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Why Christianity Makes the Most Sense of Logic

August 8, 2008

What is meant by “logic”?

By logic I mean the 3 laws of classical logic. Namely, the law of identity, the law of excluded middle, and the law of non-contradiction. What in the world does this mean? I’m glad you asked. I’ll try to explain. You might even get a date by using these terms. They make you sound really smart!

First, I am not referring yet to premises or syllogisms of logic (i.e. if A, then B. A, therefore B, etc), but will start out with what is foundational for even these to be possibilities.  Before we admit we should use reason, or reason in a rational way, we must first account for reason. This is accounted for because there are identities (what something is) which ought to not contradict (how these identities must function), and it is this foundation by which thinking, knowing, and reasoning is even possible.

First, the law of identity is simply stated A = A. For example, in base-10 math the number 1 is 1. Wow. Isn’t that profound!

Secondly, there is the law of excluded middle. Something is either A or non-A. In other words, if you have an amount of something in base-10 math, you either have 1 of something or not 1 of something. Again, profound!

Lastly,  the law of non-contradiction states A cannot = non-A. Simple enough right? If 1 is 1 then I cannot also say that it is not 1. It is not 42 or red. Simply amazing!

Why we need absolute universal concepts

When I say “concepts” I mean this synonymous with “meanings” or “identities”. In other words, the “what” to the 1st law of logic. We need concepts to refer to things, identify things, thus know things. If there’s no concepts by which we can know things, then there’s no way to know anything. Think of a world where there is no thinking. Conceptualize a world where there are no concepts. Can you identify something that has no identity? Can something mean something if it has no meaning? Concepts give us the ability to identify things and refer to things, thus think and know things.

We need concepts to be absolute in the sense that they are fixed and that meanings cannot change. If you’re using the word “infinity” (or any other possible word or symbol) to mean an “un-ending progression” then you agree that “an un-ending progression” is an actual meaning. You can’t change the meaning “an un-ending progression” to mean “an ending progression” because then you’re referring to a completely different meaning. You haven’t changed the meaning in this case but are now only referring to a different meaning. However, you can change the word “infinity” which refers to the meaning and replace it with a different word to refer to this meaning, but in doing so you wouldn’t have changed the meaning itself. You’re not that autonomous, and things are more absolute then some try to pretend. Take the number “1” for example in base-10 math. If what you mean by “1” is “a single unit”, then even though you can potentially change the linguistic convention of the word “one” (to “uno” for example), you cannot change the meaning. The meaning of “a single unit” cannot be changed, and if you’re a sentient being you use this meaning as though it’s absolute all the time.

Further, since meanings are absolute we can trust that we mean what we mean. In other words, when I identify something as something, I am able to confidently call it that because the meaning of it is absolute and can’t change. If the meaning of “1” in base-10 math could later mean “1,006” or “blue”, then I’d have no bases to trust anything that I identify. If what i’m thinking about isn’t what I’m thinking about, then why think about it? If what I’m talking about isn’t what I’m talking about, then why talk about it? If what I’m referring to isn’t what I’m referring to, then why refer to it as though it somehow were?

Now, if you understand what meaning I’m referring to when I say “a single unite” in base-10 math then you yourself prove that meanings are absolute and universal from sentient being to sentient being. Thus, I don’t need to belabor that point. If you disagree that concepts are absolute and universal, yet you know what I mean by “1”, then you need to consult the person in the mirror as to why they’re a walking contradiction. Further, if you say “meanings aren’t absolute and universal” you’re assuming that I’m a sentient being who can understand what you’re saying and wont interpret you as saying “meanings are absolute and universal”. Thus, even in your refutation of meanings being absolute and universal, you all the more prove that they are by your assumption within your refutation!

I can hear someone saying, “but people can use the same words to mean different things.” I agree. All you’re doing is considering a words “context”. Words and contexts can change, but not meanings. For example, an apple can be both an apple and a house. It is an apple in the context of being what we classify as a type of fruit. Yet it is also a house in the context of being a place where a worm lives. So the words “apple” and “house” can be conflated once we consider that the function of an apple can be the same function of a house. Once we realize this, we see that words can take on different meanings given their context, but meanings can’t take on different meanings! Nice try silly!

