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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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100 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hey Ron, you have been accused of on another website of not defending your view that the TAG is deductive and that Greg Bahnsen used deduction in his TAG! Gee now let me think about this... well that didn't take too long...

I guess he did not read through these: http://reformedapologist.blogspot.com/search/label/TAG

Ronald W. Di Giacomo said...

Paper will never resist ink my friend. BTW - just one website has accused me of misrepresenting TAG? My popularity must be waning.

Ron

RazorsKiss said...

I don't know if "accused" would be the appropriate term. At this point, it would be closer to "puzzled", I'm afraid.

As one of the other CH bloggers, I'm really at a loss as to why there is such a seeming reluctance to discuss the issue with the persons being responded to. I'm quite frankly puzzled by many of the remarks I've seen here.

I myself have not seen where TAG as deductive has been argued for, either. It has been assumed, it has been said to be implied, it has been said to be used by Butler - but the quotes given have not been addressed, I don't think. Could I ask why?

Ronald W. Di Giacomo said...

In the past couple of weeks I have addressed quotes from Bahnsen and Van Til regarding deduction, induction and transcendental arguments. I have reconciled Van Till with himself, and Bahnsen’s argumentation both in formal debates and classroom lectures with a single isolated quote of his that has been interpreted to mean something contrary to what Bahnsen practiced and taught. In other words, I have reconciled one isolated paragraph with his entire legacy in apologetics. I have, also, addressed the matter of certainty as it pertains to all three modes of inference. I have even gone so far as to explain in detail why Bahnsen preferred Modus Tollens over Modus Ponens. Therefore, it seems to me that my work is done.

Good Lord's Day.

Ron

Mark said...

I myself have not seen where TAG as deductive has been argued for, either.

"As Bahnsen often quipped, "The proof of God's existence is that without Him one could not prove anything" That is nothing other than "If proof, then God"

Obviously then Mr. RazorsKiss, whether or not you see something doesn't mean much. TAG is a very simple if / then. It doesn't require much of an argument to show that, just the short demonstration given above.

Additionally Mr. Choosing Hats isn't particularly astute. He imagines that the inclusion of the two sentences to the Bahnsen quote somehow validates his argument. i.e.

To put it simply, in the case of ‘direct’ arguments, whether rational or empirical, the negation of one of their premises changes the truth or reliability of their conclusion. But this is not true of transcendental arguments, and that sets them off from the other kinds of proof or analysis."

NB that choosing hats errantly supposes that by rational Bahnsen means deductive. But anyone with even a modicum of familiarity with Bahnsen and Van Til would know that both of them considered induction rational.

Second he says he thinks his clarifying quote shows that TAG is not deductive. This is absurd. All it shows is that TAG does not suffer from alternative major premises for there is only one which is stated by Bahnsen immediately after Mr. choosing hats imagined defeater.

"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.

It is no wonder that the critic has a problem making up his mind about hats and the RazorsKiss does not appear to be razor sharp.

RazorsKiss said...

Sir, there was not one "isolated" quote given, and the quote was not fully referenced, as Chris pointed out. There is also multiple instances of audio I have listened to that say the same thing. The quotes you have provided, I also think, lack sufficient context.

None of this explains the seeming willingness to treat others as if they are non-Christian. Refusing to link, not-mentioning their names, accusing them of various and sundry sins, and the like. While I understand that this is your prerogative, and this is your blog, we have actually read all of your posts concerning the topic, and linked to them. I gave above what I think of the *arguments*. I'm not convinced. What we're hearing in return is that the *person* making the arguments we're asking you to respond to is young, has not read the source material, is fasely representing, etc, etc. Not only is there a refusal to deal with the arguments presented (you have not addressed the chief arguments Chris has presented, in my humble opinion, sir), but there is a refusal, apparently, to even read them, to encourage others to read them, if they are so easily refuted.

Sir, I wouldn't treat an atheist as you've treated Chris. That saddens me, but I hope you realize that your behavior has convinced me that you don't have an argument to respond to Chris with. I expected better from you, sir, and I'm sorry to see it. Realize, many of us know people that know you - and you by reputation - and expect better of you. You don't know me, but I know of you - and I'm disappointed that you would behave so toward a fellow believer. Chris tried to be respectful, as befits your status - but I am not seeing the *humble* boldness Bahnsen encouraged us toward.

Ronald W. Di Giacomo said...

"I myself have not seen where TAG as deductive has been argued for, either"

Mark, presumably you meant to put that remark in quotes since it was written by the other person. I also assume you disagree with that assessment.

Best wishes,

Ron

Ronald W. Di Giacomo said...

"Refusing to link, not-mentioning their names, accusing them of various and sundry sins, and the like."

In other words, I am being of accused of accusing an anonymous person of sin, which some might call protecting a person’s good name. Moreover, I make it a habit of not providing links to sites I find deceivingly unbiblical. Certainly you will grant me such latitude. Even if I am in error, my motive can be seen in a more prudential light and even under good regulation. Finally, if someone misrepresents an innocent person (especially one not around to defend himself) whether intentionally or through muddled thinking and rather than recant of those falsehoods chooses to parade the misrepresentations publicly, then of course I reserve the right, and the duty, to call such misrepresentation sin, for it is a violation of the ninth commandment. You’ll forgive me but I choose to let God's precepts bind my conscience on this matter and not any arbitrary rules of engagement. So please, on all these counts, let us not put on pious airs by suggesting that I have treated someone worse than you would treat an atheist. So you see calling me "sir" is not what constitutes good behavior. Rather, it comes across more as a disguise for what is truly occurring.

As for my not dealing with the issues, my posts under the label TAG would seem to be exceedingly thorough. Yet rather than deal with them, you chose to use your allotted time and space for pure rhetoric. That was your prerogative.

Best of providence,

Ron

Mark said...

Mark, presumably you meant to put that remark in quotes since it was written by the other person. I also assume you disagree with that assessment.

Ron,

Right on both counts!

As for my not dealing with the issues, my posts under the label TAG would seem to be exceedingly thorough. Yet rather than deal with them, you chose to use your allotted time and space for pure rhetoric. That was your prerogative.

They are thorough, clear, correct and easily understood. At least if one is willing to wipe the tears away and quit whining.

Cheers

Joshua Butcher said...

To the men of choosing hats,

I have interacted with Ron in various ways and under different demeanors. I have more than once been on the opposing end of an argument with him, and I have more often found his arguments quite sound and lucid.

Not only has he provided the context you deny, but he has provided actual deductive arguments, which you could easily interact with, should you choose, or were you capable. Quite frankly, whether or not you are convinced has no bearing whatsoever on whether or not Ron has provided arguments. He has. Repeatedly. With charity.

