A nice refutation of the TAG (Transcendental Argument for the existence of God)

Today (Nov 28, 2008) I came across this video by youtube user TheoreticalBullshit refuting the arguments of presuppositionalists who subscribe to the TAG, the transcendental argument for the existence of god, and it struck me as being quite good.

If you have never come across TAG proponents before, their argument can be quite exasperating, and seemingly obviously stupid, and having what must be some obvious weak point, while at the same time you might find it a bit difficult to put your finger precisely on that weak point and to effectively articulate the counter arguments which it seems must obviously exist in the face of the ridiculousness that is presuppositionalism. TheoreticalBullshit does, it seems to me, a pretty good job of dismantling the presuppositionalist arguments. Howeer, I have enough experience debating with presuppositionalists to know that the vast majority of them won’t agree with my assessment of the effectiveness of TheoreticalBullshit’s arguments.

The video shows one possible line of attack against the TAG, and one which might be more effective than the more obvious attacks, since it takes the premises of the TAG and runs with them. The more obvious attacks focus on rejecting the premises of the TAG outright, an approach which proponents of the TAG are nearly guaranteed to laugh at, (even though to TAG opponents, the premises of the TAG may seem completely absurd.)

However, the hard-core presuppositionalist is likely to let out the famous battleidiot-surrender-cry, “until you can account for the possibility of knowledge without recourse to the Bible, you’re not permitted to make any argument at all.”

~ by scaryreasoner on November 28, 2008.

5 Responses to “A nice refutation of the TAG (Transcendental Argument for the existence of God)”

  1. You completely misunderstood the presuppositional apologetics that is employed in TAG.

    If anything in your worldview contradicts the existence of logical absolutes, then your worldview is demonstratably false, if you continue on with the assumption that logical absolutes do truly exist.

    So, you must either deny logical absolutes or you must deny your worldview and adopt another worldview.

    It seems that you denied logical absolutes, in saying, “How do we know what logical absolutes are if they do exist”.

    Or it may be that you denied your worldview, but you didn’t choose another worldview to adhere to, by which we can test with the existence of logical absolutes.

    Further, it is generally accepted that if we can find a testable exactation of nature, that is the law by which nature operates. For example – Newton’s laws – it doesn’t just describe how nature operates, it states that nature must always operate that way, there is some kind of constraint that MAKES nature operate that way…for if it only described nature, then there would be a possibility that nature didn’t operate like that all the time, or that it could operate differently.

    Let’s test that – can nature operate differently than the logical absolutes? Can the USA be both South of Canada and “Not South” of Canada at the same time? Can matter organize itself in such a way? (The law of Non-Contradiction)

    But even still, TAG does not rest on philosophical principles alone – though it deals mainly with Logic, epistemology, and Ethics, TAg also starts with being able to explain the phenomena of science.
    two criteria must be met to demonstrate a given worldview as true:

    1.Internal consistency — The statements made by the worldview do not contradict one another or otherwise lead to internal contradictions. Logical Positivism fails this test by its claim that “A statement is literally meaningful if and only if it is either analytic or empirically verifiable,” a statement that is not itself verifiable analytically or empirically. Another example is the claim by moral relativists that absolutes do not exist, which is itself an absolute claim.
    2.Arbitrariness — The statements must not be believed simply out of convenience, tradition, or prejudice. Mormonism fails this test with its claim that the truth of Mormonism is known due to a subjective, positive feeling — a claim that any adherent of any worldview could make. (From wikipedia)

    On your statement that existence is “NOT BEING TOLD WHAT TO DO” – there is an entire area of physics that is trying to discover the underlying principle that causes all the other principles to behave like they do – it’s the idea of causality

    You make another presupposition – existence behave’s consistently with itself – it just does. Here you deny logical absolutes are an area outside of space and time – hence, there would be a possibility for logic to become illogical. a possibility for self contradiction.

    “Any worldview – you go back far enough and there are basic preconditions” – this is called presuppositionalism.
    As a presuppositionalist, you must show that your worldview is coherent with what we both believe to be true, while demonstrating that my worldview is not coherent with what we both know to be true.

    You make a strawman argument that “There is nothing that requires us to believe in the logica absolutes” – this misses the point – The point is that the metaphysics of God’s existence is consistent with other presuppositions that we both agree on, while your metaphysics is inconsistent with something we both agree on. However, you are now saying that we both don’t agree on that anymore – we both no longer agree that logical absolutes exist outside of a description of the universes present behavior. So, then we must test your new worldview to see if it is consistent – does the existence of nature as acting uniformly for no other reason seem consistent with the non-existence of God (see cornelious van till and Greg Bahnsen – for rebuttle to this view).
    Well, if Logical absolutes are only pertinent descriptions of existence, how do you explain that logical absolutes apply to things that are in non-existence. For example – can you conceive of a man that is taller than himself (understanding that “Himself” and “a man” are refering to the same person)?
    Or can you think of a number that is higher than itself? (this is all in the realm of non-existent imagination).
    Further, Can you both think and not think at the same time?
    Another area is of mathematics (which you would say that math is also only descriptive of existence – but this fails to see theoretical mathematics – any math professor will tell you math is consistent even when existence is inconsistent). Logic is used as proofs in almost every math problem conceivable.

