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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Bishop Conry's hypothetical syllogism

I don't mean to dwell on this guy and his situation but I had to wince when I saw this story about him in The Tablet today ... Bishop says church hierarchy had no idea of his affair with woman six years ago ...

The Bishop of Arundel and Brighton, who this week said he was “relieved” that a relationship he had with a woman six years ago had come to light, said that the church authorities did not know about the affair. Bishop Kieran Conry said that if they had known, his fellow bishops would have done something. He told the Catholic Herald: “someone would have said something to me, someone would have taken me aside, and nobody did”.

Oh look, a hypothetical syllogism (If A, then B. Not B. Therefore not A) ...

1) If his fellow bishops had known of his affairs, then they would have done something about it

2) His fellow bishops didn't do anything about it

3) Therefore, his fellow bishops didn't know of his affairs

Another example ...

1) If God had wanted us to swim, then he would have given us fins

2) He didn't give us fins

3) Therefore, God did not want us to swim

The thing is that while hypothetical syllogisms seem logical, they aren't always an accurate portrayal of reality ... the assumption made is that if A is true, then B must also be true, but that isn't always so. Conry asks us to take for granted his assertion ... "if they [his fellow bishops] had known, his fellow bishops would have done something" .... but I don't see why we should believe this to be a fact. It seems quite possible that the other bishops did know about his affairs but declined to do anything about the situation.


Anonymous Richard said...

Some Bishops seem to have a remarkable aptitude for not knowing certain things

8:15 AM  
Blogger crystal said...

Yeah, the plausible deniability factor rivals that in The X-Files ;)

10:05 AM  

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