Apologetics and Presuppositional Circular Arguments

Diagram of a Presuppositional Argument

First, I want to know things that are true. To this end, I have been chatting with folks about a number of different God beliefs lately. I have seen quite a few very interesting, if not sometimes contortionist, arguments.  One such argument that I am running in to among certain, I will call them extreme apologetics practitioners, takes the form of the following:

X must be real because X is required to know if X is real or not, therefore by claiming X is not real, you are confirming X must be real.

It is a presuppositional argument, which basically means that it posits the belief ahead of any subsequent dialogue that seeks to discover the veracity of the belief. Its circular nature if granted makes the argument impenetrable to reasonable scrutiny. Which means that it is unfalsibable and therefore unhelpful for determining what is actually true.

Watch:

X must be real because X is required to know if X is real or not, therefore by claiming X is not real, you are confirming X must be real because X is required to know if X is real or not, therefore by claiming X is not real, you are confirming X must be real because X is required to know if X is real or not, therefore by claiming X is not real, you are confirming X must be real because…

By writing the argument this way, we see that it is a linguistic trick, not an intellectually honest attempt to support a claim. If you still do not believe me, just plug in anything for X.

Billy the Cosmic Gnome must be real because Billy the Cosmic Gnome is required to know if Billy the Cosmic Gnome is real or not, therefore by claiming Billy the Cosmic Gnome is not real, you are confirming Billy the Cosmic Gnome must be real.

Go Billy the Cosmic Gnome! This is of course, silly. Beliefs are true to the degree that they comport with what is demonstrably real. And like I said, I want to know things that are true.

Happy critical thinking!

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