THE SCOPE AND LIMITS OF VAN TIL’S TRANSCENDENTAL ARGUMENT: A RESPONSE TO JOHN FRAME Michael H. Warren, Jr. Last revised 9/19/2015 Table of Contents Page I. [1], A version was formulated by Immanuel Kant in his 1763 work The Only Possible Argument in Support of a Demonstration of the Existence of God, and most contemporary formulations of the transcendental argument have been developed within the framework of Christian presuppositional apologetics.[2]. A while ago, I watched a youtube video by Rationality Rules entitled, “Matt Slick’s Transcendental Argument – Debunked (TAG / Presuppositionalism Refuted). Van Til’s followers often speak of the “transcendental argument” for the existence of God. Also, send me the Nonreligious Newsletter and special offers. The final version may include changes not present in this version. The Only Possible Argument in Support of a Demonstration of the Existence of God, "Does Induction Presume the Existence of the Christian God? ", "Responding to the Most Common Arguments for God's Existence", "A Dozen Responses to the Transcendental Argument for God (3 of 3)", "Non-classical Logics: Theory, Applications and Tools", Responses to Atheist Philosopher, Michael Martin, Derrida, Van Til and the Metaphysics of Postmodernism, The Transcendental Argument for the Existence of God, Relationship between religion and science, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Transcendental_argument_for_the_existence_of_God&oldid=965133728, Wikipedia articles needing page number citations from September 2010, Articles with unsourced statements from January 2020, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. On logic, Martin's argument proceeds thus:. Christian Theism as a … Patheos has the views of the prevalent religions and spiritualities of the world. Some of the above arguments are very weak: appeals to personal experience,vicious circular reasoning, and appeals to a first cause. Avoiding logical puzzles invalidates TAG, Many apologists dodge the “Can God make a rock so heavy he can’t lift it?” puzzle by saying that God can’t do anything illogical (for example, here and here)—he can’t make an impossibly heavy rock, a square circle, a married bachelor, and so on. We don’t get physics from Christianity. Draft version of a paper submitted for publication. The text of RationalWiki's article is in blue. Lately, we've been talking about personal evangelism, the... Counterintuitive Puzzles that Should Be Easy. Yes, the Bible tells us how everything got started, but science gives the evidence to make clear that the Bible is wrong. Were God’s hands tied in creating arithmetic, or did he have some creative control? What besides God could possibly explain the existence of something fundamental like logic? Some reject the validity of the argument pointing out various flaws, such as a category error involved in the first premise of the argument, namely that just because there's a statement that's universally true it won't make that statement a part of reality in itself. TAG gives none. TAG is a deist argument. You simply asserted with great confidence that Christianity can account for logic. The Transcendental Argument for the existence of God This is an attempt to demonstrate the existence of God using the Laws of Logic, also referred to as Logical Absolutes. Is this nature changeable? For example, 2 + 2 = 4 in our universe. It should be noted that all the facts used by the Christian in the above hypotheticalconversation are true. (Of course, you could say that if Christians can conclude that the Trinitarian god is both three and one, a mere logical impossibility should be child’s play, but let’s set that aside.). Authored by: Mitchell LeBlanc. God gave us logic, you say? The following is his brief reply to Michael Martin’s caricature of the Transcendental Argument for the Existence of God which he has labeled his Transcendental Argument for the Non-Existence of God. The Whole of Christian Theism by a Single Argument 2 II. However, in stating that logic is the creation of god, it is implied that god would not be bound by logic. Why go to Christianity now to find the fundamental basis for physics? This argument is of particular interest to me because I was introduced to it in a radio interview—not the best place for careful study and contemplation before stating one’s intellectual position—but more on that later. Something can’t simultaneously be a rock and not-a-rock. The Christian apologist has a quick answer: because of God. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. That is, none of the abovearguments really prove that God exists. Hence, one can agree that the transcendental argument proper disproves materialism but still not believe in the Christian God. Therefore, the TAG differs from thomistic and evidentialist arguments, which posit the existence of God in order to avoid an infinite regress of causes or motions. The Transcendental Argument for the Existence of God (TAG) is the argument that attempts to prove the existence of God by arguing that logic, morals, and science ultimately presuppose a supreme being and that God must therefore be the source of logic and morals. This is a response to RationalWiki's article on the Transcendental Argument for God. If God is bound by logic, logic isn’t arbitrary. It’s neither external nor arbitrary. To Van Til, this principle was not only a fact, but an argument for the existence of God. Can God make a rock so heavy that hitting