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  • I posted this observation about presuppositionalism on another thread which is now closed, but I think it's relevant here as well...

    Originally posted by Balder
    It seems to me that the presuppositionalist apologetic is a disgruntled reaction rather than an honest position: someone noticed that debates between Christians and atheists often "presupposed" the criteria for determining "valid knowledge" that are common to the modern scientific worldview, and then said, "Hey, why do that? I can presuppose my own criteria, start from there, and demand that others accept those presuppositions or admit that they've 'lost already.'" After all, Christianity cannot pass the truth tests of "science" since it is not science. The reaction has been to turn the tables, essentially re-asserting the much maligned bumper sticker sentiment, "The Bible says it, I believe it, and that settles it" -- hopefully in a more sophisticated way.

    A problem here is a failure to differentiate non-reducible types of validity claims, either through ignoring or discrediting alternative modes, or "subjugating" one mode to another. Atheistic materialism has tended to emphasize empirical observation, concerning itself primarily with objective truth (correspondence, representation, propositional) and functional fit (systems theory, structural-functionalism, etc), and largely ignoring or devaluing subjective experience. Religious traditions have largely emphasized more interior (subjective) value claims and methods of validation, particularly truthfulness (sincerity, integrity, trustworthiness) and justness (cultural fit, mutual understanding,
    rightness or righteousness).

    These four different approaches are not really reducible to the terms of whatever method one happens to prefer, though society has been fragmented by the efforts of one camp or another trying to discredit other approaches, or to subjugate them to the "ultimate criteria" of its preferred method. I think this is what is going on here in this "reaction" of presuppositionalism (a form of narrow absolutism) to the equally narrow absolutism of the atheist materialists with which many Christians have been wrestling.
    "Perhaps everything terrible is in its deepest being something that needs our love" ~ Rainer Maria Rilke

    Comment


    • I'm going to repost these--SS or Hilston or anyone who supports this nonsense can reply

      1) Since you believe in uniformity, why do the very same principles that work well for nuclear physics fail to yield any explanatory power when applied to evolutionary science?

      2) If it is because they contradict God, then where did they go wrong? In other words, if the universe was created within the past 7,000 years, then the proper application of logic, induction, the scientific method, etc, should yield data that points that way. Why does it not?

      3) I am a Christian evolutionist. Although you certainly disagree with my interpretation of scripture, I have the same foundation for my logic as you do. Am I unjustified in my application? What if, hypothetically, Genesis was understood as non-literal?
      “There's nothing I like less than bad arguments for a view that I hold dear.” - Daniel Dennett

      Comment


      • Originally posted by aharvey
        Now you're confusing "is it correct?" with "is it science?" You'd better take a second look at his argumentation.
        Well, I've been wrong before, only once. But I think Hilston's point is that Evolution is not science because it rules out the necessary presupposition of God. So that would not be true of all scientific endeavors, but not restricted to Evolution either. Notice I made no statement about Evolution not being correct.
        "I believe in Christianity, as I believe the sun has risen, not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else." C.S. Lewis

        "Don't believe that there's nothing that's true, don't believe in this modern machine." Switchfoot

        Comment


        • But I think Hilston's point is that Evolution is not science because it rules out the necessary presupposition of God.
          Does it? Where? There are many Christian evolutionists. Evolution says nothing as to the existence of God.
          “There's nothing I like less than bad arguments for a view that I hold dear.” - Daniel Dennett

          Comment


          • Reply to Johnny's re-post ...

            Hi Johnny,

            You write:
            Originally posted by Johnny
            1) Since you believe in uniformity, why do the very same principles that work well for nuclear physics fail to yield any explanatory power when applied to evolutionary science?
            I don't agree that uniformity works for nuclear physics but not for evolutionary science. I believe uniformity applies equally in all fields of science. That's not the issue here. On what basis does one prroceed on the assumption that nature will continue to be uniform, or that it was uniform in the past? On what basis does one reason at all, expecting reason to comport with reality, let alone expecting one's reasoning faculties to function properly? The Creationist who does evolutionary science or nuclear physics does so with a justification and grounding of their tools and methods, and the resulting knowledge is justified. The Methodological Naturalist who is a nuclear physicist or doing evolutionary science does not do their science with a justification and grounding of their tools and methods. In fact, they must borrow tools from the Creationist worldview in order to do science; they must use Creationistic logic and Creationistic induction in order to even ask the question. The knowledge of the Meth-Naturalist might be true, but it's not justified. It's stolen fire, to use a mythological analogy.

