« Is Gambling a Sin? (Video) | Main | STR Radio Today »

December 29, 2010

Comments

I’m also perplexed as to why anyone would get nervous about a pagan philosopher agreeing with some teaching of Christianity. Why would that be the cause of nervous anxiety? I do think it is a bit misleading, however, to regard Aristotle as one on board with the doctrine of creation. I’m no Aristotle expert, but I’ll try to explain why I think this.

The first problem arises from the fact that Aristotle regards motion and time itself as eternal (all the passages are taken from Book XII of Aristotle’s Metaphysics):

But it is impossible that movement should either have come into being or cease to be (for it must always have existed), or that time should. For there could not be a before and an after if time did not exist. Movement also is continuous, then, in the sense in which time is; for time is either the same thing as movement or an attribute of movement. And there is no continuous movement except movement in place, and of this only that which is circular is continuous.

Aristotle’s cosmology, therefore, is not consistent with Christian theism. If the universe is eternal, however, in what sense is the Unmoved Mover the first cause of motion? Clearly not in the sense of creating out of nothing the first instance of moving a finite time ago. Aristotle argues that something as the object of desire may move without being moved:

And the object of desire and the object of thought move in this way: they move without being moved...For the apparent good is the object of appetite, and the real good is the primary object of rational wish...And thought is moved by the object of thought...

As I understand this, Aristotle is saying that there is a sense in which the real good can explain my behavior without interacting with me via efficient causation. When the real good is the object of my awareness, I may act in order to realize the good because I love the good. In that case, the real good explains my action without causally interacting with me via efficient causation. Aristotle seems to think that it is in this way that the Unmoved Mover produces motion. He writes,

The final cause, then, produces motion as being loved, but all other things move by being moved...The first mover, then, exists of necessity; and in so far as it exists by necessity, its mode of being is good, and it is in this sense a first principle[my emphasis]

It’s love that makes the world go round! It appears, then, that eternal motion of the eternal universe is produced by the Unmoved Mover in the sense that the eternal motion of the universe aims at the Unmoved Mover as that towards which it strives; the Unmoved Mover, therefore, is the final cause of motion in the world, not an agent that created motion a finite time ago (Aristotle believes that such a doctrine is incoherent, as indicated above).

Furthermore, I have been given to understand that Aristotle does not believe that the Unmoved Mover considers the universe as an object of thought. The universe is not the highest being and so is not the most glorious object of thought. Instead, the Unmoved Mover is the highest object of thought, and so its activity consists in thinking itself.

It is true, however, that Aristotle was closer to theism than Bertrand Russell. Consider the following remark:

We say therefore that God is a living being, eternal, most good, so that life and duration continuous and eternal belong to God; for this is God.

Either the Christians with whom Amy interacts are really dim-witted, or she is misrepresenting their concerns.

Lars, she isn't misrepresenting anybody, and I've heard this same type of argument both from non-Christians and from Christians. A lot of presuppositional apologists will deny the efficacy of evidential arguments for God on the basis that they do not demonstrate all the attributes of the Christian God. The phrase "god of the philosophers" is frequently used by such people to cast dispersions on those kinds of arguments. Richard Dawkins, in The God Delusion, attempts to refute the cosmological argument by pointing out that it does not demonstrate that the cause of the universe has all the attributes of the Christian God.

Sam, you appear to be missing something quite basic. It's one thing to deny the efficacy of such Aristotelian arguments, or to point out that they only get one so far; it's quite another thing to object to them because Aristotle's God "was an idol and not the true God."

Does Dawkins really do what you say? Or is he rather pointing out the undeniable fact that, as complete arguments for Christian theism, cosmological arguments come up short?

Lars, Dawkins doesn't object to cosmological arguments because they lead to an idol who is not the true god. He objects to them because they don't prove that the first cause has all the attribute normally ascribed to God. Here's what he says on page 101:

All three of these arguments [Aquinas' first three proofs] rely upon the idea of a regress and invoke God to terminate it. They make the entirely unwarranted assumption that God himself is immune to the regress. Even if we allow the dubious luxury of arbitrarily conjuring up a terminator to an infinite regress and giving it a name, simply because we need one, there is absolutely no reason to endow that terminator with any of the properties normally ascribed to God: omnipotence, omniscience, goodness, creativity of design, to say nothing of such human attributes as listening to prayers, forgiving sins and reading innermost thoughts.