The fact that he assumed that Chris had not read the relevant material was actually a charitable assumption. If it is true that those of you at choosing hats have read all the pertinent material, including all of Ron's posts on the subject of TAG, then there is little left to conclude other than you are a band of foolish men who have been so blinded by stupidity or arrogance that only the grace of God could illumine what is plain to so many others.

I would encourage you to cease your pointless interaction, repent of your falsehoods against Ron, and submit yourselves to the sound guidance of godly ministers, rather than waste your efforts in what are fruitless endeavors, given your current state.

May God be merciful to you as you consider the pleas of those here who have your best interest in mind, though you seem to have abandoned it.

RazorsKiss said...

Sir,
I did not deal with what you've posted because it has been dealt with by others. No need to repeat the effort. As I already pointed out, what you have said has been addressed - and in my estimation, not been responded to. To forcefully state my position is not dissonant with my respect for you. I do respect you. Respectfully, sir, I believe that your treatment of my friend is wrong, Biblically. I used the atheist example as just that - an example. It seems to myself, as well as quite a few people of my acquaintance that your comments have been quite unfair to the responses you were given. I pray that you would consider this in further apologetic endeavor.

Mark,
While I applaud the desire to boldly proclaim, I would also note that "humble" precedes "boldness". I'm aware that I am myself young, but I do "study to show myself approved" - as does Chris. It's not about personal offense. It's about consistency in the defense of the gospel, and it's confirmation. That is what we are concerned with, and we are concerned that this exchange will result in a reproach to that defense - as the arguments made here are practically identical to those made by atheists of our acquaintance - and *will* be used as ammunition, given that Bahnsen clearly states that deductive arguments do not provide certainty.

I'm aware that the position espoused here has been argued for - but not in accordance, I believe, with what Drs. Bahnsen and Van Til espoused. Which is why Chris engaged to begin with. I'm commenting because I'm concerned with the reproach to the Gospel that this exchange will engender - and it grieves me.

Ronald W. Di Giacomo said...

Dear RK,

Regarding your remark to Mark that “deductive arguments do not provide certainty”, well of course they don’t. As I posted: “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 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 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 deduction does not bring forth certainty may not be taken to mean that TAG is not sound; nor does it imply that TAG it is not a deductive argument. That's what this current blog post addresses.

With respect to your comments to me, I receive that portion with gladness. Thank you for your remarks. With me, I hope you will be pleased to put this matter to rest. As Emma said to Mr. Knightly, "you've made your point and I mine. Now let's not quarrel."

Best wishes,

Ron

Jeff said...

Ron:

All this was very well handled. One question though... Do you buy what this guy is peddling?

Jeff

Ronald W. Di Giacomo said...

I'm not entirely certain what you mean. I do stand by every polemic I have authored on this site and do not for a moment believe that any has been refuted.

RD

Brad B said...

Hi Ron, are you familiar with the Augustinian Logos Doctrine? Here
[ http://www.faithprez.org/gospe11.htm ] is a url from an article that is called "The Wisdom of the Reflected Light" that I've read several times. It comes to mind because with divine illumination as a component in the logical progression, rational deduction ought to be delievering certain knowledge--oughtn't it?

Ronald W. Di Giacomo said...

Brad,

That’s a tough question and one I’ve given some thought to. No doubt, what I'm about to say can be easily misunderstood, which gives me pause to make any comments. Let me say that I believe deduction can and often does play a part in obtaining knowledge of a proposition. I also believe that the knowledge of certain propositions that is originally obtained through the use of deduction need not be perpetually justified by the deductive process that first played a part in the justification of the belief in question. So for instance, our knowledge of the Trinity might have come through a deductive process of comparing Scripture with Scripture, but once we’ve been illuminated to the conclusion that God is triune (once we know God is triune) I don’t believe that the justification of that proposition needs partly to rely on a perpetual bringing to mind of the deduction from which we first became acquainted with the concluding proposition of that which contemplates the Trinity, though I suppose it can. Now let's proceed with caution here: Any defense of the doctrine of the Trinity would of course require an appeal to a deductive argument drawn from Scripture. Whereas a belief in the Trinity that would constitute knowledge can be wrought by the Holy Spirit working in conjunction with the single propositional truth that God is Triune. A child, for instance, is often told the truth that God is One in three Persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and believes it on the testimony (justification) of the Holy Spirit apart from deducing it from Scripture. They can have knowledge of truth, apart from having done exegesis. Similarly, our knowledge of the Trinity is knowledge of the proposition – God is triune, hence the knowledge of the truth need not be discursive, nor rely on deduction. Our knowledge of the Trinity can be similar in our experience as that of the child’s, even when our initial knowledge of the proposition may have come by the occasion of the Spirit working through discursive reasoning. Any polemical justification (i.e. defense) of the doctrine would have to come from a deduction from Scripture, whereas one’s justification (i.e. warrant) for believing the proposition could be due to God giving increase to the truth of the proposition that was not formally derived by the knower yet believed with warrant just the same.

Even induction can lead one to the brink of knowing even though that which can be known will never follow from the premises as in deduction, but only supported by them; yet as evidences are organized into strong arguments, God may be pleased to quicken one to another true proposition (one that is suppressed in unbelief) that goes beyond the scope of the premises, which nonetheless the evidences corroborate. Certainly in such cases, the proposition that is known does not follow from the premises of the inductive argument, though the premises may support the conclusion in some degree or another. (This is not to give any credence whatsoever to evidentialism, which I find in practice to be a denial of the clear revelation of God and the culpability of man.)

Regarding my post, it is not the valid ordering of biblical premises regarding the persons of the Godhead that brings forth knowledge of the Trinity. Accordingly, it is not the argument nor the truth of the propositions contained in the premises but rather the Holy Spirit working in the presence of both - bearing witness to the rational conclusion - that brings forth such knowledge.

Blessings,

Ron

Annoyed Pinoy said...

If I haven't asked you this already...

Ron, in light of the various blogs you've made like this one http://reformedapologist.blogspot.com/2007/01/sound-proof-for-gods-existence.html, what do you think about Paul Manata's statement concerning the need to formulate "cogent" arguments and not merely sound (and therefore also valid) arguments?

See his comments in the comments section of the following links.

http://triablogue.blogspot.com/2007/04/touchstones-pickle.html

Paul says, "No, actually I don’t. In fact, I have a formal proof in the other thread. In fact, coming up with formal proofs is easy. I could do it all day long. The problem is coming up with a *cogent* proof."

And especially this link:

http://triablogue.blogspot.com/2009/05/cogent-arguments.html

Do you believe that the unregenerate can have any common premises with Christians which can be used to formulate a cogent argument? Since, as Van Til said, in one sense, the Christian and the non-Christian don't even think of a rose in the same way. One thinks of a rose as created by the Christian God, while other does not.

Ronald W. Di Giacomo said...

