Internet Goosing the Antithesis

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Seven ways to defeat the Inherent-Property objection

Now we know that there is only one objection presuppositionalists have to TANG and the materialist strategy in general, and that's "Logic (or any other X) is an inherent part of God's nature, so God couldn't make contradictions (or make miracles, or make gratuitous evil moral, etc) and logic is not subjective".

Of course, one easy way to refute this is to show that Chrsitianity is founded on contradictions (everything popping out of nothing, primacy of consciousness, etc), miracles (Creation, Jesus avatar, afterlife), gratuitous evil (Flood, Hell). So right away, we can reject the idea that a hypothetical god would be inherently logical or moral. But here are seven other ways to defeat the objection and win the debate.

1. A critical problem is that it is absolutely irrelevant to the materialist argument. The Christian is not addressing the fact that logic becomes subjective if God creates it, he is only specifying the nature of that subjectivity. So instead of presenting a rebuttal, he is in fact supporting it ! Whether logic is part of God's nature or not does not change the fact that it originates from a will, not from exterior reality - which is the very definition of subjective.

2. Another critical problem is that the Christian has absolutely no grounds to discuss the specifics of God's nature. Once we accept the possibility of a Sovereign, Creator being, we cannot assume anything about its properties (any more than we can posit "anarchy" and then try to define further political properties).

Not only that, but the Christian cannot refute the possibility that this infinite god is deluding him into believing the statement "God's nature is logical". Once the Christian accepts the possibility of a Sovereign god, he can no longer refute arguments based on extreme skepticism. We can only refute the idea of a Sovereign being manipulating our minds if our worldview includes a self-contained universe.

3. It is also a complete ad hoc rationalization : nothing about the idea of a god indicates that it must be necessarily logical or rational. Indeed, since humans are capable of being both logical and illogical, it seems impossible for a more powerful being to not being able to do such a simple thing as making an illogical proposition.

4. Furthermore, even if that was the case, there would be no necessary relation between God's inherent properties and its creation, and the theologian would need to prove this relation before his objection can have any weight. More specifically, one would need to prove that powerful beings are restricted in their creations. There is no obvious correlation, it is inductively unsound, and I have never seen any such attempt.

5. It is impossible to make sense of the proposition that "logic is part of God's nature", insofar as TAG itself proposes that logic was in fact a creation of God. Logic cannot both be an intrinsic part of God's actions and created by God.

6. The objection is self-defeating. If logic existed first as a property of God, then it is a non-material principle, and divine causation is not necessary at all. All it would prove, at best, is that a non-material principle is involved, but there is a definite lack of specificity in his objection.

7. The objection presumes that it makes sense to speak of logic as a non-material entity, which seems to indicate a commitment to idealism. From our perspective, logic is a human concept derived from facts of reality. How can a human concept be an inherent part of God's nature ? This view is absolutely nonsensical.

All in all, it's a pitifully weak ad hoc rationalization to an insurmountable problem. The fact that it's all they have, is a clear indication that presuppositionalism is complete window dressing. What's hiding behind it, however, is another matter - their open hostility towards moral autonomy and science is something that deserves far more examination than their silly paper tigers.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Reminds you of anyone ?

Saturday, April 23, 2005

The Ten Commandments Disproven (II)

In my first post on the Ten Commandments, I went through most of the secular values and virtues that each commandment breaks. In this post, I'll finish with the political values.

Political values are described in chapters 3 and 7 of Logical Structure of Objectivism. Living in a free society is valuable to the individual because it permits the individual to make moral choices free from the coercion of other individuals. Society provides the context by which we can cooperate peacefully with each other, in accordance with man's social needs and fulfill our more basic values.

The fundamental right is the right of self-ownership - that we own our own bodies and minds, and be protected against attempts to attack our moral autonomy. Corollary to this is the right of action - that we are free to control our own bodies and minds - and corollary to this is the right of property - that we can own the products of our own work. From these three rights are derived all other rights, such as the right of free speech (communication in one's media property), the right of free thought (thinking in one's own mind) and the right of self-defense (protecting one's life and property with one's property).

1. Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

Opposing secular political right : Right of free thought. Anyone should be free to rationally draw conclusions on the religion, if any, they should believe in... as long as they do not use that religion to attack other people's freedom or the integrity of our institutions, as Christians do.

2. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth:

Opposing secular political right : Right of free speech. Anyone should be free to make and sell art. To prohibit it is to use coercion against a victimless action.

3. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain

Opposing secular political right : Right of free speech. Anyone should be free to say the name of any god in any way they want, as they are free to draw their own conclusions on religion and decide whether any god should be respected or not.

4. Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.

Opposing secular political right : Right of action. Anyone should be free to work at any time they desire, in accordance with the demands of the free market. It is in the interest of some people to contribute to other people's free time, as weekend grocery sales demonstrate.

5. Honor thy father and thy mother:

Opposing secular political right : All of them, potentially. Our societies make children subservient to their parents in the name of social stability, supported by the political power of parent voters. We must reject any such subservience as a breeding ground for incompetence and abuse, religious or otherwise.

6. Thou shalt not kill.

Opposing secular political right : Right of self-defense, as anyone should be free to use lethal force against a lethal threat, and right of action, in the cases of most animal killing.

7. Thou shalt not commit adultery.

Opposing secular political right : Right of action. Anyone should be free to enter into consenting relationships with others, in accordance with their rational judgment.

8. Thou shalt not steal.

Opposing secular political right : Stealing is permitted in emergency situations where one's life is threatened. In this case, the virtue of non-sacrifice, as discussed, applies.

9. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.

Opposing secular political right : Right of free speech. Anyone should be permitted to tell untruths about other people's lives, as long as they do not commit fraud in so doing, simply because determining truth and untruth is the responsibility of each individual.

10. Thou shalt not covet...

Opposing secular political right : Right of free thought. It's absolutely ridiculous to prosecute anyone for their emotions, as they are facts of the human brain. To even propose this as a commandment is the height of the absurd, but it's expected from a religion which also supports stoning for the sins of their fathers.

It's interesting to note how almost all of these commandments threaten man's moral autonomy. No wonder presuppositionalists argue so strenuously against moral autonomy... the so-called foundation of their morality consists of a litany of hatred against it. To this, we must make clear that reason, not faith, is the sole foundation of knowledge, and that moral autonomy and freedom, not subjection, are the foundation of a moral and responsible society.

To the Christian hatred of the individual, we must oppose love of reason and freedom. We must make clear that everything, even the Christian presuppositions, start from the individual mind, not from doctrine. This is our "theology of salvation".

Their worldview's grave

While Paul and his fans hide their heads in shame, desperately trying to escape the gaze of the teacher asking them to provide an argument for their position, let us be reminded of the childish statements of presuppositionalists past...

