I was planning on sharing some of my debate notes with you all today and specifically 31 proclivities which JW seems to manifest when talking about the Text and Version debate. But instead, it seems that JW went back to his rabbit hole [i.e., the Dividing Line] yesterday where he and his birdie arguments are safe and accepted in order to try a second attempt at a rebuttal.
I have to say, that what he said in his rabbit whole was a better attempt at a rebuttal than what he produced on debate night. This of course is the problem. If it takes JW two days to formulate some semblance of a cogent rebuttal then perhaps debating isn’t really his thing. What is more, apparently he needs to wait for a time when he is not being challenged to formulate said response. It seems he needs a safe space to do his best work.
Still, after listening to his response you will find that it is equally weak and uninformed though it is on topic which he failed to do during the debate. So let’s take a look at what he had to say in the aftermath of the debate.
1.) [32:14] “The venue did a really really great job with setting up the debate.” Listen, I get that most in attendance were JW fans and so it behooves JW to pat his friends on the back. That makes sense, but it is probably best that he keep things above board even though they are his friends. Let me explain.
First, when I was approached I was asked to defend Confessional Bibliology and I accepted the challenge based on that premise. Then several days later I was asked to defend the TR by the organizer of the debate. I resisted because I believed that while the TR is definitely a huge part of the Confessional Bibliology position it is not Confessional Bibliology. I explained to JW and the promoter that the TR is the conclusion of Confessional Bibliology and that there is a raft of theology and philosophy which undergirds our conclusion that the TR is the word of God. I wanted to talk about those undergirding theological and philosophical considerations. I proposed a different question which was not liked because it did not contain TR in the topic. In fact is was first rejected by the promoter who had no skin in the game, he was not debating and yet he was the final say on what we were going to debate. It got so hot at one point that I was told by the promoter to either accept a debate topic with TR in the topic or they were going to find someone else. I thought about it for a day, and then accepted. Folks, the people who determine what is going to be debated are the debaters but not this time. I had to either bow to their demands or lose my spot. At this point I had listened to quite a bit of JW and I thought his position to be stale enough that I could accept their terms and still win.
Second, I was ask by the promoter if I would be able to cover my own costs to travel, lodge, and eat because he was not sure he could find a single church in the whole area what would house me because they disagreed with my position. [I have the emails, so if anyone wants to bark about me lying or exaggerating I’ll post the emails for all to see.] Apparently this is how you set up a great debate at least according to JW.
Third, if it was such a well orchestrated debate how is it that the debate topic was misread from the go – a topic that neither debater agreed to?
Fourth, if it was such an well orchestrated debate how do you account for the moderator asking me a question which favored JW’s position right after JW’s time for cross ran out? That doesn’t seem to be a well set up debate.
Fifth, it if was such a well orchestrated debate how do you account for the moderator allowing JW to respond with “Asked and Answer” more times than he actually answered questions?
2.) [34:39] JW quotes “Squirrel” saying that my argument was the worst word salad he had ever heard outside of politics.
Oooo…such a burn. So substantive. So meaningful. JW really go to the point of my argument. Brilliant.
3.) [35:25] There are very few people who have heard of the “Van Kleeck Hypothesis”.
First, I’d like to thank JW for the moniker but in the end what I argued is mere Pre-Critical Bibliology and the fact that JW has never heard these things before is sad and it tells me that his grasp of Reformation Era Bibliology is somewhere in the range of zero. As such the whole of it seems foreign to him.
4.) [36:09] Endless guilt by association fallacies. He compares my work to Gale Riplinger without explaining why. He merely asserts it and of course his listeners join him in the rabbit whole and fail to ask, but why JW? JW around the same time says that my work Then He Poked the Bear makes Bart Ehrman look like a Fundamentalist. Again JW simply asserts this and offers no explanation which he is apt to do in debate and not in debate apparently. Even after two days to think about the debate JW still can’t escape fallacious reasoning.
5.) [36;42] “Plantinga never applied this because he knows it is an obvious category error.”
I laughed out loud at this. JW regularly is out of his depth in philosophy and Plantinga is a philosopher. JW performance with William Lane Craig is a perfect case in point. JW seemed utterly ignorant of truth-makers, their role in truth-making, as well Truth-Maker Maximalism and explanatory priority.
But let’s take a look at what Plantinga actually says rather than listening to JW who has apparently never read Warranted Christian Belief by Plantinga. Plantinga writes, “On the present model [i.e., Aquinas/Calvin Model], therefore, faith is a bit narrower than in the account of true faith from the Heidelberg Catechism …which includes a ‘conviction that everything God reveals in his word is true.'” [p.248] In the debate I think I said Helvetic Confession. I should have said Heidelberg Catechism.
