Wednesday, February 8, 2012

With Friends Like These

Norman Geisler has of late resorted to a new tactic -- I mean new to this controversy with Licona, not new in general -- of using proxies to stand and speak for him. In so doing, though, he ends up neatly illustrating the failure of his authoritarian tactics, and so as well merely greases the slide that is taking him further down into the pit of obscurity and irrelevance.

His first effort in this direction was drawing a testimony from Paige Patterson. Nick Peters nicely dissected Patterson's pep speech (link below), so I won't need to say much more, apart from noting that the selection of Patterson as a supporter speaks to a certain moral problem inherent in Geisler's authoritarian methods.

Patterson apparently did some good in the past, but in more recent years, has become a figure of questionable moral dealings. The interested reader might want to search his name and tie it to, first, the name "Darrell Gilyard" and second, and separately, to the name "Sheri Klouda". The bottom line in these (and in other places) is that Patterson has promoted what can only charitably be described as misogynist viewpoints -- which in turn leads to serious questions about Geisler's judgment in his choice of spokesman-proxies.

Geisler's next proxy was David Farnell, a Biblical scholar of highly questionable academic achievement. Again, Nick did a number on this one (link below), but I have this to add: Farnell was co-editor, with Robert Thomas, of the caveman-beat-chest volume The Jesus Crisis -- a book deserving of apocalyptic opprobrium for its denigration of serious scholarship. (See link below; it is one of the few books I have ever distinctly listed as Not Recommend.)

At about the same time, Geisler rang up a co-authored letter from Ergun Caner and D. L. Moody of Arlington Baptist College. Not unsurprisingly, it is, like Patterson's commentary, remarkable for its lack of serious content and engagement with arguments; it is little more than a catena of the standard empty threats (e.g., "the absolute sufficiency of Scripture in the narrative are now both being diluted and denied,") pep-talk statements ("we stand with you in this issue") and papal horn-blowing in support of Geisler's efforts (" Your leadership is once again so sorely needed, and you have stood like Athanasius."). Once again it seems that cooperative back-patting is part of the good old boy system in place here.

And yet the commentary is also illustrative in many ways of the way Geisler operates. For one, even more so than Patterson by far, is the appeal to the questionable moral character Ergun Caner has become. Since Geisler has stubbornly refused to answer charges regarding his defense of Caner, it is worth asking again whether this does not in fact reflect Geisler's poor moral judgment. Is he now so desperate in circling the wagons that he is willing to take on any sort of support in his defense? How about Jim Bakker next, then?

In contrast, the use of Moody is understandable; few would see that name and not make an immediate connection to his prior namesake. That said, neither he nor his namesake has any rank as a scholar; so once again, it would seem to be a case of a Great Man speaking, one to whom we are expected to offer immediate deference merely because they have spoken.

Moody and Caner do seem to briefly allude to my video when they say, "we all see through the childish attacks you have faced." It is a curiosity that more than one from Geisler's support group have used the "childish" canard here; they, like certain atheists I have dealt with, seem oblivious to the use of animated features in the education of adults (see link below) as well as the popularity of animation among adults for entertainment purposes.

It is also said, "personal attacks are often offered when the opposition cannot

answer the clarity of your position." That of course is a joke in itself; Geisler has been repeatedly answered, and it is in part because he has refused to reply in turn -- even deleting a link to my challenge from his Facebook page -- that I felt that materials like Geisler's Christmas Carol became necessary. And of course, it is hardly a "personal attack" either, to the extent that it accurately reflects Geisler's own behavior in personally attacking Licona and others.

Finally, just lately, Geisler has rung up Emir Caner -- Ergun's brother. Yes, of course, the moral opprobrium hangs like a scent here as well; and yes, of course, this Caner offers no more substance than the other one. There is the usual threat language ("path to liberalism," " placing the resurrection of Jesus itself in jeopardy"; "naturalistic presuppositions," -- even though the latter forms no part of Licona's arguments regarding Matthew 27); the usual pep-talking ("It is imperative, then, that Bible believers stand firm on the historicity and trustworthiness on this doctrine," " we cannot, in the name of friendships or sincere motives, let our guards down when a generation of new believers are relying on present Christian soldiers to take their proper stand.") -- but not on iota of actual engagement with the issues.

So what do we have in sum? We have a collection of authoritarian testimonies; we have little to no argument (only Farnell makes even the slightest attempt at that, and he fails badly, as Nick shows); we have support from at two to three men of questionable moral character and one man of questionable academic character. This is the best stable Geisler can assemble in his defense, and it speaks for himself.

He'd be better off collecting some more testimonies from "anonymous."

Vs Paige Patterson

Vs David Farnell
Jesus Crisis review (see bottom of page)

Cartoons as educational


  1. The more your videos are insulted, the more I want to see! So far they have been excellent. It is amazing, to say the least, that nobody in the Geisler camp has really figured out what's going on yet, and appear to have ignored the videos (or written them off) altogether.

    If you pile up enough videos, though, I somehow feel like maybe NG would be shamed enough. I hope he keeps giving you ammo!

  2. Thanks...Geisler will appear in at least one more, though not in "action" sequences. There's sure plenty of ammo in Defending Inerrancy!