Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Clarification on the Madrid Issue

A few of the folks who read my blog have taken umbrage with my recent comments (link) regarding Patrick Madrid's apologetics forum, ironically titled "Speak Your Mind." Two of those I've already addressed in part in a previous post (link) and another has posted comments on his own blog as well (a post creatively titled "Ummm - What?").

The gist of one of the recurrent complaints seems to be that my comment about Madrid turtling is unjustified, because even if he has hidden his apologetic forum from the public eye he still has:

1) Previous debates

2) Published books

3) Live TV/Radio Appearances

4) A Blog

I certainly agree that Mr. Madrid's turtling is not complete. He has not withdrawn himself wholly from the apologetics ring yet, he's just cut off a significant aspect of what used to be his apologetics sphere.

A second complaint is that there is no way to know Madrid's heart, and consequently we cannot infer any intent to conceal his website even from the fact that he has now concealed his formerly public website. As far as I'm concerned such a complaint is frivolous. We reasonably infer that people intend to do what they do.

Perhaps someone will further complain that the issue is not over whether Mr. Madrid intended to hide his candle under a bushel basket in this instance, but over why. In other words, was it to hide from criticism or not? I acknowledge that this inference is not as clear as the first inference. However, considering that his lock-down of public access to his website follows hard on the heels of his complaints that comments from the website were being posted elsewhere, it is a reasonable inference.

A third complaint is that since Madrid has debated Michael Horton and Robert Godfrey (apparently referring to a single debate entitled: "What Divides Us?" in which Madrid, Sungenis, and Marshner took the Romanist side and Horton, Godfrey, and Rosenbladt took the Reformation side), it is unreasonable to suppose that Madrid would be loathe to interact with my friend who uses the nick "Algo" and his critiques. Presumably, the hidden premise is that because my friend Algo isn't (as far as the complainers know) a Westminster Seminary professor, his critiques will necessarily be easier to defeat than those of said professors. Therefore, our critics seem to suppose that it is unreasonable to think that Madrid has significant limited access to limit criticism.

I understand the basic intuition of this objection, and to a small extent I can agree: if Madrid is brave enough to handle Godfrey he should be brave enough to handle my friend Algo. The primary way that Algo relates to our discussion is that he was about the only (if not the only) Reformed voice that had not already been kicked off by the moderators of the site - and he was kicked off when two Reformed blogs posted discussion of his interactions there. In other words, he was essentially given the boot for leaking information.

In any event, I hope the above has helped to clarify matters. If someone has inaccurately inferred from my previous post that I think (or that I want you to think) that Mr. Madrid has entirely withdrawn from apologetics, this post should disabuse them of that erroneous inference.


1 comment:

The Squirrel said...

Back in the old days, they wouldn't have banned Algo, they'd have just thrown him on the wrack, and asked, "Mr. Algo, are you now, or have you ever been, a member of the Calvinist Party? You will answer the committe... er, Inquisition!"