Friday, September 10, 2010

Another great presuppositional debate

In a recent DEBATE, two presuppositionalists went up against two atheists. This was a very high paced debate that I would highly recommend listening to; especially those who are unfamiliar with the presuppositionalist position.

From the atheist side, I was very unimpressed. For some reason they felt the carpet bombing debate technique would work. That is, they thew out every objection under the sun while refusing to go into any level of depth. To be honest, The Davinci Code has more substantive arguments than these guys. By displaying their surface-level (mis)understanding of issues such as textual criticism, they showed they had done almost no reading on the issue. Furthermore, they were grossly ignorant of the presuppositional apologetic. I suppose I can't fault them too much for this since this position is not very popular. At any rate, I believe much better representatives could have and should have been found. Debates are hardly useful when they aren't focused. Perhaps atheistic ethics has no other concern than to disprove Christianity, even if the arguments are bad?

On the Christian side, I believe they did an overall excellent job. While Sye focused his attention on the presuppositional issues, Dustin dealt with some of the specific arguments leveled at them. However, I really felt that they should have spent more time dealing with their arguments. And as James White aptly demonstrates in his debates with unbelievers (whether atheists or liberals), you can be a presuppositionalist and still deal with the specific objections. For instance, if a skeptic argues, "How can you trust the Bible when all we have are copies of copies of copies of copies?" the presuppositionalist can remain consistent and still respond to the specific claim. Instead, presuppositionalists may respond with, "How can you talk about trusting the Bible when you have no rational basis for trusting your rationality?" I do not think this is always necessary. In fact, I believe it can be counterproductive at times. Again, overall these men did a great job and will serve as another testimony to this God-glorifying apologetic.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

Is this the same Sye that has a runs a blog on blogger?

The Apologetic Front said...

He runs proofthatgodexists.org

Anonymous said...

Yes, thats him. I wouldn't say he's debated Stephen Law, but, he has had many confrontations with him on Stephens blog.

Presuppositional apologetics is something I'll never understand and really don't want to since it almost always ends with; (as you quoted)

"How can you talk about trusting the Bible when you have no rational basis for trusting your rationality?"

Chris said...

I am tempted to feel the same way, Mike, except I think the problem is exactly as you described in your post: "From the atheist side, I was very unimpressed. For some reason they felt the carpet bombing debate technique would work. That is, they thew out every objection under the sun while refusing to go into any level of depth."

You see, with three dozen challenges leveled against the Bible in such a brief period of time, I'm not so sure Sye and Dustin could have done much answering of specific objections with any real efficacy.

The Apologetic Front said...

@anonymous I suppose I can understand your desire for avoiding the presuppositionalists, given that atheism/materialism has some very serious epistemological issues.

Anonymous said...

An atheist doesn't always need to be a materialist.

Taking a pressupositionalists doesn't answer anything; you're taking the stance of ' i don't need to prove anything '

Not wanting to argue with someone that takes that stance is not wanting to get into a never ending, circular argument with someone who avoids the burden of proof;

Did you know the Magical unicorn is required for you to see?

How is it that you account for your ability to see if there is 'no such thing as a unicorn'?

-- thats why I avoid them -- Sye is an perfect example; again, after seeing the games he plays on other peoples blogs (Stephen Law's is a perfect example).

Even if I concede that the laws of nature require a God, it still doesn't make your position the right position -- your worldview doesn't account for the age of the earth, evolution -- and to my knowledge neither of these things are talked about in the bible.

The Apologetic Front said...

"An atheist doesn't always need to be a materialist."

Then what are you? A supernaturalist? What do you believe exists that is not material?

"Taking a pressupositionalists doesn't answer anything; you're taking the stance of ' i don't need to prove anything ' "

This is incorrect. What the presuppositionalist says is that without the Christian God, you can't prove anything. That is, if you can't prove that you are rational or even that rationality even exists, then how can you use it?

"Not wanting to argue with someone that takes that stance is not wanting to get into a never ending, circular argument with someone who avoids the burden of proof"

This is like having a debate on the existence of air: the denier is asking for proof that air exists, all the while breathing it when asking the very question.

"Did you know the Magical unicorn is required for you to see?"

You obviously don't believe in the magical unicorn, the flying spaghetti monster, Zeus, or any other silly example that atheists like to bring up. So we would we waste our time talking about it? If you want to see how i'd have a discussion with another theistic religion, then bring in a Mormon and I will show how his worldview is wrong. But if you really want to abandon your atheism for a unicorn, then i'll gladly provide an internal critique.

"even if I concede that the laws of nature require a God, it still doesn't make your position the right position"

I agree. This is why i'd provide an internal critique of your theistic worldview. But atheism can't even begin to take this first step.

