Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Maybe Hubner Needs to Look Up "Shill" in a Dictionary

Jamin Hubner responds to my recent post by writing:
Turretinfan criticizes a recent post, saying, “ using a source that is a shill for Hamas is still using a bad source.” It seems Tur is suggesting that because a source is used as a Hamas shill, than in and of itself means the source is bad.

But, obviously this isn’t true. Hamas could use a dictionary and that doesn’t mean the dictionary is “bad source.” It is ironic that in the procesess [sic] of trying to reveal a fallacy, brother Tur seems to commit one (a source fallacy).
The only way that Jamin Hubner's post makes any sense is if he does not understand what the word "shill" means.  Perhaps he should look it up in ... a dictionary.

In the meantime, let me reword my sentence in terms he is more liable to understand: "using a source that is Hamas propaganda (or is written by a Hamas propagandist) is using a bad source."

Later on in the same post, Jamin wrote:
We have to ask in situations like these: how does the author intend the source to be used? Since Tur (and Hays, who made the original accusation about Burge’s work being pro-Hamas) have not even read the original source themselves, they are incapable of even knowing what the author’s intention really is. Hence the lack of any kind of refutation of this supposed Hamas-shill source (Burge’s Whose Land?), and hence the lack of any demonstration that Burge and/or his work is actually a shill or Hamas – and to what extent and in what sense he/his work is.
Yes, in fact, people are capable of knowing what an author's intention was without having read the original book.  Steve Hays addressed this point a long time ago.  We can read reviews of books and learn all sorts of things that way.  In fact Steve Hays has already thoroughly demonstrated this point.  Jamin hasn't bothered to address any of the reviews Steve proffered.

But again, let me put this in terms that Jamin cannot help but grasp.  Suppose that the work is a work by Adolph Hitler.  Am I incapable of knowing what Hitler's intention was in writing Mein Kampf, unless I read the book?  Is that the only way for me to find out?  Or can I read a review of the book?  Can I maybe possibly get some idea by reading the Cliff's notes?  Or is that a hopeless endeavor?

Moreover, since Steve's claim was about the man, isn't it sufficient to read some of his shorter pieces to see that he's a propagandist or "shill" and not simply a relatively neutral source like a dictionary?  Of course it is.

Surely Jamin is not so dense as to really imagine that the only way one can learn about the content of a book is by personally reading that book or that the only way one can find out about an author's character is by reading that particular book.

Right?  So, then Jamin should (a) either address the issue of the credibility of his source by addressing the evidence Steve already presented against it or (b) acknowledge that Steve was correct about the source bias problem of that particular source.


P.S. Hubner's concluding paragraph begins: "All of this is a distraction from the truth and the main concerns that I’ve tried and contiually [sic] try to raise ... ."  But the problem is that Steve has seemingly caught him trying to promote his view about Israel by citing/promoting a work that is itself little better than Hamas propaganda.  Perhaps I agree with Hubner's ultimately conclusions about Israel, but that doesn't change the fact that Hubner is shooting himself in the foot by citing to Mein Kampf for a supposedly historical report of facts of the bad things Jewish people have done.  Oh, wait.  Of course he didn't do that.  He would know better than to do that.  But he doesn't see the problem with the source he did cite (the one Steve described as a shill for Hamas) regarding the bad things the Israelis have supposedly done.  Even if the MK truthfully reports the facts of a particular instance, there is a good reason one wouldn't cite it.


Coram Deo said...

I don't know why Hubner is going through so much trouble citing sources anyway; after all everyone already knows about the dirty, money-grubbing, Christ-killing Jews and their nefarious conspiracy to rule the world, right Jamin?

Mark Bainter said...

So, if I'm reading you right, if you determine a man's character to be questionable, or his positions on a matter to be disagreeable, he is no longer able to be cited as a source, and anything he says can be dismissed on that basis in an argument? Isn't that just another flavor of Ad-Hominem argumentation?

I don't know all of this history here, or the content of this work, but given that Hubner has read it perhaps the better path here is to understand why he feels it is not propaganda - or at least that the passages he is citing are not. Or are you that confident that you fully understand the nature of the situation between Hamas and Israel?

It's not as if most of what gets put out here about the middle east isn't itself propaganda, and it's produced by shills for Israel and/or the US Government. Or is it only Hamas and the Nazis who put out propaganda?

Lee Gerrietts said...

How is this helpful? Would you say that to anyone in person when discussing these matters? This type of sarcasm appears to just be bitter.

turretinfan said...

To whom is your comment directed, Lee?

turretinfan said...

a) Source bias is a particular concern in discussions about the Middle East. That doesn't mean we just cite whatever sources we feel like. Rather, it means we are extra careful in whom we cite and for what points.

b) Source bias criticism is not an "ad hominem" argument, no.

c) Yes, it would be better if Hubner tried to make an argument (contra Hays) as to why his source isn't propaganda. But either (1) Hubner has no clue that he needs to take this line or (b) Hubner has no interest in actually defending his source.

d) All sorts of people put out all sorts of propaganda on all sorts of issues. That doesn't excuse Hubner, nor would it excuse one of Hubner's theological opponents from citing from some opposing propagandist.

e) Also, keep in mind that Hays' criticism was two-fold. (1) Hubner was trying to buttress his anti-"Zionist" position with quotations from a propaganda source and (b) Hubner was lending credibility to the propagandist by treating his source as a credible source.

turretinfan said...

No need to take the argument to Jamin's level.

Lee Gerrietts said...

Coram Deo

turretinfan said...

Ah, thanks. I am still trying to get used to this non-nested thread layout.

Coram Deo said...

Silly me! I actually thought my comment was so over-the-top that it would be virtually impossible for anyone to not realize that it was tongue-in-cheek. Alas...*sigh*

turretinfan said...

One might think - but this is the Internet. People are pretty tone deaf.