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Archive for March 25th, 2015

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Earlier during the month I wrote a piece titled “.”  It proved to be a very popular post, generating thousands of hits and many comments.  I am thankful to you guys who shared it with others.  As people were sharing this post online I have also seen strange criticisms of the post.  These criticism are now what I want to address.

Here’s one comment on Facebook from someone named Yochanan Lilley that was originally directed towards someone who shared the article:

My friend this article could not miss the point more; the man who wrote it clearly does not understand philosophy, particularly concerning epistemology.

For everything he said in this article I would like to hear his argument for why the doctrine of inspiration is true of the Bible from a pressupositionalist position; can you give me the argument you think he would make which is not the argument Sproul used?

Response: First off, I think our friend Lilley has the burden of proof to demonstrate his claim that I’m philosophically and epistemologically ignorant.  Secondly, let’s hypothetically grant for the sake of the argument that I don’t understand philosophy and particularly epistemology.  He still faces the following four dilemmas:  (a) We must remember that he is merely asserting that and doesn’t give any actual substantive reason to support his claim that my lack of understanding of philosophy and epistemology has somehow made me deficient in my evaluation of Sproul’s objection towards Presuppositional apologetics.  (b) I also don’t know how much his criticism of my epistemological ignorance has any bearing to the immediate issue at hand since my original post was more about the obvious logical fallacies and problematic reasoning in Sproul’s objections to Presuppositionalism rather than it being some kind of sophisticated and technical epistemological counter-defeater that understandably require a deeper understanding of philosophy and epistemology.  (c) If our friend object that I must employ more advance epistemological and philosophical content in order for me to discuss about Presuppostionalism and RC Sproul’s objection, note that our friend failed to engage in the same fashion according to his own standard.  (d) Actually, for all our friend’s one liner about epistemology and philosophy, I think my post touches on those aspect more than his comment did.  Should we then apply his own sloppy line of reasoning to himself and then conclude that he is even more ignorant of philosophy and epistemology?

Secondly, our friend has also committed a red-herring fallacy.  Again my original article addressed the fallacies Sproul committed in his criticism of Presuppositional apologetics.  Our friend has not interacted with the fallacies we pointed out at all but merely dismissed it in another comment saying that there are much words but no substance to the charge.  But a mere waving of the hand doesn’t do anything; he has the burden to prove his claims that the fallacies I pointed out were not there in Sproul’s presentation.  Instead Lilley wants to talk about something else (whether Sproul’s argument and the Presuppositionalists argument will differ concerning Inerrancy).  The two topics are distinctly different.  There are some Presuppositionalists like John Frame who would probably be comfortable with Sproul’s positive case for the Bible while noting that being grounded with a Christian worldview would solidify the foundation that is necessary for Sproul’s endeavor with historical apologetics for the Bible to work in the first place.  Among such Presuppositionalists, asking whether the Presuppositionalists argument is different than Sproul’s argument for inerrancy isn’t an issue.  Moreover, let’s say for the sake of argument that Lilley is right, that the Presuppositionalists does use the Classical Apologist’s argument for Inerrancy.  That still does not remove the fallacies Sproul committed when he objected towards Presuppositionalism.  Nor does one have to be a Presuppositoinalist to see the fallacies and misrepresentation that Sproul committed against Presuppositionalism.  One can subscribe to the Evidentialist school of apologetics and still admit that Sproul’s objections against Presuppositionalism has problems.  Again, all this demonstrate that Lilley has committed a red-herring fallacy by not addressing the elephant in the room.


 

I want to look at another comment by James O’Brien:

This author’s complaint seems to be that Sproul did not engage in an elaborate critique of presuppositionalism, but then, that wasn’tSproul‘s purpose was it?

However this criticism commits a straw man fallacy.  My original post was not a complaint that Sproul didn’t engage in an elaborate critique of Presuppositionalism.  Rather the point of my original post was that Sproul’s critique wasn’t adequate in that Sproul mispresented Presuppositionalism, haven’t interacted with the Presuppositionalist’s answer concerning circular reasoning, was in error in charging the Presuppositionalists with the fallacy of Equivocation along with the errors of asserting that Presuppositionalism was inadequate to deal with Islam and Mormonism and finally some of Sproul’s objection to Presuppositionalism was also a self-defeater for his own apologetics’ methodology.  That’s quite different than complaining that Sproul should have had an elaborate critique of Presuppositionalism isn’t it?

 

I think we as Christians can try to read better those we disagree with.  I’m not immune to this.  This also does not mean we never fault someone’s writing and point out fallacies.  Rather it means we represent the other side carefully and also think clearly and logically if we are going to disagree.  It goes without saying that we ought to be respectful as well.

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