Greg Bahnsen Debates Atheist Gordon Stein - Highlights

In this debate, Greg Bahnsen effectively utilizes presuppositional apologetics, or the transcendental proof for God's existence, against atheist Gordon Stein.
Atheism
Presuppositional Apologetics
...

Introduction

    <p>This blog post will summarize the highlights, or most interesting parts, of the debate between Greg Bahnsen, a presuppositionalist, and Gordon Stein, an atheist. Headings have been added to help with understanding. Below is a link to the full video of the debate.</p>

    <p><a href="https://youtu.be/anGAazNCfdY" target="_blank">Dr. Gordon Stein (Athiest) vs Dr Greg Bahnsen (Jesus follower)</a></p>

    <h2>The presuppositional argument, or the transcendental proof for God's existence</h2>

    <blockquote>
      <p>... I suggest we can prove the existence of God from the impossibility of the contrary. The transcendental proof for God's existence is that without Him it is impossible to prove anything. The atheist worldview is irrational and cannot consistently provide the preconditions of intelligible experience, science, logic, or morality. The atheist worldview cannot allow for laws of logic, the uniformity of nature, the ability for the mind to understand the world, and moral absolutes.</p>
    </blockquote>

    <h2>Stein says the laws of logic are convention</h2>

    <blockquote>
      <p><strong>Bahnsen:</strong> Do you believe there are laws of logic then?</p>
      <p><strong>Stein:</strong> Absolutely.</p>
      <p><strong>Bahnsen:</strong> Are they universal?</p>
      <p><strong>Stein:</strong> They are agreed upon by human beings not realizing it is just out in nature.</p>
      <p><strong>Bahnsen:</strong> Are they simply conventions then?</p>
      <p><strong>Stein:</strong> They are conventions that are self-verifying. </p>
    </blockquote>

    <h2>The laws of logic are universal, invariant, and immaterial</h2>

    <blockquote>
      <p>Dr. Stein has mentioned logical binds and logical self-contradictions. He says that he finds that the laws of logic are universal; however, they are conventional in nature. That is not at all acceptable philosophically. If the laws of logic are conventional in nature, then you might have different societies that use different laws of logic.</p>

      <p>It might be appropriate in some societies to say, "Well, my car is in the parking lot, and it's not the case that my car is in the parking lot." There are laws in certain societies that have a convention that says, "go ahead and contradict yourself". But then there are in a sense, some groups in our own society that might think that way. Thieves have a tendency to say, "this is not my wallet, but it is not the case that it's not my wallet." They may engage in contradictions like that, but I don't think any of us would want to accept this.</p>

      <p>The laws of logic are not conventional or sociological. I would say the laws of logic have a transcendental necessity about them. They are universal; they are invariant, and they are not material in nature. And if they are not that, then I'd like to know, in an atheist universe, how it is possible to have laws in the first place. And secondly, how it is possible to justify those laws?</p>
    </blockquote>

    <h2>The atheist worldview must borrow the laws of logic from the Christian worldview</h2>

    <blockquote>
      <p>And so, you see, we have a real problem on our hands. Dr. Stein wants to use the laws of logic tonight. I maintain that by so doing he's borrowing my worldview. For you see, in the theistic worldview the laws of logic makes sense, because in the theistic worldview there can be abstract, universal, invariant entities such as the laws of logic. Within the theistic worldview you cannot contradict yourself, because to do so you're engaging in the nature of lying, and that's contrary to the character of God as we perceive it. And so, the laws of logic are something Dr. Stein is going to have to explain as an atheist or else relinquish using them.</p>
    </blockquote>

    <h2>Why atheism and materialism cannot have universal laws of logic</h2>

    <blockquote>
      <p>That is to say, in the atheist conception of the world, there's really no reason to debate; because in the end, as Dr. Stein has said, all these laws are conventional. All these laws are not really law-like in their nature, they're just, well, if you're an atheist and materialist, you'd have to say they're just something that happens inside the brain.</p>

      <p>But you see, what happens inside your brain is not what happens inside my brain. Therefore, what happens inside your brain is not a law. It doesn't necessarily correspond to what happens in mine. In fact, it can't be identical with what is inside my mind or brain, because we don't have the same brain.</p>

      <p>As the laws of logic come down to being materialistic entities, then they no longer have their law-like character. If they are only social conventions, then, of course, what we might do to limit debate is just define a new set of laws. and ask for all who want the convention that says, "Atheism must be true or theism must be true, and we have the following laws that we conventionally adopt to prove it," and see who'd be satisfied.</p>

      <p>But no one can be satisfied without a rational procedure to follow. The laws of logic can not be avoided, the laws of logic can not be accounted for in a Materialist universe. Therefore, the laws of logic are one of the many evidences that without God you can't prove anything at all.</p>
    </blockquote>

