Blog Recommendation: Incinerating Presuppositionalism

Blog Recommendation: Incinerating Presuppositionalism June 2, 2012

Presuppositionalism is one of the most annoying and intellectually dishonest ideas you will ever come across, advocated by people with a special talent for smug and confident assertions of absolute bullocks. Here’s a blog devoted to answering that idea, Incinerating Pressupositionalism.

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  • laurentweppe

    Sorry, but even assuming that it was even possible to do so, I most certainly refuse to stop using Presuppositions and I must add that….

    Look up Presuppositional apologetics in wikipedia

    Ooooooooooooooooh, This kind of Presuppositions, of the

    We’re the only intelligent people around because only members of Tribe X are capable of being intelligent

    variety.

    Yeah, I’m for it: burn’em.

  • Michael Heath

    I’m generally not a fan of slippery slope arguments though in this case I think a slippery slope helps explain the development of presuppositionalism; at least that’s my untested notion gained by observing a handful of smart fundamentalists I know.

    In this context we encounter young people indoctrinated into a fundamentalist faith. Some of these young people will be both intelligent and have an aptitude for critical thinking, coupled to an appetite to develop somewhat thought-out conclusions. Not all of these types stay faithful of course, most probably leave the faith or for those who remain, avoid testing their faith while using those skills in other areas of their life. But some remain and from them we get some imaginative arguments such as this one, I think Christian reconstructionism as well, and the most obvious – defense of an inerrant Bible in spite of the obvious passages which have either been falsified as being true or are contradicted by other passages.

    The slippery slope comes in when these young people make a no-holds barred commitment to their faith and then subsequently use their intelligence, skills, and energy to come up with imaginative arguments defending that faith in spite of our ability to easily falsify this beliefs’ set of distinguishing premises. These people get so deep in the weeds they’re effectively able to avoid the premises which falsify their beliefs. In some ways I find such approaches works of art and exemplary of human imagination motivated to defend a preferred worldview rather than reality. Flawed of course, but in some ways analogous to how some scientists come up with imaginative hypotheses based on new findings which challenge the current set of understandings.

  • Michael Heath

    How does one click to load the permalink of a specific blog post at the aforementioned blog? The title of each post is not embedded with the permalink. I found one way, he’s got his recent posts listed with links in the lower-right hand corner under “Previous Posts”.

    A black background will prevent people from reading this blog.

  • lclane2

    Apologetics is of course the fundamentalist alternative to philosophy. Presuppositionalism is merely a foundation built to support a rotten superstructure.

  • slc1

    Re Michael Heath @ #2

    Astrophysicist Jason Lisle is a perfect example. He has a legitimate degree in astrophysics and spends his time making shit up relative to pulling evidence for a young earth out of his ass.

  • R Johnston

    Presuppositionalism doesn’t even qualify as an idea. It’s more of an anti-idea. It’s the result of the art of giving a fancy name to something to an incoherent simplistic concept in order to hide the nature of that concept; it literally means “religious faith for liars.”

  • gesres

    “A black background will prevent people from reading this blog.”

    No kidding…..this is one of the most idiotic design decisions that I see on the web. It’s the modern equivalent of the “blink” tag. I have a little bookmarklet that kills background colors, which I unfortunately have to use all the time.

  • How does one incinerate presuppositionalism? It’s just one giant logical fallacy. There’s no content beyond that to rebut. The belief is self-contained and impervious to reason.

  • williamburns

    A closer look at the guy’s blot reveals that he is an Objectivist, which is not a huge improvement over Presuppositionalism.

  • Emptyell

    “A black background will prevent people from reading this blog.”

    Yup. Stopped me cold. Of course Presuppositionalism is just an elaborate example of begging the question. How much more can you say without getting into endless splitting of hairs and dancing on pinheads?

    The problem with begging the question arguments is to engage beyond “this is all based on a fallacy” is to effectively accept the premise. I guess this can be an entertaining intellectual exercise akin to whack a troll, but unlike it in the tacit acceptance of the premise. Just not my thing I guess.

  • An

    A closer look at the guy’s blot reveals that he is an Objectivist, which is not a huge improvement over Presuppositionalism.

    Yeah, when one lengthy discussion defining objective morality is supported only by multiple quotes from Ayn Rand, then you know something’s up. That’s a shame, I was looking forward to reading what he had to say.

  • Dalillama

    @Tacitus

    He never cites anyone except Rand, for any reason, unless it’s to cite Peikoff instead. There’s no point in reading what he has to say, because he hasn’t got anything to say, just rehashing Rand. So far, the best argument I’ve seen or heard of against presuppositionalism is “Thats the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard. Shut the hell up.”

  • observer

    Yeesh! That blog is terrible. Presuppositionalism is indeed annoying, but not a great deal less annoying than watching a Randroid play at philosopher. Besides, the entire comment section of that blog is a giant game of “is too, is not with the same delusional guy.

  • Presuppositionalism is just a fancy word for begging the question. If you’re making circular arguments you can confuse some people, if the circle is really really big and you talk fast.