            Originally posted by Johnny
            2) If it is because they contradict God, then where did they go wrong? In other words, if the universe was created within the past 7,000 years, then the proper application of logic, induction, the scientific method, etc, should yield data that points that way. Why does it not?
            It certainly does. But those who presume to ignore their Creator and to exclude all things extra-natural from their research and investigation will ignore any evidence that could possibly prove the Biblical God, and realization of their indictment before Him.

            Originally posted by Johnny
            3) I am a Christian evolutionist. Although you certainly disagree with my interpretation of scripture, I have the same foundation for my logic as you do. Am I unjustified in my application?
            I need to know more about the foundation of your logic. Can you be more specific?

            Originally posted by Johnny
            What if, hypothetically, Genesis was understood as non-literal?
            "Literal" is a term that is badly misused. The text of Genesis, indeed the whole Bible, is filled with language that is figurative, narrative, poetic, prophetic, symbolic, allegorical, metaphorical, etc., just as much, if not most, of literature throughout history. Whether we're reading Shakespeare or Stephen King or the prophet Isaiah, we ought to read the texts with a desire to understand them in the same way the writers intended and a thoughtful reader of their time and culture would have understood them. Given that approach, the days of creation in Genesis must be understood in the sense of a 24-hour solar day (yes, even before the existence of the sun). There is no way to understand the days of Genesis 1 as anything other than normative evening-and-morning days unless one (a) undermines the inerrancy/infallibility of the Bible and (b) does violence to the Hebrew language.

            Johnny, as a Christian, do you believe the words of Paul, who said that Christ created all things and holds all things together, which he wrote in his epistle to the believers at Colossae?
            Col 1:16 For by [Christ Jesus] were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: 17 And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.
            Thanks for your questions,
            Jim

            Comment


            • Evolution is not science because it rules out the necessary presupposition of God.
              my God, how can anyone think this since I pointed out in every one of my posts this is not the case.
              Battling TOL creationist jerks-for-Jesus since 1998

              I'd rather be (e^-lamba*lambda^x)/x! -ing!

              Everything might be wrong! -Richard Feynman

              My God I love Star Trek TNG

              Comment


              • I know that you are busy with the debate and I recognize that these things are very time demanding, so I want to thank you for your direct response Hilston. You may or may not be compelled to respond to this, but I wanted to respond.

                Originally posted by Hilston
                I don't agree that uniformity works for nuclear physics but not for evolutionary science. I believe uniformity applies equally in all fields of science. That's not the issue here.
                On the contrary, this is a key issue. I can demonstrate that the same reasoning and application of logic that we have applied to nuclear physics has been properly applied to evolutionary theory. By nature of your claim you must disagree. I am asking for particular examples of the misapplication of these principles. In other words, based on the evidence alone why has modern science reached an entirely different conclusion? What evidence specifically has been misinterpreted?

                On what basis does one prroceed on the assumption that nature will continue to be uniform, or that it was uniform in the past? On what basis does one reason at all, expecting reason to comport with reality, let alone expecting one's reasoning faculties to function properly?
                There is no basis. It is assumed. It is unproven. It doesn't matter. Perhaps we are both wrong and unjustified in our application of logic. Nonetheless, these axioms are still the foundation of science. Science does not represent or attempt to provide the absolute truth. It is simply our best explanation based on what is available to us. A hypothesis can fully qualify as "scientific" but can be completely wrong. What we do know is that science with its axioms (which may or may not be justified) "works" for us remarkably well. For this reason, most scientists do not concern themselves with philosophical arguments. They just do science because it works. Even you must admit that this process does not stop yielding explanatory power even when it addresses our origins.