    <h2>Argument against "The laws of logic are just this way"</h2>

    <blockquote>
      <p>However, we still hear him saying that laws of logic are a matter of consensus and are just this way. That is to say, "I don't have to prove that the laws of logic exist or that they are justified. It's just this way."</p>

      <p>Now friends, how would you like it if I would have conducted the debate in that fashion this evening? God exists because it's just that way. You just can't avoid it. You see, that's not debate, that's not argument, and it's not rational. And therefore, we have, interestingly, an  illustration in our very debate tonight that atheists cannot sustain a rational approach to this question.</p>
    </blockquote>

    <h2>In the Christian worldview, the laws of logic reflect the thinking of God</h2>

    <blockquote>
      <p>What are the laws of logic, Dr. Stein, and how are they justified? We'll still have to answer that question from a materialist standpoint. From a Christian standpoint, we have an answer&mdash;obviously they reflect the thinking of God. They are, if you will, a reflection of the way God thinks and expects us to think.</p>
    </blockquote>

    <h2>In an atheistic, random, unordered world, there is no reason to believe that the laws of logic will always be valid, yet they are</h2>

    <blockquote>
      <p>But if you don't take that approach and want to justify the laws of logic in some <em>a priori</em> fashion, that is apart from experience, something that he suggests when he says these things are self-verified. Then we can ask why the laws of logic are universal, unchanging, and invariant truths&mdash;why they, in fact, apply repeatedly in the realm of contingent experience.</p>

      <p>Dr. Stein told you, "Well, we use the laws of logic because we can make accurate predictions using them." Well, as a matter of fact, that doesn't come anywhere close to discussing the vast majority of the laws of logic. That isn't the way they're proven. It's very difficult to conduct experiments of the laws of logic of that sort. They are more conceptual by nature rather than empirical or predicting certain outcomes in empirical experience. But even if you want to try to justify all of them in that way, we have to ask why is it that they apply repeatedly in a contingent realm of experience.</p>

      <p>Why, in a world that is random, not subject to personal order, as I believe [it is] for a Christian God, why is it that the laws of logic continue to have that success generating feature about them? Why should they be assumed to have anything to do with the realm of history? [And] why should reasoning about history or science, or empirical experience have these laws of thought imposed upon it?</p>
    </blockquote>

    <h2>It is unacceptable to say that the laws of logic are conventional</h2>

    <blockquote>
      <p>Once again we have to come back to this really unacceptable idea that they are conventional. If they are conventional, then of course, there ought to be just numerous approaches to scholarship everywhere, with approaches to history, to science, and so forth, because people just adopt different laws of logic. That just isn't the way scholarship proceeds, and if anyone thinks that is adequate, they just need to go to the library and read a bit more.</p>
    </blockquote>

    <h2>The laws of logic cannot be explained by experience or observation</h2>

    <blockquote>
      <p>The laws of logic are just not treated as conventions. To say that they are merely conventions is to simply say "I haven't got an answer." Now if you want to justify logical truths along a <em>posteriori</em> lines, that is rather than arguing that they are self evident, but rather arguing that there is evidence for them that we can find in experience or by observation&mdash;that approach, by the way, was used by John Stuart Mill&mdash;people will say we gain confidence in the laws of logic through repeated experience, then that experience is generalized. But in some weaker moments I think Dr. Stein was trying to say that.</p>

      <p>Of course, some of the suggested logical truths, it turns out, are so complex or so unusual that it is difficult to believe that anyone has perceived their instances in experience. But even if we restrict our attention to the other more simple laws of logic, it should be seen that if [their] truth, cannot be decided independently of experience, then they actually become contingent. That is, if people cannot justify the laws of logic independent of experience, then you can only say they apply, as far as I know, to any past experience that I've had.</p>

      <p>They are contingent, they lose their necessity, universality, and invariance. Why should a law of logic, which is verified in one domain of experience, by the way, be taken as true for unexperienced domains as well? Why should we universalize or generalize about the laws of logic&mdash;especially in a materialistic universe, not subject to the control of a personal God?</p>
    </blockquote>

    <h2>The laws of logic are not linguistic conventions, like grammar</h2>

    <blockquote>
      <p>Now, it turns out, if the <em>a priori</em> and the <em>a posteriori</em> lines of justification for logical truths are unconvincing&mdash;as I'm suggesting briefly they both are&mdash;perhaps we could say they are linguistic conventions about certain symbols. Certain philosophers have suggested that the laws of logic would not be taken as inexorably dictated, but rather we impose their necessity on our language. They become, therefore, somewhat like rules of grammar, and as John Dewey pointed out so persuasively earlier in the century, laws of grammar, you see, are just culturally relative. If the laws of logic are like grammar, then the laws of logic are culturally relative, too.</p>
    </blockquote>