  • “Thats the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard. Shut the hell up.”

    Yeah, I’m not sure how you make any headway against people who argue that you are disqualified from even entering a debate with them unless you already believe what they believe.

    I guess there is merit in pointing out the ridiculousness of their position to third parties who might be tempted to listen to them, but you certainly don’t need Randian Objectivism to do that. Indeed, when confronted with two almost equally objectionable alternatives, I wouldn’t be surprised if some people found Presuppositionalism the more attractive one.

  • Midnight Rambler

    So far, the best argument I’ve seen or heard of against presuppositionalism is “Thats the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard. Shut the hell up.”

    Agreed. The Reasonable Doubts guys spent two whole episodes on it and it was a complete waste of time. This is what it comes down to right from the start.

  • jaime

    That and a couple of other things is what I call “Ahab Syndrome”.

  • mithrandir

    I’ve never argued with a presuppositionalist, and I can’t imagine ever getting through to one, but for myself (and for most bystanders, I should think), it’s sufficient to note that their belief system is indistinguishable from kissing Hank’s ass, with the sole exception that there isn’t a multi-century tradition of kissing Hank’s ass.

  • Uncle Glenny

    Michael Heath:

    This blog, as do many others, has the permalink in the time of the blog post.

  • Stevarious

    Thank you very, very much, this is precisely what I needed for an internet argument I’m having.

  • Nemo

    So far, I’ve been unable to tell the difference between “presuppositionalism”, and just taking Christianity as an axiom. If you take something as an axiom, then of course, no logical argument can ever disprove it. But by the same token, you can never prove the axiom, either. To prove a proposition, you first have to take it out of the realm of axioms. But that means you also have to accept the possibility of its being falsified, and you have to follow the logic whether it goes in one direction or the other.

  • ydemoc

    Hi Dalillama,

    We cross paths again. I see that your comments on this particular entry were prior to our only other interaction, located here:

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/singham/2012/09/01/paul-ryan-was-for-ayn-rand-before-he-was-against-her/

    Nonetheless, I thought I’d pop in and address what you wrote above.

    You wrote: “He [Dawson Bethrick at Incinerating Presuppositionalism] never cites anyone except Rand, for any reason, unless it’s to cite Peikoff instead.”

    Really? “He *never* cites anyone except Rand,” huh? Are you familiar with Dawson’s work? Or is this type of sloppiness the result of your contempt for Rand? Or maybe you’re just doing a little “presupposing” yourself?

    Those following along should know that, while Dawson does present his material from an Objectivist perspective, there are numerous instances where he does, in fact, cite the work of others besides Rand and Peikoff. Most notably: Edmond Cohen (The Mind of the Bible Believer), Hume, Aristotle, Kant, H. Acstonus, David Kelley, Harry Binswanger, Bahnsen, Van Til, George H. Smith, John Loftus, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Carl Sagan, John Robbins, etc., etc, etc. Some he critical of, some he uses in support of his position. But all of them he cites.

    Please tell me, Dalillama, how you justify your claim above. Is it ignorance? Is it dishonesty? Contempt? Or is it something else? I’d really like to know.

    You wrote: “There’s no point in reading what he has to say, because he hasn’t got anything to say, just rehashing Rand.”

    If what you’ve written above is any indication, you’ve apparently taken your own advice, because you are sorely misinformed regarding your generalization about Dawson having “never cit[ed] anyone except Rand… unless it’s to cite Peikoff instead.”

    You wrote: “So far, the best argument I’ve seen or heard of against presuppositionalism is ‘Thats the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard. Shut the hell up.’”

    Yep. That’s always an option, isn’t it?

    For others those who have complained about Dawson’s blog, you can also find his writings here, and without the black background:

    http://katholon.com/writings.htm

    Ydemoc

  • ydemoc

    Hi again, Dalillama,

    After I addressed your post in my most recent comment above, where you stated that…

    “He [Dawson Bethrick at Incinerating Presuppositionalism] never cites anyone except Rand, for any reason, unless it’s to cite Peikoff instead.”

    …I was reminded of a few more citations by Dawson which are completely odds with your assertion. Here they are:

    GA Wells

    Earl Doherty

    Robert Price

    David Harriman

    Allan Gotthelf

    Anton Thorn

    Tom Porter

    Bryan Register

    Jim Peron

    Jeff Lowder

    Michael Martin

    Theodore Drange

    Peter Pike

    Michael Butler

    Douglas Jones

    John Frame

    James Anderson

    Greg Welty

    Chris Bolt

    Brian Knapp

    Jason Whipps

    Dustin Segers

    Sye Ten Bruggencate

    Paul Manata

    D. James Kennedy

    Craig Keener

    Tim Conway

    David Smart

    Andrew Louis

    Rick Warden

    Steve Hays

    Jason Enger

    Peter Kreeft

    Geisler & Turek

    Phil Fernandes

    And, of course, let us not forget the storybook known as The Bible.

    Ydemoc