                These axioms are the underpinnings of science itself. If you argue that these axioms are unfounded then you argue that science is unfounded. The process of science does not assume God. He is not an axiom of science. Thus, you may argue that science is unfounded but you cannot argue that evolutionary theory alone is unfounded without redefining science. You have realized this and have thus taken the liberty to do so. Yet I can catagorically say that your definition is sloppy, unfounded, unsupported, and unused. You made it up.

                Redefining a word to something it is clearly not is an unacceptable debate tactic. One can define any term to mean anything and then proceed to argue from that usage. I can define Creationists as "people who hate slugs" and then proceed to argue that the increase in slug corpses around Creationist meetings is a direct result of Creationists. My argument may be founded under my definition, but my definition is completely absurd. Stratnerd has objected to your definition many times on this basis. You have redefined science to something it is not. If you are going to honestly argue that Evolution is unscientific then you must do so within the confines of the acceptable usage of the word. This means that you must assume the same axioms of science and then work from that point to show that these axioms are not properly applied to evolutionary science. Any other approach--including redefining the word--is unacceptable.

                The Creationist who does evolutionary science or nuclear physics does so with a justification and grounding of their tools and methods, and the resulting knowledge is justified. The Methodological Naturalist who is a nuclear physicist or doing evolutionary science does not do their science with a justification and grounding of their tools and methods.
                Yet by your own admission (your endorsement of uniformity), the proper application of logic should yield the same result whether done by a methodological naturalist or a Creationist. It is your job to show that the methodological naturalist has not properly applied his axioms.

                In fact, they must borrow tools from the Creationist worldview in order to do science; they must use Creationistic logic and Creationistic induction in order to even ask the question. The knowledge of the Meth-Naturalist might be true, but it's not justified. It's stolen fire, to use a mythological analogy.
                See above.

                It certainly does. But those who presume to ignore their Creator and to exclude all things extra-natural from their research and investigation will ignore any evidence that could possibly prove the Biblical God, and realization of their indictment before Him.
                Again, by definition science excludes the extra-natural. By arguing that science should include the extra-natural, and subsequently evolution is unscientific, you have redefined science to suit your purposes in order to claim that evolution is unscientific. You might as well redefine science to outright exclude evolution.

                Whether we're reading Shakespeare or Stephen King or the prophet Isaiah, we ought to read the texts with a desire to understand them in the same way the writers intended and a thoughtful reader of their time and culture would have understood them.
                I disagree with this. I do not feel the same understanding is completely necessary. It is absolutely certain that we do not understand scripture the same way the ancient Hebrews did. We have entirely different world-views and knowledge-sets on which to work. Our views regarding scripture are largely the result of the enlightenment. But the beauty of scripture is that the truth contained within transcends the cultural context with which they are understood. It does not matter how Genesis is understood--literal or metaphorical. The truth that God is the originator of all things transcends the scientific context with which we understand creation.

                Johnny, as a Christian, do you believe the words of Paul, who said that Christ created all things and holds all things together, which he wrote in his epistle to the believers at Colossae?
                Yes.
                “There's nothing I like less than bad arguments for a view that I hold dear.” - Daniel Dennett

                Comment


                • Originally posted by GuySmiley
                  Well, I've been wrong before, only once. But I think Hilston's point is that Evolution is not science because it rules out the necessary presupposition of God. So that would not be true of all scientific endeavors, but not restricted to Evolution either. Notice I made no statement about Evolution not being correct.
                  And yet again I'm forced to repeat that all scientific endeavor (excluding explicitly "creationist science", to give you the benefit of the terminological doubt here) does in fact "rule out the necessary presupposition of God" to exactly the same degree that Evolution does! All of it: chemistry; physics; geology; biology, and all the subfields within each. In principle, you could easily rebut this by demonstrating the differences in how Evolution and what you would consider "real" science handles "the necessary presupposition of God." You don't have to be comprehensive; a single generalizable example will suffice.