    <h2>The laws of logic cannot be conventional, or culturally relative</h2>

    <blockquote>
      <p>Why then, are not contradictory systems deemed equally rational? If the laws of logic can be made culturally relative, then we can win the debate by simply stipulating that a law of logic that says "anybody who argues in this way has gotten a tautology on his hands, and therefore it's true.'</p>
    </blockquote>

    <h2>Atheists cannot justify the laws of logic, science, and morality they use to criticize Christianity</h2>

    <blockquote>
      <p>Why are arbitrary conventions like the logical truths so useful if they're only conventional? Why are they so useful in dealing with problems in the world of experience? We must ask whether the atheist has a rational basis for his claims. Atheists love to talk about laws of science and laws of logic. They speak as though there are certain moral absolutes from which Christians were just a few minutes ago being indicted because they didn't live up to them. But who is the atheist to tell us about laws? In a materialist universe there are no laws, much less laws of morality that anybody has to live up to.</p>
    </blockquote>

    <h2>Bahnsen asks for evidence for the laws of logic</h2>

    <blockquote>
      <p>When we consider that the lectures and essays that are written by logicians and others are not likely filled with just uninterrupted series of tautologies, we can examine those propositions which logicians are most concerned to convey. For instance, logicians will say things like "a proposition has the opposite truth value from its negation." Now when we look at those kind of propositions, we have to ask the general question: what type of evidence do people have for that kind of teaching? Is it the same sort of evidence that is utilized by the biologist, by the mathematician, the lawyer, the mechanic, by your beautician? What is it that justifies a law of logic, or even beliefs that there is such a thing? What is a law of logic, after all?</p>
    </blockquote>

    <h3>Is it "absurd" to ask for evidence for the laws of logic?</h3>

    <blockquote>
      <p>There's no agreement on that question. If we had universal agreement, perhaps it would be silly to ask the question. It's been suggested to you that it is absurd to ask these sorts of things, although the analogy that was used by Dr. Stein about the absurdity of asking about the cause of the world is not at all relevant because that isn't what my argument is...by the way, it's not absurd to ask that question either. It maybe unnecessary to ask it if you're an atheist, but certainly not absurd to ask it.</p>

      <p>But it isn't absurd to ask the question that I'm asking about logic. You see, logicians are having a great deal of difficulty deciding on the nature of their claims. Anybody who reads in the philosophy of logic must be impressed with that today.</p>
    </blockquote>

    <h3>Suggested theories for the laws of logic</h3>

    <blockquote>
      <p>Some say the laws of logic are inferences comprised of judgments made up of concepts. Others say that they are arguments comprised of propositions made up of terms. Others say they are proofs comprised of sentences made up of names. Others have simply said they are electrochemical processes in the brain. In the end, what you think the laws of logic are will determine the nature of the evidence you will suggest for them.</p>
    </blockquote>

    <h3>Questions about the laws of logic for the atheist worldview</h3>

    <blockquote>
      <p>Now in an atheist universe, what are the laws of logic? How can they be universal, abstract, invariant? And how does an atheist justify the use of them? Are they merely conventions imposed on our experience, or are they something that look like absolute truth? Dr. Stein, tonight, has wanted to use the laws of logic. I want to suggest to you one more time that Dr. Stein, in so doing, is borrowing my worldview. He's using the Christian approach to the world, so that there can be such laws of logic, scientific inference, or whathave-you. But then he wants to deny the very foundation of it.</p>
    </blockquote>

    <h2>Stein cross-examines Bahnsen</h2>

    <h3>Stein asks Bahnsen if the laws of logic are theistic</h3>

    <blockquote>
      <p><strong>Stein:</strong> Is mathematics either atheistic or theistic?</p>
      <p><strong>Bahnsen:</strong> Foundations of mathematics, yes. </p>
      <p><strong>Stein:</strong> Which? </p>
      <p><strong>Bahnsen:</strong> Theistic. </p>
      <p><strong>Stein:</strong> Theistic? </p>
      <p><strong>Bahnsen:</strong> Christian theistic. </p>
      <p><strong>Stein:</strong> How do you figure that? </p>
      <p><strong>Bahnsen:</strong> From the impossibility of the contrary. No other worldview can justify the laws of mathematics or of logic, because no other worldview can account for universal invariant, abstract entities such as them. </p>
    </blockquote>

    <h3>Stein asks Bahnsen if it's fair to demand an explanation for the laws of logic</h3>

    <blockquote>
      <p><strong>Stein:</strong> Do you think it's fair, since you pointed out that logicians themselves are in great disagreement about the nature of the laws of logic, to ask me to explain them in a way that you would find satisfactory? </p>
      <p><strong>Bahnsen:</strong> Yes, it's fair. </p>
      <p><strong>Stein:</strong> Why? </p>
      <p><strong>Bahnsen:</strong> Because this is a rational debate about worldviews. You have a naturalistic worldview, I have a super naturalistic one. I want something even beginning to be an answer of how a naturalist can justify a universal abstract entity. I haven't heard one yet. </p>
    </blockquote>

