Sunday, April 29, 2007

Dawson’s Ever-Shifting Goalposts

If there is one thing that characterizes Dawson Bethrick’s intellectual engagements, it’s the ever-shifting goalposts. A fine example of this is in the recent exchanges that we’ve had.

First, Dawson posed a question that he claimed “would have ruinous implications for the presuppositionalist approach to Christian apologetics.” Everything that Dawson put forth in his argument was done in order to demonstrate this “ruinous” presuppositional position. Let me make this clear. Dawson’s reason for writing anything at all was, as he himself stated, because:

If it can be determined that an "omniscient" consciousness would not possess its knowledge in the form of concepts, this would have ruinous implications for the presuppositionalist approach to Christian apologetics which seeks to contrive aspects of man’s cognitive experience as evidence for an omniscient being whose thinking serves as the model for man’s mental abilities.

I responded to Dawson, pointing out that nothing of what he said was in fact ruinous to the presuppositional position. My response to Dawson showed that his argument did not apply to the presuppositionalist position in the least, was based on faulty presuppositions of his own, and did not accurately reflect Christian understanding of the concepts of omniscience, etc.

Dawson then claimed that I misunderstood his post and had responded to something he didn’t even write about. I then showed how Dawson’s response to my response was, in fact, the very thing he claimed I had done: that is, he responded to things that I didn’t write.

Now Dawson has posted another response. This one is basically ad hominem attacks against me. Hey, when it’s all you’ve got in your arsenal…

Anyway, if we cut through the abuse, we find that Dawson has merely shifted the goalposts and forgotten the original point of his first post, as he typically does. Dawson’s original point was that if God’s knowledge was not held in the form of concepts, then this would be ruinous to the presuppositionalist position. Now, however, he claims that all his post was meant to show is that God’s knowledge could not be held in the form of concepts. He’s not even pretending to try to demonstrate how this provides “ruinous implications” for presuppositionalists anymore. Instead, he’s hoping to distract everyone with a song and dance routine in the hopes that no one will realize that he’s no longer defending his original premise.

For instance, I had said:
Now Dawson's argument is simply that God does not hold knowledge in the form of concepts. To which I respond: so what?
Dawson responds:
That was always my argument. It has not changed.
But that has NOT always been Dawson’s argument. Remember, Dawson’s argument was: “If it can be determined that an ‘omniscient’ consciousness would not possess its knowledge in the form of concepts, this would have ruinous implications for the presuppositionalist approach to Christian apologetics…”

Dawson then opines:
Now his response to my argument, after he's realized what it is, is "so what?" Why was it any different before I had to rescue him from his repetitive mistakes?
Dawson, you’ve not “rescued” anyone from repetitive mistakes—you’ve only succeeded in making those mistakes.

Allow me to demonstrate the lunacy of your argument. It would be as if I said: “The sky is blue, therefore atheism is false.” You respond: “I agree the sky is blue. So what?” I then respond: “See! Dawson agrees with me that the sky is blue! That’s all my argument ever said. He’s such an idiot for arguing against me when he didn’t even understand what I was arguing in the first place!”

This is what’s known as the classic “Bait & Switch” (which, incidentally, has the same initials as what Dawson’s arguments are composed of…but we won’t go there… *wink*)

Naturally, I cannot end this without offering the perfect example of how Dawson operates. I originally pointed out:
This [Dawson’s argument] obviously does not cause "ruinous implications for the presuppositionalist approach to Christian apologetics" since God can still use concepts.
Dawson responds:
Then why did Pike get his panties in a bundle in the first place?
Yes, that’s right. Dawson makes a claim, X. I point out that X is false. His response to that is to say, “Then why are you refuting X?”

I cannot make this up!


  1. Dawson...Dawson...

  2. :::YAWN!!!:::

  3. Uh oh, it looks like John Loftus has hired a new atheist blogger for his site.

  4. I know all too well the type of bait and switch tactics of Bethrick that you've mentioned. After a while it's EXTREMELY tempting to throw your hands up and give up.

    Despite the posted intentions of his blog, i'm not quite sure (and i'm putting it nicely) that he truly knows what presuppositionalism is about.

    (BTW, JET=Joseph Emmanuel Torres)

  5. Oh, and I've already posted 2 parts of my 3 part reply to Bethrick's comments: