Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Presuppositional Apologetics - Christianity in Full Retreat?

The video 'Presuppositional Apologetics - Christianity in Full Retreat' has been brought to my attention a number of times now by atheists who consider it to be some sort of devastating critique of presuppositional apologetics. So I took the time to watch it carefully, and found that it was as I had expected it to be - the usual rhetoric without substance. There are 4 YouTube videos that I know of that involve interactions / debates between Sye and Dan, and I've posted them below in chronological order. I intend to update this further at a later date when I have more time.

Dan Courtney vs Sye Ten Bruggencate Debate - June 23, 2012. 

In this debate Dan says that he could be wrong about everything he claims to know, with the exception of his base bedrock axioms. He claims that he knows he exists, but the problem is that without God he can't even justify that. Axioms cannot be proven and he doesn't know for sure that he has the right axioms. Sye points out that just having thoughts doesn't prove existence - the thoughts could just be floating around in the ether somewhere! Sye also points out that knowing that one exists does not provide a foundation for knowledge, and asks Dan what else he knows for certain, but Dan has no answer.  Dan also says that he is not making knowledge claims, but when asked if he knows that he isn't making knowledge claims Dan avoids the question and simply restates his knowledge claim that he isn't making knowledge claims!



Presuppositional Apologetics - Christianity in Full Retreat - Dec 9, 2012.

Dan argues that presuppositional apologetics is Christianity in full retreat, which is simply not true. The Bible calls unbelievers fools and does not give evidence to those who argue that the Scriptures are not true. It's foolish to present evidence to someone who can't account for the concept of evidence and is foolishly arguing that God does not exist. Christians are also commanded to not put God to the test, and to follow the example of Jesus who when tempted by Satan to prove he was the Son of God using evidence by turning a stone into bread - Jesus rebuked Satan and quoted Scripture. This was not Jesus retreating, but advancing the kingdom by refuting Satan. My comments, and the things that Sye said in the above debate apply to this video too - Dan has no way of knowing or proving any axioms, and therefore can't know anything within his worldview.

In the final video Sye refers to this video and calls it so bad that it's a cry for help! He points out that the infinite regress is not ended by appealing to ones senses - because the question is how do you know your reasoning is valid?



Down the Rabbit Hole - a talk with Sye Ten Bruggencate. Dec 19, 2012.

This 37min video is by Dan.



Sye Ten Bruggencate and Dan Courtney Talk. Dec 27, 2012 

This 1 hr 8 min video by Sye is the same video as above but with the 35 minutes of the video edit put back in. It makes me wonder why Dan took so much of his video out. Note that Dan admits that he cannot know that he is not insane (which was not in Dan's edited video!). His attempted justification for his axioms is the impossibility of the contrary - but Dan has no answer as to how he knows this and why his axioms are impossible to deny.






26 comments:

  1. "So I took the time to watch it carefully, and found that it was as I had expected it to be - the usual rhetoric without substance"
    this is really ironic you are speaking of yourself

    "Sye points out that just having thoughts doesn't prove existence - the thoughts could just be floating around in the ether somewhere! "
    you just refuted yourself it would mean thoughts and ether exists

    "Sye also points out that knowing that one exists does not provide a foundation for knowledge"
    yes it does as if you dont exist you cant know anything, not anything from your god

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  2. also Brendan I even contacted James Anderson a presupptionalist who has a doctorate in philsophy and even he said that your "proof" that you are not in the matrix/crazy/brain in a vat fails because it begs the question

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    1. I'm not familiar with James Anderson and whether or not he is a presuppositionalist, but he's wrong. It doesn't beg the question, because we can know my revelation from God that God would not deceive us into thinking reality was real when it wasn't.

