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Friday, October 13, 2017

New Blog

Theological Fireside Chats was created for the young men at Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia. Once per month it will be updated with the topic for the following month's discussion group.The kickoff for this fellowship was Friday night, September 15. 14 young bucks attended. Our next meeting is scheduled for one week from today: Friday night, October 20th. 

The comments box is closed. It is used for footnotes as well as summaries of all past discussions. 

Take a peak and please pray for fruitful discussion and warm fellowship.

Gloating


Proverbs 24:17-18New King James Version (NKJV)


17 Do not rejoice when your enemy falls,
And do not let your heart be glad when he stumbles;
18 Lest the Lord see it, and it displease Him,
And He turn away His wrath from him.

God is more concerned with our attitude than with his temporal dealings with the unjust. If we want God's preceptive will to be carried out on earth as it is in heaven, we should not gloat lest we provoke God to withdrawal his justice in order that his higher priority obtains, ridding us of gloating in this instance.

Obs.

1. Our greatest desire should be that God's glory be on display. In this case, his just anger, which implies his temporal retribution. Our participation in that endeavor is something other than gloating, whatever that might look like.

2. We become culpable of God's justice not being meted out on earth. (That has serious implications in the political realm when parties gloat over the moral failings of their enemies.)

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My first (and probably last) abortion discussion on Facebook


I had an enlightening exchange on Facebook last night with a liberal. There’s no thread to produce because this person deleted it after their non-arguments for abortion were exposed as arbitrary and inconsistent. I pointed out only a sampling of informal fallacies - one false disjunction, one red herring, an argument from silence, all in a very brief discussion. Question begging abounded. There were also isolated instances of equivocation and ad hominem. (This is not intended to be a praise of my refutations. Far from it. It merely serves to highlight what is typical of liberals. It's not that liberals aren't intelligent. It's just that liberal ideologies are rationally indefensible.)
They deleted the posts in stages. Once I noticed what was happening I posted that I can understand why the record had been deleted given the bad showing on behalf of an unargued pro-abortion position. They strikingly responded with “showing?” as if no exchange had taken place.
Some of the highlights and observations.
The discussion did not begin with abortion. It began by my pointing out that when one is unwilling to acknowledge the faults of their own party affiliation, a tension can ensue. Rather than live in tension, those disagreements can be rationalized away by minimalizing them. Even worse, one can eventually surrender to the void and end up embracing those positions they otherwise wouldn’t so to relieve the uncomfortable tension that comes with covertly disagreeing with one's own peers. (Peer pressure isn’t something just for teens. For adults, too, resistance can give way to non-resistance. Non-resistance to embracing.)
Assuming this high school friend was still Roman Catholic (Catholic upbringing with devout mother), I simply wrote “the unborn?” (I wanted to see if they'd voice what I hoped would be a disagreement with a fundamental position of the Democratic Party.) Their coy response was that they didn’t mix religion with politics. Well, I was happy to change gears into a religious discussion, but instead I pointed out that abortion is a political matter as well as a religious matter; abortion is fair game in either arena. It was said since abortion was law it wasn’t political. Really? Then why during presidential debates do moderators ask questions pertaining to Roe v. Wade? Why do nominees to the Court suffer under congressional scrutiny on this matter? Obviously, this person’s stated reason for not wanting to discuss the matter was disingenuous.

After a bit of back-and-forth this person simply volunteered they were “comfy” with their pro-abortion position. Assuming they disagreed with other types of murder, I asked what conditions necessary for murder are not met by abortion. Crickets.
They immediately changed the subject, impugning hypocrisy to those who are pro-life yet don’t support social programs for the born. This person called these sorts "not pro-life but anti-abortion." (Implication being, if they were pro-life they’d care about the born too.)
Note the equivocation. Pro-life has a distinct meaning that pertains to the question of whether abortion entails taking innocent life. It does not pertain to one’s concern for the quality of life after birth. One might dare consider granting a revision to the label “pro-life” if persuasive statistics could be offered that would suggest pro-lifers are in favor of assisted suicide or genocide. But even then, all that might show is that pro-life people are inconsistent on the matter of sanctity of life. It would not prove a pro-life position is wrong.  
When I suggested that it is happily consistent to be pro-life while believing that giving toward social concerns should primarily be left up to individuals and ecclesiastical organizations, I was met with the insufficiency of those means. So, for this person, it’s fair to conclude that people who are traditionally considered pro-life and, also, give large sums of money to the poor are not truly pro-life but rather just anti-abortion. To be pro-life, one must not only be concerned for the poor, they must also agree with the insufficiency of giving toward those causes through other means other than government mediation. Only a big government liberal can be pro-life. False premises lead to silly conclusions, like that one.

