Friday, April 12, 2013
Here is a question for Patrick.
First, please consider this pair of sentences, which I’ll call ‘Claim 1’:
Claim 1: A speaker,who was making a presentation at an Army Reserve venue, in the course of so doing likened Catholics and Evangelicals to al Qaeda members as ‘extremists.’ Hence the Army endorses that assimilation and, as an institution that makes war against al Qaeda, now plans a war against Catholics.
[Please follow the link above if you do not know what occasions this remarkable claim, the last clause of which in particular continues to flabbergast me.]
Now substitute a few variables for several key terms in Claim 1, yielding this claim frame:
Claim Frame: A p, who was q-ing in an r venue, in the course of so doing s’d. Hence the r endorses that s-ing and, as an institution that t's, now plans more s against Catholics.
Now fill the variables with the following values, appropriately conjugated or preposition-supplemented where applicable:
p – priest
q – teach or otherwise minister
r – Church
s – abuse children
t – pursuant to its mission, receives regular access to children
I cannot bring myself actually to type the claim that results from thus filling the variables, so let us here leave it unspoken and call it ‘Claim 2.’
Now as all of us know, many people during the thick of the paedophilia scandals made claims along precisely such lines as the lines of Claim 2. And in light of the shocking pervasiveness of the problem that emerged during this painful period, as well as the evidence of systematic cover-up in some quarters that likewise emerged, these charges were in a certain sense understandable. Yet they were nevertheless wrong. It simply did not follow that the institution endorsed or committed itself to further incidents of the unspeakable evil that some had committed in the course of working for that institution.I wonder, then, what principled ground Patrick might offer for rejecting Claim 2, that does not warrant rejection of Claim 1.