Monday, September 28, 2020

Presuppositionalism and Induction

Presuppositionalists who raise the problem of induction as a debating point in their encounters with non-theists, typically point to the uniformity of nature as the key issue to unlocking and solving the problem. After all, say the presuppositionalists, if nature were not uniform, then we’d have no basis for supposing that the future will resemble the past, which would throw induction under the bus.

In fact, the uniformity of nature is only one of several key issues, and, I’d argue, not the critical one. Even if nature is uniform, this alone would not explain how we know it’s uniform, nor would it explain what the human mind does when drawing inductive generalizations. Indeed, the Objectivist view is that nature is uniform regardless of what anyone thinks, believes, knows, prefers, hopes, etc. It’s something we discover, but this is only the beginning, not the end of explaining induction. After all, if nature is uniform, it’s not uniform only in my experience, but also in my cat’s experience. However, my cat will never draw the general conclusion that touching hot stovetops will result in a painful burn. But I can. Surely there’s more to the issue than merely “here’s why the assumption that nature is uniform is justified.”

Thursday, August 27, 2020

My Refutation of STB: Ten Years On

Here at Incinerating Presuppositionalism, I like to recognize special anniversaries, milestones and achievements which mark the highlights of my blog. That’s not easy because, in my humble opinion, there are a lot of candidates for this kind of celebration. As frequent visitors likely already know, every year on the anniversary of this blog (first post dated March 26, 2005), I post an anniversary entry listing out all the posts I have published since the previous anniversary. Back in March of this year I posted the fifteenth such anniversary entry. 

Today I would like to mark the anniversary of an entry which rivals only a handful of others for most view counts on my blog – yes, the interest here persists after all these years! – namely an entry which I posted on this date in 2010. That is my Critique of Sye Ten Bruggencate’s Feels more like eight and a half years ago, but in fact it’s been a full decade now. 

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

WSIBC Jump Page

This past May I posted the final installment in a series of posts interacting with various portions of James Anderson’s apologetics book Why Should I Believe Christianity? (WSIBC). 

This series covers a wide spectrum of issues, devices and strategies used by presuppositionalists to hijack legitimate philosophical issues in an effort to retrofit them in service of Christian mysticism. 

By exposing the fallacious nature of these devices and strategies, my interactions shall stand as a resource for thinkers who may be interested in familiarizing themselves with an alternative viewpoint to those proffered in Anderson’s book. 

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Reader Email Backlog

Hello Everyone,

Since the COVID thing started, we’ve experienced a massive spike in demand. So the plant is working overtime, and so am I! That means that time available for me to devote to IP is pretty much non-existent. Hence I won’t be able to post a normal entry this month - I’ve just been way too busy! I did have a couple entries planned, but I had to back-burner them for the time being.

Similarly for all the email I’ve received over the last couple months from readers. I’ve simply not been able to keep up, but I do wildly appreciate all the feedback, suggestions and questions. I’m not sure when I’ll be able to get back to everyone, so please don’t think I’m simply ignoring you.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

WSIBC: Presup Enters Rehab

Christian apologist James Anderson closes out the fourth chapter of his book Why Should I Believe Christianity? (WSIBC) with a section titled “Does God Really Need To be Proven?” – a provocative question indeed given that he devoted the chapter up to this point to laying out his six cases for theism. And it almost seems to be a trick question of sorts, given the way it is phrased: even if one believes that there’s a god, how could one suppose it has any needs at all, let alone a “need to be proven”? I thought one of the advantage of being a god was that it has no needs to begin with. Thus it seems the section is starting out with a hint as to how Anderson is going to answer his own question by the way he heads it.

Of course, the non-existent has no needs, but man’s mind does have needs. Nothing will ensure that a “worldview” will in fact address and satisfy those needs, but it is the task of philosophy to identify and understand those needs and point to rational solutions. 

Monday, May 18, 2020

WSIBC: "God and Science"

I shall now take up the sixth and final case which James Anderson presents in the fourth chapter of his book Why Should I Believe Christianity? (WSIBC), which is found under the subheading “God and Science.” As this would have the reader suppose, here Anderson attempts to secure the conclusion that science as such implies, or rather “presupposes,” the existence of what Christians throughout history have called “God.” If it could be shown that science were not possible unless the god of Abraham and Moses were real, that would be rather noteworthy, or earthshaking as believers would prefer.

If readers have been following along, one might expect at this point to find more god-talk than science in Anderson’s string of paragraphs. That would be due at least in part to the fact that the previous five cases have not survived scrutiny well at all, which is regrettable given that Anderson’s book enjoys a spot on Steve Hays’ list of Required reading for atheists. Incidentally, Hays’ list also includes William Lane Craig, Edward Feser and Craig Keener, and even plugs the ontological argument as well as Anderson’s own “Argument for God from Logic.”

But I digress. 

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

WSIBC: "God and Mind"

We come now to Anderson’s fifth case, “God and Mind,” presented in the fourth chapter of his book Why Should I Believe Christianity? (WSIBC). Here Anderson claims that the mere existence of human minds is evidence for the existence of a supernatural being which Christianity lovingly calls “God.” The basic strategy here has a familiar ring to it: take something we all can reasonably be expected to “take for granted,” probe it with a few open-ended questions to which the reader is supposed to shrug his shoulders and confess “Gee, I donno!” and then skewer an alternative point of view opposed to the Christian worldview. Christianity is thereby vindicated by default, pretty much by declaring what it asserts.

This basic approach, subject to wide variation, is characteristic of the strategy of assimilation that is the hallmark of the religious mind. This involves a predatory appropriation of this-worldly phenomena in an effort to recast them as projections sourced in alleged otherworldly forces, thereby presumably vindicating belief in the supernatural. And yet, the strands of inference from this world to a world essentially contradicting it are, to put it mildly, as fleeting and opaque as a forgotten dream.