These quotes come from Bahnsen Burner's blog, but I took the liberty of changing some of the comments.

“God must always remain mysterious to man.”
– Cornelius Van Til, The Defense of the Faith, p. 14.

(Nice to see Christian admitting their faith is irrational and without conceptual foundation)

“To begin with then I take what the Bible says about God and his relation to the universe as unquestionably true on its own authority.”
– Cornelius Van Til, The Defense of the Faith, p. 195.

(Circular reasoning anyone ? And they admire this guy)

“A person with a wish to be fulfilled is often on the road to belief.”
– John Frame, Apologetics to the Glory of God, p. 37.

(Sort of says it all, doesn’t it?)

“We know without knowing how we know.”
– John Frame, Presuppositional Apologetics: An Introduction (Part I)

(Finally one of them admits it!)

“Religious faith is something to die for.” – Peter Kreeft and Ronald K. Tacelli, Handbook of Christian Apologetics, p. 14.

(So say Muslim suicide bombers. In fact, they even put this belief into practice!)

"I just believe that we are very good about lying to ourselves, and only accepting, uh, or interpreting the evidence the way we would like to."
– Christian apologist Phil Fernandes in his debate with JJ Lowder.

(Even the mentally-challenged can have sparks of intelligence)

“In actuality, this autonomous man is dull, stubborn, boorish, obstinate and stupid.”
– Greg L. Bahnsen, Always Ready, p. 56.

(There’s nothing like that longsuffering Christian love!)

“Faith is the precondition of proper understanding.”
– Greg L. Bahnsen, Always Ready, p. 88.

(Which premise of TAG is this?)

“Empirical experience merely gives us an appearance of things; empirical experience cannot in itself correct illusions or get us beyond appearance to any world or realm of reality lying beyond.”
– Greg L. Bahnsen, Always Ready, p. 181.

(There goes Romans 1:20…)

"God has the right to command and be obeyed. He has, therefore, the right to tell us what we must believe."
– John Frame, Apologetics to the Glory of God, p. 51.

(Say goodbye to man's right to his own mind!)

"The entire human race is dead in trespass and sin, falling short of god's glory (Eph. 2:1, 5; Rom. 3:23; 5:15); as a result, no one seeks after God or has understanding (Rom. 3:10-12)."
– Greg L. Bahnsen, Always Ready, p. 84.

(Let me get this straight. No one has understanding? Not even Greg Bahnsen?)

"Christians are often befuddled about 'reason', not knowing whether it is something to embrace or eschew."
– Greg L. Bahnsen, Always Ready, p. 113.

(Indeed, what did Jesus say about reason?)

The Ten Commandments Disproven

The first problem with trying to justify a morality based on commandments like the Ten Commandments is that the notion of commandments is anti-contextual, that is to say, they don't take context into account at all. But there is no such thing as an action without context - all our actions exist in a context that dictates what values they effect. Therefore commandments are false automatically because they assume a fantasy world where actions exist without context.

Another problem is that commandments go against the virtue of moral autonomy as a general rule. They do not appeal to reason but to intimidation and force. They are, in short, anti-values and anti-virtues - believers can only act to repress them in other people. Thus commandments do not give us morality but in fact take it away.

Many of these commandments demand death for people who break them, making them against personal rights and freedom as well. All of the Ten Commandments go against our current laws as well.

In this short analysis, I am very generous, using most charitable interpretations (except for the "kill"-is-really-"murder" nonsense), and not, for example, including productivity for commandment 2, where Christians would most likely ban the trade of such images as well.

All references are from Logical Structure of Objectivism. Anyone who wants to read more about the logical justification of each value and virtue is free to consult and search the chapter I've listed for each.

1. Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

Opposing secular values and virtues :

* Autonomy - the commitment to acting by one's independent judgment. (ch. 6) Necessary for the use of reason.
Commandment 1 orders us to subjugate our judgment. A person's independent judgment that other gods exist, despite the lack of evidence for either position, is considered inferior because of this commandment. Failure to follow moral autonomy leads to prejudice, social control and ultimately thought control.

* Non-coercion - one should not initiate the use of physical force against others. (ch. 6) Necessary for a free society and the use of reason.
Since there is no initiation of force involved in "having other gods", to punish someone for it is a violation of the secular virtue of non-coercion.

Better secular principle : Don't accept claims without evidence.

2. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth:

Opposing secular values and virtues :

* Art - selective re-creation of reality according to value-judgments. (ch. 4) Necessary for the concretization and integration of principles in one's life.
The secular value of art is based on "likenesses of things", and therefore goes against commandment 2.

* Non-coercion - one should not initiate the use of physical force against others. (ch. 6) Necessary for a free society and the use of reason.
Since there is no initiation of force involved in "making graven images", to punish someone for it is a violation of the secular principle of non-coercion.

Better secular principle : Make art according to your rational value-judgments.

3. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain

Opposing secular values and virtues :

* Non-coercion - one should not initiate the use of physical force against others. (ch. 6) Necessary for a free society and the use of reason.
Since there is no initiation of force involved in "taking the name of God in vain", to punish someone for it is a violation of the secular principle of non-coercion.

Better secular principle : We give power to words when we make them taboo. Destroying the taboo destroys the power of its words.

4. Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.

Opposing secular values and virtues :

* Productiveness - the commitment to taking responsibility for achieving one's values. (ch. 5) Necessary to apply one's rational understanding into action.
Commandment 4 goes against the secular virtue of productiveness by limiting the individual's choices of production, making one day out of seven useless. It orders progress to be limited by fiat.

* Non-coercion - one should not initiate the use of physical force against others. (ch. 6) Necessary for a free society and the use of reason.
Since there is no initiation of force involved in productiveness, to punish someone for it is a violation of the secular principle of non-coercion.

Better secular principle : Work whenever you want.

5. Honor thy father and thy mother:

Opposing secular values and virtues :

* Justice - the commitment to evaluating other people objectively and acting accordingly. (ch. 6) Necessary for the accomplishment of our values in society.
Interpreting commandment 5 very generously, as an order solely to praise or respect and not to obey, it still breaks the secular virtue of justice, in that it asks us to not evaluate objectively one's parents, or not act accordingly. In breaking justice, we almost always break the virtue of honesty also - the commitment to grasping the truth and act accordingly.

* Non-coercion - one should not initiate the use of physical force against others. (ch. 6) Necessary for a free society and the use of reason.
Since there is no initiation of force involved in "taking the name of God in vain", to punish someone for it is a violation of the secular principle of non-coercion.

Better secular principle : Judge your parents and act accordingly.

6. Thou shalt not kill.

Opposing secular values and virtues :

* Non-sacrifice - the recognition that one should not devote oneself to other people's values. (ch. 6) Necessary for the accomplishment of our values in society.
By demanding that we forego self-defense in favour of extreme pacificism, commandment 6 demands sacrifice, breaking the secular virtue of non-sacrifice.

