Monday, January 16, 2012

Apologia and Apologist tactics for amateurs

I'm still reading the Bible verse-by-verse with Bruce and the gang at Project: The King and I. We're finally in the New Testament, which is fun. I may have mentioned that this is my third reading of the NT ... The second verse-by-verse effort. I was once Born-Again many many years ago, and it was reading the OT immediately after immersing myself in the NT where things began to unravel.

Coincidentally, I've just watched my third debate video starring Dr. William Lane Craig , famous apologist and all-around fun guy. At the same time Deacon Duncan at Evangelical Realism is writing a chapter-by-chapter review of Dr. Craig's book "On Guard" - which I believe is intended as a handbook for amateur apologists. I look forward to Duncan's weekly installments like an adolescent waiting for the next issue of Spiderman to hit the comic book stands. (Duncan also blogs at Alethian Worldview at Freethought Blogs )

The three endeavors dovetail somewhat, which is the background for today's effort.

Encountering formal apologetics, such as presented by Dr. Craig, is fascinating. Duncan's critique of "On Guard" confirms and elaborates some of my informal observations - there's a lot of bait-and-switch, ad hominem attacks, bare assertion and avoidance in the tactics that a polished apologist such as Dr. Lane uses. Informal and amateur apologists, such as we encounter at P:TKAI should be less of a challenge due to their less practiced and polished approach. That's not really true.

We have a new commenter on P:TKAI who is a friend of Bruce, and who is a believer that's quite willing to engage in apologia. It's both head-shaking and irritating. He often makes claims out of thin air that seem as if they're from other conversations. The other day, he stated (quote) "By the way, nice touch on you approving our evidence that God and Jesus exist. Einstein found enough evidence. ...". He was replying to me after I chided him on a false equivalence that he used to bait commenters into demonstrating that scientific proof cannot be certain. It was a mess. This "evidence" rejoinder was completely out of the blue, and certainly didn't address anything that I had written. *

Here's where I'm going with this: I see a pattern with the vocal believers, in that they have (at least on the P:TKAI blog) exhibited a tendency toward non-sequitur. Three different apologists come to mind, each replying to specific posts with declarations that were either off the point (but still in the ballpark) or from completely beyond left field, like the one I cite above.

The pattern is that words go in one ear, and are replaced, partially or completely, with something off-topic. It's too small of a sample to make a general statement, but ***it looks like*** there's a comprehension problem at work. Or dishonesty. Time will tell.

* There's a fine line to be tread on the P:TKAI blog, since Bruce wants it to be civil ... add to that we're now dealing with a personal friend of his. With a little too much caffeine and some shorter-than-normal patience, and I can see accusations of stupidity, delusion and childishness becoming hard to resist. Counting to ten - or sleeping on it - is definitely warranted.

No comments:

Post a Comment