His head with it would explain the change in personality He underwent between the Old Testament and the New Testament? Could God have made 2 + 2 = 9? In his article on The Transcendental Argument for the Existence of God Mitch Leblanc relied heavily upon a strong Modal TAG and arguments that have been brought against it.1 In subsequent discussion about the article he claimed, repeatedly, that this was only a formal representation of what Bahnsen offered in his debate with Gordon Stein. If He didn't, we could not rely upon logic, reason, morality, and other absolute universals (which are required and assumed to live in this universe, let alone to debate), and could not exist in a materialist universe where there are no absolute standards or an absolute Lawgiver. But because the laws of logic are a properly basic belief, the circle is broken. The TAG argument Dr. James Anderson used in the video, using the laws of logic, was similiar to a type of a priori ontological argument and went something along the lines of: [citation needed], "Transcendental argument" redirects here. 32 Furthermore, the existence of theorems like Goedel's completeness theorem and the soundness theorems for classical logic provide justification for some logic systems like classical propositional logic without using any god hypotheses thus contradicting the first premise of the argument. It is this that we ought to mean when we say that we reason from the impossibility of the contrary. Then God is again bound by logic. Graham Bird, The Revolutionary Kant: A Commentary on the Critique of Pure Reason (2006). Hi Chris, Thanks for engaging my paper, it truly is an honor. Here again, he answered to an external reality. The Transcendental Argument for God There are several methods available to the Christian for answering questions about or, challenges to, Christianity from the unbeliever. Prior exemplars of sucharguments may perhaps by claimed, such as Aristotle’s proof of theprinciple of non-contradiction (see Metaphysics1005… Explore the world's faith through different perspectives on religion and spirituality! It must’ve been God.”. We know that they work, but why? [6] Another issue pointed out is that it's not needed to have a god to have logic or morality. Lewis’s Transcendental Argument may have a lot of entailments and may need the amount of explanation I gave, if not more, but at it’s core, the argument is simple: “Unless I believe in God, I can’t believe in thought: so I can never use thought to disbelieve in God.” -C.S. He acts logically because he must, just like the rest of us. Martin makes three separate arguments: . A Response to John Frame's Rebuttal of The Transcendental Argument for the Nonexistence of God (TANG) Michael Martin . The transcendental method then goes ahead to ask what the necessary conditions of human knowledge are. They are also sometimes said to be distinct from standard deductive and inductive forms of reasoning, although this has been disputed, for instance by Anthony Genova 4. By saying that God can’t make something that’s logically impossible, however, they create another problem as God’s actions become constrained by an external logic. The Transcendental Argument for God There is a set of interrelated preconditions that are required for the intelligibility of experience. Is it fixed? A Dozen Responses to the Transcendental Argument for God. If I don’t accept that God can have no flaws and/or that nonexistence is a flaw, I’ve defeated the ontological argument. The argument suggests that the Christian… No Dilemma for the Proponent of the Transcendental Argument: A Response to David Reiter James N. Anderson David Reiter has recently argued that presuppositionalists who champion the transcendental argument for God’s existence (“TAG”) face a dilemma: depending on what conclusion the Then logic is arbitrary. For arguments that deduce conclusions from some accepted aspect of experience, see. The transcendental argument for the existence of God (TAG) is an argument within the realm of presuppositional apologetics.It argues that logic, morals, and science ultimately presuppose a theistic worldview, as God must be the "source" of logic and morality. If so, prove it. … Transcendental argument (TAG): The goal of this argument is to show that God is the source of logic. [1] A version was formulated by Immanuel Kant in his 1763 work The Only Possible Argument in Support of a Demonstration of the Existence of God. If it convinced you, you’d be a deist, not a Christian. Answer: The transcendental argument for the existence of God is the argument that attempts to prove God’s existence by arguing that logic, morals, and science ultimately presuppose the theistic worldview and that God’s transcendent character is the source of logic and morals. But this is an incredible claim that needs justification. Abstract: I briefly trace the origin of the Transcendental Argument for the Existence of God and present both an informal and formal version of the argument. God is a necessary precondition for logic and morality (because these are immaterial, yet real universals). They exist and are sustained by God. It recently appeared on the Internet and was replied to by John Frame in his paper, "A Brief Response to … ), Please also opt me in for Exclusive Offers from Patheos’s Partners, 10 Tough Questions for the Atheist to Answer (3 of 3). A godless universe could then have no logic or different logical rules. 