So since it’s quite obvious that “meanings”, “concepts”, or “identities” (the “what” behind “what something is”) are absolute, then they must also be eternal. And since they exist in minds (or correlate to minds) they must ultimately derive from an eternal mind. I would call that God though, since the logos has an eternal mind, and Jesus Christ is the logos.

John 1:1(a) says, “in the beginning was the logos”. The actual Greek says, “en arche en o logos”, which means “in the beginning was the beginning-less logos”. “Arche” refers to a beginning in time, while “en” (or “was”) has an imperfect tense and has no point of derivation. In other words, “the logos was (en)”, thus existing without a point of derivation or origination. John 1:1(b) says “and the logos was with God”, thus the logos is personal, and in an eternal relationship with the Father. John 1:1(c) says, “and God was the logos”, meaning “the nature of God is the nature of the logos”. John 1:14 says ,”and the logos became flesh (sarx)”, which is Jesus Christ who is the eternal God entering into and interacting with his own creation.

The laws of logic and the “material” prove the immaterial

By proof I mean “infer” or “induce”. I mean prove by likelihood since this is the only way we can prove things anyways. No one can prove anything deductively, only inductively. Deduction only works in theory because a deductive syllogism assumes its premises are proven to be 100% true, thus begs the question of the conclusion because nothing can be proven with 100% certainty so long as there are alternative possibilities. With induction, we infer that our premises are true (maybe 70% true, or 89% true, etc), thus we come to conclusions based on that which we find to be most consistent, likely, or probable.

Many naturalistic atheists try to argue that the 1st law of logic (concepts, identities, or meanings) can be accounted for simply by an Aristotelian approach to the world. In other words, concepts are able to be derived simply from our 5 senses and observing the physical realm. For example, how does one derive the concept of “1”? It’s simply because we are able to distinguish between a single unit of something as opposed to multiple units of something. I can see 1 pea in a pod as opposed to 5. We derive concepts simply by interacting with the physical world around us. We can distinguish between what something is as opposed to what it’s not, thus naturally identify it.

Many times this Aristotelian approach in accounting for the concepts we use is used to bolster the worldview of Naturalism whereby it is believed that the world is purely physical, material, or comprised of matter. However, sometimes atheists are more agnostic to the idea that there may be a supernatural realm (a realm beyond the natural), but conclude that they just have no evidence to support it.

I’d like to touch on 3 major reasons why the laws of logic can’t merely be said to be derived from the physical realm:

1. The first reason is simple. It’s because there are concepts we use which have no correlation to anything physical! Take the concept of “infinity” for example. This is an actual concept. It means something. Yet, it has no referent whatsoever to anything physical. The only way a person could derive this from the physical realm is if they observed an infinite amount of things, thereby could distinguish between the concept of “infinity” and “finite”. Yet that’s the problem. No one can do this. Infinity is always in progress and can never be reached. That’s what it means. So here we have a meaning which we use and understand, yet are not able to derive it from anything we physically observe. This would have been Aristotle’s clock stopper had someone confronted him with this argument. The atheist can’t use their Aristotelian approach any longer when trying to think of purely naturalistic reasons in accounting for the laws of logic. Even if there is one counter example to this approach it utterly fails and I have given a counter example.

2. The second reason the naturalistic atheist shouldn’t conclude that the laws of logic merely derive from our interaction with physical nature is because no one even knows what “nature” is. What we commonly refer to as “nature” is really just the stuff that we can detect with our 5 senses, namely, atoms and molecules (a combination of atoms). This is what we call “matter” since it takes up space. However, what is matter or atoms ultimately comprised of? No one ultimately knows. Currently we know that atoms consist of a nucleus which is comprised of protons and neutrons. Then the electrons which orbit the nucleus are very tiny and very far away from the nucleus. Thus, much of what we consider “matter” is really just empty space.

Further, the protons and neutrons which make up the nucleus are made up of quarks, while quarks are believed to not take up space. Then you have the electrons (also known as leptons) which are said to be what “energy” is ultimately comprised of, and these are also said to not take up space. The current theory for the most basic components of the universe is “string theory” or “m-theory” (virtually the same theory with an added dimension of multiple universes). Quarks and leptons are said to be made up of the “string”. The “string” is said to be something like a tiny vibration which does not take up space. Maybe someday we will discover that there is a sub-structure to quarks and leptons, but for now they are not said to have a sub-structure and to not take up space. It’s not until we begin to get to the parts of the atom that there is said to be “matter”. So even current science is leading us to believe that matter is ultimately comprised of non-matter (at least to the extent that it doesn’t take up space). What we interact with is simply the illusion of matter, or “something” which takes up space, yet doesn’t take up space at its most fundamental level.

