Do You Want To Be a Christian Apologist? Part 11

I'm doing a series of posts dealing with the way recognized Christian apologists defend their faith. I'll number them and tag them all with the phrase "Christian Apologetics" so you can have a link to them in reverse chronological order. So, let's say you want to be a Christian apologist, someone who defends the Christian faith. Then what must you do? The eleventh thing you must do is to ignore objections to your faith that cannot be answered. Sweep them under the rug in hopes the faithful won't hear of them. Evangelical philosopher Matthew Flannagan once again forces me to conclude this, but William Lane Craig does the same thing. If there is anything that leads non-believers to conclude Christian apologists are intellectually dishonest then this is it.

William Lane Craig
Jeffrey Jay Lowder first alerted me to Dr. Wes Morriston's critiques of the Kalam Argument for God's existence, saying they were the best critiques of the Kalam to be found. I agree. They are as far as I know. So imagine my utter surprise when I first received Craig's 3rd edition of his "signature" book, Reasonable Faith, only to find that Craig doesn't even mention Morriston's critiques, must less try to respond to them! Morriston's critiques are not to be found in any bibliography in Craig's book, nor is Morriston's name in the index...at all!

You can read the exchange between Craig and Morriston for yourself. All of the following articles can be found online: Wes Morriston,“Must the Beginning of the Universe Have a Personal Cause?: A Critical Examination of the Kalam Cosmological Argument,” Faith and Philosophy 17, no. 2 (2000): 149–69; William Lane Craig, “Must the Beginning of the Universe Have a Personal Cause?: A Rejoinder”; and Morriston’s counter-reply, “Causes and Beginnings in the Kalam Argument: Reply to Craig,” Faith and Philosophy 19, no. 2 (April 2002): 233–44.

Why? What reason can Craig give for this? One thing he cannot do is to say he doesn't know about them, because he responded to the first one, but not to the second one! Maybe Craig is hoping the audience he's writing for in his apologetics book won't hear of Morriston's critiques, because after all, they can only be found in the scholarly literature. Most of the readers of his book will never see them.

Matthew Flannagan
Mathew Flannagan is doing the same thing. Flannagan said: "As to the Outsider Test for Faith (OTF) you'll see I have pointed out that argument is incoherent." Really? For a refresher on the OTF see this and the links to follow. Over three years ago I asked Flannagan to respond to five questions. So far he hasn't done so. Here they are again. Will he answer them? He runs away and will repeat that he has shown the OTF to be incoherent at a later date. No wonder he is a prime example of an intellectually dishonest apologist. He's had three years to to think of his responses. So far I see nothing. Why is that? He can't answer these questions unless he changes his mind, and his faith won't allow him to do it.



This is what Stephen wrote about Flannagan's silence:
Yes, where is he?

Flanagan has a good mind. It's just a pity that his life's work, including a Ph.D in philosophy, all seems to be devoted toward the goal of being the the best possible troll he can be, when there are other, productive areas to which he could devote himself. And I don't invoke the "t" word lightly. It applies because his responses are not oriented toward finding a meeting of minds, but instead are devoted entirely toward obfuscation and sleight of language (hand waving). Heavily used tools in his bag of tricks are "divide and conquer," a circular pattern of sequential reframings, and a retreat to philosophese. "Divide and conquer" entails isolating steps out of a structured argument, and dismissing each step in turn because taken out of context, each individual step does not constitute an entire argument. The fact that he rigorously demands that those who disagree with him speak exclusively in philosophical syllogisms is the clear sign of someone who is retreating into his ivory tower to prevent any real discussion of issues from taking place. He doesn't behave like a man, who meets you face-to-face, but like a squid who squirts ink everywhere in order to avoid an honest defense, or even any communication at all. He's a coward.
How can we conclude differently if he remains silent and yet continues to assert he has shown the OTF to be incoherent?

For yet another example, look at my review of the book In Defense of the Bible A Comprehensive Apologetic for the Authority of Scripture. I have mentioned this book before in this series but it fits here as well.

---------------

Some people have commented that from time to time I've been too hard on these poor pitiful apologists. But seriously, given the track record of the best of the best of them how can I think otherwise? The ball is in their court. They could change my mind.

0 comments: