_____'s "The Anti-Mormon Attackers"

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moksha
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Post by moksha »

This is all getting pretty mean spirited. I wish everyone could tone it down a bit and try to be civil to one another. It is like trying to read an episode of Ultimate Combat.
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Re: _____'s "The Anti-Mormon Attackers"

Post by Mister Scratch »

wenglund wrote:No mirror. You are proving my point all on your self-discrediting own.

Thanks, -Wade Englund-


Hey, isn't this what Kevin told you over on MTT, Wade? Can't you come up with any original barbs or observations on your own?

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Re: FARMS Reviews the New Testament

Post by Runtu »

But the above is mostly just ho-hum boring.

I just thought you'd like to know.

Regards,
Pahoran


Thanks for the comment. I suppose I can't always be brilliant. ;)

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Re: _____'s "The Anti-Mormon Attackers"

Post by wenglund »

Mister Scratch wrote:Hey, isn't this what Kevin told you over on MTT, Wade?


Perhaps. If it is important enough for you to find out for sure, you will have to check there yourself since I have been banned there by Kevin in an unoriginal way and for unoriginal reasons.

Can't you come up with any original barbs or observations on your own?


If it is important enough for you to find out, you can check all the posts I have ever written against all the things that anyone has ever said or observed, and make that determination yourself. And, were your apparent concern for originality consistent, you would do the same test of Kevin's and your posts (including your question above). For my part, I really don't care.

Now, I realize that consistency (particularly when it requires honest introspection and acceptance of personal responsibility) is somewhat foreign to you, and that it is not an original notion or practice to anyone currently living on earth, but were you to embrace and inculcate it (along with any one or more of a number of conventions of critical thought and fair, balanced, and reasonable discourse currently absent in your behavior), then I would not question that unoriginality, but I would welcome and celebrate it.

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

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Post by Kevin Graham »

== If it is important enough for you to find out for sure, you will have to check there yourself since I have been banned there by Kevin in an unoriginal way and for unoriginal reasons.

I beg to differ. I doubt anyone else has ever been banned from FAIR or ZLMB for stupidity.

That's as original as can be.

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Post by wenglund »

Kevin Graham wrote:== If it is important enough for you to find out for sure, you will have to check there yourself since I have been banned there by Kevin in an unoriginal way and for unoriginal reasons.

I beg to differ. I doubt anyone else has ever been banned from FAIR or ZLMB for stupidity.

That's as original as can be.


Strange...that is not exactly what you said earlier here, and certainly not what Liz here told me was the reason.

But, I suppose it does depend upon what the respective mods consider as "stupid". In your case, "stupid" evidently means "anyone who cares enough about you to undertake the arduous task of demonstrating indisputably to your closed and self-protective mind that you were clearly wrong on quite a few of your perception about what I had said." Being proven wrong is loathsome enough for you and entirely unacceptable to your mind, let alone being forced by the power of careful, maticulous, and self-evident reasoning to accept that you were wrong many times over. To your mind, it would be "stupid" to let that happen. So, on several levels, I can see how "stupidity" was your reason--or at least the reason you need to suggest in order to avoid being confronted with the unacceptable truth.

The mods at FAIR, on the other hand, might consider it "stupid" for someone with your unflattering reputation to boast that a respected and valued scholar was "fabricating" reasons to close off a public conversation.

They might have thought it "stupid" for you to, in your typically belligerent, reactionary, accusatory, misunderstanding and misrepresentative way, badger them.

Then, too, the mods at FAIR and ZLMB may have considered it "stupid" for you to do all the inane and uncivil things you have done over the years to get booted or queued as many times as you have on both boards, and they may have thought the same thing about me and others who have likewise been banned and queued multiple times.

They may think it "stupid" that you just don't get this, and likely never will--particularly now that you closed off the one remaining avenue that could help you gain congnition (i.e. me).

So, it's questionable whether that is an "original" reason or not.

Even still, it is unoriginal to ban people regardless of the reason. It happens all the time--as you well know.

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

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Re: _____'s "The Anti-Mormon Attackers"

Post by Pahoran »

Mister Scratch wrote:[MODERATOR NOTE: Keene recently dropped the hammer, which you can read about here. Therefore, I have to edit out IRL information that a person requests be edited out.]

I was perusing over at the FAIR-affiliated FARMS recently, and came across this article. I may perhaps add it to the blog eventually, if I can ever determine how it fits. But in any case, I thought it was an interesting demonstration of FARMS-style rhetoric, or what DCP has recently describes as "just more ad hominems." Anyways, a few choice quotes (you can count the ad hominems and straw men, if you'd like):

Indeed.

Ad Hominem means "to the man." The ad hominem fallacy consists of arguments like, "he can't be a good plumber because he's a vegetarian" or "her arguments can't be sound because she's a democrat," or "he'd be a disaster as President because he's a Mormon." Exactly which, of your carefully chosen excerpts or anything else in the FARMS review under discussion, makes such an argument with regard to the book under review?

Mister Scratch wrote:
The Anti-Mormon Attackers
_____

A further self-recommendation is found in the author's introduction, which is titled, "Aggressive Apologetics: The Growing Mormon Mission." "Holding"1 takes up the theme introduced by Mosser and Owen's essay on the need for better quality evangelical apologetics2 and promises to deliver the goods in the form of "top-notch Biblical scholarship" (p. 10). This level of self-certification makes no concessions to false modesty. Whatever the actual quality of the scholarship here, the author certainly thinks it is formidable.

(bold emphasis added)

Yes, and? This is an ad hominem argument--how, exactly? Do you deny that "top-notch" scholarship ought to be formidable? How does this not qualify as self-certification of the book?

Mister Scratch wrote:
The book has a distinct apologetic handbook feel, with the key points being reiterated in summary form at the end of each chapter. This provides the reader with a useful way to survey quickly what Holding thinks he has proven in those chapters.

And you have a problem with this--why? Do you take issue with that? Do you think the "Key Points" at the bottom of each chapter represent things Holding thinks he hasn't proven?

