Bruce Prescott: A Lesson In Irresponsible Blogging
Until my recent absence from the blogging scene I was reading somewhere around 30 blogs a day and keeping up with at least 20 others sporadically. I think that the blogosphere offers a great opportunity for people to connect and interact with others and to ingest large amounts of diverse information. However, it is also a dangerous place where many false prophets and charlatans lie in wait to deceive and to mislead. Unfortunately, the next set of civil lawsuits will probably be against bloggers. Many newspapers around the country are either prohibiting or policing their reporters' and columnists' blogsites. And as I have found there are a number of blogs that have popped up that exist solely for the purpose of pushing an agenda, whether truthfully or not.
One blogger that I have been cautiously reading for sometime now is Dr. Bruce Prescott. His blog can be accessed at http://mainstreambaptist.blogspot.com. This is a guy who definitely has an agenda. He is director of the Oklahoma Chapter of the Americans United for Separation of Church and State. As a former Southern Baptist, he is now very active with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, a moderate to liberal separatist group that in recent years severed itself from the SBC due to theological differences (though there are many churches who consider themselves to be dually-aligned with both the SBC and CBF). Politically he is far to the left, supporting everything from abortion and embryonic stem cell research to gay marriage. He calls himself a "mainstream" or "traditionalist" Baptist and maintains that inerrancy is foolish as well as many other historic Baptist positions such as the belief in the absolute sovereignty of God and the rejection of evolution as a realistic understanding of the Biblical texts. And it is this last position that is the reason for my post today.
You see, Bruce and I have clashed many times over many issues ranging from the economy to Dr. Albert Mohler's position on voluntary childlessness of married couples. And in the past there have been times when he has deleted my comments charging that I have personally attacked him, all the while allowing himself to misrepresent the positions of others like Dr. Mohler and Dr. Russell Moore, both of Southern Seminary in Louisville, KY (where I currently reside). But it was during this recent "discussion" on Intelligent Design Theory, a viable alternative to evolution that I felt I should call attention to his behavior.
Now, first before I go into this, let me offer a short polemic for why I am writing about this man. After all we are supposed to be brothers in Christ and we should not judge our fellow believers, right? Well, not necessarily. You see the Bible teaches in various places that we are to correct and reprove our neighbors at times when it is appropriate. Jesus spends quite a while teaching on what to do when our brother sins against us in Matthew 18. Paul mentions discipline in regards to the church in several places and seems to indicate that reproof is not only Scriptural, but essential to the Body of Christ. Thus I feel that because I have been silenced by this man repeatedly for trying to show his own error to him that I should point this out in the midst of many witnesses and let the record speak for itself. If I am wrong, then let me know. I welcome your comments and ask that you pray that this matter would bring about glory for God. I invite Bruce to come and defend himself and his action on this blog and I promise to not delete any comment he makes as long as he does not use profanity (a courtesy that he has not provided to me).
Now, what exactly is going on here. Well, this is the first article that I commented on that Bruce published on his weblog concerning Intelligent Design. In it he links other articles that seem to indicate that he believes ID is non-scientific and only has to do with the legal debate concerning teaching creationism in schools. Here is my un-edited response:
Bruce,Not suprisingly, after reading all of your articles on Intellegent Design I am completely floored by your lack of serious discussion on the subject. You treat it flippantly as if evolution is a not a theory, but a law. Just in case you didn't know, it's not. It is only one means of explaining the universe. The other means is that an intellegent being created it. Those are the only two theories that make sense. Hence, both should be given air time in our schools. I found one statement you made quite interesting. You said, "The easiest way to discover this [that ID is just trying to teach creationism] is to ask the proponents of "Intelligent Design" to explain how their "theory" can be tested to prove its veracity or falsity and how the theory expands our understanding of nature." I find your "test" interesting since evolutionists cannot test evolutionary theory. What Darwin discovered was adaptation, but not macro-evolution. No scientist has ever caused or observed a change in the structure of DNA such that would bring about the evolution of a monkey into a man. Nothing even close has been observed or repeated. Hence, your test is not comprehensive because even evolutionists cannot do such a thing. That is why it is still called a "theory" -- because it is not repeatable like say the Law of Gravity. Thus ID taking evolutionary arguments and showing serious flaws is a legitimate concern. It is science to show such propositions to students such as the theory of Irreducable Complexity set forth by Michael Behe a respected and leading ID scholar. So in essence you has silenced free speech by denying the right that the Scopes Monkey Trial provided, which was to legally allow both sides to be taught in the public schools. Creationism or not, there are serious flaws in evolution that students have the right to know about.I went on to post the link to Stephen Meyer's response to a similar question that Bruce had regarding a "test". It can be accessed here. I felt it more than adequately answered his objection. Still he continued to show his lack of understanding of ID by suggesting it had nothing to do with science, despite the fact that I pointed him to Michael Behe's book. He did not and still does not indicate he has read anything by any proponent of ID. What followed next was what I would consider irresponsible. After we wrangled a bit about what exactly ID was and how it did or did not have anything to do with science, I posted the quote that I felt best answered Bruce's objection, but he deleted it and then said this: "You're [sic] posts have become the equivalent of electronic graffitti [sic]. I'm removing them from now on. Troll on someone else's blog."
To me this is irresponsible blogging. First, Bruce suggests to his readers (who by the way may not know anything about ID -- which he is fully aware of), that ID has nothing to do with scientific research. Then, when it is pointed out to him that ID scholars are indeed scientists and do take on evolution from a scientific perspective, he continues to belligerently maintain his erroneous position. When he is shown his objection has been answered, he doesn't try to interact with it, but simply denies it is there. Then when I post the answer, he removes it. Absolutely irresponsible!
And if that is where the story ends, that would be enough for me to prove he that he was irresponsible with his handling of this topic. But, he continued to post on the subject. Here is another post he wrote just days following. Basically, he found someone to agree with him and thus felt that was enough to prove his point. Only problem is that the guy who wrote the article is just as uniformed as Bruce is about ID. He's not even a scientist, but rather a news editor. At least get some credible source to support you. Here's an article by another blogger regarding Eric Baerren's rather poorly researched commentary on ID. When I commented regarding this post, Bruce once again went back to his same ole' tired argument, even stating rather ignorantly that "exceedingly few scientists ascribe any credibility to ID theory." This is a completely false statement and when I challenged him on this and basically said he still had not proven that ID had nothing to do with science, he deleted my comment and offered this interjection: "Discussions with you are ended. Your arrogance is insufferable." Arrogance! Now that is quite a charge. Here I am trying to set the record straight and Brucey charges me with arrogance. I told him in no uncertain terms how unprofessional that was.
You see, as bloggers we have a responsibility to tell the truth and to admit when we are wrong. We are a part of the media as well. Though we might not get paid and we may not have the credentials or the degrees, we must be careful to teach our readers and inform them on the issues. We cannot settle for strawmen arguments and deleting comments we don't like because someone disagrees with us. We must debate our critics and stop speaking when we are ignorant of the real facts at hand. I know I am not perfect in this regard, but we must strive for perfection. Propaganda and censorship just will not do in this media reformation. Hopefully soon I will publish more on Intelligent Design and let people know the real story behind its scientific foundation and Evolution's glaring flaws.