Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Playing the numbers game

The "conservatives" like to play the numbers game. It's all about whose biggest (unless they are the minority). And some of them are even prepared to be . . . shall we say . . . economical with the truth.

The constant claim about the 300 bishops at GAFFEPRONE, for example, conveniently leaves out the fact that nearly 100 of the bishops there weren't ever part of the Anglican Communion.

The number of bishops who boycotted Lambeth is one area of tremendous . . . creativity . . . for the "conservatives." They've been floating different numbers ranging up to 280.

It must be the new math.

There are 880 bishoprics in the Anglican Communion.

A handful of those are vacant at any given time. A few bishops didn't attend due to health or other non-schismatic reasons. So, for convenience, let's call it 870ish bishops left, though that's probably high.

The number being bandied about by conference officials was 670 bishops in attendance. The lowest credible number (from the Guardian's Riazat Butt) was 666.

So then, we have a maximum number of refuseniks in the area of 200. Maybe 204. Possibly 195. Who knows exactly.

But 270, 280 it ain't.

Well, if the math fails, make something up. That seems to be the thing in the "conservative" manual - in the chapter right after claiming you're being oppressed.

Now, one of those sites that I refuse to link to because it's too d****d toxic is claiming that the 670 number was inflated by including the assorted ecumenical observers who happened to be bishops. The evidence for this claim seems a trifle sketchy - which is to say that none was provided.

What I don't get is this: If you managed to get nearly 25% of the bishops to boycott - and nobody disputes it - what does it gain you to . . . dissemble . . . your way to a less than credible claim of not quite 30% where your figuires are going to be seen as less than reliable? As a PR guy, I can tell you that a solid 200 that no one disputes would carry far more weight than a 280 that no one but your die hards believes.

The biggest problem the "conservatives" have isn't nasty libeals. It's their own over-reaching.

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