Mister Scratch wrote:
In contrast to this approach, Holding becomes a staunch and loyal enthusiast for majority opinion or scholarship as soon as it suits his purposes.

Holding cannot claim to be ignorant of the relevant literature since he refers to it,4 yet he fails entirely to interact with it. Is this his idea of "top-notch scholarship"?

Yes, and? Do you have an argument to make here? Is the other shoe about to drop any time soon?

Mister Scratch wrote:
A detailed critique of his arguments would run to many pages and would be tedious.

Do you expect a review to rebut every point its subject makes? Is every review as long as the book it discusses?

Do you even know what a review is?

Mister Scratch wrote:
Holding has at least made an effort to justify this assumption with something resembling a structured argument, but that argument turns out, upon inspection, to be fatally flawed by its tendentiousness.

(Isn't this called "Begging the Question"? I.e., "The argument is flawed because it is flawed."?)

No, the argument is flawed because it is tendentious. Tendentiousness is but one of many possible flaws an argument may have.

Mister Scratch wrote:I thought this was hilarious:

Where this book really does improve on some of those of its predecessors is in its tone. It neither bristles with hostility, as most earlier productions do, nor drips with insincere, condescending friendliness, as some of the more recent efforts do.
(emphasis added)

Really? Why?

Does the FARMS review in question "bristle with hostility?" If so, you have failed to produce any examples of such bristlings.

Mister Scratch wrote:This too:
I saw none of the usual accusations of "dishonesty" that conservative Protestant anti-Mormons tend to fling at Latter-day Saints for failing to describe our own faith in terms amenable to the hostile caricatures our opponents have fashioned and prefer. His approach is businesslike and his tone scholarly.
(emphasis added)

Does this remind anyone of FAIR?

Why should that matter?

The statement is question is complimentary of the book. Did you really not understand that?

Mister Scratch wrote:
He shifts his ground from chapter to chapter and from topic to topic as he keeps his focus on whatever angle of attack seems most profitable at the time.

So, what? Are you saying he doesn't? Note that this is a summary; the review gives examples of the book doing exactly that.

Mister Scratch wrote:All in all, I thought this was a very interesting article, which is easily accessible via google. It seems a good example of the smear tactics of which FAIR and FARMS are so fond.

Based upon what you have given us, it indeed seems a good example of what passes for "smear tactics" in the minds of obsessive FARMS-bashers.

Regards,
Pahoran

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Post by Mister Scratch »

Frankly, I think the link Kevin provided is far more damning than anything I said.

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Post by Pahoran »

Mister Scratch wrote:Frankly, I think the link Kevin provided is far more damning than anything I said.

I agree that your attempted hatchet-job was rather underwhelming.

Regards,
Pahoran

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Post by Pahoran »

Runtu wrote:That is a pretty devastating (and accurate) summary of _____'s review. But it's par for the course: derisive misreadings, attribution of sinister motives, and simple ad hominem. I wouldn't have expected anything less.

Can you provide some examples? I've re-read the review, and can't see it.

Regards,
Pahoran

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Holding's non-response

Post by Pahoran »

Some excerpts from the response that so many are waxing lyrical over:

I wonder if this review was secretly authored by a Skeptic pretending to be a Mormon.

But don't forget; the FARMS review was nothing but ad hominem, while Holding's response was simply a devastating piece of scholarship.

We are told that TMD is "in part, another response to Blomberg and Robinson's How Wide the Divide? - a book that seemingly continues to disturb those who have trouble accepting the proposition that individuals can believe differently and still be Christians." Aw, gee, THAT canard again? Skeptic tactic imitated #3: I'm psychoanalyzed and found to be disturbed!

Of course the statement implied nothing of the sort; the normal meaning of "disturb" in this case is "annoy" or "bother." The review draws no conclusions about Holding's mental health, and in fact that statement does not mention him at all; he is being unnecessarily defensive. But what does his magnum opus say?

The seriousness of our situation became urgently clear when InterVarsity Press published an inter-faith dialog... entitled How Wide the Divide?

Note that this comes, not from Holding's own text, but from the Foreword, which was written by somebody else ("Kevin James Bywater," possibly also pseudonymous.) But it was published in Holding's book. However relaxed he may or may not be about HWTD? it clearly bothers Mr. Bywater. Indeed, on that subject he seems to protest too much, as when he says:

I think Blomberg gave a licking and kept on ticking.

And yet it is quite clear, to those who have actually read that volume, that it was not a debate or combat work; no "lickings" were there to be had. This, indeed is what made that book so disturbing to some: Blomberg had the temerity to not only talk to a Mormon (ugh!) like a human being, but he made the fatal mistake (from a polemical standpoint) of allowing the Mormon to speak for his own faith tradition.

Holding also describes the review as a "hissy fit." Had the review said anything similar about Holding's book, Scratch and his cheer squad would be all over it; but when Holding says it, they pass it by in peculiar silence.

But don't forget; the FARMS review was nothing but ad hominem, while Holding's response was simply a devastating piece of scholarship.

when Bywater says that "Mormonism is not biblical", it's worthless, because "neither he nor Holding spells out is what they mean by 'biblical.'" Good grief! Canard #4: Pretend you don't know what the opposition is talking about! How hard is this? "Biblical" = "in agreement with the Bible." Obviously, not 100% (because not even the worst atheist disagrees with the Bible 100%) but at core points that are distinctives. There now, wasn't that easy?

Notice the editorial insertions; evidently Mr. Holding doesn't trust his readers to grasp that the review is pronouncing Bywater's dictum "worthless." Perhaps that's because it doesn't. There are no such pejorative dismissives in the review; the "hissy fit" is a Mr. Holding sees is a reflection of his own angry reaction at not meriting a page-by-page rebuttal from one or more of FARMS' heavy hitters, as documented by our own Kevin Graham.

