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Dave Miller

FYI, For the record, at CB Scott's request, I changed the title of my post and changed a couple of lines to reduce the stridency.

I stand by the gist of my article. And welcome, as you suggest, that people read both.

Dave Miller

For the record, you may wonder about a couple of the criticisms Peter makes about my comments now. I disagree with the logic and tone that Peter used. But when he criticized me, for instance, for calling his blog post "a nadir" - that phrase no longer appears, but did.

I don't agree with his logic, but he didn't make anything up. I just edited the post.

Though fairness demanded that I mention that.


All right Peter I did as instructed and read the post at that other blog. I don't have my dictionary handy but for SBC Voices to accuse anyone else of the "worst" kind of blogging might be referred to as ironic. Or pot meet kettle. Or get take the tree out of your eye. Anyone reading the comment thread I think gets the point.

So the gist if the bad blogger Peter post is "Peter's entitled to his opinion but his opinion that teaching young fools that drinking in moderation may lead to problems with alcohol is an attack against our 4Pointer High Priest Akin and the hallowed ground of SEBTS" therefore we must attack and destroy Peter.

If one person attending SEBTS or SBTS has been influenced by the "it's not a sin, moderation is ok and it is so cool, show these old fools how much more you know about the Bible than them, have a drink" if one person practicing his "liberty" has fallen into the pit of alcoholism does that constitute a crisis? Seriously these oh so wise and better than thou bloggers are fighting over word semantics when the uncontroverted facts show that where there is alcohol lives will be destroyed.

But happier times are coming. California's about to legalize marijuana so it won't be long before our seminarians will be lighting up the doobies. After all the Bible doesn't prohibit pot.

Dave Miller

FYI - Danny Akins has logged in at Voices (currently comment #77) to respond to this discussion.

peter lumpkins


I am aware. Dr. Akin and I have been corresponding privately.

With that, I am...

peter lumpkins


Your and my analysis substantially agree to the poor response on the Voices' thread toward the issue I raised. Not only did Dave's original piece contort my actual wording (e.g. my words about "a crisis brewing" and "a bit more than they would like," in Dave's revision became, "alcohol haven" and "a rampant alcohol problem at Southeastern"), consequently drawing more meaning from my words than they linguistically imply, but also pulling rabbits out of the hat like "[Peter] even admitted no evidence" and the strange implication that Akin and I were "debating" or some such.

What I thought was very interesting is, one who alluded to me as "Lumpy" the moderator called his hand on it to stop evidently to keep the thread to a high standard, while others were yapping without the least resistance about me being devious, disingenuous, deceptive, psychotic, and wording my post in a way so I possessed a measure of "deniability," etc. I ask you, Mary, which would you think lends itself to a higher standard a) banning 1st grade, silly remarks like, "Mary, Mary, quite contrary" or b) "Mary is a lying, devious psychotic who deceives"? Rather than deal with ideas, far too many get away with dismissing ideas and denouncing the one who expresses the idea.

Even so, if you read Dave's rejoinder to my lengthy response to his misfired critique of my original post, all you'll find is, "you still leave the impression that..." a totally subjective response, offering not even a thin defense of his critique I just demonstrated had no real basis. He did say something like, "you needed to have been a lawyer" but that's pretty much it.

Grace, Mary.
With that, I am...

Dave Miller

My instructions from the blog owner are to have a wide open discussion at Voices. I tried to focus people away from personal attacks and keep the discussion focused.

You might try listening to critics instead of attacking them, Peter. You might learn something once in a while.

peter lumpkins


Thanks. I'm glad you logged on, and I appreciate your comment because it displays nicely the fundamental disconnect between the way I understand engagement and apparently the way you understand it. This same disconnect may also be indicative of how you and I differ on what constitutes acceptable blogging. Or, using your model, "[the best and the] worst in Baptist blogging."