It’s interesting then how the worldview of “Naturalism” is even a worldview at all because no one ultimately knows what the “natural” is. What we do know about it is that it ultimately isn’t what we commonly think of as “matter”! Again, when we say “matter”, “natural”, “physical”, or “material”, we don’t really know what we’re ultimately referring to. We just use this language as shorthand for “that which we detect and interact with”. Yet, even “that which we detect and interact with” is ultimately non-physical (compared to what we currently experience as being “physical”). Therefore, naturalistic atheists have no bases to say:

1. there is only the physical realm (since the physical realm itself is not even ultimately what we normally consider to be “physical”), and

2. that concepts derive from our interaction with the “physical” realm (because what they’re really saying is that concepts ultimately derive from a “non-physical” realm. What they mean is “the illusion of the physical realm” or something similar.

3. The 3rd reason “Naturalistic” atheists can’t consistently argue from their worldview that one’s interaction with “nature” is all that is needed to derive concepts is because of the law of non-contradiction. The law of non-contradiction is prescriptive, not descriptive. It’s prescriptive meaning it prescribes how the 1st law “must” function, not merely how it “does” function. Just like when your doctor prescribes medicine to you. You must take it. Yet when your doctor describes the medicine to you they’re only telling you information about it. (Note: we could say when they’re prescribing how you should take it that they’re also describing how you should take it. I agree with this, but also agree with more. They’re describing it, but are also describing the prescription! This doesn’t subtract from the medicine still being prescriptive because we can still describe prescriptions.)

A description only tells us “what is”, while a prescription tells us “what should be” or “what ought to be”. The law of non-contradiction is that a concept, meaning, or identity can’t contradict. Something can’t also be what it’s not. Of course, this is true by definition of the 1st law. If something is what it is then it’s precluded from being what it isn’t. In this sense, the atheist could argue that contradictions of concepts aren’t possible since things are what they are. That’s all find and good. However, this doesn’t mean that the atheist is precluded from contradicting anyways! Just because concepts are what they are and can’t contradict in order for us to say they are what they are, doesn’t mean that we “should not” or “ought not” contradict anyways.

It’s one thing to say “1” can’t also be “1,006” for the sake of not contradicting and us being able to identify what “1” is, yet it’s another thing to say that we shouldn’t go around making the claim that “1 is also 1,006” anyways. But why do we choose not to do this? It’s because we want to be rational. We have a pre-commitment to reason consistently. But why do we live every single day as though we should be rational and reason consistently? Just because identifying something precludes us from then being able to contradict it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t contradict it anyways and choose to be irrational. On what bases should we be rational as opposed to irrational all the time? God? Something else?

You might say “but if we were irrational then we couldn’t survive”. But let me ask, which came first, our survival or our laws of logic? Either way one answers, they lose the argument. If survival came first then we didn’t need laws of logic to survive. If laws of logic came first then they did so for some other reason. Further, no other animal knows that it shouldn’t contradict itself in every way except humans.

This is part of why we are created in God’s image. We have this greater capacity of reason that no other animal possesses, and this is so because God is a covenantal God. He has given us dominion over the earth, and our ability to reason on a greater level perfectly fits with this. Other animals survive and don’t need to use the laws of logic as we do. In fact, we could still survive even if we purposefully went around lying and intentionally contradicting ourselves all the time. Yet, we know this would go against the nature that God has given us, one to be truthful and industrious with.

Another argument that naturalistic atheists usually raise in regard to why we “should” be rational is because they “we just do”, or “nature just has it be that way”. Yet, just because something appears to be what nature is doing, doesn’t mean it necessarily follows that’s what “ought” to be the case. For example, nature has us dead way longer then it has us alive. So if we’re going to use the  standard that “what happens” = “what should happen”, then we really would have to end up concluding that “we ought to not survive”. So then, since we’d then have to conclude that we shouldn’t survive, we’d also have to conclude that we don’t have to be rational. Dying and losing the ability to think is a natural process.