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Thursday, October 12, 2017

Trump, grammar, partisanship and hypocrisy....

""I will tell you," Trump told Hannity, "you cannot disrespect our country, our flag, our anthem, you cannot do that.""

I must believe the President doesn't mean "cannot," proven by the fact that people often do. So, at best, he either means "may not" or "should not." If the former, then he's at odds with Texas v. Johnson, 491 U.S. 397 (1989), which concludes that flag burning is "symbolic speech" protected by the First Amendment.*

Yet if all the POTUS means is "should not," then I'm fine with him holding to that opinion, which I share strongly, as long as he realizes that people *can* commit incendiary acts, even under the protection of the law. They can and they may.

What possibly amuses me most in all this chatter, maybe aside from the partisan imprecision I sometimes (sometimes often?) find with Sean Hannity, is that such extreme forms of protest are typically found only among *extreme* liberals; yet mainstream media refuses to admit that such behavior is at least a bit outside the norm, let alone completely out of step with what America stands for in principle. How did such truthfulness become only a conservative virtue? Or is it situational? If conservative athletes took a knee during the previous eight years, would it have been the protesting athletes or Obama's policies that would have received the blame by conservatives? There's good reason to think the latter. Yet should being right on an issue afford sympathy toward those who'd protest in objectionable ways? I should say not. As Michael Corleone aptly stated to the infamous senator from Nevada, "We're both of the same hypocrisy..." Until either side admits hypocrisy applies at least minimally to their own dealings, good luck.

What's at play here is both parties and the networks won't give an inch on the political field. Their fear is the moral equivalency factor. I won't acknowledge my wrong doing in fear that you won't acknowledge yours and yours is much worse! The moral equivalency factor gives way to "justifying" eclipsing of truth and telling outright lies in order to win an argument. Bias reporting is now somehow justified as long as the other side is behaving more unseemly than we. (No doubt, the ungodly are more comfortable among liberals. There isn't a moral equivalency between the parties, but that's not the point. Read on...)

Christians are governed by a radically different standard. A standard that often calls us to give up yardage in this world. A standard that requires us to acknowledge guilt, regardless of how little we think it compares to that of our opponents.

At the very least, all conservatives are to be about Rule of Law, but too often Rule of Law doesn't enter into the discussion when it undermines the point we'd like to make. Expedience trumps integrity. (Apropos Rule of Law - disrespecting our country is legal, whether we like it or not. Yet the Right is conspicuously silent on the constitutional rights of these juvenile knee-takers. Just like the Left refuses to acknowledge the inappropriateness of such outrageous behavior.)

Unfortunately, the fact of the matter is much is permitted in this great country of ours under the rubric of "freedom of speech." For instance, we have this "American" idea that even blasphemy should be legal lest we become like a Muslim state. Where did that come from? False dilemma, obviously, but our schools don't teach critical thinking. Maybe that's where it comes from? No, bad reasoning is an ethical matter more than one of aptitude or education. Intelligent people can appear quite foolish when on the wrong side of an issue. Stephen Hawking.

Well, I'd say states' rights got swallowed up by the Federal Government long ago. I'd also say Texas pretty much had it right on this issue of flag desecration back in '89. (Though their criminal appeals court did rule contrary to the states' original ruling and subsequent appeal, as did the SCOTUS.)

Given the perpetual erosion of states' rights, maybe we can at least uphold NFL owners' rights? While I'm hoping, maybe players might one day consider taking a knee in church on Sunday - before heading off to work, of course. *sigh*

Truth may and can triumph over party. And, it most certainly should.

(*Antonin Scalia was in the 5-4 majority. Yet interestingly enough, what ended up being a defining moment in legalizing U.S. defiance took place during the 1984 Republican National Convention due to "disagreement" over certain Reagan policies. Be careful whom you appoint I guess. Oh well... If only man-on-the-street Jesse Watters could've interviewed the communist activist that night in '89 on the depth and breadth of his ideology.)