                  I want to make sure that you get the point here. To say that evolution is wrong because its explanations are discordant with those of the Bible is one thing. To say that evolution is not science because it does not presuppose a literal and inerrant Bible is something completely different. "Disagreement with a presupposedly literal and inerrant Bible" is a criterion that I would agree does place Evolution and BBT in the "necessarily wrong" bin, pretty much all other science in the "not necessarily wrong" bin. "Failure to presuppose a literal and inerrant Bible", however, places all (non-"Creation science") science in the "necessarily not science" bin. Again, if this last statement is false it should be a simple matter to demonstrate it.
                  Check out this

                  Comment


                  • Jim (Hilston),

                    Even your fervent supporters seem to be unclear on your chain of reasoning (i.e., what's presupposed, what's inferred, what's deduced, etc.) that ultimately lead you to "Evolution is not science." Would it be possible to present your chain of reasoning in outline form so that we can all see, explicitly, step-by-step, where your argument starts (i.e., does it start with a presupposition of Biblical inerrancy or not?), and where you go from there. I presented what I thought was a reasonable beta version of such an outline, upon which you commented but did not emend, and your comments were such that I couldn't exactly tell which were agreement, disagreement, clarification, or what. In retrospect, I'm not sure my outline at all reflects your thought processes anyways. I'm not asking for tens of thousands of words of explication (in fact, I'm begging you not to go that route!), just a simple outline that organizes the ideas into the logical arrangement that you perceive for them.

                    Such an outline is unlikely to answer all questions (e.g., at what point do we no longer need to continue to justify our justifications?), but it will certainly help us follow and discuss your arguments.

                    Thanks!
                    Check out this

                    Comment


                    • Originally posted by Hilston
                      Pr 1:7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge:

                      Pr 9:10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.

                      Ps 14:1 The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God.

                      Romans 1:21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain (= inane, empty) in their reasoning, and their foolish* heart was darkened.
                      (*foolish = Greek asunetos - unintelligent, refusal to synthesize and comprehend)


                      [The Bible's] very existence is not only relevant, but essential. The passages I quoted are both necessary and sufficient conditions for the success of scientific inquiry.
                      How are the passages you quoted necessary and sufficient for the success of scientific inquiry? Since probably most scientists don't think the above passages have anything to do with "doing science," would you say that science thus far is largely "unsuccessful"? How do you define success?
                      "Perhaps everything terrible is in its deepest being something that needs our love" ~ Rainer Maria Rilke

                      Comment


                      • Hi, Hilston,

                        Since I can't edit, I'm adding this additional post:

                        Would it be fair to say that, within your paradigm, the only real scientists are those who profess to be Christian and who believe in the inerrancy of the Bible? Can "successful science" only be done by Christians?

                        Best wishes,

                        Balder
                        "Perhaps everything terrible is in its deepest being something that needs our love" ~ Rainer Maria Rilke

                        Comment


                        • Originally posted by Balder
                          Hi, Hilston,

                          Since I can't edit, I'm adding this additional post:

                          Would it be fair to say that, within your paradigm, the only real scientists are those who profess to be Christian and who believe in the inerrancy of the Bible? Can "successful science" only be done by Christians?

                          Best wishes,

                          Balder
                          Can I also note that Jim seems to be subtly shifting his position towards some real trouble? Whereas Jim first was using his arguments to identify "what is and is not science," he now seem to be using his arguments to identify "who is and who isn't a scientist," no doubt trying to wiggle out of the dilemma that his criteria, applied to science itself, would disqualify all of science.

                          But now we're heading directly towards the circumstantial ad-hominem fallacy. And we're faced with the prospect of potentially coming to diametrically opposed conclusions regarding a single study depending on what we think the responsible parties' beliefs concerning the Bible might be? And we're still left scratching our heads about what constitutes real science, or is that no longer an important question?
                          Check out this

                          Comment


                          • Originally posted by aharvey
                            we're still left scratching our heads about what constitutes real science, or is that no longer an important question?
                            It is a question that can only be justifiably asked byborrowing from the worldview of the Creationist, by the impossibility of the contrary. I hereby declare victory for the transcendentalists in this debate, also by impossibility of the contrary.

