Sunday, March 26, 2023

Incinerating Presuppositionalism: Year Eighteen

As usual on IP, I mark the anniversary of this blog (first entry posted on March 26, 2005) with an entry listing the posts which I published over the previous year, beginning with a link to the previous year’s anniversary post. Whether readers find this valuable or not, it does help me in a variety of ways, especially since navigating a blog looking for that one item that I know is there, is not always very easy. It also gives me some added sense of accomplishment. 

Since this time last year, here are the entries I posted on this blog: 

507. Stovetop Realizations - July 28, 2022

508. TAG and the Appeal to Magic - August 28, 2022

510. Is Creation Possible? - October 11, 2022

512. On the Kalam Cosmological Argument - December 24, 2022

513. Buried Signposts - January 16, 2023

515. TAG in Two Steps - March 5, 2023

As always, a special thanks to anyone who bothers taking the time to read anything I post here, and even bigger thanks to those who trouble themselves to post a comment. I do read all comments, though I do not always have time to reply. But as far as comments go, they are always intelligent and bring additional value to my blog. So I am grateful for that.

I do not know how much longer I can maintain this blog, though I have no intention of stopping. Writing and editing take time and sustained focus, and I do try to provide something that readers will find valuable. My blog is not an advertisement for books, nor is there a paywall to the “real content” beyond some teaser. There are no ads and I don’t even ask for donations (and hope I never need to); there’s no link to Paypal or Subscribestar where I ask for coffee money. I will buy my own coffee as long as I can. We are always being hit with messaging urging us to “give back” to “the community.” Consider my writings my way of doing this. Those who muscle through an entry or two might find that this is a way that I can provide more impactful and lasting value than volunteering an afternoon at the local high school car wash, scrubbing graffiti off a parking structure or picking up trash along the interstate.

With that, we embark now on Year Nineteen.

by Dawson Bethrick

Sunday, March 05, 2023

TAG in Two Steps

It must be tough being a presuppositional apologist, for the quandary which haunts his vocation is never ending. On the one hand, he is under pressure to characterize his god as so fundamental and ever-present that only its existence could serve as man’s supreme epistemological axiom. On the other, given the fact that we have no direct awareness of anything that answers to the descriptions attributed to “God” or “the Lord,” the apologist cannot avoid the need to claim to be in possession of some kind of argument which compellingly establishes the conclusion, “therefore, God exists.”

These two horns which the apologist must somehow balance are mutually exclusive. An axiom identifies a fundamental fact which is perceptually self-evident. We do not need to prove that which is perceptually self-evident, while the purpose of an argument is not to establish the truth of facts which we directly perceive, but to make explicit the inferential steps leading from a truth which is perceptually self-evident to a truth which is not self-evident. It is always in the convoluted tangle of the apologist’s attempt to outline such an inferential sequence that the apologist’s argumentative efforts break down. But just by assembling an argument in the first place, the apologist is tacitly conceding the fact that his god-belief in fact does not have the fundamental status he claims it has.

The purpose of presuppositionalism as an apologetic method seems to be to play these two mutually exclusive horns while pretending that there is no dissonance between them at all.