Forum Replies Created
July 17, 2013 at 7:21 am in reply to: Truth about Future Propositions #19150
Thanks Dr. CaseyApril 3, 2013 at 12:34 pm in reply to: Presuppositional Apologetics #19132
Dr. Casey said, “If I understand what you say about Bahnsen’s work, David, there would appear to be no possibility of a discussion between a believer and an unbeliever.”
This is often the first impression that people get when hearing about Van Til’s apologetic method, but it is not what he argued. Van Til argued that the very possibility of discussion between believer and unbeliever is due to the fact that they are both made in the image of God. He called this the “point of contact.” So, Van Til’s method was to argue transcendentally, showing that the unbeliever cannot make sense of reality without the Christian God. To argue transcendentally (as Van Til used it) is to say that something is a necessary precondition of something else.
So, a transcendental argument for the existence of God (TAG) would say that God is the necessary precondition for X. One example of a TAG could be formulated as follows:
(1) If God does not exist, then (universal, immaterial, invariant) laws of logic do not exist.
(2) Laws of logic do exist.
(3) “God does not exist” is false.
(4) Therefore, God exists.
Van Til and Bahnsen would then spend ample time in defending premise (1). However, they would also note that there is not one TAG but many possibilities of formulations for TAG’s. Others commonly used involve induction, science, and morality.
Also, many accuse Van Til of endorsing viciously circular reasoning/argumentation. Here is a link to where a follower of Van Til answers that and other objections:
Hope this is helpful.March 28, 2013 at 3:33 am in reply to: Presuppositional Apologetics #19128
Bahnsen and Van Til famously argued that the Christian God is the necessary presupposition of logic, science, and morality. I’m sure you are aware.
If you have another question, I have studied the issue a bit.March 25, 2013 at 3:51 am in reply to: Professor McClanahan & Article I Section 10 #20537
Yes, Dr. Gutzman, that makes sense. If Virginia was given assurance they could leave if things got out of hand, then obviously Article I, Section 10 could not mean that no State can leave. That is, unless the Federalists talking to Virginia were out to lunch when they made such promises.
I have actually encountered this “out to lunch” argument when discussing constitutionality with the law school type. They will argue that the Federalists were either (deliberately or incidentally) misconstruing the Constitution at all the State ratifying conventions. Therefore, we cannot look to those conventions to help us understand the original intent. They say the Philadelphia convention is fair game but nothing else.
How ought we answer that?March 23, 2013 at 6:40 am in reply to: 14th ammendment #20547
Professor McClanahan is surely correct that the framers of the 14th amendment in no way intended to incorporate the Bill of Rights into the States.
The great trucks that have been driven through the “priveleges or immunities”, “due process” and “equal protection” clauses are shown to be contrary to the original meaning of the amendment in the books people have suggested previously in this thread.
I too did struggle with the same question you asked when I first learned about this: You said, “Did the Founding Fathers assume that States wouldn’t trample on people’s freedoms?”
I think it would be consistent to say that Jeffersonians were suspicious of ALL governments and their attempts to trample on freedom. But, that is precisely why they insisted on a federal government rather than a national government. A republic in which states retain sovereignty and can be different than other states is ultimately best for the people. States essentially “compete” for citizens, so if some state has outlawed free speech or denied due process to some, it is likely that people will try to free themselves from those areas.
Dr. Woods also has a lecture on the 14th amendment here where he mentions
the difficulty of the issue: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P56ZeBotFeAMarch 21, 2013 at 8:48 pm in reply to: 14th ammendment #20544
And if it helps, an even shorter article is in Berger’s “Selected Writings on the Constitution” book.
My personal favorite argument that he makes doesn’t involve going deep into the original interpretation as far as interpreting individual clauses, syntax, language/word studies etc. The argument is:
(1) The 14th amendment amendment did not prevent States from enacting discrimination laws that prohibited blacks from voting. The evidence that this claim is true is that the 15th amendment was needed to give blacks the right to vote.
(2)Therefore, if the 14th amendment did not prohibit discrimination in the case of suffrage, it follows that it did not prohibit discrimination in the case of education.
