BEEP! BEEP! IT'S ME.

"Begin at the beginning,and go on till you come to the end: then stop." (Lewis Carroll, 1832-1896)

Alice came to a fork in the road. "Which road do I take?" she asked."Where do you want to go?" responded the Cheshire cat."I don't know," Alice answered."Then," said the cat, "it doesn't matter."

"So long as I get somewhere," Alice added as an explanation. "Oh, you're sure to do that," said the Cat, "if you only walk long enough."

"All right," said the Cat; and this time it vanished quite slowly, beginning with the end of the tail, and ending with the grin, which remained some time after the rest of it had gone. "Well! I've often seen a cat without a grin," thought Alice; "but a grin without a cat! It's the most curious thing I ever saw in my life!"

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I am diagonally parked in a parallel universe. Like Arthur Dent from "Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy", if you do not have a Babel Fish in your ear this blog will be completely unintelligible to you and will read something like this: "boggle, google, snoggle, slurp, slurp, dingleberry to the power of 10". Fortunately, those who have had the Babel Fish inserted in their ear, will understood this blog perfectly. If you are familiar with this technology, you will know that the Babel Fish lives on brainwave radiation. It excretes energy in the form of exactly the correct brainwaves needed by its host to understand what was just said; or in this case, what was read. The Babel Fish, thanks to scientific research, reverses the problem defined by its namesake in the Tower of Babel, where a deity was supposedly inspired to confuse the human race by making them unable to understand each other.

"DIFFICILE EST SATURAM NON SCRIBERE"

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Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Religious Presuppositionalism in a Nutshell - Or, "God Exists Because I Say So."

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The concept of religious presuppositionalism goes like this. Presuppose that something exists and then pretend to go through some argumentation. The result of this argumentation will NEVER impact negatively upon the premise and will always show, regardless of what information or argument is presented, that the premise is true. In other words, it is the most explicit example of blind faith that I can imagine.

1. Premise: - God exists.
2. Insert whatever words, opinions, arguments or would like here.
3. Conclusion: - God exists.

(Religious people go away as happy little campers.)


Let's try this religious modus operandi just for fun.

1. God exists.
2. My cat's poop is stinky.
3. Therefore God exists.

1. God exists.
2. %^%$#$#@
3. Therefore God exists.

1. God exists.
2.
3. Therefore God exists.

1. God wants me for a sunbeam.
2. Sunbeams exist.
3. Therefore God wants me for a sunbeam.

See how easy it is? Let’s try presuppositionalism on some other topics.

1. My cat created the universe with its poop.
2. Poo exists.
3. Therefore my cat created the universe with its poop.

1. Life is but a song.
2. La la la la la la
3. Therefore life is but a song.

1. My computer hates me.
2. Fatal error! Fatal Error!
3.Therefore my computer hates me.

1. Atoms are the breath of 2-headed lizards from Alpha Centauri.
2. Lizards are sometimes born with 2 heads.
3. Therefore atoms are the breath of 2-headed lizards from Alpha Centauri.

1. The kangaroo has a pouch so it doesn't need to purchase a handbag.
2. I have never seen a kangaroo with an oroton handbag.
3. Therefore the kangaroo has a pouch so it doesn't need to purchase a handbag.

1. The stars are little holes in the heavens.
2. I have a little hole in my jeans and when I shine a flashlight through the hole a pinprick of light is displayed on the wall.
3. Therefore the stars are little holes in the heavens.

1. Belly button lint is evidence of satan.
2. Belly buttons exist.
3. Therefore belly button lint is evidence of satan.

Anyway, most of us could go on and on with this nonsense but for a bit more fun in a similar vein have a lookie here. Hundreds of Proofs of God’s Existence





Link

39 Comments:

Anonymous ted said...

There's something begging to be said about the light shining through the hole in your jeans, I can't quite put my finger on it though...;)

17/4/07 1:55 pm  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

Hahaha Ted.