The important thing that Mr. Holding is missing is that his arguments rely upon certain shared assumptions about the meanings of key terms. When Bywater asserts that "Mormonism is not biblical," then he is saying something that, if true, ought to be provable from the Bible; yet not only does Holding not limit himself to the Bible to make his case, he actually relies upon extrabiblical material to determine the interpretation of biblical passages that he will allow. In the end, "Mormonism is not biblical" turns out to mean "Mormons do not read the Bible the way I think they should."

What has clearly happened is that McGregor got in way over his head reviewing TMD, and has produced the same sort of frustrated drivel that I regularly get from atheists who are in over their heads when I refer to things like "honor-shame societies" and "collectivist cultures". I may as well be explaining flight aerodynamics to a naked native.

But don't forget; the FARMS review was nothing but ad hominem, while Holding's response was simply a devastating piece of scholarship.

Actually what has clearly happened is that Holding expected a much more detailed response, and instead got a review.

And more! Now it's time for Skeptic Imitation Device #6, "Show your need for a reading lesson." I say:

Therefore, we argue that the majority interpretation of 1 Corinthians 15:29 is off the mark. A more reasonable thesis is that the practice was devoid of theological meaning and thus not requiring Paul's explicit condemnation, or else, that we are misunderstanding the passage completely.

McGregor oddly takes this to mean:

Either the passage doesn't mean anything, or we don't understand it - but whatever the case, its meaning must be sacrificed. What isn't biblical?

GOOD GRIEF! No, not "doesn't mean anything," it's "doesn't mean anything theological". See that word "theological" before "meaning"? Ye elohims! And is it like I stopped there and provided nothing to explain how we should be understanding the passage? McGregor's obscuratanism is almost too painful to be borne!

How is this "obscurantism?" The quoted passage offers two alternatives:

1) Either "the practice was devoid of theological meaning";
2) Or "we are misunderstanding the passage completely."

How does the qualifier "theological" materially impact the question? The end of Mr. Holding's learned exegesis of 1 Cor. 15:29 is to offer two mutually exclusive choices so as to distract from the unpalatable third alternative, which is that Paul's contemporaries practiced a vicarious baptism on behalf of the dead, and far from disapproving the practice, Paul actually cited it as evidence in favour of a core Christian doctrine.

Then we have this:

And ugh! Skeptic Tactic #7, already! It's said:

In contrast to this approach, Holding becomes a staunch and loyal enthusiast for majority opinion or scholarship as soon as it suits his purposes.

Um, no, as soon as the data demands it actually, but you won't hear McG stepping into that hornet's nest, now, will you? The subject this time is Mark 16:15-16, and to my note that "the reader may be surprised to see this verse cited by LDS apologists, knowing that it is almost universally declared to be not part of the original Gospel of Mark," McGregor offers the derisive snort, "Just exactly why the fashions of scholarship should determine which passages of scripture form part of the faith of the Latter-day Saints is not clear, but Holding does not even attempt to address the real issue regarding the authenticity and authority of that passage; the actual question has to do not with Mark's authorship but rather with whether Jesus actually made the statement. Matthew 28:19-20 would seem to suggest that he did say it or at least something very much like it." Gack, pfft -- Matt. 28:19-20 is, under the evidence given, a model for Mark 16:15-16, and that "fashion of scholarship" has to do with sound textual-critical principles that I list in full but McGregor doesn't even shake a stick at. I may as well give McG his card for the KJV Onlyist Club. Mark IS the only source for us to decide whether Jesus made that statement as he did, as his text is clearly not original between 16:9-20, and the appeal to Matthew's parallel is a counsel of despair.

Not hardly, no.

Here is the whole "great commission" controversy in a nutshell:

Q) Was the Mark passage borrowed from Matthew?

A) Maybe. Probably. Most authorities think so.

Q) Does that mean that the passage is inauthentic in Mark?

A) It would, yes.

Q) Does that mean that Jesus never said it?

A) No. It does not. Only if we accept that Matthew invented the passage out of whole cloth would that follow. However, the alternative and--in the view of many, more likely--possibility is that Matthew was citing from an independent source--either his own recollection, or some other written urtext, such as the mysterious Logia which some believe to have been written down prior to the Gospels, and used by them as a source.

Q) But isn't Mark the oldest of the gospels and the one that the others copy from?

A) Such is the majority view, yes. But Matthew was there in person; even if he did use Mark's gospel as his starting point, he was entitled as a living witness to add whatever his own memory told him was missing.

But don't forget; the FARMS review was nothing but ad hominem, while Holding's response was simply a devastating piece of scholarship.

McGregor then abandons actual argument again to remark upon my "repeatedly assuming that Mormon and Christian are distinct categories." Not an exact Skeptic canard, to be sure, but a common canard from LDS apologists who know no better. As I have told my Mormon friend Kevin Graham, and which he quite clearly understood, my repeated use of such statements as, "A fundamental point of contention between Mormonism and Christianity . . ." is not meant as any kind of social statement about division. These are terms of convenience for the average reader; if I went about making qualifying statements every line or so I may as well ship each inidividual copy of TMD in a U-Haul.

Since the book is only 130 pages long, I fail to see how using "Protestant" or even "Evangelical Protestant" in place of "Christian," or even using "mainstream" as an adjective, would have sent his book into the multi-volume range. He could have chosen almost any other pair of labels which would not have inconvenienced "the average reader," much less created the impression that "Mormon" and "Christian" are non-intersecting sets.

But don't forget; the FARMS review was nothing but ad hominem, while Holding's response was simply a devastating piece of scholarship.

So what can I say? Maybe McGregor was p.o.'d because I sent him running to the dictionary too many times, or perhaps he missed his laxatives the day he wrote the review. Either way this review was a far cry from the sort of responsible report I had been expecting from FARMS, and while I must make it clear that this doesn't tarnish the reputation of the whole of LDS apologists in my view, it does make a certain one named McGregor smell a lot like a weasel. And veteran readers know what I mean by that reference.

But don't forget; the FARMS review was nothing but ad hominem, while Holding's response was simply a devastating piece of scholarship.

