Thursday, October 20, 2005

A note from Don Jones on Bahnsen

This is rather belated, since I got this last September 21. However, I do have a thing or two to say in response:

Professor Reppert,

I really like your blog, however, I was somewhat curious as to your analysis of Michael Martin on TAG and that he showed serious problems with it (the blog on February 10, 2005).  Are you aware that he skipped out on the debate that he and Dr. Bahnsen had scheduled on the issue?  I know his excuse was that he didn't want it taped but I think that is somewhat lame given the fact that he loves to critique the Christian worldview in front of the entire world in his books.   Gary North pointed it out quite right when he said that now that Bahnsen's dead, everyone will be trying to debate him.  I also think it was after Bahnsen died that Martin finally did a critique of the argument, however, Scott Oliphint, John Frame, and Michael Butler (among others) have both pointed out the absolute absurdity of Dr. Martin's TANG (Transcendental Argument for the Nonexistence of God).  Dr. Martin does not even touch TAG much less the Christian worldview.  Dr. Bahnsen did a devasting critique of Dr. Martin in 12 lectures that can be found at (mp3 or tape).  When Dr. Martin decided to skip the debate, Bahnsen showed up and critiqued Martin in two or three lecture series that can also be found at the same website.  

Reppert: What I really had in mind was the debate between Theodore Drange and Douglas Wilson on Internet Infidels. I thought Wilson got slaughtered in that one, and insofar as he was being faithful to presuppositionalism, the debate demonstrates the weaknesses of presuppositonalism. I probably should not have included Michael Martin. When it comes to debating presuppositionalism, I don't think anyone else is in the same league with Bahnsen, so maybe that is what happened in the Drange-Wilson debate (linked below). On the other hand, there never was a real collision between Bahnsen and a real atheist philosopher, and I think that's unfortunate.

By the way, I am getting your book on C.S. Lewis for my birthday and really look forward to reading it.  I've heard some really good things about it!  Do you also recommend Angus Menuge's book Agents Under Fire?  

Reppert: I strongly recommend Dr. Menuge's book, as you can see from my review of it on Amazon. If you want to "go deep," then my book should be read in tandem with Hasker's The Emergent Self and Menuge's Agents Under Fire.




Anonymous said...

Bahnsen did go head to head with Gordon Stein (the dude who wrote "Atheism: the case against God") and here is a link to the transcript:

Steven Carr said...

It was Bahnsen who pulled out of the debate because he did not want to debate on the originally agreed terms.

Martin was perfectly happy to debate on the agreed terms.

Of course, presuppers presuppose naturalism every time they use a computer.

Their worldview is that there are supernatural demons, highly motivated to attack us and capable of deceiving our senses.

However, they deny their worldview every time they look before crossing the road, almost as though they have no belief that their sense are under attack by demons.

Victor Reppert said...

Gordon Stein was a scientist not a philosopher. And he did not write Atheism; The Case Against God, George Smith did. Though as I recall Bahnsen did debate Smith also, again I'm not sure he was a philosopher.

Steven Carr said...

In a recent debate with Dan Barker, Doug Wilson claimed that he had been repeatedly spanked by his mother until he promised to believe the Bible.

An unusual form of evangelism....

The current top Christian debater is William Lane Craig who refuses to debate Jeff Lowder or Doug Krueger and , after one debate withe Eddie Tabash, has refused a rematch.....

Anonymous said...

Just saw this blog entry from my email.

Doug Wilson was probably not the best representative to debate Drange, though I like some of Wilson's work.

I would consider George Smith more philosophical than Gordon Stein.

By the way Steven, I've heard Craig's policy is to debate only people who have Phd's which is why he won't debate Doug Krueger.


Jason Pratt said...

{sigh} Okay, guys, let's try to have some fairness on all sides here, please.

If the original terms were for the debate to be taped, and if Martin backed out on the original terms because he didn't want to do a taped debate, then it's silly to say that Bahnsen is the one who skipped out on the debate. (Especially since he obviously showed up.)

On the other hand, I can sympathize with not wanting to do a taped debate. It isn't really a lame excuse: it's a lot easier to do things on paper where one has plenty of time for forethought, second thoughts, editing, etc. Some people simply don't have much skill at live pressure--I'm not entirely sure _I_ would! Plus, it's hard on such polemically charged topics to keep even a paper debate from degenerating into mere rhetoric by either side; the risk is greatly increased under pressure of live debate, meaning the taped product may simply look churlish.

