Quote of the Day (Pete Enns)

Quote of the Day (Pete Enns) November 17, 2011

“Particularly in the age of the Internet, it is not hard at all to find someone with Ph.D. in a relevant field who lends a countervoice to mainstream thinking. This is true in the sciences, in biblical studies, and I’m sure any academic field.

There is always someone out there who thinks he or she has cracked the code, hidden to most others, and disproved the majority. And, in my experience, too often the promotion of minority voices is laced with a fair dose of conspiracy theory, where the claim is made that one’s view has been ostracized simply because it cuts against the grain.

Those without training in the relevant fields are particularly susceptible to following a minority voice if it conforms to their own thinking. But neither having a Ph.D. or some advanced degree, nor having research experience, nor even having written papers on minority positions, establishes the credibility of minority positions.

The truthfulness of minority claims must be tested over time by a body of peers, not simply accepted because those claims exist and affirm our own positions.”

— Peter Enns, “Still More Recurring Mistakes in the Adam/Evolution Discussion (3)”

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  • TomVerenna

    I like that you’re making a subtle, yet obvious, association with mythicism here.  😉

    • beallen0417

      It’s not subtle at all. It’s obviously tagged mythicism. It’s also an argument from authority, which is all well and good when that argument is backed up by data. 

      That’s all one would really need to do away with mythicism in all forms, data that credibly asserts the existence of a merely human Jesus. There is not one document dating from the first century that does this.

  • Because we’ve all seen how effective credible data is in doing away with young-earth creationism…

    • Geoff Hudson

      In that case why is there so much debate? 

  • Geoff Hudson

    I agree, it isn’t subtle. How much time does he want?  Another two thousand years?  Even if an argument is backed-up by data, the so-called experts could still be wrong. The data could be wrong.  And how many change their minds during the course of their career! 

  • Amen says the girl who will probably be writing her thesis on a minority view.

  • Doug

    I don’t seem to have got trackbacks working here, but I’ve blogged that there’s a complementary point of view:

  • Pf

    You missed the best quote in that piece. The fact that evolution creates problems for theology doesn’t make it wrong. It just means theology has a problem.

  • Pf, I intentionally went for a segment that had applicability beyond the issue of evolution and creationism.

    Doug and Amber, scholarship thrives on challenging consensus and creatively developing new ideas. It is the twin poles of innovation and peer review that make the scholarly system so vibrant and provides it with checks and balances. What defines pseudoscholarship is the substitution, where one should find an awareness that it is the responsibility of the innovator to persuade others to change, instead there is a belief that one’s own or one’s group’s views are brilliant insights and if they are not accepted, there must be undue conservative stubbornness or perhaps even a conspiracy at work.

    • ” there is a belief that one’s own or one’s  group’s views are brilliant insights”
      hahahaha, that makes me think of a quote from the “So you want to get a PhD in Humanities” video
      “I have brilliant ideas on literature.”
      “You made a C in my class!”

    • Geoff Hudson

      But we know what it is to be brainwashed.