One of the greatest draw-backs to “comments” sections is they allow people to post lies, innuendo, and rumor with impugnity. The thread on Akin’s blog, for example, on his hit-piece against me (you know, the “Mr. Kettle, Mr. Pot is on line one, something about color?” post?), has taken a complete left turn into a Roman Catholic debate over the merits or demerits of Peter Stravinskas, my opponent in the purgatory debate on Long Island a few years ago. Oddly, none of the Catholics claimed Stravinskas won that debate. A number admitted that in public debate I have performed professionally and respectfully. Anyway, mentioning that debate started things off, and I didn’t even follow how many comments came after that, but it added up to many pages. In any case, earlier, a completely anonymous person identified only as “Chris,” with no contact information, posted the following hit-piece:
I’m a reformed baptist, and thus I am to a certain degree a fan of James White. I do have to say though, that whilst he appears to be a reasonable sort of fellow on the Dividing Line etc, to try and have a sensible interaction with either him or the rest of his cohort, whether the others at aomin, or his group in the Phoenix church, is near impossible. To even raise questions to him/them about other points of view gets a very antagonistic attitude. To try and get even a semi-intelligent response from them on IRC is impossible too. Sorry James, I’m torn. In some ways I like the work you are doing. In other ways I think you’ve become very insular.
See what I mean? How do you respond to something like this? It is grossly unfair for some anonymous person to make such personal, cutting, unfair, and untrue, comments in such a context and in such a fashion as to preclude any meaningful response. The chances are very, very good that this person is not even a Reformed Baptist at all. But if he is, I challenge him to contact me. I’d love to know what nick he allegedly used in our channel (I have logs—it’s amazing what you find when you go back and look at what was actually said). When did this person visit my church? How about providing some specifics? This kind of “knife in the back—anonymously, of course” attack is disgusting, but the Internet, and nigh-unto unmoderated comments threads that often take on the aura of a feeding frenzy, encourage them.
By the way. Insular? Traveling more widely than ever, studying whole new areas of scholarship, and I’m becoming insular? What an odd statement.