So here we are, left with a pre-commitment to be rational, as opposed to irrational. Only humans have this. Frogs don’t contradict themselves in every way and view it as lying or irrational, and if they did by accident they wouldn’t care. Only us sentient beings care. Atheists try hard to account for this apart from an eternal, personal, Being. Instead of being made in the image of God, to the Naturalist, we’re made in the image of mind-less stardust (which the Discovery Channel taught on an episide). The atheist will do everything in their power to posit a starting point that is anything but personal.

I digress. So our entire bases for rational thought assumes that we ought not lie. There is a moral aspect to it, over and above any kind of survival aspect. There is a dominion aspect to it, whereby being rational we can be the most industrious. The laws of logic are a pre-commitment of being created in the likeness of a personal God, and enable us to fulfill the good purposes of that God.

Laws of logic vs. “natural” laws

Now I’ll explain why the laws of logic do NOT function anything like natural laws. In fact, they function reverse of how natural laws function. At this point I will argue in regard to the law of non-contradiction, since, like I’ve already touched on, this law mostly prescribes how the 1st law “must” function (assuming we ought to be rational), not merely how it “does” function. We have an identity (“description”, or “what”) which ought to not contradict (“prescription”, or “how it must function”).

Now, the way it functions does not come from and cannot come from a “naturalistic” universe according to what we commonly think of as being “natural” which I’ve already gone over. Natural laws “describe” unvarying uniformity in nature. Whatever nature does is what it does. The naturalist can’t say it “should” or “ought” to behave a certain way because then they’d be appealing to the super-natural. Is it true that to every action there is an equal opposite reaction? From what we’ve observed, yes. We can keep performing actions to ensure this hasn’t changed. Since we observe “nature” to behave in a uniform way, we explain the uniformity with a mathematical formula, thus a “natural law” is born.

Hume would point out that natural laws are always subject to change at any time. And just because no one may have witnessed them change, doesn’t necessarily mean they can’t or wont. Welcome to “Hume’s bombshell” which drives a stake in the heart of the notion that “natural” laws should always be fixed laws. Well… theoretically it does, yet no scientist, whether secular or theistic, ever cared! We all expect the universe to be uniform. Yet, history does show that it was Christianity that brought about this view. The atheism of the last 200 years, including Hume’s limiting knowledge to the 5 senses, came off the coattails of the influence of Christianity in the West. Contrary to popular ignorance, the Enlightenment had it’s original start in the Middle Ages from the influences of Christianity. Read here for more.

Moving on… we theoretically can’t guarantee that natural laws are fixed, have always been fixed, and will always be fixed, thus we have no bases to trust them 100%. This is called “the problem of induction”. Since we don’t know what “nature” ultimately is, and is still “?” to us so far, on what bases do we trust that the future will mimic the past considering that “?” is ultimately running the universe? If “?” is in ultimate control of the universe, then we must place our faith in “?” to trust that future phenomenons will resemble past phenomenons.

Sure, even God could change the way the universe is functioning and even as Christians we’d still have to deal with the problem of induction. Yet, the major difference is that it’s easier to trust the uniformity of nature when we understand that God wills to uphold the universe uniformly so that we can understand it and have dominion over it. Again, Christianity brought about much success in the West because early Christians had this paradigm, as opposed to pagan paradigms that the world was mysterious and always changing.

Now back to natural laws. Notice that mathematical formulas describe how nature is working. They do not prescribe how it will always work. Gravity may operate differently some day. We have no bases to know if it will ever change or stay the same. Therefore, the phenomenon does NOT derive from a natural law, rather the natural law derives from the phenomenon. You will say “but the law explains the phenomenon.” I will say “exactly, and that’s ALL it does”. Hypothetically, if the phenomenon changes tomorrow, then the law’s explanation will adjust to match the new phenomenon and the phenomenon will be explained with a new mathematical formula. So again, “natural” laws ONLY “describe” unvarying uniformity in nature (that are at least unvarying to our limited observation).

However, the law of non-contradiction does not merely “describe” how we reason, but rather “prescribes” how we “ought” to reason… in order to reason rationally and morally. This is vastly different, because here the prescriptive law brings about the phenomenon, instead of a phenomenon merely bringing about a descriptive law.

Natural laws – the descriptive law is derived from the phenomenon (what nature does), or the phenomenon (what nature does) reveals the descriptive law.