                            Comment


                            • Originally posted by aharvey
                              I'm not asking for tens of thousands of words of explication (in fact, I'm begging you not to go that route!), just a simple outline that organizes the ideas into the logical arrangement that you perceive for them.
                              Now you know why I made this request!
                              Check out this

                              Comment


                              • Notes on Hilston's 5th post.

                                Desperation marked the theme of Jim's latest post. Jim really wants us to expand Evolution in to places it doesn't belong. If stratnerd would have a similar MO, he would expand the Christian worldview to include Santa Claus, then call the entire thing irrational.

                                It was by far his longest post, but there was really nothing new there. Just restating the assertion that scientists must borrow from the creationist to do science. In many, many more words. I thought he would at least TRY to back this up by now, as his whole case rests on it...

                                1. Claims he could do science while invoking supernatural causes, which shows how Jim misunderstands what science is, even after all the virtual ink spilled by stratnerd the last few posts.

                                2. Underpinnings of Evolution - ie aboigenesis. The Evolutionary Theory doesn't care one bit where that first reproducing organism came from. It could have come about by nature like some atheists claim, it could have been created by God, it could have been implanted by aliens. All of these don't affect the theory one bit. We are looking at one scientific Theory, not a worldview (does God exist? different debate).

                                3. Cosmic "Evolution" vs Biological Evolution. What is Jim smoking (or home brewing)? Cosmic "Evolution" has nothing to do with the biological kind, which is the topic of debate. For the purposes of this debate, I would just concede the Cosmic "Evolution" is bunk, and focus on the real topic here. If we prove the biological Evolution, it has little bearing on abiogenesis, BBT, etc.

                                4. Worldviews extracted from Evolution. I agree with Jim, that is not science. But it is not claiming to be, so why bring this up? Does Jim really think any Secular Humanist who bases his views on some form of Evolution, is being scientific?? I call strawman.

                                5. Evolution and Methodological Naturalism are NOT worldviews. Metaphysical Naturalism is, but it need not be held to use the tools of Methodological Naturalism. Science is Meth-Nat. Jim has not brought any counter argument to that. This is where his argument falls apart.

                                6. Jim confuses "unproven" with supernatural. UoN, while it may not be "proven", is still natural.

                                7. Uses this line over and over (and over), without understanding it.
                                Originally posted by stratnerd
                                If you define supernatural as being beyond the five senses then sure, I do [believe that supernatural forces are at work] - mathematics."
                                Basic reading comprehension please. Stratnerd is implying that he doesn't define natural as only five senses.

                                8.
                                The Methodological Naturalism hypothesis posits a causal relationship between the laws of logic/science and true explanations/results.
                                Is Jim disputing this statement? If he is, he just threw away all of science. If he isn't disputing it, then he has agreed to stratnerd's description of science.

                                9. Jim claims he has never seen a rational answer that is not correct. This is easy, just make a rational deduction when one of your premises is wrong. For example a premise of an inerrant Bible will lead you to some crazy deductions...

                                10. Stratnerd's request to Jim to back up his claims is met with a "I can, but you would dismiss it". No comment necessary..

                                11.
                                In order to [verify] that a certain method "works," one cannot use that method to assess it.
                                This is the most ironic statement yet. Jim is basically saying you can't use your premise when trying to prove your premise, that would be circular. I heartily agree.

                                12. We need to define what natural is, because there is obviously a misunderstanding. If Jim claims that gravity is super-natural, we have a problem.

                                13. Jim claims induction can't fail. He later comments this is true only if one is omniscient. Induction produces unreliable results for humans, so why must we have 100% certain knowledge of its verity to use it? Our results our not going to be 100% acurate anyway.
                                "What if the Hokie Pokie is really what it's all about?"

                                "The best things in life aren't things"

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