David Quinn retreats from open civil discussion on Iona Institute, by calling me a virtual stalker

by Michael Nugent on March 10, 2014

David Quinn of the Iona Institute has retreated from an open civil online discussion, about the Iona Institute and Atheist Ireland and religious and atheist morality, and he has called me a virtual stalker for asking him questions about how Iona decides on its policies.

This is ironic because, when he recently sued RTE, he complained that calling Iona derogatory names was aimed at closing down open civil debate on the very issues that I am now trying to discuss with him. The two most recent questions which David has declined to answer are:

  • You say Iona decides which Christian values to promote or not based on what makes most sense. What criteria do you use?
  • You say Iona’s arguments re marriage are not even specifically Christian. Then what are they based on?

I have published below the relevant tweets between us over the past few weeks. I have answered all of the questions that David has asked me. If David wants to recommence discussing these issues I am happy to do so.

17 February

18 February

20 February

22 February

25 February

28 February

1 March

2 March

4 March

6 March

10 March

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{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Rodney Breen March 10, 2014 at 10:05 pm

Interesting technique from David, there.

1. Avoid the question by asking a question. When that fails,

2. Patronise the questioner. When that fails,

3. Insult the questioner. When that fails,

4. Ignore the questioner.

No sign of actually engaging with the question, which is a pity.

2 A. Source March 10, 2014 at 10:25 pm

Sure he blocked me just for pointing out that Cristiano Ronaldo supports same-sex marriage! https://twitter.com/ASourceDD/status/440863900217524226

3 David Thomas March 10, 2014 at 11:26 pm

If Iona’s status as a charity is based on it’s promotion of “The advancement and promotion of the Christian religion, its social and moral values” but Iona’s arguments re marriage are not promoting the Christian religion then it is using the charities money outside of its remit and as such it’s charitable status is deeply questionable.

4 John Moriarty March 11, 2014 at 6:03 am

Now I really do know why I think Twitter is well, to put it politely, a problem that gets in the way of orderly & efficacious conversation. To reassemble the flow, one would benefit by having the patience of – a saint? 😉

5 Seamus White March 12, 2014 at 11:16 pm

David wrote extensively opposing the introduction of Civil Partnership in 2010. He said it would damage marriage and was an attack on religious freedom. I’ve asked him several times via twitter to explain specifically how the Civil Partnerships of thousands of Irish people have damaged marriage or attacked freedom of religion. Alas he blocked me before he took the opportunity to defend his own positions.

I hope our journalists will pursue my questions when next he appears on our TV screens making the same claims about marriage equality.

6 Sean Preston March 13, 2014 at 12:53 pm

Give it up Mick. You are beginning to look obsessive.

7 Emmanuel March 15, 2014 at 9:25 am

“David Quinn retreats from open civil discussion on Iona Institute” How can you have a discussion on Twitter? Which seems to be your favourite way for debating. It was a barrage of questions from yourself which lead him to call you a virtual stalker. But then again no good answer could ever satisfy the Skeptic.

8 David Thomas March 15, 2014 at 4:18 pm

Emmanuel, plenty of people have good discussions on Twitter and contrary to your personal fantasy good answers are exactly what satisfies skeptics.

9 Michael Nugent March 15, 2014 at 5:36 pm

Emmanuel, it is bad answers that don’t satisfy skeptics, while good answers don’t satisfy religious people.

10 Michael Nugent March 15, 2014 at 5:41 pm

To reformulate that last comment: Skeptics and atheists don’t like bad answers. Many religious people don’t like good questions.

11 Emmanuel March 16, 2014 at 12:40 am

David, what is my “personal fantasy”?

12 Emmanuel March 16, 2014 at 12:52 am

Michael, You asked “So why not highlight different Christian values on same sex marriage?” What did you expecting David to answer with?

13 David Thomas March 16, 2014 at 2:34 am

Emmanuel, you are expressing your own personal fantasy when when you say “no good answer satisfies skeptics”. As a person who often takes a skeptical view point I am frequently satisfied by good answers even when they raise more questions on a topic and I am also comfortable with uncertainty.

Some of the things that leave my unsatisfied are misrepresentation as in David Quinn’s submission on SSM to the constitutional convention and obfuscation as in David Quinn’s defense of Pure in Heart in his opinion piece this week.

14 Michael Nugent March 16, 2014 at 4:02 pm

Emmanuel, if you read the sequence of the tweets you should understand what I was trying to find out from David, and what he was trying to avoid answering by changing the subject.

The Iona Institute is not just David Quinn. It is a registered company with a specific registered aim: to advance and promote the Christian religion and its social and moral values.

I am trying to identify how the Iona Institute adheres to its registered aim, and how it makes decisions as to what aspects of its registered aim it prioritises over other aspects of its registered aim.

These questions are in the public interest, as the Iona Institute is indirectly funded by taxpayers by virtue of having tax-free charitable status on the basis that it is adhering to its registered aim.

The questions won’t go away because David declines to answer them. The only impact of not answering them is to make it seem as if the Iona Institute does not have good answers to the questions.

15 Emmanuel March 19, 2014 at 12:18 am

Michael, the Iona Institute can’t be pinned down by its specific registered aim on a form for some government department’s satisfaction.

Trying to identify how the Iona Institute adheres to its registered aim one would have to look at what it does and what it writes and says.

As for your public interest the tax free charitable status has changed over the years. The public interest is more that monies sent to organisations are not for an illegal purpose; not if companies are adhering to their registered aims.

The questions won’t go away you are right there. So why don’t you call David out to a debate? Face to face!

16 Emmanuel April 2, 2014 at 2:23 pm

Well Michael it now appears that you could be stalking David Quinn!

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