Monday, November 30, 2009

Daniel McClellan's Attacks

Mr. Daniel McClellan has once again sought to misrepresent me. Despite my continually asking him to cease posting his insulting verbiage on my blog, Mr. McClellan inisists on blotting my character any chance he seemingly can get. A recent example of this is the private correnspondance between Mr. McClellan and myself.

On my last blog article, Mr. McClellan posted the comment,

For the readers:

Carmenn is now emailing me privately to assert that the approval of his readership means that he has adequately responded to the scholarship. He also insists that his posts do the same. Oddly, if one hasn't read a word of the above posted scholarship, they can hardly claim to have responded to it. Carmenn doesn't even know what the above says. He knows it arrives at a conclusion contrary to his own, and so he a priori assumes that his arguments must undermine any argument to the contrary. This is the very epitome of pseudo-scholarship: "You must be wrong because you disagree with me, and I don't even have to read what you say to know that."

Carmenn, you do a great disservice to all of academia by perverting its standards so blatantly and egregiously.


Our correnspondance was meant to be strictly private, but because Mr. McClellan has yet again turned this into a cheap shot against me, the emails must be published for the reader to judge. I think it will be very telling.

November 29, 2009 at 9:30pm
Mr. McClellan,

You have quite a difficult time respecting the requests of others, don't you sir? But I suppose you feel if you have the last say things will be in your favor. Believe what you wish, but I'd like to confront you on a certain issue you raised, viz.,

"By the way, I'm not concerned about it, but it's against the rules and very inappropriate to post someone's full name and identify their username on a message board where they have not done so themselves. It doesn't matter to me, but you're trying to do the same with a friend of mine there, and he may not be so understanding."

Would you care to document that? I've named a few people, so besides yourself, and Mr. Shirts (unless he is the friend to which you referr), would you please state the exact name of this person? Frankly sir, you have not been understanding about this entire discussion so whatever insults (or worse, perhaps?) your friend may bring would be nothing new. Of course, be forewarned every letter of our correnspondance - whether in public discussion or private email - is archived, and should the need arise that any of your words directed to myself, or mentioning others in verbal insult - even God forbid, a threat (of which I've had many :-)) - will be published for all to see. Otherwise, if you can refrain from your normal course of action with opponents, this will be strictly private.

Once again, sir, I ask you to exercise whatever decency and maturity is left in you by ceasing to write insulting comments on my blog.

Carmenn Massa

November 30, 2009, at 4:09am
Carmenn-

Respecting requests? How about the request to engage the scholarship I brought up that you flat refused to respect in spite of your repeated public attempts to paint me as "non-academic"? Don't talk down at me as if you've had experience in scholarship. You're haven't, and if you keep this sophomoric stuff up you never will. Responding to scholarship is a fundamental part of this whole endeavor, and you have tacitly averred that it's beneath you and that you're not required to respond. I have no respect for that kind of dilettantism. You can call that an insult all you want, but there's not a scholar on this planet that will disagree with me. Documenting fallacies and errors is a part of scholarship, and one you shouldn't take personally. If you want to become a scholar, or even just participate in a discussion like a scholar you need to quit pretending every critique of your argument and your rhetoric is a personal insult. In addition, as I stated on you blog, you have been much more insulting of me than I possibly could have of you (and the majority of it because of misunderstandings on your part). Rather than accept your errors, however, you try to paint me as the misunderstanding party.

Regarding my friend, you're attempting to identify Elds as David Bokovoy. You've already directly asked him if his first name is David. His identity is his to reveal when he sees fit, so you're out of bounds, and I suggest you try to carry it no further.

November 30, 2009, at 7:44am
"Respecting requests? How about the request to engage the scholarship I brought up that you flat refused to respect in spite of your repeated public attempts to paint me as "non-academic"?"

You and your fellows seem to be the only ones who actually (strangely) see this. Everyone else who has read my responses say quite the opposite, Mr. McClellan. The scholarship you brought up in your responses I did deal with - I'm sorry I cannot say the same for you.

"Don't talk down at me as if you've had experience in scholarship. You're haven't, and if you keep this sophomoric stuff up you never will. Responding to scholarship is a fundamental part of this whole endeavor, and you have tacitly averred that it's beneath you and that you're not required to respond."

