## Posts tagged ‘methodology’

September 17th, 2014

## Norman Geisler: A Call to Retire and Argue Amicably

On 16 September 2014 Mike Licona had to take action on his website that is so minuscule it speaks to the voluminous aggression towards him. What happened? Licona removed public calendar.

(For a brief excursus and history of The Geisler Controversy please visit the directory.)

That’s not typically a big deal. I don’t even have a public calendar (but then again, I don’t need to have one). However, what’s so remarkable is the cause for Licona to do this. I hope you’ve had your coffee for the day and you’re in a good mood because the reason it was removed may have you a bit… frustrated. On Licona’s website he posted this explanation along with his private email he sent directly to Geisler.

February 8th, 2013

## How to Construct a Cumulative Case Argument

The cumulative case uses the prime principle of confirmation: Whenever we are considering two competing hypotheses, an observation counts as evidence in favor of the hypothesis under which the observation has the highest probability. This principle is sound under all interpretations of probability.  Each argument must be taken on its own grounds and one cannot arrive at “God” at the end of each argument.  The conjunction of arguments is what is needed to make a cumulative case for the existence of God.

The Likelihood Principle of Confirmation theory states as follows.  Let h1 and h2 be two be competing hypothesis (in this case the existence of X and ~X, with X being a first cause, fine-tuner, etc.).  According to the Likelihood Principle, an observation e counts as evidence in favor of hypothesis h1 over h2 if the observation is more probable under h1 than h2.  Thus, e counts in favor of h1 over h2 if P(e|h1) > P(e|h2), where P(e|h1) and P(e|h2) depict a conditional probability of e on h1 and h2, respectively.  The degree to which the evidence counts in favor of one hypothesis over another is proportional to the degree to which e is more probable under h1 than h2: particularly, it is proportional to P(e|h1)/P(e|h2) .  The Likelihood Principle seems to be sound under all interpretations of probability.  This form is concerned with epistemic probability.

January 21st, 2013

## Q&A 7: What are the Weak Spots in Apologetic Arguments?

Question:

Hello Max,

I am currently a college student with a strong interest in apologetics. I’ve seen that, by and large, the arguments that apologists use seem to have shown themselves logically sound and hard to disprove despite decades or centuries of them being around. So the theist’s arguments seem to have many strong points. What would be considered the “weak spots” of the apologetic arguments? What arguments might the skeptic use that have the most potential to show that theism is false and that God does not exist?

Thank you. (Shawn)

Shawn,

This is a very interesting question since it seems to me that I’d have to be showing those at the table what my hand is. There are few weak spots in apologetic arguments and I think the two I see most concerning are 1) poor methodology and 2) theoretical implications for parts of the arguments/defense.

Let’s first look at some poor methodology. Most arguments you’ll find in the deductive, inductive, or abductive form. I’m a staunch proponent of abductive arguments. Here’s an example of William Lane Craig’s fine-tuning argument.

December 14th, 2012

## Ratio Christi Event – How to Argue for the Existence of God (Audio & PPT)

On 8 November 2012 I did a presentation to the Ratio Christi club at Liberty University on how to argue for the existence of God. It was designed to be a smaller training session for the Ratio Christi members. I discussed the importance of apologetics and the difference between knowing your faith to be true and showing your faith to be true. That was the followed by methodological differences and my use of the classical approach.

I then gave three arguments: 1) Thomas’ cosmological argument from contingency, 2) the abductive fine-tuning argument, and 3) the abductive moral argument (or as I like to say, the new moral argument).

March 29th, 2012

## The Geisler Directory

I’ve decided to keep all my posts and responses to Norman Geisler in one location for ease of access and reference.

My Support and Endorsement of Mike Licona

It has been a long time coming but I wanted to publicly support Dr. Mike Licona amidst recent accusations of him denying inerrancy over Matthew 27.51-54 (the resurrection of the saints at the time of the crucifixion) in his most recent book The Resurrection of Jesus:  A Historiographical Approach.  Licona takes the position that this passage is apocalyptic imagery and is not literal.  To be clear from the beginning, Licona has not denied inerrancy.  He has been quite clear about that (even though he lost his job as the Apologetics Coordinator with the North American Mission Board over this… unfortunate).  Dr. Al Mohler is the president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and has openly condemned Licona for his position…

December 29th, 2011

## Geisler’s Denial of Inerrancy–The “Shot Heard ‘Round the World”

Norman Geisler has recently released a new addition to his “Licona Letters” condemning Mike Licona.  Geisler is very emphatic that there be a differentiation between inerrancy and interpretation.  Under this Geislerian understanding of inerrancy, interpretation and inerrancy simply have a formal distinction but are essentially conflated.

