Essay talk:On presuppositional apologetics

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It is clear that the author of this article put a lot of thought into it. Despite being very articulate, he is basing his entire case on a false presuppostion of his own. He wrote " .....Christian epistemology, is based upon the fundamental assumption that God exists. There is no evidence to support this claim, it is simply a presupposition."

By saying there is no evidence to support the existence of God, he clearly reveals his lack of understanding of the nature of proof and evidence. He is a skilled writer, but he really should write about something that he knows more about. I once would have agreed with everything he said. But then I came to see that I was basing my worldview on something I couldn't see. Despite the fact that lives are changed in miraculous ways and others could see the reality of God, I couldn't see it so I assumed it was not real. All those people are basing their worldview on what they can see. I came to see that that makes a whole lot more sense. — Unsigned, by: / talk / contribs

Presuppositional apologetics does not rely primarily on any empirical "evidence" for the supernatural's existence, but on the unquestionable premise that YHVH exists. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 04:48, 13 January 2011 (UTC)
The BoN brings up an interesting point, but I think his/her argument is ultimately incorrect. What he/she seems to be saying is that "the reality" of God is observable in everyday life, so there is evidence for it. But this flatly contradicts what happens is nearly every argument about God: it is the theist who must retreat into the realm of faith, since there are no significant pieces of evidence in favor of God's existence. There is anecdotal evidence, yes, but nothing conclusive. Helpful link: the definition of evidence. Tetronian you're clueless 01:40, 18 March 2011 (UTC)

Maratrean's response[edit]

Interesting essay, but somewhat hard to make sense of when the other essay it is responding to has fallen off the net. Does anyone have a copy? (wayback machine doesn't seem to.) To a certain degree, I think I agree with Claiborne - although its hard to say how much I agree with him when I don't know what he fully wrote.

Claiborne writes the beginning of any argument (logically, not necessarily linearly) is a personal authority not previously argued for. Interpreting this charitably - people believe all kinds of things. But, we have both first order beliefs and higher order beliefs. Higher order beliefs are beliefs about beliefs - either beliefs about our own beliefs, or beliefs about what others believe. The simplest kind of higher order belief is the belief that someone believes something. Another kind is that which values beliefs - one's own or others - positively or negatively - which proposes rules of what one ought to and ought not to believe - and judges the beliefs of one's own self or others for their conformance to those rules. Now, in argument or debate, we are trying to to get people to change their views - but its a presupposition of all argument that the parties have rules in common about what to believe - not necessarily the same rules, but at least a substantial commonality in their rules. Now, if two people choose to obey radically different belief rules, believing practices, systems of valuing and evaluating beliefs - then, it is unlikely either will be able to convince the other. Their presuppositions are too different. This is just a plain (and quite obvious) statement of fact.

I (I will not be so arrogant as to say "we") use the idea that hypotheses can be tested by experiment (warning: link to Eliezer Yudkowsky) as the foundation for rational epistemology. - well, you adopt whatever foundations for your own epistemology as you wish. Likewise, you adopt the standards of rationality you wish. And other people will adopt different ones. You can believe yours are better than theirs - and they are - well, your standards are better than their standards judged by your standards. But their standards are better than your standards judged by their standards. Ultimately, its all circular. Everyone's conclusions follow from their premises, and everyone can choose whatever premises they wish.

In other words, Claiborne is saying that all atheists are really hiding their true beliefs from people for some insidious reason. Well, I think it is in principle possible for someone to believe things without necessarily knowing that they believe them - one can be mistaken about one's own beliefs. I see belief as a disposition to act - a disposition to affirm, whether by though, speech, writing or act, the truth of a proposition. Clearly, although we do tend to know our dispositions very well, it's not impossible for us to to be mistaken about them. A specific example - a proposition can be expressed by many indicative sentences. Suppose I believe a proposition P, and sentence S is an expression of P; but, mistakenly, I do not realise S is an expression of P, and instead think it is an expression of propositon Q which I don't believe. Hence, I might believe "I don't believe the proposition expressed by sentence S", or put more simply "I don't believe S" - despite, in actual fact, since I believe P, I also believe S.

That said, I don't think atheists really believe in God but consciously hide that belief. If they do believe in God, they don't know that they do. I don't even think they necessarily believe in God without knowing they do. From my viewpoint, they may well quite simply not believe in God, period. But I can see how, given Claiborne's presuppositions, it may be necessary to believe that atheists believe in God.

he asserts that because the atheist's epistemology (which is a gross generalization and a strawman) does not explain morality as easily, it is inferior to the Christian one - well, there is no such thing as atheist epistemology - and there is no such thing as Christian epistemology. There are many atheist epistemologies, and many Christian epistemologies. I do think, that many (but maybe not all) atheist philosophies have difficulty in explaining how ethics could be objective - and some Christian philosophies (and also many non-Christian philosophies) do a better job at this. Whether that actually matters or not, really depends on how attached one is to the idea of ethics being objective. (I am very much so attached, but others will not be so much.) --(((Zack Martin))) 09:00, 18 March 2011 (UTC)