A special situation exists when a subject seems not to agree with its predicate. For instance, when we want each student to see his or her counselor (and each student is assigned to only one counselor), but we want to avoid that "his or her" construction by pluralizing, do we say "Students must see their counselors " or "Students must see their counselor "? The singular counselor is necesssary to avoid the implication that students have more than one counselor apiece. Do we say "Many sons dislike their father or fathers "? We don't mean to suggest that the sons have more than one father, so we use the singular father. Theodore Bernstein, in Dos, Don'ts and Maybes of English Usage , says that "Idiomatically the noun applying to more than one person remains in the singular when (a) it represents a quality or thing possessed in common ("The audience's curiosity was aroused"); or (b) it is an abstraction ("The judges applied their reason to the problem"), or (c) it is a figurative word ("All ten children had a sweet tooth ") (203). Sometimes good sense will have to guide you. We might want to say "Puzzled, the children scratched their head" to avoid the image of multi-headed children, but "The audience rose to their foot" is plainly ridiculous and about to tip over.
Agreed. It’s unbelievable how some people, even good apologists, aren’t careful readers! James White is nonetheless good at what he does, but this http:///aoblog/?itemid=3505&catid=5 is just misrepresentation. He is just so convinced of his own view, he doesn’t take the time to investigate all the data carefully. Yes! this takes time, and since he doesn’t seem to have put much time into responding to Heiser, he misrepresents the material. This is yet another warning for people to be careful readers. We, in today’s technology, can ask questions by email for clarifications. Of course, the receiver of the email must respond. But when feedback is provided, it can avoid so many problems. This is what I do when I do research, and I learned this the hard way.