Apparently Paul Manata didn’t like my complaint about apologists suffering from the company man image. However, I’m still scratcing my head as to what he’s complaining about. To begin with he writes:
“Again, **given the def. Dr. Rauser provided,** it doesn’t appear to be **inherently** problematic to be a company man.”
Really? I first referenced a dictionary definition of “company man” as meaning “a man who always sides with his employers.” (Dictionary of Slang and Colloquial Expressions.) Next, I unpacked the significance of “always” by explaining that company men “don’t give a balanced account of the world. They have a carefully selected list of facts (or “facts”) which they use skillfully to vindicate their assumptions.” I am disheartened that Paul doesn’t find that inherently problematic. I do.
Next, Paul tries to tar me with the messy brush of inconsistency by writing the following:
“[Randal] seems to be a company man for his own brand of apologetics. He seems to often do the same things as the apologists he critiques, he just operates according to his own employers’ handbook. He wants people to see things his way. Go about doing business his way. But he seems to not consider that he’s just a company man like the rest of them.
“Most apologists critique atheists and point out their flaws and errors. Dr. Rauser critiques other apologists and points out their flaws and errors.”
“it is worth noting that we all do this to a greater or lesser extent. Everybody selectively reads data. It is also worth noting that when we combine that selective reading of data with the desire to convert others to our way of thinking, we all become company men, whether the topic is religion, politics, science or just about anything else.”
Second, while we all struggle with the company man temptation, I would adamantly deny that I am beholden to the problem to anywhere near the same degree as the Christian apologists I criticize. For example, consider the following contrast:
When Christian apologist Dinesh D’Souza was in a debate with Christopher Hitchens, Hitchens raised a point that D’Souza could not answer. D’Souza replied by changing the subject and later gloated over the adeptness with which he had done so. That’s classic company man behavior.
This past week I raised an argument against naturalism, arguing that determinism was inconsistent with reason. Robert Gressis replied by pointing out that Robert Nozick’s truth-tracking epistemology is fully consistent with determinism and thus that my point didn’t hold water. If I were to pull a D’Souza I would have ignored the point or offered a rabbit trail. Instead, I replied by affirming Gressis’ point and stating my resolve to reread Nozick. That’s not how a company man behaves.
Paul Manata is a bright fellow, so why did he ignore and misconstrue my argument and my own apologetic behavior in such a glaring manner? The answer may lie in another question: Why does the Sherwin Williams salesman misrepresent the virtues of Behr’s product line?