* Commandment 6 also stands against forms of recreation such as hunting.

Better secular principle : Defend yourself against the initiation of force.

7. Thou shalt not commit adultery.

Opposing secular values and virtues :

* Justice - the commitment to evaluating other people objectively and acting accordingly. (ch. 6) Necessary for the accomplishment of our values in society.
By demanding that we forego certain kinds of relationships, commandment 7 goes against the secular virtue of justice, in that it demands that we do not act accordingly to the desirability and willingness of others to participate in consenting sexual relations.

* Commandment 7 also stands against the value of sexuality, in certain contexts.

Better secular principle : Relationships should be guided by the consent, values and needs of the individuals, not religious institutions.

8. Thou shalt not steal.

Opposing secular values and virtues :

* Non-sacrifice - the recognition that one should not devote oneself to other people's values. (ch. 6) Necessary for the accomplishment of our values in society.
By demanding that we forego stealing necessities of life in emergency situations, commandment 8 demands sacrifice, breaking the secular virtue of non-sacrifice.

Better secular principle : When your life is in danger, think about your life first.

9. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.

Opposing secular values and virtues :

* In its non-political form, goes against prudent predation and some other special contexts. In its political forms, however, there would be more important values against it, including the right to free speech.

10. Thou shalt not covet...

Opposing secular values and virtues :

* ALL values we do not already possess.

* Purpose - the commitment to values and accomplishment based on them. (ch. 4) Necessary to apply one's rational understanding into action.
* Integrity - the commitment to acting in accordance with principles in pursuit of long-range values. (ch. 5) Necessary for a healthy moral character (i.e. action in accordance with reason).
* Productiveness - the commitment to taking responsibility for achieving one's values. (ch. 5) Necessary to apply one's rational understanding into action.
By demanding that we not pursue values that we do not already possess, commandment 10 forces us to forego purpose, integrity and productiveness in most contexts.

* Non-coercion - one should not initiate the use of physical force against others. (ch. 6) Necessary for a free society and the use of reason.
Since there is no initiation of force involved in coveting, to punish someone for it is a violation of the secular principle of non-coercion.

* The repression of feelings is also extremely counter-productive and mentally damageable, leading to a degradation of all spiritual values.

Better secular principle : Emotions are not a standard of knowledge. Treat emotions as they are - guides to your internal states. Don't repress or give into them, but treat them like any other fact.

Continue to part 2.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

You stole my concept! Give it back!

I've heard read a few assertions lately insisting that concepts are not material. I’ve also read arguments stating that "the *same* material entity cannot be instantiated in more that one spatio-temporal location at the same time." (Quoted from Paul Manata in the comments section of Press The Antithesis).

I agree fully with Paul. Clearly, the *same* material entity cannot be in more than one location at the same time. But I think his statement exposes the confusion he and other theists have with this "material concept" argument of mine.

If I am to have a concept in my head, the concept is material in that it is a particular arrangement of electronic signals inside the neurons in my brain. When I think about the concept, my neurons fire off in specific sequences, and these electronic impulses can be measured and even understood by computers and machines (For details on this, see my blog Kill The Afterlife). Thus, the concept in my head is clearly material, just like the software installed on my computer's hard drive.

So why do I think Paul is missing the point when he says that the same entity cannot occupy more than one location at the same moment? Because he is omitting a very important factor in my "material concept" assertion: Concepts are not "moved" to other humans, but "copied" between humans via a "translation".

Here is an example: I am thinking about a 2001 Mustang. I have this concept in my head, and it exists materially in the form of electric signals in my brain. I wish for Paul to also have this concept. So do I "remove" the Mustang concept from my head and "give" it to Paul? No! I copy it, translate it, then Paul receives it, re-translates it, and then ends up with a "copy" of the Mustang concept I have. For a more specific breakdown:

1. I hold the Mustang concept in my head.
2. I translate this concept from electrical signals to sound waves via my vocal chords. The "concept" is now duplicated thanks to my voice and is transmitted to Paul through the atmosphere via sound waves.
3. Paul receives the duplicated concept via sound waves hitting his eardrum. His brain translates these sound waves into electrical signals that his mind can understand.
4. The end result is a duplicate of my original Mustang concept. The original material concept still resides in my brain, and I used a duplication and translation method to materially copy the concept and give that copy to Paul.

So, in the end, I am correct about a concept being material. Paul is also correct that one entity can only be in one place at one time. But Paul missed the point of duplication and translation. So I hope that this entry will help theists and immaterialists understand my "material concept" argument better.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

The One True Clock

Clockist : There is but One True Clock, and here it is.

Aclockist : Uh, that's nice, but all I see is a clock like any other. It's pretty high, I'll give you that. But first of all, its time is completely wrong. It says it's 13:25, but the time is really 18:56.

C : What are you talking about ? There is only One True Clock and therefore only One True Time, which is 13:25. It can't be 18:56.

A : Well, see, my wristwatch says 18:56, and the Sun is too low in the horizon for it to be 13:25. So your clock is definitely wrong.

C : That's preposterous ! How do you know your wristwatch is working correctly ?

A : There are plenty of wtristwatches in circulation of this brand and they are known to be very reliable...

C : HAH ! But how do you know YOURS isn't broke ? How do you know wristwatches are reliable at all ? Some say one time, some say another time, sometimes minutes apart, so how do we know which one to trust ? Obviously your wristwatch so-called "time" is subjective !

A : Now that doesn't mean that they're all broken, they could just be set imprecisely...

C : You can't trust wristwatches ! And as for the other point, how do you know how the Sun moves ? You still follow the outdated geocentric model of astronomy. It's obvious that Intelligent Movement is a superior model, because yours has fatal flaws. For instance, if gravity really works as your scientists say, how come all the planets don't just fall into the Sun ? It's ridiculous ! Everyone knows that there can't be more than 50 minutes in an hour anyway.

A : Are you questioning the scientific facts ?

C : There are plenty of scientists who agree with Intelligent Movement theory. Now look here, the One True Clock is in perfect accordance with all the facts.

A : How do you know that ?

C : Simple. Come with me to the other side.

A : Okay...

C : See ? The other side ALSO says 13:25.

A : Yes... ?

C : So it's correct. It confirms it.

A : All you've done is show me another result from the same clock. How do you know the clock itself is right ?

C : Because it says so right down there. Look at the sign. "This clock is infallible."

A : But you still only got that from the clock. The clock says it is infallible. So what ? You still haven't proven anything. If the clock is wrong, then it doesn't matter if it tells you it's right or not - that's just circular. I can just as easily build my own clock that says it is infallible. Fact is, neither of them would be based on the facts. Only my wristwatch is based on the facts.

