This conversation started with him saying that his belief in god is just as rational as any atheist for not believing in a god. He referenced arguments by a man named Alvin Plantinga http-::philosophy.nd.edu:people:all:profiles:plantinga-alvin:docume... -Plantinga's Essay.
The Christian below had commented on the point that I was making. I had said that the method best to determine empirical truth was Evidentialism, more specifically, Evidential Foundationalism. Explained by Youtube User Evid3nc3 = http-::www.youtube.com:watch?v=g9x_oa--KAc&feature=related
I had said that his claims that ID and "other important advancements" had been stopped due to biased scientists were false.
So How do you respond to this comment?
"Well as I have stated before, I would say that presuppositions are not better than other presuppositions. Most of the time we hold presuppositions without even knowing it because of the areas of the world we have grown up in. Our most intimate values and beliefs are also ingrained in our culture and life experiences.
"I would say that your four presuppositions are not better than other presuppositions held by other people and your presuppositions do not help to discern undeniable truth or Truth with a capital T. I would even argue that your system is not "more reliable" compared to other systems when it comes to Truth. Your system only helps you to discern subjective truth through your own perceptions. In fact, you would probably say that all truths are through our perceptions and that there is no other way to obtain anything than through the senses but that is because you hold your presupposition of Naturalism. There also is another presuppositions before "I think therefore I am".
Most people presuppose that the rational logic that humans use is actually Truly rational and logical outside of humans. In fact, this is even more basic and necessary before the presupposition of "I think therefore I am". Why is this more basic and necessary? Well if your logic is flawed from True logic you would never know. If fact as long as your premise allows for flawed logic then your flawed logic would seem True.
In fact, Descarte's argument has also been torn apart along with all other philosophers and theologians arguments. There is no "argument" in philosophy or theology that has avoided scrutiny because most of the time the worldviews and presuppositions that people hold are just different which would lead them to differing conclusions.
Your four presuppositions also stem from the western world. The system which you speak about is from a western point of view. (which is held by less than half the world). In most parts of the world people hold the presupposition of supernaturalism (or the idea that there is more than just the natural world. There exists the supernatural). There is this idea that supernatural things can occur in this world . This in itself is a worldview and something that all theologians presuppose.
ie. Let us talk about the mind. What is the mind? Where is the source of the mind? Is this something observable? Is it physical? Does it have mass? is it more spiritual? Is it the soul? is it the same thing as the brain? Is it the physical chemicals that are produced in the brain?
There is a whole branch of philosophy devoted to the mind trying to discern if it is supernatural or natural.
Also I do not claim my presuppositions to be better than others simply because I do not believe I have that knowledge and authority. For you to claim that your presuppositions are better, you would need to have look into every other single view out there and compare it to your presuppositions. You would also have to be able to know that other people's presuppositions are wrong and to see if their flow of logic is consistent within their own presuppositions. You would have to know their views inside and out in order to make the comparison claim that "my system is better". You would also need to question your own presuppositions and know your presuppositions are True.
Sadly scientists have been thrown out of the community for even simply claiming to be christian or religious. People are not as nice or logical as you think they are. People do judge even before testing a theory. Now I am not saying all christian relieve this persecution. ie. francis collins, the man that pioneered the human genome project."
you have read a lot of philosophy. While Plantinga's work is very advanced, it is also famous and there are plenty of solid replies to it.If you want a good place to start, look up Tyler Wunder and Evan Fales. They have both done a lot of work on the topic.
Also, it is a stupid thing to say naturalism is presupposed. Naturalism is a coherantist, not a foundationalist, epistemology that best fits the evidence. Saying otherwise is just nonsensical rhetoric by people who don't know what they are talking about.
There's no question that each of us has fundamental presuppositions that, at some point, we can't examine because in order to examine them we'd have to do so on the assumption of the truth of those presuppositions. But there are some presuppositions that aren't at that level, that can be examined.
