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Archive for February 28th, 2009

CLICK HERE FOR PART I

wolfblowsbricks

In an earlier essay, I made some observation of the weakness of a typical Christian objection towards Presuppositional Apologetics.[1] In this essay, I will likewise do the same with an atheist ranting against Presuppositional Apologetics. If the typical Christian ranting against Presuppositional Apologetics is really bad, then the atheist case is even worst. No arguments are constructed in a vacuum, and when the atheist grounds his objections on the basis of atheism, it simply compounds the problem further

In response to a Presuppositional critique of atheism by Dr. Jason Lisle, where Lisle argues that atheism is irrational[2], and an atheist wrote:

“The sheer absurdity of the argument astonishes.”

What exactly is the “sheer absurdity” of the Presuppositionalist’s argument which “astonishes” him? The atheist goes on to say,

“In the early age of human scientific thought, it was supposed that through simply thinking things through logically, truths could be deduced about the universe without empirical evidence.

The ancients could prove things geometrically through scientific reasoning without seeing actual squares or triangles; consequently, they imagined they could lay back and arrive to perfect truth without ever conducting a single experiment or observing a single phenomenon — a priori reasoning, mere armchair ratiocination.

Back then, to assert the existence of a deity required no physical evidence, no observed proof, nothing in support of any kind other than clever philosophical suppositions.

He then closes his ranting with this jab to the Presuppositionalist:

That was over two thousand years ago.

Evolve.”

Cheap shots are easy, but critical observations are worth far more. The following are some observations:

1.) To begin with, his entire ranting did not interacted with the argument that Lisle presented. The atheist failed to deal neither with the Presuppositionalist’s premises nor with the structure of the Presuppositionalist’s argument.

2.) Having failed to interact with the actual Presuppositionalist’s argument itself, the atheist instead substituted that with a discussion of an underlying issue: the issue of what would constitute legitimate proofs. In other words, the thrust of the atheist objection is actually epistemological in nature. Since this is the case, his epistemology (theory of knowledge) must be subject to criticism as well.

3.) The atheist has a disdain for how “truths could be deduced about the universe without empirical evidence.” It is apparent that the atheist does not like non-empirical epistemology when he speaks of them in a derogatory way as “mere armchair ratiocination” and as offering “nothing in support of any kind other than clever philosophical suppositions.” In essence, the atheist is an empiricist in his epistemology.

4.) His assertions combine with his epistemology brings more problems upon him. As an empiricist, can he offer empirical proofs to his claim that “In the early age of human scientific thought, it was supposed that through simply thinking things through logically, truths could be deduced about the universe without empirical evidence”? For a person who is so big on empirical proofs, he fails to usher any empirical evidence but talk in generalities.

5.) His historical claim of what the ancients “thought” is also self-contradictory. The atheist asserted that “The ancients could prove things geometrically through scientific reasoning without seeing actual squares or triangles; consequently, they imagined they could lay back and arrive to perfect truth without ever conducting a single experiment or observing a single phenomenon.” One has to wonder if the guy even knows what science is. Since science is empirical in nature in its study of the physical world, any scientific endeavor is by definition empirical. Thus, scientific reasoning is heavily empirical. Yet, how can the atheist assert that “the ancients could prove things geometrically through scientific reasoning” but they supposedly did so “without ever conducting a single experiment or observing a single phenomenon”? This is a contradictory and meaningless statement.

6.) The above observation is good evidence refuting his denial that “through simply thinking things through logically, truths could be deduced about the universe without empirical evidence.” By the power of sanctified reasoning of the atheist’s self-contradictory statement one can deduce something “about the universe without empirical evidence”, namely that this atheist claim (made in this universe) is irrational! One must reject this atheist’s epistemology, and his irrational rejection of non-empirical logical deduction

7.) As an empiricist, has the atheist seen, taste, touch, smell or heard with his own ears that the ancients “imagined they could lay back and arrive to perfect truth without ever conducting a single experiment or observing a single phenomenon — a priori reasoning, mere armchair ratiocination”? How does he know empirically that the ancients “imagined” this, when “imagination” and thought is not physical in its essence, thereby ultimately not verifiable through empirical sensation?

8.) Continuing with the above observation, a possible defense the atheist could put up is that he empirically knows what the ancients believe based upon ancient record. If written ancient record would satisfy the atheist’s criteria of empirical evidence, then if he is to be consistent with his epistemology he would allow the Bible as an “empirical” data, and cannot rule that the Christians lack empirical evidence per se.

9.) Yet, how does he know these historical records are reliable, that the writers were telling the truth of their actual thoughts and “imagination” rather than simply telling lies? In other words, what justification (specifically, empirical justification) does this atheist have that there is a correspondence between what people write and their actual thoughts or “imagination”? Remember that whatever reason he has to justify the correspondence can not be “a priori reasoning,” which this atheist sees nothing more as “mere armchair ratiocination.” However he attempts to justify this thesis would require more than empirical proofs but with “clever philosophical suppositions.”

10.) Again, how can he empirically know what the ancients thought when he was not around in the ancients “without ever conducting a single experiment or observing a single phenomenon”? The atheist is the very thing he despises: he assumes things yet “required no physical evidence, no observed proof, nothing in support of any kind other than clever philosophical suppositions.”

Conclusion

The atheist ranting ended with the secular humanist altar call: “Evolve”. But the reasoning he displayed against Presuppositional Apologetics is not good. In fact, they are pathetic. I am not questioning his reasoning skills so much as his ethical relationship to the GOD He denies but the Bible says he knows about (Romans 1:18). How low and irrational will this atheist go to reject God which Presuppositional Apologetics is arguing for? The atheist needs to repent, and be right with God ethically, which will save his soul from God’s eternal wrath towards sin and redeem his rational life as well.

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