C : You aclockists just don't understand that without the One True Clock, you can't have proper time. You're rebelling against the absolute temporal authority of the One True Clock. Soon everyone will follow the Clock and you and your pretty scientists will be proven wrong. You'll see !

A : Good grief.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Questions for Presuppositionalists

Well, since Paul and his cronies won't even tell us what their own argument is, we have to assume that they are either dishonest or out to troll us. I think we should kick them right out on their asses and find a better target.

But, being the generous soul that I am, I'll give them one chance for redemption. For presuppositionalism to be a viable position, they need to give the meaning of some of their terms and clarify how their position is tenable. Answer any of the following questions on the commentary.

1. What does "God" mean ?
Note that I'm not asking you to define the term. I am asking you what it means - how one might go around finding a "God" and differentiating it from "non-God".

2. What does the word "create" mean in "God created the universe" ?
In the material universe, "create" means to reform existing matter into new structures. How can "God" "create" from nothing ? Nothing can come from nothing.

3. If you agree with the Inherent-Properties Objection, what does the word "logic" mean in "logic is part of God's nature" ? In the material universe (which we live in), logic is a material property of existence.

4. Is presuppositionalism falsifiable ? Name evidence that could prove you wrong. If it's not falsifiable, it has nothing to do with reality.

5. In your Cartoon Universe, can you disprove the claim that God - or Satan - is tricking you into accepting presuppositionalism ? If not, why do you still hold on to an illusion ?

Any answer that simply reiterates the presuppositionalist position will be deleted.

The Christian’s Rapist Wit

Very often, in their critique of atheist morality, Christians will appeal to certain actions which nearly all people in Western societies find immoral, in the hopes that atheists will be unable to provide a reason why such an action would be immoral, and thus finding themselves opposed to all of society.

Previous postings on this blog have, I think, established that this is not the case, and that atheists can, in fact, point to an objective moral standard in condemning certain actions. Therefore I thought it would be interesting to flip the onus, as it were, and examine the Christian worldview’s stance on certain actions, and whether or not this stance is in opposition to society.

One common action, for example, is rape.

Before going further, a clear definition for rape should be established. I’ll use the following: “the forcing of another person to submit to sex acts, especially sexual intercourse.” In other words, non-consensual sex.

So what is the Christian position on rape? I will examine the only standard that Chrisianity provides for determining morality, the Bible, and see what I find.

The Old Testament

The clearest laws concerning rape are in Deuteronomy 22, which proscribes three different situations:

1) An engaged girl is raped in the city
“If there is a girl who is a virgin engaged to a man, and another man finds her in the city and lies with her, then you shall bring them both out to the gate of that city and you shall stone them to death; the girl, because she did not cry out in the city, and the man, because he has violated his neighbor's wife. Thus you shall purge the evil from among you.”

2) An engaged girl is raped outside the city
“But if in the field the man finds the girl who is engaged, and the man forces her and lies with her, then only the man who lies with her shall die. But you shall do nothing to the girl; there is no sin in the girl worthy of death, for just as a man rises against his neighbor and murders him, so is this case. When he found her in the field, the engaged girl cried out, but there was no one to save her.”

3) A single girl is raped
“If a man finds a girl who is a virgin, who is not engaged, and seizes her and lies with her and they are discovered, then the man who lay with her shall give to the girl's father fifty shekels of silver, and she shall become his wife because he has violated her; he cannot divorce her all his days.”

In all three cases, the laws indicate that rape is in fact immoral, but why, exactly? In the first case, both the man and the woman are found at fault for the rape, because the woman did not cry out to attract help (the difference between “did not” and “could not” seems to have been immaterial to the morality of the situation). But what was the crime? Not violation of the woman’s rights, as most of us would think, but violation of the husband’s right of property.

In the second case, the woman is not found guilty of the crime simply by circumstance- it is recognized that being away from others would have made cries for help ineffective, even if she was able to make them. But just as in the first case, the violation is of her husband’s rights of property, not the woman’s personal rights.

The third case is slightly different- the woman involved does not have a husband to claim property rights, and so no death penalty is levied against the perpetrator. But, as an unmarried woman, her father does have some rights of property against her, so the rapist need only pay a small fine, and gets the punishment(?) of marrying her.

Would the Christian whose daughter was raped insist on the payment of 50 shekels of silver and hand his daughter in marriage to the rapist?

The New Testament

But surely, Jesus brought a new covenant, and would have clarified things for later Christians?

In Matthew, during his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus says:

“You have heard that it was said, 'YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY'; but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”

Although Jesus clearly says that lust is immoral, he’s saying it in the context of adultery. For adultery to occur, one person has to be married. Therefore one may, by Jesus’ own statement, lust after any non-married person, as long as one is not married either. So again, we find a moral distinction made between married and unmarried people, leading to the conclusion that lust of one unmarried person for another is perfectly permissible within the Christian worldview, leaving the Deuteronomic law intact.

But surely, the apostle Paul could not let such a horrible law slip by! To be assured, Paul does address marriage and sexual purity, but he, like Jesus, does so in a specific context. From his first letter to the Corinthians:

“Now concerning the things about which you wrote, it is good for a man not to touch a woman.”

Paul starts off pretty well- if men should not touch women, then men shouldn’t be able to rape women, right? But then Paul goes on to clarify what he means:

“But to avoid fornication, each man is to have his own wife, and each woman is to have her own husband.”

So in other words, Paul would prefer men and women to avoid sex altogether, but since he knows that fornication, or consensual sex between unmarried men and women, would result, then he reluctantly allows for sex within marriage, if only for that reason.

And we already know one sure-fire way to enter into marriage- straight from Deuteronomy.

But once within marriage, Paul says something interesting:

“The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does; and likewise also the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does.”

It seems like Paul is advocating rape within marriage. That is, whenever the husband wants sex, he has the rights of authority over his wife’s body. Non-consensual sex is rape with or without a wedding ring. Now, to be fair, it could be argued that the wife has the right to rape her husband also, but do two balanced immoral acts add up to one moral act?


So when little Johnny Christian is fired up with lust for an unmarried girl (permissible by Jesus), he can rape her, pay her father 50 shekels of silver and marry her (permissible by Moses), and then he’s free to force himself on her as much as he wants (permissible by Paul)!

No wonder so many Christians try to argue for the rights of rapists!

Thursday, April 14, 2005

The Inductive Vacuum of Presuppositionalism

My last entry was about induction, so it's only fair that I come back to it again and hammer the Christians with it some more.

Someone, I think Derek, pointed me previously to Michael Martin's article "Does Induction Presume the Existence of the Christian God? (1997)". It's a nice debunking of presuppositionalism applied to induction, although given the weakness of the opposition it seems more like killing an insignificant fly with a jackhammer.

