Recently I have been asked a number of times by a handful of people about whether or not I have “given up on” the Transcendental Argument for the Existence of God (TAG). Some readers may have heard rumors about my position on TAG and possibly even some rumors concerning me leaving Choosing Hats. I feel as though I need to go ahead and address the hearsay.
It has been my position from the beginning that while presuppositionalism relies heavily upon TAG, TAG need not be the only argument a presuppositionalist employs in his or her apologetic endeavor. There are other arguments. Presuppositionalists do not have to use TAG; not even Van Tillian presuppositionalists! Keeping this realization in the back of my mind throughout my journey of learning presuppositional apologetics has been extremely beneficial to me.
Of course not all presuppositionalists would agree with the position above. That is fine; they can believe what they want but I have no choice other than to follow the evidence where it leads. After reading some pretty devastating critiques of TAG and trying my best to answer them I will go ahead and admit – I have failed miserably.
Basically if TAG can even be stated then it is not much of an argument. There are many, many problems with it. Fatal problems. Take for example the Fristianity objection. Fristianity is a hypothetical worldview that is as close to Christianity as possible with the exception that there are four persons in God instead of three. But Fristianity as a possible worldview shows that the “impossibility of the contrary” claim of TAG is unproven. Poof! No more argument.
Earlier I mentioned that there are other arguments that can be used in presuppositionalism, but their success is contingent upon the soundness of TAG. Some time ago Mitch LeBlanc at Urban Philosophy suggested that since I reject the traditional arguments for the existence of God that TAG is pretty much the last thing standing between me and atheism. Apparently Mitch’s comment is pretty accurate.
Having a defeater to TAG in hand I began to research some other problems with the argument. For example, TAG is a circular argument. Yes, I realize that people say this all the time but stop and think for a moment…might there be a reason people say this all the time? It is clearly the case that TAG is circular. Circular arguments are fallacious. Who can accept that? In response to one of the rumors going around then; I have finally given up on TAG. Sorry to disappoint but I have to do what seems right to me.
With TAG more or less out of the way I began to slide back into investigating other “presuppositions” I have held onto for many years in order to question them. Here is where posts by John Loftus really helped me to see relevant issues more clearly. Loftus basically does not give presuppositionalism a lot of attention because presuppositionalism is undeserving of it. One can presuppose anything! While this is a simple declaration, it is also profound. Just because I presuppose that a unicorn played shuffle board with a lemur on a cosmic ocean liner made of silk and glass does not mean that it is true! Yet this is really the extent of what presuppositionalists are doing. The only difference is that they are doing it in a much more dogmatic fashion. They just assume that they are right and when questioned about it they assert that they are right. If you keep questioning them, they repeat what they have already asserted. Saying “I’m right because I’m right” or that something is the case, “Because I say so” is laughable really.
One might ask what is left of my apologetic. Well, not very much. After chatting with Brian Knapp and RazorsKiss about my new discoveries I remain unconvinced of presuppositionalism. Brian kept asking me, “Where are you standing when you say that?” and I kept trying to tell him that I was not standing at all but rather sitting comfortably in my computer chair. After going back and forth for at least 35 pages with Brian about my posture I decided we were getting nowhere. He told me he had to end the conversation anyway as he is working on writing a book about apologetics called “The Contract” featuring some of his photos. My conversation with RazorsKiss was similar although he kept saying over and over that my feet were in the air. Having no idea what that meant I insisted that my feet were under my computer desk. He still did not believe me.
It has always been my belief that if I were to leave Christianity I would become some sort of agnostic. Studying Objectivism has really changed my mind though. As Dawson Bethrick has said many times before, “Existence exists”. There is undeniable power in these words. “Existence exists.” My heart flutters just typing them out. Go ahead and approach somebody on the street and see if he or she can deny that existence exists. Blank out.
So there are your answers concerning the rumors you may have heard and the suspicions you may have had. As for whether or not I will leave Choosing Hats; that is up to the others who post here. You will likely still see me around. Until then, make sure to brush your teeth each night and mark your calendar for any important events. Goodbye for now and Happy Atheist Day!