Friday, May 6, 2011

What's the alternative

I like this post by Justin Taylor:

A quote from Millard Erickson’s Christian Theology had a significant impact on me the first time I read it several years ago:

. . . In criticism it is not sufficient to find flaws in a given view.

One must always ask,

“What is the alternative?”


“Does the alternative have fewer difficulties?”

John Baillie tells of writing a paper in which he severely criticized a particular view. His professor commented,

“Every theory has its difficulties, but you have not considered whether any other theory has less difficulties than the one you have criticized.” (p. 61)

The following little clip of Phil Donahue interviewing Milton Friedman is a good example of this principle at play.

My point of posting this is not to defend capitalism (though I believe it can be defended from a biblical worldview.) But the main reason for posting it is that is serves as a nice illustration of the fact that criticizing a theory is insufficient if one’s alternate theory is equally weak or worse.

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