I did think that perhaps I should have rephrased it, but I took a punt. PUNT!

17/4/07 2:00 pm  
Anonymous ted said...

LOL :)

You'll need to be careful though, it made lead to fertility rites...:)

17/4/07 2:09 pm  
Anonymous Gadfly said...

Beep
Have you ever heard of Cornelius Van Til? Have you ever read his works? How 'bout Greg Bahnsen?

Your post is intended as satire but it is entirely, dogmatically wrong. Good satire pokes fun at what people actually say. It doesn't completley misrepresent it.

The evident problem with most argumentation is that people don't even understand or acknowledge their own presuppositions. Presuppositionalism forces the analysis of conclusions so as to reveal what presuppositions they are based upon. Aristotle's famous "an unexamined life is not worth living" has some bearing here.

You do yourself a disservice with this post. You are better than this.

17/4/07 11:36 pm  
Anonymous Gadfly said...

typo - "completely"
I can't get the "preview comment" feature to work on this program. Haven't a clue why.

17/4/07 11:38 pm  
Blogger L>T said...

personally, I have a lot more respect for people that just admit God is something they choose to believe in, then I have for people that try to prove it.

Having to prove the existence of God shows a definite lack of faith, IMO.

I always figure, deep down it's themselves they are trying to convince

18/4/07 2:47 am  
Blogger Aaron Kinney said...

Reminds me of the underpants gnomes:

Step 1: God exists
Step 2: ???
Step 3: Profit

:D

18/4/07 3:00 am  
Blogger Aaron Kinney said...

Hey Gadfly,

I am familiar with Van Til, Bahnsen, Lane, etc. In fact Ive spent much time arguing with presuppers, especially Paul Manata.

And, actually, Beep Beep is not as wrong as you would like to make her out to be.

Think about the typical presup argument for a moment:

"1: logic cannot exist without Yhwh
2: logic exists
3: Yhwh exists"

The truth, Gadfly, is that this Van Til type argument is EXACTLY like what Beep Beep said in her post.

1: god exists
2: blah blah blah
3: god eixsts

Gadfly, if you cannot see that the Van Til argument contains the conclusion within the first premise, then you "don't even understand" Van Til's crap, and you are in fact much more guilty of the ignorance that you are accusing Beep Beep of.

18/4/07 3:06 am  
Blogger Intergalactic Hussy said...

Haha. I've seen this before and it is hilarious! Thanks for posting! I just love "How could God NOT exist, you bozo?"

18/4/07 5:02 am  
Blogger L>T said...

BTW, beep The arguments for the existence of God are hilarious. I needed a laugh today!

I think I've heard at least 1/2 of them from my own mother.

My fav:
ARGUMENT FROM PERSONAL SANITY
(1) I've had religious experiences that can't be explained unless I'm insane or God exists.
(2) Therefore, God exists.

18/4/07 5:37 am  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

gadfly

If you have a problem with how I have represented religious presuppositionalism, then you have the opportunity to demonstrate how this perception is incorrect.

If you wish to refer to Cornelius Van Til or Greg Bahnsen in order to do this, go right ahead.

18/4/07 11:12 am  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

LT

I am with you on that. I have much more respect for someone who claims that they have faith that something is true regardless of the evidence or the lack of it, than someone who presents their religion as absolute truth.

18/4/07 11:15 am  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

hussy

The one I come across most on this blog is this one.


ARGUMENT FROM CREATION, a.k.a. ARGUMENT FROM PERSONAL INCREDULITY (I)
(1) If evolution is false, then creationism is true, and therefore God exists.
(2) Evolution can't be true, since I lack the mental capacity to understand it; moreover, to accept its truth would cause me to be uncomfortable.
(3) Therefore, God exists.

Unfortunately, many theists appear to be either unwilling or unable to see the flaw in the argument.