He goes on to argue that omniscience and omnipotence are mutually exclusive, but he never manages to refute anything that cosmological arguments actually do demonstrate if sound. Since Dawkins' stated purpose in the book was to defend strong atheism--the view that no gods whatsoever exist--his refutation of cosmological arguments was woefully inadequate.

I didn't offer Dawkins as an example of the Christians Amy was talking about. Obviously Dawkins isn't a Christian. I offered him as an example of what Sproul was talking about in the first paragraph that Amy quoted.

I wish I could come up with a specific example of Christians who have said we shouldn't use traditional arguments for God on the basis that they lead to a "god of the philosophers" who is not the same god as the God of Christianity. I know Amy is not making this up because I have heard this myself from Christians--especially presuppositionalists. I'll show you an example if I find one.

Later...Here we go. I googled "god of the philosophers" and found this blog that cites Blaise Pascal and Timothy Ware as making a distinction between the god of the philosophers and the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

It can't just be a coincidence that three people--Amy, myself, and the author of that blog--have each noticed the same thing without consulting each other about it. So there are Christians out there who reject the usual theistic arguments because they arrive at a different god than the one in the Bible.

I’m also perplexed as to why anyone would get nervous about a pagan philosopher agreeing with some teaching of Christianity. Why would that be the cause of nervous anxiety?

It's because a lot of people are susceptible to the genetic fallacy and guilt by association. Just recently we saw on this blog how David Moorman used these fallacies to cast dispersions on substance dualism, saying that it's what the Greeks and pagans believed in. It happens all the time.

Well Sam, I feel compelled to step up and help your case, I'm one of those Christians. Although I'm a fan of Sproul, and probably less adamant about the usefulness of argumentation aimed at convincing unbeliever toward faith as some are, but I do fall into that camp. In fact I'm surely on record on this site as making a strict distinction between apologetics and evangelism. Anyway, you dont have to argue for the existence of presuppositionalists without evidence--I'll be your huckleberry.

What is an event?

RonH

Lars,
I can also attest to what Sam and Amy are stating. Several of our Sunday School teachers at church were trained in the OPC under the presuppositionalism of Van Til and Bahnsen, and are highly opposed to evidential apologetics. We've been having these types of debates for months, so I'm grateful for Amy's quote, as Sproul has eloquently stated the ideas of been trying communicate for some time.

If you research Bahnsen or VanTil apologetics, you'll find out for yourself. But here is a direct quote from Van Til:
"by accepting the assumptions of non-Christians, which fundamentally deny the Trinitarian God of the Bible, one could not even formulate an intelligible argument."

The other one that I dislike and disagree with is: "There's no such thing as a brute fact." That one drives me crazy!


Hi Deb W, what do you think is meant by the quote that drives you crazy?

The misunderstanding seems to continue. Recall:

It's one thing to deny the efficacy of such Aristotelian arguments (for explicating the entirety of God's nature, for making the entire argument for Christianity, for "apologetics," or whatever);it's quite another thing to object to Aristotelian arguments because Aristotle's God "was an idol and not the true God."

Consider more carefully what Bahnsen, Van Til, Dawkins, Pascal and Ware are really saying. That is, let's not attack straw men.

Deb W, I never have been able to make up my mind whether there are or can be brute facts or not. I guess if I had a really strong opinion about it, statements like that might drive me crazy, too.

What is an event?

And does this have anything to do with the way Aristotle argued and the way WLC argues?

RonH

Brad B: Philosophy that denies the existence of a brute fact only leads to relativism. Presuppositionalists try to undermine their opponents by asserting that no fact can exist that has not been interpreted -- that there are self-existing outside of ones own perception.

Yet they refuse to admit that by stating that there is no such thing as a brute fact, they have in essence stated one, which contradicts their claim.

It also contradicts Romans 1 : "For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse."

Lars, I've considered Bahnsen and VanTil quite closely already.
Amy's quote from Sproul is a very appropriate refutation to their position on traditional apologetics. I'm not sure what point you're trying to make, especially your assertion of the straw man.

oops correction: comment to Brad should say "that facts are not self-existing outside of ones own perception."

