Here, I will focus on the argument dealing with knowledge, using Bruggencate's particular version of it as an example. A second post will address Bruggencate's views on logic or reasoning.
Bruggencate argues that knowledge is possible only if an omniscient being is the source of that knowledge, for otherwise one could be mistaken. That is, since our minds are finite, if we are dependent on our own abilities, there could be something we don't know that invalidates what we think we know. It follows, according to this "logic," that in that case we don't know anything. The solution is to have God reveal absolute knowledge to us. And this, Bruggencate argues, is what God has in fact done: we have knowledge, but only because there is a knowledge-giver.
Bruggencate's claim can be broken down into two parts. The first is that without God knowledge isn't possible, and the second is that with God the problem is resolved. As we will see, the argument fails on both counts.
Let's begin with the first part. We aren't omniscient. Does it follow that left to our own devices we wouldn't be able to know anything? Of course not. Knowledge is true belief that is properly justified. If I believe something that is in fact the case and have proper justification for believing it, then I have knowledge. Perhaps Bruggencate and other presuppositionalists imagine that proper justification is impossible without omniscience because they believe that knowledge requires certainty. For instance, I claim to know that the earth is round, yet logically speaking I could be wrong. I might be a brain in a vat in a universe that doesn't even have an earth. Doesn't it follow that I don't really know that the earth is round? No, not at all. For if in fact the earth is round then my belief is true and, since I believe it for the right reasons - namely, the evidence that demonstrates the earth's actual roundness - then I do know that the earth is round. It follows that if the earth really is round, then my belief that the earth is round qualifies as knowledge even though I am not, strictly speaking, certain of it. Knowledge does not require complete certainty.
However, even supposing that it did, Bruggencate's argument wouldn't work, for as it turns out there are things each of us does know with certainty. For instance, I know that the experience I am having at this moment exists, just as you know that about your current experience. One cannot deny that without contradiction. (Bruggencate would of course object that I'm using logic unjustifiably here, but that's something I'll ignore for now since it will be covered in the next post.)
The claim that knowledge is impossible without God doesn't hold up. But if there were a problem here for the atheist, would the introduction of God solve it? Again, the answer is no. For by Bruggencate's own criterion, even if God did reveal something true to us we still wouldn't have knowledge - not unless God also made us omniscient. Remember, Bruggencate maintains, first, that without certainty you don't really have knowledge, and second, that you can't be certain unless you are omniscient. How then does the introduction of God as a source of information change anything? How, in other words, does God impart certainty to us?
I've never seen this difficulty addressed. Bruggencate appears to be unaware of it. However, he might very well reply that, since God himself knows all and can be trusted wholeheartedly, any information he reveals to us is true and properly justified. So, for instance, if God tells us that the earth is round, then we can be certain that it is.
But unfortunately, there is an obvious gap in this argument. By Bruggencate's own standards, one of the things we must know with certainty in order for the above to work is that the information we are receiving (e.g., that the earth is round) in fact comes from an omniscient and wholly trustworthy being. And how would we know that? Bruggencate has two options here: he can say that we know it because God reveals it to us, or he can say that we know it for some other reason. If he answers that we know it because God himself tells us that he is the one imparting the information, then he's caught in an infinite regress: for now the question becomes, how do we know that it is God telling us that it is God imparting the information? If on the other hand Bruggencate says that we know it for some other reason, then he has given up on the entire basis of his argument - namely, that God is the only possible source of knowledge.
Another, simpler, way to see that the argument can't work is by bringing up the brain-in-a-vat thought experiment once more. Could you be a brain in a vat who is fed the information that a god is revealing truths to you? Yes. Then how does Bruggencate know that he isn't in that situation? In other words, how is he in a better position than the atheist?
What all this shows is that if Bruggencate were correct and knowledge required certainty which could only come from omniscience, then we finite minds couldn't know anything, period. His argument therefore fails in every respect. Bruggencate is wrong that without God one cannot have knowledge and he is wrong that God would solve the problem.
His argument with regards to logic, however, is if anything even worse, as I will show in the next post.