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Friday, August 18, 2017

Ridding Cities of Statues and Memorials

As a general rule we shouldn't make hasty decisions over night, especially by mob consensus, that are irreparable. The recent rage to discard monuments meets all three tests of poor judgement.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Strict Justice vs Pactum Justice


I've been considering afresh the relationship of pactum justice with respect to Adam in the CoW and how that relates to strict justice in redemption. With Adam the reward would've been disproportionate to the work. The justice would not have been according to strict justice but rather according to an agreement to over pay Adam, a pactum justice if you will. The value of the work would not have intrinsic value. No problem there I trust. 

I do find that in redemption our reward though received by grace alone is according to strict justice. The passive obedience part that deals with our demerit is more obvious perhaps, but I think some who focus on active obedience have no place to ground strict justice with respect to our right standing before God. Let me frame the dilemma and then try to solve it, but before that I'll try to address the easier part having to do with strict justice as it relates to our demerit. 

The one time sacrifice was sufficient payment to satisfy God’s strict  justice. The divine nature was required so that satisfaction could be actually intrinsic to the work. Our demerit needed the incarnate Son of God to pay for the sins of His people, for one thing to keep his human nature from sinking under God's infinite wrath. Christ being God could render God propitious and truly provide full satisfaction, a strict just payment for our sins. That's the more obvious part. No issues I trust.

The dilemma:

The Son assumed the terms of the covenant that offered a disproportionate reward for works done as a human being. So, regarding the active obedience part, I don’t see how pactum justice can be avoided and strict justice obtained if our positive merit is predicated solely on Christ fulfilling the original terms of the covenant and we grant that those original terms were according to pactum justice. I think that’s the necessary implication of a position that limits our positive standing to that which we receive only by the active obedience of Christ. If the Son took on the terms of the original covenant and if those terms offered disproportionate reward via pactum, then it stands to reason that our right standing is not according to strict justice. 

We should look at this from another angle:

Although the required work was essentially* (footnote) the same for both Adams and, therefore, disproportional to the reward, in our receiving of the whole person of Christ and not merely His obedience in the economy of redemption we do find strict justice. In other words, by union with Christ we are by grace rightful co-heirs to the heavenly Jerusalem etc. Not by His work only but by our union with the architect himself. I think if we want to speak of our reward of all things in Christ being strictly just, then I think we need to abandon the notion of merely obedient-merit imputed and start thinking in terms of Christ’s perfection being imputed in union. I fear this is eclipsed in certain quarters. Where do we ground strict justice if all Christ did for us was obey as the Second Adam in our stead as opposed to taking us into union with Himself? We have by grace what the Son has by nature and we receive that in union with Christ. I think some constructs that emphasize active obedience fail to do justice to the implications of union with the perfections of Christ – the whole Christ, which includes yet exceeds his work of obedience. There's not a strict parallel to Adam, nor is there one in Romans 5.

Footnote:

*Of course Christ had a harder task. Adam had to be obedient in a world with the serpent but not in world with human disciples of the serpent. 

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Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Blind Followers, Inconsistencies, Double Standards and More Confusion

Roman Catholics often assert that Protestantism operates under the principle that Scripture is open to private interpretation because Protestants deny the need for an infallible magisterium to interpret Scripture. Is historic Protestantism really a religion of "me and my Bible?" Do the tenets of historical Protestantism really deny 2 Peter 1:20, which informs that no prophecy of Scripture is of private interpretation?

