Wednesday, January 14, 2015

An Atheist's Illogical Logic

I had this discussion with a professed atheist, Sevy, on my Facebook page recently after he responded to my blog post Circular Reasoning?. A few other Christians joined in the discussion and made some good contributions. 


Notice that he wrote Brian instead of Brain - but I guessed he meant brain rather than the Life of Brian.


Note - I watched a few minutes of the Perfect Double Standard video and it's the usual offensive vile and absurd nonsense that DarkMatter2525 posts.

Towards the end Clifford said that Sevy needed to go off and study logic, but I don't think that a lack of understanding of logic is the main problem - the problem is that without God there is no solid basis for absolute and unchanging laws of logic and so no real reason why illogical or contradictory things would be absolutely impossible. This illustration puts it well:


At this point Sevy blocked our page and went off to moan and groan to his atheist friends on an atheist page he is part of. He tagged me in, so I got screenshots of him venting his frustration.

So that was that. Yes, you are doing something wrong Sevy - you are suppressing the truth in unrighteousness. (Romans 1). It's not your debating ability that is the problem - it's that you've adopted an absurd worldview that can't account for logic or anything else you claim to know. I would have liked to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with you, but I'm guessing that at this point in your life you aren't interested in hearing the Gospel and just came to our page to try and refute Christians that you think are the "dumbest" people ever. I'll leave it for the readers to decide who made the most sense.

22 comments:

  1. Seems like you tripped your interlocutor up by equivocating laws of logic = properties of existence independent of minds, with laws of logic = our mental concepts of same.

    Aristotle and Plato formulated the laws qua concepts of identity, non-contradiction, and excluded middle with their human brains, but the properties that those laws describe are universal and not 'contingent on human brains' nor the brains of any other intelligent lifeforms.

    There was gravity before humans had a 'law of gravity'. We made a law of gravity because there was gravity to be described, and continue to use it because it makes accurate predictions.

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    1. How do you know that the laws of logic are universal? And even if you could know that (which you can't without God) it doesn't explain WHY the universe always behaves in a logical fashion at all times and in all places in a constantly changing universe. In the biblical worldview we have a reason for universal and unchanging laws of logic - they are a reflection of God's logical thinking and consistent character.

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    2. 3=1 is not a reflection of a logical, consistent God.

      Aristotle held that the classical laws of logic — that is, identity, non-contradiction, and excluded middle — are self-evident. Since logic depends upon those axioms, any attempt to refute them logically would rely on the very axioms it seeks to overturn. In any case, logic is useful, so we use it.

      Logic presupposes the laws of identity, non-contradiction, and excluded middle. Logic is useful, so we use it.

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    3. The trinity is not 3 = 1. The trinity is 1x1x1=1. One eternal and omnipotent God who has revealed himself in 3 persons. This is not illogical - merely difficult for our finite brains to understand. If we were fully able to understand God then he would not be God and we'd be making an idol where we put God into a box of our own understanding. Also the trinity is the only solution to the problem of reconciling universals and particulars. Saying that laws of logic are self-evident axioms is begging the question as axioms cannot be proven. God is not an axiom - he is the necessary presupposition for knowledge. Also saying that logic is useful doesn't prove anything either - you could shoot your noisy neighbor and that would be useful to stop the noise - but clearly that wouldn't prove it to be right or true. I agree that logic can be proven by the impossibility of the contrary - but I can account for why the contrary is impossible in my worldview. Without God you can't know that you are in the right reality, and you can't know that your reasoning is reliable or that universal laws should always be valid. You are avoiding the obvious - that you know that laws of logic and laws of nature require a law giver, but because of sin you don't like this idea and so you are doing all you can to suppress the truth in unrighteousness (Romans 1). I pray that you'd repent and trust in Jesus Christ. If you'd like to continue the discussion please answer this question - could you be in the Matrix or some other illusory reality?

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    4. The trinity is indeed 3 = 1. It is an illogical, irrational, and nonsensical doctrine. I've heard that 1x1x1 dodge before. It's a vain attempt to make the math sound right, but multiplication makes no sense in that context.

      Yes, we could be in a virtual reality like the Matrix, or part of Brahma's great cosmic lotus dream. And Brahma illustrates that if any all-powerful being exists, you can never know you're not in a virtual reality. You can't know you're in the "right reality" either. But we can know things about the reality we find ourselves in.

