Apology and Correction
Between May 15 and July 24 of 2017, I posted an online debate together with Dr. Brown about the Real Jewish Messiah. At the close of the debate I felt that Dr. Brown had deliberately misled the audience. This was not a conclusion that came to me lightly. The evidence was all stacked up and it did not seem to leave me with another option.
For starters, in his opening segment Dr. Brown presented an argument that I had already clearly and decisively refuted. When I took the time and effort to expose the fallacy of his argument in my rebuttal, Dr. Brown did not acknowledge the truth of what I said. Instead he told the audience that I had misrepresented his argument when in fact I had done nothing of the sort.
Furthermore, in his third and final video of our debate, Dr. Brown falsely accused me of putting an argument into his mouth in order to refute it while in this same video, he himself put two different arguments into my mouth in order to refute them.
To make things worse, Dr. Brown did all of this in the forum of our debate, a forum that I had been trying to avoid and that he had been demanding for a long time. And here, when I finally gave him a compromised version of this forum, he went ahead and violated the mutual trust that is inherent in that forum.
With all of this evidence in front of me, I came to the only conclusion that seemed reasonable at the time. It was obvious to me that Dr. Brown is a con-man who is consciously deceptive. I read the rest of Dr. Brown’s arguments and strategies in light of my understanding and on this basis I wrote several articles exposing what I felt were his deceptive tactics.
So I was surprised to receive a personal note from Dr. Brown in which he took objection to my articles. I couldn’t figure out what it was that he took objection to. Which word of what I wrote was not true?
We entered into a lengthy e-dialogue and I discovered that I had misjudged Dr. Brown. Yes, Dr. Brown did accuse me of crimes that I did not commit, he did put words into my mouth in order to refute them, he used a less than honest calculation to make an argument and he failed to acknowledge the truth when I called him out on it. But I am now convinced that he did not do this intentionally or with foreknowledge.
In the course of our communication I learned that Dr. Brown never grasped my refutation to his argument that I had published before the debate. I learned that when I presented the argument in the course of the debate, Dr. Brown also did not understand it. I also learned that Dr. Brown was convinced, on the basis of certain misunderstandings that occurred between us, that it was I who was being consciously deceptive, and that I had violated the forum of our debate and it was this that brought him to read my arguments and strategies in a negative light.
Furthermore, in the course of our communication I discovered that Dr. Brown had a very different view of the context of the debate. While I saw our debate as a continuation of our ongoing conversation, Dr. Brown saw it as a recap of the arguments that we had already presented for the sake of those who are not familiar with them. With all of this it was almost as if we were speaking two different languages.
In light of this new perspective on where Dr. Brown was coming from I now realize that my accusation against Dr. Brown as a conscious liar has no basis in reality. I hereby apologize to Dr. Brown and ask his forgiveness for making that accusation.
I will now go through the points in my “Open Letter” that need to be corrected in light of what I discovered through our communication.
The first point I raise in my open letter is a challenge to Dr. Brown. I ask him how he could in good faith introduce arguments that I have already responded to. I now realize that Dr. Brown saw this as the purpose of the debate, to recap the arguments that we had previously presented for the sake of those unfamiliar with them.
The second point I raised in my open letter is that I accused Dr. Brown of employing a deceptive strategy. I said that he crammed his opening video with many questions so that he can turn around and accuse me of failing to answer them, knowing full well that it is impossible for me to answer all of his arguments in the time allotted to me. I now realize that this was not Dr. Brown’s intention. Again, he saw this debate as a forum to recap our many arguments for the sake of those who hadn’t heard them yet. It was for this reason that he presented all the arguments that he did and it was not done to give himself a deceptive strategic edge.
The third point I raised relates to Dr. Brown’s response to my refutation of his “diminishing reference” argument. I accused Dr. Brown of consciously deceiving the audience in order to hide the fact that his argument had been refuted. But in fact he simply did not understand my refutation and he was not trying to deceive anyone. He has now publicly acknowledged that his argument was faulty and that my refutation was valid.
In the fifth point that I raise in my open letter, I tell the audience that Dr. Brown accused me of quoting Scripture out of context but that he failed to substantiate his accusation. Through our communication I learned that Dr. Brown felt that my quote of Isaiah 26:2 as a proof that the word “tzaddik” (righteous one) does not connote perfect sinlessness is inaccurate. I disagree with Dr. Brown’s read on the verse, I disagree with Dr. Brown’s assessment of my quotation but I stand corrected on my statement that Dr. Brown failed to substantiate his accusation. He did substantiate his accusation (to his mind) although he could have done so with greater clarity (i.e. he could have told the audience that this is what he meant when he accused me of quoting Scripture out of context).
The sixth point I raised in my open letter accused Dr. Brown of being inconsistent. In his book he lists three interpretations for the Messianic Temple prophecies and only the third of the three options visualizes the physical rebuilding of the Temple. At the same time, Dr. Brown opens his first segment of the debate assuring his listeners that he “shares” the Messianic expectation for a Temple with traditional Jews who see the Temple as foundational to the Messianic vision.
I now see that Dr. Brown was not contradicting himself nor was he trying to mislead his Jewish viewers. When he said that he “shared” the Messianic expectation, he was saying that he stands together with traditional Jews in interpreting these passages as Messianic, but not that he accepts the details of the traditional Jewish interpretation of these passages.
These are the areas in which my misunderstanding of Dr. Brown’s motives and perspective caused me to misjudge him and again, I apologize and ask his forgiveness.
However, this apology does not in any way mitigate any of the arguments that I presented in the debate. I stand behind every word that I said in the debate and my lengthy communication with Dr. Brown did not mitigate a word I said in the debate. Our communication brought him to see the rightness of my refutation to his “diminishing references” argument and helped him realize that it was he who had violated the forum of our debate and not I. I am satisfied that the arguments that I presented in our debate will help you learn the truth about the Real Jewish Messiah.
Furthermore, in no way does this apology mitigate the staggering error that Dr. Brown committed in this debate. He brought a dishonest calculation to the table and when he was called out on it, he failed to realize his error. It was not until November 15 2017, several months after the debate was over, and after an intense exchange of e-mails, that Dr. Brown finally realized his mistake. This incredible inability to see his own error, a mathematical error mind you, an error that can be proven black on white, puts all of his arguments into a certain context. If it takes him this long to realize that an argument of his is faulty when the evidence is so readily available, how fast will he realize the flaws of his arguments that are wrong on more subtle levels?
But after everything is said and done, the fact that this error was not committed with intention to deceive and the fact that Dr. Brown had the courage to acknowledge his error publicly gives me hope for the future. If all of Dr. Brown’s errors are rooted in misunderstanding as opposed to intentional deception we could more hopefully look forward to the day when Dr. Brown recognizes the rest of his mistakes and returns to the faith of his ancestors.