The part that attracted my attention is on the second-to-last paragraph :

In addition, learning from induction is compatible even with local failure of the present laws so long as this is not complete. Suppose, for example, that after 1998 only statistical laws held on the macro level so that for instance fire is hot only 98% of the time. This would be sufficient to teach us not to get burned.
Well, Martin's claim in this passage is dubious and vague. If he means that natural law or induction is somehow suspended after 1998, then we have to reject this because induction is necessary. The proposition "fire is hot only 98% of the time" is itself arrived at by induction, so it would be self-refuting to claim that natural law or induction has somehow been "broken".

But the other part, and this is why I wanted to bring this passage up, is that within the materialist, reductionist universe (the very properties that Manata likes to point and laugh at), we can determine the cause of this 2% deviation. We can look at the lower levels of the material hierarchy, reduce the property of temperature, and look at these 2% cases to determine what's going on. If there is something to be known, we as human beings can decide to go and find it - to apply our moral will to discovery.

Of course, Martin is right that we would still be justified in keeping away from flames. It's entirely possible to walk on hot coals, if properly prepared, but it's usually a bad idea to do so. A few people have survived falls of thousands of feet without a parachute, but it's not recommended to do so.

Does the Christian have the same solution ? Not really, no. In fact, since "fire is hot only 98% of the time" is based on induction, the Christian wouldn't even know there is a problem ! Of course, he would rely on science to point out the problem, and then go on atheist message boards and crow that only God can solve the problem.

Given Manata's ridicule of reductionism, I gather that he wouldn't like that solution either. So he would have absolutely no way of understanding why the flame is not warm 2% of the time. Which brings me to another problem...

Anti-reductionism seems to be saying this :

(1) You can't look at lower hierarchical levels to explain properties that are observed at a higher hierarchical level. Those properties can only be explained by God.

But :

(2) Theories use lower hierarchical levels to explain properties that are observed at a higher hierarchical level.

So :

(3) According to anti-reductionism, theories are always false.

Which is absolutely ridiculous, and in itself a disproval of anti-reductionism, since many scientific theories are proven.
But furthermore :

(4) Some theories are based on facts and laws.

Take for example the explanation for rainbows. We explain the rainbow by reducing it to the interaction of light and water drops, by the law of refraction. Since the law of refraction is itself observed directly, one would think that the Christian shouldn't have any problem with it. But if refraction is true, then the theory we use to explain rainbows is true, which contradicts anti-reductionism.

My point is that theories are interlaced with facts and laws, and that any attempt to cut one from the other is illogical. Anti-reductionism is therefore illogical by that very token.

The Moon is a Que Ball

I love analogies. I use them all the time. And it seems that I'm not the only one. I've heard and read analogies from a number of theists recently, attempting to refute a materialistic and objective worldview. From pool tables, to lunar atmospheres, to ice cream flavors, there have been plenty of analogies thrown around. These analogies have either had their components misapplied, or they have excluded important additional factors in an attempt to make the irrational and immoral choice seem "rational" according to their interpretation of objectivism. In each of these cases, the theist proposing the analogy is attacking a strawman. Some of these strawmen are propped up because of ignorance, and some may have even been propped up because of dishonesty. I am now going to take all of these analogies from the theists who have wielded them, deconstruct them in plain English, and show how each of these analogies is actually an argument in favor of materialism and objectivism.

Before we can deconstruct these analogies, we must ask the question (copied and pasted from "Does consciousness have primacy over existence (subjective reality) or does existence have primacy over consciousness (objective reality)?" Objectivism states, of course, that existence has primacy over consciousness. In other words, reality will be what it will be regardless of the accuracy of our perception of it. So it is very important to obtain the most accurate perception of reality possible.

The first strawman to catch my attention was the pool table analogy proposed by Matt Slick on episode #47 of the Hellbound Alleee show. In this episode, Franc said, "Morality is the study of action - what is optimal action."

Matt Slick then replied "Whoa whoa whoa whoa. If morality is the study of action, then on a pool table, when you hit one ball against another you see the action that results from that is also the study of morality. The point is, your definition of what morality is, is highly insufficient." Matt Slick continued shortly "...You said morality deals with action. Pool tables deal with action, but watching the balls on a pool table strike one another is not an issue of morality, but of physics. Therefore, your not sufficient."

In this example, Matt's mistake should be obvious to everyone. Franc stated that morality is the act of evaluating a given situation and identifying the optimal choice or action. On a pool table, that would be equivalent to observing the positions of the balls on the table and determining the best available shot (making the choice). But Matt mistakenly equated it with what comes after the choice is made: the simple actions of the balls hitting each other. He misapplied the analogy. The mistake that Matt made seems almost too obvious to be accidental. According to CARM, Matt graduated from Westminster Theological Seminary in 1991 with a Masters degree in Divinity and has been studying religion and debating people since 1980. That’s over 25 years! So is Matt making a simple one-time mistake, or does he totally misunderstand the concept of "making a choice," or is he doing it deliberately?

In any case, this pool table analogy actually ends up being an argument in favor of objectivism. This is why: On a pool table with a given arrangement of balls, there are only a handful of "optimal" or "moral" shots available, and sometimes only one optimal shot. The optimal shots are objective in that they will remain the same regardless of the shooter's perception. The shooters task is to properly observe the table and the balls, and determine which shot is the optimal one. The "moral choice" is an independent objective reality. It is most definitely not subjective, for the optimal shot on the pool table is not whatever the shooter wants it to be. Existence (the balls on the pool table) has primacy over consciousness (the shooters perception). Aren't analogies fun?

The next analogy is from blog comment poster Mark, where he said "Thus, for instance, the judgment that the moon has no atmosphere may count as an objective judgment, whereas my judgment that vanilla is the best ice cream flavor is subjective." Again, we have confusion over what "objectivity" is. Mark agrees that the moon objectively has no atmosphere (which means that the moon's lack of an atmosphere is true regardless of any conscious observers wish). But Mark makes a mistake in saying that his preference for vanilla ice cream is "subjective," for it most definitely is not. Mark doesn’t choose what his taste senses like the best. In reality, his taste senses tell him what to like by giving him positive and negative feedback. Mark's favorite flavor will be the flavor that gives him the most positive feedback out of all the flavors he's tasted. Mark likes vanilla objectively in that he is choosing the optimal action (favorite flavor) based on objective information (pleasure/displeasure feedback). Mark cannot "choose" to like the flavor of vanilla any more than he can "choose" to like the flavor of dog shit. In addition, Mark cannot "choose" to like vanilla the best any more than he can "choose" for the moon to have an atmosphere.

