The "Humble Suggestion" of Ben Wallis

http://patientandpersistent.blogspot.com/2011/10/once-more-unto-breach.html?showComment=1317510944705#c2622751264573522617

Ben Wallis said…

Paul,

If I may make a humble suggestion…

I know how tempting it can be to respond to Chris’s nonsense, but at some point I think you just have to let him have the last word and trust that your readers are intelligent enough to see through to the ridiculousness of it all. I don’t see what point there is in further communicating with him. He’s obviously not interested in having an intellectually fruitful discussion, practically by his own admission. He doesn’t believe one is possible, because he thinks that you’re a bumbling fool. (Don’t feel bad about that—he thinks the same of me, I’m sure, and perhaps every single non-Calvinist he meets.) Instead, his (apparently only) intent is to show your alleged foolishness to the world. Do you really want to play along with that rude and malicious game ? I encourage you to go back to your hiatus, or, if it has already been ruined beyond repair, at least find a suitable debate opponent.

–Ben

2 October 2011 00:15

Unfortunately I have had to note before (https://choosinghats.org/2011/08/ben-wallis-poisons-the-well-and-dodges-the-issue-again/) that Ben Wallis has joined the fundamentalist atheists in their disdain for reasoning and has chosen instead to fall back on empty rhetoric. Apparently Ben is now attempting to convince other unbelievers to follow him in stopping meaningful interaction with me.

So, Ben uses more empty rhetoric, mentioning “Chris’ nonsense” and “ridiculousness.” What, specifically, is Ben referring to? He does not say. It is much easier to just dismiss all of what I write as “nonsense” and “ridiculousness.” Imagine if that is how I had addressed Ben’s material! Ben implies that if readers do not see that my posts are “nonsense” and “ridiculousness” then they are unintelligent. Surely Paul’s readers want to agree with Ben and thus be numbered among the “intelligent!” The implication here, of course, is either that I am unintelligent or just outright dishonest. Ben is great at subtly insulting me, but not so great at making his case. He has, with the expertise of a cult leader, resorted to employing group think. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Groupthink

Indeed, Ben continues by implying that there is not even any point to communicating with me. Ben supplies an alleged reason for the aforementioned implication, but it is not a good reason. In fact, the alleged reason is not even true. Ben claims that I am not interested in having “an intellectually fruitful discussion.” I do not mean to “toot my own horn” here, but the number of posts at Choosing Hats is currently somewhere just over 500. I have not written every one of those posts, but I have written the vast majority of them. Yet Ben claims that I am not interested in “an intellectually fruitful discussion.” There are many other evidences that could be cited here as showing that Ben’s claim is quite obviously absurd, but the one mentioned will suffice, especially when we turn our focus back to Ben. To his credit, Ben Wallis has debated me formally. Further, he engaged in some post-debate discussions with me through our respective blogs. He has, however, almost completely ceased his interaction with me, and has resorted to making the sort of sweeping, silly claims about me like the ones that you see here. Ben refuses to answer very straight-forward and simple questions like, “How do you know that gravity will continue to hold you to the ground tomorrow?” and has stated that he will never formally debate me again. You may ask, “What is his problem?” I do not know, but it is clear that he is the one who is not interested in any sort of discussion like he mentions here. However, I am perfectly willing to pick up the discussion where we left off and/or engage Ben in another formal debate. For some reason, Ben has things exactly backwards in his mind.

So it is not the case that I have admitted to not wanting a fruitful intellectual discussion. Ben knows better. I have expressed the opposite desire. For the record, I do not think that either Ben or Paul Baird are “bumbling fool”s, but I could see where Ben might get this from Paul’s recent behavior and refusal to tell me what objection he has to the argument I offered him.

Finally, fruitful intellectual discussions are possible given that this is God’s world and people like Ben and Paul are created in God’s image. They might not like to hear this, but I do them a great disservice by not bringing it to their attention. They deny the God who created them and owns them and pretend to do so for intellectual reasons. It is fruitful to point out to them – again and again – that the real “reasons” they deny God have very little to do with their intellects and a lot more to do with their sin. Note the emotionalism in Ben’s diatribes against me, and you will see that his hatred of God, and of those who press him on it, are anything but “intellectual.” Ben believes that I am just out to demonstrate his (and Paul’s) foolishness to the world and calls this “rude” and “malicious.” I certainly am not out merely to demonstrate Ben’s and Paul’s foolishness to the world, though their positions certainly are foolish (in the biblical sense, which is perhaps quite different from what Ben has in mind). There is, as already mentioned, nothing “rude” or “malicious” about stating this. Imagine that someone is about to jump from a fifty story building in an attempt to fly. I spend several hours with this individual explaining in great detail what will happen when he jumps and why his position on the matter is foolish, though I may or may not use this word. Ben comes along and says, “He’s merely trying to demonstrate your folly to the world! How rude and malicious of him!”

Ben is playing the “Big Bad Bolt” card here again. Unfortunately this is just one more attempt to dodge the real issues that have been raised and poison the well. Even if I were being “rude” and “malicious,” which I am not, it would have nothing at all to do with the discussion with Paul or, formerly, with Ben. If they have something to offer then let them do it without resorting to attacking my person. As it stands, Ben just wants to derail the conversation and focus attention on the “Big Bad Bolt” rather than deal with the arguments.

How humble of him.


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