DR. GREG BAHNSEN: ATHEISTS ARE UNABLE TO ANSWER THE TOUGH QUESTIONS OF PHILOSOPHY

mathischristian:

Dr. Greg Bahnsen touches on the Problem of Induction here.

Originally posted on Nicholas Voss:

In December 1993 Dr. Greg L. Bahnsen debated atheist lawyer Mr. Edward “Eddie” Tabash.  As far as I know this video is not available elsewhere on the internet (although there are poor audio recordings on You Tube).

I will be posting the entire debate in segments on my blog.  If you wish to purchase the full-length version, please contact Covenant Media Foundation.

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In this episode Dr. Bahnsen makes his opening statement. Here are highlights:

  • The atheists live inconsistent lives
  • Atheists will presuppose human dignity by attending a friend’s funeral then later affirm that human life is no different than an animal
  • Atheists are primitive in their thinking
  • Atheists do not have a workable worldview
  • Evolutionists have an irrational worldview that life spontaneously erupted
  • Atheists are unable to answer the tough questions of philosophy
  • Atheists work hard to hide their intellectual poverty from themselves and others

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THE FUTILITY OF ALL NON-CHRISTIAN APPROACHES TO THE PHILOSOPHY OF MATHEMATICS

MATH IS CHRISTIAN

 Charles Jackson, M.S.

THE FUTILITY OF ALL NON-CHRISTIAN APPROACHES TO THE PHILOSOPHY OF MATHEMATICS

The approach given here represents the salvation of the philosophy of math, for which the need is great. My desire is that after philosophers of math have sampled naturalism in mathematics, related theories from cognitive science, indispensability, the sociological attempt, constructivism, formalism, nominalism, fictionalism, structuralism, intuitionism, platonism, and isms ad nauseum, and recognized the ultimate futility of each, they would find MIC and develop a Christian philosophy of math. I will not address these isms here, except to say that they all arbitrarily (i.e. without warrant) assume the Inductive Principle (here I am not referring to the Principle of Mathematical Induction), since they are expressed in human language. Whenever one uses human language, he or she reasons from particulars to universals or generalities (i.e. uses induction); he or she assumes or exhibits belief in the Inductive Principle. But no one can warrant the use of Induction on a non-Christian basis. (See James Anderson, “Secular Responses to the Problem of Induction.”)

By the way, it is not my purpose to impress anyone with my knowledge of philosophy, philosophy of math, history of math, or math.  The absence of mathematical notation here will seem very strange. But it only seems to be a requirement that any writer on philosophy of math throw around some mathematical notation.

So, with the failure of all non-Christian attempts at philosophy of math, it remains to consider the Christian alternative.

THE SUFFICENCY OF THE CONCEPT OF THE CHRISTIAN GOD FOR THE INTELLIGIBILITY OF HUMAN EXPERIENCE

The truth of Christianity (i.e. that the Christian God exists) is a sufficient condition for the intelligibility of human experience; therefore, the truth of Christianity is a sufficient condition for the intelligibility of mathematical human experience.

First, the former claim. The Christian God, being, as He is, infinite, personal, all-knowing, all-powerful, all-controlling, self-attesting, and self-revelatory, provides what is necessary for a successful philosophy of anything. To summarize, a successful ontology (and metaphysic), a successful ethical theory, and a successful epistemology are gained. The ontology offered by Christianity is sufficiently rich and explained by reference to the Creator and Sustainer God Who is all-controlling. For example, mind/body is not a problem for Him; He governs the effects of actions in the non-material realm on those in the material realm, and vice versa, and reveals in the Bible that He does so. Christian ethical theory has an answer to the crucial question “Why should I be moral?” And in Christian epistemology the warrant can be found which is necessary for knowledge given the nature of the Problem of Induction, which comes into play whenever language is used, such as when God’s existence is debated. According to the Christian worldview, the God who controls every detail of creation and history reveals that He uses means according to the Inductive Principle.

THE SUFFICIENCY OF THE CONCEPT OF THE CHRISTIAN GOD FOR THE INTELLIGIBILITY OF HUMAN MATHEMATICAL EXPERIENCE

The sufficiency of the concept of the Christian God for the intelligibility of human mathematical experience follows directly from the sufficiency of the concept of the Christian God for the intelligibility of human experience, simpliciter.

The concept of the Christian God is a sufficient condition for the intelligibility of human mathematical experience:  mathematical knowledge, mathematical practice, etc.