Regards,
Pahoran

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Post by Mister Scratch »

Hey Pahoran, haven't you heard? You're not supposed to be posting your own IRL name on here. You better go back through your post and delete all of the citations in which Holding calls you by your name. Naughty, naughty, Pah.

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Post by Runtu »

Pahoran wrote:
Runtu wrote:That is a pretty devastating (and accurate) summary of _____'s review. But it's par for the course: derisive misreadings, attribution of sinister motives, and simple ad hominem. I wouldn't have expected anything less.

Can you provide some examples? I've re-read the review, and can't see it.

Regards,
Pahoran


Derisive misreading:

A further self-recommendation is found in the author's introduction, which is title, "Aggressive Apologetics: The Growing Mormon Mission." "Holding" takes up the them introduced by Mosser and Owen's essay on the need for better quality evangelical apologetics and promises to deliever the goods in the form of "top-notch Biblical scholarship" (p. 10). This level of self-certification makes no concessions to false modesty. Whatever the actual quality of the scholarship here, the author certainly thinks it is formidable.


As Holding makes clear in his response, the reviewer misreads a promise to bring top-notch scholarship into the discussion, meaning that Holding intends to bring other people's work into it. The reviewer, on the other hand, takes these three words and riffs on Holding's inflated ego and "self-certification," insisting that Holding is referring to his own book as "top-notch scholarship."

Another derisive misreading:

Holding asserts that the practice of baptism for the dead cited by Paul was "devoid of theological meaning and thus not requiring Paul's explicit condemnation, or else, that we are misunderstanding the passage completely."

The reviewer's take: "Either the passage doesn't mean anything, or we don't understand it--but whatever the case, its meaning must be sacrificed."

Again, Holding is referring to the practice not having theological meaning, but the reviewer takes that as a statement that the passage in Corinthians itself is meaningless. The first rule in reviewing a book is to have adequate reading comprehension, which is apparently lacking in this reviewer.

Sinister motives:

Apparently "disturbed" by the existence of How Wide the Divide?, Holding "attempts to widen the divide by attacking on seven fronts."

"The only overriding principle appears to be a search for whatever readings provide the most useful argument against Latter-day Saint beliefs and truth claims."

"Nonetheless, his agenda is clear from the title he has chosen. For defenders do not contend against other defenders; attackers do."

Thus we see that Holding is an opportunistic and unprincipled attacker, hell-bent on widening the divide between Mormons and mainstream Christians, which would qualify as an ad hominem.

A detailed critique of his arguments would run to many pages and would be tedious.


Apparently, so would an honest one.

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Post by Runtu »

But don't forget; the FARMS review was nothing but ad hominem, while Holding's response was simply a devastating piece of scholarship.


You really have a problem with misreading quotes, Pahoran. I never said it was a "devastating piece of scholarship." It was devastating because it was accurate. I wouldn't expect something Holding posted on the net to be particularly scholarly, especially when it's a response to a rather snarky review in FARMS. I would expect an equally snarky response from Holding, which is what we have. That it is more accurate than the original snarky review is pretty telling.

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Post by Pahoran »

Runtu wrote:
Pahoran wrote:
Runtu wrote:That is a pretty devastating (and accurate) summary of _____'s review. But it's par for the course: derisive misreadings, attribution of sinister motives, and simple ad hominem. I wouldn't have expected anything less.

Can you provide some examples? I've re-read the review, and can't see it.

Regards,
Pahoran

Derisive misreading:

A further self-recommendation is found in the author's introduction, which is title, "Aggressive Apologetics: The Growing Mormon Mission." "Holding" takes up the them introduced by Mosser and Owen's essay on the need for better quality evangelical apologetics and promises to deliever the goods in the form of "top-notch Biblical scholarship" (p. 10). This level of self-certification makes no concessions to false modesty. Whatever the actual quality of the scholarship here, the author certainly thinks it is formidable.

As Holding makes clear in his response, the reviewer misreads a promise to bring top-notch scholarship into the discussion, meaning that Holding intends to bring other people's work into it. The reviewer, on the other hand, takes these three words and riffs on Holding's inflated ego and "self-certification," insisting that Holding is referring to his own book as "top-notch scholarship."

Who said anything about Holding's "ego?" This is another example of his unnecessary defensiveness. The review says nothing about Holding as a scholar; his book promises that "top-notch scholarship" will be found therein. Whether it is to be his own or someone else's is immaterial--the book is still certifying itself. Unless you think the passage in question claims that the "top-notch scholarship" in view will not be found in the pages of Holding's book.

Do you?

Wherein does the "misreading" lie, other than in the wrong conclusion to which you have leaped?

Another derisive misreading:

Holding asserts that the practice of baptism for the dead cited by Paul was "devoid of theological meaning and thus not requiring Paul's explicit condemnation, or else, that we are misunderstanding the passage completely."

The reviewer's take: "Either the passage doesn't mean anything, or we don't understand it--but whatever the case, its meaning must be sacrificed."

Again, Holding is referring to the practice not having theological meaning, but the reviewer takes that as a statement that the passage in Corinthians itself is meaningless. The first rule in reviewing a book is to have adequate reading comprehension, which is apparently lacking in this reviewer.

This is fascinating. Did you actually read my post, above?

The quoted passage offers two alternatives:

1) Either "the practice was devoid of theological meaning";
2) Or "we are misunderstanding the passage completely."

How does the qualifier "theological" materially impact the question? The end of Mr. Holding's learned exegesis of 1 Cor. 15:29 is to offer two mutually exclusive choices so as to distract from the unpalatable third alternative, which is that Paul's contemporaries practiced a vicarious baptism on behalf of the dead, and far from disapproving the practice, Paul actually cited it as evidence in favour of a core Christian doctrine.

Kettle asks: "adequate reading comprehension," Mr. Pot?

Sinister motives:

Apparently "disturbed" by the existence of How Wide the Divide?, Holding "attempts to widen the divide by attacking on seven fronts."

