Presuppositionalism is a brand of Christian apologetics which has become enormously popular during the last decade. Nowadays, it seems like most Internet wannabe theologians (and even real theologians) are using it, mostly because atheists are still unprepared for it.
The basic presuppositionalist argument consists of assuming that God is the necessary cause of the laws of logic, the uniformity of nature, morality, and so on. Then, when an atheist contends something on the basis of logic, induction, or morality, the Christian then turns around and says that the atheist has contradicted emself and that these things can only be justified if one believes in God.
The problem with presuppositionalism is that it rests entirely on an argument from incredulity: the Christian doesn’t believe any secular worldview can justify things like logic, therefore ey posits that no secular worldview can do so. But this is not an argument. The fact that you don’t believe something is possible doesn’t mean it’s not possible.
In fact, Christians make no attempt whatsoever to address the secular worldviews that do claim to be able to justify things like logic. At best, they will make disparaging comments about materialism and how absurd it appears to them. Things like, “if we’re just atoms banging around, then how could we possibly have intelligence?” But of course we are more than just “atoms banging around.” Most of the time, they are straw men, and the rest of the time, they just reduce to the argument from incredulity.
Vasko Kohlmayer thinks he got it made, though. He thinks he’s unraveled the whole thing, and the Washington Times gave him some web space to show his proof to the world, which is called “Atheism: Why it is logically incoherent.” Sadly, his argument is just another version of “atoms banging around”:
But even as the atheist tries to make his point, he unwittingly falls into a trap: If his worldview were true, then the principle of non-contradiction – or any other rule of logic – would be void of meaning.
Why? Because within atheism reality is ultimately composed of only matter and motion. If atheism is true, then everything in the universe must be explainable in terms of these two.
Rules of logic, however, possess properties that cannot be explained in terms of matter and motion. After all, rules of logic are immaterial, abstract, universal and unchanging.
None of these qualities can be explained by what the atheist claims constitutes reality. Such properties simply do not fit into a materialistic picture of the universe.
Here is the incredible, breath-taking argument that defeats atheism:
1. [W]ithin atheism reality is ultimately composed of only matter and motion.
2. [R]ules of logic are immaterial, abstract, universal and unchanging.
4. [Therefore,] [r]ules of logic… possess properties that cannot be explained in terms of matter and motion.
5. [Therefore,] [i]f [atheism] were true, then the principle of non-contradiction – or any other rule of logic – would be void of meaning.
Obviously, there is the problem of premise 1 being complete nonsense, as atheism is disbelief in God, not disbelief in the supernatural. Plenty of atheists believe in the supernatural. But presuppositionalists seem to confuse the two all the time.
But most importantly, as for all other presuppositionalist arguments, there is something missing- some kind of universal proof that materialism (which they always confuse for atheism) somehow is incompatible with absolutes or abstractions. There is nothing inherent to matter or motion that contradicts that. Matter in motion follows laws which can be discovered by human brains. Then, Christians strenuously waste everyone’s time by arguing that it couldn’t possibly have happened, therefore their fantasy being exists.
This brings me to the other fallacy that almost all apologetics arguments share, and that’s lack of specificity. Even if there was a complete third premise here, where does God even start entering into the equation? The argument would only prove, if it was valid, that atheism is not true. It certainly would not prove the existence of any supernatural entity, let alone God.
It also does not prove that the laws of logic were created by any being or entity. All it proves is that they cannot be explained in terms of “matter and motion [of matter].” It does not prove that they cannot be explained by some other property of matter apart from its motion. It also does not prove that they cannot be explained by some supernatural substance that is not alive or conscious.
The sad fact is that, no matter how hard they try, Christianity will never make any sense.