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Critical thinking Essay

1. State the four logically possible ways in which evidentialism could go about justifying its beliefs? Briefly evaluate each of the options. [20] Evidentialism holds four logical possibilities in an attempt to justify their beliefs. There is historical evidence, negative apologetics, minimal evidence, and the Holy Spirit. The first step is Historical Evidence. Evidentialists tend to resort to historical evidence as a very important method (i. e. the resurrection). The reason historical evidences are so important is because, as long as minimal facts (those agreed upon by all) are used, the audience cannot deny the conclusion of the premise.

Historical evidence allows for a one-step process for converting one to Christianity. Historical evidences have a lot of credibility. A second step is negative apologetics. This form attempts to debunk those arguments said against Christianity. Negative apologetics defends the faith against outsider claims to Christianities fallacies. A third step is minimal evidences. This is used primarily in reference to the resurrection. In an attempt to prove the legitimacy of the resurrection, an evidentialist would use facts and concepts which all people agree on (i. e. the tomb was empty, eye-witnesses, etc.

) and lead the individual into the conclusion that the resurrection took place. If one accepts these minimal evidences, then the conclusion of the resurrection has to follow. It is important for evidentialists to find common ground with the people whom they are speaking with to prove their point. A fourth step is the recognition of the power of the Holy Spirit. The bible is absolutely clear that it is only through Him that one can be regenerated; it is not by the will of the flesh. Due to this concept, evidentialists understand the importance and reliability they have on the Holy Spirit.

It is only Him who can use to evidences to illuminate the heart. These are the four steps of an evidentialist. 2. What is foundationalism? What makes foundationalism in general something which Plantinga calls “classic foundationalism”? How would Plantinga critique such a view? [25] Foundationalism is a belief which is based on another belief. It is the concept that one belief always has to have a reason to be believed; for it is based off of a previous belief. Evidentialists hold to this method of reasoning, asserting the great importance of always having a defense for one’s beliefs.

Plantinga explains this method of reasoning starting from the Enlightenment, and was promoted by Plato, Aristotle, etc. It is referenced as classical because it is old and has been the method of reasoning for a very long time. Plantinga separates himself from this view, believing it to be fallible. While it is important for certain beliefs to be based on rational thought, Plantinga does not agree that all should be. He would claim that there has to be at least one thought or one set of beliefs which are basic.

Plantinga explains basic beliefs as those which are not based on a previous belief, but rather accepted through experience or memory (i. e. eating breakfast). Plantinga critics Foundationalism by stating that there has to be at least a certain amount of beliefs which are basic (not based on a previous belief) because all people need a starting place for rationalization. Despite those who hold to Foundationalism, it is important for all to understand that there are always certain beliefs which we take for granted; simply because somebody told us so. We will not have a reason for every belief.

3. Explain Frame’s concept of rationality (the linear progression, narrow versus broad circularity). Explain each concept fully. [10] Frame’s concept of rationality is interesting. The circular explanations of his thoughts are explained as following: My faith is based on my rationality, and my rationality is based on the rationality of God. The reason this is circular is because, if our faith were based on our rationality, and our rationality was based on the rationality of God, one could connect the dots and say that God’s rationality enables our faith.

This is the circular reasoning which Frame explains. The linear progression states that, due to God’s rationality, we have faith. As our faith is based on God’s rationality, our rationality is based on our Faith. Hence, our rationality is based on the rationality of God. This linear progression was stated in Frame’s chapter as following: God’s rationality Our Faith our rationality. This is the linear explanation of Frame. 4. How does Bahnsen evaluate Stein’s epistemological criterion – “one can justify a belief only by the use of logic or reason”?

[10] As Stein claims that one needs logic or reason to have a justified belief, Bahnsen accuses Stein of borrowing this concept from the Christian world-view. Before engaging on the grounds of logic and argument, Bahnsen clearly states that the atheistic worldview cannot be based on reason for there is no room for that within the theory of evolution. Due to the fact that one accepts that world view, they cannot begin justifying it based on logic and reason which are fundamentals within the Christian world-view. Bahnsen accuses Stein of borrowing from the Christian world view, making him epistemologically self-aware of his paradox.

5. State three differences between compatibilist and libertarian views of freedom; explain each of the differences. [15] 6. State four reasons why we accept genetic information as being structured or specified. Briefly explain each reason. [20] Genetic information is stated as being structured due to the process of elimination. The first question would be to discover whether it was formed by Law. Due to the fact that it is not contingent, the question of design would fall to the next level which is that of chance.

When one questions whether it was done by chance, the immense complexity within the cell eliminates this possibility and brings it to the concept of design. When looking at DNA (A=T, C=D) or proteins (amino acids), and seeing what is required for human life, the immense complexity within the cell would eliminate the possibility of law or chance. It must be structured. Also, the concept of time and fossils do not allow for the immense amount of time demanded by evolutionists for the process of life to have evolved. The more complex we understand the cell to be; the less likely it is that it wasn’t structured or specified.


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