Indefeasible Inner Witness, Holy Spirit, Properly Basic Belief, Solipsism, Idealism, Eliminativism, and Absolute Consciousness
“Some such as W.L. Craig say the Holy Spirit is what convinces us – Full Stop. No need for Evidence.” Notice the intentionally left out “Other Half” of what “Convinces” in addition to the Holy Spirit.
Notice it is not One-Or-The-Other – but “Both/And” and that is actually FORCED when we arrive at any Standoff/Armistice with, say, the Muslim and Mormon and Christian and the Solipsist and the Idealist all attesting to the “Inner-Witness”. Before looking at that Armistice/Standoff, another brief look at that “Both/And” which we find in the Christian Metanarrative:
Context: In the brief video at https://www.reasonablefaith.org/videos/short-videos/god-can-use-arguments-and-evidence-to-convince/ titled “God Can Use Arguments And Evidence To Convince” William Lane Craig recounts the experience of a non-theistic physicist who came to be convinced of God by the testimony of argument and evidence vis-à-vis natural theology ((…cosmology & physics in this case…)). And of course that narrative is recanted throughout the centuries and in fact Scripture affirms that coterminous union of “Testimony” plus “Nature” yielding a “Communique” which speaks to reason’s eye on various levels. None of this is said with the intention of BISECTING the Both/And “Whole that is (1) The Holy Spirit’s Work & Inner Testimony and (2) Reason’s Eye with respect to Perception vis-à-vis Mind with Argument and Evidence.
Context from “Coronavirus, Valuing Science Converging With Valuing Faith, And Jesus On Hand Washing” which is at https://metachristianity.com/coronavirus-valuing-science-converging-with-valuing-faith-and-jesus-on-hand-washing/ as per the following….
The error of Scientism is an error born of Non-Theism and yet that same error ((Scientism)) infects Christian premises as it leads Christians to follow suit and take  God’s Commission of “Come In And Know Me” ((…Prayer, Theology, Intimacy in & with Him…)) and pit it against  God’s Commission of “Go Out & Subdue The Earth” ((…master the created order, the physical sciences…)).
The Non-Theist’s error of Scientism just is the Christian’s error of “Commission-1 Pitted Against Commission-2” vis-à-vis Faith “vs” Science ((…wait…. for… it….)). Notice that the second half of God’s Dual-Command “just is” to appreciate & unpack and master and subdue the Created Order. It “just is” Science. Science Flourished In The Christianized Mindset. But Why? https://randalrauser.com/2018/02/biblical-god-ignorant-science/#comment-4138241674
Historically the [set] of beliefs we are operating out of with respect to reality as intelligible have not always been with us ((well, not in full)). Realism and Antirealism and “Reality Is Intelligible” all arrive out of a history of “becoming” — out from former contours of “The Gods Play & The People Pay So Reality Isn’t Intelligible”. As Jennings reminds us with a quote of William M. Walton: “The metaphysician knows that his task is to search for the ultimate foundation of the intelligibility of things.”
So then, recall again that it is not One-Or-The-Other – but “Both/And” and that is actually FORCED when we arrive at any Standoff/Armistice with, say, the Muslim and Mormon and Christian all attesting to the “Inner-Witness”. The Strawman arrives at that Standoff/Armistice and pretends “That’s It!” “Everything Stalls-Out!” “Everything Stops!”
But of course that’s false. It WOULD be true IF the “Other-Half” of Craig’s/Christianit’s/Etc. were not “simultaneously present” but notice that in the Armistice/Stand-Off it is actually the Strawman ITSELF which Stops/Stalls-Out while the actual Claims/Premises presented within Craig’s content and the Christian Metaphysic all push ahead into Evidence & Logic & Argument as “That Which” finally Tips-The-Weight and Breaks the Standoff/Armistice.
Epistemic History Wins Out Over Inner Witness
Every claim of Ya/Na is born out of an epistemic history unless one is essentially a neonate and Craig points specifically to the strengths of the epistemic history which Solipsism and Idealism and Mormonism and Islam and Christianity and Non-Theism and Pantheism all bring to the table as “the thing” this is going to pinpoint the Warranted beliefs and the Properly Basic beliefs. Craig pushes this all the way when he comments as follows:
“….if holding that the witness of God’s Spirit is indefeasible leads to some epistemic misstep…. then I’ll gladly give up that claim….” and follows with, “…but I don’t see that you’ve identified any epistemic transgression so far…” ((bold added))
The “weight” of “veracity” lands on that Epistemic History vis-à-vis that Epistemic Misstep vis-à-vis that Epistemic Transgression. And the reasons why that is the case become obvious as we follow through with all First Person Experience/Perception.
