I think for the most part I’ll try to ignore the personal stuff, it seems irrelevant. I will, however, pick out one particular theme among the personal stuff to take issue with. You tend to say things like
It is obvious that you started your blog to debate with me and to attempt to prove me wrong. Thus, I can expect no concession from you even if I do make a valid point and my points were made.
I’ve already pointed out the flaws; you are too blinded by confirmation bias to see them.
I’m not going to convince you of Lewis’ flaws; the flaws are clear and perhaps your agreement with him is what clouds your vision.
the only reason you fail to see any of that is because you agree with him.
It seems like you want to dismiss what I have to say just because I disagree with you. After all, people who disagree with you probably have some sort of self-enforced blindness to reason, right? If I’m debating you then I will make no concessions and admit no valid points? Please, this is absurd. What if I just honestly think you are mistaken?
I’m not dismissing what you’re saying based on the fact that you disagree with me. If that were the case, I wouldn’t bother having debates or discussions with anyone who disagrees with me. Unfortunately, people who disagree with me have a self-enforced blindness that doesn’t allow them to consider alternative conclusions; they are guilty of dismissing that which doesn’t agree with their predilections. If I were presented with a cogent argument that proves Christianity true, I would accept that conclusion; however, such an argument has not been made and I don’t think it can be made — especially when considering that such an argument would be made to defend a work of literature. In any case, there was no absurdity in what I said; in my experience, Christians like to feel that they are honest in thinking I’m wrong. That doesn’t mean they are correct. You pointing out some wording issues in my Argument for Objective Moral Ontology without God; I used your criticism to improve the argument and even admitted that I had difficulty in using the right words to convey what I had in mind. Therefore, if I honestly saw a reason to correct myself, I would do so.
Also, I apologize for some of the attitude in my last post. I was being a little too snarky and cynical with the “you’ll have to excuse us…” - that wasn’t called for just yet, I got carried away.
Faced with defending your objection or dropping it, you have chosen the first option, it seems. You claim that Lewis presupposes God in his argument. Of course, it would be cheating to presuppose the existence of God in arguing for God, so I agree that if this objection went through, it would cripple the argument. I’ve pointed out, however, that Lewis in fact does not presuppose God in this argument, and so the objection fails. Here we disagree.
It would be circular; all of us have our presuppositions. In my opinion, ad hominem or genetic fallacy shouldn’t apply to true statements; the only reason Lewis made the argument was due to his devotion to Christianity. His presupposition: god exists. That cannot be ignored — especially when considering that he inserts the presupposition into the argument. That is where he is guilty of shifting the burden of proof because it would thus be incumbent on his opponent to refute his presupposition in order to refute his argument. That is precisely the issue with presuppositional apologetics; one cannot get away with “my god exists” without substantiating the statement first. We all presuppose the laws of thought; we all presuppose an ability to reason as well. It shouldn’t be incumbent on either of us to prove the laws of thought or reason; we both assume them a priori. However, the Christian god is simply a belief and therefore, the believer must provide a posteriori justification. Either that or the believer can prove that the Bible is the word of god because if it is, it establishes an a priori justification for god’s existence. Yes, it is an uncomfortable task, but god has nothing in common with the laws of thought and reason for they are self-evident, and that is exactly why you and I both lean on those presuppositions without questioning.
In support of your objection, you offer that Lewis “explicitly says that one must believe in god in order to trust their thoughts.” In the interest of either clarifying or correcting the argument (I don’t care which), I would wish to say ”in order to be justified in trusting their thoughts,” and there is at least one other way I’d like to correct the argument. But your understanding is, I think, close enough for our purposes.
Notice that this clause, which you cite twice, does not show that Lewis presupposes God in his argument. The statement you paraphrase takes the form of a conditional (if X, then Y). Suppose I say “If there are any unicorns, they will have horns on their heads” suppose I claim that statement is true. I don’t thereby commit myself to, presuppose that, there are any unicorns. Or suppose I say “If Richard has written a book about religion, then that book is a flop.” I’m not thereby committing myself to, presupposing that Richard has written any such book, I would only be asserting that if he has written such a book, then it is a flop.
Maybe you think the premise “If I don’t believe in God, I don’t have justification for trusting my thoughts” is false. In that case you won’t find the argument convincing. That’s fine. But it still won’t be the case that Lewis has just presupposed the existence of God in his argument. This is the criticism you offered in your original post, and the one you should withdraw because it fails to address the argument made.
Actually, the criticism I offered in the original post (here) is that the following statement reveals his presupposition: “But if I can’t trust my own thinking, of course I can’t trust the arguments leading to atheism, and therefore have no reason to be an atheist, or anything else.” From that statement follows what you paraphrased above. He is only able to make the following statement because he presupposes god in this statement. Let’s decipher what he’s actually saying; hence the reason why I call it underhanded: “But if I can’t trust my own thinking, of course I can’t trust the arguments leading to [disbelief in god], and therefore have no reason to be a [disbeliever in god], or anything else. Unless I believe in God, I cannot believe in thought: so I can never use thought to disbelieve in God.” He didn’t trust arguments leading to disbelief in god because he believed in god in order to justify his thoughts. Therefore, upon removing his presupposition, the argument works against him. Unfortunately, this is an argument attempting to justify what is already self-evident: reason.
By the way, if you have other criticisms of the argument, I’d like to hear those as well. I’ve become increasingly interested in it since this discussion has started.
All of my criticisms are above. Of course, I obviously don’t agree with the truth of his premises and thus his conclusion, but that’s too easy; as an atheist, I can say that about every theistic argument. Christians could do the same concerning atheistic arguments. I see it as more effective to find actual weaknesses in the arguments always remembering that the soundness of an argument is all-important. I could care less if the argument is valid; if the premises aren’t true and if the conclusion isn’t true, I already take an issue. However, if there are fallacies present, I think that is more effective because when it comes to apologists, they will always assume the truth of their premises; therefore, it isn’t useful to attack the soundness of the argument. Yes, I do that in Plantinga’s EAAN; however, Plantinga doesn’t postulate a false premise based on his religious beliefs. He bases it on ignorance though accurate knowledge of evolution is available to him; those are the types of untrue premises I point out: those that misrepresent general knowledge, scientific facts or anything that is considered fact. For instance, if a Holocaust denier has in his/her argument a premise that denies the Holocaust, I will dismiss the entire argument based on that alone because the falsity of that premise is greater than any fallacy the argument may contain, and that is precisely the case with Plantinga’s argument.
Also, at this point, the EAAN discussion we’ve been having really has branched off. I’ll probably address your criticisms in some separate post later, but I think I’ll leave this post with one main topic.
I know I touched on that here, but you’re right; it has branched off.
- nowletsthink posted this