Anyone who wishes to deny #2 will have to explain how the original intent of the 14th amendment prohibited discrimination in public schools yet did not prohibit discrimination in the case of suffrage. That is an impossible task when anyone considers the historical record.
The only other escape from the argument is to argue that despite the fact that the 14th amendment prohibited suffrage discrimination, the 15th amendment was passed to make the point extra clear (or some other reason). However, it is certainly a minority view to argue that any of the amendments post Bill of Rights are superfluous. It is a rigorous process to amend the constitution, and it is quite a stretch to think legislators would bother going through the headache if it wasn’t needed. Moreover, if it was the case that they knew the 14th amendment prohibited suffrage discrimination, yet they wanted to bring about the 15th just to be emphatic (or some other reason), the historical record should show evidence of this position. I have not done extensive research into the framing of the 15th amendment, but I don’t think it is likely that evidence supporting this odd view would be found.
*Another quick Berger nugget is that the “privileges and immunities” referred to in the act parallel those enumerated in the Civil Rights act of 1866. They were not meant to be some broad cloud category of privileges.
Berger cites the framers and ratifiers of the amendment exhaustively to make all of his points, which is great.
Also, your paper will likely need to include a section defending “original meaning/intent” as the proper method of constitutional interpretation. Berger has a nice article on that here: http://lawreview.byu.edu/archives/1991/3/ber.pdfMarch 21, 2013 at 8:26 pm in reply to: Professor McClanahan & Article I Section 10 #20535
Thanks for the replies!March 17, 2013 at 7:33 pm in reply to: Same Sex Marriage, the 14th Amendment, and Originalism #15151
Thanks for your response Dr. Gutzman.
How ought we to understand the equal protection clause? And how might we argue that this original understanding does not permit the Feds to strike down a state ban?
I bring this up because the AP Government and Politics teacher at my school is having his students role-play the case (they will be the judges, the attorneys, etc.). I want to help the students on the side of the States understand that they have a strong case if we are to take the constitution seriously.March 17, 2013 at 2:58 pm in reply to: AP Government class question #15971
But according to Dr. Woods’ point, wouldn’t it be unconstitutional for the court to strike down a local law that targeted specific religious groups? For example, suppose a policy banning head-covering was spelled out with the intention of deterring Muslim students from looking the part.
Unless you adopt the view of incorporating the 1st Amendment against the states, it does not seem constitutionally consistent (under an originalist view) for the Feds to strike down such a law. No?March 17, 2013 at 2:43 pm in reply to: My college supreme court and the constitution class outline. #19691
Haha thanks, I am very excited! By the way, the Raoul Berger recommendations on books have been nothing short of awesome.March 13, 2013 at 4:43 am in reply to: The Nullification Crisis #15120
Thanks Mr. McClanahan!March 4, 2013 at 8:35 pm in reply to: My college supreme court and the constitution class outline. #19688
Dr. Gutzman! When will your new constitution course be released?December 21, 2012 at 2:27 am in reply to: Natural Rights? #19535
Some good responses above. My slightly off-topic response is that “violating the rights of the 2nd, 3rd, 4th amendments etc” gives the impression that those amendments are the only thing preventing the Feds from doing X, Y, and Z. To the contrary, they are prohibited from doing ANYTHING not enumerated in Article I Section 8. The rest is left to the states, which includes gun control, drug regulation, etc.December 18, 2012 at 7:01 pm in reply to: Gun Control Debate and the Constitution #15911
Thanks for your input Porphy. Isn’t it odd that such a thing as the executive order could be used in place of legislation? It seems like another instance of newspeak or something the way they torture the meaning of language.
The executive branch is supposed to ensure that “laws are faithfully executed.” Any elementary school student can see that this PRESUPPOSES that legislation has already been passed. The idea of the executive making up his own laws and executing them couldn’t be more foreign to the Constitution. Ok, done preaching to the choir now. Thanks for responsesDecember 18, 2012 at 3:31 am in reply to: Gun Control Debate and the Constitution #15909
I’ve hear that the President may try to enact gun legislation by executive order. Does anyone know the constitutional limits of executive orders? It seems that they should not exceed the enumerated executive powers in Article II, but Presidents have used them for all kinds of things.
Does anyone know the historical context of how this power expanded? What CANNOT be enacted by executive order?