Law of non-contradiction – the phenomenon (thinking rationally) is derived from the prescriptive law, or the prescriptive law determines the phenomenon (thinking rationally).

This refutes the notion that logic is simply a by-product of how the mind functions, as atheist Dan Barker likes to say. Logic is a by-product of how the mind “ought” to function, not merely how it does function, assuming that it ought to function rationally because we’re created in the image of an eternally rational and moral God.

Debate:

Considering all that has been said so far, here is a discussion I had with some atheists online where I argue for God’s existence using the very same argumentation I’ve raised above:

atheist: [talking to someone else] “I am an atheist who has lived his life well and tried to be a good human being, and you are saying that God in his almighty wisdom will send me to hell? Purely for not believing in something that has no evidence? If we are all God’s children he will forgive all non believers, but you clearly think he is some kind of vindictive bastard who will take joy in letting a good human being burn for all eternity?”

me: “You’re not critiquing Christianity or Scripture detours. You may be critiquing something, but it certainly isn’t Christianity. God doesn’t send you or anyone else to hell because you don’t believe, but because you’ve broken His law (you haven’t loved God and others perfectly). And without Yahweh, you can’t account for proof and evidence to begin with, that’s proof of His existence. Not everyone is “God’s child”. That’s no where in Scripture. The gospel is believe and repent to know if you are.”

atheist: “God doesnt send anyone to hell, mainly because he doesn’t exist. I am critiquing the scriptures, they are all lies. They were written by people – to control other people, back when there was no explanation to questions like ‘where did we come from’, ‘what is the nature of the universe’ etc. Yahweh is one of these creations. And some people still believe because they are afraid, they dont have the intelligence to ask the question ‘Did god create man, or did man create god?’

me: “First of all you’re conceding by changing the subject. I originally told you you weren’t critiquing Christianity and the Scripture’s (with your previous claims) because Christianity and Scripture doesn’t teach such things (as your previous claims suggested). I also told you that proof of God is that without Him you can’t prove anything, and you’ve offered nothing. And if people use the Scripture to control others, that’s a problem with people, not Scripture.”

atheist: “this solaphyde person is making completely crazy claims ‘we have to have been created in the image of a rational being to be rational’- what sort of idiocy is that? She also said to me something along the lines of ‘proof of God is that without Him you can’t prove anything’ – and I have no idea what that even means.”

me: “I’m a guy. Just calling me idiotic isn’t an argument. It’s just name calling, nothing more. Since you don’t understand it, I’ll explain it. If you do science, you first need rationality. Do you believe you ought to be rational? If you say “yes” or “no” you still agree you need to be, because you’re giving a rational answer. So b/c u agree u need to be rational, how does your worldview account for why you need to be. If you’re created in God’s image, then it’s your nature to be rational.”

atheist: “Hold on, why do you need to be ‘created in gods image’ to be rational? My reason for humans being rational is that over thousands of years, we have evolved to become rational creatures. There is something to being logical which has been favourable genetically and survived through the generations. Oh… but you dont believe in evolution or logic do you? You believe that a magic invisible man in the sky created us in SEVEN DAYS. A great example of a theist’s rational mind at work!”

me: “The Scripture says God created everything in 6 days. And Scripture is silent on what a day (yom) even is in Gen 1! No matter how old you think the earth is, Scripture is silent on it. I have empirical proof that logic only comes from logic, and rationality only comes from rationality. You believing something we have no proof of, namely that logic comes from non-logic. That is absurd! And “nature” only tells us “what is”, NOT “what should be”, hence that humans should be rational! Sorry.”

atheist: “Empirical Proof? MAGIC MAN DONE IT!? How is that empirical proof? You argue in a truly ineloquent fashion (‘logic only comes from logic’ wtf?) Your statements do not make any sense, apart from in your strange little world. In what way am I arguing for something we have no proof for? Evolution, rational thought, the universe, these are all TRUE. Invisible magic man in the sky is not a good argument. In fact, it is a counter argument FOR my view.