Leaving aside the explanation of the "thread philosophy" you reiterated above with which one may in some ways sympathize, and focusing on the latter part of your comment, toward what am I supposed to understand your counsel to me:

I tried to focus people away from personal attacks and keep the discussion focused. You might try listening to critics instead of attacking them, Peter. You might learn something once in a while (Dave Miller)

First, Dave, I assure you I both listened and learned from the thread, as soured as it was and remains, a souring of which you evidently have no dissent. At least given your self-confessed attempt to correct the thread--"I tried to focus people away from personal attacks..."--you obviously agree, do you not, much of the thread bears "personal attacks," at least enough to get your attention to “focus people away” from them?

Even so, Dave, I both listened and learned from "critics" as you call them, but not so much about any argument I made; rather I learned about my deception, my psychosis, my disingenuousness, my deniability, my hucksterism, my sinful disposition for which I need repent, etc. In other words, I "learned" plenty about what some allege about me. The problem is, Dave, none of the above teach me about the error of my words. Instead those are condemnatory remarks about my inner life, the motives I bring to a discussion, the dishonest person I am, the coward I remain, etc etc. What you’re referencing as “critics” I would reference—whether about me or another—as “condemners.” They dismiss an idea or argument and focus on some personally perceived deficiency in the person conveying the idea.

And, it is this which constitutes at least part of the disconnect I mentioned above, Dave. Appropriate engagement does not focus on the persons themselves; this is among the first and fundamental laws of sound argumentation. Granted the engagement is between two (or more) persons, so in that sense arguments are always personal . Even then, however, the exchange must be focused on the way *I* or *another* is arguing. In other words, his or her method of arguing may be entirely inadequate. Here is where a fundamental disconnection takes place.

So, Dave, I am denying your conclusion--I not only learn something from almost every exchange, I learned much from the soured exchange at SBC Voices; but, as I described, there is a fundamental disconnect between what I count as helpful, appropriate, expedient and valid content and apparently what you find acceptable, valid criticism from which I need to learn.

So, I've denied and rejected (and shown why) your premise that I'm not listening to "critics"; therefore it is false I did not "learn." Know I’m not saying you’re lying though, from my perspective, you obviously wrote falsely. Rather, you are fundamentally mistaken, Dave. There is a difference. So that’s the first sign of a disconnect on what constitutes valid engagement between you (along with others) and me.

If I may, allow me to extend the disconnection I mentioned only a single time.

From your perspective, I need to "start listening" to "critics" instead of "attacking them." So, Dave, I need to know how I "attacked" my "critics." What justifies your charge? I can only suppose you're referring to what I've mentioned in this thread for I have nothing on the Voices thread about which I am aware (feel free to point it out if you find something).

On this thread in which you placed your assertion, the following represents well what I wrote concerning our personal exchange. On this post, I:

* characterized your response as a non-sensical critique
* asserted your original piece contorted my actual wording
* said you drew more meaning from my words than they linguistically imply
* asserted you pulled rabbits out of the hat like "[Peter] even admitted no evidence" and the strange implication that Akin and I were "debating" or some such
* noted that you had a strange way of deciding which comments met the “high standard” you sought
* asserted your original piece was a misfired critique of my original post
* concluded you offered not even a thin defense of your original post I just demonstrated had no real basis

I may have missed something here and invite anyone to point it out if I did. So, Dave, which one of the above is an attack against you? And, you’re welcome to point to anything I may have written on the soured thread at Voices as well. Which can you show, Dave, that attacks you or another? If I am supposed to listen rather than attack, then I need some specifics of the attacks I am supposed to have rendered. Do you not agree?

For now, let’s suppose all of the above that I wrote about your criticisms can be shown as true and accurate (only for argument’s sake I assure). Here’s the kicker, Dave--if all of the above is true, what does the summation of the points I make demonstrate about Dave Miller? Does it imply your dishonesty? Your disingenuousness? Your hucksterism? Your deceitfulness? Your sinful disposition? Your psychosis? Your deniability? No. Either individually or together none of the above imply anything about your inner life, your moral integrity, your motives, or your honesty. The single issue concerning which the statements I expressed would imply strike at the heart of whether your criticisms were points well-taken or not—and that only about your one critique not about any other critique you’ve offered.

