Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Dupes for Hamas

Just read them both and ask yourself, Is Steve really interested in talking about Middle-Eastern conflict and present day Israel on his blog? Or is he giving more energy to the less substantive issues – even while admitting that they are less substantive?

After I did my initial post, Jamin is the one who decided to switch to “less substantive issues” by going on a paranoid rant about how I was out to get him.

And is he giving weight to the main points (numbered, and/or bold so people wouldn’t miss them; another fail) of my last post, or is he dodging simple questions…

It’s a common tactic for one’s opponent to control the debate by trying to frame the debate in terms favorable to his own position. So, no, it’s not incumbent on me to acquiesce to Jamin’s slanted framework.

First things first. Steve ought to read Burge’s book before his public ignorance of its arguments grows larger than his apologetics blog can handle.

Well, that’s ironic. Among other things, I simply commented on what Jamin himself imputed to Burge. Jamin leveled a litany of vague allegations against the state of Israel, then cited Burge as his authority. So is Jamin admitting that he misattributed positions to Burge? Is Jamin telling us that he’s not to be trusted when he imputes various positions to Burge? That’s a rather self-incriminating defense.

Why? Because Burge’s book contains a fair argument (which Steve has not even indicated an awareness of), namely, that if Jews want to claim their God-given right over “their land,” they should at least be consistent in applying the God-given conditions for possessing that land.

Now we’re treated to Jamin’s bait-n-switch. Was my objection predicted on whether Jews want to claim their God-given right over “their land”? No.

Rather, I commented on Jamin’s litany of allegations. What is Jamin’s problem, exactly? Is he so emotionally overwrought that he can’t follow the argument? Can’t even follow his own argument?

Obviously, Steve is entirely incapable of even distinguishing between any of these arguments since he writes out of ignorance instead of study. Indeed, the “double standard” might actually be on his side of the table: he accuses Burge of having a tainted lens because of his associations, but Steve will not acknowledge how his view of Burge/Burge’s arguments is tainted by his reliance on reviewers and secondary sources. Go figure.

Once again, is Jamin so apoplectic that he can’t even read? In addition to citing some reviews, I also linked to online articles by Gary Burge in which he tips his hand. Jamin, that’s primary source material, not secondary source material.

Third, as if it even needed to be said, Steve’s entire argument made thus far (if there is one to be identified) is by and large, fallacious. Gary Burge could be the most evil person on the planet, a racist sexist homophobic Marxist Mormon murderer, and none of that would change the facts, or change the legitimacy of the facts if they are spoken by such a person. Steve knows that it doesn’t matter who is making an argument, what matters is what is being said.

Actually, it does matter. It goes to the credibility of the witness. Whether a reported “fact” is, indeed, a fact, involves a consideration of what motivated the witness. That’s pretty standard stuff in sifting testimonial evidence. Take C. A. J. Coady’s Testimony: A Philosophical Study.

If a guy with a clinical history of psychosis assures me that he saw bear-sized rats in the basement, who is making the claim factors into my evaluation of the claim.

That’s why I am so amazed that Steve is willing to pass by the substance of arguments themselves (apologetics -argument-truth) in order to attack people via their associations (politics-ad hominem-people).

Notice that Jamin isn’t making the slightest effort to be honest. For I specifically distinguished between culpable and inculpable association. Does Jamin interact with that distinction? No. Rather, he ignores it, then acts as if I’m the one who fails to draw distinctions. Go figure.

OK. But, how does this even matter if Steve is incapable and/or willing to demonstrate how those presuppositions render Burge’s argument in his book that I cited from (which is how all of this got started) wrong or invalid?…discrediting Burge and assuming that this is enough to discredit Burge’s arguments. There could be more options, but I’m not seeing them.

i) Once again, I don’t know if Jamin is too emotional read clearly, but he’s recasting what I actually wrote. Did I say Burge’s bias automatically “invalidates” or “discredits” his book? No. I said his affiliations should “alert” us to his presuppositions.

ii) Why does Jamin find it so difficult to connect the dots. Is it just coincidental that Burge, who sides with the “Palestinians” against the Israelis, belongs to a denomination with a divestment campaign against Israel?

OK. If this isn’t an effort to avoid answering a simple question, I don’t know what is.

What was Jamin’s “simple question”? “Is Steve actually saying that these historical events just didn’t happen?”

And what putative historical events did that question refer back to? “…Israel is guilty of committing countless war atrocities that qualify and surpass the covenant obligations in Scripture. Mass murder. Torturing men ages 14-60s. Unjust use of water supply and the abusive treatment of aliens and foreigners. The creation of millions of refugees. And so on and so forth.”

