Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Jiffy Jeff's Gym

Sean Gerety wrote a response to me after promising to be done responding to me. This after he claimed to respect the refutations of Scripturtalism by men like Sudduth because they weren't, like mine, gutteresk, while also claiming that Sudduth only can offer ad hominem "refutations." This post of his also came on the heels of his rather dogmatic condemnation of James Anderson's book which he admitted he had never read, basing his strong disagreements only on reviews (and the question remains whether he even read these reviews), a most unscholarly way to proceed.

Anyway, rather than interact with his post in point/counter-point fashion, I'll just cover some of his errors:

1. He calls my posts on Kielar and himself "frothing at the mouth." Of course, this is simply Sean's way of spinning things, what he can't do is demonstrate any such "frothing."

2. He claims that the paradoxes spoken of by Anderson or myself are defined as "impossible to reconcile before the bar of human reason." Of course, I claimed that this was not my position (or Anderson's) numerous times. At any rate, even if it were, what's the problem? Human reason, at least now, can't fully explain the Trinity. Some things may forever remain mysterious before the bar of human reason. One wonders what relevant difference there is.

Furthermore, apart from whether there are actual paradoxes in some Christian doctrines, Clarkians still claim that persons are irrational in believing them. I believe Anderson shows that this is false. In fact, quite apart from whether any paradoxes do exist, I think Anderson's work is brilliant because it basically can grant an atheist almost all his points about doctrines like the Trinity or incarnation appearing contradictory and this still not being a defeater for rational belief in God. It's similar to what people think Plantinga did against the problem of evil, even if libertarian free will is false.

3. He launches an ignorant attack on the claim that the paradoxes arise from unarticulated equivocations. He fails to interact in any substantive way with how this is cashed out but, rather, opts to pull the emotional card, again, claiming, "That's reassuring."

4. He ignores my claim, for a third time, that not all things taught in the Bible are paradoxes. So, again, he seems bent on attacking a position I do not hold but also tries to act as if he is attacking my position.

5. He claims that there is no reason for us to believe that God himself is not contradictory. However, I gave a perfectly acceptable argument for this:

[i] No true contradictions can exist.

[ii] God exists.

[iii] God is not a contradiction.

Which premise would he like to deny?

Which premise can I not hold on to if I affirm paradox?

Another argument might be:

[i*] Only propositions can be candidates for contradictions.

[ii*] God is not a proposition.

[iii*] God is not a contradiction.

Again, how would he fault this argument? Failing to interact with it and calling me names doesn't count, normally, as a substantive rejoinder.

6. He disregards the distinctions I drew in my response to him, ignoring the necessary constraints on what need to obtain for a paradox to obtain. If he wouldn't ignore these distinctions, he couldn't claim that, "perhaps the above assertion that God is “all-knowing” is the result of another “unarticulated equivocation on the part of the revealer.” God wasn’t really teaching us that He is “all-knowing,” perhaps He just equivocated on the word “all” or “knowing” or both? Who knows?" So, Gerety just flat-out ignores the responses given to him. This is quite pathetic, actually.

7. He again poisons the well and brings up the FV.

8. He brings up my mild analogy regarding Clark mixing biblical and extra-biblical propositions being like a drug dealer who might mix pure and impure stuff together without demonstrating the problem.

9. He dodges the question of how he knows or justifiably believes that I sinned against Clark and Robbins.

He offers a valid argument for a conclusion, but gives no argument for why I should believe premise two, a premise that, on his terms, has absolutely zero positive epistemic status. Does Scripturalism reduce to encouraging people to sincerely affirm beliefs that have no positive epistemic status?

10. He asserts without any evidence that I have slandered Clark and Robbins.

11. He claims that Scripturalism isn't self-referentially incoherent but fails to argue for this claim.

12. He claims Hays believes in paradoxical formulations of the trinity, yet Hays denies this.

13. He is double-minded by claiming that the confession teaches that, “the consent of all the parts” and that the meaning of Scripture is “not manifold, but one”?" and so I am "unconfessional," but he later states that, " If the traditional formulations need improvement then they should be revised in the light of Scripture. It wouldn’t be the first time in history a confessional statements have been revised. I thought we left the infallible teaching of the church hoax to Roman Catholics."

14. He doesn't know anything he's said, not only that he has no justification for anything he's said. Hence, everything he's said is merely his unjustified opinion. Yet he speaks with such bravado and dogmatism that he invites the charge of irrationality. Anyone who postures themselves in such a way when they believe that they are only giving people their unjustified opinions is normally thought to be irrational or a Franfurtian BSer.

15. In sum, there's absolutely nothing of value in his post and he continues to make the same mistakes he made in the comments section as well as ignore crucial distinctions all so that he can get off his talking points.

If he thinks he can prove any of the points I ask him to, or if he can give reasons for why he refuses to ignore the distinctions I've drawn for him many times, I'm all ears.

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