    <h3>Stein asks Bahnsen why "the laws of logic reflect the thinking of God" is a legitimate statement</h3>

    <blockquote>
      <p><strong>Stein:</strong> Well, I would ask you a more fundamental question that is: you explained that the laws of logic reflect the thinking of God. Number one, how do you know this, and number two, what does it mean? </p>
      <p><strong>Bahnsen:</strong> What difficulty are you having understanding what does it mean? </p>
      <p><strong>Stein:</strong> I don't know how you are privy to the thinking of God. </p>
      <p><strong>Bahnsen:</strong> He revealed Himself through the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments. </p>
      <p><strong>Stein:</strong> And that explains the logic? </p>
      <p><strong>Bahnsen:</strong> That explains why there are universal standards of reasoning, yes. </p>
      <p><strong>Stein:</strong> It doesn't explain them to me. Could you explain them again? </p>
      <p><strong>Bahnsen:</strong> Yeah, we have Bible studies from time to time where we delve into it. </p>
      <p><strong>Stein:</strong> You mean you spend some time rationalizing the irreconcilable, or reconciling the irreconcilable? Like the two accounts in Genesis, the two... </p>
      <p><strong>Bahnsen:</strong> This is a cross-examination. If you have something other than a rhetorical question, I'll try to answer it. </p>
      <p><strong>Stein:</strong> Well, it's not intended as a rhetorical question, it's intended as... </p>
      <p><strong>Bahnsen:</strong> The previous one was rhetorical only. </p>
      <p><strong>Stein:</strong> Well, it was intended to show that your... </p>
      <p><strong>Moderator:</strong> Please limit your comments to questions. </p>
      <p><strong>Stein:</strong> O.K. Saying that logic reflects the thinking of God is to make a non statement. How is that an answer to anything that's relevant in this discussion? </p>
      <p><strong>Bahnsen:</strong> It answers the general metaphysical issue of how there can be universal, invariant, abstract entities in a particular person's worldview. If you want to know the precise relationship, for instance, if somebody wants to know for instance, "how did God make a cow?".</p>
      <p><strong></strong> Okay. The statement that God made the cow has meaning apart from my being able to explain the mechanics of God making a cow. Likewise, the statement that the laws of logic are intelligible within a Christian theistic universe has meaning because there are things which are, in fact, spiritual, immaterial, and have a universal quality, such as God's thinking, and those standards that He imposes on people. </p>
      <p><strong></strong> And so again we can at least metaphysically make sense of invariant abstract entities in one universe, whereas we can't make sense of them at all in the other. We're not asking for the mechanics here, or anything precise such as resolving the relationship of logic to math. I'm simply asking a more general question. If you're an atheist, how, in the atheist universe, is it possible to have an abstract, universal law? </p>
    </blockquote>

    <h2>Bahnsen cross-examines Stein</h2>

    <h3>Bahnsen asks Stein about David Hume's discussion of induction</h3>

    <blockquote>
      <p><strong>Bahnsen:</strong> Well, Dr. Stein, you made reference to David Hume and his rejection of miracles. Have you also read his David Hume and his discussion of induction&mdash;or more popularly&mdash;the Uniformity of Nature? </p>
      <p><strong>Stein:</strong> A long time ago. I can't recall exactly what he says, but I have read David Hume. </p>
      <p><strong>Bahnsen:</strong> Were you convinced a long time ago that you had an answer to Hume's skepticism about induction? </p>
      <p><strong>Stein:</strong> I can't answer that question. I don't remember what...This was at least fifteen years ago I read this. </p>
      <p><strong>Bahnsen:</strong> The validity of Scientific Laws were undermined by Hume when he contended that we have no rational basis for expecting the future to be like the past&mdash;to be the types of events (so that when one event happened, it's a type of event so that when you see it happening somewhere else) you can expect the same consequence from similar causation. Hume suggested that there was no rational basis for expecting the future to be like the past, in which case Science is based simply on convention or habits of thought. Do you agree with him? </p>
      <p><strong>Stein:</strong> Not on this issue I don't. </p>
      <p><strong>Bahnsen:</strong> Do you now have an answer for David Hume? </p>
      <p><strong>Stein:</strong> I think he was wrong on that one thing, but I also think he was right about a lot of other things. </p>
      <p><strong>Bahnsen:</strong> What is the basis for the Uniformity of Nature? </p>
      <p><strong>Stein:</strong>The Uniformity of Nature comes from the fact that matter has certain properties which it regularly exhibits. It's a part of the nature of matter. Electrons, opposite things attract;[whereas] the same charged things repel. There are certain valences that fill up the shell of an atom, and that's as far as they can combine. </p>
      <p><strong>Bahnsen:</strong> Have you tested all electrons? </p>
      <p><strong>Stein:</strong> All the electrons that have been tested repel each other. I have not tested all of them. </p>
      <p><strong>Bahnsen:</strong> Have you read all the tests on electrons? </p>
      <p><strong>Stein:</strong>Me personally? Or can I go on the witness of experts? </p>
      <p><strong>Bahnsen:</strong> Have you read all the witnesses about electrons? </p>
      <p><strong>Stein:</strong> All it takes is one witness to say "no", and it will be on the front pages of every physics journal, and there are none. So I'd say, in effect, yes. </p>
      <p><strong>Bahnsen:</strong> Well, physicists have their [own] presuppositions by which they exclude contrary evidence, too...In other words, you haven't experienced all the electrons, but you would generalize that all the electrons under certain conditions repel each other. </p>
      <p><strong>Stein:</strong> Just statistically, on the basis of past observation. </p>
      <p><strong>Bahnsen:</strong> But we don't know that it's going to be that way ten minutes after this debate then. </p>
      <p><strong>Stein:</strong> But we see no evidence that things have switched around, do we? </p>
    </blockquote>

