Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Death of Christian Apologetics

* A dialogue of how not to engage in Christian apologetics:

************

Christian: The Lord God exists, enthroned in the heavens.

Unbeliever: I don't believe that.

C: Well, you're wrong, because God said he exists.

U: Okay, but I don't believe in God, which implies that I don't believe he's said anything. Can you provide me with any reason to believe your assertion?

C: Um, yeah, haven't you been listening? The reason is the best possible one: God said it.

U: Hmmm, that sou..

C: Bzzzzzzt! Don't even bother responding, God said it, he can't be wrong, so whatever you say is wrong.

U: Okaaaay, I was just going to say that it sounds like you're begging the question. Why should I believe God said it. What reason can you give me?

C: That he said it.

U: I don't feel like we're getting anywhere. Look, I don't believe that God exists, so telling me to repent sounds silly to me, what argument can you give me for accepting your religion over the thousands of others.

C: Well, because their gods don't exist and so haven't said anything, since my God exists, then he said he exists, and that's the only reason you need.

U: Well, I've really got to be going, we're not getting anywhere.

C: The Lord rebuke you!

U: Okaaaay. I don't really know what to say to that.

C: Just because you're not persuaded doesn't mean I'm wrong.

U: Quite right, so what reason or argument can you give me that might indicate that you're right?

C: Well, I've already told you the reason, God...said...it.

U: Yeah, I don't believe that.

C: So? The Lord rebuke you.

U: Well, I guess since you can't give me a reason or argument to believe in your version of God an religion, I'll continue to disbelieve.

C: Okay, let me give you an argument.

U: Whew, finally, I was getting worried there for a moment. So, what's the argument.

C: [1] God cannot be wrong. [2] God said he exists. [3] Therefore, he does.

U: [Looks around] Am I on candid camera? Isn't whether there is a God what's in question?

C: Not anymore. How could it be a question when God said it. Besides, that tree over there proves he exists.

U: Okay, how.

C: 'cause God said it did.

U: But I don't believe that.

C: The Lord rebuke you!

U: Okay, have a good day.

C: Sinner!

*************


The above represents the approach to apologetics Turretin Fan apparently advocates.


Besides that, his post indicates that he thinks that I demand apologetics provide "rigorous proofs" (when I have denied this many times on this blog, where 'proofs' are considered in a strong sense ala Plantinga), and that I think apologetic argument will be persuasive to all (which I also deny, though cogency is a goal).

Turretin Fan also indicates that he thinks he is a prophet commissioned like Moses and Ezekiel were. Or that he's an Apostle like Paul. He also apparently thinks that Moses' engagement with the Pharaoh is an instruction on how to do apologetics (but he's had no luck with the stick-to-snake thing yet, and not for lack of trying!). So add weird exegesis to the list.

He also thinks his story is an answer to my questions that he provide some arguments for all the claims he's been making. Apparently I can't even question him, since he thinks his position is biblical, that means when I question him I question God!

Unfortunately, Turretin Fan has exhibited an all-too-common flaw with (many) contemporary Reformed: philosophical ignorance, intellectual laziness, and confusing the warm fuzzies that appeals to piety give for actual arguments.

Reformed Christians...wake up!

65 comments:

  1. Hi Paul,

    I kinda like all you guys. All you guys being you, TurretinFan, Steve Hays, Peter Pike, Jason Engwer, Patrick Chan, John Robbins, Vincent Cheung, Cornelius Van Til, Gordon Clark, Michael Sudduth, etc....

    Everyone's a conservative 5 Sola Bible-believing Christian.

    I guess what I'm asking is: Why you guys like to beat up on each other so much?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Where does Turretinfan's post say he thinks he is a prophet or apostle like Moses, Ezekiel, or Paul? He is attempting to make the point that he is simply debating like some of the prominent figures in the bible, not to say that he is a prophet or apostle, regardless of whether you think his point is correct or not.

    I do believe that *ultimately* any apologetic must be dogmatic in the sense Turretinfan's post is explaining. It is worth saying I do believe that there are good arguments for Christianity, just that we should not attempt to prove Christianity in a way that would lead someone along some kind of common or neutral ground.

    I think this is a key point: Paul - exactly how rigorous do your arguments/reasons need to be, or said another way, how strong is the sense of the proofs that you are advocating that Christians use? This question is in light of your "Besides that, his post indicates ... " paragraph.

    ReplyDelete
  3. The answer (to TUaD), naturally, is that is hard to find worthy opponents elsewhere.

    One thing I did in my presentation was to provide positive Biblical examples of the dogmatic apologetic. What PM hasn't done is provide a positive presentation of his own apologetic.

    One simple question for Paul Manata: "What better reason is there to believe what God says than that God says it?"

    I'd be happy to receive the benefit of your philosophical wisdom, intellectual rigor and lack of warm fuzzies.

    -TurretinFan

    ReplyDelete
  4. TUAD,

    Why are you beating up on me? ;-)

    Tbxi,

    The point is, those guys were not engaging in "apologetics." They weren't "debating." And if you agree with TF's version of apologetics, then you're as lost an anti-apologetical as he is.

    TF,

    You didn't provide an apologetic, that's the point. You defended a fideistic form of anti-intellectualism.

    Now, even though I believe that God saying something is a good reason for both me and the unbeliever to do it, the point is that if that's all you claim, you're not doing *apologetics*. Why bother debating anyone? The RC's or anyone else? Just tell em, "God said it" and be done with it.

    Anyway, people can take or leave the clarion call, you do so at your own risk, just get out of my way while I try to defend the faith, that's all.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Paul:

    "You didn't provide an apologetic, that's the point. You defended a fideistic form of anti-intellectualism."

    Let's take your second sentence as true. How then could your first sentence be true? How can I defend something without an apologetic? Or are you just resorting to name-calling because you don't like the apologetic of resorting to Scripture?

    But in case you didn't follow the argument, and you did not mean to name-call, but simply didn't see it, I'll lay it out in a more systematic way:

    1. Scripture is the Word of God.

    2. Since Scripture is the Word of God, we can trust it implicitly (and ought to do so).

    3. Scripture provides many examples of people proclaiming the word of God and expecting the audience to accept that on faith not in the prophet, apostle, or teacher but in God.

    4. Scripture says that faith is the evidence of things not seen.

    5. Therefore, it is proper to proclaim the Bible as the Word of the Lord and to expect the hearers to accept this without there being sufficient reasons to render faith unnecessary.