I suggest you re-read my work, sir. Yet again you accuse me of the very thing you have done. You have provided more than enough examples of this in our discussion and on CARM with other folks. It simply astounds me you accuse me of believing scholarship is "beneath [me]" when I've challenged the reader more than once, not only in our discussion, but in the discussion with Kerry Shirts and my 8-part video series to seek out the scholarship. Please read my words carefully sir before drawing these phenomenally erroneous conclusions.

"I have no respect for that kind of dilettantism."

Neither do I.

"You can call that an insult all you want, but there's not a scholar on this planet that will disagree with me."

You're building another straw-man, Mr. McClellan, based on your own clouded perspective of what I have truly been consistently saying.

"Documenting fallacies and errors is a part of scholarship, and one you shouldn't take personally."

Correct. Hence why I never take it personally. You, on the other hand, seem to be too emotionally involved. It shows clear as crystal.

"If you want to become a scholar, or even just participate in a discussion like a scholar you need to quit pretending every critique of your argument and your rhetoric is a personal insult."

Another staw-man, Mr. McClellan. In my many discussions with Mormons I don't take every critique as insulting. Had you read *any* of my archived discussions with Mormons you would note this. You, however, cannot seem to respond *without* adding a subtle underlining of ad hominem, not only with me but other opponents as well. Shall I pull up the CARM boards for a few examples?

"In addition, as I stated on you blog, you have been much more insulting of me than I possibly could have of you (and the majority of it because of misunderstandings on your part)."

If that's what you would like to believe, then by all means. You will find yourself and perhaps a few disciples the only ones promoting this idea. Of course, we should just ignore the fact you haven't answered any of the small errors I clearly documented, but simply accused me of trying to "wriggle out of [my] rhetorical pettiness." There is only one misunderstanding on my part, Mr. McClellan, viz. the "graduate student" issue. You and your fellows have used this as an attack instead of simply making a polite correction. That speaks volumes, sir. You've failed to document anything else. I suggest you do so if you continue to make these baseless claims. I further suggest you document specifically where I defined, declared, and professed myself to be a scholar, something which seems to be a favorite accusation of yours. To date you have not done so. Your low-blow shot to Dr. White (and Dr. Walter Martin, from the link you provided) are completely uncalled for. It must feel good to attack a man behind his back, Mr. McClellan, and even better if he's dead. If you truly were serious about any reasearch at all you would not accuse both these men of holding invalid credentials. Not only your apologists, by many popular Roman apologists fall into this same error. Frankly, it's sickening.

"Rather than accept your errors, however, you try to paint me as the misunderstanding party."

Believe what you will, sir.

"Regarding my friend, you're attempting to identify Elds as David Bokovoy. You've already directly asked him if his first name is David. His identity is his to reveal when he sees fit, so you're out of bounds, and I suggest you try to carry it no further."

I suggest you tell your friend if he is put out by my simply asking him his name, he should contact me personally. Secondly, you should once again get the fact straight. I specifically asked,

"And just out of curiosity, sir, would your name happen to be David?" http://forums.carm.org/v/showthread.php?p=5633807#poststop

Tell me: exactly how do you get "David Bokovoy" from only "David"? You said in your comment,

"By the way, I'm not concerned about it, but it's against the rules and very inappropriate to post someone's ***full name*** and identify their username on a message board where they have not done so themselves."

"Full name", sir? "Full name"...Would you care to explain how stating the first name *only* in an innocent question is posting a *full name* and identity? I would love to understand how this works.

The reason I asked Elds his name was because I saw virtually the same wording Elds used was used by David Bokovoy at MADB, regarding the exact same subject. Yet again you have misrepresented the facts. I think it's mutually obvious why you did so.

If your friend has an issue with my simply asking for his name, please tell him to bring the issue to me personally. There's so little personal confrontation these days...

Good day, sir.

Carmenn Massa

November 30, 2009, at 9:16am
Carmenn-

You actually believe that the naivety of your readers means you're not required to respond to evidence? Are you serious? You didn't engage a word of it and you haven't even read a word of it, thus you cannot even begin to claim you have dealt with a word of it. You don't even know what the scholarship says, much less whether or not you've addressed it.This is an utterly asinine assumption on your part.

