Re: deception in perception--slander

From: Stuart d Kirkley (
Date: Fri Jul 26 2002 - 22:38:47 EDT

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    On Fri, 26 Jul 2002 10:21:43 Robert Schneider wrote: >Stuart, > You write: >> >> It is interesting how that definition, 'to slander someone', ties in >> with the message I was conveying about how we often too quickly jump >> to (incorrect) conclusions about the meaning of certain posts. >> >> I do think that the contraction I provided, that devil = do evil, is >> pertinent also, even if it is not the true delineation of the word. > > Bob's comments: > > "Slander" is a term both in theology in law. In both it means the >malicious utterance of a falsehood about someone in the presence of other >people ("libel" is the term used for written communication, but let's ignore >the difference and use "slander" for both as you seem to be doing in your >comment below). So, in order words to be slanderous (libelous), they must >be uttered with malice and with intent to do harm to another by falsely >characterizing them or something they have said or done.

    Thanks, once again, for this exposition. I was not unaware of the derivation of the word devil from the latin 'diablo', but I was not aware of the definition of that word, re:slander. I am quite aware of what slander is, but your exposition is, again, quite welcome and enlightening. > > Just how, in your mind, does :"slander" fit with "jumping to incorrect >conclusions" about the meaning of certain post you have read here? I find >it hard to believe that you really mean to insinuate that those whom you >think have incorrectly concluded things about what others have written are >acting out of malice, or that they are acting with intent to harm the person >whom they are disagreeing with by uttering what they know to be a false >conclusion. (This is aside from the question as to whether the conclusions >you have in mind have in fact been jumped to, and incorrectly so.) If I >thought you meant by "slander" what the word does mean, then, I would ask >for a bill of particulars from what you have read. I certainly have not >discerned in any recent posting by participants here any intentional act of >falsely and maliciously characterizing another's posting or person. So, I >disagree that the word "slander" "ties in with" jumping to incorrect >conclusions.

    With respect to all the subscribers on this list, this is not directed at anyone personally. I have found on numerous occasions that discussions on this list often deteriorate into simply deriding the other person's opinions or statements. There sometimes seems to be a lack of real scientific debate and objectivity. Indeed, sometimes these discussions degenerate into name calling, witness how the author of this subject heading was likened to being moronic by one respondent. This is not uncommon on this list, so I don't think I am out of line in stating that there is a tendency for slander to slip into the discussion. I am not saying this is always the case, and indeed it isn't. But it happens enough that one has to wonder about the scientific integrity of some of the respondents. If you don't agree with a persons thesis, or argument, you don't have to become offended and take it personally. That is hardly scientific. ANd isn't this a list subscribed to by those in the scientific community, or that have an interest in scientific inquiry. It seems that people often t! ake very hard and fast positions, and totally miss the meaning of the others argument. This may not be slander, but it is not objective, and it is hardly scientific. I know that there are well meaning folks out here, but the anonymity of email sometimes leads us to being less civil than we would be if we were face to face. > > In medieval moral theology, the sins of the tongue are classified as the >worst of sins, and slander as the worst of the worst, because it arises from >envy and thus is directly related to the devil, who is driven by envy >towards God and anything good. I think there is a lot to be said for this >point of view, and that is one reason I have gone on at length about this >matter. And why I wanted to make the point strongly that when we are >judging others, we really should be careful about the words we use to judge >them and find the right words to convey what we mean.

    I wholeheartedly agree, this is my concern also. > > On a less serious note, your reading of "devil" as "do evil" is an >example of what linguists call "popular" or "folk" etymology: the word is >reminiscent of another word or phrase but linguistly speaking is an >incorrect derivation, for the words are unrelated as words. Perhaps some >preachers have made this same verbal connection and used it in sermons. >Certainly "devil" and "evil" have a connection in terms of subject matter >but not in linguistics, as the latter is derived ultimately from a >reconstructed Indo-European form and the former from Greek. > >Grace and peace, >Bob Schneider

    I am well acquainted with the true derivation of the word now, thanks to the many respondents to my post. I think that 'popular' etymology does have it's virtues though. I think that my contraction is pretty much right on as to what the devil is, which I postulate as being mental suggestions to 'do evil' and ignore good. But that issue is being taken up in another post.

    Sincerely, Stuart Kirkley

    > > > >

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