    6. Scripture acknowledges that this technique will be a stumblingblock and foolishness to those who perish.

    7. Of course, that does not prevent us from exposing the presuppositions of atheists and others who imagine that their own systems are not based on faith. After all, they are - everyone's is. But only the Christian places his trust in the right place: the living and true God.

    -TurretinFan

    ReplyDelete
  6. Oh, and so you don't forget, one simple question for Paul Manata: "What better reason is there to believe what God says than that God says it?"

    ReplyDelete
  7. TurretinFan,

    God told me to tell you that you are wrong and Manata is right. God says you are wrong. Now, what better reason is there to believe that you are wrong?

    If you can see why the above argument isn't compelling, then you should also be able to see why your 'apologetic' for Christianity fails.

    At the heart of your position is a confusion between how one knows that God says X and how one shows that God says X. Apologetics is concerned with the latter. What you're advocating is simply preaching. That's fine; I'm all for preaching. But preaching as such isn't apologetics.

    It would clarify the debate no end if you were to admit that your true position is that we should abandon apologetics, either because it's impious or because it's superfluous. Right?

    ReplyDelete
  8. TF,

    "Let's take your second sentence as true. How then could your first sentence be true? How can I defend something without an apologetic? Or are you just resorting to name-calling because you don't like the apologetic of resorting to Scripture"?

    Well, TF, you're making an elementary blunder of a level confusion. You gave an apologetic for your lack of apologetics---which, ironically,undermines your position since you tacitly assume that "Godsaidit" isn't enough; if it were, your post to me would have been a lot shorter.

    And, not only didn't I name call, but I have no problem resorting to Scripture in my defense of the faith; but taking care to represent another's position properly left your concern a while ago.

    As to your points 1-7, not only didn't you *argue* for the propositions, you simply repeated your anti-intellectual approach to apologetics.

    Anyone can construct a deductive argument for Christianity. That's easy. Abd uninteresting. The *apologetic* point is to present a *cogent* argument.

    "Oh, and so you don't forget, one simple question for Paul Manata: "What better reason is there to believe what God says than that God says it?"

    I already answered that.

    You seem to have no awareness of the person-variale nature of apologetics.

    You seem to think that what you take to be a good reason is something another will take to be a good reason.

    You seem to not understand you're at the same level as the Muslim (yeah, yeah, I know, they're wrong and you're right; but, et tu, and all that).

    I guess the only bright light to all of this for the intellectual defense of Christianity is that there are s few of your kind.

    ReplyDelete
  9. What's reall funy here is that the mock dialogue is so ridiculous and OBVIOUSLY a wrong approach to defending the faith, I was sure TF and other would correct me, claiming I had misrepresented them. Come to find out, they're actually defending the utterly absurd. So much for the "intellectual superiority of the Reformed faith"....if these guys have their way, that is.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Paul:

    "God told me to tell you that you are wrong and Manata is right. God says you are wrong. Now, what better reason is there to believe that you are wrong?"

    If it were really from God, there could be no better reason. It isn't - in fact it's an obvious lie.

    "If you can see why the above argument isn't compelling, then you should also be able to see why your 'apologetic' for Christianity fails."

    Your inability to distinguish between true claim of the Bible and your own false claim is very disturbing, to put it mildly.

    "At the heart of your position is a confusion between how one knows that God says X and how one shows that God says X. Apologetics is concerned with the latter. What you're advocating is simply preaching. That's fine; I'm all for preaching. But preaching as such isn't apologetics."

    I understand that for you, the two are different. I am willing to reject your narrow definition of what constitutes apologetics. Apologetics is the defense of the faith - it involves a number of things, both preaching the gospel and answering questions.

    "It would clarify the debate no end if you were to admit that your true position is that we should abandon apologetics, either because it's impious or because it's superfluous. Right?"

    I think there a few people who should abandon the very narrow field that you call "apologetics" because they are undermining the Scriptural apologetics that exist.

    But apologetics (Broadly and properly defined) is right, pious, and necessary.

    -TurretinFan

    ReplyDelete
  11. TF,

    I think you meant to address your comment to James, not me.

    However, your inability to grasp your interlocutor's points and beg crucial questions is astounding.

    ReplyDelete
  12. "But apologetics (Broadly and properly defined) is right, pious, and necessary."

    Then why don't you engage in it? You're not offering "apologetics."

    ReplyDelete
  13. "Well, TF, you're making an elementary blunder of a level confusion. You gave an apologetic for your lack of apologetics---which, ironically,undermines your position since you tacitly assume that "Godsaidit" isn't enough; if it were, your post to me would have been a lot shorter."

    "God said it," supported from Scripture ought to be enough between two Christians - whether or not it is enough for the most skeptical atheist. Your thoughts about tacit assumptions is wrong.

    "And, not only didn't I name call, but I have no problem resorting to Scripture in my defense of the faith; but taking care to represent another's position properly left your concern a while ago."

    "Unfortunately, Turretin Fan has exhibited an all-too-common flaw with (many) contemporary Reformed: philosophical ignorance, intellectual laziness, and confusing the warm fuzzies that appeals to piety give for actual arguments."

    That's not name-calling? If you say so.

    "As to your points 1-7, not only didn't you *argue* for the propositions, you simply repeated your anti-intellectual approach to apologetics."

    That's not a rebuttal. That's just more of your name-calling.

    "Anyone can construct a deductive argument for Christianity. That's easy. Abd uninteresting. The *apologetic* point is to present a *cogent* argument."

    Again - just saying that it is not cogent is name-calling, not rebuttal.

    I had asked: "What better reason is there to believe what God says than that God says it?"

    You responded: "I already answered that."

    If you did, it was not a sufficiently direct way for me to identify it as such. I'm not sure if the remainder of the comments in your post were intended to be a fuller explication of what you perceive to be the answer to the question. So, I don't know what you think the answer is. Could you please point out that answer to me?

    "You seem to have no awareness of the person-variale nature of apologetics."

    You're perception is mistaken. I am aware of that, assuming you meant to say that apologetics is necessarily tailored toward the audience.

    "You seem to think that what you take to be a good reason is something another will take to be a good reason."

    No, I don't, though I would hope that a Christian would agree with me on something like this.

    "You seem to not understand you're at the same level as the Muslim (yeah, yeah, I know, they're wrong and you're right; but, et tu, and all that)."

    You seem not to realize that you have nothing better to offer. That's the point of my simple question - to get you to realize that by trying to answer the question. If you have nothing better to offer, then comparison to Muslims (while certainly unflattering to me) is really a red herring.

