Wednesday, March 18, 2009

It's raining logic.

Turns out that I am not dead.  I haven't posted in two weeks, despite being incredibly not busy.  It's odd, but I tend to post more on this blog when I have other things that I really should be doing instead.  It's an excellent procrastination tool, I suppose.

So, let us go back to CARM, shall we?  (If you don't recall our first visit, it had to do with the "viability of atheism").
The Christian worldview states that God is the author of truth, logic, physical laws, etc.  Atheism maintains that physical laws are properties of matter, and that truth and logic are relative conventions (agreed upon principles).  Is this logically defensible?
What this boils down to is the difference between a "top-down" vs. "bottom-up" conception for how we came about with "logic".   Under the idea that it is a top-down process, logic is based upon principles that lie about in the aether and are tapped into by our minds.  They are revealed to us, more or less, and exist in a platonic realm as their own distinct things.  This contrasts with the bottom-up conception, where logic doesn't exist preformed and isn't just called down to our consciousness en masse, but is rather "agreed upon principles" based on exposure to the way that things behave in our own perception and on conclusions that can be drawn due to that.  In this way, logic as we use it is constructed based upon observation of reality, as compared to being a product of reality itself that is simply made manifest in the mind.  But, let's see what Slick has to say about the matter.
How does a Christian account for the laws of logic?
  1. The Christian worldview states that God is absolute and the standard of truth.
  2. Therefore, the absolute laws of logic exist because they reflect the nature of an absolute God.
    1. God did not create the laws of logic.  They were not brought into existence since they reflect God's thinking.  Since God is eternal, the laws of logic are too. 
The funny thing is that you could make an argument similar to this for virtually anything, abstract or concrete.   God is the ultimate source of everything in the Christian worldview, so they account for anything by attributing it to God and his nature.  It isn't really so much an explanation or an account as much as simply taking all that you observe in the world around you and tacking it onto God because, by the definition that you use for your particular deity, it is necessary to do so.
As for God being the standard for truth; it still makes truth rather arbitrary in nature from the human perspective, given the inability to fully comprehend God.  And that's exactly the problem: no matter how you try to account for the existence of an objective truth, humans will never be able to fully attain knowledge of it, and will always have a subjective quality to the knowledge that they do attain.  The fact that there is a standard does not matter when we have no practical way in which to use that standard, let alone know if it exists.
  • Man, being made in Gods image, is capable of discovering these laws of logic. He does not invent them.
  • Therefore, the Christian can account for the existence of the Laws of logic by acknowledging they originate from God and that Man is only discovering them.
  • Nevertheless, the atheist might say that in his answer is too simplistic and too convenient.  It might be, but at least the Christian worldview can account for the existence of logic itself 
  • I'm not sure how the "being made in Gods image" makes it follow that we can discover these things, but it is a trivial concern.  And, yes this is too convenient, because one could easily say that the "laws of logic" are "discovered" in some manner without positing that it was drawn from a deity.  They are "discovered" because they are not only rules that are consistent with themselves, but consistent with what we observe in the real world as well.  They are rules based off of observation and honed by trial and error as well as, I am sure, some weeding out of versions that were insufficient, inconsistent, or just plain laughable.  It is a healthy middle between discovery of divine truth and "invention":  the evolution of applicable logic by means of critical selection.
    Examples of the laws of logic
    1. Law of Identity:  Something is what it is.  Something that exists has a specific nature.
    2. Law of Non-Contradiction:  Something cannot be its self and not itself at the same time in the same way and in the same sense.
    3. Law of Excluded Middle:  a statement is either true or false.  Thus the statement "A statement is either true or false" is either true or false. 
    I see why divine intervention is necessary in order for people to obtain such ideas.  Clearly, it would be impossible for people to know that A=A and A=/=not A without some form of supernatural meddling.
    How does the atheist account for the laws of logic?
    1. If the Atheist states that the laws of logic are conventions (mutually agreed upon conclusions), then the laws of logic are not absolute because they are subject to "vote."
    2. The laws of logic are not dependent upon different peoples minds since people are different.  Therefore, they cannot be based on human thinking since human thinking is often contradictory. 
    Thing is, not all conventions are arbitrary.  Sometimes the mutually agreed upon conclusions are based in some form of evidence, and isn't nearly as relativistic as you imply it to be.  To some degree "votes" factored in when forming the "laws", but "votes" would need to be backed by evidence and/or other logic in order to have any significant affect on our already established conception of logic, because we need it to be as consistent and relevant to reality as possible.
    If the atheist states that the laws of logic are derived through observing natural principles found in nature, then he is confusing the mind with the universe.
    1. We discover laws of physics by observing and analyzing the behavior of things around us. The laws of logic are not the result of observable behavior of object or actions. 
      1. For example, we do not see in nature that something is both itself and not itself at the same time. 
        1. Why? Because we can only observe a phenomena that exists, not one that does not exist.  If something is not itself, then it doesn't exist.  How then can the property of that non-existent thing be observed?  It cannot.
        2. Therefore, we are not discovering a law of logic by observation, but by thought.
    Given your example, this seems like you are making a trivial distinction.   It is an assertion that the laws of logic can't be based on observation of nature due to the fact that we have a rule of a logic that pertains the impossibility of something that we observe doesn't exist in nature.  That law could be accounted for by induction, but yes, the laws of logic do go a bit beyond the concrete and into abstraction and thought itself.  But, it is a combination of observation and thought, not just one by itself.