Plantinga, and your opponent, believe that belief in God, and Christianity in particular, are "properly basic" beliefs. They believe that Christian theism belongs in a class of beliefs with things like the notion that when you see red and I see red we're both seeing the same thing, things like that our perception is of objective reality, like that we are not all just brains in a vat, and that the universe is more than 24 hours old (the alternative being that we are perhaps in some sort of simulation designed to appear as if the universe is more than 24 hours old when in fact it's not [and may not even be real]).
There are several problems with this notion. I'll just say a bit about it because you could spend quite a bit of time discussing Plantinga's epistemology.
First, if Plantinga and those of his followers believing the same thing about their Christian theism are correct and can claim that their belief is properly basic in the same way as the other beliefs mentioned, then so can anyone make the same claim. Islam makes mutually exclusive competing claims and yet I'm sure that your opponent wouldn't agree that his belief is just as true as the Muslim's that claimed his belief was properly basic. If claims to faith are properly basic then we have absolutely no way to adjudicate between mutually exclusive competing truth claims.
Second, it just doesn't seem to be the case that their presupposition is in this class of beliefs. For, if it were the case that we were in an elaborate simulation, how the hell would we ever discover this to be the case? Conversely, we have good independent reasons from Biblical Criticism for thinking that Christian theism has severe, apparently insurmountable problems; but certainly problems enough not to think it a very good presupposition to walk around with.
The only method for discovering truth that we've ever found to produce results is the methodological naturalism of the sciences employing the scientific method. Nothing else has ever allowed us to manipulate our world and make successful predictions. No other method provides explanations that meet the criteria for a successful explanation that we all expect.
So there's no question that skeptics have their presuppositions. But we infer on the basis of the evidence of from the success of the employment of those presuppositions that they are true. Theists like Plantinga simply wall off their belief in Christian theism from a demand for evidence for that belief by trying to stick it in a category of belief that there doesn't seem to be any reason to think that it belongs.
Nelson, I am curious of what you thought about Chris or Evid3nc3 video posted above. Methodological Naturalism is the most accurate way of determining truth beyond a reasonable doubt but does this have ties to the videos subject of Evidentialism? The process of thought the video describes is roughly what I do whenever I learn or verify something new. Is he describing Evidentialism accurately or if not what system is he describing in the video?
Yes absolutely. I don't have the time right now to watch the entire video but the 7 minutes I did watch were quite good.
The methodological naturalism of the sciences is simply an in practice preference for natural explanations. It's an assumption that, because what has always worked before as an explanation are natural explanations and what has always failed before are supernatural explanations, so therefore natural explanations are the most likely explanations to succeed in the future too. So you can probably already see that MN is very much tied up with evidentialism, empiricism, and verificationism. Because in order to conduct science on the basis of MN you have to do so with recourse to the evidence and reasoned arguments about the evidence and nothing more.
Yes I see what you are saying. This is the dilemma with the conversation because it seems this christian feels that Evidentialism and Methodological Naturalism are equal to the justification of Supernaturalism. I don't understand how he can think that but ya. Thank you for the confirmation!
Right. Because he misunderstands, as Greg said above, the coherentist nature of naturalism and the foundationalist nature of Plantinga's epistemology.
That's what I was trying to say when I talked about the fact that while each of us has our presuppositions, not all presuppositions are equal. The evidence from the great expanse of human history is that naturalism– an honest embrace of the conclusions of science and its methodological naturalism– works; it's the only view that has ever allowed us to manipulate our world, make successful predictions, and come up with explanations that have the features of an explanation that we all want. So that's good justification for an inference to the best explanation that naturalism is a good presupposition to walk around with, to view the world through. The Christian theist simply can't say this.
I thank you all for the insightful replies! It has helped a great deal
I just have to say how very impressed I am by this conversation. Far beyond my pointed little head but I love reading it and learning so very much
LOL. Happy to help Gary :)
Hello Nelson: Thank you for your thoughtful and cogent messages on this thread. Best Wishes and Regards
Thanks Robert! Again, no worries. Happy to help if I can, to whatever extent I have. :)
Presupposition? That is the exclusive paradigm of religionists. It is 180 degrees from what scientists do. In terms of "science," it exists only in the delusionary realm of “creation science” - an oxymoron if there ever was one.