Regarding my friend, I didn't say he was put out, I said it was against the rules and incredibly inappropriate. I suggest you correct your indiscretion before he decides he's put out. It's not a matter of Mormon v. anti-Mormon, it's a matter of decorum and respect. If you treat this as a debate between me and you you're barking up the wrong tree. I'm just trying to save you some trouble.

-Dan


November 30, 2009, at 5:49pm
Mr. McClellan,

I have never seen anyone twist my every syllable as you have. I'm sure many if not all my readers would object to you labelling them "naive." Your obnoxious remarks just don't stop, do they Mr. McClellan?

Regarding your friend, you said,

"It doesn't matter to me, but you're trying to do the same with a friend of mine there, and he may not be so understanding."

The impression is clearly given that he is put out by my mention his name, Mr. McClellan.

I reject the deragotory label "anti-Mormon." I am not an anti-Mormon, sir. I do not label you an anti-Christian, or an anti-Catholic to be specific. I find this type of behaviour childish and insulting, as will many.

There is no debate with you, Mr. McClellan. I don't know if this can even be declared a "discussion." True discussions do not result like this.

I see you have yet again gone against my personal request of not writing on my blog by posting this,

"For the readers:

"Carmenn is now emailing me privately to assert that the approval of his readership means that he has adequately responded to the scholarship. He also insists that his posts do the same. Oddly, if one hasn't read a word of the above posted scholarship, they can hardly claim to have responded to it. Carmenn doesn't even know what the above says. He knows it arrives at a conclusion contrary to his own, and so he a priori assumes that his arguments must undermine any argument to the contrary. This is the very epitome of pseudo-scholarship: "You must be wrong because you disagree with me, and I don't even have to read what you say to know that."

"Carmenn, you do a great disservice to all of academia by perverting its standards so blatantly and egregiously."

Decency has no meaning in your vocabulary, Mr. McClellan. Because you have taken this low-blow by misrepresenting this correnspondance, I will make these emails public preceeded by your comment. Not only is this behavior unfair to the discussion, but it is also greatly unfair to the readers.

Good day.

Carmenn Massa


Today Mr. McClellan responded with the following.

December 1, 2009, at 3:42am
Carmenn-

Again, you manifest a sincere desire not to listen. I made it quite clear that my friend has registered no response at all to your mentioning his name. I am simply trying to give you the opportunity to correct the oversight before it goes any further. He has said nothing to me, but what you are doing is against the rules. As I also stated quite clearly, this issue isn't about you and me, this is about inappropriate board behavior. And you are the very definition of anti-Mormon. Feigning congeniality while burping up sophomoric little jabs, condescending remarks, and incredibly poor scholarship doesn't make you any less anti-Mormon.

Regarding your blog, as I said, if you want me to stop pointing out your indiscretions, stop committing them. You attack me by name (and very naively) in the very titles of two of your blog posts, and that was a big mistake. I'm letting your readership know just how big a mistake, and if you're really that concerned about censoring the responses to your weak scholarship then bring your dilettantism full-circle and start deleting my posts. I still have a lot of criticism to mete out to your silly little posts, and your continued refusal to listen to reason is only going to perpetuate that criticism. I asked you to read the scholarship so we could discuss them like adults, but you refused, and so the conversation is turning one sided, and it's one you lost the instant you hit "Publish" on your post.

-Dan

December 1, 2009, at 4:40am
"Again, you manifest a sincere desire not to listen. I made it quite clear that my friend has registered no response at all to your mentioning his name. I am simply trying to give you the opportunity to correct the oversight before it goes any further."

Sir, it's obvious what was being implied. I really see no reason for you to continually dwell on it. Your past record of *documented* misrepresentation speaks for itself.

"He has said nothing to me, but what you are doing is against the rules."

Here's the link for the CARM rules, sir: http://www.carm.org/forum-rules

Please direct me to which exact rule prohibits one user to ask another board member his first name?

I should also mention - in case you may be wondering - why your name was in the threads. First, I had no intention of posting on CARM but a friend from the boards saw my blog article and requested that I post it there. Would I have labelled it "Documenting Maklelan's Errors" this would have truly made no difference at all since your true name is mentioned in the articles. I recieved no messages from CARM saying I broke any rules. As always I do ask you to document your assertions.