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    2. James Anderson is a PHD in philosophy and teaches at a major presupptionalist university, it TOTALLY begs the question because even if god didn't lie someone else can deceive us into thinking reality was real when it wasn't. And again by definition reality is real no matter what so no one no matter how powerful can deceive us into thinking its not rea;

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    3. Please provide a reference showing that James Anderson is a presuppositionalist, and a quote from him where he actually states what you've said he's stated. God cannot lie, and deceiving someone by making them think reality is real when it's not would be deceptive lying, therefore no matter what you say, you are wrong. Furthermore, you've got no basis for knowing anything in your worldview and this whole conversation is being made on the basis of my worldview being true, and God not being deceptive. (See my Deceptive God Refuted post again).

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    4. "God cannot lie, and deceiving someone by making them think reality is real when it's not would be deceptive lying, therefore no matter what you say, you are wrong"
      again remember what i said about you having bad comprehension skills? i said definition reality is real no matter what so no one no matter how powerful can deceive us into thinking its not real

      " Furthermore, you've got no basis for knowing anything in your worldview and this whole conversation is being made on the basis of my worldview being true, and God not being deceptive. "
      more question begging plus the fact that i and many others have refuted your childish rhetoric over and over again, i and many others told you about certainty and how your brain in a vat scenario doesnt work and how mental illness and christanity are NOT mutally excusive and how you use your reason to reason about your reason and then reason about god's revelation. This whole conversation is made on the basis of me being able to stand your childish rhetoric that has been refuted many, many times over

      and here is something about James Anderson http://www.rts.edu/seminary/faculty/bio.aspx?id=485

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    5. I have to wonder if anything you say is true, as earlier you said you had contact with James Anderson who said something about the brain in a vat scenario begging the question. I had a look at the link you provided and it does seem that James follows a presuppositional approach, but I'm still waiting for you to back up your earlier claim.

      You called my argument childish. The sad thing is that you can't refute a childish argument. You are wrong because you're basically saying it's impossible for an all powerful God to reveal some things to us with certainty even though our minds are not perfect. An all powerful God would have no problem revealing to us that we aren't in the matrix, or a brain in a vat, in such a way that we can know it for certain without that certainty relying solely on our finite reasoning. My circle is a virtuous circle that breaks free from circularity by revelation from God. Your circle is viciously circular and leaves you having to borrow from my worldview in order to assume that your mind is reliable to any degree.

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    6. "An all powerful God would have no problem revealing to us that we aren't in the matrix, or a brain in a vat, in such a way that we can know it for certain without that certainty relying solely on our finite reasoning"
      but you yourself said that if we became insane god wouldnt reveal it to us! which means we have no way of knowing if such events already did happen!

      "My circle is a virtuous circle that breaks free from circularity by revelation from God"
      sorry buddy but reasoning your reason to be valid to then reason about god' revelation is question begging in the extreme

      "Your circle is viciously circular and leaves you having to borrow from my worldview in order to assume that your mind is reliable to any degree"
      no you are speaking of yourself, again reasoning your reason to be valid to then reason about god' revelation is question begging in the extreme

      i have emailed Anderson about insanity and god's revelation and what he said was "In any event, one couldn’t use TAG (Transcendental Argument for God) to prove to oneself that one isn’t crazy, since, as you observe, there’s no inconsistency between the two claims." If you want confirmation you ask him yourself about if god's revelation can tell you whether you are insane or not

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    7. Thanks for letting me know what Anderson said although I disagree with him. How do you know that he isn't Mr Anderson from the Matrix? How do you know any of what you've said to be true? You're stealing from the biblical worldview when you assume that you're reasoning is valid. That's the core issue here. Also, I don't reason that my reasoning is valid - God makes me know that my reasoning is valid by revelation.

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    8. "Also, I don't reason that my reasoning is valid - God makes me know that my reasoning is valid by revelation. "

      Also AGAIN for god to make you know your reasoning is valid your first must have valid reasoning in the first place! You are assuming that your reasoning is valid to prove your reasoning is valid so then you can reason about god's revelation! you cant understand god's revelation unless you FIRST have valid reasoning!