    <h2>Bahnsen responds to Stein's answer about Hume and the uniformity of nature</h2>

    <blockquote>
      <p>When asked about Hume, and the skepticism that he generated about induction or the uniformity of nature, we don't hear an answer coming forth. I don't think there will be an answer coming forth from the atheist worldview. However, Dr. Stein , who is an atheist, has  said&mdash;and I think this is close to a quote&mdash;"If there were no uniformity, science would be impossible."</p>

      <p>Exactly, Dr. Stein! If there were no uniformity, science would be impossible. So on what basis in an atheist's universe is science possible, since in an atheist's universe there is no basis for assuming that there is going to be uniformity?</p>

      <p>For someone to say, " well, it's been that way in all the cases in the past that we know of and therefore very probably is going to be that way in the future" is to assume, because you're using probability, that the future is going to be like the past, that is to say, is to beg the very question that's being asked you.</p>

      <p>Now, of course, if you don't like the tough philosophical questions that are asked you about the nature of laws of logic, how they are justified, the nature of natural law, how it is justified, and so forth, and just dismiss it as absurd questions or non questions that no one understands and do not have meaning, seems to me is just to try to give medicine to a dead man. You see, it's to say, "I'm not going to reason about that, because I don't have an answer to it, and that's just uncomfortable." But you see, these are philosophical questions which not just Christians, by the way, but all philosophers have had to ask and face throughout the centuries.</p>

      <p>Dr. Stein doesn't even begin to scratch the surface of giving us an answer of how an atheist worldview can account for laws--laws of science, laws of logic, laws of morality. And yet he does tell us without them, science would be impossible.</p>
    </blockquote>

    <h2>Bahnsen responds to Stein's claim that the transcendental argument is not logical</h2>

    <blockquote>
      <p>As for the transcendental argument "not being logical," I mean, you can claim that, but I have yet to see Dr. Stein show any self contradiction on any violation of the laws of logic in it, but of course, if he were, I would ask him if that law of logic is one of the things that we are necessarily to live according to?</p>

      <p>Are we to reason by this law, or is that just a convention? Should I say, "well, it's your convention, but it's not mine." Or is that law of logic universal, invariant and something that must be followed if we're going to arrive at truth? If it is, I'm going to ask him how it's possible to have such a thing in his universe; how he can justify it at all. But he hasn't, shown any contradiction; he has simply, again, called it illogical.</p>

      <p>Whether it's falsifiable or not&mdash;I mean, even asking that question, I think, shows that Dr. Stein is not really aware of the philosophical nature of the question in the debate before us. No, transcendentals are not falsifiable&mdash;that's right&mdash;but they are very meaningful, the very sorts of things that philosophers deal with all the time. Look at Kant or Aristotle or other philosophers: you'll see they deal with the preconditions of experience. And since they are preconditions of experience, they are not falsifiable, and yet they are meaningful.</p>
    </blockquote>

    <h2>Bahnsen responds to Stein's assertion that Bahnsen also does not have real answers concerning the laws of logic</h2>

    <blockquote>
      <p>He says that I do not have an answer to these questions either. Well, I certainly do! It's just that he doesn't like the answer. The answer is that God created the world, and this world reflects the uniformity that He imposes on it by His governing, and our thinking is to reflect the same consistency or logical coherence that is in God's thinking. </p>

      <p>How do we learn about those things? He revealed Himself to us. Again, these are simple answers, the sorts of things Sunday School children learn, but, you know, I've yet to find any reason not to believe them.</p>

      <p>For Dr. Stein to say, "well, these aren't answers" doesn't convince me at all. He says there aren't going to be answers unless I include how it took place. What is God's method, and why did he do it? Well, I don't accept those standards. I don't accept that this is a requirement for an explanation at all. And he doesn't give us a good reason except that he's not going to be satisfied or it's unhelpful to him.</p>
    </blockquote>