AP,

Please do not take this wrong but it might be helpful if we not try to deal with things like "what do you think about what X-and-so says." That leaves to much up for grabs. We could end up having to wrestle through dynamics having to do with what X's words literally mean as opposed to what you or I think they literally mean, and what you and I think was intended. I am not trying to be difficult. I'm just trying to make progress and at the same time save both of us possible grief.

Having said all that we may always assume the opponent's position and take it to its logical conclusion in reductio fashion and see where that gets us. CVT is right, on theses two matters - in principle we disagree on everything but there is formal agreement. Unbelievers count; they just can't account for the counting.

Best wishes,

Ron

Annoyed Pinoy said...

Ron said...


Please do not take this wrong but...


No, that's fine with me. No offense taken. :-))

Here's another question I have. Some Van Tillians believe that a Strong Modal TAG hasn't been formulated yet. Do you agree? Among those who deny its current formulation, some believe it can never be formulated, while others believe it might be in the future. What are your thoughts on that issue?

Ronald W. Di Giacomo said...

"For x (some aspect of human experience) to be the case, y must also be the case since y is the precondition of x. Since x is the case, y is the case." Michael Butler

Applying the above transcendental forumulation in traditional form we end up with:

Prove A: The Christian God exists.
Step 1 ~A: (Assume the opposite of what we are trying to prove): The Christian God does not exist.
Step 2 (~A--> B): If God does not exist, then there is no intelligible experience since God is the precondition of intelligibility
Step 3 (~B): There is intelligible experience (Contradiction!)
Step 4 (~ ~A): It is not the case that God does not exist (Modus Tollens on 2 and 3)
Step 5 (A): --> God does exist (Law of negation.)

Many Christians hold to the above argument, which is transcendental in nature. A common debate among certain apologists will be over whether step 2 can be shown to be philosophically justified. Immediately below is what I believe to be a feeble justification for step 2 of the above proof but I have seen it enough that I believe it is worth interacting with.

Subsidiary "argument" that is intended to justify step-2 of TAG:

Premise 1: Within the worldview of Christianity intelligibility can be justified.
Premise 2: All worldviews that we have been confronted with cannot justify intelligibility.
Conclusion: Since we cannot deny intelligibility, and since only the Christian worldview so far can justify it, then the Christian worldview is true.

One of the problems I have with the subsidiary argument is how can an inductive argument justify the God of Christianity when it cannot justify the heart of Christianity, the Resurrection of Christ? In other words, an inductive justification for step-2 presupposes uniformity in nature, yet the existence of the Christian God requires discontinuity, the Resurrection. How does one plan on justifying discontinuity on the basis of induction, apart from presupposing the self-attesting word of God? Moreover, the conclusion of the subsidiary argument that is intended to justify step 2 of the transcendental argument, which is “the Christian worldview is true,” exceeds the scope of the premises. Induction is a posteriori in nature and can only yield as its maximal conclusion something that is probably true. If step 2 is probably true, then it might also be false; yet Christians have a more sure word of knowledge. Moreover, that the Christian worldview is "more reasonable" than the non-Christian worldview remains unjustified because the question of whether one is even philosophically justified in his use of induction, so that rational inference may be drawn, has not been established. Let alone, how can we have proximates such as “more reasonable” without absolutes, hence God?

cont.

Ronald W. Di Giacomo said...

In order to rationally infer that God’s existence is "most probable,” one must first presuppose that which the conclusion of the subsidiary argument does not afford – God’s actual, ontological existence, which is the necessary precondition for inductive inference. This problem is insurmountable. In arguing for the high probability of God’s existence, the apologist, like the unbeliever who argues against God’s existence, presupposes tools of argumentation that presuppose God’s actual existence. The subsidiary argument, which concludes that God might not exist, begins by presupposing the actual intelligibility of both deduction (TAG) and induction (the justification for step 2), which presuppose God's actual existence! Accordingly, one’s presupposition of God’s actual existence ends up contradicting his conclusion that God’s existence is only probable. Accordingly, one would have to revise his presupposition-hypothesis to “God might not exist.” In doing so, one will not be able to justify actual induction or deduction. Actual rationality presupposes neither a probable God or a conceptual scheme. In order to infer that God’s existence is philosophically uncertain, one must first borrow from a worldview that comports with philosophical certainty so that there can be philosophical uncertainty. That worldview is the Christian worldview.


In summary, the Christian need not evaluate an infinite number of worldviews in order to know (and justify) that there are only two worldviews. In the like manner, the Christian need not witness an infinite amount of deaths to know that all men are mortal. We have an appeal for such premises, the truth of God’s word, which tells us that there are only two worldviews; one is that revelation is the necessary precondition for the justification of intelligible experience and the other is a denial of the Christian worldview. Moreover, induction requires as its necessary precondition something more than a conceptual scheme for God’s existence.

TAG is sound in that the form is valid and the premises are true. We must keep in mind that the truth of any valid conclusion is not predicated upon the consensus of the truth of the premises. Accordingly, since unbelievers will not accept the truth claims of the Bible and, therefore, step 2 of the proof, the only thing the Christian can do is refute the hypothetical competitors. In doing so we might gain more psychological confidence that God exists. Notwithstanding, a demonstration of the soundess of an argument does not make an argument sound. The apologist merely demonstrates the veracity of TAG to a watching world when he exposes the various forms of the one unbelieving worldview for its arbitrariness and inconsistencies.

There is no limit to the number of sound deductive arguments for the Christian worldview. Most of which are not very useful or interesting, such as: God exits or nothing exists; not nothing exists; therefore, God exists. As Dr. Bahnsen noted, proof of the Christian worldview is child's play. The beauty of TAG as a special kind of deductive argument is not in the reductio but in the transcendental challenge, which shows that to argue against Christianity one must first presuppose only that which Christianity affords.

Thoughts?

Joshua Butcher said...

Ron,

Excellent summary of some thoughts you've expressed elsewhere.

I think your expression of the defense of TAG is consonant with the testimony of Scripture that it requires the Holy Spirit providing conviction of the truth in order for any unbeliever to accept what he by nature denies. No amount of proofs can force any mind to assent to the truth, just as no amount of persuasion, in itself, provides truth.

Annoyed Pinoy said...

Ron, you've probably answered the questions I'm about to ask in your previous blogs. So, I'll understand if you don't want to repeat. But, how do you answer the problem of Fristianity? Also, how do we know that Christianity provides *all* the preconditions of intelligibility if we don't know how many preconditions there are?

A non-Christian could argue that Christianity might account for all 57 (arbitrary number) known (to Christians) preconditions of intelligibility when in fact there maybe 65 (of which some other worldview provides which either was lost to history; not yet encountered; or yet to be formulated/revealed by the true deity).