“Internal Knowing” by itself as a stand-alone presents us with nothing circular just as there is nothing circular in “…someone’s reporting that he does experience the reality of the external world or the presence of other minds…” ((…so far that is…. purely as a stand-alone / by itself…)) and that point is made by Craig when he discusses the question of his rather Hard-Semantic push on the Heavy-Weight which the Inner-Testimony of the Holy Spirit “sums to” in his description. One must be careful to fill in the rest of the narrative on what outweighs what and include all included avenues by which Light/Convincing arrives/breaks through ((…see the many essays on this at reasonablefaith.org as Craig is often asked to explain/qualify….)).
The problem of Circularity MAY/CAN arrive IF/WHEN that stand-alone Self-Report is challenged by, say, the full-on Berkeley-Idealist or by full-on Solipsism or the full-on Non-Theist carrying his Non-Theism to its unavoidable terminus within the full-on Elimination of Mind/Self.
So what is one to do there? Well that’s straightforward.
First, notice that the Non-Theist thinks he is Free-Of the Münchhausen Trilemma ((Agrippa’s Trilemma)) and/or in some case he may insist that he is Free-Of the Elimination of Mind/Self by some sort of Non-Reductive-Hope – but of course all of these “Self-Reports” and in fact ALL “Self-Reports” such as one’s own “Inner Knowing” vis-à-vis “I” / “Self” / “i-am” / “i-reason” / “i-exist” reduce to the SAME terminus – and that’s fine “As-Is” in that is at that point still a “Stand-Alone”. It is THERE and THEN that we will soon find that it is nothing less than Logic & Lucidity & Reason which will first precede, and then overtake, and then subsume, and finally outdistance other variables to win the proverbial day.
In Craig’s own accounting of the Inner Witness of the Holy Spirit he describes the proverbial Standoff/Armistice when other folks have their own Inner Witness and so then what? Well then he ((rightly)) moves into Evidence/Argument to Tip-Over / Break the Armistice. But why should Craig or the Christian ((Etc.)) do that if the Strawman “gets it right”? Well because the Strawman is a half-narrative of sorts – and even fallacious as presented. We find that “Evidence And Arguments To Convince” is something that is Valid/Alive/Part-Of-The-Whole. Recall again that “Convinced” by such vectors is a narrative which is recanted throughout the centuries and in fact Scripture affirms that coterminous union of “Testimony” plus “Nature” yielding a “Communique” which speaks to reason’s eye on various levels – even to the point of “It Was That Which Convinced Me”.
A few quotes of Craig from a few different places for context:
“….the Muslim can say the same thing, and we have a standoff… here my distinction between knowing our faith to be true and showing it to be true becomes relevant…..the Muslim can say the same thing and engage in Muslim apologetics… Great! Bring on the debate!”
“….What your question underlines is that the theistic arguments constitute a cumulative case such as a lawyer presents in a court of law in which independent lines of evidence reinforce one another to support the overall conclusion not implied by any single argument….”
“….This raises the question, “how do we know these arguments refer to the same explanation?” Though much could be said about this, I think that the simplest and wholly adequate answer to this question is Ockham’s Razor….. We shouldn’t multiply causes beyond necessity…. One of the impressive virtues of theism is its explanatory scope: it unites so many diverse things under a single explanatory ultimate…..”
“….What’s at issue here, rather, is whether holding that the witness of God’s Spirit is indefeasible leads to some epistemic misstep. If it does, then I’ll gladly give up that claim. After all, that claim is not essential to Reformed Epistemology, much less Christianity. But I don’t see that you’ve identified any epistemic transgression so far.”
Notice with that last quote that Craig is open to dropping the Inner Witness. One needs only to demonstrate the epistemic transgression he points out. But to do that one must demonstrate one’s own 1. Warranted Belief in a System which 2. successfully demonstrates Craig’s epistemic transgression.
