Thursday, June 30, 2011

Silent surrender

Hector Avalos and Matt Flannagan have been dueling over some criticisms that Flannagan leveled against Hector’s contribution to The Christian Delusion.

However, what’s striking, and easily forgotten in this exchange, is not what Avalos has said, but what he’s left unsaid. In addition to some factual criticisms, Flannagan also lodged a couple of logical criticisms:

Exegetical issues aside, much of Avalos’s moral arguments contains subtle fallacies. He argues Christians are committed to accepting the counter factual: If YHWH commands you to kill P then it is permissible to kill P. He then points out that if we replace the word YHWH with Allah, you get the conclusion it is permissible to kill Americans if Allah commands it. Avalos contends that this calls into question the “logic” of theistic ethics. It does not. Any sound argument will be analogous to an unsound argument if we replace a true premise with a false one.
Perhaps the most glaring problem with Avalos’s article is that after he argues The Torah is immoral and unjust he states that moral relativism is true. But how can a relativist consistently claim that the moral code of another culture is immoral?

Thus far, from what I’ve read (unless I missed something), Avalos has passed that over in silence. So at this point it looks like Hector’s rejoinder are, in large part, an effort to deflect attention away from other damaging, and apparently unanswerable, criticisms that Flannagan made in reviewing Hector’s contribution. His telling silence is a form of intellectual surrender. 

1 comment:

  1. Steve, Avalos is trying to be consistent. He's not an expert in critical thinking, formal & informal logic. So he has to keep his mouth closed. Question is: if I can't write on the ANE without being an expert on the ANE, why does Avalos get to make arguments when he's not an expert in argumentation? Shouldn't he leave the arguing to the experts? Why, just look at the mess that happens when an amateur tries to do things only trained professionals should be doing.