Thanks for bringing Bolt’s article to our attention. After reading it, I’d say he strongly confirmed Worthen’s article in every respect.
Bolt’s quotes in italics, my analysis in normal font.
surely Worthen does not object to an impulse to defend the scientific reliability of the Bible?
When the defense of the Bible relies on gross distortions and mischaracterizations of the facts regarding geology, climate, and biology, then indeed it is an exercise in post-truth argumentation.
[Worthen] assumes the doctrine of biblical inerrancy is new, which it is not.
Worthen is actually right. The doctrine of Scriptural infallibility goes back millenia, but the doctrine of inerrancy as articulated by the Chicago Statement is quite different than the traditional formulation.
When evangelicals affirm what they believe from the Bible over against what others believe about fossils or archaeology, they do not undermine truth, but rather establish their firm belief in such a concept.
Actually, they empty the concept of its value. It is an empty concept of truth that equates it with a rigid doctrine that can withstand any and all factual observations. When your concept of truth becomes unhinged from factual observations, you are advocating a post-truth philosophy.
Worthen is inconsistent insofar as she dismisses some sources of news while warning against the supposed tendency of evangelicals to do the same.
Beck and Limbaugh are in the opinion business. As such, they are not particularly trustworthy news sources. If Worthen took aim at conservative news sources like the WSJ or the National Review, I would agree with Bolt that her article is biased. But she does not.
Those who are not evangelicals also lay hold to the claim of scientific “sound”-ness, and there is no reason to see this claim functioning any differently in their approach to unwelcome facts [than the evangelicals’].
It depends on which non-evangelicals you are referring to. A movement like Social Darwinism claimed scientific support, but it was really an exercise in class bias. If you are talking about the justice reform movement or the pro-vaccination movement, though, they handle facts much more capably than many evangelicals. As an evangelical, I am sorry to have to admit that. Bolt has something of a point, but he’s essentially claiming that it’s not just evangelicals that are post-truth. This is hardly a robust defense of evangelicalism.
those who are not evangelicals do something very similar when they reject various unwelcome facts in the name of ‘Science’ or ‘Reason’ or claim that ‘History’ is “on their side.”
Of course evangelicals are not unique in their inability to deal with stubborn facts. “Those other folks make the same mistake” is scarcely a ringing endorsement of one’s own position, though.
There is a way to defend evangelicalism of Worthen’s charges, but Bolt is not on that path. A good reply to Worthen would be:
Evangelicals claim there is more to truth than science and history. They could very well be onto something that everyone else is missing.
There are plenty of evangelicals who participate in the scientific community, who welcome critique of their views, and do not equate their faith with a particular political party. Because Worthen ignores them, she makes a grave error of over-generalization.