    You stated that we don’t know what the logical absolutes are – but only after you stated all three logical absolutes – perhaps you meant that their are more logical absolutes that we don’t know about – that may be a given, but it doesn’t nulify the argument that the only worldview that accounts for logical absolutes is the Christian worldview.

    You state that God’s concsiousness is unaccounted for by a Christian worldview – maybe you don’t know what a worldview (metaphysic) is! A worldview is the lense by which you view the world – the Christian worldview is that God exists and the Bible is his revelation of himself. Therefore the Christian “Worldview” does account for God’s existence – in fact, it requires God’s existence.
    “You can’t account for the way God is” – you are correct except that God even tells us this in the Bible “I am Who I am…Tell them I AM has sent you”

    We don’t just say that Logical absolutes are unaccounted for in your worldview, we say that the existence of logical absolutes deny the existence of your worldview. Your worldview contradicts what we know about logical absolutes – whereas my worldview does not…that’s what is meant by stating that my worldview accounts for logical absolutes – it is not speaking of the presupposition of logical absolutes in your worldview, but rather the contradiction of logical absolutes that your worldview collides with.

    For your worldview to be defensable – you would not need to account for logical absolutes, you would need to show how logical absolutes do not contradict the other preconditions assumed by your worldview.

  2. “the Christian worldview is that God exists and the Bible is his revelation of himself. Therefore the Christian “Worldview” does account for God’s existence – in fact, it requires God’s existence”
    NO SH.. off course it does. which clearly proves that the bible was written with the presupposition that god exists. which is why it has been taged as circular reasoning.and off course circular reasoning proves nothing. to say that god inspired it is to justify it not to prove it.
    Normally, after making an argument, people seek to support each the way presuppositionalists normally attempt to justify the first premise (i.e. that the existence of universal laws of logic presupposes the existence of God) seems to be to say something along the line of “Prove to me that universal laws of logic can exist without God; you can’t, therefore premise one is true.”
    This seems to me an odd way to “justify” a premise, i.e. by asking someone else to prove that it is wrong. That isn’t to say that it is not a valid means for justifying, it just seems to be shirking the responsibility of justifying an argument you put forward. fallacy easily detectable.

    it is clear to me that TAG and its customary defense strategy make use of an argument from ignorance in the hopes of securing the claim that Christianity is true. And this is not at all difficult to spot. Generally speaking, whenever the presuppositionalist says something along the lines of “you cannot account for [fill in the blank],” he’s essentially just telling us that he simply does not know how the person addressed in such charges might “account for” such phenomena. And despite his announcement of his own ignorance of such matters in such an explicit manner, presuppositional apologists routinely regurgitate the same pattern throughout their defense of god-belief. Christian apologist Greg Bahnsen, who can be credited with popularizing this very approach to apologetics, used precisely this very tactic in his opening statement when he debated atheist Dr. Gordon Stein. Bahnsen simply asserted that
    “The atheist world-view cannot account for laws of logic, the uniformity of nature, the ability for the mind to understand the world, and moral absolutes.” on the other hand they can.

    and off course anyone can see how if laws of absolute exist, then they also precede the bible. In fact, other cultures worked their reasoning using such laws (the greeks) although not fully aware of them, which proves that such laws are man made and not taken from the “word of god” but from the process of observation, analysing, and conclusion.
    so many FALLACIES are clearly presented here FALSE DICHOTOMY,ARGUMENT FROM IGNORANCE,NEGATIVE PROOF and many others.

    How does it follow that just because you can not account for something then GOD EXIST or atheism contradicts itself, is
    beyond me.

  3. Let’s test that – can nature operate differently than the logical absolutes? Can the USA be both South of Canada and “Not South” of Canada at the same time? Can matter organize itself in such a way? (The law of Non-Contradiction)

    You mean by having the State of Alaska? I love logicians that self pwn.

  4. there are no logical absolutes.
    It is has been proven here

    http://hubpages.com/hub/There-are-NO-Absolutes-There-is-NO-Absolute-Truth

  5. On my YouTube show entitled” OpenAirAtheist”on YouTube I have shown many contradions in the newtestament and the out right dishonesty of the newtestament writers when quoting from the Jewish scriptures. If the God of the bible can’t be the precondiction for logic because because the bible is full of contradiction and it wouldn’t be logical for a logical Theos or being “theobreath” or inspire a book that violates the vary law of noncontradiction. Just in the last 3 days alone recorded in the 4gospels, there r over 63 internal contradictions. O and I want to say however that I have had dinner with Matt Slick and his wife and reformed evangelist back in 2009 when he debated Dan barker. Even though back then I was a Christian open air preacher who used the same arguments he did but now an atheist. I have to say I hope no atheist on here attacks him as a person he is a good and more then decent human being. However as someone who used to use his same method of apologize and now realizes there error I must say I think u had some pretty sound arguments against Tag . Could use a little work but it’s a good start. Would like if u watched my show and left some comments . Keep up the good work.

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