18/4/07 11:23 am  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

aaron

Yup. Also expressed as:

TRANSCENDENTAL ARGUMENT, a.k.a. PRESUPPOSITIONALIST (I)
(1) If reason exists then God exists.
(2) Reason exists.
(3) Therefore, God exists.

In other words, the argument contains the conclusion within its premise.

18/4/07 11:25 am  
Blogger L>T said...

Hey! Don't dis the Transcendentalists, they are so optimistic & open-ended, not at all like Christians.

18/4/07 1:24 pm  
Blogger Krystalline Apostate said...

gadfly:
The evident problem with most argumentation is that people don't even understand or acknowledge their own presuppositions. Presuppositionalism forces the analysis of conclusions so as to reveal what presuppositions they are based upon. Aristotle's famous "an unexamined life is not worth living" has some bearing here.

BBIM is talking about religious presuppositionalism, & she has it exactly right.
You're an xtian presuppositionalist (obviously) - so to you, we atheists are all a bunch of crazy little snot-nosed kids who refuse to acknowledge their 'father'.
Also, you assume that ole Scratch hisself is whispering in our ears, & leading us away from the 'straight & narrow'.
All this, based on an old book that's wrong more often than not, or based on hearing 'voices'.
& you think WE'RE crazy?!?!?!?

18/4/07 3:13 pm  
Blogger Nava said...

Ah, what a shameful desecration! I love it!!!
Ever heard of the FSM religion?
Now, that has nothing to do with presuppositionalism - it really is all true...
RAmen.

18/4/07 5:47 pm  
Blogger Daniel said...

Hey, Beep, the bit about belly button lint has got me in, scared me even. I mean, if this frequent, embarassing occurrence proves that Satan exists then, if Satan exists, then God exists!

Of course, if the Pope has belly button lint then Satan is getting a free ride and is too close to the seat of power. Contemplating one's navel has suddenly got a whole new meaning!

Cheers!

18/4/07 8:06 pm  
Blogger Chris Bradley said...

Aristotle's famous "an unexamined life is not worth living" has some bearing here.

Aristotle didn't say that. Plato did, putting the words in Socrates' mouth. ;)

Also, gadfly, it'd be NICE if you tried making an actual argument, now and then, that wasn't transparent authority. For what it's worth. I mean, I'd be pleased if you did, hehe.

19/4/07 3:51 am  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

nava

It isn't presuppositionalism if it is in support of the god belief I ascribe to. ;)

daniel

Re: the belly button thing. Adam and eve obviously had no belly buttons, there was just a bit of dirt or clay where the belly button should have been. Which explains why people dig around in their belly buttons to this day - trying to remove tha last little bit of dirt. lol

19/4/07 10:16 am  
Blogger BEAJ said...

After watching the video, I'm starting to wonder that maybe it is the squirrels that are causing global warming.

19/4/07 10:11 pm  
Anonymous Savage Geek said...

No disrespect intended, but the whole thing with Gadfly just reiterates something I see time and again... it's not just that Christians disagree with our logic (I expect that)... often they seem unable to understand the basic premises behind them.

Martin Luther said that "reason should be destroyed in all Christians." Sometimes I think he (and his successors) accomplished that goal.

19/4/07 11:34 pm  
Anonymous Gadfly said...

KA & Chris

I cordially invite you, if Beep doesn't mind me doing this, to review

http://gadfly.typepad.com/gadflys_muse/2007/04/reflections_vir.html#more

It's a sincere invitation. Something that's important to me.

20/4/07 12:19 am  
Anonymous Gadfly said...

Savage ...
Re:... No disrespect intended, but

None taken... However I think you would be hard pressed to substantiate the idea that all Christians don't understand the basic premises behind the various, non-Christian philosophies out there.

Cornelius Van Til for example, has published excellent works on the presuppositions (your basic premises) that lay behind most modern non-Christian thought. I have on many occasions expressed my appreciation for the logic of atheistic existentialism and the disciplined submission to its conclusions that you see in folk like Sartre.

