Thursday, September 23, 2010

Fail again? A response to Paul Baird on Presuppositional Apologetics

I really do like PAUL. He is a very witty and likable fellow. His "fail again" remarks make me smirk a little when I read it.

To those who are new to Presuppositional Apologetics, I hope you're catching on to how this can be used in an encounter. If not, please contact me and we can discuss the details further. If you're new to this discussion, i'd recommend looking at my first RESPONSE to Paul as well as his REBUTTAL, to which i'm responding below:

2) PA advocates ARE trying to defend their position - it's why Sye goes around the net like a demented evangelist posting on blogs, and forums. I can send you links to these if you need some evidence. If he is not engaged in a defence of the PA worldview then I'd like your definition of what he is actually doing, and also what you are doing now in reponding to my points.

I think there is some confusion here. Where did I deny that PA's aren't defending their position? You continue to repeat the allegation that our argument is, "Christianity must be true because all other worldviews must be false." As Sye has asked for, i'd like to see a copy-and-paste of where either one of us has said such. Of course, we do agree that all others are false. But this is not the basis for PA. PA affirms that logic, math, science, etc. begin with the Christian God. This is our presupposition. And from there, using the Bible, we refute all other worldviews that we might come across. What you are suggesting is completely backwards from what we are actually arguing, that is, unless you can demonstrate with a copy-and-paste.

If PA is right then it should simply be a dead hand in poker game, unbeatable and serene.

Given that Christianity is the only worldview which can provide the preconditions for intelligibility, then yes, its unbeatable.

3) This is slam dunk stuff - from Syes own website

"What Christians need to do is challenge the 'presuppositions' of other worldviews and, in the most loving way possible, reduce them to absurdity."


"Since it is only by the grace of God that one can see the illogic of their own competing worldview, a more reflective, rather than argumentative approach will be undertaken to refute them. The competing worldview will be briefly defined and then questions will be posed to expose their arbitrariness, INTERNAL inconsistencies, illogical consequences, or lack of support for rationality. Although for interests' sake some competing worldviews may have more than one question posed, quite often only one is required to dismantle it."

Amen. I couldn't have said it better myself.

4) Mike, this is patent nonsense and simply gainsaying.

Remember, I make many of my statements only because I assume that you already know the reasoning behind them. I'm happy to provide more details when I say things like, "Without Christianity, you can't know anything at all." Put simply, we are made in the image of God (who is logical by nature) and will think His thoughts after Him.

I do not need your worldview because I do not need the laws of logic to be absolute

Oh, so you do need them to be absolute? Or perhaps you do don't want them to be absolute at the same time and in the same place? Perhaps the laws of logic made a quick change without telling you ;-)

I just need them to be valid during my conscious lifetime.

Paul, who determines this? You? Society? Or could it be that I determine what is valid and what isn't in your lifetime? How do you know and how could you know? Did you run a test whereby it proved that you, "only need them to be valid during your conscious lifetime?"

I do not need morality to be absolute (but more on that later). I do not need truth to be absolute. The laws of maths that Sye states are absolute are based on observation and experience - we can make assumptions to uniformitarianism to assert that they hold absolutely but we cannot prove that they are.

As you know, it only begs the question when it is "based on observation and experience." That is, do you not have to assume the laws in order to make observations about them? And furthermore, are the assumptions by which you make these observations absolute or relative?

So, why do I need your worldview in order to make sense using mine ? I don't.

Of course, you aren't going to admit to "needing" my worldview, because then you wouldn't be a "freethinker."

5) That is a welcome admission, however I'm not sure you appreciate the depth of the importance of that admission. PA needs to establish a position. It is a fallacy to state that it does not, otherwise any other faith/non-faith position could legitimately make the same claims. This is part of the parlour trick of PA.

But haven't we established the position over and over again? Its not like i'm simply stating things without backing it up. I can provide as many Bible verses as you like to defend my position. But I don't hear you asking.

6) Sorry, Mike, but unless you can establish your own independent position then I can only assume that your position is based on Syes and that's been debunked.

I admit to not having a unique position. If it has been debunked, then i'll leave that for the audience to decide.

7) This is truly misguided. Almost gloriously misguided. Did I use the absolute laws of logic or the relative laws of logic ? LOL. I used the laws of logic as contained in any modern book on the subject. Are you proposing that those laws are any less applicable today than yesterday because they are not absolute (and please remember what the definition of absolute is) ? If so then please explain your reasoning.

This is interesting. Are Philosophy textbooks your "Bible?" In essence, you'd be claiming that the Philosophers are all "gods" in that they are the beholders of all that is logical and rational. This may not be what you are saying, but it is certainly how it comes across to me. Of course, how do you determine which philosophical laws, as contained in the textbook, are valid? Isn't this where you assume that man is the authority in determining "truth?" And how do you know that man is the one who is supposed to be determining truth? Maybe it is supposed to be a bottle of Dr. Pepper that determines truth, once it is shaken up and opened?

As Sye would say, this all seems grossly circular to me.

But to answer your last question: no, the laws are completely absolute and eternally valid. And keep in mind; i'm not the one arguing that they are not absolute. My point is that the laws of logic are not only absolute; they are objective. That is, apart from me or any other human being, the laws of logic hold true because God is, by nature, logical and absolute. I've seen no reason to believe that the atheist has any such basis.

8) At last the old, old, old, old example for justifying the existance of the absolute laws of morality. Is this the only one Christians know of ? I've heard it from Sye, David Robertson and now you. Ok, so what is the rebuttal ? Brit Milah. That's the Jewish practice of taking a very sharp knife to the genitals of a male baby under six days old. Now is that ok because of the motivation, custom or common practice and would it be wrong if it was simply done for fun ?

If it is morally the right thing to do then you are supporting the notion of unnecessary medical procedures being carried out on minors ? Is that the sort of thing you're supporting ? So, you'd be ok with female circumcisions too ?

If it is not morally the right thing to do then are you supporting the notion that Jesus was sexually abused as a child, as indeed were all male Jewish children ?

You see the problem ? The minute you cite an example of something you believe demonstrates an absolute standard you need to be very sure of your ground. As before with Sye (his response was quite frankly pathetic) and David Robertson (he's simply declined to respond at all) what appears at first to be a black and white issue is actually quite grey.

Paul, you asked me for an example of absolute morality and I provided one. In your worldview, why would it be wrong to eat your mother for breakfast? You provided no rebuttal, but instead, provided several example of what you might call "immoral." Why not deal with the example I provided?

10) I am so looking forward to another debate with Sye - you can come along too. :-)

Depending on when this takes place, I might actually take you up on that. But Paul, I hope you know that none of this is mere intellectual stimulation for me. I have the joy and privilege of glorifying my God through proclamation of His truth. But also, it is because I genuinely care about you and would be overjoyed to see you repent and accept Christ as Lord and Savior.

1 comment:

Paul Baird said...

Hi Mike, I've posted a response on my blog.