"your worldview doesn't account for the age of the earth, evolution -- and to my knowledge neither of these things are talked about in the bible."

On the contrary, it does. And i'm more than happy to discuss it.

Anonymous said...

We've been over this; I can only account for the material world because it's all I can currently know. I'm not writing off the existence of something beyond, this, material world.

Again, presupposing the Christian God exists isn't prove the Christian God exists, because God is not self evidence -- or we wouldn't be needing to have this conversation.

Just because I don't believe in any of those examples of deities, not matter how ridiculous doesn't mean that given enough evidence, I wouldn't.

I can see you discuss other theistic worldviews by glancing over your posts that do so -- mormonism and JW's -- but you're simply having a debate over theology .. and arguing over a book written by man, translated by man and interpreted by man.

I've come across Muslims who make the same statements; I can show person X whats wrong with his worldview and why his particular belief is wrong.

Thats where you're wrong -- just because I can't account for what you might asking for doesn't mean atheism can't.

You're knowledge of the God you consider rational comes from a book; again; written by man, translated by man and interpreted by man.

I don't think you understand the statement "your worldview doesn't account for the age of the earth, evolution" and it's probably because I didn't do a good job at stating it; as far as I know, the bible doesn't tell us anything about how old the earth is; the bible doesn't talk about evolution -- so what I'm saying or trying to say is that these things don't conflict (in my opinion) with christianity (unless you're a biblical literalist).

I've been over evolution and the age of the earth with you, in the past; and you don't seem to understand either.

Humphreys cosmological model is seriously flawed and not accepted by any mainstream cosmologist. It's simply something that young earthers throw around because they don't understand cosmology; in other words, it's simply an automated response based off of some kind of AIG how to debate an atheist/evolutionist/old earth creationist.

I don't know where to start on evolution; the same people that iders/creationist point to ; myers, luskin etc are kicking a dead horse and repeating the same old drivel, over and over. When they're not playing the victim (ben steins expelled) they're ranting and raving about how theres some big conspiracy thats against them getting their opinions out, asking the same question in a dozen different ways and shouting irreducible complexity.

The Apologetic Front said...

We've been over this; I can only account for the material world because it's all I can currently know. I'm not writing off the existence of something beyond, this, material world.

Ok, so you are a materialist until proven otherwise?

Again, presupposing the Christian God exists isn't prove the Christian God exists, because God is not self evidence -- or we wouldn't be needing to have this conversation.

Actually, having this conversation proves that the Christian God exists. Without him, there would be no basis for rationality. This proves the Christian God because of the impossibility of the contrary.

Just because I don't believe in any of those examples of deities, not matter how ridiculous doesn't mean that given enough evidence, I wouldn't.

The issue is not evidence; its your worldview. As long as you continue to maintain that you are the authority, you will continue to deny the God who made you in His image. In my worldview, I don't start with myself and reason my way to God. Instead, I start with God because, without Him, I couldn't reason at all.

I can see you discuss other theistic worldviews by glancing over your posts that do so -- mormonism and JW's -- but you're simply having a debate over theology .. and arguing over a book written by man, translated by man and interpreted by man.

Of course these are debates on theology; i'm having a debate with theists who believe the Bible. And yes, we are arguing over a book that is written by man, but also inspired by God. And again, without the Christian God, you have no basis for rationality.

as far as I know, the bible doesn't tell us anything about how old the earth is; the bible doesn't talk about evolution -- so what I'm saying or trying to say is that these things don't conflict (in my opinion) with christianity (unless you're a biblical literalist).

Ok, then what's the problem? If your issue with the Bible is not the age of the earth or evolution, then why are you bringing it up?

I've been over evolution and the age of the earth with you, in the past; and you don't seem to understand either.

I'd like to know what it is that I don't understand?

Humphreys cosmological model is seriously flawed and not accepted by any mainstream cosmologist. It's simply something that young earthers throw around because they don't understand cosmology; in other words, it's simply an automated response based off of some kind of AIG how to debate an atheist/evolutionist/old earth creationist.

Whether Humphrey's model is flawed or not has absolutely no bearing on what I believe on the age of the earth. I believe the earth is young because the Bible teaches it. If it turns out that there are evidences and models that confirm this fact, then great! Otherwise, I am still warranted in my belief.

I don't know where to start on evolution; the same people that iders/creationist point to ; myers, luskin etc are kicking a dead horse and repeating the same old drivel, over and over. When they're not playing the victim (ben steins expelled) they're ranting and raving about how theres some big conspiracy thats against them getting their opinions out, asking the same question in a dozen different ways and shouting irreducible complexity.

I have no interest in defending anyone's views but my own. I'm sure I would disagree with Meyer on a number of things.

The Apologetic Front said...