Further, you yourself have in the past expressed a link to your blog which has your name clearly written for all to see:

"I've never dodged a thing in my life. See my blog post on this subject **Edit per Mod**" - Psalm 82:6

The Moderator deleted the link of course. Nevertheless, you willingly made your blog [and true identity] accessible for anyone interested. That was exactly three weeks ago.

"As I also stated quite clearly, this issue isn't about you and me,"

Correct.

"this is about inappropriate board behavior."

Sir, take no offense, but please don't lecture me on board behavior. You have proven over and over and over again that you're incapable of dialogueing with *anyone* who disagrees with you. The CARM boards are filled with examples of your obscene attitude, and goodness knows how many times you have been banned because of the very issue. You wouldn't take a compulsive gambler very seriouslly at all if he told you, "Gambling's bad for you, son. Don't do it all. It's a sin," while he's sitting at the poker table with high stakes. So once again, sir, please do not speak of what is and is not appropriate. Allow some of these to suffice for references:

"I don't get to that point. That's just stuff you've either made up or suckled from the swollen and ignorant teet of online antimormonism." - Mormonism's Jesus-Satan Brotherhood Error

"Now your professionalism is based exclusively off of naked assertion? Your profession doesn't make you a psychologist, but just knowing when someone has a psychiatric disorder does. Brilliant." - Documenting Daniel O. McCllelan's [Maklelan] Errors on Psalm 82 (I singled out this one because you addressed it to Athansius, a woman much older than you or I. I don't think this type of language is suitable for addressing an elder whether she's right or not, wouldn't you agree?)

"No, I'm not. This text isn't context in any sense of the word. I've explained why. You can engage that explanation or you can keep your mouth shut, but "Nu-uh!" is getting old." - Sometimes "gods" = "judges"

"No, zing is meant as a quick way to remind you that I recognize your post is nothing more than a juvenile insult meant only to make you feel better about hating us but not being able to respond to the evidence. If you can hurl enough zingers you can walk away feeling like you've won something, even if you never even addressed the topic of the post." - The Biblical Gods

You will find no fault in your own words, but everyone who has engaged with you thinks otherwise, including the Moderators who have deleted many posts on account of bickering, infraction, off-topic, and insult.

By the way, Mr. McClellan, since you are so caught up on Dr. White's and Dr. Martin's credentials, may I ask on what grounds do you consider yourself to be a scholar?

"I'm a scholar, so I obviously studied them from an etic perspective." - Satan [from "Mormonism" on CARM]

What credentials do you hold that confirm you are a scholar? I once asked if "Dr. McClellan" would be more appropriate than "Mister", but you told me you do not hold a doctorate yet. Have you held any particular scholarship in the past? I can easily find where you've claimed to be a scholar, but I'm still await for you to document where I declared myself one.

"And you are the very definition of anti-Mormon. Feigning congeniality while burping up sophomoric little jabs, condescending remarks, and incredibly poor scholarship doesn't make you any less anti-Mormon."

Your childish, derogatory comments speaks for themselves, sir. And please don't make an issue of my labelling your attitude as childish. I seem to recall you did the same here,

"More childish insults with no substance (which don't address my concerns)." - Psalm 82, in response to GoldenContact

"Feigning congeniality while burping up sophomoric little jabs, condescending remarks, and incredibly poor scholarship doesn't make you any less anti-Mormon."

I do wish you'd take your own advice, sir.

"Regarding your blog, as I said, if you want me to stop pointing out your indiscretions, stop committing them."

Actually I said clearly I want you to stop insulting me and everyone else. But does that fact matter to you, sir?

"You attack me by name (and very naively) in the very titles of two of your blog posts, and that was a big mistake. I'm letting your readership know just how big a mistake, and if you're really that concerned about censoring the responses to your weak scholarship then bring your dilettantism full-circle and start deleting my posts."

I already told you not a letter of your insulting, self-indulgent, immature, comments will be deleted. They will be read by my reader and I hope by countless others. You've made yourself my ally in demonstrating to the reading audience the very things I previously told them you have done, viz. attacking others. It's been made quite clear to our audience from your own words you believe this is centered around you: it is not, sir. Every shot you take at me and anyone else will return not with hatred, but with rational words, with a calm, thinking mind, documenting your very words carefully and at great length if only to show *your* subscribers the many errors you've made.