    <h2>Bahnsen responds to Stein's question of whether God can be irrational</h2>

    <blockquote>
      <p>He says it's a non meaningful statement to say that the laws of logic reflect the thinking of God. He wants to know things like, "can God be irrational?" Well, if you'd ask those questions in cross examination, I'd answer them. No, God cannot be irrational. Rationality is measured by the standard of his thinking and his revelation.</p>
    </blockquote>

    <h2>What the atheist worldview cannot do</h2>

    <blockquote>
      <p>The atheist worldview cannot account for the laws of logic, [and] cannot account for any universals or abstract entities, for that matter. [It] cannot account for the uniformity of nature, and therefore, [it] cannot account for the successes of science.</p>

      <p>Nor can the atheist's universe give us universal and absolute laws of morality. And so on three of the most important issues philosophically that men must face&mdash;logic, science, and morality&mdash;the atheist's universe is completely at odds with those things.</p>
    </blockquote>

    <h2>Bahnsen answers Stein's question concerning the problem of evil</h2>

    <blockquote>
      <p>Well, we have one minute left, and I want to answer very quickly those few things that Dr. Stein brought up in his second presentation so that I might rebut them.</p>

      <p>He wants to know about the problem of evil. My answer to the problem of evil is this: there is no problem of evil in an atheist's universe because there is no evil in an atheist's universe. Since there is no God, there is no absolute moral standard, and nothing is wrong. The torture of little children is not wrong in an atheist's universe. It may be painful, but it is not wrong.</p>

      <p>It is morally wrong in a theistic universe, and therefore, there is a problem of evil of perhaps the psychological or emotional sort, but philosophically the answer to the problem of evil is you don't have an absolute standard of good by which to measure evil in an atheist's universe. You can only have that in a theistic universe, and therefore, the very posing of the problem presupposes my worldview, rather than his own. God has a good reason for the evil that He plans or allows. </p>
    </blockquote>

    <h2>Bahnsen answers Stein's assertion that Bahnsen's statements are irrational</h2>

    <blockquote>
      <p>As far as my rebuttal/ my closing statement, I need to deal first of all, perhaps in the entire time analyzing this remark that my statements tonight have been irrational. Perhaps they have, but saying so doesn't make it so. That's something we just heard, as well. If my statements have been irrational then we need some standards of reasoning by which these statements have been shown to be irrational. </p>
    </blockquote>

    <h2>Stein hasn't yet given any meaningful answer concerning the laws of logic</h2>

    <blockquote>
      <p>Dr. Stein has yet to explain to us even in the broadest simplest Sunday School child manner that I told you about laws of logic, laws of science and laws of morality. He hasn't even begun to scratch the surface to tell us how in his worldview that there can be laws of any sort. And if there can't be laws, or standards in his worldview, then he can't worry about my irrationality, my alleged irrationality.</p>

      <p>The transcendental argument for the existence of God has not been answered by Dr. Stein. It's been evaded and made fun of, but it hasn't been answered. That's what we're here for: rational interchange. The transcendental argument says the proof of the Christian God is that without God one cannot prove anything.</p>
    </blockquote>

    <h2>Atheists use the lwas of logic, science, and morality, but cannot account for them</h2>

    <blockquote>
      <p>Notice the argument doesn't say that atheists don't prove things, or that they don't use logic, science or laws of morality. In fact they do. The argument is that their worldview cannot account for what they are doing. Their worldview is not consistent with what they are doing; in their worldview there are no laws; there are no abstract entities, universals, or prescriptions. There's just a material universe, naturalistically explained (as) the way things are happen to be. That's not law-like or universal; and therefore, their worldview doesn't account for logic, science or morality.</p>
    </blockquote>

    <h2>Atheists are suppressing the truth they, deep down, know about God</h2>

    <blockquote>
      <p>But, atheists, of course, use science and morality. In this argument atheists give continual evidence to the fact that in their heart of hearts they are not atheists. In their heart of hearts they know the God I'm talking about. This God made them, reveals Himself continually to them through the natural order, through their conscience, and through their very use of reason.</p>

      <p>They know this God, and they suppress the truth about him. One of the ways that we know that they suppress the truth about him is because they do continue to use the laws of logic, science and morality though their worldview doesn't account for them. Dr. Stein has said that the laws of logic are merely conventional. If so, then on convention he wins tonight's debate, and on convention I win tonight's debate. And if you're satisfied with that, you didn't need to come in the first place. You expected the laws of logic to be applied as universal standards of rationality. Rationality isn't possible in a universe that just consigns them to convention.</p>
    </blockquote>

    <h2>Stein's claim that laws are based upon the inherent character of matter is an invalid answer</h2>