3. And if not, God was obliged to make arithmetic the way it is and unable to create any other kind. It’s curious then that this God-given logic can’t prove that it was God who did it and not Brahma or Odin or Moloch. First, and this is a minor point, I only “propose” that transcendental argument in the sense that I suggest a form which it may take, not that I endorse it. Let me make a few points in response. (To see the Christian case for this argument, read the selection from my book Cross Examined in an earlier post.). The Transcendental Argument Complements the Moral Argument. [3] and Graham Bird. by Matt Slick. The Transcendental Argument for God's existence is an argument that attempts to demonstrate the existence of God by showing that God is the foundation of logic, reason, rationality, and morality. Have you ever thought about what grounds the laws of logic and mathematics? If Knowledge Then God (2005) — a paper in which I summarize Van Til’s transcendental argument (actually multiple versions of it) and contrast it with the theistic arguments of Alvin Plantinga. The question is ill-formed. The Transcendental Argument for the Nonexistence of God Michael Martin [This article originally appeared in the Autumn 1996 issue of The New Zealand Rationalist & Humanist.]. The answer must first of all must be the existence of the God of Scripture. 3. Without God there is no meaning (truth, rationality, etc. In laying out this case, the apologist is accepting the validity of logic by trying to construct an argument. Think about God creating arithmetic for a moment. The transcendental theist apologist claims that we only have logic on which to rely because it was provided for us by god. In short, the transcendental argument for the existence of God (or TAG) states that the Christian God must be presupposed for any fact to be rendered… An answer to another response to the Transcendental Argument. But the apologist’s argument tells us that, without God, logic is up for grabs. [4], The TAG is a transcendental argument that attempts to prove that God is the precondition for logic, reason, or morality. In other words, they are distinct from both arguments that appeal to a transcendent intuition or sense as evidence, and classical apologetics arguments that move from direct evidence to the existence of a transcendent thing. Also, send me the Nonreligious Newsletter. L1. Not only does it demonstrate that the Christian worldview is necessarily true, it refutes the non-Christian worldview in every form it takes by reducing that view to absurdity. A Parable. It would be impossible there to be a set of interrelated preconditions that are required for the intelligibility of experience, unless the God of Orthodox Christianity exists. — commenter GubbaBumpkin, (This is an update of a post that originally appeared 11/30/13. People depend upon logic and morality, showing that they depend upon the universal, immaterial, and abstract realities which could not exist in a materialist universe but presupposes (presumes) the existence of an immaterial and absolute God. Transcendental arguments should not be confused with arguments for the existence of something transcendent. Atheism has always been weak on morality. The transcendental argument for God (TAG) destroys all speculations and every pernicious thought raised against the knowledge of Christ. I will be appearing with fellow Patheoser Andrew Hall on his YouTube... Did I read that right? Next, notice that we’ve never gotten physics from Christianity before. My article, "The Transcendental Argument for the Nonexistence of God," was originally published in the New Zealand Rationalist and Humanist (Autumn 1996, p. 4). The Theistic Preconditions of Knowledge (2006) — an argument that human knowledge presupposes the existence of God. His published books include The Doctrine of the Knowledge of God, Apologetics to the Glory of God, and Cornelius Van Til, An Analysis of His Thought. Greg Bahnsen applied this in a famous (in our circles) debate with atheist Gordon Stein. This page was last edited on 29 June 2020, at 16:13. Although Immanuel Kant rarely uses the term ‘transcendentalargument’, and when he does it is not in our current sense (cf.Hookway 1999: 180 n. 8), he nonetheless speaks frequently of‘transcendental deductions’, ‘transcendentalexpositions’, and ‘transcendental proofs’, whichroughly speaking have the force of what is today meant by‘transcendental argument’. There's Nothing Supernatural About Evangelism. The argument proceeds as follows:[5]. Martin is wrong in this assumption, and thus by admitting that if the transcendental argument is true the atheist would be inconsistent, he shows that this is a positive proof for the Christian worldview. The Transcendental Argument for the existence of God (TAG for short) demands a certain sardonic respect due to its sheer ambition. A transcendental argument generally tries to prove that if X is a necessary precondition for Y, then if Y does exist then it follows that X must exist by necessity. A classical Platonist would fall into this category. This creates a Euthyphro-like dilemma: either God is bound by an external logic (and God answers to a fixed logic that he can’t change) or he’s not (and logic becomes arbitrary—it is what it is simply because God said so, and he could change it if he wanted to). And now that we know that God exists, we can explain why the laws of logic exist. All other Van Tillian transcendental arguments are valid but use