Notice also that we find the possibility of a stand-off with the Idealist & Solipsist & Mormon & Muslim and Craig points out that epistemic strength with respect to Perception (Mind) is on occasion that which allows one to move forward in such cases. A brief observation on why that would be the case with Mormonism is that Mormonism finds Contingencies in God….. and so “Reason Itself” “as” “Being Itself” suffers in several key layers as it does in Non-Theism & Idealism & Solipsism. It is never about “One Part” because there is no “slice of” any “System/‘ToE’/Theory-Of-Everything/Etc.” which lives in vacuum but, instead, it always comes back to whichever System/‘T.O.E.’ is under review as each comes as a body of statements which do not exist in a vacuum but are in fact immersed in the whole of reality. See “Miracles In Other Religions? Eyewitness Testimony? Mermaids? Alien Abductions? Flying Spaghetti Monster? Zeus? Thor? Copycat-Gods? Celestial Teapots?” which is at https://metachristianity.com/miracles-in-other-religions-eyewitness-testimony-mermaids-alien-abductions-flying-spaghetti-monster-zeus-thor-copycat-gods-celestial-teapots/
The fallacious strawman of “Inner Witness Of The Holy Spirit” is fallacious not because “that” is not a “Valid” “Part” but because it is presented as the [Full-Stop] when in fact we have the following in play:
— 1— The claim that Evidence & Argument CAN be & ARE used to CONVINCE
— 2— The Epistemic Standoff/Armistice & the solution to break the Armistice
— 3— Spirit’s Inner Witness
— 4— Opened to dropping Inner Witness if shown Epistemic Transgression ((“…if holding that the witness of God’s Spirit is indefeasible leads to some epistemic misstep… then I’ll gladly give up that claim…”))
It’s obvious why Craig makes the move of including Solipsism when unpacking “inner knowing”. If one is not careful one may miss how that opens up the whole fallacy and empties it of all solvency. We find the Inner Witness of one’s own “Inner Knowing” vis-à-vis “I” / “Self” / “i-am” / “i-reason” / “i-exist” vis-à-vis the First Person Experience reduce to the SAME terminus which just is the same solipsistic arena as the Inner Witness of the Holy Spirit which just is Properly Basic. I experience the outer world and I experience other minds and I experience “i-am” – and so on. As we have to move step by step we find that at “that step” or at “that point” so far all Inner-Witnesses are non-circular and equally footed. So far we have another Armistice. Another Stand-Off. The solution?
The solution is Evidence & Arguments according to centuries of Christianity ((& Craig when he unpacks this topic)). Interestingly those arguments & evidence weight significantly within and towards the Philosophy of Mind and Absolute Consciousness ((Divine Mind)).
Inner Witness: Our Non-Theist friends attest to their properly basic belief / inner witness of their perceived “Irreducible i-am” as per “I” / “Self” / “i-am” / “i-reason” / “i-exist” vis-à-vis the First Person Experience. Unfortunately our Non-Theist friends will at time ALSO ((…sometimes in the same sentence…)) affirm that at bottom all of “that” sums to Illusion as they Circle inside of Agrippa’s Trilemma amalgamated with mind’s eliminative ends within the shadows of non-being.
The Irreducible Nature of the First Person Experience vis-à-vis “i-am” vis-à-vis the Intentional Self/Mind vis-à-vis “i-reason” / “i-think” / “i-exist” is a Nature which cannot be retained except by an explanatory power outside the reach of Non-Theism. If there are “Degrees” of “X” in a Universe which is necessarily void of X — then God. “Just a little intentionality” ((Etc.)) is a cheat, an equivocation akin to “Just a little bit of being from non-being”. There is no room for “Degrees” of “Irreducible Mind / Intentionality” in the universe of Metaphysical Naturalism’s Necessary Conservation of [No-I-AM] whether we move from the bottom up or from the top down.
The Conscious Observer’s Irreducible Nature lands in “non-being” with respect to any appeal to “degrees” or “design” or “intentionality” given that aforementioned Necessary Conservation. Else God. The notion of any such “Ontic Incline” vis-à-vis “Degrees” collapses into a metaphysical absurdity given that aforementioned Necessary Conservation. Else God. Appeals to the perceived Irreducible Self will again and again force all semantic intent into the perception of non-being/no-thing — as in illusion — else God.
