an atheist viewpoint

thoughts from a non-theist

Getting to the point of that Stormbringer post

Once we get past the ‘crocoduck’ bullshit at the start of Mr Stormbringer’s post ‘Reverse Presuppositional Apologetics’ we come to the nub of his latest whine.

A pleading smear of an article, I think it’s worth going through almost line by line, or at least paragraph by paragraph. He starts off by inferring that his regular readers are too stupid to understand the ‘big words’ in the post….

Did the big words in the title scare you? Don’t let them. According to Matt Slick of CARM, “A Christian presuppositionalist presupposes God’s existence and argues from that perspective to show the validity of Christian theism. This position also presupposes the truth of the Christian Scriptures and relies on the validity and power of the gospel to change lives (Rom. 1:16).” Essentially, I see it as, “Let’s assume for this discussion that God exists”, and build on that notion. The approach of presuppositional apologetics is used in the Bible. Theologian Cornelius Van Til helped revive the approach. Others followed, including Greg Bahnsen and Gordon Clark. There is no “one school” of presuppositional apologetics.

So far so ‘meh’, it’s basically saying that some theists say they should be allowed to assume that the Bible is true, and that gods, especially their God, exist. It’s when he says that they should be allowed to argue from that position in favour of their beliefs that we’re going to disagree, but I’ll come to that later.

“That’s not fair, Cowboy Bob! It’s an unfair advantage!”

You think so, huh? Well, guess what? Nobody is unbiased. Yes, I’ve said it before, and I will keep saying it. Nobody leaves their biases or presuppositions at the door. One scientist can have a fossil of a trilobite and say, “This is a simpler life form in the geologic column. More advanced life forms evolved later.” Another scientist can see the same trilobite fossil and say, “This is evidence of a global flood where billions of creatures were buried in what became rock layers, laid down by water all over the earth.” Each scientist will want evidence to support his or her interpretations and presuppositions, but the only fact is that it is a trilobite fossil.
No, Mr B, there is MORE than just the evidence of the trilobite fossil, there’s the evidence of the rock strata, the evidence of other fossils found in shallower layers showing more complex life forms, the radiometric dating of the rocks showing great age, the evidence of the rock layers showing different types of landscape (oceans, then deserts, then forests, then oceans etc etc) being responsible for their formation over long aeons, the complete lack of evidence of a single event having caused the complex sorting from simple to complex life, all these things will be providing evidence that the scientist adopting the former position has the stronger case….especially when the ‘scientist’ claiming that a global flood did it has no evidence at all to back him up, certainly nothing that hasn’t been completely debunked and shown to be thoroughly in error.  

Not quite sure why Stormbringer has gone there though, as his main thrust is nothing to do with evidence at all.

Atheists loathe the Christian approach of presuppositional apologetics. When it comes to discussing the existence of God, the validity of the Bible, ethics and morality — we are supposed to use their rules, their playing field — and their presuppositions
No, we don’t ‘loathe’ it, we just think that, if you’re going to argue from a certain position, whatever it is, you have to give some evidence for that position being correct in the first place

“What are the atheists’ presuppositions, Cowboy Bob?”

Everything is materialistic (discernible to the five accepted senses); most things can be tested and measured. Evolution is an established fact. Any appeal to the supernatural, including God, spirits, angels &c. is streng verboten.  Also, terms must be carefully defined, because modern atheists love to twist words and definitions in their efforts to trap and mock their opponents. 
I’m not going to bother mocking Stormb’s ‘five senses’ comment, but rather let’s look at the rest of his point. What exactly is so wrong with saying that a position should be supported by measurable, testable, evidence, and that anything that has already been shown to be true by measuring and testing, shouldn’t be assumed to be a fact?  

As for atheists twisting words and ‘mock[ing] their opponents’, it’s not that the atheists are being underhand, it’s that the theists without fail come to these discussions woefully unprepared, and often underestimate just how much about the Bible viewpoint their opponents know. Let me put it this way, if an atheist is debating with a fundamentalist, you can be sure the atheist will know as much as they possibly can about the fundamentalists argument, and sometimes display a greater knowledge of Scripture than their opponent.

This also applies to the rules of logic, as atheists like Norman and many others like to skip over the rules of logical discussion, create their own reality (which would require the existence of Godlike powers, thus defeating their own arguments) and simply play word games instead of having a rational discussion.
I don’t think a man who claims a position that’s completely contradicted by archaeology, history, biology, geology, astronomy, and even the mainstream of his own faith, can argue that someone else is being illogical!
  One desperate move is done by atheists like Norman, who will indicate that my statements are invalid because I use Christian and Conservative sources. You really have to watch yourself with those types!
But, Mr Bringer, they’re right to say that these sources are invalid! They all, without fail, refuse to acknowledge mainstream science, ignore even the findings of Israeli archaeologists, instead quoting each other in some creationist circlejerk impression of what they think science is. 

A quick question for Mr Stormbringer – how many peer reviewed papers are their on Creationism?

I still say that mature atheists who actually want to have a discussion should be embarrassed by the childish antics of their non-believing brethren. But never mind about that now.
Stormbringer has a certain circular logic here, anyone who disagrees with him will automatically be dubbed a ‘troll’ and called ‘childish’, he can pretend to be a bastion of reason, calmly facing rabid attack from ‘atheist trolls’ whilst actually never engaging in a mature way with ANYONE who opposes him.

However, some of us do not buy into the idea that atheists should have the monopoly and the “right” to control the discussion, make the rules and have a de facto advantage.  My belief is that atheists want to hold all the advantages, and to engage in a discussion where they have to set aside their own presuppositions is unthinkable to them. After all, their position is logically and intellectually weak, so to give up their advantages is frightening to them, capice? This article is continued, a bit, and in a different vein, here.

It’s intellectually dishonest to insist that debates should presuppose any viewpoint, and you only show how intellectually bankrupt your position is if you’re making a special request that your opinion be accepted uncritically before the debate even starts! As Christopher Hitchens has said many times (quoting Sagan I believe), extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, and anything that can be asserted without proof can equally be dismissed without proof.

Is creationism so weak a position that it’s apologists are now requesting that their opponents accept the larger part of their argument before the debate even starts? That Stormbringer thinks Christians should be given a ‘Get Out of Jail Free’ card shows how eroded, how defeated and on the ropes, their arguments are. 

If you’re asking for your position to be accepted as true before the debate starts, you’re admitting you’ve already lost.

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3 thoughts on “Getting to the point of that Stormbringer post

  1. How do I fault thee in matters of logic? Let me count the ways. Nah. You're not worth it. Oh, and Mr. Intellect? If you're going to make a fool of yourself in matters of reasoning, at least check your spelling first, mmmmkay? Now I'll let you get back to your appeals to (absurd) authority.Oh, wait. Got this for you: a fight with someone who wants to waste time on you? OK:

  2. you've nothing pal, absolutely nothing

  3. Oh, and 'check your spelling'? I did, the only errors it comes up with are in YOUR quotes.FAIL!!!

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