It’s not like, for example, I wrote “Dave always misfires” or “Dave offered a thin defense because of his inability to do otherwise” or “Dave purposely contorted my words” because he cannot offer a rational defense” or “Dave writes in such a way he can deny responsibility.” Do you see the obvious difference? What I actually wrote characterizes what you said (we’re still assuming, for argument’s sake all are accurate), while the latter takes what you said and spins a moral insult out of it. For instance, while it’s true you misfired in your critique, the fact you misfired on this critique says nothing about whether you misfired elsewhere; or, the fact you offered but a thin defense on this argument says nothing about your ability to make a devastating critique in another context; or, the fact that you contorted my words, overextending their meanings, in this instance says nothing about whether you’re quite capable of rational argument; the fact that your words do not explicitly make a point says nothing about your honesty. All of the latter, are morally offensive, at least in my view, and have no place in engagement because they imply some devious characteristic about you, not about your words.

Supposing, however, all of what I actually wrote above proved false (for argument’s sake again). Suppose through exchange it is revealed that your critique actually does make sense—even good sense. Suppose it is discovered you did not contort my words but actually gave a good sense of them, even demonstrating from reputable sources the words I employed routinely mean what you said they meant. Suppose you show how your case is not at all “thin” but in fact, jacks my jaw a bit. Suppose, Dave this is so. And you defend your case by showing my concerns were, for the most part, dismissible.

Granting the above, exactly what, Dave would such say about me personally? Would it demonstrate I was devious, disingenuous, psychotic, or a huckster? No. What it would demonstrate would be, I did not make so good of an argument after all. Your have shown me not to be a liar because I was wrong but to be entirely mistaken and hence incorrect in my assertions. You have shown my thinking to be flawed, not me as a person trashed.

Here the fundamental disconnect is on full display, Dave: what you have called “attacking” critics, I call making reasonable assessments of a critic’s view based on what knowledge I possess. I merely described your content but you assert I denounced you as critic; you suggest I need to learn from being characterized as devious, deceptive, psychotic, and immoral; my idea of learning is from real critics who examine what I actually write apart from subjectively judging me personally as an unfit writer. Such does not mean there will not be strong arguments both pro and con. It doesn’t even mean one has to be nice. Some of the greatest lessons I’ve learned in dialog has been from people who were not so nice but their points were making headway through my defensive armor. Frankly, being nice has nothing to do with proper argumentation, but with proper etiquette. Niceness normally affects not one single point of an engagement; it does affect--and affects much--about whether peoples may or may not want to strike up an engagement with you.

I recall in my “college” days in Louisville being tutored to tears by my philosophy professor. I use tears literally. He so pounded me during our one-to-one sessions on my inadequate “fundamentalist” mindset I thought I would throw-up sometimes. He was not nice; he was relentless; he was rude; and he was repugnant at times, but he unapologetically insisted on right argumentation if I was to open my mouth and speak back to him. And learn I did, I assure.

I am not perfect by any means. I make logical errors, category errors, non sequitur statements, and a host of other argumentative mistakes. All people do, including writers—even the best of them. In logic textbooks for university classes, the examples explored are usually from some of the best thinkers and writers available. We’re no more logically pure than we are morally pure—our fallenness sees to that. And, it also may be said that we’re all very capable of being deviant, deceptive, and psychotic as well. However, exploring the ideas one places into the public square rightly focuses on the viability of the writing not whether the writer possess a virtuous heart or a heart filled with vice.

With that, I am…


peter lumpkins


I know it's a long comment. But there is a fundamental divide between how you view criticism and my perception. Not asking for or even expecting you to respond. This comment as much or more for others than you actually.

Someone must address this clear divide.

With that, I am...

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