    -TurretinFan

    ReplyDelete
  14. "I think you meant to address your comment to James, not me."

    Yes, you are right. I mistyped your name for his.

    "However, your inability to grasp your interlocutor's points and beg crucial questions is astounding."

    That's not a rebuttal - just more of the "name-calling" tactics that seem to be dominating your conversation with me today.

    -TurretinFan

    ReplyDelete
  15. "Then why don't you engage in it? You're not offering "apologetics.""

    Again, that's not an argument. I've offered a defense of what I said, and I've done so based on Scripture.

    -TurretinFan

    ReplyDelete
  16. TF,

    How is pointing out your inability to grasp opponents points "name calling?"

    I don't have much to say to you considering your haven't grasped or rebutted the objections that have been made to you.

    You think that just because you don't "cry uncle," you haven't been shown the serious flaws in your view.

    I take it that your affirmation of the method displayed in my post via the mock dialogue is enough to testify against you. There's really not much else to say to you.

    BTW, don't bother arguing with Muslim's on James White's blog, just tell 'em that they're wrong because God says so. Your actions testify against you.

    ReplyDelete
  17. TF,

    "Your inability to distinguish between true claim of the Bible and your own false claim is very disturbing, to put it mildly."

    Your inability to supply any principled reason for distinguishing between the true claims of the Bible and my own false claim is very revealing.

    "It's an obvious lie." Don't you recognize that the basis for your judgment here is a de facto repudiation of the epistemology you've been defending over the past week?

    ReplyDelete
  18. James Anderson said:

    "It would clarify the debate no end if you were to admit that your true position is that we should abandon apologetics, either because it's impious or because it's superfluous. Right?"

    PM said:

    "Anyone can construct a deductive argument for Christianity. That's easy. Abd uninteresting. The *apologetic* point is to present a *cogent* argument."

    =====


    For the vantillians - what is this absolutely necessary thing that we need in order to really make *real* apologetic arguments? The transcendental argument for the existence of God? Some kind of "impossibility of the contrary" proof? These are not absolute proofs for God, and even if they are, they are not absolute proofs for Christianity.

    Didn't God swear on his own name because there was nothing higher? No other authority aside from God to which one could appeal in order to be assured that what God said was actually true? If I am misunderstanding this scripture, can the opposing side please explain how it actually doesn't mean that we don't need to resort to theistic proofs and empirical evidence in order to prove that God exists or that Christianity is true? IF that is the point you're trying to make, anyway.

    The caricature Christian vs. Unbeliever argument was lame. No Clarkians argue like that.

    PM said, "BTW, don't bother arguing with Muslim's on James White's blog, just tell 'em that they're wrong because God says so. Your actions testify against you."

    To compare the way those arguments and debates take place to the C vs. U exchange above is rather shallow. The most obvious thing that comes to mind is that, for someone like TF, I see no problem with appealing to internal conflicts within Islam or textual issues in order to make the case against Islam.

    It would probably help if instead of throwing flames back and forth and trying to shift the burden of proof over and over, each side would actually go over what is necessary to defend the faith. What arguments need one make? I really don't want to get into just flaming people. Some of what I see in this thread really seems mean-spirited and unproductive. It would also probably help if we all stopped saying things like "You apparently haven't understood point x of mine" or "Don't you think that y refutes z?". There is a lot of empty rhetoric.

    ReplyDelete
  19. in my second paragraph, correction: "No other *higher* authority aside from God to which one could appeal..."

    ReplyDelete
  20. "How is pointing out your inability to grasp opponents points "name calling?""

    Even if it is true, it is in no way demonstrative of the truth of your own position or the falsehood of mine. So, when you mix in the expression of your opinions about my abilities, it can come across as an illicit attempt either to poison the well or simply to engage in ad hominem. Given your generally logical mode of thought, I hope you'll consider refraining from that approach to the discussion.

    "I don't have much to say to you considering your haven't grasped or rebutted the objections that have been made to you."

    I feel roughly the same way about your comments. I'm rather disappointed after your "Laziness" criticism that you haven't taken the time (as far as I can see) to answer the simple question I asked.

    "You think that just because you don't "cry uncle," you haven't been shown the serious flaws in your view."

    Let's not try to read my mind, shall we?

    "I take it that your affirmation of the method displayed in my post via the mock dialogue is enough to testify against you. There's really not much else to say to you."

    I didn't affirm your ridiculous caricature.

    "BTW, don't bother arguing with Muslim's on James White's blog, just tell 'em that they're wrong because God says so. Your actions testify against you."

    My actions testify against your caricature, brother - not against my actual position.

    -TurretinFan

    ReplyDelete
  21. "Your inability to supply any principled reason for distinguishing between the true claims of the Bible and my own false claim is very revealing."

    I distinguished them based on objective truth. Let me phrase this as a question. Why don't you consider the objective truth of the claims of the Bible a "principled reason"?

    ""It's an obvious lie." Don't you recognize that the basis for your judgment here is a de facto repudiation of the epistemology you've been defending over the past week?"

    I think you are confused about what my epistemology is, perhaps conflating it (understandably in view of the caricatures here) for that of "Scripturalism" as it is defined by certain of the triabloguers.

    The fact that I recognize an obvious lie when I see one is not a defeater to the epistemology I have advocated, although it might well be a defeater to the epistemology of "Scripturalism" as it is defined by certain of the triabloguers.

    I recognize the ability for folks to have conventional knowledge, and the detection of obvious fabrications falls into that realm.

    -TurretinFan

    ReplyDelete
  22. Tbxi,

    It's a basic principle of logic (in the broad sense) that a good argument has to proceed from premises that your opponent (or audience) already accepts. Even if the conclusion of the argument follows necessarily from its premises, unless your opponent grants the premises you have provided him with no reason to accept the conclusion.

    Thus, when we debate points of doctrine with fellow evangelicals, we can use the authority of the Bible as a premise (either explicitly or implicitly). But when we debate the existence of God with secularists, we can't use the authority of the Bible as a premise in the argument; at least, not if the argument is intended to persuade! This is precisely why I say that TF's proposed 'apologetic' is no apologetic at all.

    One nice feature of the transcendental argument (if it can be pulled off) is that it can proceed from any premise that the unbeliever is willing to concede -- even a false premise, ironically. This is because (so the argument goes) our very ability to make truth-claims presupposes the existence of God. As Van Til famously put it: "Antitheism presupposes theism."

    Does that clarify matters?