A non-Christian can argue that it's by an arbitrary faith that we believe the Christian Scriptures which teach (by implication) 1. Christianity alone provides for the preconditions and 2. there are only two worldviews (all the various worldviews only being sister worldviews under the one umbrella of The anti-Christian Worldview). In which case, it looks to them that we're just playing a game of "King of the Hill" when we perform our reductios. I've been accused of that btw.

When discussing with unbelievers and we get to this point in the conversation, my only answer so far has been to say that we Christians have come to recognize and believe the true worldview not because we found it by an inductive search, but because God "found" us and regenerated us (i.e. made Himself known to us). We didn't inductively find the truth, nor did we stumble upon it by chance (since it could have been and eternal quest). Nor did we come to it by pure reason Cartesian style. Rather the Truth caught us as we were running away from Him. But that kind of answer smacks of the very arbitrariness (e.g. atheists) and anti-rational/irrational mysticism (e.g. pagans) we accuse non-believers of. What are you thoughts? Btw, I have no problem with my answer. But is it right and enough? What more can be said?

Ronald W. Di Giacomo said...

AP,

I think I answered those questions in what I wrote to you in the comments section. If you, a Christian, know it's true that revelation is the only justification for knowledge and that God is the precondition for knowledge, then why aren't you allowed to appeal to the authority that makes those preconditions known to you. If the unbeliever claims not to believe in reality or logic, it does not make reality and logic false. In the like manner, if he will not accept God's word, that does not place God's word out of bounds with respect to what constitues a sound construct. We know there are only two worldviews (yet many variations).

Gotta run off to Sunday worship!

Ron

Ronald W. Di Giacomo said...

AP,

I think I answered those questions in what I wrote to you in the comments section. If you, a Christian, know it's true that revelation is the only justification for knowledge and that God is the precondition for knowledge, then why aren't you allowed to appeal to the authority that makes those preconditions known to you. If the unbeliever claims not to believe in reality or logic, it does not make reality and logic false. In the like manner, if he will not accept God's word, that does not place God's word out of bounds with respect to what constitues a sound construct. We know there are only two worldviews (yet many variations).

Gotta run off to Sunday worship!

Ron

Brad B said...

Hi Ron, in my limited experience and knowledge employing presuppositional approaches, I've seen that the appeal for justification is an embarrassment for the non theist/naturalist types. Since they are usually so indebted to empericism only to find out the emperor has no chlothes compared to rationally justified knowledge, they usually go away with tails between the legs when they cannot justify empericism. I've mostly been satisfied with this result when there are Christians being beat up by "facts" being presented meant to attack the faith, but I've rarely been challenged to go further like I know some are. In fact it seems to me that the greatest challenge to TAG comes from other Christians rather from unbelievers.

The premise #2 challenge and defense you offer is interesting and needed. I think that even if premise 2 is denied, by holding to it and showing that Christianity is necessarily true IF premise 2 stands is still an effective move in showing that Christianity is much more rational than any other worldview.

Ronald W. Di Giacomo said...

Thanks for those thoughts, Brad.

Blessings,

Ron

Tim said...

http://reformedapologist.blogspot.com/2010/03/to-us-only-thing-of-great-significance.html

Above was your original post and from that post where you addressed the thinking of a friend of a friend without mentioning his name you got chastised? What's this world coming to? Only a paranoid person would think you treated him badly when you did not mention his name coupled with the fact that it was obvious you did not even know who he was!!!! It's amazes me that they would publish your name in response! Oh well life goes on...

Tim

Ronald W. Di Giacomo said...

Tim,

I must admit I did find that a bit curious but probably no less curious than creating additional blog posts to interact with two comments on this thread.

Best,

Ron

maybe said...

I'm appreciate your writing skill.Please keep on working hard.^^

Ronald W. Di Giacomo said...

Thanks, Maybe.

I hope you appreciate the content too. :)

Ron

Anonymous said...

Interesting theories and philosophies.
However, your valid and sound reasoning collapses on itself when you purposely ignore proven scientific facts. Genesis 1 clearly claims that the earth was created before the sun. This is complete nonsense. Surely, if the christian god was the creator of the universe, he would have communicated this fact while co-authoring the bible. This is just one example of refusal to except reality over theology.

Where is the Intelligibility?

Reformed Apologist said...

Anonymous said...
Interesting theories and philosophies.
However, your valid and sound reasoning collapses on itself when you purposely ignore proven scientific facts.


If an argument is sound, then by definition the conclusion is true.

Genesis 1 clearly claims that the earth was created before the sun. This is complete nonsense.

How can "nonsense" even exist within a worldview that presupposes chance acting upon matter over time?

Surely, if the christian god was the creator of the universe, he would have communicated this fact while co-authoring the bible.

How do you know what the Christian God would communicate given that the Christian God in your worldview is a non-entity?

This is just one example of refusal to except reality over theology.

How can there be "reality" apart from theology?

Where is the Intelligibility?

Define intelligibilty and reconcile it according to the axioms of your worldview.

Anonymous said...

Actually, an argument is sound if it is valid AND the premises are true.

One of your claims (Genesis 1) is that the earth was created before the sun by the god of the bible.

Is this true or false?

Reformed Apologist said...

I know what a sound argument entails. It was you who referred to my argument as sound. Something tells me you intended to say my argument collapses, but you said my "sound" argument collapses. In any case, I never made any claims about the order of creation. Finally, before we get into any critique of the logic and inferences re: the Bible, you must first give an account of logic and induction given your worldview.

Reformed Apologist said...

Let me save us some time. Tell me the logical contradiction of "earth before sun." You will no doubt introduce a premise having to do with vegetation or days, but those objections have been overcome over and over again, even by fourth graders. So for time sake, prove why the common responses to your complaint are invalid and also show how you justify predication. Now I'll sit back and watch you skirt the issue. (In simple terms, you're going to have to explain why God who can create cannot do x apart from normal means etc.)

Anonymous said...

My initial comment about your "sound" agrument was nothing more than sarcasm. Your challenge and approach to justifying your conclusion is a common philosophical game designed to "skirt around" scientific facts.
That's not logic.
Again, this is just one example of a refusal to accept reality.

Reformed Apologist said...

You're long on assertions but you've argued nothing and refuted nothing, whereas this site is chocked full of arguments and refutations.

Anonymous said...

Astronomy 101: Star formation comes first, then planets from the dust & debris that remains. This is a scientific fact based on years of space exploration. A fact is something that is known with certainty because it has been objectively verified. For example, a water molecule consists of 2-hydrogen atoms & 1-oxygen atom. Is not the bible your source of evidence for you conclusion?

Reformed Apologist said...

Your ignorance is worse than I thought.

"Astronomy 101: Star formation comes first, then planets from the dust & debris that remains."

And how do you know this? If you were not there to observe, please offer the basis upon which you draw this inference.