      No, laws of logic and laws of nature, like the law of gravity, do not require a "law giver". You're conflating two different meanings of "law". The law of gravity is an observation of how matter interacts, not a "law" in the sense of a rule legislated and enforced. No one would need to enforce the law of gravity, since you cannot break it.

      You impugn my motives, though neither you nor Paul know anything about me. My goal is to follow the evidence wherever it leads. So far, it has led me to a materialistic universe in which everything behaves according to natural law, not one which contains any superbeings with magical powers to defy the laws of physics.

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    5. Is it absolutely impossible for the biblical God to exist?

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    6. Because what you tell me about your god is self-contradictory, I think your god is an impossible being. But I do not think all conceptions of God are impossible. I just have no good reason to believe in any of them.

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    7. So you believe in absolute laws of logic in order to call God contradictory - but you've not shown how you have any basis in your worldview for absolute laws of logic. Could you be wrong about everything you claim to know? And how do you know that your reasoning is valid to any degree?

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    8. Following laws of logic is what it means for reasoning to be "valid". Logic is the study of valid reasoning. If logic ever stops working, then I may stop relying on it, if I can.

      I could be wrong about almost everything I think I know. Cogito ergo sum, everything else is provisional.

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    9. How do you know that you are following laws of logic if you don't yet know that you have valid reasoning? I asked how you know your reasoning is valid, and you gave a reason where you used your reasoning. If you can't see a problem with that then you need more help than I can provide here.

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  2. Was I not clear? My reasoning is valid when it follows laws of logic. That's how I know it's valid. What problem do you find with that?

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    1. Your answer is viciously circular. You'd need valid reasoning to know that you are actually following laws of logic. Would you accept that some people are so insane that they don't realise they are insane?

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    2. But since I can logically determine that my reasoning is following the laws of logic, I do have valid reasoning.

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    3. You haven't answered my question. Any further evasive answers will not be published. Would you accept that there are some people in the world that are so insane that they don't know that they are insane?

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    4. I thought that question was rhetorical. Yes, schizophrenics, for example, often don't know they are schizophrenic.

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    5. So how do you know that you aren't one of those people?

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    6. Perhaps I wouldn't know if I was schizophrenic. However, if it were the case, I'd expect my family to have noticed and spoken to me about it. But how do I know they're not hallucinations? That'd raise a host of other questions of where'd those groceries come from and who made that spaghetti sauce tonight. It's not a very parsimonious hypothesis. Given the givens, I think the posterior probability of my being sane is much higher.

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  3. At this point I'm not sure if you are just being evasive or you genuinely don't see the problem you are in. How do you know that you aren't right now strapped to your bed talking to your psychiatric Doctor in an insane asylum for the criminally insane? In order to know that you have valid reasoning you have to assume that you have it to begin with and that you aren't insane, otherwise the groceries etc could all be part of your delusion. Do you accept that you have to assume that your reasoning is valid in order to prove that it is, and that this is absurd and viciously circular?

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    1. I already agreed we could be in the Matrix or Brahma's lotus dream. Now you're asking how I know I'm not in a virtual world of my own making. I don't, but I find that implausible for several reasons.

      Have you ever noticed that when you're dreaming, printed matter seldom says the same thing twice? Some lucid dreamers use that as a trick to help recognize when they're asleep. But I've consumed volumes of printed matter over the past week. Imaginative though I am, I rather doubt my mental capacity to maintain all that consistently. The Matrix actually seems more plausible than me being strapped to a bed hallucinating writing this blog post.

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    2. Since I have objective criteria by which to determine if my reasoning is valid, I do not accept that I must assume it to be the case. Indeed, I can imagine A Beautiful Mind-like scenarios where I could conclude that my thinking was compromised. Surely, you would not suggest I must assume my reasoning to be valid in order to conclude that it is not?

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    3. But in order to evaluate whether or not you're in a dream or in a delusion you have to first have valid reasoning. How do you know that what you remember about your past and about your life is reliable? You end up in a vicious circle where you remember that your memory is reliable, and reasoning that your reasoning is valid. If you can't see a problem with that then you need more help than I can offer. I pray that you'd stop denying the God you know exists but hate, and that you'd trust in Jesus Christ who died for your sins. We could go on forever like this, so I'll close the discussion here. No further comments will be published.

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    4. P.S. I'm not asking you to assume anything - the solution is revelation from God. The biblical worldview provides a foundation for the basic reliability of human reasoning because we know that we are made in the image of God.

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