[Such] a disjunction of interpretation from inerrancy as Licona makes is contrary to the nature of truth itself…. So, a formal distinction between interpretation and inerrancy does not mean there is an actual separation of the two.[1]

Additionally, Geisler argues contra Licona[2] that the grammatico-historical hermeneutic is neutral.  Geisler argues:

[The grammatico-historical] method does not approach the Bible with a historically neutral stance.  After all, it is not called the “literal” method for nothing.  It assumes there is a sensus literalis (literal sense) to Scripture.   In short, it assumes that a text should be taken literally unless there are good grounds in the text and/or in the context to take it otherwise.  As a matter of fact, we cannot even know a non-literal (e.g., allegorical or poetic) sense unless we know what is literally true.  So, when Jesus said, “I am the vine” this should not be taken literally because we know what a literal vine is, and we know that Jesus is not one.  Further, the literal [grammatico-historical] method does not reject the use of figures of speech or even symbolic language.  It only insists that the symbols have a literal referent.  For example, John speaks of literal angels as “stars” (Rev. 1:20) and a literal Satan as a “red dragon” (Rev. 12:3).  However, the literal [grammatico-historical] method does not allow one to take a literal historical persons (like Adam) or events (like a resurrection) as not literal history.

December 26th, 2011

## Auctoritas–A Response to the Geisler Controversy

I have been reviewing, critiquing, and commenting on the controversy between Norman Geisler and Mike Licona for a few months now and I haven’t commented on it for a while hoping that all of this would soon pass.  With much dismay I was terribly wrong and it appears to have gotten much worse.  There are several happenings I would like to reveal and discuss some new critiques of the situation.  For my previous posts please see:

My Support and Endorsement of Mike Licona

The Disputatio–A Response to Norman Geisler in Defense of Mike Licona

In Promptu Ponere–A Response to Norm Geisler’s Petition Against Mike Licona

A Response to Tim Rogers and the Geisler Camp

Caveo Cavi Cautum–A Second Look at Geisler’s Petition Against Licona

Tekton’s Geisler Carol Cartoon

Tekton Ticker recently released a satirical version of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol depicting Licona as Bob Crachit and Geisler as Scrooge adopting a plot driven towards this controversy over inerrancy rather than Scrooge’s distain for Christmas.  I’m not going to offer much critique on this simply because this shouldn’t have warranted the response from an SES alumnus as it did. You can see Tekton’s response here.  However, I cannot ignore its absurd response completely but here are the six reasons why Tekton should/would be brought before the school for review:

December 13th, 2011

## Communication Breakdown

The following is a guest blog post by Mike Burnette.  Mike “MoonDog” Burnette is a newly retired U.S. Air Force veteran who has worked 30 years for American Forces Radio & Television and commercial radio stations.  Mike has a Bachelor’s in Telecommunications from Liberty University and an M.A. in Public Administration from Bowie State University.  He is now a media consultant and creator of “MoonDog’s Media House.” He has proven success increasing the attractiveness and effectiveness of communication, awareness, understanding, participation, and production of key themes and messages for television, radio, and social media.  You can view his website at https://www.moondogradio.com/

__________

We now live in an over-communicated global society where, as the great philosopher Harry Nilsson said, “Everybody is talking, but I don’t hear a word they’re saying.” Language has become so abstracted in popular culture that quite often our words have no logical relationship with objective meaning or purpose. In our conversations we give nearly no thought to this deeper meaning or purpose. Our communication today is so riddled with self-stylized, relativistic blathering that we have no idea what we’re hearing. Francis Schaffer warned us of this in his book, The God Who Is There; however, most of us continue to speak as though the listener should understand our meaning—and we should understand theirs–that’s the danger!

Communication expressed by a person, relative to their own self-created truths is an unfounded bridge to relativism–in their attempt to say something of objective meaning–they’ve said absolutely nothing.

I believe there is objective meaning and purpose founded in God’s natural and special revelation. It is in God’s Word that we discover objective truths–that there is one God, the world was created, and that it’s wrong to lie, steal, kill, etc. It is from that foundation we can communicate that “this is good” or “this is bad” and “I know what you mean.” All other serious attempts for a universal communication may be, at times, illuminating, but ultimately is a bridge to nowhere.

November 26th, 2011

## Caveo Cavi Cautum–A Second Look at Geisler’s Petition Against Licona

I have to give credit to someone else for the post.  I never went back through Norm Geisler’s petition to check if his reference to the ICBI statement was accurate.  I guess most of us simply took him to be honest and quoted it accurately.  To much disappointment it appears that we have been mistaken and Geisler conveniently left out important statements from the ICBI statement.  Below is the comparison between the ICBI statement and Geisler’s use of it.  For complete transparency, please view the ICBI document here. (What appears in black is taken from the ICBI statement, what appears in red is Geisler’s use of the statement, and what appears in blue is a note of comment).