Mailbag: Today’s word is CONSILIENCE.


I’m certain you don’t wake up in the middle of the night consumed by the question of whether or not you’ve convinced me that Pope (Emeritus?) Benedict’s resignation was in substantial error.  But inasmuch as I represent a reasonable mind, it might interest you to hear some feedback on your arguments.

(1)  You have convinced me that Pope Benedict intended to resign from the ministry of the papal office without resigning the office, itself.  I am not merely persuaded, I am convinced.  And I view it as really the only reasonable interpretation of the historical events connected with his resignation.

(2)  What convinced me?  You have shown me that every vector of investigation points to this conclusion.  There is a word that describes such a state of affairs: consilience.  It is not surprising when independent bodies of evidence exhibit consilience.  In fact, it is expected in one certain circumstance: when the proposition under investigation is true.  When a true proposition is subjected to independent authentic lines of investigation, the result is always the creation of independent bodies of evidence that point to the trueness of the proposition, i.e., consilience

Assume we were to investigate the date of the Declaration of Independence.  Was it really signed in 1776?  We could look at the document, itself, and see that on its face it purports to have been signed in 1776.  We could track the genealogy of living descendants of its signatories.  Ten generations between Andrea Livingston and Philip Livingston?  That points to a date in the late eighteenth century.  We could carbon date the document.  That would also point to the same timeframe.  And so on.  Of course all the independent lines of investigation lead to the same conclusion!  The Declaration of Independence was, in fact, signed in 1776.  And no matter how we investigate the matter, we will be led to that conclusion.  Hence we have consilience.

In the case of Benedict, his own words point to the conclusion that he intended to resign the ministry but not the office, the words of those around him (Gänswein) point to this conclusion, his chosen title points to this conclusion, his retainment of papal white points to this conclusion, his chosen residence points to this conclusion, the existence of an academic foundation (Miller’s dissertation) for such a maneuver points to this conclusion, Francis’ refusal to be refer to himself to as the pope points to this conclusion, and so on. 

This is consilience, Ann, and it is the distinctive mark of a true proposition.  So you’ve convinced me.  100%.

Keep up the good work,


Bruce Jenner is a man. And furthermore I consider that islam must be destroyed.