Dr. Dennis Bonnette makes the following observation:
“The seventeenth century French philosopher, René Descartes, insisted that what we first know is expressed as “Cogito, ergo sum” ~ “I think, therefore, I am.” In so doing, he recognized that, in the act of knowing, there is reflexive consciousness of the self as an existing knower. But what Descartes missed is that in every perceptive act of knowing – the kind first experienced in sensation – what is immediately known is given as an extramental object. The equally French contemporary Thomistic philosopher, Jacques Maritain, corrects Descartes’ omission by restating the initial proposition as “Scio aliquid esse” ~ “I know something to be.” In so saying, he affirms what is first and primarily known is something presented to the knower as an extramental sense object. It is solely in knowing such an object that I become conscious of my own act of knowing – and thereby, reflexively, of myself as the knower. In fact, direct experience tells us that both intra-mental and extramental objects are known clearly and distinctly, while they are also known as radically distinct from each other.”
The following two items overlap with segues there:  Comments WRT Realism vis-à-vis Meta-Narrative & Two Smart Guys – at https://metachristianity.blogspot.com/2020/01/comments-wrt-realism-vis-vis-meta.html and  The Trajectory Of All Ontological Arrows Part 1 – at https://metachristianity.blogspot.com/2020/01/the-trajectory-of-all-ontological-arrows-1.html
Reality’s Irreducible Hard Stop “vs.” Presuppositionalism
Moral Fact? Logic Itself? Reason Itself? Mind as per Absolute Consciousness? Abstraction’s Transposition? Are THOSE reality’s concrete furniture? One way to see why that in fact IS the case is to look at the following:
Our Non-Theist friends often Challenge Logic along the same line as they Challenge Moral Fact and while that is honest on their part it is interesting that the they seem unaware ((…or unconcerned…)) with the cost of that choice. And it is a choice of course as other options are immediately available.
The Form of the Challenge which our Non-Theist friends present with respect to the fundamental nature of Logic typically shows up along the following lines:
A— “….If Logic ends in God then God must be subject to Logic and so God is not God, or else God is metaphysically free to be Non-Logic and therefore able to make round-squares such that [A = Non-A] is true in some possible world….or something like that….”
B— That which is “Logic Itself” is either 1. itself under the Laws of Logic or else 2. It (logic) can be, or is metaphysically free to be, Non-Logic.
Notice that the problem with that approach in [A] and [B] is the same problem with all contingent abstractions of all contingent minds and that is true whether one makes the attempt with Logic Itself or with Being-Itself or with The-Good Itself or with Reason-Itself or with Mind Itself and — lest we move to fast — it also holds if/when one makes the attempt with “I/Self” or with one’s First Person Experience vis-à-vis one’s one perceived “Irreducible-I-Am” vis-à-vis that which is nothing less than “Self” vis-à-vis “i-am” / “i-reason” / “i-intend” / “i-exist” and so on.
Notice that in both [A] and [B] the challenge redefines that which “God-Is” into that which “God-Has” such that THEN — and ONLY then — it can be said that Something Is Above/Beneath Something Else such that “…God must be subject to Logic and so God is not God, or else God is metaphysically free to be Non-Logic…” and so on as per [A] and [B] above. When the Christian speaks of “God” as “Being Itself” it is for a reason as that which “Has Being” cannot be ((…in any coherent sense…)) the Ground of All Being.
Obviously both [A] and [B] employ the syntax of the following:
A2— Logic-Is-Subject-To-Logic and/or
B2— Logic-Is-Beneath-Logic and/or
C2— Logic-Is-Metaphysically-Free-To-Be-Non-Logic or else Logic is not Logic.
Which then forces / sums to the following:
D2— “X Is Subject To X“ akin to
E2— “X Is Beneath X“ akin to
F2— “Being Itself Is Subject To Being Itself” akin to
F2— “Being Itself Is Beneath Being Itself” akin to
G2— “X Is Metaphysically Free To Be Non-X” akin to
H2— “Being Itself Is Metaphysically Free To Be Non-Being”
Those are of course are nonsensical identity claims and we rationally say of all such syntax:
— 1— None of them have anything to do with the Christian Metaphysic
— 2— All of them are themselves logical absurdities
Notice that “Getting In Behind/Beneath Oneself” is not coherent such that “We Mean To Apply Logic’s Force To Pre-Logic” is not coherent. “Presupposition” is not possible UNLESS and UNTIL the Critic can coherently pull-off A2 through H2. But of course the Non-Theist cannot pull-off those Nonsensical Identity Claims. It is not clear what our Non-Theist friends mean with respect to Reason/Mind when they accuse the Christian of Pre-Supposing by getting in Pre-Being and getting in Pre-Mind and getting in Pre-Reason and getting in Pre-Perception vis-à-vis getting in Pre-The-Intentional Self.
