Paul Manata is Not a Serious Thinker!

A serious thinker does not try to misrepresent the views of his opponents. If he does this on a regular basis, even if he seems to be intelligent, it will reveal him for what he is, a hack. That's what Paul Manata's latest post does. Here is my response...

Paul Manata tries to drive a wedge between my views about history and fellow Blogger and Biblical Scholar Dr. Hector Avolas, who has soundly refuted the arguments of the Triablogers on the Sargon Legend here and again here.

Manata makes his point in these words:
What is Loftus’s attitude toward history?...What is the position of the book Avalos offers “praise” for, and the leader of the blog he signed up to be a part of regarding matters historical? Simply put, says Loftus, “Historical evidence is poor evidence” (Loftus, 181). Citing Bebbington he claims, “The historian’s history is molded by his values, his outlook, and his worldview. It is never the evidence alone that dictates what was written” (Loftus, 183). He doesn’t “see any problem in claiming that there is room for doubting many if not most historical claims…” (Loftus, 192, emphasis mine, he adds the qualifier “especially claims about the miraculous,” but that is irrelevant for my purposes here).
What should be understood from my chapter on history is that when it comes to establishing the Christian view of history with its claims about the miraculous, historical evidence is poor evidence when compared to personal experience or the findings of science or logic itself. So it is not irrelevant that I added the qualifier Manata dismisses so easily as "irrelevant" for his purposes. That's the whole context for my argument in that chapter. Manata should also understand that D.W. Bebbington, whom I quoted from, is defending a Christian view of history. He earned a Ph.D. from Cambridge and at the time of his book he was the professor of history at the University of Stirling in Scotland. His book was published by InterVarsity Press, a conservative Christian publishing house. So if Manata wants to take issue with me then let him take issue with Bebbington himself. In my book I repeatedly quote from Christian authors to show that these are not just my claims as an atheist. I repeatedly use Christian authors to establish my case in many areas.

Manata again:
So is all of the “massive historical evidence” Avalos brought to bear on us, “poor evidence?”
Yes, it's poor evidence if one wants to establish the Christian worldview, which is what he is not doing. Anyone who actually takes the time to read my whole chapter on the subject of history will see quite clearly that Manata misrepresented me. What I'm wondering is how his credibility will suffer because of what he wrote. I never said I couldn't come to reasonable conclusions about history. In fact I said I could. And while there is always the possibility I'm wrong about any conclusions I arrive at, it would be a slender reed for someone to hang his faith on, as I said. The very fact that historians dispute what happened in history proves my point, since no one can dispute scientific findings in the same way. And Manata has still given us no reason to accept his Christian view of history, as I argued in that chapter, since his view of history is not something that can be shown to be true via philosophy (who, for instance, would argue on behalf of the virgin birth of Jesus based on any philosophical reasoning?). To presuppose the Christian worldview, as Manata does, would mean to presuppose the conclusions of a massive amount of historical investigations, which, as I said, leave plenty of room for doubt. For instance, he must presuppose a certain view of the of the Trinity, a particular view of the Genesis accounts of creation, that the stories in the Bible were not borrowed to any significant degree by pagan sources, that the canonical books were correctly chosen, that the OT prophecies about Jesus were actually prophecies and that they refer to him alone, that Jesus was born of a virgin in Bethlehem, that he can make sense of the Incarnation, that he can make sense of the supposed atonement, that he can defend the historicity of the supposed bodily resurrection of Jesus, that he can defend the notion of the parousia he's adopted, that a proper understanding of the Bible leads him to Calvinism, and so forth. Any specific conclusion of which, if wrong, defeats his faith! Because the larger the claim is, the more likely that claim is false since more evidence is needed to support it.

Paul promised a reply to what I just wrote earlier today. I haven't seen him respond. Maybe he will. But I do not expect him to be honest with what I said. Shame really. It'll show him to be the hack that he really is. Not to be taken seriously.

Paul, if you want to be taken seriously then you must deal honestly about what someone like me writes. Anyone who reads my book will see that you have not done so. Can you? If you continue to misrepresent your opponents you will continue to lose credibility in the eyes of people who have actually read through my book. That's the bottom line. They will see that you are not being honest as a serious thinker. Now I understand you don't think I deserve any honesty, since you believe God may have created me for hell. But by not being honest about the arguments of another person it will reveal that you are not interested in the truth. Whether or not you are, cannot be seen by your readers. And unless you do, your arguments will not help those who read my book who are looking for good solid Christian responses to what I've written. In my book I try as best as I can NOT to misrepresent my intellectual opponents, and I would gladly accept any criticism from anyone who can show that I did. That's why I AM considered a serious thinker and you are not, even if you think I'm dead wrong.