Singhing the Greg Bahnsen Blues
Anyway, Singh left comments today in response to two of my blog entries. Singh also made an appearance at Debunking Christianity earlier today as well. On my blog, Singh's drive-by comments can be found here and here.
Singh apparently didn’t like my series on Greg Bahnsen’s attempts to defend “knowledge of the ‘super-natural’.” Observe:
Singh: "Sure, you have answered Bahnsen."
I surely have.
Singh: "Whether you have answered correctly is another story."
In my final assessment, I identified 13 areas where Bahnsen's defense of "knowledge of the 'super-natural'" could at best be considered utterly deficient. Bahnsen's defenders are free to show where Bahnsen in fact addresses these concerns in the space of the 31st chapter of his book Always Ready. Failing to do this on these 13 points will only concede the matter to my analysis and the verdicts it supports.
Singh: "Your unargued presupposition that all existence, life, mind, and reason it itself is the the result of mindless processes is still hanging out their [sic] twisiting in the wind."
What is the alternative to what Singh has characterized as "mindless processes" if not some process which is guided by mental activity? And what alternative is there to the "presupposition that all existence, life, mind, and reason it [sic] itself is the result of mindless processes" if not the presupposition that "all existence" is "the result of" a mental process? Thus in so characterizing my "presupposition" (which is nothing other than the primacy of existence principle), Singh confirms Christianity's dependence on the primacy of consciousness metaphysics. Notice how Singh's own presupposition of the primacy of consciousness hangs itself: on his view, "all existence" is the "result" of some conscious activity - which can only mean: the conscious activity took place prior to "all existence" - which could only mean that the conscious activity could not exist. But in order to be responsible for "all existence," it would have to exist. Thus your Singh's presupposition necessarily entails self-contradiction. This isn't surprising coming from a Christian, for Christianity is a form of worshiping contradiction.
Now what is so wrong with supposing that a so-called "mindless process" is responsible for various activities in reality? Singh does not say, so perhaps there's nothing wrong with it. But consider: when a drop of water falls from the leaf of a plant in the early morning dew, why suppose that some conscious activity makes this happen? Sure, one can imagine that a magic being is causing this. But this simply raises the question: what objective inputs from reality suggest this? The lack of objective inputs does not stop a thinker from imagining that a magic consciousness resides "behind" everything in the universe. But that's one of the major points which Bahnsen continually fails to confront: since there is a fundamental distinction between what is real and what is imaginary, those who assert a god need to explain how a thinker can distinguish between what the believer calls "God" and what the believer may simply be imagining. I raise this question at numerous critical junctures throughout my interaction with Bahnsen's essay, but Singh nowhere acknowledges that this might even be a concern, let alone addresses it.
Singh: "Science has certainly not demonstrated your presuppositions of course, but your faith that it will is obviously great."
Singh succeeds only in broadcasting his/her/its own ignorance here. Science is only possible on the basis of a rational worldview guided by the principle of objectivity. The primacy of existence is the essence of the principle of objectivity. It is the recognition that the objects of consciousness hold metaphysical primacy over the subject of consciousness. The alternative to this view is any form of subjectivism that the human mind can invent (such as Christianity). In terms of essentials, the primacy of consciousness view of the world ultimately reduces to the view that wishing makes it so. Obviously science does not proceed on the basis that wishing makes it so; rather it proceeds on the basis that facts obtain regardless of what we wish and that the scientist's task is to discover and identify those facts, whatever they might turn out to be. Since science is not possible on any basis other than the primacy of existence principle (the recognition that existence exists independent of consciousness), there is no scientific burden to demonstrate the truth of the primacy of existence. It is in fact axiomatic - a base-level truth upon which all other truths depend. If the primacy of existence were not already true, science simply would not be possible. The fact that science not only is possible but is an amply developed field of human endeavor, is for the purposes of serving the point thus taken as sufficient confirmation of the primacy of existence. To deny this is to deny the principle of objectivity and surrender the mind to outright subjectivism.
Singh: "And I do use faith in the same perjorative [sic] sense that you do, in this context."
It is the bible, not I, which associates faith with hoping (see specifically Hebrews 11:1). And it is Greg Bahnsen himself, not I, who characterizes faith as belief without understanding. If Singh affirms things on faith, that's not my problem.
Singh: "Frankly, your self referential rehashes and baseless moral pronouncements are unconvincing."
It's not clear what Singh is referring to here. So saying whatever it is he has in mind is "unconvincing" is unhelpful to anyone other than himself.
Singh: "The great flaw in your whole continuing thread is your constant claims that Bahnsen does this...Bahnesen does that...without adequate (or, in many cases ANY) references to where EXACTLY he does this."
This is so false that it's apparent that Singh hasn't bothered to read any of my installments interacting with Bahnsen's essay. I give "references to where EXACTLY" Bahnsen does precisely what I cite him doing. What's more, I identify the book where does this, and I cite the page number. And I go even further to quote exactly what he says. Then I interact with it.
Whether he/she/it realizes it or not, Singh demonstrates that his/her/its commitment to Christian mysticism is emotional rather than intellectual in nature. Singh's concern is to discredit my criticism of Bahnsen without assembling any counter-criticism of his/her/its own or showing where in fact Bahnsen addresses the issues which I have raised. Apparently Singh sees that his/her/its champion apologist has been decisively exposed as a blathering fake, and frustrated by this he/she/it feels a need to retaliate. Why does it matter to Singh what I or any other critic of Bahnsen has to say? Did Singh really believe that such paltry comments are going to accomplish anything of value by emoting in this manner? T'is true, Christians do believe all kinds of foolish things, so perhaps this is the case.
Singh: "And knowing how much you despise Christians, from your remarks on other blogs, I am certainly not going to place any "faith" in your representing him correctly."
I nowhere ask that any of my readers "place any 'faith' in" anything I do, say or present in the first place. In fact, I have published arguments for my verdicts. But I don't see that Singh has interacted with any of them. Why, for instance, does Bahnsen seem so oblivious on the relationship between perception and conceptualization, as his own statements make clear? If Singh thinks I'm wrong in concluding that Bahnsen did not understand the relationship between perception and the conceptual level of cognition, where does he present his understanding on this, and why didn't he integrate it into his "defense" of his "knowledge of the 'super-natural'"?
As for the claim that I "despise Christians," this only shows that Singh is a very poor judge of character. Singh has mistaken his/her/its own umbrage with evidence of spite on my part. On the contrary, however, I love Christians. They make for great entertainment. Singh is a case in point.
by Dawson Bethrick