    ReplyDelete
  23. TBXI,

    Yeah, so you believe the Bible and believe that God's say-so on a matter is ultimate. Granted (well, his putative say-so, since you could be mistaken about what he says). Okay, but that's not the same as SHOWING the unbeliever the folly of his worldview, or SHOWING the rationality or truth of Christianity.

    TF,

    Glad you realize that saying "Because God said so" isn't a viable apologetic. That's how this whole thing started and that admission refutes your "Thus sayeth the Lord, the apologetics of dogmatism" post.

    Moses et al weren't engaged in an *apologetic* dialogue. Moses wasn't trying to *show* the truth or rationality of the Judaic worldview. He was following a command, and expected Pharoah to obey. He preached to Pharoah, he didn't engage in apologetics.

    "Even if it is true, it is in no way demonstrative of the truth of your own position or the falsehood of mine. So, when you mix in the expression of your opinions about my abilities, it can come across as an illicit attempt either to poison the well or simply to engage in ad hominem".

    I have found you to be unresponsive to arguments and questions to spell out your position. Again, that's not meant to be mean, but it's just how I see it.

    Now, if you'd like to go back and answer the dozen or so questions asked of you, and deal with the dozens of arguments leveled against you, then maybe we can progress.

    ReplyDelete
  24. TF,

    "I distinguished them based on objective truth. Let me phrase this as a question. Why don't you consider the objective truth of the claims of the Bible a 'principled reason'?"

    I'm afraid you've fallen into an elementary epistemological confusion here, namely, confusing the truth of a proposition with the grounds for its acceptance. In other words, you're confusing truth and justification.

    The mere fact that a belief is "objectively true" is not sufficient to warrant or justify it.

    Suppose I were to hand you a piece of paper with a statement on it that I alone (among humans) know to express an "objective truth". Would you thereby have a principled reason to believe what it says?

    ReplyDelete
  25. "It's a basic principle of logic (in the broad sense) that a good argument has to proceed from premises that your opponent (or audience) already accepts."

    That's really more a good rule of rhetoric than logic. But it is a basic principle of rhetoric. And - yes - of course - asserting the truth of Scripture to someone who doesn't believe it may well be an unpersuasive message. Nevertheless, you cannot reach supernaturalism from the presuppositions of naturalism. The conversation then, of course, necessarily takes a different path than a geometry demonstration might be take.

    -TurretinFan

    ReplyDelete
  26. TF,

    Here's a perfect example of what we've been dealing with:

    "I think you are confused about what my epistemology is, perhaps conflating it (understandably in view of the caricatures here) for that of "Scripturalism" as it is defined by certain of the triabloguers".

    On the contrary, it has been us who have cited the very words of Scripturalists as the source of our judgments. You, on the other hand, have been proposing a version of Scripturalism I have not seen expressed ANYWHERE by ANY Scripturalist. That's fine, but on top of that we've asked you to demonstrate your view of Scripturalism from primary sources and all you've given us is an I.O.U.

    In fact, Sean Gerety is debating you on Clark's views on your very blog.

    You continue to make claims for which you have not and apparently will not, argue for.

    ReplyDelete
  27. TF,

    "And - yes - of course - asserting the truth of Scripture to someone who doesn't believe it may well be an unpersuasive message."

    Right, which is why "Thus sayeth the Lord, the apologetics of dogmatism" is anything but an *apologetic*.

    "Nevertheless, you cannot reach supernaturalism from the presuppositions of naturalism"Well, you have Plantinga's EAAN.

    You also have AFR type stuff.

    You also have moral arguments.

    At any rate, you can do it from *premises* naturalists accept. You can also do it from premises wich their denials are (in some way) less rational than their affirmations.

    I fear you're giving us an autobiographical remark about what you don't know about the state of of Christian apologetics.

    ReplyDelete
  28. I had asked: "I distinguished them based on objective truth. Let me phrase this as a question. Why don't you consider the objective truth of the claims of the Bible a 'principled reason'?"

    JA responded: "I'm afraid you've fallen into an elementary epistemological confusion here, namely, confusing the truth of a proposition with the grounds for its acceptance. In other words, you're confusing truth and justification."

    I'm not confusing them, I'm linking them. Your unwillingness to concede the linkage is puzzling. The fact that X is objectively true is a reason to treat X as true.

    "The mere fact that a belief is "objectively true" is not sufficient to warrant or justify it."

    Oh, come on. You don't spell out why you reject the linkage, but one conclusion would be an entirely subjective account of warrant. Is that your position? Why do you reject the linkage set forth above?

    "Suppose I were to hand you a piece of paper with a statement on it that I alone (among humans) know to express an "objective truth". Would you thereby have a principled reason to believe what it says?"

    This seems to confirm the "subjective" aspect of your comment, since you focus on me in particular. However, surely you will grant that the following is true:

    (1) If proposition X is objectively true, then proposition X ought to be accepted as true.

    If you further concede:

    (2) X is objectively true,

    then it follows by simple deduction that X ought to be accepted as true.

    Why you concede (2) may be interesting, but why you concede (2) does not change the deductive chain above.

    The same in inverse applies to obvious lies.

    -TurretinFan

    ReplyDelete
  29. TF,

    "Nevertheless, you cannot reach supernaturalism from the presuppositions of naturalism."

    If the naturalist's ability to presuppose anything at all turns out to presuppose supernaturalism, then yes, you can.

    This is one of the reasons I consider Van Til to be a more insightful apologist than Clark. He recognized the epistemic implications of theism (and atheism) in a way that Clark apparently did not.

    Clark's argument against the naturalist boils down to, "You're wrong because the Bible is right." Van Til's argument against the naturalist boils down to, "You're wrong because only the biblical worldview can account for your capacity to believe or assert anything at all." Certainly Van Til's reasoning needs to be spelled out in more detail; but unlike Clark's, it doesn't trivially beg the question.

    ReplyDelete
  30. "The fact that X is objectively true is a reason to treat X as true."

    I honestly don't know what to say to this. I mean no disrespect, but if you really believe this, then further discussion is pointless.

    Please take some time to reflect self-critically on what kind of an epistemology this commits you to. Among other absurdities, it entails that the mere statement of a true conclusion constitutes an argument for it.

    To think that Christian apologists have wasted so much time and effort over the centuries trying to construct arguments that logically connect premises to conclusions, when all they needed to do was merely state the conclusions!

    ReplyDelete
  31. "Glad you realize that saying "Because God said so" isn't a viable apologetic. That's how this whole thing started and that admission refutes your "Thus sayeth the Lord, the apologetics of dogmatism" post."