"I still have a lot of criticism to mete out to your silly little posts, and your continued refusal to listen to reason is only going to perpetuate that criticism."

My "silly little posts", as you call them (that's not insulting in your mind, sir?) are still awaiting any kind of decent response from you, sir. Your last response did not prove anything except that you do not agree. Why do you think I've let my readers see your response? You've proven my point better than I ever could. Once your paper is (hopefully) published, you will get a response from me. Until then I find no time in continually responding to *nothing* but empty rhetoric and insult. Your continuous disrespect doesn't help the situation any, either.

"I asked you to read the scholarship so we could discuss them like adults, but you refused, and so the conversation is turning one sided, and it's one you lost the instant you hit "Publish" on your post.

-Dan"

My articles weave a different tale, Mr. McClellan. My readers have noted that long before I told you. But in your mind all is lost for me. Your constant denial that Our God is Supreme above all other heavenly hosts is a sad admission, a frightening one, actually. Despite my assuming the gods are heavenly, you seem to reach other conclusions. Let them be heavenly, and you will have the Almighty, the First Mover, presiding over these creations who He Himself set into motion, these beings He created out of nothing and who are His divine vicars. Any scholar who is quoted to you and disagrees with you is labelled "wrong" without any proof whatsoever to back it up. You did this with Heiser and Geisler; you did it with Kenyon also in August.

Good day.

Carmenn Massa


December 1, 2009 at 4:56am
Correction: The thread "Satan" is not found under "Mormonism", but rather "Theology > Apologetics." Apologies :-)

Carmenn Massa


December 1, 2009, at 8:36am
"Documented misrepresentation"? You can't point to a single instance where I've misrepresented a thing. You're just making up facts again. It's you who has misunderstood everything from the meaning of "Oxford graduate student" to the academic process. If you honestly think that you were being misled in any of that then you're more far gone than I thought.

Regarding my name: I posted it at CARM, which is why I said I didn't care in my case. But you'll notice my comment wasn't about my case, it was about my friend's, and this asinine attempt to change that is getting increasingly juvenile. All I'm asking is that you remove the reference to his first name and not pursue that line of inquiry. That is not the least bit an imposition.

Regarding board decorum: It's perfectly acceptable and accurate to refer to online anti-Mormonism as a bloated whore. That's what it is, and it's a personal attack on exactly zero people. It's a characterization of a movement, not a person. Regarding Athanasius, her age and gender make no difference to me. Her scholarship is what makes a difference, and that is sorely lacking. Every person is treated equally in my world. Their arguments are treated according to merit, and becoming upset over a conflation of the two is your error, not mine.

By the way, no one on CARM thinks my comments are appropriate because they don't like Mormons, and they especially don't like Mormon who know more about Mormonism and the Bible than they do. Our own exchange about what it means to be a graduate student shows exactly how far people are willing to go to disagree with someone (despite being phenomenally mistaken) just because they disagree with you. Don't presume to nakedly assert that my methodologies are poor. I'm the only one citing scholarship and responding to scholarship. All you're doing is saying "Nu-uh!" and refusing to engage the argument.

Regarding my credentials: I told you numerous times (despite your repeated misunderstandings) that I am an Oxford graduate student. Last week I presented a paper at the annual meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature's annual meeting (the largest gathering of biblical scholars on the planet) to a packed house. You can find my abstract by searching for my name here:

http://sbl-site.org/meetings/Congresses_Abstracts.aspx?MeetingId=15

I intend to publish the paper next year. As I have made crystal clear, I am working on my masters degree, so I can provide no doctorate, but if presenting in professional conferences and publishing is any indication for you, then the above should satisfy you.

Regarding childish: I wouldn't make an issue out of calling something childish, but the difference between our uses of the word is that I do it accurately. Responding to requests to engage scholarship by (1) ignoring them, and (2) flat refusing is what is childish. Criticizing weak argumentation is not childish.