So... you might consider that most of what passes for "conversation" on the web has more to do with scoring points than it does with reflecting representative Christian doctrine or apologetics.

20/4/07 12:31 am  
Anonymous Little Pope said...

Beep Beep, please, could you give me your opinion about this?

“Is Atheism an opinion or a Religion? (http://jewishphilosopher.blogspot.com/)

..Being a religion means that they have to prove the truth of a long list of beliefs, just like all other religions must.
- Being a religion means that all atheists are accountable for the behavior of their coreligionists. Considering the fact that many of the worst criminals in history have been atheists, this is a problem...”

20/4/07 2:07 am  
Blogger Krystalline Apostate said...

little pope - that 'philosopher' is pretty much wrong on so many subjects, it's staggering.
That post is a load of crap.

20/4/07 8:55 am  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

beaj:

Hahahah. Yeah. Funny interpretation. :)

If the squirrel is the cause of global warming, it is because it is a 'joo squirrel' - Sorry, I just had to add that after I read the email comments from that guy on your blog.

20/4/07 10:01 am  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

geek:

One could suggest that if you have faith, then you don't respect reason. And perhaps analogous to that is, that if you have reason, then you don't respect faith.

They do seem to act as exclusionary forces. People of faith believe that it is essentially through faith that one can understand the world and assess what is true and what is not. People of reason accept that it is essentially through reason that one can understand the world and assess what is true and what is not.

And some people who use faith as their guide to assess truth, believe that faith as a process, is reasonable.

For me, I see the processes of reason as being a more successful way to determine truth.

20/4/07 10:08 am  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

little pope:

An atheist, doesn't by default have beliefs. So there isn't really an "atheism", unless you want to say that "atheism is the state of not believing in the existence of god."

If you look up the word, atheist, you will not see a list of beliefs and that is because calling oneself an atheist merely describes what someone DOES NOT believe. It doesn't describe the process of how they got there, nor does it describe WHY they don't believe.

Now, if an atheist describes themselves as a materialist, a naturalist, an existentialist, a secular humanist - it is quite logical to ask them what they believe, as those descriptions bring with each of them a set of beliefs.

If you look up 1.materialism 2. naturalism 3. existentialism 4. secular humanism - you will see that these positions explicitly state beliefs.

The word "atheist", or the word "atheism" does not explicity state beliefs. It explicitly states disbelief. But only disbelief in one concept - The god concept.

Theists would be much better served if they discussed the beliefs of secular humanists, rather than trying to infer, rather badly, I may add, that atheists have beliefs.

20/4/07 10:26 am  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

little pope:

If it was up to me, I would make the dictionary definition of atheist to read something like this.

An atheist does not believe in the existence of a god or gods.

An atheist may, or may not, accept the positions explicitly stated in 1.materalism 2. naturalism 3. existentialism 4. humanism 5. secular humanism.

But the word "atheist" does not on its own, describe a belief system.

20/4/07 10:36 am  
Anonymous Little pope said...

Thanks a lot, Beep

20/4/07 11:09 am  
Blogger Chris Bradley said...

However I think you would be hard pressed to substantiate the idea that all Christians don't understand the basic premises behind the various, non-Christian philosophies out there.

This is fairly rich.

See, i think you would be hard pressed to substantiate the idea that all non-Christians don't understand the basic premises behind the various, Christian philosophies out there.

Of course, it is amongst the commonest of arguments to so that one's philosophical opponents merely don't understand what you're talking about, while claiming exact and perfect knowledge of what they're discussing.

20/4/07 12:22 pm  
Anonymous Gadfly said...

Chris
Yes it was Socrates... I misspoke while typing on the fly.

Re: Christians and basic premises

My reply was to Savage who had said that "often Christians don't understand" the logic behind non-Christian argumentation.

I agreed but said that it is not always the case and it certainly cannot be argued that Cornelius Van Til who represents the source of most Christian presuppositionalist thought, did not understand them.