    I try to make my admissions much more clear to avoid exactly this sort of problem. I'm sure what I actually admitted is something that you feel inevitably leads to the conclusions from which you begin your discussion, but I'm afraid you're mistaken. Unfortunately, in the absence of your explanation of how you conclude as you do, it is hard for me to be sure.

    "Moses et al weren't engaged in an *apologetic* dialogue. Moses wasn't trying to *show* the truth or rationality of the Judaic worldview. He was following a command, and expected Pharoah to obey. He preached to Pharoah, he didn't engage in apologetics."

    I understand you want to define apologetics narrowly. I've rejected that already, but you seem to have taken my rejection as an admission. Very curious.

    "I have found you to be unresponsive to arguments and questions to spell out your position. Again, that's not meant to be mean, but it's just how I see it."

    And again ... mixing those impressions into what poses as an argument fits the profile I laid out above. I don't mind people being mean: I get that all the time in much worse forms than the mild and (by comparison) relevant criticism you've offered.

    "Now, if you'd like to go back and answer the dozen or so questions asked of you, and deal with the dozens of arguments leveled against you, then maybe we can progress."

    Dozens is to great a burden for me. Meet me part way and pose one question and identify one argument you think I haven't addressed. If I cannot answer the question or answer the argument, I'll just say so. I don't mind be defeated by such a learned adversary as yourself.

    -TurretinFan

    ReplyDelete
  32. "On the contrary, it has been us who have cited the very words of Scripturalists as the source of our judgments."

    That's not "on the contrary." That's just an attempt by you to justify the accuracy of your portrayal of them.

    "You, on the other hand, have been proposing a version of Scripturalism I have not seen expressed ANYWHERE by ANY Scripturalist."

    Fine. So please don't put me in your "Scripturalist" box.

    "That's fine, but on top of that we've asked you to demonstrate your view of Scripturalism from primary sources and all you've given us is an I.O.U."

    That's because I have limited time and a lack of interest in proving that my position lines up with Clark's position. Should you wish to remain unconvinced that I know what Clark's position is, I'm not willing to take the effort to prove it. It's a debate not worth the time, and I don't much claim if I'm a legitimate "Clarkian" or not.

    "In fact, Sean Gerety is debating you on Clark's views on your very blog."

    Is he? I think it takes two to debate. I have permitted his comments to publish, but I have not disputed anything he said (which would seem - to me - to be a necessary prerequisite for debate).

    "You continue to make claims for which you have not and apparently will not, argue for."

    That's quite right. Some things are not worth arguing over. It's fallacious, though, for you to convert that into some sort of general principle that I refuse to argue about things.

    -TurretinFan

    ReplyDelete
  33. TF,

    Against my better judgment, I'm going to have one more crack at this.

    You apparently take the following to be beyond dispute:

    (1) If proposition X is objectively true, then proposition X ought to be accepted as true.

    Well, consider this: there is literally an infinite number of propositions that are objectively true, in the realm of mathematics alone.

    Why don't you therefore believe all these propositions? Aren't you flouting your epistemic duties?

    ReplyDelete
  34. I wrote: "And - yes - of course - asserting the truth of Scripture to someone who doesn't believe it may well be an unpersuasive message."

    Paul responded: "Right, which is why "Thus sayeth the Lord, the apologetics of dogmatism" is anything but an *apologetic*."

    Your response seems to be based in pragmatism. Am I mistaken?

    "Nevertheless, you cannot reach supernaturalism from the presuppositions of naturalism"
    ...
    "At any rate, you can do it from *premises* naturalists accept. You can also do it from premises wich their denials are (in some way) less rational than their affirmations."
    ...

    You can show that a naturalist is inconsistent, and you can give him a reason to reject his own position. I certainly don't deny the possibility of doing that. And, by all means, if you have shared presuppositions from which you can work - use them!

    "I fear you're giving us an autobiographical remark about what you don't know about the state of of Christian apologetics."

    This goes in the "ad hominem" bin, although I assume you are just trying to express how you feel, not trying to use this as an argument.

    -TurretinFan

    ReplyDelete
  35. "Nevertheless, you cannot reach supernaturalism from the presuppositions of naturalism."

    "If the naturalist's ability to presuppose anything at all turns out to presuppose supernaturalism, then yes, you can."

    What that's actually doing is suggesting that the presupposition of naturalism is self-contradictory. It's asking the guy to give up his presupposition. It may be well-cloaked in certain forms of the argument, but that is what it is.

    "This is one of the reasons I consider Van Til to be a more insightful apologist than Clark. He recognized the epistemic implications of theism (and atheism) in a way that Clark apparently did not."

    I think Van Til and Clark each had helpful contributions. Van Til's comments on "paradox" I really don't like, and there are certain parts of Clark's discussion on Faith that I don't think I can accept.

    "Clark's argument against the naturalist boils down to, "You're wrong because the Bible is right." Van Til's argument against the naturalist boils down to, "You're wrong because only the biblical worldview can account for your capacity to believe or assert anything at all." Certainly Van Til's reasoning needs to be spelled out in more detail; but unlike Clark's, it doesn't trivially beg the question."

    I'm not sure whether trivially begging the question is better or worse than begging it circuitously, which is what I have noted in some of the arguments purporting to be vantillian.

    -TurretinFan

    ReplyDelete
  36. "I honestly don't know what to say to this. I mean no disrespect, but if you really believe this, then further discussion is pointless."

    :(

    "Please take some time to reflect self-critically on what kind of an epistemology this commits you to. Among other absurdities, it entails that the mere statement of a true conclusion constitutes an argument for it."

    That's not what I said, though. I wonder how you could have reached that conclusion?

    "To think that Christian apologists have wasted so much time and effort over the centuries trying to construct arguments that logically connect premises to conclusions, when all they needed to do was merely state the conclusions!"

    I think sadly a lot of time has been wasted on trying to prove things from "logic" that can only be shown by faith.

    Suppose, for the sake of the argument, that there is no way to prove God's existence to a person without the person having faith. Are the arguments a waste of time? Well - for the intended purpose, yes -- but perhaps they can still serve an ancillary purpose (such as for the confirmation of beleivers).

    -TurretinFan

    ReplyDelete
  37. "Well, consider this: there is literally an infinite number of propositions that are objectively true, in the realm of mathematics alone."

    Yes.

    "Why don't you therefore believe all these propositions? Aren't you flouting your epistemic duties?"