unproven and/or false premises. Overview. Some Christian philosophers have made the incredible argument that logic, science and morality presuppose the truth of the Christian world view because logic, science and morality depend on the truth of this world view []. How could God be the origin of logic if he’s bound by it? Yes, I want the Patheos Nonreligious Newsletter as well, Identity Politics vs. Transactional Politics. The transcendental argument for the existence of God (TAG) is an argument within the realm of presuppositional apologetics. The transcendental argument for the existence of God (TAG) attempts to show that logic, science, ethics and generally every fact of human experience and knowledge are not meaningful apart from a preconditioning belief in the existence of God.Since logic "exists", then so must God. Or is he bound by them? In our universe, the Law of Noncontradiction tells us that X can’t be the same thing as not-X. No honest seeker of the truth says, “I don’t know what causes this thing … so therefore I do know! 2. The Transcendental Argument for the Existence of God (TAG) is the argument that attempts to prove God's existence by arguing that logic, morals, and science ultimately presuppose a theistic worldview, and that God must be the source of logic and morals. Therefore, God exists. Could God create logic and mathematics? The apologist will try to propose a third option (again, as with Euthyphro): logic is simply a consequence of God’s nature. But this simply rephrases the problem. See also: Do Atheists Borrow From the Christian Worldview? Do Atheists Borrow From the Christian Worldview? Nothing useful has ever come from resolving a science question by concluding that God did it. In other words, because Goddidit is claimed to be the answer to every question in epistemology, God necessarily exists. Yes, God is the first cause, the designer of life,the resurrected Christ, the Author of Scripture, and the Savior of Christians.Yet the way these facts are used is not decisive. The Transcendental Argument (TAG) challenges the atheist to resolve this any other way. ” I am a subscriber to Rationality Rules and there are many good videos where he explains the serious problems with a number of arguments, particularly for the existence of “God.” A Dozen Responses to the Transcendental Argument for God May 1, 2017 Bob Seidensticker Patheos Explore the world's faith through different perspectives on religion and spirituality! 1 The oversimplified argument, which is expanded in outline form below, goes as follows: Logical absolutes exist. [7] In particular the existence of multiple logic systems with differing axioms such as non-classical logic[8] as well as multiple radically different moral systems[9][10][11][12] constitutes evidence against the idea that logic and morality are actually universals. Robert Stern has helped flesh out a definition in his book, Transcendental Arguments: The first, and perhaps most definitive feature, is that these arguments involve a claim of a distinctive form: namely, that one thing (X) is a necessary condition for the possibility of something else (Y), so that (it is said) the latter cannot obtain without the former. God created logic, and logic is the way it is because God made it so. In its full form, it claims that logic (and by extension rationality, sense, morality and any argumentation at all) can only exist if the Christian God does. In your reply to my response, one of the articles you sent a link to was on the topic of Brahman. But let’s assume the apologist’s argument and see what happens. Hi and welcome back! A Parable. Church and ministry leadership resources to better equip, train and provide ideas for today's church and ministry leaders, like you. It was first intended as a reply to the Transcendental argument for the existence of God, which argues that logic, science and morality can only be justified by appealing to the theistic worldview.TANG, however, argues that the reverse is true. ... Everything you asserted prior to this was either a failed argument to prove logic comes from god or else the bare unsupported "acknowledgement" that logic comes from god. The contrary is impossible only if it is self-contradictory when operating on the basis of its own assumptions. The Transcendental Argument is merely semi-circular: It remains logically valid. The Christian apologist would be obliged to use different arguments to show that the deity was the Christian god, not some other god. Lewis, The Case for Christianity, pg. The Transcendental Argument for the Existence of God (TAG) is the argument that attempts to prove the existence of God by arguing that logic, morals, and science ultimately presuppose a supreme being and that God must therefore be the source of logic and morals. In a godless universe, something might be a rock and not-a-rock. Anthony C. Genova, "Transcendental Form," Southwestern Journal of Philosophy 11 (1980): 25-34. Get updates from Cross Examined delivered straight to your inbox. One could engage in an inductive approach which is aligned more closely with … Any future edits to the main article for the “Transcendental argument for the existence of God” will need to comply with that worldview simply because they would be taking place on Wikipedia. A Brief Response to “The Transcendental Argument for the Non Existence of God” [6] If God’s role here is important, a godless universe must be dramatically different. b. God can’t change it.