From: Brian Holtz []
Sent: Monday, March 15, 2004 8:41 AM
To: Derek Pierson
Cc: Robert Turkel
Subject: RE: Re: Donation to Holtz?

Hi Derek, thanks for the email. Your recap of the events in question is quite accurate.  You quote Turkel:

> Oh ho....
> So in other words, it had nothing to do with anything he wrote in reference
> to me or anything I have written about him.

And you reply:

> Holtz just mentions his writings in general and nothing about TIF
> specifically.  If you've said something about his body of work as a whole then
> that's probably what he's referring to when he says, "...his assessment of my
> writings was sufficiently at odds with Turkel's [..]"

Right -- I quoted Turkel's assessment immediately after the statement that you're quoting:  "Our critic is no one in particular, other than one with a high opinion of his own abilities to speak proficiently on any topic of his choosing. Such is our age of individualism, in which anyone feels themselves competent to comment on any subject merely by virtue of having teeth and a tongue."

You quote Turkel:

> It seems to me that he's using the truth vaguely to imply that 
> you found his responses to TIF so worthwhile that you made the 
> donation, when in fact it was entirely different stuff.

It's quite telling that Turkel jumped to the conclusion that I had been given a contribution in appreciation of my evisceration of his article. However, the context of my discussion of the contribution was in fact his fear of naming me, and I was very explicit in ascribing that fear to the quality of my entire oeuvre:

"I only have whatever respect a reader might accord me in consideration of my body of writings"
"Turkel surely fears that readers he sends me are in serious danger of being impressed by my writings."
"his assessment of my writings was sufficiently at odds with Turkel's "
"my wide-ranging writing rests on: my ability to reason [..]"

You quote Turkel:

I won't make much of this, but may I note in my reply to his latest that the
gift to him had nothing to do with writings related to apologetics?

My impression was that it had to with our shared interest in academic philosophy. (My arguments against theism and Christianity are included in the philosophy section of my book, but you never said whether you'd read them.) It's entirely unsurprising that Turkel would consider philosophy to be unrelated to apologetics.

At any rate, Turkel's arguments remain a cinder on my back burner, and scraping off their charred remains is an ever-decreasing priority for me. Now that I've spent a few years defeathering his writings in acceptance of his Chicken Challenge, his primary hope for any new responses from me in the next year or two is to accept my reflective equilibrium challenge. Otherwise, I'm delighted to let the record stand for quite some time in its current state, which by now shows that I can at my leisure easily rebut any new iteration of his childish rhetoric, sloppy reasoning, and clumsy handling of the "data". Indeed, that record is so overwhelmingly in my favor that I have no fear of linking to his unedited material, or even to new installments by Turkel for which I've yet to publish responses. It is doubtful that Turkel could ever muster the confidence to emulate this practice.