Is it a simple matter to answer a question about the historicity of “and so on and so forth”? How can I comment on the historicity of unspecified events? What do “and so on and so forth” correspond to?

So let’s be extra clear: Has Israel ever committed any (unjust) war atrocities or war crimes since its establishment in 1948? If so, should any of them be condemned? There you go.

Notice that Jamin is trying to change the subject. The onus is not on me to come up with a list of war crimes. Jamin is the one to made that allegation.

Uhmm, no. Not a fake massacre Steve. (Sigh. Why on earth would I be referring to a historical event that didn’t happen? Again, uncharitable assumptions).

Because that’s an example of a widely reported “atrocity” or “war crime” that’s bogus. And that shows the need to be very specific about what “atrocities” you’re referring to, and your sources of (mis-)information. 

I’m talking about when armed Israeli soldiers level entire villages, killing hundreds of innocent lives in a process that is not self-defense and is not pre-emptive strike. Now will Steve address the real issue? Or will he go with the flow and pretend as if Israel’s establishment and expansion from 1948 to present was just a blameless series of self-defense skirmishes?

This is a good example of Jamin’s inability to evaluate historical claims. What would you need to know to properly assess that type of accusation?

i) Jamin would have to cite a specific reported incident.

ii) Jamin would have to cite his sources.

iii) I’d have to compare and contrast his sources with other sources.

For instance, is Burge his source? If so, that only pushes the question back a step. What is Burge’s source?

Suppose the source is Al-Jazeera, Al Arabiya, the BBC, or some UN commission.

Well, at the very least, I’d need to balance that with a report of the same event from, say, The Jerusalem Post, Haaretz, or some statement issued by the Israeli gov’t. 

What if jihadis are using a “village” as a base of operations. Blending into the general population? That’s relevant to how I’d evaluate the Israeli military response.

No Steve, I’m not talking about playing the theme song to Barney. Good grief…

But Jamin doesn’t bother to define what he means by “torture.” Or cite a specific reported incident. Or cite his sources.

Refusing to deal with the real issue yet again.

Jamin makes vague, unsourced allegations, then accuses me of refusing to deal with the “real issue.” Is he just too wrapped up in himself to see clearly?

And no, you shouldn’t be suspicious if you have any knowledge about the formation and history of the secular nation of Israel. When I said “millions” I was referring to the total number of Palestinian refugees that have been created since the 1948 founding, not at the 1948 founding. No one knows exactly how many Palestinian refugees have been created since that time – or how many were created directly by Israel’s efforts in the last half-century. Some estimates run up to 4 million, some just below a million, the UNRWA has 3.4 million Palestinian registered, etc. Whatever the case, again, the number is hardly the issue.

i) The number is an issue when Jamin is the one who made the number an issue.

ii) The UNRWA? Yes, the UN is such a reliable source of information on the Arab/Israeli conflict. See the problem? 

So let’s once again try and be more simple for Steve’s sake: have hundreds of thousands, if not millions (which is probable), of Palestinians become refugees as a result of Israel’s efforts that began at its general founding in 1948? If so, is this relevant when talking about modern-day Israel and Middle-Eastern conflict?

i) To say the “refugee” problem is the “result” of Israeli action is clearly simplistic. It’s a result of many things. The result of The UN (i.e. the United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine.) The result of Nasser and his allies (i.e. the Six-Day War).

ii) Moreover, Jamin is doing another bait-n-switch. The issue isn’t merely if y is the result of x, but if x is to blame for y. Is the “refugee” problem morally relevant? That’s the question. 

I have no idea, and I don’t remember mentioning Arafat. More fog…

Once more, this exposes Jamin’s inability to think through the very issues he raised. He’s talking about “Palestinians” “Palestinian refugees.” Well, Arafat was the archetypal “Palestinian.” Was he a “refugee”? Was the West Bank his “homeland”? Wasn’t Egypt his homeland? So how does migrating to the West Bank reflect the so-called “right of return”? Returning to what?

Ok…at this point, it’s clear that I’m obviously not being heard, so lets put the water on hold…

Jamin accuses Israel of unjustly manipulating the water supply. So I pose some basic logistical questions about his accusation. The moment I do that he decides to put that issue “on hold.”

This illustrates Jamin’s basic problem. He doesn’t subject his sources to rudimentary scrutiny. He fails to ask common sense questions about the factual claims.

Jamin then retreats into a set of rhetorical questions. 


  1. In one part responding to you it is as though the fault lies with your inability of telepathic abilities of his thinking.


    "... Third, as if it even needed to be said, Steve’s entire argument made thus far (if there is one to be identified) is by and large, fallacious. ...".

  2. My paraphrase follows:

    "Steve-O! Dood! UR dum and UR a Jew luvr! Bite me! - JH"

    Did I miss anything?