Again with the inadequate reading comprehension. What the review actually says is:

This book is, in part, another response to Blomberg and Robinson's How Wide the Divide?—a book that seemingly continues to disturb those who have trouble accepting the proposition that individuals can believe differently and still be Christians. Holding attempts to widen the divide by attacking on seven fronts: divine embodiment, trinitarianism, premortal existence, baptism for the dead, vicarious ordinances in general, the role of works in salvation, and exaltation.

Is it necessary for you to misrepresent the review in order to attack it?

"The only overriding principle appears to be a search for whatever readings provide the most useful argument against Latter-day Saint beliefs and truth claims."

Right. Now show how this conclusion does not follow from the evidence, can you?

"Nonetheless, his agenda is clear from the title he has chosen. For defenders do not contend against other defenders; attackers do."

And is this not correct?

Thus we see that Holding is an opportunistic and unprincipled attacker, hell-bent on widening the divide between Mormons and mainstream Christians, which would qualify as an ad hominem.

I agree that your far-fetched and--what was your phrase again? "derisive misreading"--would qualify as ad hominem, but the review does not describe him as "an opportunistic and unprincipled attacker," or indeed in any terms even approaching that. That is your own opinion, to which you are fully entitled, but the review does not support it.

You made it up.

A detailed critique of his arguments would run to many pages and would be tedious.

Apparently, so would an honest one.

Apparently, an honest critique of the review would be even more so. Clearly it was beyond your capabilities.

Regards,
Pahoran

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Post by Pahoran »

Runtu wrote:
But don't forget; the FARMS review was nothing but ad hominem, while Holding's response was simply a devastating piece of scholarship.

You really have a problem with misreading quotes, Pahoran. I never said it was a "devastating piece of scholarship." It was devastating because it was accurate.

Oh, so it wasn't devastating because it was so very scholarly. Got it.

The reason why I didn't tumble that you thought it was "devastating" because of its accuracy is that it wasn't all that accurate either, was it?

Runtu wrote:I wouldn't expect something Holding posted on the net to be particularly scholarly, especially when it's a response to a rather snarky review in FARMS. I would expect an equally snarky response from Holding, which is what we have.

No, it is vastly more "snarky" than the review.

Does the review say anything remotely as "snarky" as "the author may as well have written a song about birthday cakes and rainy days?"

Does the review say anything remotely as "snarky" as asking where the author has "been living all these years?"

Does the review say anything remotely as "snarky" as "aimless carping?"

Does the review say anything remotely as "snarky" as calling Holding's book a "hissy fit?"

Can you point to anything in the review remotely that "snarky?"

Runtu wrote:That it is more accurate than the original snarky review is pretty telling.

That you so errantly imagine it to be is even more so.

Regards,
Pahoran

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Post by Runtu »

Pahoran wrote:
Runtu wrote:
Pahoran wrote:
Runtu wrote:That is a pretty devastating (and accurate) summary of _____'s review. But it's par for the course: derisive misreadings, attribution of sinister motives, and simple ad hominem. I wouldn't have expected anything less.

Can you provide some examples? I've re-read the review, and can't see it.

Regards,
Pahoran

Derisive misreading:

Who said anything about Holding's "ego?"


You did, when you sarcastically brought up "false modesty."

This is another example of his unnecessary defensiveness. The review says nothing about Holding as a scholar; his book promises that "top-notch scholarship" will be found therein. Whether it is to be his own or someone else's is immaterial--the book is still certifying itself. Unless you think the passage in question claims that the "top-notch scholarship" in view will not be found in the pages of Holding's book.

Do you?


So, your premise is that none of the scholarship he brings in is "top notch"? Since you haven't really discussed in your review what scholarship he used, which scholars did he quote that you found inferior?

Wherein does the "misreading" lie, other than in the wrong conclusion to which you have leaped?


It's hard to reach a wrong conclusion about a sneering insult like the one I noted.

This is fascinating. Did you actually read my post, above?


No, I didn't see your post until after I had written mine.

The quoted passage offers two alternatives:

1) Either "the practice was devoid of theological meaning";
2) Or "we are misunderstanding the passage completely."

How does the qualifier "theological" materially impact the question?


It's not the qualifier that materially impacts the question. It's the noun: the practice is theologically meaningless, not the passage. Again, you're clearing misinterpreting this statement.

The end of Mr. Holding's learned exegesis of 1 Cor. 15:29 is to offer two mutually exclusive choices so as to distract from the unpalatable third alternative, which is that Paul's contemporaries practiced a vicarious baptism on behalf of the dead, and far from disapproving the practice, Paul actually cited it as evidence in favour of a core Christian doctrine.

Kettle asks: "adequate reading comprehension," Mr. Pot?


Gee, I would think that most of us understand that an apologetic is not going to argue in favor of the opposition's point.

This book is, in part, another response to Blomberg and Robinson's How Wide the Divide?—a book that seemingly continues to disturb those who have trouble accepting the proposition that individuals can believe differently and still be Christians. Holding attempts to widen the divide by attacking on seven fronts: divine embodiment, trinitarianism, premortal existence, baptism for the dead, vicarious ordinances in general, the role of works in salvation, and exaltation.
Is it necessary for you to misrepresent the review in order to attack it?


To paraphrase you, how does my summary materially misrepresent the review?

"The only overriding principle appears to be a search for whatever readings provide the most useful argument against Latter-day Saint beliefs and truth claims."
Right. Now show how this conclusion does not follow from the evidence, can you?


It's difficult to say, given that you don't provide anything more than a cursory glance at his arguments, because, as you said, actually tackling the arguments would be "tedious."

I agree that your far-fetched and--what was your phrase again? "derisive misreading"--would qualify as ad hominem, but the review does not describe him as "an opportunistic and unprincipled attacker," or indeed in any terms even approaching that. That is your own opinion, to which you are fully entitled, but the review does not support it.

You made it up.


That was a fun part to write, I have to admit, as I was adopting the same rhetorical approach you take in almost every discussion. Yes, it was a derisive reading, but not a misreading.

Apparently, an honest critique of the review would be even more so. Clearly it was beyond your capabilities.