One important note regarding the moon/ice cream analogy is that Mark insisted that the fact that different people like different flavors makes taste subjective. But on the same token, not all lunar bodies in our solar system lack atmospheres. So atmospheres are subjective to particular moons in the same way that favorite flavors are subjective to particular people. This however, is irrelevant to objectivism's claim that existence has primacy over consciousness. All Mark did was point out that with different subjects (different lunar bodies or different people) there are different objective realities (atmospheres and favorite flavors). This is clearly a misunderstanding on Mark's part, as an objective reality is totally compatible with different lunar bodies having or not having atmospheres, or different people liking different flavors. The point that Mark is missing is that nobody can make reality (flavor or atmosphere) suddenly conform to his or her mere whim.

Subjectivity is a conscious entity's will that forces reality to conform to it (think: God's cartoon universe). In a subjective world, the optimal pool shot is whatever we want it to be, and dog shit would taste delicious on a whim.

Objectivity, by contrast, is a material reality that has primacy and forces conscious entities to conform to it, which as I have explained, is how things really are. Now its time for me to eat some of my favorite flavor ice cream: strawberry.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Manata Ja-ja

Pressing the Antithesis

Posted by Hellbound Alleee

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

The real Problem of Induction

Who has the real Problem of Induction ? The atheist, or the presuppositionalist ?

Well, I think that Christianity in general, not just presuppositionalism, is fatal to induction. As TANG proves with ironclad confidence, Christianity, and its inherent belief in miracles, contradicts the very premise of induction - that past events can be used as a guide to future events. Miracles cannot co-exist with natural law or predictability. Such laws become entirely subjective - to God's will.

Induction is only possible if the integrity of the identity of existants is preserved. This implies a self-contained (material) universe. In a self-contained universe, parts interact with each other according to their identity - causality cannot be broken. Only a transcendent ontology can break this necessity.

Even the simplest example of induction - "will the Sun rise tomorrow ?" - is contradicted by the Bible. The book of Isaiah clearly states that God stopped the Sun in its tracks. If we accept this miracle, then we must cast any affirmative answer to the question into grave skeptical doubt. A Christian would have to ask himself "how do I know the Sun will rise tomorrow ?", and to establish an answer would require one to be able to know God's will, which is strictly impossible (due to the necessity of naturalism, as well as the inevitable subjectivity of such interpretations).

What about moral induction ? Well, one example that comes to my mind is medical science. I know that my values are better fulfilled by being treated by medical science, simply because it is reality-based. But the Gospels ask us to abandon medical science for demon possession and prayer, contradicting our observation of past events. The same principle is true here. If we accept the existence of transcendent agents like gods and demons, our assumption that medical science is the best moral alternative is put into skeptical doubt.

The fact is, there is absolutely nothing in the Bible which states what induction is and why it is correct within the subjectivist Christian worldview. And even if it did, we would have to cast that passage into the same skeptical doubt that we threw everything else in. Once we take away the very basis for trust and confidence - the capacity we have to understand reality - then claims of knowledge, or even faith, become hollow.

Whether we like it or not, faith is also based on conceptualization, if only for one to know what he believes in. And adherence to religion is based on motives, values. All of these crumble in the skeptical doubt of Christian subjectivism.

A major consequence of this Christian Problem of Induction is that conceptualization itself is under skeptical doubt. Concept-formation is based on observation of a number of existants, and subsequent induction based on shared properties. If Christianity contradicts induction, then it contradicts the specific kind of induction used in concept-formation, and thus contradicts concepts.

Monday, April 11, 2005

The third way

I don't know how many times I have read the presuppositionalists complaint "I am beginning to wonder if any of you that post here have ever read philosophy." This complaint comes in many forms. It is an accusation that since our ethics, concept formation, views on metaphysics etc are different from the dominant fields of philosophy we are in some way ignorant. It is not that we do not know of these things it is that we have rejected them in favor of what we think is an objective or consistently conceptual view of existence that is neither subjective nor intrinsicist.

I am going to quote Leonard Peikoff at length [gasp] because I think he has a section in his book on "The Good" which will explain the above. [Hopefully he will not come after me for some kind of copyright infirngement...] When I read remarks like that a couple of questions come into my mind.

1. Is this a complaint that we really don't know something about what the presuppositionalist is saying [or the field of philosophy at large has said] or
2. is it that ours is the first logically constructed philosophy that creates a real problem for their argument.

OPAR - Chapter on "The Good"
"Conventional moralists hold that ethics flows from arbitrary acts of consciousness, whether divine or human, social or personal. Such ethical codes express the primacy-of-consciousness metaphysics. Objectivism, because it upholds an objective theory of value, is the first ehtics in history to express consistently the primacy of existence.

The intrinsicist school holds that values, like universals or essences, are features of reality independent of consciousness (and of life). The good, accordingly, is divorced from goals, consequences, and beneficiaries. The good is not good to anybody or for anything; it is good in itself. One can come to know such an object only by the standard intrinsicist means: mystic insight. Thereafter, one "just knows" good and evil; one knows them automatically and infalibly, without benefit of any cognitive method.

Although it purports to discover vlaues in external reality, intrinsicism actually cuts the tie between values and reality. By divorcing value from purpose and beneficiary, the theory makes value-judgements pointless and arbitrary. Why then should men concern themselves with ehtical isssues? The most common intrinsicist answer is: God (or some equivalent, like Kant's noumenal self) has issued commandments, and it is man's duty to obey them."

Peikoff then discusses duty and obedience to some other "higher authority." Such morality is divorced from any "personal goal, motive, desire or interest." He then goes on to say that Kant's system of morality labeled man as "amoral" when he acts to acheive his own values.

Peikoff continues by saying that a duty ethics "detaches virtues from values, it offers man no guidance in the job of living." The everyday dealings for human existence - "the daily decisions men must make in regard to goals such as work, love, friendship, freedom, happiness - all this, for the intrinsicist, is beside the point. Ethics, he believes, defines man's obligations to the supernatural; it transcends what the vulgar call "real life."

Real life, however, remains a fact. It continues to demand a specific course of action - of rational, selfish action - which the duty advocates no only ignore but seek to countermand. The result is a moral code that is worse than useless, a code that dooms man to an unendurable dichotomy: virtue versus pleasure, one's character versus one's welfare, the moral versus the practical, ethics versus survival."

Peikoff goes on to discuss the subjectivist school. There are two camps of the subjectivist school of ethics - the social and the personal. The first follows the arbitrary whims of society - the second follows the arbitrary whims of the person. As Peikoff says "To secularize an error is still to commit it."

The third way:
"Just as concepts do not represent intrinsic features of reality, but presuppose a mind that performs a certain process of integration, so values are not intrinsic features of reality. Value requries a valuer - and moral value, therefore, preupposes a certain kind of estimate made by man; it presupposes an act of evaluation. Such an act, as we know, is possible only because man faces a fundamental alternative."

