Divine Collaboration

Tyranny of Experts: The Verdict

Are Bishops Guilty of Anti-Intellectualism?

The Prosecution’s Case

In the previous post, I described the vitriolic accusation brought against Archbishop Gomez by ad hoc prosecutor, Franciscan Daniel Horan.

The Archbishop, along with other Bishops, were accused by Horan of being anti-intellectual. Their crime? They failed to bend a knee before secular technocratic overlords, experts and professionals, seeking complete and dictatorial control over our lives. These intellectuals, in Horan’s view, were immune from scrutiny. They should not be doubted, nor questioned.

Does Horan’s case against the Archbishop hold up? Would reasonable people support the charges? If you and I were a jury, what verdict might we deliver?

Franciscan Horan begins his indictment with the following observation:

There appears to be decreasing interest among the American episcopate, and among clergy more broadly, in reading widely, engaging in robust conversation and dialogue, or learning from perspectives, sources and cultures different from one’s own.

Franciscan Horan implicitly claims the high ground as a worldly man, abandoning any pretense of Franciscan humility. Those he denigrates are painted as yokels unable to stay up with the evolving culture.

The Franciscan seeks to make his case by invoking the work of two Canadian political science “research scholars”—calling on them as “expert witnesses” regarding the alleged crime of anti-intellectualism. Horan sets the stage for his indictment:

We have seen this play out this year with the simplistic and at times dangerously erroneous statements some bishops have made regarding the COVID-19 vaccine and alleged ethical questions surrounding it. As research scholars have noted, such attitudes and statements around vaccine misinformation, skepticism and noncompliance with public health protocols are strongly correlated to anti-intellectual attitudes.

Ad hoc prosecutor Horan continues his opening argument:

Sadly, many church leaders believe themselves to be sufficiently situated to make appropriate judgments about things they know nothing about and to distrust actual experts and professionals.

Most wise people in positions of comparable responsibility would solicit the advice and insight of those who are experts and professionals. But time and again, few American bishops seem able to do something so simple.

It is clear that Horan believes his allegations demand a conviction. Rubes in ecclesiastic garments must be found guilty. How dare they doubt the experts?

But wait. We should not move so quickly to the ad hoc verdict and sentence. The jury may want to know more about the charges. They have a duty to delve deeper into the evidence. Questions must be answered during…

Cross Examination

The jury wants to know the precise nature of the crime, as defined by Horan’s expert witnesses, the research scholars:

Anti-intellectualism (the generalized distrust of experts and intellectuals) is an important concept in explaining the public’s engagement with advice from scientists and experts. We ask whether it has shaped the mass public’s response to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

At first glance, this “generalized distrust” of experts or intellectuals seems to be a pretty weak crime. After all, isn’t a modicum of skepticism usually healthy? What is the terrible offense in wanting to see the evidence?

Anti-intellectualism poses a fundamental challenge in maintaining and increasing public compliance with expert-guided COVID-19 health directives.

AHHH. This is all about COMPLIANCE. Experts and intellectuals desire, no, they actually demand, absolute compliance with their edicts. When we recognize Horan’s driving motivation is compliance, the accusation starts to take a more defined shape.

However, in a free society, such blind and unquestioning compliance is not considered a virtue. Soul-crushing compliance only achieves a place of honor in totalitarian societies.

Besides, we should note, the political science scholars that Horan cites are themselves members of the intellectual class that demands compliance. The research is invalid; the “research” is a transparent and dubious attempt to enforce obedience on those whom it criticizes. The scholar’s “work” is a poorly concealed attempt to heap opprobrium on those who are reticent to blindly follow their commands. The conflict of interest is obvious and offensive.

In addition, Horan’s “scholars” fail to establish whether expert views, edicts, and science are valid. They fail to consider the experts’ ethics. They fail to investigate whether the experts harbor financial or professional conflicts of interest. They do not ask basic questions: Are intellectuals and researchers biased? Are they controlled by powerful interests with hidden agendas?

Horan and his scholars fail to research whether or not Bishops have valid reasons to distrust the experts. Instead, the scholars arbitrarily heap criticism on anyone who expresses distrust and concern.

The expert bias is clear. One example, in particular, is informative. The research scholars write:

Meanwhile, a number of verifiably false, pseudo-scientific claims have been circulating in popular discourse… [like] the artificial creation of SARS-CoV-2, by either China or the United States.

Horan’s case collapses with a thud. Evidence shows that the SARS-CoV-2 virus was created in U.S. and Chinese labs. The gain-of-function research—which altered the virus and made it infectious to humans—was conducted in labs in the U.S. and China. The evidence is irrefutable.

Thus, the expert scholars that Horan cites have published a verifiable lie in the very research that Horan believes should warrant the obedience of the Bishops.

Horan, perhaps inadvertently, but certainly irresponsibly, promotes blind obedience to those who have lied about the origins of the virus.

The Defense Rests

This revelation of the scholar’s provably false statement forces Horan into classic situational irony, defined by Merriam Webster as:

“a striking reversal of what is expected or intended: a person sidesteps a pothole to avoid injury and in doing so steps into another pothole and injures themselves.”

Daniel Horan—who self-proclaims himself to be a culturally-adept, educated intellectual—maligns Bishops, accusing them of being too uneducated to realize they should bow before technocrats who Horan believes deserve unquestioning and unwavering obedience.

Abandoning all Franciscan humility, Horan face-plants into a pothole of ignorance, betrayed by experts before whom he insisted the clergy should bend a knee. His esteemed experts were not only wrong, they were dishonest. They LIED.

Horan’s experts lied about the origins of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, a gain-of-function bioweapon initiated in a U.S. lab and later transferred to the Wuhan Lab in China with NIH funding.

They lied when they claimed alternative treatments, hydroxychloroquine and Ivermectin, were ineffective. They maliciously withheld valid treatment from the public.

Experts lied about “vaccine” efficacy and safety, and covered up a horrendous toll of injury and death. They lied about the COVID vaccines stopping infection and transmission. They lied about the risks of the COVID vaccines, a risk that exceeded the risks of all other vaccines.

Experts lied about their personal financial gain and raked in millions.

They engaged in unprecedented censorship of the truth in order to hide their crimes and their lies.

Horan could not have been more wrong. His experts were not people before whom the Bishops should have kneeled. They were people the Bishops should have denounced, in order to prevent harm to their flocks.

The Verdict

Franciscan Daniel Horan can and should be found guilty of calumny.

His malicious accusations, launched in support of criminally deceptive “experts and professionals,” contributed to injury and death. We’re only beginning to tally the carnage.

People misled by Horan’s reckless lack of due diligence suffered harm.

Horan’s egregious actions warrant penance that St. Francis might assign, but, perhaps even St. Francis would turn his back on Horan and hand the penance decision over to Dante.

It is doubtful, in my mind, that St. Francis would find a place in the Order for those who abandon the faith to promote and celebrate secular criminals.

Should we, the jury, consider granting Horan a pardon, because, after all, “he was deceived like everyone else”? No, I do not believe he should be pardoned for his ignorance. As an example, Taming the Wolf Institute did not follow “everyone else.” Rather, while Horan was idolizing and promoting criminals, the Institute prepared a video that revealed truth. You can find it on our Bring a Witness ministry page.

For further research and reflection, you may wish to visit Courageous Discourse, a Substack publication.

Support Peacemaking

Your donations help us disseminate peacemaking tools and techniques.