OBJECTION

According to the Christian apologist, God in His Word the Bible breathes out a comprehensive worldview sufficient for human experience. We either take it as it is revealed, or we don’t. If we don’t, then we must deviate from it on the basis of some independent worldview, the sufficiency of which (including but not nearly limited to a foundation for Induction) we must establish. But, given any belief which might be encompassed by such a worldview, we finite humans (as unaided with respect to our finitude) cannot account for any fact outside our limited sphere of knowledge and control, which fact may represent a defeater for that belief. So, on the assumption of the denial of the Christian worldview, knowledge of any kind is unwarranted. Any objection to the Christian worldview is a non-starter. Christianity, with its omniscient, self-revelatory God, is the only worldview with a chance to be sufficient. And it is.

CONCLUSION

While non-Christian philosophies all fail because of their total inability to warrant their claims (since, for them, Induction lacks a foundation) the Christian one is successful. Furthermore, it encompasses an exclusivity clause with respect to sufficiency for human experience:  its God claims to give the only sufficient basis. So, since the Christian worldview is successful, it is uniquely successful. I actually don’t believe that there is a possible world in which any other worldview is sufficient for human experience. I believe that the truth of Christianity will be shown to be a necessary condition for the intelligibility of human experience. Without the Christian God, we are left with nothing but skepticism.

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The Necessity of the Concept of the Christian God for Mathematics

Charles Jackson, M.S.

I. Introduction

My purpose in writing is to deliver the foundation for the philosophy of mathematics. That is an offensive thing to write. If it be offensive to you, then you are making an assumption about philosophy which is itself a philosophical judgment. It is therefore open to philosophical refutation, and would be refuted, I maintain. It should also be noted that I am not a foundationalist in the traditional sense.

I believe that I am delivering the very answer to the problems of philosophy of math which is so sorely lacking. The idea is that after philosophers of math have sampled naturalism in mathematics, related theories from cognitive science, indispensability, the sociological attempt, constructivism, formalism, nominalism, fictionalism, structuralism, intuitionism, platonism, and isms ad nauseum, and recognized the ultimate futility of each, they would find MIC and develop a Christian philosophy of math. I will not address these isms here, except to say that they all arbitrarily (i.e. without warrant) and/or self-contradictorily assume the Inductive Principle.

It is not my purpose to impress anyone with my knowledge of philosophy, philosophy of math, history of math, or math. The absence of mathematical notation here will seem very strange. But it only seems to be a requirement that any writer on philosophy of math throw around some mathematical notation. Okay, that’s enough intro.

II. The Necessity of the Concept of the Christian God for the Intelligibility of Human Experience

The concept of the Christian God is the necessary condition for the intelligibility of human experience; therefore, the concept of the Christian God is the necessary condition for the intelligibility of mathematical human experience.

First, the former claim. Reformulating Cornelius Van Til’s Transcendental Argument for the Existence of God,

The proof of the truth of Christianity is that unless its truth be presupposed, human experience could not be intelligible.

This is only one of any number of ways to state the proof. I might have offered an induction-focused proof.

The proof is valid. Let

p = Christianity is true = The Christian God exists

q = human experience is intelligible

 

Claim

p

 

Proof
If not p, then not q.

If not not q, then not not p; therefore, p.

The opponent of the Christian apologist immediately seeks to produce another worldview which is sufficient to account for human experience. But any proposal he can produce, being expressed in human language, arbitrarily assumes the Inductive Principle (here I am not referring to the Principle of Mathematical Induction) without providing any warrant for it. According to the Christian worldview, the God Who controls every detail of creation and history reveals that He uses means according to the Inductive Principle.

According to the Christian apologist, God in His Word the Bible breathes out a comprehensive worldview sufficient for human experience. We either take it as it is revealed, or we don’t. If we don’t, then we must deviate from it on the basis of some independent worldview, the sufficiency of which (including but not nearly limited to a foundation for Induction) we must establish. But, given any belief which might be encompassed by such a worldview, we finite humans (as unaided with respect to our finitude) cannot account for any fact outside our limited sphere of knowledge and control, which fact may represent a defeater for that belief. So, on the assumption of the denial of the Christian worldview, which encompasses an exclusivity clause with respect to sufficiency for human experience, knowledge of any kind is unwarranted. Any objection to the Christian worldview is a non-starter. Christianity, with its Omniscient, self-revelatory God, is the only worldview with a chance to be sufficient. And it is.

III. The Necessity of the Concept of the Christian God for the Intelligibility of Human Mathematical Experience

The necessity of the concept of the Christian God for the intelligibility of human mathematical experience follows directly from the necessity of the concept of the Christian God for the intelligibility of human experience.

The concept of the Christian God is the precondition for the intelligibility of human mathematical experience: mathematical knowledge, mathematical practice, etc.

IV. Conclusion

So the concept of the Christian God is the precondition for the intelligibility of human mathematical experience. The foundation of the philosophy of math has been delivered. To Him be all glory.

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