Deb W, I probably can't help you any further on this point. Perhaps someone else can explain to you the relevant distinction.

The major flaw in Bahnsen's and Van Til's presuppositionalist approach is that he presupposes just like all of the rest of us the validity of the laws of logic and induction. One can't even begin to speak about God and the Bible (much less raise them to the level of presuppositions) prior to assuming basic laws of logic and the reliability of sense data.

All Bahnsen is really doing is arbitrarily naming as presuppositions things that nobody else does, while still relying on the same presuppositions everybody else relies upon. That is why he was often accused of fideism.

Lars, since you are the only one making it, I doubt anyone will rescue you. You quoted yourself and then accused others of attacking straw men. Hmmm.

Deb, I think Lars was pointing out a distinction between Amy's quote from Sproul which narrows in on lack of necessity for full efficacy in apologetics, in order to accept Aristotelian arguments. What I think he is having a hard time accepting is that the presuppostionalists do in fact object to Aristotelian arguments because he was a pagan. Yet, that is exactly what presuppositionalism does. He seems to have missed your quote of VanTil though -- "by accepting the assumptions of non-Christians, which fundamentally deny the Trinitarian God of the Bible, one could not even formulate an intelligible argument."

Here's a nice resource to enjoy a little Bahnsen.

http://www.answersingenesis.org/get-answers/k/bahnsen-series/v/recent

Wherein:

Once again it is important to recall that Van Til’s presuppositional apologetic does not argue that unbelievers in fact do not count, reason, learn, communicate, engage in science, explain, seek purpose and order, etc. Because they psychologically know God, they are both concerned for the issues listed above and are to some extent successful in negotiating or applying them to understand the world and their personal experiences. The issue is not what the unbeliever can do intellectually, but whether he can give an account of it (epistemologically) within the worldview he has advocated or espoused. Because all autonomous perspectives take man’s interpretation of the world to be “original”-to be the primary ordering of particulars or “rationalizing” (making systematic sense out of) the brute facts, it puts man at the center of the knowing process-and pays the price for doing so by slipping in subjectivism and skepticism ultimately (when consistent and driven to the logical outcome of his presuppositions). The only alternative-the Christian worldview-places the creative and providential activity of the Triune God “back of” all of man’s experiences and intellectual efforts, thereby solving the fundamental problems of epistemology which leave the unbelieving critic nowhere to stand. Only Christianity can account for or make sense of the intellectual accomplishments of the unbeliever. The critic of the faith has been secretly presupposing the truth of the faith even as he argues against it; his own arguments would be, upon analysis, meaningless unless they were wrong and Christian theism were true.

Hi Deb W, can you state for me any "brute fact" regarding some worldview? I'd appreciate it, thanks.

Daniel said:
"All Bahnsen is really doing is arbitrarily naming as presuppositions things that nobody else does, while still relying on the same presuppositions everybody else relies upon. That is why he was often accused of fideism
and:
"Deb, I think Lars was pointing out a distinction between Amy's quote from Sproul which narrows in on lack of necessity for full efficacy in apologetics, in order to accept Aristotelian arguments.

Hi Daniel, I agree with your appraisal in a sense on the second quote, do you also agree with Lars on that?

As to your other criticisms regarding Presuppositionalism, especially the qoute about Bahnsen, can you justify the charge that there is anything arbritrary in what presuppositions or more basically what preconditions are required for intelligibility? Maybe I've misunderstood you, but I dont see anything arbitrary in using logic, morality, or laws of nature as starting points, all of which find their justification in the revealed word of God. Now if that makes a Christian guilty of fedeism, so be it. At least the presuppositionalist has justified knowledge derived without assumption.

Thanks for that quote Daron.

from above: The critic of the faith has been secretly presupposing the truth of the faith even as he argues against it; his own arguments would be, upon analysis, meaningless unless they were wrong and Christian theism were true.

