Sunday, May 18, 2014

Bubba/Dan-I'LL Answer The Question

I've been monitoring the back and forth between Bubba and Dan, and it's going pretty much as expected.  I can't say that I don't understand what the big deal is.  This is how I see it:

Let's assume two sides, since there really actually are.  Since they generally run along political lines that are fairly well understood, I'll use "right side" and "left side" (of course I'm on the right side---the right side morally is just coincidentally the right side politically).

Anyway, Bubba argues for the right side, and Dan argues for the left.  They are each, to one extent or another typical of all who are on each side, at least generally.  And they each engage in a manner that is also, to one extent or another, at least generally, typical of each side.  The right goes to the heart of the matter, dealing in reality, willing to face the truth on truth's terms.  The left, goes to the heart of what they want reality to be, and takes great pains to avoid facing the truth on truth's terms in deference to that altered "reality" they would prefer.

When the right answers a question, the answer is as direct as the question.  The left alters the question to reflect the preferred altered reality, and then answers a question that wasn't asked. 

When the right balks at a question, it is because the question is leading, irrelevant, or takes the discussion down a preferred tangent believed by the left to be more amenable to the altered reality the left prefers.  When the left balks at a question, it is because the question exposes the gaping holes in the altered reality the leftist hoped wasn't so glaringly obvious. 

Maybe I shouldn't paint the entirety of the left with such a broad brush.  But the above is descriptive of what's going on at Dan's blog and is typical of all debates with him.  So I can show Dan how it's done and take the initial questions Bubba put to him and demonstrate how one answers the questions honorably.  I won't answer as if I'm Dan, but answer as if the questions were put to me.  I begin with the two set up questions to which I believe Bubba put forth with an assumption of a positive response from Dan:

Do you believe in orthodoxy and heresy as real categories and not just traditional understandings?

Yes.

Do you really believe that there are essential Christian doctrines?

Yes.

See how that works?  I answered two "yes or no" questions with either a "yes" or a "no", in this case, a "yes".  That's my honest response.  But keep in mind that these were set up questions, as in setting the stage for the real questions of interest to Bubba.  A "no" response would make what follows unnecessary and moot.  There would be no point in asking what follows if a "no" response followed these questions, so the asking was rhetorical.  So here are the actual questions:

NAME ONE ESSENTIAL CHRISTIAN DOCTRINE.

Jesus is God in flesh.

NAME ONE CLEAR TEACHING OF THE BIBLE.

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.

Note that I didn't ask "essential to whom", as if the question wasn't seeking my opinion only.  Note that I didn't take off on irrelevant asides regarding how some things in Scripture are clear to some and not to others.  I answered as one who convicted in my beliefs, confident that what I believe is true and honest enough to allow my beliefs to be scrutinized and tested openly in a manner that might lead to a better understanding of what is true, or greater confidence that what I already know is true.  If I'm wrong, show me.  I don't want to be wrong, but I do indeed want to know the truth. 

Dan doesn't want to be wrong.  He likes what he wants to believe is true.  I think that's for the most part true for leftists in general, but for Dan I have little doubt of it based on our years of engagement.  It makes perfect sense given his evasive and convoluted style of debate.  It is being played out before our eyes at Dan's blog, though I wouldn't expect it to last much longer.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Just Answer The Question!!

I have overloaded myself with blog and internet discussions and must back off a bit in order to re-organize both priorities regarding which discussions to continue as well as how much personal time I spend doing so.  Two in  particular require the study of articles and opinions in order to properly familiarize myself with the details.  Then, I can plan how best to re-engage so as to stay on track in dealing with the most important points related to them.  Sounds like work.  But then, I did publicly commit and it would be bad form to bail out now. 

Yet, I still try to keep up with the newer discussions, and a quick comment here and there is no different than any quick face-to-face chit-chat in which one might engage in the course of one's busy day.  This here post is being composed while enjoying a late breakfast before chores.  I often sit before the computer while eating, as dinner is the only meal the family regularly shares together. 

Anyway, I've been keeping an eye on the new discussion at Dan's blog, between he had Bubba.  It began elsewhere and as it was off topic there, Dan invited Bubba to carry on with him there.  It is reserved for just the two of them as they both expressed the desire that it remain so. 

There is still, for me, some level of interest and entertainment in witnessing the discussion.  I should have started a pool, or established some over/under wager on the amount of time before Dan two-stepped away from answering a simple and direct question.  It came in the very first response to Bubba's initial comment.  Getting direct answers to simple and direct questions has always been the challenge for people dealing with Dan.  Ambiguity is essential to his belief system.  The more ambiguity, the easier it is to believe as one finds personally favorable. 

Conversely, few of Dan's questions are direct and simple.  They often are leading questions that cannot be answered with a yes or no lest a wrong understanding results, which is pretty much guaranteed.  When I've been faced with such questions by him, I've always endeavored to answer directly and then immediately supply the details with the qualifications that must be presented in order to prevent misunderstanding, but too often (if not always) only the initial "yes" or "no" from me is heard or recorded to then be used against me.

This is what Bubba will have to deal with throughout the exercise for as long as it might last, which is always uncertain. 

As to the two-stepping, there are a few initial questions Bubba poses.  He allows Dan to pick one to answer if that is preferable to Dan.  Here are some of them:

--Do you believe in orthodoxy and heresy as real categories and not just traditional understandings?

--Do you really believe that there are essential Christian doctrines?

These two are really just set-ups for the even more direct questions that follow,  but they are quite direct in themselves insofar as one person is directing the questions specifically to one specific person alone in order to draw out that specific person's own personal opinion.  Get that?  It doesn't matter what anyone else thinks, because I'm asking YOU!

Next comes the two requests, with clarifying explanations afterwards that don't seem to sink in.  Again, they are quite direct and really require nothing more than a direct answer:

-- NAME ONE ESSENTIAL CHRISTIAN DOCTRINE.

-- NAME ONE CLEAR TEACHING OF THE BIBLE.

Bubba then offers two that Dan can use as answers of his own:  The existence of God, and, the historicity of Jesus.

Dan's subsequent responses do little to clarify his position mostly due to the fact that he insists upon consideration for the positions of others.  All of that is irrelevant.  In other words, who cares?  It is DAN'S own position/opinion that is sought, so none of that superfluous crap has any value.  

I have to admit that I need to review the response a few times.  Because Dan is so evasive (under the pretense of seeking clarification), I don't want to misconstrue his positions.  What's more, the conversation is ongoing and I also don't want to misconstrue Bubba's intentions in asking the questions he's asking.  We'll have to wade through the voluminous non-answers Dan will supply to see if a legitimate answer is put forth.  It would help if he'd just answer the question.  But I believe he does as he does because just answering the questions put forth to him would provoke admission that his positions are untenable.  The end of his back and forth with Bubba will demonstrate just how honestly he seeks the truth.