“If, hypothetically, Bill Burkett or anyone else, any other individual, had prepared or had typed on a word processor as some of the journalists are presuming, without much evidence, if someone in the year 2004 had prepared on a word processor replicas of documents that they believed had existed in 1972 or 1973 - which Bill Burkett has absolutely not done - what difference would it make?” - emphasis addedI guess that’s supposed to mean that the accusations against Bush are true so it doesn’t matter that we’ve cooked up documents to prove it. Now I’m certainly not siding with CBS, but there is a point of truth in Mr. Van Os’ statement. Whether or not the documents shown were forged does not, in and of itself, tell us whether the accusations against Bush are false. Regardless of the motives of those accusing Bush and regardless of whether their accusations are supported with falsehoods, the issue of the veracity of the accusations remains separate. This is important because too many times we tend to jump to, or avoid, conclusions based simply on the motives we perceive our opposition to have. Biased motives are seen as some sort of indicator that the conclusions of the person are incorrect. Yet this is not so. Simply because an evolutionist may be motivated by a naturalistic bias does not tell me whether or not the concept of evolution is itself correct. Conversely, simply because a proponent of ID may be motivated by religious concerns does not tell me whether or not the concept of ID is correct. The effects of this line of thinking are far reaching. For instance, although cultural environments certainly influence our behavior, there is an inherent flaw in the argument that Christianity is only a relative truth in that a person who grows up in a Christian culture is simply following the norm of the culture. Given an Islamic culture, it is argued, the same person would most likely be Islamic. Hence religion is relative. The problem with that line of thinking is that even if it were true that people chose Christianity due to their cultural upbringing, that tells me nothing about whether the actual truth claims of Christianity are true. Whether Christianity is true or false is independent of how I think or feel about it.
Friday, September 17, 2004
Even if they’re fake, it wouldn’t matter…
In the wake of the controversy surrounding the forged documents that Dan Rather broadcast on 60 Minutes we see David Van Os, lawyer for retired National Guard officer Bill Burkett, commenting,