Douglas Groothuis

Defending Christian Faith, September 21, 2004






I.          Hypothesis Testing and Worldviews


A.        Cornelius Van Til similar to conventionalists (On Van Til, see Gordon Lewis, Testing Christianity’s Truth Claims)


1.         No epistemological common ground; chance or God as presuppositions


2.         Apologetics is limited to negative apologetics (logically destroying other world views)


3.         However, Van Til held to truth to be objective


4.         However, Van Til assumes epistemological common ground:  common grace, borrowed concepts, elementary rationality


B.         Superior approach:  hypothesis testing:  a belief system is to be considered true if it proves to be superior to all other belief systems in all relevant tests.


C.        Understanding common ground between world views


·        Family resemblance between world views



II.        Logical Criteria for Evaluating Worldviews


A.        Relevancy or pertinence:  “live options” (William James).  But don’t accept his pragmatic view of truth! See Bertrand Russell’s criticism in A History of Western Philosophy.


B.         Logical consistency (within itself and with objective reality)


1.         Contraries (A or B, not both)


2.         Contradictories (A or B, not both, not neither)


C.        Coherence (not mentioned by Corduan):  truth-claims should be interdependent and intermeshed; not merely consistent logically


D.        Viability (existentially livable):  negative test


1.         Cannot be lived out:  philosophical hypocrisy


2.         Do not live out:  moral hypocrisy (or inconsistency)