Here’s the latest summing up of the controversy, from an excellent wordsmith over at the New Republic. He points out something every thinking Christian should understand: materialist scientism has managed to grab the chair formerly occupied by philosophy (and before that, theology) in Western culture, and when scientism cannot answer fundamental questions any more persuasively than the previous occupant of its chair, it “proceeds to … almost comic evasion(s).”
In other words: everyone accepts certain presuppositions by faith, without any evidence—except what counts for evidence by virtue of their prior faith. And as a wannabe amateur two-bit theologian, I’d like to add that that faith is inherited/chosen/developed out of something more fundamental, one’s love for God or hatred of Him.
To a man with a hammer everything seems like a nail, and when a wannabe amateur two-bit theologian gets hold of the concept of presuppositions, he sees them everywhere. But I can’t help it, and I think it’s helpful. Because presuppositionalism pushes away the detritus covering up our real reasons, our heart reasons, for what we say and do. I agree with that excellent wordsmith at TNR:
[Nagel’s] troublemaking book has sparked the most exciting disputation in many years, because no question is more primary than the question of whether materialism (which Nagel defines as “the view that only the physical world is irreducibly real”) is true or false.