No offense to JW but his claim about category errors is ignorant. Never once did he demonstrate that my saying the Canon is inspired is like saying “Strawberries taste blue” – a true category error. JW thinks that by simply saying “category error” that his problem is solved, but for anyone with a small measure of philosophical training knows that such a claim hurts JW more than he knows. Furthermore, his claim that Plantinga did not address Scripture in his Aquinas/Calvin Model is doubly ignorant, but we’ll forgive him and try to help him along as the Lord gives him ears to hear.
6.) [37:46] JW says that I accused JW himself of being old, crusty, and almost dead. No no no…I accused his arguments of being old, crusty, and actually dead. This tells you how close JW’s arguments are associated with his person. To assault JW’s arguments is to assault JW.
7.) [38:10] “When you say belief in the Bible everyone can tell…” This a bandwagon fallacy that is also unsubstantiated which is a double-stuffed fallacy of reasoning. One, even if everyone could tell that doesn’t make it right or true. Two, JW has again failed to demonstrate his claims. I am convinced JW simply asserts things, those who love him accept that as true, therefore JW doesn’t need to defend his beliefs. This of course leads to a bloodless effete series of arguments which cannot stand a real test. And that is what we saw last Saturday evening.
8.) [39:36] Here we get the Guilt by Association fallacy where JW when in a Christian audience is apt to compare his Christian opponents to false religious groups. By doing this he lumps his Christian opponent into a group that the audience does not regard favorably. As a result he plays on the audiences’ emotions but offers no meaningful critique. He simply makes unsubstantiated statements, Christians agree, and JW’s interlocutor is now the equivalent of a Muslim or Mormon. Such behavior is a prime example of rhetorical manipulation. Seeing JW has had so many debates you would think he wouldn’t make such elementary mistakes, but alas he regularly does.
9.) [42:30] “Conflating belief in the Trinity and belief in a textual readings is not the same kind of belief.” Again JW simply asserts and makes no meaningful attempt to explain his assertion. What is more, it has been two days since the debate and he still got my arguments wrong. Belief in the Trinity and belief that a given word of God is actually from God both require the Spirit of God to speak through the word of God to the people of God. In this sense, belief in the Trinity and belief that a given word in Scripture is from God are arrived at in the very same way.
10.) [43:40] “I always chuckle when young men declare themselves the winner.” Thank you for considering me a young man. I declared myself the winner for three reaons: One, the moderator wasn’t going to declare a winner. Two, there were no judges in the back of the room keeping score on a debate score card so there was not going to be a declaration from there. Three, JW didn’t even address my arguments. He simply swept them aside via an unsupported bare assertion and then went on to talk about whatever he wanted to talk about. As such, all of my arguments stood which means I win.
11.) [44:09] “TR advocates were saying that I didn’t answer any of his questions. I didn’t refute any of his arguments. That’s because his arguments were absurd.” He again we see JW in his natural habitat – declaring things, not supporting them, assuming they are true, and then moving on to his next bare unsupported assertion. Even two days later he is unprepared to answer my arguments. One can only laugh at this point.
12.) [44:12] “Then a Baysian analysis of the probability that the TR is the Autograph” He gives such a lame definition of Bayes’ Theorem and then says that the probability that Revelation 16:5 is Scripture is low using Bayes’ Theorem. Again, I laughed out loud. I mean I’m no mathematician but to say that Revelation 16:5 is Scripture is extremely low is for JW to fully demonstrate he does not understand Bayes’ Theorem and how it works. With Posterior Historical Evidence and Background Evidence alone Revelation 16:5 has at least a 50% chance of being equal to the Autographs because God can do anything and the belief that God to anything is included in the Background Evidence. Not only is JW laughably wrong he doesn’t have an internal mechanism to tell him when to stop or when he is so far out of his depth.
13.) [45:18] “TR onlyism is functionally no different the KJV Onlyism” Again, Guilt by Association fallacy. At this point we can add boring to old, stale, dead arguments brought to you by JW. Then JW says Mark Ward is right on this point. Oh my…we have two peas in a pod now. JW regularly commits the Guild by Association fallacy and so does Mark Ward with his ridiculous “absolutism” moniker. But hey, birds of a feather rhetorically flock together I suppose.
14.) [45:30] “TR onlyism is circular” Assuming we take “TR onlyism” in a charitable way, if we are talking about first principles, which we are, then circularity is a feature not a bug. The Bible is the principium cognoscendi or the first principle of theological knowledge. First principles necessarily employ circularity. Again, here is an example of JW lack of historical, theological, and philosophical knowledge. Why he hasn’t learned these things seeing he claims to have a doctors degree is unclear, but it is clear he hasn’t learned them.
All in all, it took two days for JW to conjure some semblance of a response only to utterly fail again and seeing it was all done in his rabbit whole it’s kind of like JW played himself. What is more, given that JW method seems to be something like assert unsubstantiated claims, refuse to explain those claims, and then move on; JW’s critique has no more explanatory force and scope than it did on Saturday.