Think it through: It becomes unavoidable as to WHY the Christian does not and in fact CANNOT Start/Stop in any such Pre-ANY-thing given that the very notion of Pre-Being collapses into a metaphysical absurdity. Indeed once we apply the UNDOING of those Nonsensical Identity Claims of A2 through H2 ((…which were only the result of fallacious re-inventions / fallacious strawmen of actual Christian premises/definitions…)) we find the express Start/Stop or the express A—Z of the Christian Paradigm vis-à-vis Reason Itself as Being Itself vis-à-vis Goodness Itself as Being Itself vis-à-vis Logic Itself as Being Itself vis-à-vis Timeless Reciprocity and Ceaseless Self-Giving as Being in totum || Being Itself vis-à-vis All Processions as The Trinitarian Life.
Disqualification vs. Falsification: Most of what we believe is not falsifiable in any heavy weight sense. “Explanatory power” and “robust reach” all reach a certain critical mass at some point, either in affirmation of an X or in disqualification of an X. Yet the lesser/milder “disqualification” is not always the stronger “falsification”. Though, there ARE times when that is the case.
Certainty / Uncertainty: Notice that uncertainty has never disqualified a premise, but what is clear is that when this or that premise forces a reduction to absurdity and/or a Brute Fact the premise itself is (then) rationally rejected (it’s been falsified) on pains of the “not possible even in principle” to “see” that which sums to “non-being“.
Certainty / Uncertainty: They cannot always help us decide – or more precisely – certainty/uncertainty do not necessarily and rationally compel reason (…in her role as truth-finder…) into A vs. B. vs. C., as it were. All that is left then is that painful “Y” in the road between the forced reductio ad absurdum and/or brute fact (…on the one hand…) and reason’s lucidity (…on the other hand…). What is clear is that when this or that premise forces a reduction to absurdity / brute fact, the premise itself is (then) rationally rejected — and falsified rather than “only” “disqualified” ((…general context via https://randalrauser.com/2018/06/overcome-your-cognitive-bias-with-the-50-50-rule/#comment-3967551213 …)).
Factoid: Reason Itself is falsifiable when unpacked through the Non-Theistic lens. It just eats itself alive. That is WHY it MUST “PRE-Suppose” the very being itself of reason itself. Whereas, should we allow logic and reason to carry through to lucidity, we arrive within the various contours of the Divine Mind.
Lastly: Relevant Content From E. Feser and W.L. Craig:
Batch 1 of 5
Post Intentional Depression https://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2015/01/post-intentional-depression.html
Batch 2 of 5
Mad Dogs And Eliminativists http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2013/08/mad-dogs-and-eliminativists.html
Batch 3 of 5
Batch 4 of 5
Kripke, Ross, and the Immaterial Aspects of Thought – at https://www.newdualism.org/papers/E.Feser/Feser-acpq_2013.pdf
Animals Are Conscious. In Other News, The Sky Is Blue – at https://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2012/08/animals-are-conscious-in-other-news-sky.html
Against Neurobabble – at https://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2011/01/against-neurobabble.html
Batch 5 of 5
Properly Understanding Properly Basic Beliefs – at https://www.reasonablefaith.org/writings/question-answer/properly-understanding-properly-basic-beliefs/
Answering Critics of the Inner Witness of the Spirit – at https://www.reasonablefaith.org/media/reasonable-faith-podcast/answering-critics-of-the-inner-witness-of-the-spirit/
Is Appeal To The Witness of the Holy Spirit Question Begging? – at https://www.reasonablefaith.org/writings/question-answer/is-appeal-to-the-witness-of-the-holy-spirit-question-begging/
Indefeasibility and Openness To Evidence – at https://www.reasonablefaith.org/writings/question-answer/indefeasibility-and-openness-to-evidence/