This charge still stands untouched and even if Sproul, Koukl, Gerstner et.al. are ok to deal with the unbeliever/unregenerate on their terms where facts are allowed to be interpreted by each participant on equal footing denies the noetic effects of sin in such a way[it seems to me] as to contradict scripture. BTW, I respect each of these mens callings as teachers and dont doubt their standings as such, but conscience binds me to affirm the validity of the force of the argument[TAG].

And then there's this: 1 Cor. 2

Proclaiming Christ Crucified

1 And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. 2 For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. 3 And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, 4 and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 5 that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.

Wisdom from the Spirit

6 Yet among the mature we do impart wisdom, although it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to pass away. 7 But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory. 8 None of the rulers of this age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. 9 But, as it is written,
"What no eye has seen, nor ear heard,
nor the heart of man imagined,
what God has prepared for those who love him"—
10 these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. 11 For who knows a person's thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. 12 Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. 13 And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual.
14 The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. 15 The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. 16 "For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?" But we have the mind of Christ."

You're very welcome, Brad.
Here's the wilson/Hitchens debtae in Christianity Today. Wilson comes at this as presuppositional and I enjoyed it greatly. The movie version was a disappointment.

Sorry, it's hard to navigate as I have it here.
Select each part, 1-6, and then page through those parts. I book mark this page so I always have a way to get back to the menu.
http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2007/mayweb-only/120-22.0.html

Brade,
I think it's obvious what I thought of Lars' post. He made an objective statement about what Sproul was quoted as saying and refused to accept that presuppostionalists object to Aristotelian arguments because he was a pagan. I think I was clear on that.

Daron, epistemologically, presuppositionalism falls to close to the postmodern assumptions of guys like Derrida and Kant for my taste.

N.T. Wright prefers critical realism to the postmodern antirealism, which I'm considering:
"I propose a form of critical realism. This is a way of describing the process of 'knowing' that acknowledges the reality of the thing known, as something other than the knower (hence "realism"), while fully acknowledging that the only access we have to this reality lies along the spiralling path of appropriate dialogue.. between the knower and the thing known (hence "critical"). (The New Testament and the People of God, p. 35)
This communication takes place in both the general revelation to all mankind who are without excuse (incompletely) and special revelation (more perfectly, yet still not exhaustively).

Hi Daniel, you said this:"The major flaw in Bahnsen's and Van Til's presuppositionalist approach is that he presupposes just like all of the rest of us the validity of the laws of logic and induction. One can't even begin to speak about God and the Bible (much less raise them to the level of presuppositions) prior to assuming basic laws of logic and the reliability of sense data." previously.

This is quite a distortion of the use of formal logic. One can easily test propositions until one gets back to self attesting[ultimate] propositions. The presuppositional apologist reduces all necessary premises to ultimate propositions to justify the soundness of all conclusions based on prior commitments.

You are simply in error here. 1] Bahnsen grounded the laws of logic in the biblical revelation he didn't just assume them. 2] Bahnsen acknowledged that induction if a formal fallacy and that without the Bible is useless as a form of true knowledge. This is why the scientific method is suspect such that even Einstein called its conclusions "only an approximation".

I suspect your standard of what constitutes true knowledge is low. The point of the OP is that "partial knowledge can still be true knowledge" which I actually agree with, but if you are going to challenge the validity and soundness of the presuppositional argument, you open up to the scrutiny that requires precision. In the world of formal logic, classical apologetics fails because of the limitations of induction being formally fallacious.

Bahnsen and the reality of the thing known:

The scientist must believe that the state of affairs is conducive to science, or he would not venture into the scientific enterprise. He must believe that there is a world of things and processes that can be known and that he himself sustains a relationship to this world that allows him to know these objects and events. But then, what reason can the scientist give for his belief that the state of affairs is actually conducive to science? Why is the world such as it is and not otherwise?
...
The state of affairs that exists is due to the creation and providence of the sovereign God.
...
The only basis, the only presupposition, that allows for factuality and the scientific enterprise is the truth of Scripture. Without the Bible, science has no order in nature to expect, and the scientist finds himself adrift between abstract timeless logic and pure ultimate potentiality—or “pure chance.” The world of actuality is only an accident, and the “universe” (if there is such a thing) cannot be known since there is no known connection between sense experience and analytic thinking, no reason why irrational dreams are not as true as rational thought.
...
The Bible provides the only possible presupposition for all thought and science.

