The last thing I want to do is get pulled back into an unedifying back-and-forth exchange with John Loftus. However, I can’t help but point out that he is now doubling down on his attack on my character with an exercise in Loftus logic. In his latest blog post he writes the following:
“I’ve decided to write more than just one post about Dr. David Marshall’s “rebuttal” to my book The Outsider Test for Faith (OTF). I will attempt to show why Marshall’s book, How Jesus Passes the Outsider Test: The Inside Story,is really bad. In fact, it’s so bad I’m using the word “refutation” for what I’m about to do to it. I hardly ever use that word because refutations are usually unachievable in these kinds of debates. If I’m largely successful then it also says something about Dr. Randal Rauser, that he will say and endorse anything in order to defend his Christian faith.”
Note that Loftus is presenting an argument of logical implication here: If he is successful in “refuting” Marshall’s book then it will follow that I, Randal Rauser, one of the endorsers of the book, “will say and endorse anything in order to defend [the] Christian faith.”
I assume that Loftus offers this line of reasoning as a defense of his prior claim, in the “Unbelievable” interview, that I will “do and say anything”.
Not surprisingly, Loftus doesn’t understand logical implication. Even if he could successfully “refute” Marshall’s entire book (good luck with that, by the way), it wouldn’t follow that I will “say and endorse anything in order to defend [the] Christian faith”. At most, all that would follow is that I was mistaken to endorse Marshall’s book.
So what leads Loftus to commit such a glaring non sequitur? It is in answering this question that we find a sobering lesson for the rest of us. How many of us have made some indefensible claim and then, rather than simply admit our error we instead doubled down and dug ourselves a deeper hole? The fact is that we all engage in behavior like this from time to time, only rarely do we do so with such self-refuting panache as John Loftus.
Note the striking contrast between Loftus’s incessant preening about his own rationality (e.g. he passed his own outsider test; he believes in accord with the “probabilities”, etc.) and the real world irrationality and crass incivility with which he conducts himself in which emotion leads him by the nose to defend slanderous commentary with embarrassing non sequiturs.
As I contemplate Loftus digging in to defend his slander with a non sequitur, I am reminded of the Fonz on Happy Days who was the very embodiment of coolness and who then found himself unable to come out and say when he was wrong:
That summarizes Loftus as well. Like the Fonz, he is desperately concerned with his image, like the Fonz he makes mistakes, and like the Fonz he is unable to say he was wrong.
Where the two differ is that eventually the Fonz did admit that he was wrong … and he apologized. Now that’s cool.