An honest and informed Roman Catholic understands that Protestants do not think that Scripture has no need for an interpreter.
1. An honest and informed Roman Catholic understands and will gladly concede that historic Protestantism affirms that Scripture is the interpreter of Scripture. This is often referred to as the analogy of Scripture.
2. Even for the Roman Catholic, Scripture interprets Scripture with respect to the magisterium's basis for Christian doctrine. In turn the magisterium is to relay its interpretation of Scripture to the laity. Even Marian doctrines are alleged to be derived from Scripture.
3. Even when a Roman Catholic lay person offers an argument from Scripture, say to reconcile James with Paul, they too operate under the principle that Scripture interprets Scripture. At the very least, won’t a Roman Catholic appeal to Scripture’s interpretation of Scripture to derive and offer proof of Rome's doctrine for an infallible magisterium?  Rarely does one find a Roman Catholic assert “the pope has said so and that settles it.”
Roman Catholics not only often impugn Protestantism unjustly; they maintain a double standard in the process. I am not suggesting ill intent. I'm just pointing out what is commonplace.
More inconsistencies, double standards and confusion
Another common objection levied against the perspicuity and sufficiency of Scripture is that since there are so many denominations that hold conflicting views we simply cannot know what Scripture teaches without an infallible magisterium.  An easy refutation of this argument is that Christ held the Jews responsible to know the Scriptures even in spite of the error of the teaching magisterium of his day. Moreover, there is no Old Testament precedent for the need or establishment of an infallible magisterium. In fact, those that would set themselves above Scripture were often to be disregarded utterly and completely. If the New Testament abrogates this principle then it should be demonstrable from Scripture, which of course would undermine the absolute need for an infallible magisterium. In any case, allowing for the premise that Peter was the first pope (and all that entails), how does one reach the grand conclusion of an unbroken lineage of infallible popes that would reside in Rome?
Indeed, the doctrines that exist within the entire set of Protestant denominations cannot all be correct given that contradictory doctrines exist within Protestantism. Yet that’s a far cry from  substantiating the need for an infallible magisterium, especially in light of Old Testament precedence as noted above. Nor do conflicting Protestant denominations imply that Rome has true doctrine.
A Fresh Polemic?

Although in one sense Rome has a greater chance of being correct than any given set of conflicting doctrines, Roman Catholics are not able to argue successfully that Roman Catholicism has any more chance of being correct than any particular denomination that has not contradicted itself. Rome likes to compare herself with the whole of Protestantism rather than with a single Confession that is internally consistent with itself, like the Westminster standards.
Coming at this from a non-Trinitarian unbelieving perspective, we can just as easily lump Roman Catholicism in with all other Trinitarian denominations making the set even more inclusive. Given such a cataloging of Trinitarian denominations and by employing the Roman Catholic's way of reasoning, one may just as easily ask in the spirit of Roman Catholic skepticism how truth can be known given all the opposing doctrines within Trinitarian theology (Roman Catholicism included). In other words, Roman Catholic apologists often point to conflicting doctrines within the whole of Protestantism to create need for Romanism, the supposed arbiter of truth. Yet if we lump Rome in with all the rest of Christianity (and apply her reasoning) then her disagreements with the Westminster standards, for instance, makes her doctrine as questionable as all the Protestant denominations she would cast doubt upon. In response to this Roman Catholics might say that Rome claims infallibility whereas Protestant denominations don't. But how does the claim of infallibility establish actual infallibility any more than it points to absolute delusion?!

In Conclusion

If Scripture does not inform the Roman Catholic magisterium about what Scripture has to say, then who or what does? To deny that the popes affirm the analogy of Scripture for the magisterium is to reduce Scripture to brute particulars that have no  discernible coherence, which would mean that the magisterium with respect to interpreting Scripture must be making things up as they go along and that any appeal to Scripture is disingenuous at best. Therefore, it’s not that Rome so much denies the intelligibility of Scripture. Rather, Rome would have us believe that Scripture is only intelligible to the magisterium. Consequently, individual Roman Catholics should not appeal to Scripture to justify the Roman Catholic communion and the church's need for the popes. Rather, Roman Catholics should be consistent by simply pointing to the authority of the popes to defend the claims of the popes. That's viscously circular. And, it's an admission of being a blind follower of something other than Scripture, which is an embarrassment for Roman Catholics yet a necessary implication of their view of the church and Scripture.

As soon as a Roman Catholic argues from Scripture he denies the need for an infallible magisterium. Once he points to Rome apart from Scripture, he shows himself to be a blind follower of Rome in the face of Scripture.
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Saturday, August 01, 2015

Deduction, Induction, TAG and Certainty


Deduction as a construct does not bring forth certainty any more than induction. Inductivists try to move from what might be thought to be known, or considered most probably the case, to what is not yet believed with the same veracity. Induction is “open ended” we might say, because induction as a process is never fully exhaustive. Rather, it comes to an end once one is satisfied with his personal pursuit. To put it another way, once cognitive satisfaction has been achieved the inductive pursuit is over, but it always stops short of philosophical certainty due to the nature of induction.