      " You're stealing from the biblical worldview when you assume that you're reasoning is valid"
      no i am not due to the fact that not only are you question begging but even if i was in the matrix what i said here would be true due to the imposiblity of the contary

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    9. Earlier you mentioned about the Bible not giving a definition of sanity. Sanity presupposes an objective standard of absolute truth by which to measure reality, sanity, and insanity against. How do you get an objective absolute standard of truth without God? How do you know that anything is impossible? How do you get from a constantly changing world, to having any basis for saying that some things cannot change? How do you know your reasoning is valid to ANY degree? God is not merely the conclusion of my argument by the necessary precondition for intelligibility. Also everyone knows that God exists innately, which bypasses relying solely on our rational minds. I think that either you don't see the problems with your worldview, or you're just unwilling to admit that you've got no basis for knowing anything to be true without God. If you can't see that you are stuck in a vicious circle or reasoning that your reasoning is valid, then I can't help you.

      No further comments from you will be posted until you admit that you've got no solid basis at all for rationality within your worldview and that every sentence you write is presupposing the truth of my worldview where the preconditions of intelligibility are provided a solid foundation. I say this because you seem to ignore the fact that you have no way of knowing that your reasoning is valid to any degree. I pray that you'd stop arguing against the God you know exists, but are denying because you prefer your sin.

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  3. Brendan – Thank you for your review. With Sye I’m pretty sure that he understands the distinction I make between knowledge claims and axioms but he actively ignores it. In your case I don’t know if you understand the distinction or not. In any event, you get it wrong right from the start when you claim, about me, that “He claims that he knows he exists”. I won’t repeat my position regarding knowledge versus axioms here because I’m sure you’ve heard me repeat it ad nausea with Sye. While it might be entertaining to flail away at this straw-man, it does nothing to advance your position.

    The comments about my “Christianity in Full Retreat” video don’t actually constitute an argument, but simply make unsupported assertions. Take the claim “The Bible calls unbelievers fools and does not give evidence to those who argue that the Scriptures are not true.” The part of the fools is correct, but isn’t the difference between, say, Matthew 27:7 and Acts 1:18 evidence? Certainly even if you don’t agree that these passages contradict each other you can see how it could be used to make a case that the Bible is in error.

    I should give credit to Presuppositionalists like Sye, however, because he helped me realize that Christians (Presuppositionalists and non-Presuppositionalists alike) inevitably reduce their arguments to reality itself. Take What John Lennox, the Oxford University Professor and Fellow in Mathematics and Philosophy in Science, and distinguished lecturer on Christian Apologetics, said: “Take the universe, how did we come to believe in its existence? Was it at first we didn’t know it existed until we proved its existence by pure reason? Of course not. All of us were immediately and directly aware of it. It was a given, and we discovered it by our experience through our senses. But our reason did not create it. Similarly with God, the evidence for God’s existence does not start with pure reason operating in a vacuum. It starts with God’s self-revelation to which reason can respond to see if it makes sense and if it corresponds with reality. That self-revelation starts with the physical universe. The Christian apostle Paul wrote, “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible quality, his eternal power and divine nature have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made.””

    My point in sharing this quote from Dr. Lennox is that what he calls “God’s self-revelation” is not just similar to our direct experience of the universe; it is our direct experience of the universe. Dr. Lennox can conclude that “God’s self-revelation” corresponds with reality because, at its core, he has simply labeled reality as God. This is precisely what Presuppositionalism has done. You can’t give me justification for God any more than I can give you justification for reality… because it provides the context which is required for justification.

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    1. Hi Dan Courtney. Thanks for commenting! How did you come across my blog post? I'm pleased to hear from you and to get your comment. I've added a couple of memes to this blog post that are very telling. One where you admit that you've got no way of knowing for sure that you aren't in a psych ward, and another where you say you aren't making knowledge claims, and avoid Sye's question - Do you know that you aren't making knowledge claims? Another question that I couldn't see an answer from you on was 'How do you know you have the right axioms?' You say that axioms are the bedrock, but you've got no way of knowing which axioms are correct, therefore you can't know anything at all within your worldview.

