10 November 2006

Re: Hypocrisy Lesson

Hello Janet,
Charles Cherry sent you this message from Meetup.com:
Dear Janet,

Thanks again for the opportunity to respond, and thanks for the vocabulary lesson on hypocrisy. As a student of the Greek language, my first instinct was to correct your use of the Greek in your etymology, but I'll let that slide ;-)

I do agree that one meaning of hypocrisy is "holding to a double-standard." If that is what you meant when you said I was guilty of blatant hypocrisy, I'll take your word for it.

"And I suspect that you read my criticism of your argument as hypocritical as my calling you a hypocrite, which led to your initial accusation of name-calling. In fact I did no such thing, and your accusation is groundless. The criticism is of
your arguments, not you."

When you say that your criticism was toward my arguments and not towards me, it looks like you are equivocating.

Perhaps the reason I read that you were calling me a hypocrite (and thus resorting to ad hominem) is that it is impossible for an argument to be hypocritical. You see, an argument is just a serious of words and phrases strung together to form sentences and paragraphs. Those words can form valid, invalid or faulty arguments, but they cannot be accused of hypocrisy. Only humans can be accused of hypocrisy, because only humans can be hypocrites.

"Now the term hypocrisy is a social term, one of opprobrium, which is probably why you so strenuously object to it."

There is a reason it is a term of opprobrium - hypocrisy is a serious moral failing. As such, it falls within the realm of ethics and morality. One reason why Jesus condemned the sin of hypocrisy in the religious leaders of the day was because they
were supposed to be representing God to His people. By acting hypocritically, they were grossly misrepresenting Him.

With all of that in mind, I am curious to find out from you how the arguments in my letter to the editor reveal my blatant hypocrisy ;-) 

"...it is a line of argument that is self-contradictory, and self-contradiction is a fatal flaw. No such argument can stand."

I couldn't have said it better.


By the way, I find it a bit humorous that you, being an
atheist, are relying on the words of Jesus to buttress your arguments ;-)