    I'm not arguing that the bare fact of objective truth automatically yields knowledge either of the proposition itself or of the truth of the proposition.

    I admit that it does not.

    I now await the part where the steel trap swings shut on me.

    :-)

    -TurretinFan

    ReplyDelete
  38. TF,

    "That's not what I said, though."

    Right. Rather, it's a necessary implication of what you said.

    "I wonder how you could have reached that conclusion?"

    It was intended as a reductio ad absurdum. I know you reject that conclusion; that's precisely the point.

    ReplyDelete
  39. Boiled down....

    Clarkian: If the Bible is true, then what it says is true.

    VanTillian: If what you (the unbeliever) believe is true, then the Bible is true.

    Seems to me VanTil wins that one by, in fact, establishing the grounds upon which the Clarkian view might have some teeth....

    ReplyDelete
  40. Actually, this could be ammended:

    VanTillian: If what you (the unbeliever) believe is true OR FALSE, then the Bible is true.

    ReplyDelete
  41. TF,

    "I'm not arguing that the bare fact of objective truth automatically yields knowledge either of the proposition itself or of the truth of the proposition."

    No, but you did claim that the bare fact of objective truth obliges you to accept that truth. Isn't that precisely what your (1) states?

    "I now await the part where the steel trap swings shut on me."

    Well, if you would only stand in the same position for long enough...

    ;-)

    ReplyDelete
  42. Van Til: "Antitheism presupposes theism."

    Pike: "Clarkianism presupposes vantilianism."

    I like it! :)

    ReplyDelete
  43. Ah, yes: "Antitheism presupposes theism." I guess this will be the last time I post after just skimming your comments, James, since I see you quoted VanTil earlier already and such a statement is much more concise then what I came up with.

    I blame Bush for this.

    ReplyDelete
  44. Let keep in mind that Sudduth's essay that started all this claims the thesis: no theological proposition is (can be/could be?) epistemically certain.

    Whether such a starting point is likely to lead to a very robust apologetic, let everyone decide for himself.

    ReplyDelete
  45. There is so much stuff in these comments, hard to know what to respond to and what would even be productive. Anyway,

    PM said:

    "Yeah, so you believe the Bible and believe that God's say-so on a matter is ultimate. Granted (well, his putative say-so, since you could be mistaken about what he says). "

    So are you really willing to apply that level of skepticism to God's revelation? "I could be mistaken about what he says"? How far does that go? How do you avoid applying that to yourself and cutting all of your own biblical arguments off at the ankles? I hope I have mistunderstood you. If one is going to be consistent with that kind of thinking, he might as well be an agnostic.

    PM then said:

    "Okay, but that's not the same as SHOWING the unbeliever the folly of his worldview, or SHOWING the rationality or truth of Christianity."

    I have no problem with the former. I have no problem showing that Christianity is rational and answers the "ultimate questions." I do have a problem with starting from a common ground I supposedly share with the unbeliever and trying to deduce Christianity from that or some "neutral" set of propositions. I do not believe it is possible to prove Christianity is true in an absolute, mathematical sense, i.e. basically starting from some kind of "neutral" set of beliefs that both the unbeliever and I agree with and going from there.

    I believe that to subject God's existence, the Bible, and Christianity in general to some rigorous proof requirement that the unbeliever demands from me is wrong. It is to operate on the assumption that God might actually be a liar, or that God might not really exist, or that the Bible might actually be false, in order to try to prove what the Bible actually says about God. It would be foolishness for me to drop the armor of God in order to go out and fight battles for His sake.

    I do not want to impute this sort of thing to you falsely. We may have more intersection on this stuff than we are aware of. I used to listen to the Narrow Mind a lot, some of your debates with various unbelievers, etc. and I do respect you, and would not presume that you are just some kind of idiot and that I have all the answers. I don't even have what I believe when it comes to epistemology worked out all the way myself, or even to the point where I can consisely state it or defend it. I have been influenced by a number of writers, though, and have a general framework to go off from that. And of course, the Bible :)

    ReplyDelete
  46. TBXI said:
    ---
    I do have a problem with starting from a common ground I supposedly share with the unbeliever and trying to deduce Christianity from that or some "neutral" set of propositions. I do not believe it is possible to prove Christianity is true in an absolute, mathematical sense, i.e. basically starting from some kind of "neutral" set of beliefs that both the unbeliever and I agree with and going from there.
    ---

    Great! So do I.

    But no one said it was neutral ground. In fact, the point is the exact opposite: the fact that atheists have any position at all is because they are stealing from the Christian worldview. That is exactly the reason why the ground isn't neutral!

    If there is one big drawback to the popularity that TAG has gotten in recent years in the Reformed movement, it is that it tends to make apologists lazy. That is, many who hold to TAG will argue along similar lines as TF has. Paul's point, as I've read it, is that this is insufficient. And indeed it doesn't even follow from TAG itself.

    There is a world of difference between merely proclaiming the truth and removing the obstacles to the truth. While some words may have seemed harsh here, no one was saying that TF shouldn't preach the Gospel as objective truth. Not at all! The objection was in calling the proclamation of Scripture the same thing as a complete apologetic method.

    Apologetics requires more than simply the presentation of the Gospel in most cases (although God is free to work however He sees fit, and sometimes that's all it takes). Generally, one must also work to remove the obstacles to the Gospel as well as present the Gospel. And that's what presuppositionalism does so well against atheism.

    Again, I think some words have been exchanged here that are harsher than usual because there have been quite a few discussions going on and this is in the midst of all others. But I also know that we all respect each other too, and that's why we may be somewhat stronger when someone we respect doesn't address something that we believe is obvious and should be addressed (of course, I speak in the editorial "we" here, and am probably being guilty of over generalization...but so be it!).

    One final word is that apologetics eventually does become person specific. In most cases, it begins with someone presenting what they honestly believe is a compelling and logical reason to deny Christ, yet in the end it almost exclusively boils down to an emotional thing. That's generally going to be the place where the real battle takes place, and unfortunately when dealing with emotions, there is little for logic to do. In my own experience, presuppositionalism just gets us to that point a lot faster than any other method. Namely because it quickly strips away the logical argumentation and exposes the emotional aspect immediately--the "I don't WANT to believe in God, therefore He's not real" attitude. With the method TF was promoting, you'll spend years running in giant circles while the atheist legitimately thinks you're just begging the question. But once someone is saved, they darn well better believe the Bible is the Word of God. So I personally see TF's view more as a discipleship thing than as an apologetics tactic. And if I may hazard an unsolicited opinion, I think that from a tactical position this shows that Paul deals with more atheists while TurretinFan deals with more Roman Catholics. Because RCs wouldn't have a problem (in theory) with agreeing that the Bible is the Word of God and whatever it says is ipso facto true; but atheists don't budge a bit when that is simply proclaimed to them.