    <blockquote>
      <p>Dr. Stein said the laws of science are law-like because of the inherent character of matter. But Dr. Stein doesn't know the inherent character of matter. Now if he were God he might reveal that to us, as I think God has revealed certain things to us about the operation of or the universe. But he's not God. He doesn't even believe there is a God.</p>

      <p>Since he hasn't experienced all the instances of matter and all the electron reactions and all the other things that scientists look at. Since he hasn't experienced all of those. He doesn't know the future is going to be like the past. When he says "Well it always has been in the past and what if it changes tomorrow, won't that make the front pages," that's not an answer. You see, we're asking what justifies your proceeding on the expectation that the future's going to be like the past? When they say, "well its always been that way in the past,"  its just to beg the question. We want to know on what basis your worldview allows for this uniformity of nature and laws of science.</p>
    </blockquote>

    <h2>Bahnsen answers Stein's statements about morality</h2>

    <blockquote>
      <p>Thirdly, we talked about laws of morality. He said they had morality, the utilitarian standard of what brings the greatest happiness to the greatest number of people. Well that doesn't justify utilitarianism [simply] to announce it. He's announced that it's a standard. But why, in an atheistic universe, should we live by that standard. Marquis de Sade enjoyed torturing women. Now why should he give up torturing women, so that he may bring greater happiness to those women that he is torturing.</p>

      <p>Now, I've got an answer for that. It's not one that Dr. Stein likes, and maybe [it's] not one that you like, but at least I can begin philosophically to deal with that. I have an answer&mdash;a universal absolute about morality&mdash;Dr. Stein does not. He simply has an announced, stipulated standard. And if morality can be stipulated, then of course, Marquis de Sade can stipulate his own even as Dr. Stein has stipulated his own.</p>

      <p>Why should he feed the poor? He says they want to do that. I grant that. My argument has never been that atheists are the lousiest people in the world. That's not the point. Some Christians can be pretty lousy, too. But why is it that I can call atheists or Christians lousy when they act in the ways we're thinking of? [It's] because I have absolute standards of morality to judge. Dr. Stein does not.</p>

      <p>Therefore, from a transcendental standpoint the atheistic view cannot account for this debate tonight; because this debate has assumed that we're going to use the laws of logic as standards of reasoning, or else we're irrational; that we're going to use laws of science; that we're going to be intelligent men; that we're going to assume induction and causation and all those things that scientists do. It's assumed in a moral sense that we're not going to be dishonest and try to lie or just try to deceive you.</p>

      <p>If there are no laws of morality, I'd just take out a gun right now and say, "OK, Dr. Stein, make my day: is there a God or not". You see, if he says, "Oh no, you can't murder me because there are laws of morality," of course he has made my day, because I've won the debate. That shows that the atheist's universe is not correct.</p>

      <p>But if he says "Oh no, there are no absolute standards; it's all by convention and stipulation," then I just pull the trigger and I win the debate anyway. Except you wouldn't expect me to win the debate in that fashion. Absolutely not. You came here expecting rational interchange. I don't think we've heard much from Dr. Stein.</p>
    </blockquote>

    <h2>Bahnsen repeats that atheists can't account for the laws of logic, science, and morality</h2>

    <blockquote>
      <p>I've asked him repeatedly&mdash;it's very simple, I don't want a lot of details, just begin to scratch the surface,&mdash;how, in a material, naturalistic outlook on life and man his place in the world, can you account for the laws of logic, science, and morality?</p>

      <p>The atheist worldview cannot do it, and therefore I feel justified concluding as I did in my opening presentation this evening by saying that the proof of the Christian God is the impossibility of the contrary. Without the Christian worldview this debate wouldn't make sense. </p>
    </blockquote>

    <h2>Bahnsen's final words</h2>

    <blockquote>
      <p>The Bible tells us, "the fool has said in his heart: there is no God." Don't misunderstand that. When the Bible uses the word fool it is not engaging in name calling. It's trying to describe somebody who is dense in the sense that they will not use their reason as God has given him. (someone who is rebellious and hard hearted) It's the fool who says in his heart there is no God.</p>

      <p>Paul tells us in I Corinthians the first chapter, that God has made foolish the wisdom of this world. He calls rhetorically, "Where are the wise? Where is the debater of this age? Hasn't God made foolish the wisdom of this world?" In a sense I think what Paul is telling us, if I can amplify or read between the lines, is that the whole history of Philosophy is an argument for the existence of God. The whole history of Philosophy is an argument for the existence of God because of the impossibility of the contrary.</p>

      <p>Someone who wants to say [something that is] contrary to what the Bible says about God, let him stand up and answer these questions. Let him show that in his heart he may say there is no God, but he can't live that way. He can't reason that way.</p>

      <p>In Romans the first chapter Paul says God is making himself known continually and persuasively to all men, so that men do not have an excuse for their rejection of the existence of the Christian God. That isn't to say that all men confess this God. Not all will own up to Him as their heavenly Father. Not all will submit to Him. Some continue to rebel. Some continue to devise their fools' errands and rationalizations of why they don't have to believe in Him.</p>