The deductive process on the other hand often leaves people with the impression that as a construct deduction brings forth knowledge. This would only be true, that deduction yields knowledge, if epistemic certainly was only a matter of construct, which it is not. Indeed, if the deductive process is valid, then the conclusion certainly follows from the premises. Whether the premises are reliable, however, is another matter altogether that requires further investigation having nothing to do with the deduction at hand. Deduction itself does not bring forth knowledge because for one to know the conclusion for what it truly is, he would first have to justify the premises that lead to the conclusion, which the immediate deduction in view does not achieve. That does not mean that deduction cannot aid in obtaining knowledge. The justification of many propositions that can be known comes by way of deduction.

Akin to those common errors, people often require a "philosophically certain" proof. I understand what epistemic certainty is, and appreciate what people mean by psychological certainty. I also understand what constitutes a valid and invalid argument, and what distinguishes those types of arguments from sound and unsound arguments. But what is a “philosophically certain argument”? People are certain, not arguments. Whether sound arguments will persuade someone to any degree of certainty is the job of the Holy Spirit, not the apologist.

Deduction is not a sufficient condition for knowledge. First, there is the "garbage in garbage out" consideration. The conclusion of a valid deduction need not be true; it only needs to follow from the premises. Accordingly, further investigation into the truth of the premises must occur for there to be the possibility of knowledge; yet that lies beyond the scope of the deduction at hand. Added to that, the Holy Spirit must grant justification for beliefs, which truth and structure alone cannot produce. Finally, the Holy Spirit must grant the knowledge that a valid deduction is reliable given true premises, which deduction cannot do. In short, God produces knowledge. He might even use weak inductive inferences in the process, but when knowledge is attained, the justification for what is believed to be true is through the illuminating power of God. Knowledge does not rely upon the induction or deduction that might have been employed in the process, but rather when one knows he has been taught by God.

A word or two might be in order regarding transcendental arguments (TAG in particular). TAG has a distinctly inductive aspect to it because with TAG the Christian investigates what must be true in order for some experience to be intelligible. Such explorations are inductive in emphasis. Notwithstanding, the manner of the investigation is not "open ended" because the premises within TAG do not merely support the conclusion, they ensure it. That point is missed by those who think TAG is inductive: http://reformedapologist.blogspot.com/2006/03/impropriety-of-trying-to-prove.html The aspect of "closure", where the premises ensure the conclusion, is unique to deduction, not induction. Moreover, the conclusion from TAG is not a mere hypothesis, but rather a sound conclusion derived through a deductive process that justifies its premises authoritatively. Finally, TAG falls short of being fully inductive because there is no asserting the consequent with TAG, as there is with all scientific inference, the playground for induction. Nonetheless, TAG has an inductive aspect to it because of the exploratory nature of TAG.

Of course TAG is deductive, but it is unlike all other deductive arguments. What sets TAG apart from garden variety deduction is that with the latter we begin with some truths (or inferences) and reason to others - but that to which we reason is not presupposed as a necessary precondition for the intelligible experience of the original fact of experience. More on that here: http://reformedapologist.blogspot.com/2010/03/to-us-only-thing-of-great-significance.html

As Bahnsen often quipped, "The proof of God's existence is that without Him one could not prove anything." That is nothing other than "Proof presupposes God" (or "If Proof, then God" since God is a necessary precondition for proof). Bahnsen's deduction and a defense of it can be found here:http://reformedapologist.blogspot.com/2010/04/bahnsen-misunderstood-servant-of-lord.html

(Given the inductive and deductive aspects of TAG, we shouldn't find it at all strange that Van Til said that in what he called the "Christian method" of apologetics, we find "elements of both induction and of deduction in it, if these terms are understood in a Christian sense.”)

Pastorally it should be said that we do not come to know the truth through cleverly devised proofs. Nothing could be further from the truth. We know God by nature (through revelation and conscience), and we must justify that knowledge by Scripture, the Christian's ultimate authority. I know my Savior lives because God has revealed that to me in His word. That is not my defense of the Christian worldview, but it's certainly a defensible fact. In other words, we don't "reason" ourselves to God, but our belief in God is indeed reasonable. In fact, it is not just reasonable; it is justifiable and true, which is to say it constitutes as knowledge.

