I guess Dave Armstrong has gone off about the Rutland debate as well, but since I removed his blog from my RSS feed (he posted a reverse-color picture of me from years ago and I finally decided that life would be so much more enjoyable without having to encounter such material on a daily basis) I haven’t seen it. But I liked what tired had to say in response to DA, and the way he said it, so here it is:
Dave’s post makes two claims. One, James White did a, b, c, d, e, f-z14, and when these are linked to passing statements he made about Rutland (“Notice once again the ‘poison the well’ technique.”), James is a hypocrite. I’ve never cared for this sort of argumentation, the hallmark of embittered spouses and certain political activists, storing up grievances and unloading them when opportune. These matters should be dealt with at the time or left alone; if you did try to resolve them and they were not met to your satisfaction, that doesn’t make them relevant. For even if James really is the Pharisee of all Pharisees it doesn’t negate his claims against Rutland. Jesus rebuked the Pharisees. He did not condone lying about them.
The second claim is that James is boasting about the debate (with occasional, subsequent mention of Rutland perhaps doing the same). Dave links us to this as James’s “post-debate” analysis. This is James’s post-debate analysis. I attended the debate and James’s speaking engagements in the days following. He was happy with the debate. The post Dave linked to re: Rutland was in response to Rutland’s false claims about the debate, not to the debate’s content. James’s position has always been “that both sides should simply leave these judgments to the listeners (let their arguments speak for themselves).”
If it was really “his ongoing goal, apparently, to make all Catholic dialogue opponents look as ridiculous as possible,” why did James say he was happy with the debate? Why did he hold out hope as late as June 12th that Rutland would correct Sippo’s errors?
The “hand-shaking controversies” section is inane. I’ve attended 14 of James’s debates. He is always courteous to his opponent and expects the same from his audience. This is one of the reasons he has a good relationship with Mitch Pacwa (last I checked, a Roman Catholic). He did not shake hands with anyone for the rest of the weekend. He even apologized for it last Sunday from the pulpit of a Baptist church. Baptists aren’t RCs.
Dave hopscotched through the interaction, picking out enough to justify another White-is-a-hypocrite conclusion (“if Rutland is guilty of these things, that it is nothing that White has not been doing himself for many years”). But those things that Dave calls “these things” were not the crux of the discussion. The issues prompting James’s posts were Sippo’s falsehoods and Rutland’s eventual endorsement of them, nothing else.