In other words, it is only through the presupposition of the Christian worldview that one avoids the fall into post-modernism.

http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/2009/02/18/revelation-speculation-and-science

Brad,
"Bahnsen grounded the laws of logic in the biblical revelation he didn't just assume them."

Yes, but he never proves that biblical revelation ought to be the ground of logic. He only presupposes it.

In the end, I think my chief objection is the relentless reference back to the noetic effects of the fall by Bahnsen, to the detriment of recognizing the image of God and inherent knowledge of God that all people have. As a classical apologist, I like to see the person I'm talking to as "potentially elect" and build on their foundation piecemeal in order to help lead them to a knowledge of Christ.My presup friends tend to assume that their subjects are predestined objects of wrath and seek to demolish even the most basic hints of a knowledge of God in them.

Daron,

If I read him correctly, Bahnsen says...

The critic of the faith has been secretly presupposing the truth of the faith
... in order to explain how he (the critic of the faith) might engage in, among other things, counting (1, 2, 3,...).

Is that what he means to say? Counting?

Some other animals do a bit of counting too. What's that all about? Are these other animals presupposing Christianity the way I have to do when I count? Or is the counting these other animals do somehow not good enough to require the presupposition of Christianity? If it's not good enough, where and how do you draw that line? That is, what level or manner of counting requires the presupposition of Christianity? Keen to know.

And if Neanderthals developed darts and arrows on their own 40,000 years ago, were they presupposing Christianity? (If so, as humans or as animals?) Or, were they animals operating below the threshold of reason or outside the domain that requires such a supposition?

Are there any reasons to believe what Bahnsen is saying? Here is what I see: he offers an explanation, and thinks it therefore must be the correct explanation.

Recommend you resist the next temptation to use 'wherein.'

RonH

P.S. I am still keen to know what an 'event' is. See first link in the OP.

Hi RonH,
Keen? Sure.
As Bahnsen says:

The issue is not what the unbeliever can do intellectually, but whether he can give an account of it (epistemologically) within the worldview he has advocated or espoused.

Neandertal again? Ok. Neandertal was human, he was reasoning, he had religious knowledge and without belief in a God of reason and order his belief in reason and order would be ungrounded.

Recommend you resist the next temptation to use 'wherein.'
I'm a big fan of recommednations and advice. Why do you offer this?

Hi Daniel, you said: "Yes, but he never proves that biblical revelation ought to be the ground of logic. He only presupposes it.

Is the self attesting word of God not sufficient grounding?

On another note, I have empathy for the position you describe, but this is why I think a stark distinction between evangelism and apologetics as particular endeavors is helpful. I think the pressuppositional approach is most apt for the purpose of tearing down faulty attacks on the Christian worldview--ie it's an apologetic maneuver, not an evangelistic maneuver[unless there is a follow up of preacing the gospel which does have the power to bring faith--see 1 Cor 2 above and Rom 1:16]

Hi Daron,

1) But what is an epistemological account of counting?

Is it how I know I'm counting?

Is it how I know I can count if I want to?

Or, is it something else?

2) Why do I need this?

3) What kinds of things require an 'epistemological account' and what kinds of things don't?

4) What is Christianity's epistemological account of counting?

Fourth: How do I know it's right?
__________________________________________

What you really wanted was

'Where we read:'
... or something like that. 'Wherein' just means 'where'. Never use a big word when a small one will do. The bigness of 'wherein' comes from its pretentiousness not its size. Substitute 'where' for 'wherein' and it becomes obvious that you need more: 'where we find' or 'where we read' or 'where it says'.

RonH


Brad,

"this is why I think a stark distinction between evangelism and apologetics as particular endeavors is helpful."

i also agree, that one should be used in different circumstances. but i also, value the fact, that especially on boards or blogs, when taking the apologetic approach with someone, there could be the 3rd party, who's reading the discussion, and gaining an understanding, or gaining reasons for belief, that would also be akin to the same effects of evangelism, but done so indirectly.

im not really practiced at apologetics, or logical reasoning, but ive found myself wanting to learn more about them, precisely for the reasons i stated above. because some 3rd party may be swayed as a result of the discussion. or else i do not think i would "argue" in the first place, its just not my nature, especially if the other person is disingenuous, or has no intention of consideration.