      <p>That's what the Bible teaches. I didn't just come here and make this up. I didn't come here to say, "If you don't agree you're just being rebellious." That is what the Bible says. What I want you to do tonight is to go home and consider whether there isn't something to that: Why is it that some people continue to use laws of logic, morality, science, and yet they have a worldview that just clashes with that; and [yet] they just won't do anything to resolve that contradiction.</p>

      <p>Dr. Stein tonight made reference to my doctoral dissertation on self deception. He wondered how relevant it might be. Well, it's very relevant, because what I do in that doctoral dissertation is to show that there are some people who know the truth and yet work very hard to convince themselves that it's not true.</p>

      <p>Now, of course, atheists think that's what Christians are doing. I recognize that and that we'd have to argue about the evidence for and against the self-deception. All I want to leave with you tonight is the fact that self-deception is a real phenomenon. It does happen to people. People can know the truth and yet work very hard to rationalize the evidence, as Paul says, "suppress the truth in unrighteousness" in order to convince themselves that there is no God.</p>

      <p> Well, you can choose tonight between the Christian worldview and the atheist worldview. We haven't touched all the issues that you may want to look into. However, in broad strokes we have touched on a very important issue. If you're going to be  a rational man, a moral man, a man of science, can you do so in an atheist universe. I say you can't. </p>
    </blockquote>

    <h2>Questions and Answers</h2>

    <h3>Question to Bahnsen about other theistic religions</h3>

    <p><strong>What solid evidence do you have to maintain that the Christian faith is the only true religion with a God? There are religions far older and more or just as widespread which millions of people consider valid. Once again, what solid evidence do you have to maintain that the Christian faith is the only true religion with a God? </strong></p>

    <blockquote>
      <p>That's a very good and relevant question. I want to say two things just by way of preface.</p>

      <p>One, that isn't what the subject of our debate was tonight. However, that can't just be taken for granted and its worthy of a debate. Its just that we couldn't do everything in one debate.</p>

      <p>Secondly, you might be interested to know that in my original opening statement, I have a long paragraph dealing with that very question so that it wouldn't be thought that I was just flying over it arbitrarily, and dealing with the matter. But, when I read it back to myself and timed myself, it just turned out that I had to cut a number of things out, and so I cut that down.</p>

      <p>What I did say, however, was that - if I can find it here - that I have not found the nonChristian religions to be philosophically defensible, each of them being internally incoherent or undermining human reason and experience.</p>

      <p>Unless it will violate your debate format, I'll give just a couple of illustrations, its obviously not going to cover all of them. But, for instance, Hinduism, assumes that God, or Brahman, is the impersonal universal soul of the unchanging One of which all things are part, for instance, and because of that particular outlook Hinduism says that everything in terms of my normal experience of the world and thinking is Maya, or illusion, because everything in experience and thinking presupposes distinctions. But that is contrary the most fundamental metaphysical fact, and that is that there are no distinctions: all is one. So basically, Hinduism tells me that all of my thinking, all of my reasoning, is illusion, and in so doing underlies reason.</p>

      <p>You can take religions such as Shintoism, its a view of Kami and the forces that permeate the universe; or Taoism, the ordering force in the universe and they are impersonal forces and as such are even less than human beings because they don't have volition or intelligence.</p>
    </blockquote>

    <h3>Question to Bahnsen about the transcendental nature of the laws of logic</h3>

    <p><strong>Why is it necessary for the abstract universal laws to be . . . derived from the transcendental nature of God? Why not assume the transcendental nature of logic? </strong></p>

    <blockquote>
      <p>Somebody who wrote the question is good, in that you've studied philosophical issues.</p>

      <p>The answer may not be meaningful to everybody in the audience, but very briefly, it is that I do believe in the transcendental nature of the laws of logic. However, the laws of logic do not justify themselves just because they are transcendental, that is a precondition of intelligibility. Why isn't it just "sound and fury signifying nothing?" That's a possibility too.</p>

      <p>So the laws of logic do have a transcendental necessity about them; but it seems to me you need to have a world view in which the laws of logic are meaningful. Especially when you consider such possible antinomies as the laws of logic being universal and categorizing things in that way and yet we have novelties in our experience. I mean the world of empirical observation isn't set rigidly by uniformity and by sameness as it were. There isn't a continuity in experience in that way as there is a necessary continuity in the laws of logic.</p>

      <p>How can the laws of logic, then, be utilized when it comes to matters of personal experience in the world? We have a contingent changing world and unchanging and variant laws of logic. How can these two be brought together? You need a world view in which the transcendental necessity of logic can be made sense of the human experience. I believe Christianity provides that and I just can't find any other one that competes with it that way. </p>
    </blockquote>

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