set the stage for what I wrote, but it had nothing to do with the reasons I provided. Indeed, the tragedy involved could have been anything, and as such was an objective argument that was not limited to any one particular event. I only mentioned New Life because A) it just happened and B) it happened near me.
Peter: what the hell are ya talkin' about? This isn't even remotely attached to anything iMonk said. You're right, you could have used any tragedy, and iMonk's comments work the same way. There's nothing particular about this incident at all, regarding his objection. He's just noting that, like Piper's 'we all deserve to die' bit of wisdom in response to the I-35 bridge collapse in MN, you display the kind of morally tone-deaf timing and reasoning that broadcasts a much more important message about your mind and values than anything you say in your posts (and that's sayin' something!). The tragedy could have been any tragedy, it wouldn't have mattered. The point is that this kind of rationale strikes you as coherent for any tragedy, as you've admitted here. That is the basis for the objection.

Now Pike wants to play offense:

Peter Pike:
In fact, it is Spencer who bends to hubris here. Notice how Spencer goes out of his way to inform us that the shooter has been revealed to be a former YWAM member? I only ask: why does this information matter? Why should your argument change depending on who the shooter was? If what you stand for changes because of something as trivial as this, then how pathetic is your argument in the first place?
I'm looking at iMonk's post to see where he suggests it matters at all who the shooter is... I got nothin'. You? It looks like an interjection iMonk put in there as a bit of late breaking news. But no matter, there's nothing there that makes things more "Arminian" or "Calvinist" or that has any theological argument behind it all from iMonk. Maybe this information doesn't matter. How he gets from there, to "if what you stand for changes because of something as trivial as this...", well, it's comments like that that make me feel stupid for even bothering to comment on this.

Hold the phone, though. Pike's painting this as iMonk '[bending] to hubris', here. How's that work again? By interjecting the news that the shooter was a disgruntled ex-YWAMer?

Right, got it, thanks.

Now, Pike's phaser gets put on "Surreal-Stun":
Peter Pike:
It certainly didn’t matter to my argument who the shooter was. It could have been Dick Cheney for all it would have affected my position. Spencer brings this up because it is he who is attempting to use the violence at New Life in a hubristic and condescending manner. He is using the murders there to stifle the presentation of the truth.
We've got no basis to think that the news about the shooter being an ex-YWAMer means anything here. Somehow, this has become the frontispiece for Pike's argument, the angry claw of his "retro-trap", as it were. Somehow, just somehow -- we are surely fools to ask why or how -- this fact (if it is a fact) has transformed the iMonk argument into a nefarious attempt to "use the violence at New Life in a hubristic and condescending manner". As if that wasn't bad enough, Pike piles on at this point, mercilessly highlight this as a sinister attempt to... -- wait for it -- ... STIFLE THE PRESENTATION OF THE TRUTH.

Maybe I should have said "Comedy-Stun" above.

OK, that's more than I can bear in wading through this crap for now. Pike goes on to compare himself to Jesus in his zeal to "save through offense", and graciously offers to give the iMonk one more chance. Interestingly, though, Pike offers this in the meta, expanding on a cryptic comment at the end of the post about the book "Lord of the Flies":
Peter Pike:
I mean like in the book by William Golding. The severed boar's head became the "Lord of the Flies."

BTW, I totally don't recommend the book. I had to read it in school or else I'd gladly know nothing about it whatsoever. If you haven't read it, don't. If you haven't seen the movies, don't.

But that's just my suggestion.
Very interesting. If you've read Lord of the Flies, and you've read some Peter Pike, this totally makes sense, doesn't it?

UPDATE: iMonk has appealed to the grace of Peter Pike, and attempted to get things right in this post at the Boar's Head Tavern.

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