This of course is the rhetorical equivalent of "neener neener."

All my love,

John

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Post by Pahoran »

Runtu wrote:Derisive misreading:

Who said anything about Holding's "ego?"

You did, when you sarcastically brought up "false modesty."

I agree that that is a derisive misreading.

And it appears to be yours.

Runtu wrote:
This is another example of his unnecessary defensiveness. The review says nothing about Holding as a scholar; his book promises that "top-notch scholarship" will be found therein. Whether it is to be his own or someone else's is immaterial--the book is still certifying itself. Unless you think the passage in question claims that the "top-notch scholarship" in view will not be found in the pages of Holding's book.

Do you?

So, your premise is that none of the scholarship he brings in is "top notch"? Since you haven't really discussed in your review what scholarship he used, which scholars did he quote that you found inferior?

I did not notice that the review took issue with any of Holding's sources. It takes issue with the arguments he derives, either from them or otherwise.

Runtu wrote:
Wherein does the "misreading" lie, other than in the wrong conclusion to which you have leaped?

It's hard to reach a wrong conclusion about a sneering insult like the one I noted.

I think you are confused. There are no "sneering insults" in the review, only in Holding's "hissy fit" response.

Runtu wrote:
The quoted passage offers two alternatives:

1) Either "the practice was devoid of theological meaning";
2) Or "we are misunderstanding the passage completely."

How does the qualifier "theological" materially impact the question?

It's not the qualifier that materially impacts the question. It's the noun: the practice is theologically meaningless, not the passage. Again, you're clearing misinterpreting this statement.

You are not helping your hero. Paul uses the practice to support his doctrinal argument. Indeed, it is the climax of his argument, the triumphant "ta-da!" moment. How could a practice "devoid of theological meaning" be the keystone of a theological argument?

Runtu wrote:
The end of Mr. Holding's learned exegesis of 1 Cor. 15:29 is to offer two mutually exclusive choices so as to distract from the unpalatable third alternative, which is that Paul's contemporaries practiced a vicarious baptism on behalf of the dead, and far from disapproving the practice, Paul actually cited it as evidence in favour of a core Christian doctrine.

Kettle asks: "adequate reading comprehension," Mr. Pot?

Gee, I would think that most of us understand that an apologetic is not going to argue in favor of the opposition's point.

Gee, I would also think that most of us understand that admitting the point is there and addressing it does not constitute arguing in favour of it.

Runtu wrote:
This book is, in part, another response to Blomberg and Robinson's How Wide the Divide?—a book that seemingly continues to disturb those who have trouble accepting the proposition that individuals can believe differently and still be Christians. Holding attempts to widen the divide by attacking on seven fronts: divine embodiment, trinitarianism, premortal existence, baptism for the dead, vicarious ordinances in general, the role of works in salvation, and exaltation.
Is it necessary for you to misrepresent the review in order to attack it?

To paraphrase you, how does my summary materially misrepresent the review?

By working it over to make it appear considerably nastier than it really was. Which tells me that you know it wasn't nearly as nasty as you are trying to make it appear.

I can show the "snarkiness" of Holding's response by providing unmutilated quotes devoid of editorial interference. Can you do the same to the review? Yes or no?

Runtu wrote:
"The only overriding principle appears to be a search for whatever readings provide the most useful argument against Latter-day Saint beliefs and truth claims."
Right. Now show how this conclusion does not follow from the evidence, can you?

It's difficult to say, given that you don't provide anything more than a cursory glance at his arguments, because, as you said, actually tackling the arguments would be "tedious."

Excuse me, we are talking about the review, not anything I have posted here. Just to get that straight.

The review summarises a number of his arguments and shows how the methodology changes from argument to argument, with the one constant being the conclusion. The review is there for you to address.

Runtu wrote:
I agree that your far-fetched and--what was your phrase again? "derisive misreading"--would qualify as ad hominem, but the review does not describe him as "an opportunistic and unprincipled attacker," or indeed in any terms even approaching that. That is your own opinion, to which you are fully entitled, but the review does not support it.

You made it up.

That was a fun part to write, I have to admit, as I was adopting the same rhetorical approach you take in almost every discussion. Yes, it was a derisive reading, but not a misreading.

It was indeed a misreading; clearly an intentional one.

Runtu wrote:
Apparently, an honest critique of the review would be even more so. Clearly it was beyond your capabilities.

This of course is the rhetorical equivalent of "neener neener."

You should not have brought the question of anyone's personal honesty into the frame. The review certainly did not. Your post is "snarky," inulting and personal; the review is not. Thus, your post fails to surpass the review on any of the points with which you choose to find fault.

Regards,
Pahoran

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Post by Runtu »

Pahoran wrote:I agree that that is a derisive misreading.

And it appears to be yours.


So, your dismissal of his scholarship with the aside about false modesty is not a statement about the author's ego? Let's see, you say that the author thinks his own scholarship is formidable, and yet that has nothing to do with your statement?

I did not notice that the review took issue with any of Holding's sources. It takes issue with the arguments he derives, either from them or otherwise.


This might be true had you actually addressed any of the arguments instead of picking at a few nits. You specifically said that you were not addressing his arguments.

I think you are confused. There are no "sneering insults" in the review, only in Holding's "hissy fit" response.


Maybe I just read it like a Pahoran post, which usually is one long sneering insult.

You are not helping your hero. Paul uses the practice to support his doctrinal argument. Indeed, it is the climax of his argument, the triumphant "ta-da!" moment. How could a practice "devoid of theological meaning" be the keystone of a theological argument?


My hero? You can't be serious. Again, Holding says that the practice is without theological meaning. I always thought that was the traditional argument against baptism for the dead. Either way, you characterized him as saying that the passage is meaningless, which is a misrepresentation. You got it wrong, Pahoran; you could at least concede to have misread that part.

Gee, I would also think that most of us understand that admitting the point is there and addressing it does not constitute arguing in favour of it.


But why is not admitting it a fault in an apologetic book?

