Thursday, November 11, 2010

Mutually debunking debunkers

Unfortunately for them, Paul Tobin and Ed Babinski are more successful at debunking each other than they are at debunking Christianity. A fundamental problem is their adherenece to mutually contradictory standards of evidence.

On the one hand, Tobin preemptively debars “Fundamentalist” scholarship from consideration. For instance:

Paul Tobin

Perhaps this would be a good time to explain why the word ‘scholarship’ cannot be used when referring to evangelical literature[9] and why people like Hays are mistaken in placing their trust in such works.

The mark of scholarship is its dependence of evidence and reason regardless of where it leads….How can honest scholarship be done when one is already adhering to a position of inerrancy?

We do not find this in mainstream biblical scholarship, where debates and differing positions are taken based on how each scholar marshals the evidence. When a consensus is reached by such a boisterous group of scholars–it tends to mean that the evidence for such a consensus is strong. Thus when we say that 80% to 90% of such scholars agree that the pastorals were not written by Paul, we can be certain that the reason for such a consensus must be compelling.

A “Consensus” among evangelicals however, comes not from the result of arguments and evidence but from their “statements of faith.” In other words, such “consensuses” among evangelicals come from the unquestioned presuppositional biases.

By contrast, Babinski’s standard of evidence is the polar opposite of Tobin’s. Babinski is utterly indiscriminate in the sources he cites to substantiate his claims. He hardly confines himself to “mainstream” or “critical” scholarship or scholarly “consensus.” To the contrary, he often goes out of his way to cite individuals on the far right fringe of the theological spectrum. For instance:

Edward Babinski:

But before diving headfirst into ancient Mesopotamian writings or hardcore fundamentalist defenses of the location of hell…Beginning with some "King James Only" inerrantists…SELECTIONS FROM THE PLACE OF HELL by Terry Watkins, Th.D. Watkins only follows the King James Bible but seems adept at deflating the views of rival inerrantists, just as geocentrists are adept at pointing out to their young-earth brothers the verses that most embarrass their heliocentric view.

Geocentrism remains a minority opinion but a lively one among some creationist Christians…Geocentrists remain hopeful even in this heliocentric age because as Gerardus Bouw (Ph.D. in astronomy, president of the Association for Biblical Astronomy and the country’s leading proponent of geocentrism)…


  1. I'm more skeptical of those with secular/agnostic/irreligious 'presuppositional biases', since they have much more to lose if wrong, given Pascal's Wager...

    Everyone carries biases, or is prone to bandwagoning, Christian or Secularist, layman and scientist alike.

    That said, arguments for non-Pauline authorship of the Pastorals aren't particularly strong--

  2. Also, yeah, Paul's poisoning the well, big time.