Your extrapolations, whether true or not, have no relation to what my statement was directed toward.

21/4/07 1:17 am  
Anonymous Gadfly said...

Aaron Kinney
Re: I am familiar with Van Til, Bahnsen, Lane, etc. In fact Ive spent much time arguing with presuppers, especially Paul Manata.

Don't know Manata so I cannot speak for his argumentation. I've read a good bit of Van Til & Bahnsen (et al of completely different ideas, like Barth) and I cannot agree with your syllogism.

Re: "1: logic cannot exist without Yhwh - 2: logic exists - 3: Yhwh exists"

Van Til would structure it this way:

1. God alone exists independently
2. All other things that exist, exist contingently and derivatively
3. Logic exists and therefore it exists contingently and derivatively

I recognize that I have combined several syllogistic steps in the above - it's the force of the comment structure.

To my knowledge Van Til does not demonstrate God's existence through reasoning, He presupposes it as the start of all reasoning.

21/4/07 1:26 am  
Blogger Chris Bradley said...

gadfly,

It seems to me what you're doing is using sort of ignoring the way that most actual Christians argue. It's all very well and good that Van Til wrote a book about presuppositionalism that virtually no one has read, in order to create an academic sounding argument to reject it, but when one moves away from such things -- and most Christians in America don't spend their time reading logic books -- and encounter their day to day argumentation, there's a lot of presupposition.

Say . . . intelligent design! It is my experience -- and you'd just have to read PZ Myers' blog to get a whole raft of examples of this -- that intelligent design is simply presuppositionalism when you look at the people actually promoting ID. They assume their god exists, and then they use the specious arguments of ID to support that claim, and are reinforced in their original position.

If you want to see the power of this in action, what you do is ask supporters of ID why it isn't aliens that did the design, or why ID scientists aren't out there looking for the methods and technology of the designer (which they would be doing if they were serious scientists -- it's what archeologists do, after all; when a scientist finds what they believe evidence of design, they look for additional clues to determine the designer and the method of the design, which ID proponents flatly refuse to do).

So, ID, taken in the actual context it exists, is presuppositionalist -- as opposed to the dishonest fashion in which it is presented (and it is trivially easy to demonstrate this dishonesty with the "what about the aliens?" question -- easy and sorta fun!).

So, it's nice that Van Til wrote a book that few people read saying that, no, Christians aren't engaged in presuppositionalism, but in my experience with Christians the facts run contrary to that assertion. Christians, as a group, especially those who ascribe to various god of the gaps beliefs (such as ID, young earth creationism, etc.), very certainly are presuppositionalists.

21/4/07 6:33 am  
Blogger MichaelBains said...

1. Life is but a song.
2. La la la la la la
3. Therefore life is but a song.


Well, axiomatically speaking of course, Duh!

If Kucinich gets elected President here in teh U.S. o' A. (LOL! Hoo doggies! LMAO! LOL! Oh.. wow, heheh.. umm, now where was I..? oh yah!) I may just run for his Congressional seat on that platform.

Thanks for the idea!

21/4/07 7:32 am  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

gadfly:

RE: 1. God alone exists independently
2. All other things that exist, exist contingently and derivatively
3. Logic exists and therefore it exists contingently and derivatively

This requires faith that the premises are true. Which is why this type of argumentation rarely is convincing to anyone except those who have already accepted that the premises are true.

And as the first premise is unable to be demonstrated to be either of necessity, or veracity; the rest of it, unless you are already a theist, means diddly squat.

21/4/07 12:48 pm  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

michael:

Hey, long time no see. I don't follow the US presidential race much until it gets down to the nitty gritty and that is a while off yet. I wonder who the final candidates will be?

21/4/07 12:50 pm  
Blogger Aaron Kinney said...

I love the image at the beginning of hte post: SPACEWALNUT!

28/4/07 9:24 am  

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