Brad, "Is the self attesting word of God not sufficient grounding?"
Sure, for me it is. But I'm already a Christian. How would we prove that grounding to the gentile? I'm aware that circular reasoning is not considered a problem for the presuppositionalist, but I still think its premises are based on a postmodern/neo-Kantian view of reality.

Good point with the distinction between apologetics and evangelism. I suppose my evangelist leanings are showing :).

What you really wanted was

'Where we read:'
... or something like that. 'Wherein' just means 'where'. Never use a big word when a small one will do. The bigness of 'wherein' comes from its pretentiousness not its size. Substitute 'where' for 'wherein' and it becomes obvious that you need more: 'where we find' or 'where we read' or 'where it says'.


Cool.
Yes, we need more if we are looking for a complete sentence. Just as we need more where you said "Recommend you resist..." omitting the subject of your sentence.
So, welcome to the internet, read my "wherein" as an extension of the previous comment and ponder "pretentiousness" as you check your mirror.

For your concerns about Bahnsen and counting, go read him if you want to know what he is saying. I've already told you how I am reading him.

Hi Daniel,

Sure, for me it is. But I'm already a Christian. How would we prove that grounding to the gentile?
The move is first to get inside his worldview and defeat it. Bahnsen shows how a worldview without God cannot ground reason, logic, etc. Then he argues that only the Biblical worldview does. Having done this we see that to presuppose reason and logic is to rely upon the truth of God, even though you may not know you are doing so.

but isnt some form of circular reasoning inevitable when you work your way back to an ultimate standard? there can be nothing outside it, that it is subject to right? i mean it has to appeal to itself, or it would not be the ultimate authority....

im not saying this should be easy or expected of a new believer, but i dont think its ridiculous or something someone cant resolve for themselves.

most folks have a double standard for the Bible anyway right? it claims to be the word of God, but would any of you have sufficient reason to doubt my claim, that i wrote this reply? you can say we dont effectively claim the same things, but that doesnt have anything to do with the truth of the matter.

but Daniel i see your point. im sure we all know how the story goes, after you reveal that you have faith in the Bible's authority, and a reasonable one, at that. people start cawing and jumping up and down like an old crow.

Biblical authority i think is left out too much, especially among believers. i believe its a witness for or against our salvation.

Lars, here is an example of a conversation I had with someone discussing this.

Excerpts:

"The argument for the first cause is not a Christian argument. It has nothing to do with the God of the Bible. Aristotle invented the Unmoved Mover centuries before Christ. It is of no advantage to the Christian to use his arguments, for they do not lead to Christ...The real true God is not the unmoved mover. Aristotle believed in the unmoved mover, he did not believe in God...I mean that the argument is not founded upon the bible and that it does not lead to the bible and it is not founded in Christ and it does not lead to Christ...The Unmoved Mover is Aristotle's idol. It is not God."

Daron, I'm digging our conversation and believe it has been very edifying. For the record, I have tremendous respect for presuppositonal apologists like Bahnsen and think he is a great thinker.

But... classical apologists like Sproul argue that Bahnsen uses reason and logic to prove his presuppositon about God.

God's attributes are eternally and externally existent outside of us. They are absolute and real and objectively knowable by the reason and logic that God has given to all humans who've been created in His image.

The foundation for this is in the doctrine of general revelation which results in a theistic worldview, leaves mankind without excuse, but cannot save. So, the Aristotle example shows that a theistic worldview can be discovered and maintained apart from special revelation, but only God specifically as He is revealed in His Word can save us.

(btw- I don't think what we're saying is really all that far apart).

Hi Brad, sorry for the long delay. You asked: "can you state for me any 'brute fact' regarding some worldview? I'd appreciate it, thanks"

Sure. How about: "There is no such thing as a brute fact?"