You are hung up on ‘logic cant come from non-logic’. How logical do you think this situation is? We are highly evolved intelligent apes, clinging to a rock that spins through space at millions of miles an hour, surrounded by planets, stars and other phenomena we are totally oblivious to. We have no idea what the universe is, how we came to exist, what the meaning of our life is, and you call all this a ‘logical’ creation? We are ‘logical’ because we ARE! God has nothing to do with it!”

me: “I’ll repeat myself, you’re logic and reasoning so far is that logic comes from non-logic and rationality comes from non-rationality. From all we’ve ever observed and inferred in the known world, logic only comes from logic and rational beings only come from rational beings. You’ve offered nothing on how a “material” universe, which can only reveal “what is”, not what “should be” account for the fact that we should be rational. You can’t even theorize how your magic universe can do that.”

atheist: “You use terms like ‘from all we’ve ever observed’. When did we observe this? I’ll tell you where, in your distorted mind where ‘being rational only ever comes from rational beings’. It used to be a little bit fun, replying to you. Not anymore. I honestly dont know or care, what you mean by ‘logic cant come from non-logic’. You provide no evidence apart from rhetoric, which frankly makes NO sense to anyone sane. And I have no desire to hear it anymore. Leave me alone you fucking NUT”

me: “Every sentient human being who has a pre-commitment to be rational gives birth to other sentient being who have a pre-commitment to rationality. We have never observed a sentient rational being who has a pre-commitment to be rational come from a non-rational thing. So you wanted proof. Well, umm, your proof, your family is proof, I’m proof, every time you reply on here it’s proof! Show me your proof of logic coming from non-logic and why that accounts for our pre-commitment to it.”

(The atheist is asking me for proof that logic only comes from prior logic and that rationality comes from prior rationality from all we’ve ever observed. This is like asking something  like, “prove that life has only come from life so far, and that information has only come from an information source so far”. Have we ever observed life coming from non-life? No. Have we ever observed information coming from a non-information source (when it’s highly complex, specific, or serves a clear function)? No. Have we ever observed a pre-commitment to rationality and logic coming from anything other than a sentient human being? No.

The burden is clearly on the atheist at this point to give an account for how this can comport with their worldview. Further, he never addresses the argument that nature only shows us “what is” not “what should be”, hence that “we should be rational”. If you say something “should be the case” then you’re appealing to something beyond the “natural”. Otherwise, you have to show (or even theorize) how something impersonal within the “natural realm” can account for more then “what is”, but “what ought to be”.

Here is a side discussion I got into also on the same thread with another atheist:

atheist: “Cameron, you said “proof of God is that without Him you can’t prove anything“. Why do you think this is true? You’ve offered no evidence and you state it as if it’s a fact.”

me: “one of the criterion for proving something is observers who have a pre-commitment to being rational and logical. This is why I asked detours how his worldview accounts for why we should be rational. My worldview accounts for this because if we’re created in the likeness of an eternal rational being, then we ought to be rational. How does your worldview account for why we should be rational, thus have a consistent bases for using induction rationally as opposed to non-rationally.”

atheist: “Cameron, you said “one of the criterion for proving something is observers who have a pre-commitment to being rational and logical.” I think you are just making things up. The person who is doing the proving must use logic and be rational, but you don’t need a god for that. A materialistic “worldview” will suffice. For this, all one needs is to realize that evidence and reason are necessary to prove things. All of this talk of “worldviews”, as you are using it, is distracting at best.”

me: “Robert, you said, “all one needs is to realize that evidence and reason are necessary to prove things“. This is a circular argument and you are question begging. You must first have a pre-commitment to rationality and reason in order to even realize that reason is required to prove something. So I’ll have to re-ask it again. What in the “material world” determines that you ought to be rational? Further, “materialism” = “?” because no one ultimately knows what the “material realm” even is.”

atheist: “OK, I’ll try this again. You’re adding an unsubstantiated premise and calling it “necessary” without demonstrating why it’s necessary. If I formulate a hypothesis, gather observations and test my hypothesis and it proves true, I’ve behaved rationally and haven’t invoked a god. Nothing about the world says I “ought” to be rational, it’s something I’ve learned and it’s something that enhances my chances of survival or furthers my happiness.”

me: “You’ve just disproved naturalism and proved God’s existence. You said “nothing in the world says I ought to be rational.” That’s exactly my point. You live as though you have a pre-commitment to be rational, but can’t account for it with a mindless “natural” universe. There’s nothing in “nature” which prescribes that we ought to be rational. The other conclusion you can have is that “we don’t have to be rational” which then you’re assuming you have to if you expect me to believe you.”