    Or, where do we observe in nature that something cannot bring itself into existence if it does not already exist?
    1. You cannot make an observation about how something does not occur if it does not exist.  You would be, in essence, observing nothing at all and how can any laws of logic be applied to or derived from observing nothing at all? 
    The idea of causality being necessary for everything is inductive.  Even more so than the idea of non-contradiction could said to be (which is rather an extrapolation based on other logical rules rather than something concluded based upon the consistent behavior of things in reality).
    The laws of logic are conceptual realities. They only exist in the mind and they do not describe physical behavior of things since behavior is action and laws of logic are not descriptions of action, but of truth.
    1. In other words, laws of logic are not actions. They are statements about conceptual patterns of thought. Though one could say that a law of physics (i.e., the angle of reflection is equal to the angle of incidence) is a statement which is conceptual, it is a statement that describes actual physical and observable behavior.  But, logical absolutes are not observable and do not describe behavior or actions of things since they reside completely in the mind.
    2. We do not observe the laws of logic occurring in matter. You don't watch an object NOT bring itself into existence if it doesn't exist.  Therefore, no law of logic can be observed by watching nothing. 
    "Descriptions of truth"?  Please, be more vague in the future.  Yes, the "laws of logic" are concepts, they are not observable, and they reside inside of the mind.  But, despite not "occurring in matter", or describing "action" for a strict sense of the word (since they tend to focus on describing "being"), it is influenced by observation.  If you dared to bring up mathematical logic it would become readily apparent that this is true, since you could easily illustrate most forms of basic mathematical logic with a few handfuls of pebbles.
  • If the atheist appeals to the scientific method to explain the laws of logic then he is using circular argumentation because the scientific method is dependent upon logic; that is, reasoned thought applied to observations.
  • If logic is not absolute, then no logical arguments for or against the existence of God can be raised and the atheist has nothing to work with.
  • If logic is not absolute, then logic cannot be used to prove or disprove anything
  • Well...sometimes you just have to make a leap of faith.  Heh.