As concept formation is to reality values are to man's life. Concept formation, if done with the purpose of categorizing reality, becomes an objective process so too do values become objective if the purpose or goal of man's life is to live. This does not entail the personal subjectivist approach that seeks to "cheat, crush, or enslave the rest of mankind before they do it to him." Each man qua man has this potential - to apply force to another is to subvert one's own life and become a slave to him.

So why can't they understand?

Because the entire field of ethics is dominated by the school of duty bound morality. The conceptualist approach is quite new and is usually looked down upon. As Peikoff says later "One school then claims to have received such a message, [from beyond] while the other, rejecting this claim, throws out the whole field as noncognitive." The presuppositionalists seem to have only studied - or at least only adhere to - the philosophical schools that mirror their own thoughts. Both schools are bankrupt - both divorce ethics from man. They can't - or won't - grasp it because it places their entire argument into the trash bin with all the rest of the failed arguments for God.

Quotes Selected from "Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand" pages 241-247

What's it all about, Paulie?

Just what is the Presuppositionalist argument, anyway?

In his work, "My Credo," Cornelius Van Til laid the foundation for presuppositional apologetics, saying that "we argue, therefore, by "presupposition." The Christian, as did Tertullian, must contest the very principles of his opponent's position. The only "proof" of the Christian position is that unless its truth is presupposed there is no possibility of "proving" anything at all. The actual state of affairs as preached by Christianity is the necessary foundation of "proof" itself."

Unfortunately, this is a very poor argument, if it's an argument at all.

P1) If Christianity is not true, then nothing can be proved.
P2) Things can be proved.
C) Therefore, Christianity is true.

I could restate the first premise in positive terms, without changing the meaning of the argument:

P1) If Christianity is true, then things can be proved.
P2) Things can be proved.
C) Therefore, Christianity is true.

But this argument has a fallacious form, that of Affirming the Consequent. So there must be another way to compose this argument, right? Fortunately Paul Manata did so at my request during one of his visits to ExChristian.Net:

"For logic to be the case the Christian God would have to be the case ***since the Christian God is the precondition*** for logic. Logic is the case. Therefore the Christian God is the case. So, the form is: X-->Y( because Y is a precondition for X), X, :. Y. But since the scope of a TA is so broad this is not very helpful and therefore we see why people avoid formalizing it since that would make it concrete whereas I could substitute *anything* that is aggreed upon by the skeptic for X. So the formalization is somewhat person relative, then."

In other words:

P1) If Logic exists, then the Christian god exists.
P2) Logic exists.
C) Therefore, the Christian god exists.

Much better. There's no obvious fallacy as in Van Til's conception. But wait- Paul says something odd right after he details his first premise. He says that "the Christian god is the precondition for Logic." So Paul has hidden a subpremise in his argument, but why in the world would he do that? Let’s take a look at what that subpremise actually means:

“The Christian god is the precondition for Logic.” What does it mean for something to be a “precondition” for something else? If “X” is the precondition for “Y”, then you could also frame is as: if “X”, then “Y”. So let’s look at what the two premises look like together:

P1a) If Logic exists, then the Christian god exists.
P1b) If the Christian god exists, then Logic exists.

Circularity unbound. They’re practically interchangeable. In fact, let’s take Paul’s hidden subpremise and place it at the beginning of his argument:

P1) If the Christian god exists, the Logic exists.
P2) Logic exists.
C) The Christian god exists.

Aha! Again we see Van Til’s fallacy of Affirming the Consequent. Paul has tried to hide this fallacy, but the illusion doesn’t last.

So, I guess I’m back to my original question- just what is the Presuppositionalist argument, anyway?

A "Manata"-nous refrain

After all these "Moore" puns, I couldn't resist any more... Don't the presups present us with a "Manata"-nous refrain of denials ?

Here is my suggestion : perhaps we should repeat "WE DON'T LIVE IN YOUR CHRISTIAN CARTOON UNIVERSE" over and over until they get it. Unfortunately, I don't expect that they would realize anything except that they are wasting their time.

I want to address the debate from another perspective - to examine whether the presuppositionalists are really committed to the concepts that they pretend to defend. This has been addressed partially in other entries - recently, CADman pointed out that the Bible, ostensibly the presuppositionalist's standard, has major logical problems, making their commitment to logic problematic.

What about morality ? Well, presuppositionalism (despite Manata's objections), and its God-created morality, implies Divine Command Theory. The good is the good because God orders it. This necessarily entails that moral autonomy and the individual's values are subservient to a transcendent standard, thus making the presup commitment to moral judgment and values a lie. As Dawson Bethrick points out on his blog, presuppositionalism by its very nature rejects the notion of man as moral agent.

Furthermore, as Christians, presuppositionalists cannot be committed to values. Salvation has infinite moral weight, and thus overrides any other consideration. No Christian has been able to demonstrate anything but subjective reasons to believe otherwise.

Are presups committed to causality ? Hardly ! How is one to make sense of a basic statement such as "God caused the universe from nothing" without tripping all over oneself ? Causality is based on contiguity in spacetime, which is impossible in this case. Causality implies a context of identity, and thus has no meaning when applied to a being whose very nature is a rebellion against the axiom of identity and its perceived constraints.

Is the presuppositionalist committed to induction and science ? Only insofar as they support his faith. Once you break out of the "science has proven God" dream and enter reality, induction and science are inconvenient burdens to be rationalized post-haste.

Presuppositionalism in itself is not committed to morality, causality, induction or science. The only possible justification for such commitment is the introduction of secular values - love of reason, thirst for knowledge, rejection of fallacious authority, acceptance of moral responsibility and moral autonomy - in the presuppositionalist mindset. By his every argument against materialism, the presuppositionalist demonstrates the lasting truth of the material values that we hold dear. For this, perhaps, we should recognize in them some kinship... but not too much. ;)

Saturday, April 09, 2005

The battle of worldviews

Some complaints regarding materialism
As presuppositionalism likes to point out, everyone has a worldview and any view must have its set of presuppositions from which it draws. It is the contention of the presuppositionalist crowd that materialists cannot account for a number of their foundational presuppositions like logic, uniformity of nature, ethics etc for all materialist knowledge claims rest upon them.

“Faith with Reason”
I downloaded an e-book from called “Faith with Reason.” I have not spent a lot of time examining presuppositionalism and I thought that this might supply me with a basic knowledge of its underlying arguments. After reading the first three chapters I determined that there is one underlying presupposition to which all presuppositionalists must adhere. After a brief examination of some of our “presuppositions” I will turn my attention to what I think the foundation of presuppositionalism is.

