For example, I doubt Clark would agree with either:
For Clark, causality and a world are in principle understandable with or without God.or:
For him, science is either a praxis of pure techne that works, who knows why? or a sinister activity by which men conspire to prove that God does not exist.I get the sense that this blog author may be aware of his disagreements with Van Til and may be reading some negation of Van Til (though not necessarily Clark's own negation of Van Til) into Clark.
The first example he gave sounds almost precisely like an inversion of something Van Til wrote, and I would be unsurprised to discover that the latter was as well (though I don't recall Van Til's relevant comment off-hand).
In fact, Clark's central thesis of the book appears (at least to me) to be that while science may provide useful information, useful information is not the same as absolute truth.
The application, of course, is that we need the propositional truth of Scripture, and it is accepting the presupposition of Scripture's divine authority and reliability that gives us truth.
The fallibility of non-presuppositional science is variously demonstrated by Clark using the example of the paradox of motion, the problem of optical illusions, and the like. This, Clark teaches, should demonstrate the fraility of science to the reasonable person for the purpose of obtaining certain truth, as opposed to merely useful knowledge.
Indeed, it is only by accepting the presuppositional truth expressed, for example, in Genesis 1:28 that a proof of God's existence becomes possible.
It is there that Clark and Van Til really seem to part ways, with Van Til appearing to suggest that the presuppositions themselves can be proved, whereas Clark rather clearly argues that they must be accepted on faith.
But I may be misunderstanding Van Til. It's not easy to pin down a precise epistemology of Van Til, although he would normally be considerd a presuppositionalist.
The following is a quick example:
I believe in God now because unless I have Him as the All-Conditioner, life is Chaos.
- Van Til, from "Why I believe in God"
There are two major problems with this apology
1) It's not from Scripture: it's not exegetical
2) The term "Chaos" only makes sense if one assumes a Theistic world-view, but the apology is phrased as though it is the reason for the world-view
Some might take my comments above to suggest that I do not believe that at least some of the world appears chaotic to at least some men. Nevertheless, it does not appear chaotic to me, but that's because I look at it through the goggles of Reformed Theology.
Without the knowledge that comes with those goggles, how would the world appear? It depends on the goggles one is wearing. To the naturalist atheist, it appears chaotic, but that appearance of chaos itself implies the existence of order in order to define chaos.
Seeing order in the world is the result of one's presuppositions, and it is important to recognize them as presuppositions, and not claim to have arrived those presuppositions through reason.
One might think that this means that, to avoid seeing the world as chaotic, one must have the presuppositions of a theist. This is not quite precies. Many atheists see only part of the world as chaotic and all men have the knowledge of God written in their hearts (i.e. it may be a hidden presupposition, even for atheists, that there is a god).
The problem with Van Til's apologetic is that the logical flow ought to be from presupposition to conclusion. That is to say:
A => B
But one cannot validly invert the logical implication such that one then concludes
NotB => notA
Indeed, I will readily agree that to the consistent atheist the world is chaotic. He has to borrow from the Reformed worldview for the world not to appear chaotic. After all, there is no god but God, Christians are the only theists. Furthermore, only Reformed Christians consistently hold to a worldview that includes God. After all "open theists," for example, would be expected to have a similar perspective to atheists, if they were consistent. It is only in the Reformed view that God gives meaning to all of life, down to the most minute detail.
Thus, I can affirm that not just theism, but the Christian God (as explained by Reformed Theology) must be presupposed for life not to appear chaotic.
Someone will say that this appears to agree with what Van Til said, except he stated it inverted. I would respond that inversion is one way to put it, but I think a better way to put it is that, as an apology, it is circular. One will not seek to avoid viewing life as chaotic without the presuppositions. In other words, the conclusion is also the premise.
But all that is an aside. Van Til's apology is not derived from Scripture - that's its biggest weakness. Van Til's apology purports NOT to use God as a presupposition, but a desire for lack of chaos. He says I believe because of the alternative, but he would not even know the alternative if he did not believe.
In short, Van Til's apologetic is phrased as though it is based on reason. However, as noted above, it contains a circularity. The escape from circularity would be to acknowledge his presuppositions, identify them as presuppositions, and not seek to "prove" the presuppositions.
P.S. At TJH's request (here), here is a link to his post (here). I'm not sure what there is to "double-check," but the reader can certainly verify that I have quoted accurately from TJH's blog, if that was ever in doubt. And, of course, TJH, your comments here would certainly be valued.