Re: Destructive criticism - last post

Mike Hardie (
Mon, 08 Jun 1998 10:34:46 -0700

>That's OK. It would help if you would tell me a bit about yourself, so I know
>where you are coming from.

I'm a 21 year old english/philosophy major at Simon Fraser University, in
Vancouver, British Columbia. More info, if required, can be obtained
either from my philosophy site
( or business site

>I said all along that Glenn does not have to justify his religious
convictions to

But you also said his Christianity is a relevant topic of debate, if he is
going to criticize the view of Ross and Johnson. My point is, that's not
true. He's not making his arguments contingent on his Christianity, or on
theirs for that matter. He is simply saying, some of the views these
people hold are false. He doesn't have to be your version of an ideal
Christian in order to say that.

Why, incidentally, is Ross or Johnson's Christian status so important to
you here? Or Glenn's for that matter? Does an error made by a Christian
take on a different status than an error made by an atheist? If so, why?
If not, then why is religion at all relevant to pointing out scientific

>I made it clear in a previous post that Glenn is destructively criticisng
>positions. But he does it in such a way that it would discredit them as
>people. For example, Glenn has often claimed they do not tell the truth,

As long as Glenn is simply dealing with their positions and actions, he is
not doing anything illicit. If we deduce from his assertions that Ross or
Johnson are unethical, or whatever, that's our business. It certainly not
the same as if Glenn Morton were telling everyone, "Ross and Johnson are

>Mike, I have been debating Glenn for 2-3 years. I downloaded a list of
Reflectorite members
>on 5 May and you were not on it then. If you had been on the Reflector for
several years
>you would understand the issues better.

I have not been around for "several years", but I had been browsing the
list archives on the Web for several months before I actually signed up.

>Glenn attacks leading Christian apologists in a way
>calculated to discredit them. I am defending them and part of that is
exposing where Glenn is
>coming from.

Has he ever stated that his aim is to discredit Christian apologists? If
not, then the above is a pretty uncharitable assumption about his motives.
It's pretty unfathomable too, since Glenn appears to be a staunch Christian
himself. Why would he be seeking to destroy Christian apologia?

I think it's rather a matter that he sees some Christian apologists who are
putting forth untrue assertions, and he is therefore seeking to refute
those assertions. What is so strange about that? Should Christians give
their blessing to falsity, simply because it is put forth in the form of
Christian apologetics? If you really wish to suggest that this is the
case, then Christian apologetics won't really have too much credibility at

>MH>Mr. Morton's Christian standing *is* his personal business, because he has
>>not, to my knowledge, made the validity of his arguments contingent on his
>>Christianity. Differently put, his arguments against Ross and Johnson's
>>positions would be no more or less true even if he were the world's worst
>>Christian, so your inquiry into that matter is entirely irrelevant.
>That's your opinion. It's not mine.

I do understand that, but it's not just an opinion. It's logic. If
Glenn's Christianity is not a premise (implicit or otherwise) in his
arguments, then criticizing him on that account does nothing to refute his
conclusions. For that matter, suppose for a moment that we all *knew for a
fact* that Glenn hated Ross and Johnson, and was out to destroy them,
because he hates Christian apologists. (Not that this is the case, of
course.) If his arguments rely purely on relevant evidence and logic, then
even his destructive motives would not lessen the strength of said arguments!

>MH>I think he is justified in his reaction here, if for no other reason than
>>that your questions are irrelevant to the issue at hand. His personal
>>religion has no relevance to the strength of his arguments, and criticizing
>>it is consequently irrelevant (at best) or fallacious (at worst).
>Disagree. Glenn claims to be a Christian attacking leading Christian
>It is important to know where he is coming from as a Christian.

No, he claims to be someone refuting some assertions put forth by Christian
apologists. He never made his Christian status an issue, that I saw. He
also isn't attacking Ross and Johnson personally, but their positions.

>Glenn does not just say that "their positions were wrong." He destructively
>criticises them in a way designed to discredit them in the eyes of others
>(eg. implying that they are less than truthful, etc).

It sounds like he *does* just say "their positions are wrong", and then you
feel people can reasonably infer that they were less than truthful. What
does that mean? Well, it could well mean that they really are less than
truthful. But I don't think Glenn ever actually states that conclusion.

>My "Who is judging you?" was in respect of the three questions I asked
>Glenn previously.
>I am not "judging" Glenn. God will do that in good time. It 's the sober
truth that
>he doesn't live up to the "standards of perfection" that he sets for
others, in
>particular the Christian apologists who he destructively critciises.

But you just judged him again... "it's the sober truth that...". Can't we
just ditch all this character reference? I have seen whole listserves
degenerate into flame-wars in this manner. It's not necessary, it's not
relevant, and it's not logical.

>MH>Again, I think this is the point of confusion. He has said that he
>>criticizes their positions, not the "servants" themselves.
>See above. Hang around and see for yourself!

That's the plan.

>MH>Now, you may resent my having poked my nose into this, but I really think
>>this issue is unbecoming of a list full of learned academics. Let's cease
>>the character attacks, both explicit and insinuated, and switch instead to
>>an emphasis on the issues in question. To use this as a case in point, if
>>you believe Glenn Morton's criticisms of Ross and Johnson's positions are
>>incorrect, then why not deal with that? Why not point out where his
>>arguments have failed? Surely, even with matters of logic set aside, that
>>is a more worthy topic than prying into the details of his private worship.
>I heve been debating the "issues" with Glenn for the last 2-3 years.

Unless you've stopped at some point, then, I hope you'll agree with me that
the issues should remain central (as opposed to character).

>If Glenn keeps on with his detructive criticism of Christian apologists, then
>I will defend them, where and how I think appropriate.

The relevant way to do that would be to defend their assertions from
Glenn's refutations, not to suggest that Glenn has evil motives or
un-Christian character.


Mike Hardie