Apologetically speaking, belief in God is the only reasonable position to hold if for no other reason, it is unreasonable to argue against God's existence because to do so one must first presuppose those tools of argumentation that only are defensible given God's existence. The precondition of intelligible experience is God. The justification for the precondition of intelligible experience is God’s word. An elaboration of that distinction is for another day.

Ron
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Friday, July 31, 2015

Bahnsen, One Misunderstood Servant of The Lord




“A transcendental argument begins with any item of experience or belief whatsoever and proceeds, by critical analysis, to ask what conditions (or what other beliefs) would need to be true in order for that original experience or belief to make sense, be meaningful, or be intelligible to us. Now then, if we should go back and negate the statement of that original belief (or consider a contrary experience), the transcendental analysis (if originally cogent or sound) would nevertheless reach the very same conclusion.” (Bahnsen, Van Til’s Apologetic, 501-502.)

That quote by Bahnsen has been misunderstood, abused and hijacked by those who would claim Bahnsen and those who would have nothing to do with his apologetic.
Let’s take this quote of Bahnsen’s step by step.

1. “A transcendental argument begins with any item of experience or belief whatsoever”
Let’s assume as our belief that there is causality. That it is intelligible.

2. “…and proceeds, by critical analysis, to ask what conditions (or what other beliefs) would need to be true in order for that original experience or belief to make sense, be meaningful, or be intelligible to us.”

Let’s assume that what must be the necessary precondition needed to make sense of causality is God’s existence. We are now left with: If Causality, then God.

3. “Now then, if we should go back and negate the statement of that original belief (or consider a contrary experience), the transcendental analysis (if originally cogent or sound) would nevertheless reach the very same conclusion.”
Now let’s do as Bahnsen suggests and “negate the statement of that original belief”. In other words, let’s negate causality (the statement of that original belief) and see if we reach the same conclusion.

At this juncture we have two choices. The first one is a bit strange but let’s run with it and see where it takes us. (A) We can first interpret the instruction in such a manner as to introduce a minor premise thereby denying the antecedent of the major premise while affirming the consequent in the conclusion. Does Bahnsen mean this?

If Causality, then God (because causality presupposes God)
~Causality
Therefore, God.
 
What is the problem with such a rendering of Bahnens’s words? To argue as above is to draw a conclusion that does not follow from the premises in any logical sense! The argument is invalid (and no appeal to transcendental arguments can save a formal fallacy.) Whenever possible, we should not interpret someone’s words in such a way that makes him out to look foolish or inept.

Therefore, let’s consider another way to heed the instruction to “negate the statement of that original belief”. (B) Let's interpret the instruction in such a manner as to deny the statement of that original belief not in the minor premise but in the major premise. Again, we are told to go back and negate the statement of that original belief in order to see if both the first belief and its denial lead to the same transcendental conclusion. When we do that, we are left with two different major premises that both are to lead to the same conclusion. We're left with the original premise (or belief): If Causality, then God; but also we’re left to consider the negation of that original belief with another premise: If ~Causality, then God. That rendering with respect to form is consistent with Don Collett's rendering of CVT and TAG in the WTJ: 
C presupposes G if and only if both 1 & 2:
1. If C then God exists
2. If ~C then God exists 
Whether we predicate: If Causality, then God (or) If ~Causality, then God the same conclusion, God, obtains. In other words, God is the necessary precondition for all predication. Or to put it in Bahnsen’s terms, whether we affirm or deny the original belief, the transcendental analysis nevertheless reaches the very same conclusion given both premises. {NOTE WELL: We are not negating the metaphysicality of causality but rather the truth value of the predication of the metaphysicality of causality! In other words: ~causality (which is chaos) does not presuppose God(!), but indeed the belief or assertion of ~causality does! In other words, the concept of non-causality presupposes God.} 
The second way ought to be considered the most reasonable way in which we ought to interpret the instruction. There are two reasons for this. First, the second way is not an invalid argument as is the first way; and if we are able to interpret someone’s words in a way that is cogent rather than foolish, then we should. Secondly, it has not been shown that the author of the quote ever demonstrated in his many lectures and debates a single instance of fallaciously denying the antecedent while affirming the consequent. Yet on many occasions he labored the point that to argue against the Christian worldview, the Christian worldview must first be presupposed. And that is to argue both:

If sound argumentation, then God (since sound argumentation presupposes God)
and
If unsound argumentation, then God (since unsound argumentation... God) 
When we work these arguments through, we find:

If sound arguments, then God...
~God
Therefore, no sound argument... but there are sound arguments, therefore, God

and

If unsound arguments, then God...
~God
Therefore, no unsound arguments... but there are unsound arguments, therefore, God
Accordingly, whether we affirm sound arguments "or go back and negate" sound arguments, the same transcendental conclusion obtains - God!