    Atheists will use logic to try and disprove Gods existence, but in so doing they are assuming absolute laws of logic and borrowing from the Christian worldview.
    1. The Christian worldview maintains that the laws of logic are absolute because they come from God who is Himself absolute.
    2. But the atheist worldview does not have an absolute God.
      1. So, we ask, "How can absolute, conceptual, abstract laws be derived from a universe of matter, energy and motion?"
      2. In other words, "How can an atheist with a naturalistic presupposition account for the existence of logical absolutes when logical absolutes are conceptual by nature and not physical, energy, or motion?"
    For the first question, we can get absolute, conceptual, abstract laws from a universe of matter, energy, and motion from those with the consciousness to observe the matter, energy, and motion and develop absolutes, concepts, and abstractions to explain them.  Or through magic.
    For the second question....consciousness "exists" too. 
    1. The Christian theistic worldview can account for the laws of logic by stating that they come from God.
      1. God is transcendent; that is, He is beyond the material universe being its creator.
      2. God has originated the laws of logic because they are a reflection of His nature.
      3. Therefore, the laws of logic are absolute.
      4. The are absolute because there is an absolute God.
    2. The atheistic worldview cannot account for the laws of logic/absolutes, and must borrow from the Christian worldview in order to rationally argue. 
    Yes.  Christians can account for logic by claiming that it trickles down from God, and you dismiss any other method of accounting for the creation of conventions for logical argument, so therefore you are right and we are stealing logic from you.  Whatever.  It just makes it more hilarious when your own God-precipitant logic tears apart the arguments for the existence of God elsewhere on your site.  And, with that, I conclude with a "to be continued(?)...."

    7 comments:

    GearHedEd said...

    That guy sould have met my 2nd X-wife. She used to claim the most horrendously outlandish things were "logical", and in her own insane mind even believe them to be true. Sometimes she'd even try to convince me of her 'logical-ness' despite the fact that I had witnessed the very events she was rying to convince me were other than they were, often within only an hour or two of the actual event.
    That was "women's logic" to her.

    Pliny-the-in-Between said...

    The atheistic worldview cannot account for the laws of logic/absolutes, and must borrow from the Christian worldview in order to rationally argue.
    ----------
    Hmph! And I thought logic was a methodology all this time. I did not know that it was such a perfect circle. Could have saved myself a lot of angst. particularly if I could have added the "Academic Freedoms' legislation that would have allowed me to believe whatever I wanted without ever being wrong. Ah what satanic forces created my mind that I could not drink of the cup of ignorant bliss. Damn serpent...

    GearHedEd said...

    Ask that knucklehead to show logically that absolutes must derive from other absolutes.

    Or, point out that logic IS mathematical at its foundation, albeit less traditional math like Boolean algebra and Venn diagrams...

    Stacy said...

    This ...
    "Law of Excluded Middle: a statement is either true or false. Thus the statement "A statement is either true or false" is either true or false. "

    ... reminds me of something my father used to say.

    " There is an exception to every rule ... except for this one. " ;-)

    mac said...

    "Law of Non-Contradiction: Something cannot be its self and not itself at the same time in the same way and in the same sense."

    Kind of like the Biblical descriptions of god being so different?

    "Why? Because we can only observe a phenomena that exists, not one that does not exist. If something is not itself, then it doesn't exist. How then can the property of that non-existent thing be observed? It cannot."-
    If we agree upon this principle, we could very well exclude god altogether, being as how he's unobservable.

    PersonalFailure said...

    Assertion, assertion, semantics, assertion, assertion, ASSERTION!

    Are you converted yet?

    Asylum Seeker said...

    " She used to claim the most horrendously outlandish things were "logical", and in her own insane mind even believe them to be true."

    LOL. Well, twisted logic is still logic, right?

    "Ah what satanic forces created my mind that I could not drink of the cup of ignorant bliss. "

    It's a really cruel trick, isn't it? Unfortunately, I got all the ignorance but none of the bliss. Which, I suppose, is even crueler.

    "Kind of like the Biblical descriptions of god being so different?"

    Shhh. There are no contradictions. Go back to sleep. Sleeeeeeep.

    "Assertion, assertion, semantics, assertion, assertion, ASSERTION!"

    Heh. You had me at "Assertion".