"This is a scientific fact based on years of space exploration."

Proof please...

"A fact is something that is known with certainty because it has been objectively verified."

Explain what objective certain entails and how induction leads to facts. Maybe you should read a bit more about induction and the philosophy of fact.

"For example, a water molecule consists of 2-hydrogen atoms & 1-oxygen atom."

Even the best naturalists would agree that this is an inference and not a matter of epistemic certainty.

"Is not the bible your source of evidence for you conclusion?"

The question is poorly stated.

Anonymous said...

Astronomy 101: The sun is a star that produces heat from the fusion of hydrogen atoms. Is this also an inference?
Source: A 4th grade Science Book.

The Source for your "philosophical" facts?

p.s., if you are truly interested in seeing "physical, concrete evidence" of star formation. Simply go to NASA's website and search for the photos (thousands) taken by the Spitzer and Hubble telescopes of different stages of star and solar system formation. Aren't photos amazing? They can actually take you back in time to analyze observable evidence.

Reformed Apologist said...

Yes, that is an inference. Scientists appreciate that, as do philosophers. In any case, you're not interested in rational debate for if you were, you would have formulated an argument by now.

Anonymous said...

No argument. Just looking for answers. Apparently, you and I have different meanings for inference. The sun operates off the law of nuclear fusion, you know the same principle used to build atomic bombs. Like the two dropped on Japan, killing hundred-thousands. Wow! How do you see that as an inference? My main goal is to seek an answer from someone such as yourself (biblical scholar): How do you explain the contradiction between the bible's claim that earth was created before the sun & scientific observable proof to the contrary? Please don't tell me inference; just the truth.

Reformed Apologist said...

Tell me the logical contradiction of earth before sun. To simply say that science proves otherwise isn't informative, let alone an argument. It's an assertion. I'm most happy to allow for inferences, but nonetheless I cannot discern from your statements the contradiction. if you would like to argue that the sun MUST come before the earth, then show why this must be the case. Is it because plants on the earth needed the sun? What is the reason that sun must come after earth, and then we can discuss whether that condition could have been met in another way.

Anonymous said...

The sun came first because of gravity. You may want to read about how gravity works. No assertion nor inference. You do realize that the earth revolves around the sun?

Reformed Apologist said...

You neither have yet to show a logical contradiction nor presented an argument. You only assert things. Do you know what an argument looks like? Do you know what a logical contradiction entails? Do you know what an inference is? How about an assertion? That the earth revolves around the sun does not imply the order of creation with respect to earth and sun. If you'd argue to a conclusion from premises that imply the conclusion you might find that you're assuming a premise (possibly about gravitational pull) that can be addressed through the Source of all force, or that you're assuming the earth rotated prior to the sun. In any case and as I said earlier, are you suggesting that there are physical laws that cannot be supplied by an immaterial Being?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous is not the sharpest crayon in the box.

Anonymous said...

The other anonymous that is. :)

InPursuitofKnowledge said...

Some people assert that induction proves nothing. However, in reality, induction has allowed us to create technologies such as airplanes, cars, cell phones, computers, televisions, medicines, and medical equipment that continues to save millions of lives every year. Wow! Is that what some consider nothing. Is that a sign of being detached from reality?

Reformed Apologist said...

Depends on what one is willing to call "proof."

InPursuitofKnowledge said...

Technology is a reflection of our understanding of how the Universe works. Are you asserting that the millions of lives saved with our medical technology is not proof?

Reformed Apologist said...

Depends on what one is willing to call "proof."

InPursuitofKnowledge said...

Your response to my question makes no sense. It's the same as you claiming that nuclear fusion is an inference, which is the same as asserting that gravity is an inference and not a fact of reality. There is clearly a disconnect between your ideology and reality, Bro.

Reformed Apologist said...

You'll be hard pressed to find even one scientist, secular or not, to say that these things aren't inferences. Maybe google the scientific method and asserting the consequent.

InPursuitofKnowledge said...

If it's only an inference, then it's not a fact of reality. Who in their right mind can claim that gravity is not a fact of reality?

Reformed Apologist said...

InPursuitofKnowledge said... "If it's only an inference, then it's not a fact of reality. Who in their right mind can claim that gravity is not a fact of reality?"

You mean who besides the scientific and philosophical world? :)

How would you like to prove the hypothesis of gravity, like this:

p1. If gravity exists, then when I drop my book it falls to the ground.

p2. When I drop my book it falls to the ground

Therefore, gravity exists

Are you satisfied with that form of argument If so, doesn't this argument take the same form?

p1. If it's raining, then the street is wet

p2. The street is wet

Therefore, it's raining

Aside from the formal fallacy that is used to draw scientific inference, there's the whole matter of assuming the future will be like the past, let alone the justification for presupposing the intelligibility of causality.

You're going to have to do better than just asserting things that even secular philosophers and scientists reject.

Reformed Apologist said...

Regarding your last post, concepts are not inductive inferences and ontology of unicorns is irrelevant.

Roger said...

Hi Ron,

Are you familiar with the paper written by James N. Anderson and Greg Welty, “The Lord of Noncontradiction: An Argument for God from Logic”? If so, what are your thoughts on it?

In a nutshell, their argument is that there are laws of logic only because God exists. In other words, the laws of logic are metaphysically dependent on the existence of God, understood as a necessarily existent, personal, spiritual being. This metaphysical dependency relationship is essentially the relationship between God and God’s thoughts.

This argument (unless one rejects the laws of logic, which is a self-refuting position) seems quite convincing to me.

Thanks!

Roger

Roger said...

If I’m not mistaken, the Anderson/Welty argument can be broken down as…

(1) Necessarily, there are laws of logic (they are self-evident).
(2) Necessarily, if there are laws of logic, then God exists.
(3) Necessarily, God exists.

Reformed Apologist said...

Roger,

Yes, there are many arguments and variations of arguments that are sound, that one being just one of the many. Clark's argument, borrowing from Augustine, that knowledge is mental, is much more profound I think.

Truth exists
Truth is immutable
Truth is eternal
Truth is mental
Truth is superior to man's mind
Truth is God

Having said that, without having timeless and universal experience how can finite creatures even know anything? We know things because the One who knows all things provides justification for true beliefs. Yet apart from God providing such justification we're always left to finite justification that in the end can prove itself to have an exception, whether actual or theoretical (without getting into Gettier or Goldman's barns). Given the possibility of exception we cannot know anything because we could be wrong. However, if God who cannot lie grants justification then we can know.

That is why I find it best to argue transcendentally - what must be true for this fact of experience to be intelligible? I don't like granting knowledge, reality or ethics as a freebie to unbelievers; the professing atheist must provide justification for these concepts, which must also comport with his network of presuppositions (his worldview).

Anonymous said...

