Dr. Avalos' Response I
Hector Avalos recently responded to my first two blogs on John Loftus' Debunking Christianity site. This blog will give his response, and I will respond then in a separate blog. (Are there copyright objections to quoting his full response? If so, I'll adjust. And some readers may wonder when I'm going to get on to other subjects! But our debate is scattered all over cyberspace; I'll try to consolidate things here and at christthetao.com, before launching into happier topics.)
Avalos' response came in 6 posts, which I'll identify with letters of the alphabet. I'll begin with his first post. (I'm having trouble importing the others, and will try to add them later.) The rest of the blog will be his unedited words.
A. I won't spend much time on Marshall's responses because he repeats the same sorts of techniques, arguments, and methods that I already criticized.
I will respond on this thread in case Marshall decides to edit or delete my posts on his threads, which may be found at:
His Part I is mostly a personal attack that has little bearing on my arguments on slavery. Marshall repeats material found on the internet about my debate with Craig, and other issues of which he has no first-hand knowledge whatsoever (e.g., the Gonzalez case).
For example, he cites a critique of my debate with William Lane Craig at Common Sense Atheism, but then does not cite my subsequent interview with Luke Muehlhauser about this debate.
See http://commonsenseatheism.com/?p_7046. He also oassumes those criticisms are correct.
For the record, I have answered many of Dr. Craig's allegations, including some of Craig's factual errors, and so why didn't Marshall note that fact? Craig never has retracted even the clearest of factual errors (e.g., Craig misidentifies my position at my university), but Marshall does not seem to mind. I list some of them here:
I've answered some of Dr. Gonzalez's claims here:
In the interest of fairness, I do grant that I mistakenly added a "the" in manually typing (versus cut and pasting, which I prefer to do for accuracy) one of Marshall's quotes (see below). Though inadvertant, that should never happen. That is my responsibility.
Marshall is, however, wrong to say that it really changed the meaning of his claim. Compare the two statements at issue as he summarizes them:
A. "The equality of human was denied by Greeks, Gnostics, Indians (Asian and American), Africans, Chinese, and countless similar tribes." (Marshall classic version, p. 144.)
B. "The equality of humanity was denied by THE Greeks, Gnostics, Indians (Asian and American), Africans, Chinese, and countless similar tribes." (Avalos redacted version, emphasis added.)
If, as he claims, he did not mean to overgeneralize in the way that adding "the" appears to have made it, then he seems inconsistent with other statements he makes.
The whole context of his discussion is that Christians were different from other cultures in regard to slavery.
So, how would that make his point if some Greeks denied the equality of human beings, but then some Christians did, too?
In any case, Marshall's premise seems to be that a cultural / national word such as "Greeks" without the article is fine as long as "SOME Greeks believe X." An expressions such as "THE Greeks" applies only if "ALL Greeks believe X." Fine.
If this is the case, then I surmise that the following statements would also satisfy Marshall's rules for the presence or omission of the definite article.
A. "Greeks affirmed the equality of humanity" (since all I need is for some Greeks to affirm this equality to use "Greeks" instead of "the Greeks").
B. "Christians endorsed slavery" (all I need is for some Christians to endorse slavery to make this statement true).
Yet, the point remains. How does Marshall intend to convince us that Christianity was better or superior in regard to slavery if we can make equivalent statements about Christian and non-Christian cultures without the use of a definite article at the equivalent grammatical junctures?