Therefore:

If sound or unsound arguments, then God
~God
Therefore, no sound or unsound arguments (but there as such arguments, therefore, God)

The deductive argument, which is transcendental in nature, establishes God as the necessary precondition for both sound and unsound arguments. TAG, however, must be distinguised from garden variety deduction, as I show here: http://reformedapologist.blogspot.com/2010/04/deduction-certainty.html

Finally, TAG and Bahnsen has nothing to do with anything so silly as:

If sound argument, then God
Not sound argument
Therefore, God
 
In the final analyses, Bahnsen’s statement need not lead us into fallacious reasoning, as some who would like to claim Bahnsen do. Added to that, it is only when we interpret Bahnen’s statement in such a manner as not to be fallacious are we able to reconcile his summary statement with his many demonstrations of what the statement contemplates. Why not, therefore, let Bahnsen not be fallacious, especially if it allows him to be consistent with himself?

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Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Question Begging From Another Radical 2 Kingdom Proponent

I'm publishing this piece again because I've been reminded of late that the Escondido crowd remains loud and a problematic force against the reasonableness of Reformed epistemology and morals.

More question begging from the Radical 2 Kingdom camp, this time by Darryl Hart.

Indeed, one can have a justification for x while not being able to offer it. So, to use Darryl Hart’s example, one can have a justification for discerning curves from fastballs while being incapable of articulating that justification. In such cases what one lacks is the ability to articulate a justification - he does not lack having a justification. Notwithstanding, we ought not to think that because one can know something apart from being able to articulate a justification that, therefore, giving a justification is superfluous, or that those true beliefs that are not self-consciously justified must be as credible as those that are self-consciously justified. Let's not pretend that the ability to justify a belief is morally irrelevant, or that a robust justification lends no force to a rational defense of a belief.

The article leaps from (a) the premise that people do know things they aren't prepared to justify to (b) the grand implication that offering a robust justification for beliefs is of little use if only we can muddle through without having to give one. In the final analysis, the article begs the question of whether there actually exists an epistemic justification for laws in general and civil laws in particular and whether that justification is available to us, let alone useful for society. So, once again, R2K confounds the ability of societies to function apart from Scripture with the question of whether there is a moral imperative to apply Scripture to society whenever possible. In essence, R2Kers reason in the same fashion we see in the comic above. They have a preconceived conclusion that they'll arrive at any which way they can.

I might as well mention here that the Bahnsen reference employed by Darryl Hart is terribly misapplied. Bahnsen (with Van Til) thought that men know things that they are unwilling, even incapable of justifying. Accordingly, the reference with respect to one being reduced to absurdity does not speak to the question of whether men know how to count, or whether men know there should be degrees of punishment for transgressions. Nor does it pertain to the reasonableness of men holding to such beliefs they aren't prepared to justify. Certainly Bahnsen did not count it foolish for secular governments to dish out harsher punishments for rape than driving five miles over the speed limit. Not at all, for there is nothing contained in Bahnsen's theonomic thesis that would have prevented him from appreciating that societies can and do function apart from any sort of self-conscious epistemic warrant. What Bahnsen deemed foolish was not the implementation of law by unbelievers but rather the mindset that would abandon any hope in the only ultimate justification of such abstract entities. His issue was with the arbitrary and inconsistent manner in which unbelievers oppose themselves in their reasoning. The Bahnsen reference pertains to men not giving an account (an articulated justification) for their counting - it does not imply that men, unaided by Scripture, do not know how to count or aren't justified in their counting.

R2K might be the most unifying movement today within the Reformed tradition. Non-theonomists and theonomists alike oppose R2K. It reminds me of Dwarves and Elves uniting against Orcs.

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