Alpha & Omega Ministries Apologetics Blog
Joel McDurmon's Allegation of Ad-Hominem Argumentation
03/23/2010 - James WhiteVery shortly after my debate with Dr. Bart Ehrman in January of 2009, Joel McDurmon, who attended the debate, posted an article on the American Vision website criticizing my argumentation and claiming I had in essence claimed to "steamroll" Ehrman. He said the debate showed the limits of "evidentialist apologetics," which left me completely dumbfounded as well. In any case, I immediately responded to Mr. McDurmon here and here, and then had him on the Dividing Line for an entire hour. You can hear the program here.
As far as I can recall, and as far as I can see from looking at my blog, I have not made any further comments regarding Joel McDurmon since early February of last year. I felt like I had clearly expressed my intentions in the debate, and explained what lay behind my questions and arguments. So I was more than a little surprised when a member of my church pointed me to comments he had just read in a brand new hard-back book published by American Vision, authored by Joel McDurmon, titled Biblical Logic in Theory & Practice. On pages 318 and 319 we read the following: ...
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Live at Nine Television Program from London
03/20/2010 - James WhiteFor those who did not get to watch live, here is the program we did in London on the reliability of Scripture on Genesis-Revelation TV.
Peter Lumpkins: A Case Study
03/12/2010 - James White
Thursday was a busy day for me. I had to get packed and out of my hotel room early, and I gave the last presentation of the conference on the very difficult and challenging issue of Peter Enns. I did not get access to my e-mail until I was sitting at the gate in Charlotte waiting for my flight back to Phoenix at 8:10pm EST. The first e-mail that came through was from Peter Lumpkins. As I sat at the gate I could not but shake my head in amazement at the thought process that went into what he wrote. Here is an accusation that I had made up a single chat conversation from 2008 being paralleled to the public claims of Ergun Caner relating to doing debates in a dozen countries and forty states; debating Shabir Ally and Abdul Saleeb; being born in Istanbul, living in majority Muslim countries all his life before coming to the United States, Ramadan is forty days long, etc. and etc. How can men think like this? It truly leaves me without words. But, here's what I was sent:
Subject: So Now Who is is it Making up Conversations?
Dear Mr. White,
You need to be aware of a slight discrepancy apparently on your part. Tony Bryne recently logged on my site these words:
"p.s. With respect to his first video, I [Tony] have NEVER had a conversation with White about Robert Reymond at all; no, not even in his chat room. His claim that we discussed Reymond in his chat channel is totally false."
As a result, I queried David Hewitt--the 'reconciler' (self-appointed or other I do not know) between you and Byrne--with the following:
The little p.s. Tony left on one level is hilarious and another is alarming. James White has ground Ergun Caner's name to dust insisting he made up a debate with a Muslim. According to Tony's insistence on not conversing with White about Reymond, James White apparently made up the conversation the two had. Unless, of course, Tony is now making this up (or forgotten, etc). So, if White did have the conversation, then he needs to produce the evidence--a DL phone call, a chat room thread, or other will do.
If White cannot produce the evidence, could you please explain why he should not release a public statement of repentance for making up exchanges with people he never had? Could you also explain why White should not include his own failures each and every time he names the alleged failures of Ergun Caner?
Or, better yet, James White could come here and straighten out the confusion.
With that, I am...
I'd be glad to see your evidence for the conversation between you and Tony, Mr. White. If you do not have such evidence, I suggest you read carefully the questions I gave to David.
With that, I am...
Now, of course, I have provided the logs demonstrating the conversation did, in fact, take place, as I will document below. But I wish my readers to ponder for a moment the mindset illustrated by Peter Lumpkins here. As some of you know, Mr. Lumpkins represents the "keep your Calvinism out of the Southern Baptist Convention" mindset. He is a gadfly on the Internet, and over the past few years has shown himself incapable of unbiased analysis of anything relating to Reformed theology, or yours truly (and a number of others). Recently he has rushed to the aid of Ergun Caner, not by providing any kind of rational or logical explanation for the wild claims Dr. Caner has made, and the many self-contradictions they have produced, but by engaging in "distract, cover, and impugn" tactics meant to keep the less thoughtful from considering the importance of the real issues.
We have here an example of the mindset that develops when "the tyranny of denominational traditionalism" sets in. Consider what Mr. Lumpkins has attempted to do here. The title of his e-mail says it all: without even asking first (remember I contacted Shabir Ally before I contacted Ergun Caner directly before I made any public posting on the matter), he impugns my character on the basis of...what? A single conversation noted in passing in a video that took place in a chat channel. This is not about claiming to have been born in, say, Geneva, or claiming to have debated Richard Dawkins and Zakir Naik and Pope Benedict the XVI and Captain Kirk (via time travel). This is about my recollection of a single conversation in a chat channel, and Mr. Lumpkins seriously wishes to make this a parallel to the consistent pattern of exaggeration and fabrication that has been demonstrated in the self-promotional claims of Ergun Caner. The rational mind is left wondering what Mr. Lumpkins was thinking. Let's say I could not produce the information below. Let's say the logs for that week were lost (it has happened in the past). Would there be some basis for any charge of personal sin on my part for recalling a chat channel conversation? Evidently, for Lumpkins and those who cannot see the facts and the truth due to devotion to denominational tradition, I am guilty until proven innocent (and Dr. Caner is innocent---period, no discussion allowed).
It is this amazing example of "let's try defending Dr. Caner by making every kind of incredibly ridiculous accusation we can against anyone who would dare question Caner" that is most important to see. What a shame this kind of thinking is not uncommon in certain circles.
But now to the rather easy, and I admit, enjoyable, demonstration of Mr. Lumpkin's error. A word of instruction to would-be accusers: every word you say is recorded in our chat channel. 24/7. It took less than five minutes to find the logs of the conversation I had referred to in the video.
Now, there is a chance that Polhill in the following log is not Tony Byrne. It is possible Polhill is former President George Bush, I suppose. But there is every reason to believe it is, in fact, Tony Byrne, which raises the question, why did Tony forget this conversation? Do a search on Tony's blog for Polhill. You will see he quotes Edward Polhill all the time. I found ten blog entries on Tony's blog using his name (probably more than on any other blog out there). That would be enough in and of itself, but, it is self-evident that the person posting under the nick Polhill claims to be Tony Byrne (on the technical level, we identified his IP as that of Tony Byrne, so it really isn't questionable). I will insert relevant links after his comments that demonstrate that if this is not Tony Byrne, then he has an impostor running about the the Internet who knows his own website like that back of his hand, claims to be him, and promotes his views. I suppose that is possible (I mean, who would not want to impersonate such a well known Amyraldian blogger?), but I think it is only a little more probable than our being assimilated by the Borg next year.
So here is the log. I start with when Polhill joined, and include all the relevant conversation up to the point where the exchange took place that I noted in the video, thusly refuting Peter Lumpkin's false charge against me:
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