I am no Clarkian but I cannot stand to watch him become a wax nose by the wooden headed Clarkians on that Clarkian website you so kindly link from your Blog. It is appalling to me that anyone would say that some choices are amoral. You are definitely right. How God looks at choices depends upon context and motive! This is absolutely basic to Christianity. The reason those guys do not see this is because they have no access to their dead leader. They only believe what they think he believed and they think he believed whatever their carnal minds want / need him to believe. Clark has been reduced to a ball of wax!

Reformed Apologist said...

It's hard to understand what is driving this thinking. In any case, there's also the matter of sins of omission. The main proponent of this view would point out that there is no sin in looking to one's left. But what if that choice is entails the intention of ignoring a murder which the agent could prevent without putting anyone else at risk? The choice to walk on by on the other side of the street (to reference a parable) is regarded as sin. Again, it's not just the fallen state of the individual that makes his plowing to be tainted with sin. That is not what Reformed theology teaches. What it teaches is that the aspirations and intentions of the heart contain sin in each and every choice. Those intentions proceed from the fallen state but the distinction must be maintained.

As you might have read, investing, vacationing and reading the paper are all thought to be neutral. I responded with: “If I continue reading the Wall Street Journal after my child falls down the stairs and injures herself, is the choice to continue reading the paper of no moral accountability? If I invest my entire life’s earnings in a speculative penny stock, is God neutral on the matter? If I go to Europe on vacation and in the process go into such debt that my house gets foreclose on, is God indifferent?”

Yes, this is very foreign indeed to Reformed thinking. Maybe I should just suggest that they talk to their pastors about these things. :)

Roger said...

Thanks for your response, Ron. What I was wondering, though, is whether or not you believe the Anderson/Welty argument provides the philosophical justification for step 2 in the TAG formulation you cited earlier in your comments. It seems that it does to me, for it formally proves why “God is the precondition of intelligibility” – because the laws of logic are metaphysically dependent on the existence of God:

(1) Necessarily, there are laws of logic (they are self-evident).
(2) Necessarily, if there are laws of logic, then God exists.
(3) Necessarily, God exists.

Unless one rejects the laws of logic (which is a self-refuting position), it seems to me that their argument is quite convincing. Of course, this is only a summary of their argument. One would have to read the paper in its entirety to see how they justify each of those three points.

Reformed Apologist said...

Hi Roger,

You might want to check this post, which gets into step 2 a bit. http://reformedapologist.blogspot.com/2007/01/sound-proof-for-gods-existence.html

I do not think that argument by Greg and James proves step 2. I suspect it wasn't intended to do though.

Things like "self-evident" are claims made by finite people who don't possess universal experience let alone experience of the future and the past. That something is self-evident to me doesn't imply it's self-evident to all. Although laws in general and logic laws in particular are dependent upon God, that premise can only be proven by an appeal to revelation.

Maybe check out the other post and we can discuss "over there" if you want. :)

Anonymous said...

Why you delete my post to Roger on the other thread? It is plain vanilla is it not? :)

Anonymous said...

Well, you probably found it a bit over the top. Fine, I get that. You gotta admit though that it gets a tad tedious having always to lisp to people who show little attention. Hate to see anybody wase time with anyone especially Clarkians.

Reformed Apologist said...

I don't think he's a Clarkian as I've seen him take to task those who uphold two persons in the Son.

To your point though, although I don't mind laboring in this regard, what gets "tedious" is being corrected by people who are missing very basic points. It's painful to read that I didn't address questions when I did. The problem is that too many people don't bother to interact with the responses. They just talk over them. There's a world of differnce between guys like James and guys like Roger. In any case, I'm very close to disappearing from cyber space.

Anonymous said...

Can't blame you. It is pretty bad when things become so sectarian and partisan that professing Reformed Christians say that all choices are not moral choices. What's this world coming to!

Anonymous said...

Have you seen the Dodger's latest post? Still think he is not as bad as the other guy? There is no difference in attitude and no difference in acumen. Rude and dull. That is why I never deal with Clarkians.

Reformed Apologist said...

Not good.

He continues to abstracts intentions from acts albeit more subtly because he doesn’t understand (truly, he doesn’t understand hence his subtle mistakes) the complexity of the intentions that go into any choice. For instance, he now abstracts and isolates (pits if you prefer) a man’s choice to eat ice cream (which includes his intention to eat ice cream) from his choice to ignore a woman in need, calling these “apples and oranges.” In such a scenario, the man’s insatiable desire for ice cream causes him to ignore the woman and choose ice cream over helping the woman. The reason why “he’s choosing to eat... rather than help” is due to the sinful intention to fulfill the flesh with ice cream, which results in his eating of ice cream AND his ignoring of the woman.

Once again, it’s terribly simplistic to say that the agent's choice to eat ice cream is morally neutral when at the moment of choice the decision is not merely vanilla over chocolate but rather ice cream over helping a woman; hence the simplicity, abstraction and all the rest.

The idea that all choices are moral in nature is quite basic to a Reformed understanding of things. It's sad to think that people would construct such paradigms and look at things so atomistically in the face of all Scripture has to say about the heart.

Anonymous said...

I didn’t even catch that point. I zeroed in on these main ones and some others:

1. Nobody gives “proper thanks to the Lord’ so from get-go he is dealing in an impossible scenario. What the Dodger does is define “no sin” and then says “hey look, no sin!”

2. He held using “moral state” against you when it was condescension to James at 15 since James was confusing state with intention.

3. Here’s the real howler of the bunch: “But does He hold us accountable for our voluntary choices that in no way violate His moral law or disobey an otherwise applicable command? Absolutely not!” Um, a little question begging do I detect?

I need to ring you up anyway about some churchy matters. You and I have spoken before. I still have your number if it is the same one you had about eight months ago.

Alex

Reformed Apologist said...

same number

Yes, the problems are many but nothing a phone call wouldn't have solved. :)

Whenever I see absurd conclusions I look for a root cause or governing presupposition. I came across this sort of thing once before and it was a legalistic antinominan mindset that was driving the conclusions. The person thought there would be no sin in acting unwisely (he literally stated it as such) because wisdom was not part of the moral law. This person was a student in Escondido. Ran the bookstore in fact.

Call anytime.

Anonymous said...

Will phone you up later today.

On this choosing thing... deliberations are always moral. Calvin thought so as did Jonathan Edwards. Dodger would like to qualify his thesis by saying that the person gave thanks properly and so on and so forth. He wants to remove all sin up front and then say "hey, no sin! Must be a morally neutral choice!" I guess I am repeating myself now. :)

Reformed Apologist said...

Please do not refer to him in any way other than by his name. It would probably be better not to refer to him at all.

That our choices are all moral ones comes from our being created in God's likeness. All His choices have a moral quality to them as well. Even logic is ethical after all.

Thomas said...

