Using the Reductio

A friend sent me this critical review of Pearcey’s Saving Leonardo. I have not yet finished Leonardo, so I will not say a whole lot about that. But I did notice a flaw in the critique/review that is a very common mistake in debates like this. I have noted it many times, and I think it is being done in response to Pearcey.

If postmodernists and atheists and assorted unbelievers are allowed to dictate to us what they believe at every stage of their argument, then they can have the privilege of straightening out every crinkle as they go on. One kind of Christian who engages with them wants to take their statements at face value all along the way. Another kind (Pearcey and me, for instance) want to take certain statements they make and argue from those statements to certain particular and logical conclusions, conclusions which that person would not want to own.

Because they don’t want to own that conclusion, they then charge us with misrepresenting them, when actually we are representing them, better than they themselves do.

So, for example, Christopher Hitchens is an irrationalist who wants to maintain that he is a rationalist. I want show that he is an irrationalist, while the advocates of soft engagement want to treat him as a rationalist.

Another way of saying this is that Pearcey understands how a reductio works.