Regarding my comments on your blog: I wonder what your readers will think when they see the dozen publications that I have cited that you have flatly refused to even read? Do you think anyone out there with an objective bone in their body is really silly enough to think that not reading your opponents scholarship and just responding by saying "Nu-uh!" is a smart move? I really hope you don't.

Regarding "Scholars" being quoted to me: My own scholarship directly engages and refutes the assertions you provided from Geisler, and he doesn't engage a word of my work. To assert that simply providing a text from decades before my argument that arrives at different conclusions without considering a word of my argument is not engaging my argument, it's just a naive appeal to authority. I don't know why you would appeal to Heiser unless you're just not familiar with his work. He agrees with my fully about monotheism not being found in Deuteronomy or Isaiah, and that Psalm 82 very clearly refers to other deities. We disagree only on the existence of an "invisible Yahweh" and the nature of the divisions of the early Israelite pantheon (much more technical and peripheral). Kenyon is outdated and also doesn't respond to a word of my argument. This is your big problem. If I make an argument saying certain considerations lead to conclusion X and you point to a scholar from decades ago that doesn't at all address my considerations then their arrival at a different conclusion is irrelevant. You have to be able to show my considerations are wrong, not just that other conclusions have been made. That's scholarship. What you're doing is naively appealing to authority.

Regarding your witnessing: save your breath.

December 1, 2009, at 3:37pm
Mr. McClellan, if you have anything substantial to add please do. I see only a few things worth a response, viz.,

"Regarding childish: I wouldn't make an issue out of calling something childish, but the difference between our uses of the word is that I do it accurately. Responding to requests to engage scholarship by (1) ignoring them, and (2) flat refusing is what is childish. Criticizing weak argumentation is not childish."

Both 1 and 2 have been you modus operandi, sir. You should have no issue whatsoever with people seeing your work (and attitude) as childish.

Presenting a paper to even the greatest scholars does not make you one, sir. You demand credentials from Drs. White and Martin (which they both have) but for quite obvious reason you overlook the facts pertaining to their stories while declaring yourself a scholar when you have no credentials yet. Fantastic.

"You have to be able to show my considerations are wrong, not just that other conclusions have been made. That's scholarship. What you're doing is naively appealing to authority."

Thank you for fully demonstrating you never carefully read my articles. Not only do I show your considerations to be faulty, but I back them up with scholarship. But believe what you will, Mr. McClellan. So far you've been my greatest help.

Since it seems to give you a feeling of victory (incredibly ridiculous as that is) you may have the last word in this correnspondance. Thanks for the charity, Mr. McClellan :-)

Carmenn Massa


Less than twenty minutes later, Mr. McClellan responded with the following:

December 1, 2009, at 6:54pm
Carmenn-

Substantial to add? I'm still waiting for you to respond to my substantial comments. My dozen publications that support my interpretation of Psalm 82 versus your zero that support yours still needs to be addressed. That's substantial and your twofold "response," that (1) your readership still seems to agree with you, and (2) Norman Geisler agrees about something else, is irrelevant. As is abundantly clear, you don't even begin to respond.

Second, White and Martin don't have PhD's. White has a phony degree from an unaccredited apologetics "college" run primarily by Martin, whose PhD is also from an unaccredited correspondence school. Neither of their PhD's are legitimate, and both have been documented lying about their schools. See the following links:

http://www.fairlds.org/Anti-Mormons/Does_Walter_Martin_Have_a_Valid_PhD.html

http://www.shields-research.org/Novak/james.htm

Lastly, I have read every word of your blog posts (they're not articles) very carefully, and I did not find a single instance of you legitimately engaging my arguments. I found nothing but "Nu-uh!" ornamented with Greek texts you can't even read. Post this impotent posturing on the message boards where someone else might believe you, but you should know better than to think the only person reading these responses (me) is possibly going to be fooled by this.

-Dan



And there you have it folks. According to Daniel McClellan I make the fallacy of appealing to authority, but at the same time it's perfectly fine for him to appeal to scholarly authorities which support his view. Doesn't matter that I've made arguments regarding the issues involved with the divine council, doesn't matter that my objections (including archaeological evidence) prove monotheism was the first religious belief, doesn't matter what any of the facts say, so long as Mr. McClellan gets the last word and declares what is true and what is false. You've seen it for yourself. Now you be the judge.

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