      I had a look at the two Bible verses you mentioned and can't see what your point is sorry.

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    2. Brendan - I would tell you that the knowledge of your blog post was implanted directly into my brain, but I don't think you'd believe that. So instead I'll just give credit to the folks at the FB page "Presuppositional Apologetics is Wrong".

      I'm quite busy, so let's cut to the chase. Let's take the axiom that we must accept our senses as at least provisionally valid. What would the opposite of this be?... that we did not accept any sensory input as valid or true. Are you with me so far? What would it be like to intuitively and immediately reject any information coming to you through your senses? Well, in short, you would have no interaction with reality. It would be like being in a sensory deprivation chamber where even illusions are dismissed because there is no way to validate them as real. So clearly to have experience with any aspect of reality... yourself, God, whatever... requires that you interact in some way with that reality. That's why accepting that we can interact with reality (through our senses) is axiomatic. Even your presupposition of God rests on you acquiring some information through your senses.

      Regarding the biblical passages, they raise the question of who bought the land, Judas or the Pharisees.

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    3. also we have been through this your "proof" that you are not insane DOESNT work because christianity and mental illness are NOT mutally excusive to argue that you are not crazy because god told you is saying that no one on earth is insane

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    4. You are wrong because you are saying that it's impossible for an all powerful God to reveal to us that we are not insane. I know for a fact I'm not in a mental hospital by revelation from God. Those who are totally insane would not even be asking themselves "am I sane?" because that question requires a certain level of saneness. However, without God you've got no way of knowing that you aren't in the matrix, or that everyone isn't insane, because you've got no objective standard by which to measure sanity and insanity. Even the mental illness diagnosis books change from year to year as to how they define sanity and various mental illnesses.

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    5. "You are wrong because you are saying that it's impossible for an all powerful God to reveal to us that we are not insane. I know for a fact I'm not in a mental hospital by revelation from God. Those who are totally insane would not even be asking themselves "am I sane?"
      so are you saying that if you became insane god would reveal it to you? and those who are totally insane would believe that they are sane, you dont need any level of saneness to ask that question "am i sane" a totally crazy person would not only ask that question but believe it as well!

      ". However, without God you've got no way of knowing that you aren't in the matrix, or that everyone isn't insane, because you've got no objective standard by which to measure sanity and insanity. "
      no again you are not getting this Christianity and mental illness are not mutually exclusive,because someone could hit you on the head with a rock and make you suffer halluciations and due to the fact that you yourself admitted that God wont reveal to you when your reasoning became broken you cant know if it did happen!

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    6. also there is no objective standard of what insanity is according to the bible

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    7. Hi Dan. So basically you assume that your senses are reliable and arbitrarily call that an axiom. That's begging the question. Just because you have to assume that they are valid in order to function in the world does not mean that your senses and reasoning are valid. You're totally side-stepping the issue, which shows that you don't have a solid basis for rationality in your worldview. Assuming things is believing things to be true without having proof - so basically blind faith - which is at the core of your worldview. As for who bought the field - that's something that Christians reconcile in Bible studies, but not something that I'd generally talk about with those who cannot justify rationality. The reason for that is that you'd reject any explanation offered based on your presuppositions, and then go on to raise another supposed contradiction. So before looking at that you have to provide a non-arbitrary basis for rationality, and also account for the absolute law of non-contradiction where contradictions are problematic.

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    8. P.s. Dan - did you see the two memes I added to the blog post? Do you know that you are not making knowledge claims Dan?

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  4. "He claims that he knows he exists, but the problem is that without God he can't even justify that."

    Can you please outline your "justification" for "knowing" you exists?


    "Axioms cannot be proven and he doesn't know for sure that he has the right axioms."