Ron,

This is an intriguing subject but not necessarily an old one. Given that all choices are a matter of decision and judgment they are moral by the nature of the case. It can be no other way. Any choice to x is a choice not to y. More to the point is any choice to x is a *choice* not to ~x. Therefore, all choices to x involve opportunity cost ~x.

Roger is overlooking that opportunity cost is infinite and cannot be reduced to choosing x over x 1. Chocolate over vanilla does not capture this philosophical nuance. The very choice to choose one flavor x over another single flavor y begs the question of moral justification for the set of all ~x of which y is part. Infinite opportunity cost places additional demand upon the creature to eat in good conscience. At the very least, man either does or does not inquire as to whether choosing y is offensive to anyone. Maybe he need not but it is a theoretical consideration which also contributes to the moral nature of such otherwise inane choices. At base, whatever is not of faith is sin. That “whatever” includes choices such as the ones being discussed here.

Reformed Apologist said...

Thomas,

Thanks for stopping by and weighing in. Briefly, as I think about this more I wonder whether what is being conflated is preference as opposed to choice. That one prefers chocolate can be morally neutral since preferences can be God-given and not learned, etc. Indeed though and to your point, it is terribly simplistic and misleading to abstract choices from the matrix of things.

Cheers,

Ron

Anonymous said...

Ron:

What is more egregious is Gordon Clark is impugned with these beliefs.

It is an atrocity that Clark has such a bad name. The reason he has is because his followers assume trajectories and draw inferences that are not implicit in his writings.

It always takes a few generations for people to get beyond personalities and misunderstandings so that they might profit from those they have misunderstood.

If people would spend more time thinking than just parroting they might begin to understand a few things. A healthy fear of the Lord wouldn't hurt either.

I always appreciate your willingness to parse out and evaluate points of view on merit alone.

Reformed Apologist said...

Other than your last remark, I'm in agreement. :) Seriously, thanks.

What I find most striking is that so often the people who appear least equipped to make fine distinctions often seem to be the loud, obnoxious, dogmatic ones. They might do well to ask themselves whether they were the sharper ones in school or more importantly ever tested well. Everyone is now apt to teach. It's no longer a gift but a cyber right.

If one cannot construct a basic syllogism or doesn't recognize informal fallacies that jump off the page, then I suspect they would do well to lurk more or ask more questions rather than assert so much. That would take too much humility I suppose. Of course we now operate in a climate wherein even these observations will be met with resistance. So, I've probably said enough.

Anonymous said...

I just saw your most recent interchange with "Roger" about the
"Covenant Of Works." I hope he is just being difficult because if he is not just being difficult he is just unlearned about these things. Oh well...

InPursuitofKnowledge said...

Given the fact that the bible approves of slavery and does not terminate the practice, why are there no slaves in Israel or America?

Leviticus 25 (New King James Version)The Law Concerning Slavery
39"And if one of your brethren who dwells by you becomes poor, and sells himself to you, you shall not compel him to serve as a slave. 40As a hired servant and a sojourner he shall be with you, and shall serve you until the Year of Jubilee. 41And then he shall depart from you--he and his children with him--and shall return to his own family. He shall return to the possession of his fathers. 42For they are My servants, whom I brought out of the land of Egypt; they shall not be sold as slaves. 43You shall not rule over him with rigor, but you shall fear your God. 44And as for your male and female slaves whom you may have--from the nations that are around you, from them you may buy male and female slaves. 45Moreover you may buy the children of the strangers who dwell among you, and their families who are with you, which they beget in your land; and they shall become your property. 46And you may take them as an inheritance for your children after you, to inherit them as a possession; they shall be your
permanent slaves. But regarding your brethren, the children of Israel, you shall not rule over one another with rigor.

Reformed Apologist said...

Given the fact that the bible approves of slavery and does not terminate the practice, why are there no slaves in Israel or America?

Does the approval of x imply the fruition of x? In other words, given the fact that the God approves of perfect kindness, do you wonder why there isn't perfect kindness in Israel or America - or anywhere else? Do you wonder why you reason so badly given that God approves of perfect reasoning?

Please answer me. Why do you hate God so much? What has He ever done to you but be patient and long suffering with your rebellion against Him?

InPursuitofKnowledge said...

"Does the approval of x imply the fruition of x?" You and I differ on this point. You believe God approves of slavery, and I
do not.

"In other words, given the fact that the God approves of perfect kindness, do you wonder why there isn't perfect kindness in Israel or America - or anywhere else?" This is a False analogy because perfect kindness does not guarantee wealth creation as slave labor does. Nevertheless, my point is that the bible does not terminate the practice of slavery and if God approved of slavery, why are there no slaves in Israel or America?

"Do you wonder why you reason so badly given that God approves of perfect reasoning?" "Why do you hate God so much?" Because I'm inquisitive and seek knowledge, I hate God? Is your accusation the end result of your reasoning?

Approval of a practice by God would confirm its moral justification. So, I'm asking you (a theologian) for a moral justification for slavery.

Reformed Apologist said...

Your posts are getting more and more convoluted. Your original post argued that God’s approval of x should entail the fruition of x. My analogy was not “false” because it showed that your axiom is not something you hold to consistently because the approval of perfect kindness does not BY YOUR STANDARD mean that perfect kindness should obtain in America or Israel. Accordingly, it’s not a universal truth that you yourself abide by - that if God approves of something we should, therefore, see that something existing in America or Israel. Yet again, you argue by the same self-refuting axiom when you assert: “my point is that the bible does not terminate the practice of slavery and if God approved of slavery, why are there no slaves in Israel or America?” So, once again you argue according to a principle you don’t agree with:

If God approves of x, then we should expect to see x

We don’t see x.

Therefore, God does not approve of x


As for the moral justification for slavery; it’s biblical restitution. If a man destroys your property, then he should have to make amends. Sitting in prison with three squares a day while watching talk shows does nobody any good, let alone serve the ends of justice. Don't confuse biblical slavery with southern slavery.

The only way I will ever correspond with you again is if you post a number for me to phone and for you disclose your identity.

That you would say that "gravity" is a fact of nature illustrates that you are at odds with the scientific world; the philosophical world and your own understanding of how things are on the moon.

Bye

Anonymous said...

Inpursuit needs to pursue understanding what his own questions mean. Maybe then he can see why he has been answered.

InPursuitofGodliness said...

Who in their right mind can claim that gravity is not a fact of reality?

A fact of "reality" like gravity on the moon? So much for inductive inference bringing forth "facts" of reality given that there can be and in the case of gravity there *are* exceptions. Forget about the moon, Mr. Pursuit Of Knowledge, at what point does empirical observation become a "fact" of reality? Facts of reality are facts before being discovered.

Answer me this...Do you believe the Bible is the infallible word of God?

Anonymous said...