(Granted, I think a lot of Martin's work is nonsense even on paper... {g} Still, had I been in Bahnsen's place I would have agreed for Martin to appear and debate off tape. A Christian ought to be putting a priority on charity to opponents. That's _our_ failure, including mine, when we / I don't.)


Steven Carr said...

Of course, Craig debates people without a Ph.D. whenever it suits him, but ducks Lowder and Krueger.

Victor Reppert said...

I seriouslly doubt that Craig is "ducking" Kreuger and Lowder because they are so formidable. He debated, and re-debated Keith Parsons. Lowder debated Phil Fernandes and it looked to me as if he got the better of the debate, but Fernandes is no William Lane Craig. I understnd the frustration of people like Lowder who don't get to debate Craig, and I personally would like to see Craig and Lowder debate, but given the strength of many of Craig's debate opponents, like Parsons, Jesseph, Washington, Draper, and Curley, attributing cowardice to Craig is rather a stretch.

Frank Walton said...

In response to Carr's posts...

With all due respect, I think all of this is a pack of lies given by Steven Carr.

Concerning Tabash: Dr. Craig debated him before, what's NOT debating him again prove? FYI, atheist Richard Carrier thought that Tabash lost the debate:

Concerning Lowder and Krueger: I think "refuse" is a too strong of language used here. We e-mailed Dr. Ronald Tacelli who helped set up debates for Dr. Craig. He mentioned WITH THE INSISTANCE OF FRIENDS that Dr. Craig should debate PhD opponents only. Makes sense. Dr. Craig holds a doctorate in philosophy and a doctorate in theology. Furthermore, he tends to beat his opponents in debates. I think it would be wise to have someone with the equivalent academic background debate Dr. Craig, don't you? Are we suppose to have an undergraduate plumber debate Dr. Craig?!

Mr. Krueger is a doctoral candidate for over six years.. yet no PhD! (that says something about him, doesn't it?) It's been taking a mighty long time for Krueger to get a PhD. But then again, why should Dr. Craig even debate people like Krueger? Krueger uses vile disrespectful languages and name-calls like this: "Copan pulled this 'Hitler is an atheist' canard out of his a-- and I just told the truth about it, lubed it up, and left it to him to put it back where he got it from.... He is not some hack apologist like Ray Comfort or Kent Hovind, hacks that deserve no respect from anyone." Should Dr. Craig debate a philosopher with such an immature and child-like nature?

As for Craig refusing to debate Lowder... that's news to me! I actually heard that Craig wanted to debate Lowder. But, Lowder told us through e-mail he couldn't quite recall whether he challenged Craig or Craig challenged him to a debate. Either way, if Lowder gets his PhD I'm sure the story will change.

Please stop with the propaganda against Dr. Craig, Mr. Carr. You're only trying to embarass him. Besides, with all the atheists Dr. Craig debated (and believe me, there were many of them) is there anything new Krueger or Lowder can bring to the atheist table? Of course not.

Steven Carr said...

Craig's refusal to debate oppnents without Ph'Ds is an excuse wheeled out because he does not want to debate Lowder or Krueger.

What about Frank Zindler, a biologist who has no Ph.d. and no background in philosophy, and Eddie Tabash, who is an attorney without a philosophy background, and Ron Barrier, who has no college degrees, and Peter Atkins, a chemist?

So don't try to pass off garbage like Craig does not debate people without a Ph.D. The commandment about not bearing false witness applies to Christians as well, you know.

As for your claim that Carrier thought Craig had beaten Tabash ' However, in the opinion of this author, the rhetorical victory was Craig's.' 'Craig resorted all too often to fallacious arguments, but all too frequently Tabash did not call him on it.'

I suppose not being nailed when you produce fallacious arguments is a sortof victory....

Steven Carr said...

Frank Walton complains that Krueger used strong language in

Walton totally forgets to mention that it was a response to somebody saying '....So let me tell you why you haven't got your debate. I am trying to find a way to say this as kindly as possible, and please don't quote me on this, Copan and Craig ( and others) consider you to be a bit of a blowhard prick....'

My apologies for Victor for posting this, but if Frank wants to post the response of a goaded person as an example of how angry atheists can be, it should be explained that atheists are human and get angry when they are insulted , goaded and called names.

Anonymous said...

Peter Atkins has a PhD, Mr. Carr.

Anonymous said...

Really, the only way to get to the bottom of the Bahnsen-Martin controversy is to see the actual rules of debate both parties agreed to. Does anyone have those?

Anonymous said...

Steven Carr is a moron

Anonymous said...

Steven Carr should debate Craig!