A twisting of "faith"
In order to get the foot in the door the presuppositionalist points to the “faith nature” of every worldview. The tactic of painting logic, uniformity of nature etc as “faith” presuppositions is, in my opinion, disingenuous.The materialist worldview is not where someone starts per se but is rather a destination through observation. One does not need to “prove” these things as existence sets the boundaries. As reasoning beings, we attempt to provide “laws” on how existence operates. In my mind the presuppositionalist strategy drops the context on how we arrive at our “presuppositions” and places a requirement upon materialism that is unwarranted. Faith for the theist has no meaning, no context in which to make its presupposition due to the nature of the objects in question. The materialist’s "faith presuppositions" in this sense has a basis in reality.

We are not concerned with how things "really are"
Let me emphasize that what we as conceptualists are concerned with is not how things “really are” – what we are concerned with is categorization of existence as perceived by the subject. The real questions are not metaphysical in nature but rather epistemological. I will agree with the presuppositionalist that we may never discover how things “really are” but we do not need to and that is a complaint they need to justify. It is their worldview that is creating this “problem” for materialism and we should not have to justify their projection. [Even if we did that would still not be good enough.] What we as conceptualists adhere to metaphysically are temporally strong forms of the laws of non-contradiction and causality, which are tied closely to identity. Existence itself sets these rules not man. As I have pointed out in other places, this is not a subjective view of existence. A subjectivist’s purpose is to subvert reality or force it to conform to some arbitrary views whereas the objective view has the purpose of understanding reality as best can be described and/or categorized – this is not by whim or arbitrary assertion.

The bible as the presuppositionalist base presupposition
In the book “Faith with Reason” the author has a chapter that goes into a whole litany of Christian presuppositions – all of them Bible based. It is my opinion that the entire presuppositionalist approach stems from the idea that the bible is the only valid or “true” presupposition among any and all faith presuppositions. The author explains that:
The Bible clearly teaches God as the highest authority, and depicts His Word as being self-attesting. Those who claim to be Christians should presuppose the whole Bible is God’s Word upon its own authority. There can be no competing sources of authority from which professing Christians can legitimately draw their conceptions of God, man, or the cosmos. Only a biblically-based Christian theology can serve as an authoritative foundation for Christian beliefs because it is upon the authority of the Christian scripture as God’s Word that the church was founded.
Using the Bible to know how things “really are”
If the Bible is the source for knowing how things “really are” then it should also be completely correct about what we know today. In other words, as human knowledge grows the Bible should “transcend” science and ALWAYS be correct in its assertions of material existence.This is only common sense and is doctrinally sound according to the presuppositionalist’s claims.

Testing the Bible
I propose that we give the Bible a test. The Bible should easily pass for it transcends both materially and spiritually.

Upon examining words that are spoken by God himself we learn that a hare chews its cud and that the world is flat with a dome. This dome has windows in it to allow the sun to pass through and the elements to shower down from above. We also learn that insects have four feet and that bats are birds. The creator seems to lack modern scientific facts about nature.

What are we to make of Paul’s "Spirit Filled" reasoning when he commits a blatant logical error in Titus?
Even one of their own prophets has said, “Cretans are always liars, evil brutes, lazy gluttons.” This testimony is true.
So, Paul… aren’t you saying that a lying prophets words are true?

The Law
Christianity asserts through the bible that the Law was meant as a foreshadowing and that Jesus literally fulfilled the commands and became the perfect means of atonement. But this blatantly ignores a number of facts regarding these laws:

  1. The Pascal Lamb is not a sin offering.

  2. The Pascal lamb was to be slaughtered and its blood used to mark the doorposts – it was ceremonial in nature and not a “blood sacrifice.”

  3. The lamb was eaten and leftovers burned. Jesus, the alleged Pascal Lamb was neither eaten nor burned.

  4. The Pascal sin offering was a male goat and was not a communal offering.

  5. Human vicarious atonement or human sacrifice is strictly prohibited.

  6. Sin and guilt offerings only atone for sins PRIOR to the sacrificial act.

  7. Sacrificial animals were to be without blemish or defect. Jesus is beaten and underwent circumcision – both rendering him unfit due to his “blemishes.”

  8. Blood and fat must be placed upon the altar and only unintentional sins may be atoned for by blood. In some cases the one who offers must be involved. None of this happened to Jesus..
The Prophets
I do not have time to examine all of the books of the prophets but I would like to render one false in which some of the greatest alleged prophecies concerning the Messiah are contained. Whenever Christian missionaries hit the Jewish forums they seem to think that Isaiah is one of the clearest and best prophets concerning the future messiah. I will not attempt to render the suffering servant passage as invalid nor do I need to. There is a much easier prophecy from Isaiah that clearly shows him a false prophet. Isaiah chapter 17 verses 1-2 state
An oracle concerning Damascus. Behold, Damascus will cease to be a city, and will become a heap of ruins. Her cities will be deserted forever; they will be for flocks which will lie down and none will make them afraid.
One false prophecy is enough to render Isaiah a false prophet. He has spoken presumption and cannot be used as a source. Any books of the New Testament which use him are now rendered false.

The Bible as a foundational presupposition unwarranted
It is quite clear that Scripture cannot be used as an epistemic foundation for neither materialism nor spiritualism. God himself does not understand his own material creations nor does he abide by his own spiritual laws regarding atonement. The entire Jewish Law is found to be of human origin. The fact that this is so renders Christianity false by default. In addition, any New Testament book that uses Isaiah as a source can be considered false. No matter what Jesus says or the New Testament claims regarding is resurrection. If the foundation is faulty then so is the building above.

When presuppositionalists debate individuals who are materialists they should stand up and confess their knowledge of the material world loudly for the Bible is their sole authority and self-authenticating. To not do this betrays the fact that they think their minds are higher than the Bible's authority.

When they debate matters of biology they should quickly point out that today's scientists are morons and promptly give references where God tells us about cud chewing hares, bats being birds and insects having four legs.

When they get to mathematics they should explain that Pi is not what the mathematician thinks and offer more scripture.

When the subject of cosmology is being discussed we should expect them to tell us about the sun entering the dome through a window in the sky to traverse the land. We should also expect them to explain that snow and rain fall when heavens windows are opened. We should also expect them to explain that stars will one day fall from the sky.

Having sufficiently shown their invaluable knowledge regarding material existence they may turn to the message of Jesus and explain how he literally fulfilled all of the Laws – metaphorically speaking of course. Perhaps we could call it the litphorical approach?

Ethically we should suspect that they will abide by the bible’s social laws for Jesus only meant to fulfill the cultic portion. We can expect them to own slaves and possibly consign themselves to laws about stoning people for sexual preferences and other cultic practices. To do otherwise is to set one’s own thoughts and reasoning above the Bible.

Do presuppositionalists have faith in the authority of their scriptures implicitly or not? Contradictions can’t exist.