By working it over to make it appear considerably nastier than it really was. Which tells me that you know it wasn't nearly as nasty as you are trying to make it appear.


So you're admitting it was nasty?

I can show the "snarkiness" of Holding's response by providing unmutilated quotes devoid of editorial interference. Can you do the same to the review? Yes or no?


I think the following quote is sufficiently snarky in its "unmutilated" form:

"The only overriding principle appears to be a search for whatever readings provide the most useful argument against Latter-day Saint beliefs and truth claims."


Excuse me, we are talking about the review, not anything I have posted here. Just to get that straight.


The tedious statement is on page 4 of the review.

The review summarises a number of his arguments and shows how the methodology changes from argument to argument, with the one constant being the conclusion.


Sounds an awful lot like what FARMS does.

Runtu wrote:
I agree that your far-fetched and--what was your phrase again? "derisive misreading"--would qualify as ad hominem, but the review does not describe him as "an opportunistic and unprincipled attacker," or indeed in any terms even approaching that. That is your own opinion, to which you are fully entitled, but the review does not support it.

It was indeed a misreading; clearly an intentional one.


No, not intentional at all, and not, in my opinion, a misreading.

You should not have brought the question of anyone's personal honesty into the frame. The review certainly did not. Your post is "snarky," inulting and personal; the review is not. Thus, your post fails to surpass the review on any of the points with which you choose to find fault.


You're right. I should not have questioned your honesty, and I apologize for that.

All my best,

John

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Post by Pahoran »

Runtu wrote:
Pahoran wrote:I agree that that is a derisive misreading.

And it appears to be yours.

So, your dismissal of his scholarship with the aside about false modesty is not a statement about the author's ego? Let's see, you say that the author thinks his own scholarship is formidable, and yet that has nothing to do with your statement?

It is referring to the book. The author thinks the scholarship in the book is formidable. How do I know? He says so. Does he make any claims for himself? None that I can see. Does the review attribute to him any claims for himself? Not that I've noticed.

Mr. Holding is in the same situation as a director who has made what he thinks is another Gone With The Wind, and a movie critic has described it as comparable to European Vacation. Of course he takes it personally, but the review is not about him.

And if he writes a response in which he supposes that it is about him, then he has missed the point.

Runtu wrote:
I did not notice that the review took issue with any of Holding's sources. It takes issue with the arguments he derives, either from them or otherwise.

This might be true had you actually addressed any of the arguments instead of picking at a few nits. You specifically said that you were not addressing his arguments.

Who "you?" We are talking about the review.

And the review is just that--a review.

Some of the review essays FARMS publishes address specific arguments in detail; some do not. Some are considerably shorter than the one under discussion; others, including one by the same reviewer, are much longer. In fact, I believe "Letters To An Anti-Mormon" may still be the longest review FARMS ever published. A book review, at the end of the day, is nothing more or less than the reviewer's reaction to the book. A reviewer may choose to go into detail about why s/he feels a particular way about the book, or not.

Sometimes FARMS will publish more than one review of a book. If TMD gets changed in a future edition, or if it gets a sudden upsurge in popularity or if anti-Mormon "ministries" start using it as a "witnessing tool," a longer review may appear.

And the same reviewer might even write it.

Runtu wrote:
I think you are confused. There are no "sneering insults" in the review, only in Holding's "hissy fit" response.

Maybe I just read it like a Pahoran post, which usually is one long sneering insult.

In your rather jaundiced opinion. Thank you for admitting, though, that the "sneering insults" were what you read into the review, rather than what was actually there.

Runtu wrote:
You are not helping your hero. Paul uses the practice to support his doctrinal argument. Indeed, it is the climax of his argument, the triumphant "ta-da!" moment. How could a practice "devoid of theological meaning" be the keystone of a theological argument?

My hero? You can't be serious.

Must we reprise your admiring gush about how devastatingly accurate his response was?

Runtu wrote:Again, Holding says that the practice is without theological meaning. I always thought that was the traditional argument against baptism for the dead. Either way, you characterized him as saying that the passage is meaningless, which is a misrepresentation. You got it wrong, Pahoran; you could at least concede to have misread that part.

Interestingly, Holding does not make that argument in his response. Either you have picked up on something he didn't, or the distinction isn't nearly as important as you think it is. Holding, I am sure, recognises that there is no "misreading" in that aspect of it. If the practice is meaningless, then it necessarily follows that any passage arguing from it is likewise meaningless. That's why he chose to make an issue of "theological" meaning, presumably as opposed to merely verbal meaning.

Runtu wrote:
Gee, I would also think that most of us understand that admitting the point is there and addressing it does not constitute arguing in favour of it.

But why is not admitting it a fault in an apologetic book?

Any expository writing is "apologetic" with regard to the point of view it espouses. And for an argument or exposition to be sound, it needs to engage alternative viewpoints. It isn't necessary for Holding to give the alternative equal weight, but it doesn't do to present two alternatives as if they exhaust the possibilities. The majority of commentators--including non-LDS ones--accept the third alternative that Holding overlooks: namely, that the passage describes a vicarious baptism that was practiced by believing Christians, and that it enjoyed a high degree of prestige. Note that Holding's minority brief was once the majority view, but is now in full retreat. The best scholarship is increasingly showing that the Latter-day Saints have read that passage right all along, although for a long time we were on our own.

Runtu wrote:
By working it over to make it appear considerably nastier than it really was. Which tells me that you know it wasn't nearly as nasty as you are trying to make it appear.

So you're admitting it was nasty?

I'm admitting that anything less than sheer adulation will be seen as "nasty" by some. I'm also admitting that Holding's response, your posts, and the OP by the great deceiver, are each far nastier than the review or anything therein.

Runtu wrote:
I can show the "snarkiness" of Holding's response by providing unmutilated quotes devoid of editorial interference. Can you do the same to the review? Yes or no?

I think the following quote is sufficiently snarky in its "unmutilated" form:

"The only overriding principle appears to be a search for whatever readings provide the most useful argument against Latter-day Saint beliefs and truth claims."

