In response to this post...the JN and John Morales apparently want me to write my positions in my own words, make a big deal out of it. I understand, but at the same time, I'm parroting and expounding on Bahnsen's ideas. You may consider his words mine in this case (it’s not imitation, it’s emulation ;-) ). Not everyone has time like apparently the JN has to type stuff. Though I could wish I did.
-You asked that I provide evidence that could substantiate the value of evidence. I did precisely that. My first principle, as I repeatedly have said, can be summarized as “The road to truth is paved with evidence.” That is, in order for human primates to happen upon truth (or its close approximation), the most reliable route is that of evidence (or, alternately phrased, “the relevant facts”).
Of course, what's the predictable response from me? Yep - Fine, evidence is the evidence for the idea that the best way to discover truth is to examine evidence. What is your evidence for that, since we want to discover the truth about that idea?
And on and on. This may get tiresome for you the reader, but just imagine how it is for me! I have to keep repeating the same thing over and over again while getting roasted by the JN's sycophants in his comboxes and my own.
The very next sentence is classic:
-My first principle only would be self-defeating if it, itself, could not be substantiated through evidence.
He then attempts to substantiate his principle by appealing to it. Which is, of course, circular.
Then, we hear:
-Perhaps your questions are “easy” for the theist because they are designed presupposing the theistic worldview.
Not really, though one only wishes that the JN would then follow that line of reasoning.
The questions I've asked are not all that "specialised", when you think about it. I'm not asking "How do you think the Eucharist is best celebrated?" or "What do you think about the baptism in the Holy Spirit?" Far from it. Rather, the questions are designed to show that an atheistic worldview can't make sense of such important questions, whereas the biblical worldview can (as the JN has just admitted here).
-This question is fallacious because it presupposes that communication, reasoning and logic require “grounds”
But of course, if he can presuppose that logic just IS, then I can presuppose that God just IS. We are at an impasse now until each of us takes on the other's worldview to see which one comports to reality.
So, let’s do so. We will see that the JN or any atheist, by engaging the topic, has conceded the issue. The reason for that is that their presuppositions do not allow for the coming-forth of beliefs that are reliably believed to be true. This is the point of Alvin Plantinga’s Evolutionary Argument Against Naturalism (EAAN) (see Plantinga’s statement here), and I’d state it two ways.
1) The way Darwin himself stated it:
“With me, the horrid doubt always arises whether the convictions of man's mind, which has been developed from the mind of the lower animals, are of any value or at all trustworthy. Would any one trust in the convictions of a monkey's mind, if there are any convictions in such a mind? (Darwin 1887)”
Related specifically to evolution.
1) The question of the origin of the universe. Since there is no personal First Cause, there is no answer to how matter and energy came into existence.
2) The question of why we should trust reason in the 1st place, as stated in the above 2 arguments.
3) Just b/c we presuppose reason does not mean that we presuppose logic.
4) If we presuppose logic and reason, that means we have presupposed the existence of immaterial entities. If immaterial entities exist, materialism is defeated. I’m not sure whether the JN is a materialist, but if he presupposes logic and reason as brute facts, he can’t be a consistent materialist.
So I’m not feeling too comfortable now as far as this goes. OTOH, the God of the Bible fulfills the role as grounder of intelligibility b/c these things flow out of His character, how and who He is. He is logical. He is reasonable. Our thinking processes and trust that our cognitive faculties can be relied upon to produce true beliefs in many instances reflect the fact that His cognitive faculties, if you will, are that way. How do we know this? Remember, now we are presupposing the Christian worldview and testing how far it comports with reality. A criticism of the Christian worldview, therefore, would need to presuppose it and then try to show how it is internally inconsistent on its own grounds, not on the grounds of some other worldview like naturalism.
Finally, when I say that the JN borrows capital from the Xtian worldview to attack the Xtian worldview, I mean this. He presupposes the worldview that includes the 4 major problems I listed above, which cast serious, serious doubt on the reliability of his or anyone’s cognitive faculties to produce true beliefs. He needs to deal with those problems and then we can talk. Otherwise, his worldview precludes him from having any confidence in intelligibility or rational thought, which means that he has to implicitly stand on the platform of a worldview where intelligibility and rational thought ARE supportable. That worldview is the Xtian one. So he stands on Xtianity in order to use its framework for rationality and intelligibility (b/c those things reflect how God is and how He has revealed Himself to be) and then employs intelligible, rational arguments to assert that this God does not in fact exist. He stands on my stage and denies my stage exists.
I have recently taken up a contributing role to the Beggars All Reformation blog, and so my time at that blog is going to cut into my time here and in this discussion with the JN. Please note therefore that my substantive responses, if any are necessary, on this subject may be slower in coming than before. Patience is appreciated, and I commend the JN, John Morales, Tommy, and the other commenters (Lucian excepted) for not busting my chops for running away just b/c I haven’t said anythg in a while. Peace to all of you,