(I’m still waiting for a reply. The atheist assumed I was asking “why should we be rational” in the sense of “what do we use rationality for?” I agree we need to be rational for reasons such as being able to think, communicate, prove things, etc. But that’s not the sense in which I’m asking “why should we be rational?” I’ve repeatedly said that we should be rational in the sense that we have a pre-commitment to it. Even when Mr. Atheist does science, they’re pre-committed to being rational. Being pre-committed to rationality accounts for scientific observation. Scientific observation doesn’t account for why Mr.Atheist has a pre-commitment to rationality.)

atheist: “Also, in this instance, materialism simply refers to relying on evidence to prove things, i.e. you don’t accept untestable or supernatural explanations.”

me: “materialism” doesn’t = “relying on evidence to prove things” because like I’ve already said God could be next to you and you could still do science. And you can’t disregard the supernatural when you don’t even know where the “natural” starts and stops. And you are proving the supernatural every time you reply on here because there is nothing “natural” in this universe which can account for why you ought to be rational, which is required to even do science!”

(The naturalistic atheist disregards the “supernatural”, yet has no bases to. They can’t disregard the “supernatural” until they prove where the “natural realm” starts and stops. Further, the “natural” only shows “what is”, not “what should be”, hence that we should be rational in the sense that we have a pre-commitment to be rational. So even when they reply to me being pre-committed to rationality, they evidence there is a realm of “what should be”, not merely a realm of “what is”.)

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  1. Greetings from Verity. ¶ Your argument rests on the presuppositions that a supernatural being imposed logic on human thought, and rules expressed with “should” on human behavior. ¶ You show that concepts are absolute in the sense that users of a language use them in the same way. You do not show that they are universal (concepts are specific to language; ask any Bible translator) or eternal. ¶ If deduction is not valid, then from the premisses “God makes only true statements” and “The statements in the Bible originated in God,” can you and I conclude that The Bible may be false? ¶ Your remarks about nature seem equivalent to claiming that naturalism is invalid because it cannot explain everything about the natural world. Can you give a complete explanation of the supernatural system in which you believe, including the incarnation of Jesus and transubstantiation during the Eucharist? ¶ Matter is made of atoms and it is meaningless to apply most concepts based on material objects to atoms and their components. Is the meaning of a Bible verse an illusion because it is composed of letters none of which conveys a meaning? ¶ Human intelligence evolved because it increased the probability of individuals’ reproducing (passing on their genes) and later, because it made groups of humans more successful. Your scenario of humans “deciding” to be rational is a canard. ¶ Logic is a set of rules for the use of language (similar to grammar). “A = A” and “1 = 1” are tautologies; they do not express facts about the world. Logic is not the cause or explanation of reason; it is a manifestation of reason. ¶ You seem to define “pre-commitment” as a rule of behavior (one should do something) but to use the word in other senses, such as “unavoidable behavior” and “compulsory behavior.” In some places it could be replaced by “capacity for” (reason). ¶ “Should” indicates the imperative mode of language; it is not metaphysical and you do not prove that there is a universal “should.” “Why” refers to causation; it is not true that causal events cannot be observed. ¶ No one has observed new species evolving; likewise no one has observed creation of the universe from nothing or of a woman from the body of a man. Is lack of observation of a process or event disproof of its occurrence? ¶ Complex systems do arise spontaneously from simpler ones; look at articles on systems science, complex systems, and self-organization. ¶ Your argument does not depend upon the Christian Trinity and could also be used by a Jew, Muslim, or (with modifications) a Hindu. ¶ Isn’t your use of “stupid,” “silly,” “sucks,” and “absurd” “just name calling?” Or do you have different standards than those you expect of others?


  2. Michael,

    Can you narrow your mountain of assertions and questions to a few? Then I’ll address those first. 🙂 Also, breaking your reply up into paragraphs makes it easier to read. Oh, and also provide for me your worldview which accounts for the laws of logic so that I can critique the royal crap out of it like you have with my worldview.

    Thanks.


  3. Michael,

    Since it seems you’re only going to fling mud and then leave, I’ll humor you anyways and reply to the first half of your assertions and questions.

    Your argument rests on the presuppositions that a supernatural being imposed logic on human thought, and rules expressed with “should” on human behavior.