So the review is not mere admiring gush. Can you, with a straight face, say that it is "snarkier" than any one of the following?

Does the review say anything remotely as "snarky" as "the author may as well have written a song about birthday cakes and rainy days?"

Does the review say anything remotely as "snarky" as asking where the author has "been living all these years?"

Does the review say anything remotely as "snarky" as "aimless carping?"

Does the review say anything remotely as "snarky" as calling Holding's book a "hissy fit?"

Can you point to anything in the review remotely that "snarky?"

Because you haven't yet.

The passage you've cited from the review describes the overall approach of the book. Here is the nearest I could find to a parallel statement from Holding's response:

Maybe McGregor was p.o.'d because I sent him running to the dictionary too many times, or perhaps he missed his laxatives the day he wrote the review. Either way this review was a far cry from the sort of responsible report I had been expecting from FARMS, and while I must make it clear that this doesn't tarnish the reputation of the whole of LDS apologists in my view, it does make a certain one named McGregor smell a lot like a weasel.

And this is your idea of "equally snarky," is it? Really and truly?

Could I say things like that about any of my opponents and thus earn your undying admiration the way Holding has?

Can you not see how vast your double standards are here?

Runtu wrote:
The review summarises a number of his arguments and shows how the methodology changes from argument to argument, with the one constant being the conclusion.

Sounds an awful lot like what FARMS does.

Does it? And so? Do you have a point, or do you just enjoy making cheap shots?

Runtu wrote:
I agree that your far-fetched and--what was your phrase again? "derisive misreading"--would qualify as ad hominem, but the review does not describe him as "an opportunistic and unprincipled attacker," or indeed in any terms even approaching that. That is your own opinion, to which you are fully entitled, but the review does not support it.

It was indeed a misreading; clearly an intentional one.

No, not intentional at all, and not, in my opinion, a misreading.

You are at all times entitled to your opinion.

Now, repeat after me: the review was about the book. Not about the author.

Keep repeating until the penny drops.

Runtu wrote:
You should not have brought the question of anyone's personal honesty into the frame. The review certainly did not. Your post is "snarky," inulting and personal; the review is not. Thus, your post fails to surpass the review on any of the points with which you choose to find fault.

You're right. I should not have questioned your honesty, and I apologize for that.

Apology cheerfully accepted.

Regards,
Pahoran

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Post by Runtu »

Pahoran wrote:
The author certainly thinks it is formidable.


How is that not a jab at the author? Come on, Pahoran.




In your rather jaundiced opinion. Thank you for admitting, though, that the "sneering insults" were what you read into the review, rather than what was actually there.


Of course, I read that reviewed with a certain bias, but the sneering insult is right there just the same.

Must we reprise your admiring gush about how devastatingly accurate his response was?


One sentence about how his response was devastatingly accurate constitutes a gush? Wow, you need to get out more.

If the practice is meaningless, then it necessarily follows that any passage arguing from it is likewise meaningless.


That's a non sequitur. If the practice is theologically meaningless, the passage is not necessarily meaningless. Paul spoke of the "unknown" God and used that to illustrate God the Father. Is a Roman god theologically significant in Christian theology? If not, you're saying that Paul's teaching there is meaningless. Come to think of it, that's the distinction Holding was making, which you apparently still can't grasp.


Runtu wrote:Any expository writing is "apologetic" with regard to the point of view it espouses. And for an argument or exposition to be sound, it needs to engage alternative viewpoints.


Not according to Robert Millett (OK, sorry, cheap shot).

So, turning this around, any Mormon apologetic that does not engage alternative viewpoints is unsound?

It isn't necessary for Holding to give the alternative equal weight, but it doesn't do to present two alternatives as if they exhaust the possibilities. The majority of commentators--including non-LDS ones--accept the third alternative that Holding overlooks: namely, that the passage describes a vicarious baptism that was practiced by believing Christians, and that it enjoyed a high degree of prestige. Note that Holding's minority brief was once the majority view, but is now in full retreat. The best scholarship is increasingly showing that the Latter-day Saints have read that passage right all along, although for a long time we were on our own.


How is acknowledging "the majority view" in his words and rejecting it not engaging the alternative?

Runtu wrote:I'm admitting that anything less than sheer adulation will be seen as "nasty" by some. I'm also admitting that Holding's response, your posts, and the OP by the great deceiver, are each far nastier than the review or anything therein.


Yes, but I'm not pretending to write a scholarly review, am I? I don't expect FARMS to write fawning reviews of critical materials, but I expect less snarkiness.

Does the review say anything remotely as "snarky" as "the author may as well have written a song about birthday cakes and rainy days?"


I notice that you don't disagree that your statement was snarky, only that Holding's response was snarkier. That's not the point, is it? Yeah, his response is snarky and snotty and juvenile in places. I think I would have reacted the same way had a supposedly scholarly journal published such a review of my work.

Can you point to anything in the review remotely that "snarky?"

Because you haven't yet.


There you go, let's just move the goal posts. It's OK to be snarky, as long as it's not "that snarky."

Could I say things like that about any of my opponents and thus earn your undying admiration the way Holding has?

Can you not see how vast your double standards are here?


No double standard. One is a review in a supposedly scholarly journal; the other is a personal response on a web page. Do you hold those two types of publications to the same standards? I don't. And, no, the man does not have my undying admiration.

Does it? And so? Do you have a point, or do you just enjoy making cheap shots?


Well, I do like the occasional cheap shot (and you have sent your fair share my way in the past). So what? My point was that I rarely see books or articles that maintain a consistent, rigid approach to a topic.

You are at all times entitled to your opinion.


Thank you for conceding that I'm not intentionally misreading you.

Now, repeat after me: the review was about the book. Not about the author.

Keep repeating until the penny drops.


Sorry, I'm not carrying any change. If the review was about the book, you shouldn't have brought up the author's confidence.

Apology cheerfully accepted.


I never imagined you could be cheerful.

All my best,

John

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