    Are you suggesting that some axioms can be wrong? If so how? Also, how do you know you have the right axioms?


    "Sye points out that just having thoughts doesn't prove existence"

    So something that doesn't exist could still have thoughts? Please explain how this would be possible.


    "the thoughts could just be floating around in the ether somewhere!"

    What is "the ether"?

    Thanks in advanced for your responses.

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  5. I sorry surfer, but your "justification" fails at many levels, and my worldview remains completely self-consistent, while yours relies on making of you and your god, ironically, liars.

    You have to use your senses to claim that you have that imaginary revelation. You would have to lie to me to claim that you had a revelation other than the Bible. If you won't lie, then you have to admit that you used your senses to get that "revelation" from the Bible. You have therefore relied on your senses to justify your senses, and engaged on the very vicious circularity you project onto others.

    Now, reading around I see that you have no problem lying. You refer to "revelation" as if it is some form of magic. Yet, you still would have to rely on logic to have a revelation. If you didn't rely on logic to have a revelation, then the revelation could be a revelation and not a revelation at the same time and in the same way. The "method" to get that revelation would be the method and not the method at the same time and in the same way, etc. Therefore you would have to rely on logic to get that revelation all along. Therefore you would still "justify" logic with logic.

    Then, irony or ironies, you make your "God" into a liar. If your "God" was not absurd and it could exist, this "God" would have to rely on logic to claim that "He" is the necessary precondition for logic. This God would therefore be both lying and making a viciously circular claim. But you said that your god could not lie. Therefore your god could not possibly "reveal" something this absurd to you. After all, there's no way for there to be a precondition without logic. Preconditions cannot be preconditions and not preconditions at the same time and in the same way. Without logic your god could be your god and not your god at the same time and in the same way. "His" revelation could be "his" revelation and not "his" revelation at the same time and in the same way.

    So there. your worldview crumbles so badly in its absurdity that all you have left is this line of incredibly nonsensical rhetoric. Good for you surfer. Good for you. Please continue showing us the absurdity of Christianity. I'll be happy to help you.

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    1. All you've done here basically is make arbitrary statements and accuse me of lying. I know by revelation from God that God exists, and that my senses are generally reliable. I know this many ways - such as innately, through the Bible, and through creation. You'd have to be intellectually dishonest to say that it's impossible for God to reveal himself to me in a way that I can be certain that I'm not insane or living in the Matrix or some other kind of anti-reality. You have to admit that if my God exists (which I can prove he does), then he is able to reveal to me some things such that I can know them for certain and that this revelation does not solely rely on my independent reasoning.

      No further comments will be published that are of this tone, as I've got better things to do than listen to people make arbitrary assertions without having any basis within their own worldview for justifying knowledge to any degree.

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  6. Brendan said: "Assuming things is believing things to be true without having proof - so basically blind faith - which is at the core of your worldview"

    Brendan is a presuppositionalist which means he has to presuppose his divine revelation. A synonym to presuppose is assume. So in Brendans' own words his world view starts with "blind faith".

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    1. Christians don't assume that God is real - they know it. God is the necessary presupposition for knowledge. Without God as your starting presupposition you can't know anything and must live by blind faith. Do you know that this blog exists outside of your own consciousness?

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  7. {G-D} does exist, by definition, {G-D}={all that is at the very ORIGIN of the physical world} that is, before the human brain even existed, that is, outside the human brain. All and ONLY those G-Ds that "we know of" are, like !!!ALL!!! that we know of ALTHOUGH it is non physical, thoughts ABOUT {G-D}={all that is at the very ORIGIN of the physical world} - everybody is entitled to create their own G-D, which makes all known G-Ds, which were created by the evolved-prtimate brain wit-IN an already existing physical world pointless. My own praesupposition is "the evolved-primate brain fabricates all that we know of ALTHOUGH it is non physical" which reduces the assertion "without G-D no knowledge" to "without the evolved-primate brain no knowledge"

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