    Yes, if Yahweh eternally thinks, and if we are created in his image, then we should to. That’s my presupposition. The naturalistic atheist starts with the presupposition that mindless, finite, stardust accounts for this. How about you?

    You do not show that they are universal (concepts are specific to language; ask any Bible translator) or eternal.

    It depends what you mean by “concept”. This is a helpful yet tricky synonym for “identity”. If you mean the concept of “1” for example in base-10 math, that is easily universally translated. If you mean the concept of “incredulous”, then this this would be a broader concept relative to one’s culture. Multiple “identities” would be needed to help describe a fuller meaning, while nevertheless, the identities used to describe it are still universal.

    As far as “identities” or “axioms” being eternal, however, I would argue since they are absolute and can only exist in a mind, an eternal mind is required. It wouldn’t make sense to say they’re absolute because they became that way. Thus, they evidence themselves to be eternal, if you think about it.

    If deduction is not valid, then from the premisses “God makes only true statements” and “The statements in the Bible originated in God,” can you and I conclude that The Bible may be false?

    I’m not deducing God, but starting with God. You have to assume God to believe that statements can be true. I only deduce his Word by his Spirit. I infer it’s his word by history, philosophy, science, etc.

    Your remarks about nature seem equivalent to claiming that naturalism is invalid because it cannot explain everything about the natural world. Can you give a complete explanation of the supernatural system in which you believe, including the incarnation of Jesus and transubstantiation during the Eucharist?

    I have never said that methodological naturalism is “invalid”. That doesn’t even make sense. I’ve argued how philosophical naturalism is a bankrupt worldview. The atheist Hume argued that methodological naturalism (induction) lacks a bases to be trusted. I agree with him. I’ll give you an exhaustive explanation of the supernatural once you define the borders of “naturalism”, i.e. what it ultimately is, what it isn’t, what it can do, and what it can’t do. You can’t do this, and therefore can’t preclude the “supernatural” until you do. Their the same thing until you do this. If by “natural” you simply mean “no eternal, all-good, personal God”, since you can’t ultimately define what is “natural” any other way, then tell me how you account for the absolute laws of logic?

    And I don’t believe in transubstantiation. Jesus said he would partake of the same communion in the new heavens and earth. Are we to believe he’s drinking and eating himself? This is rediculous, and is the Roman Catholic’s clockstopper. And it amazes me how quantum mechanics has seemingly contradictory conclusions, yet theology can’t. This is called a double standard.

    Matter is made of atoms and it is meaningless to apply most concepts based on material objects to atoms and their components. Is the meaning of a Bible verse an illusion because it is composed of letters none of which conveys a meaning?

    I fully agree concepts can’t be based solely on material objects! And even the Bible teaches that unbelievers can use rationality, yet they can’t account for it. That’s the difference.

    Human intelligence evolved because it increased the probability of individuals’ reproducing (passing on their genes) and later, because it made groups of humans more successful.

    So intelligence came from non-intelligence for a reason only intelligent beings can assume it to be purposeful? Also, your assumption is that nature wants us to survive as opposed to not survive, while it evolves us to die in the long run. So that is hardly a good standard. One could just as well arbitrarily argue that we evolved because it wouldn’t matter if human groups were successful and it’s important to know that.

    Your scenario of humans “deciding” to be rational is a canard.

    Why?

    Logic is a set of rules for the use of language (similar to grammar). “A = A” and “1 = 1″ are tautologies; they do not express facts about the world. Logic is not the cause or explanation of reason; it is a manifestation of reason.

    But with some identities, ie. “infinity = infinity”, they express that identities cannot be solely based upon the observable world. That’s the Achilles heel of philosophical “naturalism”. I agree logic is how reason functions, but like I’ve already gone over, it’s more then that. It’s also how it “should” function, not merely how it “does”. How do you account for the fact that you “ought” to be rational? God or something else?


  4. Cameron,
    I think you are spot on with some good insight here. Atheists cannot account for logic in their world view but theists can. Further, atheists contradict themselves when they try to reason and use logic to disprove God’s existence and defend their materialistic world view, yet this hypocrisy eludes them. I like the illustration of the man who argued vehemently that oxygen did not exist. Yet, the fact that with every breath he took to speak he took in oxygen escaped him. Thanks for sharing this. C.S. Lewis explained this phenomenon in his book Miracles.



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