    ReplyDelete
  47. (presupposition: apologetics is integrated with evangelism).

    (assumption: you worked with the person from unbeliever to seeing a professed conversion of him/her becoming a believer).

    Alrighty den, proof (kinda) be in da pudding.

    Paul Manata, how many folks have you personally been used by the Holy Spirit to bring to a saving faith in Christ through your favored method of apologetics-evangelism?

    TurretinFan, how many folks have you personally been used by the Holy Spirit to bring to a saving faith in Christ through your favored method of apologetics-evangelism?

    Whoever has a higher number (admittedly a very arguable metric with which to settle this dispute) is the winner of this intramural squabble of dueling apologetic methods!

    I.e., nitpicking over theoretical particulars ain't da same as actually engaging real-life skeptical unbelievers!

    Less blabbing, more doing!

    ;-)

    P.S. I ain't any better.

    ReplyDelete
  48. I haven't read all the comments yet, but so far here are some comments I have.

    Paul, how would you define "cogency" exactly?

    James said...
    It's a basic principle of logic (in the broad sense) that a good argument has to proceed from premises that your opponent (or audience) already accepts....
    Though TF isn't a Van Tillian, and so he wouldn't really be interested in this question, but didn't Van Til say that in one sense, every premise of the unbeliever is false? Or words to that effect, since not even a "rose" is the same thing for a non-Christian and a Christian.


    James said...
    The mere fact that a belief is "objectively true" is not sufficient to warrant or justify it.
    While I don't recall Clarkians emphasizing the self-attesting nature of Scripture, how would you respond to a Van Tillian who points out that what makes the difference is that God's Word is self-authenticating, self-attesting and therefore, isn't just any kind of truth like 5 + 5 = 10?

    ReplyDelete
  49. AP,

    "Paul, how would you define "cogency" exactly"?

    A sound argument that is recognized to be so due to the presentation of its parts (form and content).

    For example, here's a sound argument:

    Either God exists or Dec. 1 is Christmas day.

    Dec. first is not Christmas day.

    Therefore, God exists.

    Sound, not cogent.

    If your apologetic argument is one that no one will recognize as sound, it basically useless as an apologteic argument. Patting yourself on the back for announcing "the truth" to non-believer and so now "he'll be judged all the more gfor rejecting it", isn't doing *apologetics*.

    ReplyDelete
  50. TBXI,

    "So are you really willing to apply that level of skepticism to God's revelation? "I could be mistaken about what he says"? How far does that go? How do you avoid applying that to yourself and cutting all of your own biblical arguments off at the ankles? I hope I have mistunderstood you. If one is going to be consistent with that kind of thinking, he might as well be an agnostic".

    The problem you think you see (and you tell a lot by claiming my view is *skeptical*) in what I said is due to your infallibilist constraint on knowledge. The *possibility* that I could be wrong about the interpretation of some particular verse(s) doesn't mean that I can't *know* what those verse(s) say (unless you propose an infallibilist constraint on knowledge, which I deny). However, the *possibility* that I could be wrong about them *does* remove *epistemic* certainty.

    "I have no problem with the former. I have no problem showing that Christianity is rational and answers the "ultimate questions." I do have a problem with starting from a common ground I supposedly share with the unbeliever and trying to deduce Christianity from that or some "neutral" set of propositions. I do not believe it is possible to prove Christianity is true in an absolute, mathematical sense, i.e. basically starting from some kind of "neutral" set of beliefs that both the unbeliever and I agree with and going from there".

    There you go filtering the things I said through your hard-core presuppositionalist grid. Who said anything about "neutrality?" Anyway, if you agree with me that "Godsaidit" isn't a viable *apologetic* then you agree with me on how this whole things got started. I told TF that "God said so" wasn't a good apologetic argument given to an unbeliever. He then wrote a post where he pretended that Moses was actually engaged in an apologetic dialogue with an unbeliever. If you or him want to run your apologetics just like (?!) Moses did, be my guest. I trust the deficiencies in such a view are self-evident.

    "I believe that to subject God's existence, the Bible, and Christianity in general to some rigorous proof requirement that the unbeliever demands from me is wrong".

    Of course, in the very post your commenting in, you can read where I denied this character of my position. My only claim has been that "Godsaidit" isn't a good *apologetic* to give unbelievers. Shoot, even Bahnsen saw that this is the case. If you agree with me then you agree with my initial point and you also rightly scratch your head at why TF wouldn't just agree with me but would go on to write a post defending "Godsaidit" *as an apologetic*.

    As James said, this is where Van Tillians (generally) had it right over Clark. Whatever the merits of the TAG, the point is that Bahnsen et al recognized the importance of *arguing* for your position in a more robust way than "Godsaidit." Bahnsen even denied the whole "The Bible is the word of God, it says God exists, therefore God exists" (the precise argument TF has defended) "argument" in his debate with Stein.

    So, the way I see it, some people may disagree with me on the particulars, but all should agree with me that apologetics is more than saying "God said so" and if someone denies it, responding, "The Lord rebuke thee," the exact things Turretin Fan lauded in his post.

    ReplyDelete
  51. TUAD,

    I find your line of questioning absurd, if not mildly self-refuting.

    Numbers? More than 1, less than 100.

    ReplyDelete
  52. timharris said...
    Let keep in mind that Sudduth's essay that started all this claims the thesis: no theological proposition is (can be/could be?) epistemically certain.

    Whether such a starting point is likely to lead to a very robust apologetic, let everyone decide for himself.

    5/28/2009 8:36 PM


    Right, given the putative accounts of certainity he was working with (probably the best on offer), he seems right. And, he *argued* for this and you didn't even so much as *attempt* to show where he went wrong. Lastly, if you have another proposal for the necessary and sufficient conditions that make a belief *epistemically* certain, I'm sure he'd like to hear it. But you haven't offered any (he interacts with Bahnsen on this matter in his forthcoming book). So, it simply looks like you're just trying to shame people into rejecting Sudduth's position, appealing to warm, pious, fuzzy wuzzies---who could deny them!

