Presuppositionalism Redux with Deacon Duncan

Over at the “Evangelical Realism blog”, Deacon Duncan has been going back through all of Stephen Feinstein’s posts and discussing the presuppositionalist arguments from another angle.  If you just couldn’t get enough of this discussion while it was happening, here’s more of it!

Seriously though, DD is doing a great job and writing some interesting posts, so you should check out what he’s written so far with Fallacies of a contingent God and The Christian metaphysical understanding of God.


  1. Lord Narf says

    I look at the whole issue of presuppositional apologetics as being similar to the ontological argument. It fails at the same point, even before you get into all of the many technical things that are wrong with the later parts of the argument.

    Defining God as a necessary being is no less trying to define him into existence than defining him as the greatest of all things that must exist. The entire argument is bullshit, until you justify your initial assumption/definition. Stephen and all other presuppositional apologists that I’ve ever heard don’t even take a stab at this one.

  2. Tim says

    In my opinion, as soon as someone uses presuppositionalism, they have already lost the God debate. They aren’t deists or pantheists. They believe their God is acting in their lives. Why would you need to resort to these complex word games and definitions when you could so easily just pray for a sign? It annoys me so much that people can get away with flitting between their definitions. I’d love to see Matt and co clamp down on these arguments more in the show. Ask the caller “now what exactly are you arguing for? Because if God answers your prayers, then why would you bother needing to explain his necessity? Just turn my mug into a snake”

  3. says

    Excellent dissections of Feinstein’s posts. DD does a great job of pointing out the vacuousness of the arguments and demonstrating the appalling signal-to-noise ratio in those arguments.

  4. John Kruger says

    It is the one month anniversary of Feinstein’s last post.

    Comments are still locked.

    No new activity.

    I think we have seen the last of him.

  5. says

    to be fair, they are saying that presoposialism is a philosophy that is saying that everyone presopose something before making a decision in what they are going to believe in and then they try to make everything fit with the presopososition. and them they presopose jesus, god , and blah blah blah…

  6. jdog says

    More or less. But the trick is to presuppose as few things as possible to reduce the chances of getting things wrong. There is no need to presuppose a creator deity.

  7. says

    but we often have to presuppose when we have to take a decision. we can only know after the fact. if i choose to go out with that girl instead of another or I choose to go on vacation in Berlin instead of Paris or I invest in that company, etc I presuppose that they are good choices and I can’t verify them until I do it.
    I am not trying to sell a Pascal Wager here, I am just saying that we tend to presuppose stuff in our life if we want to do something with our life.

    you presuppose that there is no need to presuppose a creator deity, but you are wrong for that need exists in many people.

    and don’t try again to presuppose that I am a theist, like you presupposed that I was anti-vax.

  8. says

    The problem with your examples is that there are any number of ways you can research those places and make an educated decision on which might be the best destination for you and your situation, even if you’ve never been to either. Similarly with the girl, you should know at least something about her, or at the very least you have some sort of “vibe” that you are getting. And with that you make the best decision you can, based on your previous experiences. That is the key. So, in neither of those situations are you really presupposing, you are basing your decisions on varying degrees of input, though some of those decisions may have more or less to be based off of. Which that you have varying degrees of confidence in the decision. However, over time and with more experience in dating, travel, etc. you begin to form more accurate perceptions of data you have. This is how science works as well. We base our ideas off varying degrees of knowledge. And yes there are some things we don’t know a great deal about. But its not the case that we can’t, at least tentatively, make some sort of semi-educated inferences on a given subject. That’s not presupposition. Furthermore, there’s another line of science that isn’t based on empirical observation. Its called the discovery model. Sometimes you don’t make a hypothesis, you just do something and see what happens. Again that’s not a presupposition. You go in blind and see what you get. And from the results, even if its very little, you begin shaping a path of evidence. That’s the difference. Very little in life is actually presupposed, and that’s usually a result of PERSONAL ignorance of a given topic rather than actual absence of data on the whole.

  9. says

    Hey Chris

    1. Ya, I know my exemples weren’t perfect. would have been better if I had been more in details (something like 2 blind dates, no infos at all, etc)

    2. The discovery model. Thanks, I didn’t know that one.

    3. Presuppositionalism is a philosophy, they don’t pretend to be a science. Anyway, I know you already aware of that.

    To come back to my point, presuppositionalism is not neccessary chritsian or theistic. Anyway, no need to spend more time on that for I am not a presuppositionalist…well I suppose.

  10. gandolfication says

    that’s a pretty bald oversimplification of christian doctrine about prayer and god’s sovereignty I think