What I think she or he was trying to say is since slavery is economically positive and permissible by Scripture it must be God who prevents it because capitalists could justify it with the Bible. Therefore God must not allow it and the Bible must be false. This is very unusual reasining but nothing she has said makes any sense anyway,

Bible and Slavery said...

http://reformed-theology.org/html/books/slavery/southern_slavery_as_it_was.htm

Bible and Slavery said...

From link:

When we turn to individuals and families, the situation is very different. The abolitionists maintained that slave-owning was inherently immoral under any circumstance. But in this matter, the Christians who owned slaves in the South were on firm scriptural ground. May a Christian own slaves, even when this makes him a part of a larger pagan system which is not fully scriptural, or perhaps not scriptural at all? Provided he owns them in conformity to Christ's laws for such situations, the Bible is clear that Christians may own slaves.

Let as many bondservants as are under the yoke count their masters worthy of all honor, so that the name of God and His doctrine may not be blasphemed. And those who have believing masters, let them not despise them because they are brethren, but rather serve them because those who are benefited are believers and beloved. Teach and exhort these things. If anyone teaches otherwise and does not consent to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which accords with godliness, he is proud, knowing nothing... (1 Tim. 6:1-4a).

The slavery of Rome was anti-scriptural, and because of the evil of the slave trade, the larger system of slavery in the South was certainly sub-scriptural. Nevertheless, the Bible prohibits us from saying that slave-owning in such contexts is sin.

The Bible teaches that a man may be a faithful Christian and a slave-owner in a pagan slave system. If he owns slaves, then Scripture does put a series of requirements on him, which the church of Christ may and must insist upon.

But beyond those requirements, the church may not presume to legislate.

Bondservants, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in sincerity of heart, as to Christ; doing the will of God from the heart, with goodwill doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men, knowing that whatever good anyone does, he will receive the same from the Lord, whether he is a slave or free. And you, masters, do the same things to them, giving up threatening, knowing that your own Master also is in heaven, and there is no partiality with Him (Eph. 6:5-9).

Paul says something very similar elsewhere (Col. 3:22-4:1). As far as the apostle was concerned, nothing can be plainer than the fact that a Christian could simultaneously be a slave owner and a member in good standing in a Christian church.

Anonymous said...

Great article by Wilkins. Lovin' this:

"In the Hebrew republic, slavery was akin to *indentured servanthood* — the only permanent slaves were foreigners (Lev. 25:44-46) or Hebrews who voluntarily submitted themselves to a more permanent servile status (Ex. 21:5-6). But in the Greco/Roman world, the system of slavery was *pagan* from top to bottom, with the slaves having virtually no recognized rights at all. So a vast difference exists between the laws God gave to His covenant people for the regulation of slavery among themselves, and the laws God gave to His covenant people to regulate their conduct in the midst of a pagan system."

Reformed Apologist said...

P.O.K. affirms that the Bible approves of slavery but does not think that God approves of slavery. He apparently does not think the Bible is God's word.

This person thinks that if God approves of something then we should see that something (whatever it is) occur in Israel and America. If we don't see it occur, then God must not approve; in which case the Bible is not God's word. Such reasoning, just like the reasoning he employs that leads him to believe that gravity should be the same on the moon, won't be much use to him on moral issues.

I've pointed out to this person that he doesn't abide by his own strictures. Certainly he must think that God approves of perfection, yet we don't find perfection in Israel or America (or anywhere else where mankind dwells). Does this observation cause him to reject his understanding of God? Of course not; this implies that his arguments are arbitrary.

He wants to know the difference between biblical slavery and southern slavery. He posts me nearly weekly asking this same question and also asks why we don’t find slavery in these mentioned lands if God approves of the practice. Obsessive and unreasonable is no way to go through life.

Well, I appreciate the article from Wilkins and the quotes from R.L D. on the matter, but I'm afraid the material will not be of much use for someone who only pretends to be pursuing knowledge.

Anonymous said...

The mere logically possibility that another worldview also can provide for preconditions of knowledge does not bother me. - Paul Manata

Do you agree?

Reformed Apologist said...

In so much that such a worldview would have to be aping Christianity, it's no threat. It must posit a revelational epistemology that discloses an eternal, omniscient and omnipotent Creator who governs providence, providing the fruitful connection between minds and the external world. He must be the ontological necessity who stands behind reality, knowledge and ethics... There are only hypothetical competitors who fit the bill.

Email me so I know it's you. :)

Anonymous said...

Sorry,to disappoint you but I was quoting Paul. I'm not him. I was just wondering if the fact that there are hypothetical competitors is a problem for the " impossibility of the contrary".

Anonymous said...

Does that mean it is possible worldviews to provide the preconditions of intelligibility? ( I'm not Paul ) Also, why are the 66 books necessary? Wasn't Adam(Abraham,Noah,Moses) able to be rational?

Reformed Apologist said...

No other worldview can provide the preconditions without aping the Christian worldview. To ape the Christian worldview is not to offer a completing worldview. 66 books is not essential. A revelatory epistemology is, which addresses your query regarding OT saints.

Anonymous said...

When you say that a worldview that "apes" the Christian worldview can provide the preconditions of I.. 1.It seems like a stretch to say "they must be aping the Christian worldview ". I mean of course things like Fristianity . But couldn't someone create a worldview to purposefully account for intelligibility?(I hope that isn't as dumb as a question as it sounds)
2."To ape the Christian worldview is not to offer a completing worldview "
Well, why not?
3. It seems like Dr. Michael Butler thinks it is necessary to have 66 books . Like in his article he mentions an objection about if we lost the book of Jude.

Reformed Apologist said...

Create the worldview and let's see if it accounts for intelligible experience without aping C. As for MB, he actually posited contrary of your recollection. A canon without Jude is not relevantly different from C he'd say. He's my bud, so I can speak for him. :)
Mike rightly noted that it's merely to think counterfactually about the the corpus of Scripture. You are correct though; he referred to Jude and not James...

I'd prefer to talk two way. Post your number. I won't publish it but I'll phone. It's easier that way and will save us lots of time..

Anonymous said...

Oh, my misunderstanding. It's revelation that's necessary. But would you come on a Google hangout sometime? I was just talking about TAG and someone attributed all the things needed (ex. fruitful connections to the world, providence, etc) to these fairies.

Anonymous said...

Alright, it makes sense that one would only need actual revelation. My point was someone could arbitrarily apply it.Someone could just say " I have received revelation from my God which is the precondition of intelligibility ". So, I mention all the things this being must have and do ( omniscience or providence). Which they arbitrarily apply all those qualities to their god ( via arbitrary voice in one's head or by some means of private revelation )

Would you be able to come on a Google Hangout?

Reformed Apologist said...

sure thing but I'd need to create a gmail account. Phone works too for me.