Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Presuppositionalism

Atheism, Reason, and Morality: Responding to Some Popular Christian Apologetics
[K]eep in mind that the presuppositionalist is not approaching you with an eye towards reasoning together to get to the truth. He's admitted as much by saying that he sees you as deranged and in need of some kind of personal confrontation. He is not entering the discussion in good faith, as a co-investigator. (Van Til has an essay on this that is quite enjoyable, featuring Mr. White, Mr. Black and Mr. Gray, which makes it quite plain how they see such attempts. It's one of the few things I've read by the presuppositionalists that I found enjoyable.) In an ordinary intellectual discussion among friends, it's fine to speculate on things, refining one's ideas as one goes along; but in this sort of encounter they will try to commit you to as much as they can, to force you off balance. So when I say "think in terms of tactics" I mean: keep focused on how your words will be used by the presuppositionalist. In effect, think of those famous Miranda warning words: "Anything you say can and will be used against you." Don't commit yourself to more than you need to in order to make your points.

[h/t to Arthur Vandelay]

7 comments:

  1. Even if he doesn't actually say you're deranged and in need of confrontation, he's still not entering the discussion in good faith. For the longest time I really truly wanted to believe that the people on the other side of these arguments and apologetics simply lacked access to the relevant information, but it's certainly become more than clear that the truth shouldn't stand in the way of understanding how god created us all, or how the holocaust is a lie, or how the reptilian overlords dictate earthly politics, or the four corners harmonic time cube.

    If they were really and genuinely interested in the search for truth as it IS and not as it validates them, they wouldn't be arguing these poor whipped horse carcasses -like they're the most insightful arguments ever divised- and acting all marginalized, like big bad old logic and big science are out to keep these insightful thinkers down.

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  2. "Don't commit yourself to more than you need to in order to make your points." Sound advice. Keep it simple stoopid.

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  3. HAHAHAHAHAH! When I read the post title, my first thought was of a dude bent over and grimacing as he prepares to have a wax bullet shoved up his ass.

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  4. ... a dude bent over and grimacing as he prepares to have a wax bullet shoved up his ass.

    That's a fairly apt description of arguing with a presuppositionalist.

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  5. Dear Mr. Bum,

    Excuse the off-topic interruption but I did publish your comment on my blog in this post:

    http://normdoering.blogspot.com/2009/02/ray-comforts-devious-ignorance-amazes.html

    The CHALLENGE post is reserved for Ray Comfort's comments.

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  6. So no one wants to mention the moral implications of Mr Blonde, Mr Pink, or Mr Orange?

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  7. I don't think that Quentin Tarantino has contributed as much to moral philosophy as he has to cinema.

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