We've been over this; I can only account for the material world because it's all I can currently know. I'm not writing off the existence of something beyond, this, material world.

Ok, so you are a materialist until proven otherwise?

Again, presupposing the Christian God exists isn't prove the Christian God exists, because God is not self evidence -- or we wouldn't be needing to have this conversation.

Actually, having this conversation proves that the Christian God exists. Without him, there would be no basis for rationality. This proves the Christian God because of the impossibility of the contrary.

Just because I don't believe in any of those examples of deities, not matter how ridiculous doesn't mean that given enough evidence, I wouldn't.

The issue is not evidence; its your worldview. As long as you continue to maintain that you are the authority, you will continue to deny the God who made you in His image. In my worldview, I don't start with myself and reason my way to God. Instead, I start with God because, without Him, I couldn't reason at all.

I can see you discuss other theistic worldviews by glancing over your posts that do so -- mormonism and JW's -- but you're simply having a debate over theology .. and arguing over a book written by man, translated by man and interpreted by man.

Of course these are debates on theology; i'm having a debate with theists who believe the Bible. And yes, we are arguing over a book that is written by man, but also inspired by God. And again, without the Christian God, you have no basis for rationality.

as far as I know, the bible doesn't tell us anything about how old the earth is; the bible doesn't talk about evolution -- so what I'm saying or trying to say is that these things don't conflict (in my opinion) with christianity (unless you're a biblical literalist).

Ok, then what's the problem? If your issue with the Bible is not the age of the earth or evolution, then why are you bringing it up?

I've been over evolution and the age of the earth with you, in the past; and you don't seem to understand either.

I'd like to know what it is that I don't understand?

Humphreys cosmological model is seriously flawed and not accepted by any mainstream cosmologist. It's simply something that young earthers throw around because they don't understand cosmology; in other words, it's simply an automated response based off of some kind of AIG how to debate an atheist/evolutionist/old earth creationist.

Whether Humphrey's model is flawed or not has absolutely no bearing on what I believe on the age of the earth. I believe the earth is young because the Bible teaches it. If it turns out that there are evidences and models that confirm this fact, then great! Otherwise, I am still warranted in my belief.

I don't know where to start on evolution; the same people that iders/creationist point to ; myers, luskin etc are kicking a dead horse and repeating the same old drivel, over and over. When they're not playing the victim (ben steins expelled) they're ranting and raving about how theres some big conspiracy thats against them getting their opinions out, asking the same question in a dozen different ways and shouting irreducible complexity.

I have no interest in defending anyone's views but my own. I'm sure I would disagree with Meyer on a number of things.

The Apologetic Front said...

I had to delete your comments throughout so that this post will go through. Hopefully it still makes sense...

Ok, so you are a materialist until proven otherwise?

Actually, having this conversation proves that the Christian God exists. Without him, there would be no basis for rationality. This proves the Christian God because of the impossibility of the contrary.

The issue is not evidence; its your worldview. As long as you continue to maintain that you are the authority, you will continue to deny the God who made you in His image. In my worldview, I don't start with myself and reason my way to God. Instead, I start with God because, without Him, I couldn't reason at all.

Of course these are debates on theology; i'm having a debate with theists who believe the Bible. And yes, we are arguing over a book that is written by man, but also inspired by God. And again, without the Christian God, you have no basis for rationality.

Ok, then what's the problem? If your issue with the Bible is not the age of the earth or evolution, then why are you bringing it up?

I'd like to know what it is that I don't understand?

Whether Humphrey's model is flawed or not has absolutely no bearing on what I believe on the age of the earth. I believe the earth is young because the Bible teaches it. If it turns out that there are evidences and models that confirm this fact, then great! Otherwise, I am still warranted in my belief.

I have no interest in defending anyone's views but my own. I'm sure I would disagree with Meyer on a number of things.

Sye TenB said...

Thanks for posting this Mike. The atheists had no excuse for not understanding the presuppositionalist argument. They were given my website, which is entirely presuppositional, and which links to the recent debate I did, and actually found Dustin through his blog which is clearly presuppositional, plus they were told which method we would use WELL in advance of the debate.

Indeed there is a place for evidence in these debates, and that is to rebuff the wild woeful accusations that are made against Christianity, but NOT to present as an argument. Once you present evidence to the unbeliever for that purpose, you are agreeing with them that God is on trial and that they are the arbiters. This is unwise, and unbiblical.

You should also find it very curious Mike, that unbelievers are trying to dissuade people from using this methodology.

Cheers,

Sye

The Apologetic Front said...

Sye, in that case I completely retract that "excuse" I gave to them!

And that is most certainly interesting, that unbelievers actually want us to use the evidentialist approach! But that should be hardly surprising.