I know I'm being a bit snarky, but that was intentional, because you qualified 'brute fact' with 'worldview.' Obviously, that's stacking the deck, since worldviews are based on perceptions. :)

Whatever it is that Bahnsen and Van Til are insisting upon, it is implausible to think that they are refuted by the observation that “partial knowledge can be true knowledge.” To suppose otherwise probably misrepresents their concerns. Presumably Bahnsen and Van Til do not insist that all arguments formulated by “pagans” fail to contribute to anyone’s knowledge simply because they are formulated by pagans. (Again, the distinction I observed earlier ought to be respected.) Presumably Bahnsen and Van Til also do not insist that arguments cannot contribute to knowledge unless these arguments contain all truth about the God and everything else! Whatever it is that Bahnsen and Van Til are insisting upon, it is presumably not these things. It is therefore probably a mistake to suppose that presuppositionalism is refuted by the observation that “partial knowledge can be true knowledge.”

If, on the other hand, Amy does not have in mind Bahnsen and Van Til, but rather other Christians who do in fact deny that “partial knowledge can still be true knowledge,” then, as I’ve said, her ministry really is towards the dim-witted. And, other than this fact (i.e., this fact about her ministry), it’s probably not a point worth discussing. (Naturally I mean to be provocative here. My own suspicion is that Amy ministers to plenty of non-dim-witted people; it’d just be a shame to have to discuss the views of the others.)

Lars, half the world is below average, so I don't think it would be a waste of time for an apologetics ministry to address stupid arguments from time to time.

Hi Daniel, and [Dogbyte btw]. The presuppositional apologetic is really not meant to stand alone IMO. The beauty of it as the transendental argument defeats vain foolish reasoning of worldly wisdom. [The fool has said in his heart "there is no god".]

Usually in my experience, what happens when the rock and hard place are presented as options to one who denies the Biblical revelation, they choose to suppress the truth all the more. The emptiness of having knowledge grounded in sense perception is shown to be foolish compared to the coherent Christian worldview.

Justified knowledge means that it rests on a foundation of self attesting truth, like when God swore by Himself because He could swear by no other, or as Aristotle himself said of the law of non contradiction it's indubtable or in other words, justified knowledge rests on irreducible propositions that are considered circular. To doubt them is to use them which leaves one with the option that one cannot know anything [which many have labored to show in philosophy], or they self attest to their necessary validity.

It has been said this way[below], and I cant agree more: [quote by Ronald Di Giacomo on his blog called "The Reformed Apologist"]

"We can defend the premise of step 2 deductively by appealing to the absolute authority of Scripture. Of course the unbeliever rejects that authority; nonetheless that the unbeliever is dysfunctional does not mean that an appeal to Scripture is fallacious! After all, if a skeptic rejects logic should we then argue apart from logic? Since when does the dullness of an opponent dictate which tools of argumentation may be used? Of course, given the unbeliever’s suppression of the truth the Christian does well to defend step 2 inductively by performing internal critiques of opposing worldviews, which of course can only corroborate the veracity of step 2.

This quote is taken from one of his blog posts that can be found here

Whoops, the hyperlink didn't work try this

I guess what I really mean is, I messed up!

thanks brad, im barely opening my eyes, this pup is just now diving into philosophy, i still have to research each knew string of arguments as i come to them, and i see two new ones now. i like to read new material anyway i reckon. im wondering how careful i need to be, or else fall into some sort of "wheres the proof" mentality (not saying anyone here is) that those folks on the other side of the fence tend to espouse all the time (at least to me), its just that im not used to arguing deductive reasoning, and my comfort zone has always been inside the scriptures. but your right, i know a fella has to hold his cards sometimes, until he already knows he won. i dont flop biblical authority right down on the table until the discussion is very far past sincere, usually when im showing it to be a contrast to materialistic blind faith. thanks for the link.

Daron,

Does Bahnsen answer any of my questions about counting?

I doubt it.

Why?

Because

1) I'm justified in continuing to...

count, reason, learn, communicate, engage in science, explain, seek purpose and order, etc.
...because I've seen them work.

2) That takes care of my questions about counting, etc.

3) Bahnsen would not say this.

RonH

What 'justification' would serve for a method that did not work?

What 'justification' is needed for a method that works?

RonH

"...because I've seen them work."

Is this is the world according to RonH as ultimate arbiter of truth? Is this is just another version of the same old same old [believing that "you shall be as God"]?

The comments to this entry are closed.