    ReplyDelete
  53. I said: If you or him want to run your apologetics just like (?!) Moses did

    I meant: If you or him want to run your apologetics just like (?!) Moses allegedly did

    ReplyDelete
  54. Annoyed Pinoy,

    "Though TF isn't a Van Tillian, and so he wouldn't really be interested in this question, but didn't Van Til say that in one sense, every premise of the unbeliever is false?"

    1. If you scroll up to some of my earlier comments, you'll see I pointed out that Van Til's transcendental argument can proceed even from false premises (for the sake of argument).

    2. I believe Van Til's point had more to do with whether the unbeliever possesses knowledge rather than whether his beliefs (e.g., about the rose) are true. In any case, the phrase "in one sense" covers over a multitude of sins! Van Til also affirmed that "in one sense" unbelievers do have knowledge in everyday matters, such as knowledge of arithmetic truths. Indeed, he insisted that they have knowledge of God as well.

    "While I don't recall Clarkians emphasizing the self-attesting nature of Scripture, how would you respond to a Van Tillian who points out that what makes the difference is that God's Word is self-authenticating, self-attesting and therefore, isn't just any kind of truth like 5 + 5 = 10?"

    The claim that Scripture is self-authenticating is entirely compatible with my claim (which ought to be self-evident on reflection) that the mere truth of a proposition is not sufficient to justify or warrant our belief in it. If it were, we would have no need for evidence, reasons, etc.

    If you review my discussions with TF here, you'll see that his argument has appealed to the "objective truth" of Scripture rather than its self-authenticating nature. If he shifts to appeal to the latter, he will need to take into account the distinction I made earlier between "knowing X" and "showing X". The means by which a person S1 comes to know the truth of X must be distinguished from the means by which S1 demonstrates the truth of X to some other person S2. It's very important to grasp this distinction when evaluating apologetic methodologies.

    ReplyDelete
  55. Paul Manata: "Numbers? More than 1, less than 100."

    TurretinFan, if you have more than 100.... you win!!

    Jus' kidding, jus kidding.

    ---------

    My previous comment may be self-refuting, but it was premised by a short blog post by pastor Mark Dever titled "Five Things We Can Mistake for Evangelism".

    Here's the excerpt that I was thinking of:

    "Apologetics are valuable, but they have their own set of dangers. You can get bogged down in talking about purely intellectual or peripheral matters and never get to the gospel.

    It’s fine for us to talk with unbelieving friends about questions that they have, but our attempts to try and answer them without setting the gospel as the foundation does no good. Jesus must set the agenda for evangelism."

    -------

    You guys probably don't cross over into that area of concern that Mark Dever expresses, i.e., being "bogged down in talking about purely intellectual or peripheral matters and never get to the gospel" when talking with folks, but sometimes it sure appears that way.

    Anyways, this subtopic discussion raises an interesting secondary question. Suppose Paul Manata is 100% right and TurretinFan is 100% wrong on this particular issue of valid and sound apologetic argumentation that's under dispute. Or visa versa. And yet God blesses it anyways to bring unbelievers to a saving knowledge of His Son Jesus Christ.

    We then have a case of erroneous means culminating in fruitful results.

    Now we can start pummeling this sort of "pragmatism" ....

    I now return this thread to the dueling pugilists known as the Sons of Thunder.

    ;-)

    ReplyDelete
  56. TUAD,

    Depending on definitions, I'm not talking about evangelism, I'm talking about apologetics.

    ReplyDelete
  57. James Said...
    1. If you scroll up to some of my earlier comments, you'll see I pointed out that Van Til's transcendental argument can proceed even from false premises (for the sake of argument).
    I did notice, that. I didn't mention it precisely because I was hoping you'd address it more fully.


    James said....
    I believe Van Til's point had more to do with whether the unbeliever possesses knowledge rather than whether his beliefs (e.g., about the rose) are true.
    But wouldn't the unbeliever have to have truth in order to have knowledge since we can't know falsehoods?

    ReplyDelete
  58. I highly respect the brilliant members of the Triablogue blogging team, as well as some of their obviously intelligent guests (I include Mr. Anderson in that company). They are good men of God, they are better read than I am in certain areas (some of which are relevant to this topic), and while there is disagreement between us, I bear no ill will to them for disagreeing strongly with the errors that they believe I hold. In fact, I appreciate their willingness to spend time trying to correct me. I would do the same for them, if I could.

    That said, this conversation with respect to several (but by no means all) of the folks here has ceased to be irenic with accusations flying (in my opinion) somewhat prematurely and irresponsibly.

    I cannot see how my continued presence here (in these comment boxes) can meaningfully contribute to the peace and edification of the Body of Christ.

    I will shortly be providing a debate challenge to Mr. Manata via my own blog (http://turretinfan.blogspot.com/), which I would hope would help to provide a forum where a more dispassionate conversation could take place.

    -TurretinFan

    ReplyDelete
  59. Unbelievable! The apologetic approach (if it can be called such) portrayed by the dialogue in this post is most awkward and grist for the mill of all atheists.

    -a helmet

    ReplyDelete
  60. TF,

    I'm sorry you feel that way, although I agree that we've probably hit an impasse at this point.

    If you believe I have sinned against you, brother, in either the content or the tone of what I've written here, please don't hesitate to contact me privately (proginosko AT gmail DOT com) so I can address that.

    Blessings,
    James

    ReplyDelete
  61. TF,

    "I bear no ill will to them for disagreeing strongly with the errors that they believe I hold. In fact, I appreciate their willingness to spend time trying to correct me. I would do the same for them, if I could.

    That said, this conversation with respect to several (but by no means all) of the folks here has ceased to be irenic with accusations flying (in my opinion) somewhat prematurely and irresponsibly"
    .

    I bear no ill will either. But i fairness, what you take as the premature accusations are, from my perspective, built-up from what began in the paradox posts way back. In all of our discussions as of late I have found you to be unresponsive to questions and ignore arguments. At a certian point, hands get thrown up. At any rate, I do not think I "name called" but did *express* some frustration with your tactics as well as *described* what I took your aproach to be.

    ReplyDelete
  62. yeah - I still have a half-written post on paradox. I have a feeling, though - that it will raise more questions than it answers.

    ReplyDelete
  63. James,

    No, I didn't mean to suggest that Paul, Steve, or anyone else sinned against me. The conversation just took an unproductive turn.

    May I email you to ask you about where you were going with the previous line of questions? The suspense is killing me.

    -TurretinFan

    ReplyDelete
  64. Thanks for the response Paul -

    I am sorry if I misinterpreted you at all.

    ReplyDelete
  65. TF,

    Please feel free to email me.

    James

    ReplyDelete