In Part I I set the general ground rules for our discussion of Presuppositionalism or The Transcendental Argument for the Existence of God (hereafter TAG.)
In this post, which should be relatively brief, I’m going to lay out the basic tenets of the Presuppositionalist position. I’ll refrain from actually evaluating the arguments themselves at this point. We’ll do that in part III.
The main difficulty in delineating the TAG is that it is primarily a tool of confusion to derail criticism and deflect skeptical enquiry. Well, presuppers won’t admit that, but that’s how it plays out in praxis.
So, what precisely is the Transcendental Argument for the Existence of God? There isn’t just one simple accepted line from the TAG Association of Blah-Blah, but it goes something like this:
God is the source of logic, reason, and morals, which contribute to the body of knowledge, therefore no logical, reasonable dialogue is possible, and no person can claim to have any knowledge, without the precondition of God’s existence.
In other words, you can’t even have a discussion of whether or not god exists, unless you first assume god exists.
I would think just that last sentence would be enough to show this apologetic trick for the nonsense that it is. Yet this mode of discussion persists among a number of popular internet apologists. There are some who are wholly committed to this line of reason, Sye being the most infamous.
This mode of argument pivots on the idea that the Laws of Logic are absolute. In order to determine an idea to be absolute, one must have an absolute authority as the source of that absolute, and only (a) god meets that criteria.
Further, the presupper asserts that when a non-theist uses logic and scientific reasoning, or refers to knowledge, even in an attempt to refute the existence of any god, that the use of said logic and even the ability to reference god is itself proof of god’s existence, because how can we even conceptualize such things and know such things if they did not already exist, and how could they exist conceptually if there wasn’t someone to conceptualize such things from the beginning of the universe?
You see, it gets a little confusing.
Matt Slick, another of your hardcore presuppers (and a Calvinist to boot, how’s *that* for presupposition?) has published a longer, more detailed explanation of the TAG. I’ll reproduce part of it here:
The Laws of Logic exist. The Laws of Logic are conceptual by nature–are not dependent on space, time, physical properties, or human nature. They are not the product of the physical universe (space, time, matter) because if the physical universe were to disappear, The Laws of Logic would still be true. The Laws of Logic are not the product of human minds because human minds are different–not absolute. But, since The Laws of Logic are always true everywhere and not dependent upon human minds, it must be an absolute transcendent mind that is authoring them. This mind is called God. Furthermore, if there are only two options to account for something, i.e., God and no God, and one of them is negated, then by default the other position is validated. Therefore, part of the argument is that the atheist position cannot account for the existence of The Laws of Logic from its worldview.
We’ll dig into this in our next chapter, but for now, I just want to illustrate the position they are taking, as well as the logical flow of thought they put forward to support their view.
And as you read through, try not to lose sight of the fact that, despite their protests otherwise, the only purpose of this argument is to remove the question of god’s existence from the realm of argument. They want you to give in to their position in order to discuss their position.
In our next chapter, we’ll start pulling this apart, one step at a time.