Thursday, July 31, 2008

Logic and God (II)

Sye is still pressing the question (paraphrasing): “But how do you atheists account for the laws of logic? As a Christian, I can. But you atheists can’t explain (or have not explained) how you account for them.”

I have already explained why this challenge is irrelevant so far as my main criticism of Sye’s original proof is concerned. Sye still has not responded to that criticism, by the way.

But still, let’s investigate Sye’s accounting-for-logic challenge further. Just for fun. Despite the fact that my criticism of Sye's argument places me under no obligation to do so.

An atheist world view, is, as I said, simply a world view that excludes God. That’s it. There’s no requirement that it be materialist, let alone crudely reductive materialist. Atheists are free to be substance dualists, property dualists, idealists, etc. They can allow for a Platonic heaven of abstract entities, etc.

So atheism, as such, has no particular problem with making room for the existence of laws of logic. Its tent is easily big enough.

Simply asking:

“But how can there be both laws of logic and no God? How can your God-free universe contain them? Explain!”

is a bit like asking:

“How can there be both horses, but no unicorns? How can a unicorn-free world contain horses? Explain!”

If we are simply being asked how this is possible, without being given any reason why it shouldn't be possible, the question is bizarre. There simply is nothing to explain here (perhaps beyond pointing out that one without the other involves no logical contradiction). For we have been given no obstacle to overcome.

Still, that won’t satisfy Sye.

Sye’s challenge seems to be: “But what, on your atheist world view, makes the fundamental laws of logic hold? What underpins and explains them?”

Sye’s point is, I think, that, unless the Christian God exists to do this job, the laws won’t be absolute and necessary. Which they are.

There's the obstacle Sye has set us: we must identify what explains and underpins the laws of logic, without appeal to the Christian God.

Is that right Sye?

If so, here are two opening observations:

1. We could atheists could just say "We don't know what explains and underpins the laws of logic". This is not a problem, in fact. Just because I cannot explain the mysterious new dents in my lawn, whereas you, with your theory that a flying saucer landed on it last night, can, provides us with very little reason to suppose you are right.

2. We atheists have rich resources at hand, even if we can't now answer the question. We are NOT lumbered with the crude reductive materialism that Sye seems to want to foist on us. Our options include:

(i) the laws of logic exist and are themselves intrinsically necessary, and are not underpinned by anything. They are themselves bedrock (after all, all explanation has to stop somewhere - so why not here? Why add on a further necessary thing: God? I'm thinking Hindus, elephants and turtles.)

(ii) rejecting the question (e.g. in the style of the later Wittgenstein). There may be something wrong with the question: "What makes the laws of logic necessary?" (as there is with the question "What makes all the vixens female?"). In which case, the question doesn't need an answer.

There are countless other options we might pursue. The one option I am not much tempted to pursue is:

(Sye's answer) The laws of logic are explained and underpinned by the Christian God.

After all, we possess overwhelming evidence that there is no such being, don't we? See my "God of Eth".

Even if I was to go for a "necessary being" type explanation, it certainly wouldn't be Sye's all-powerful and all-good Christian God. This last answer seems about as plausible as that the laws of logic are underpinned by my evil God (in the "God of Eth"). And how plausible is that?

110 comments:

Paul C said...

When you say that these laws are absolute and necessary, does that reflect your own view, or are you still paraphrasing Sye?

I don't see how it's possible to state that such laws are absolute outside of the visible universe, since we can by definition have no knowledge of that region. I also don't understand what it means to say that they are "necessary" - necessary for what?

If these laws are merely descriptions of observed patterns, then the only thing they are necessary for is describing those patterns - which leads to a circular definition. It would be like saying that it is necessary for a horse to look like a horse in order for us to label it a horse - true, but redundant.

Wow, my thoughts are really addled today.

The Barefoot Bum said...

Jesus and Mo on the Transcendental Argument

anticant said...

Your first point is spot-on, Paul. Even if the so-called [but mis-named] “laws” of logic, mathematics, gravity, etc. are ‘absolute’, this is only the case in the one universe we inhabit and are aware of – at least, until we have convincing evidence that other universes exist. And, if they do, it is quite possible that they may operate according to different ‘laws’.

What these descriptive ‘laws’ are necessary for is to make what is going on around us comprehensible in a consistent and intellectually coherent fashion, so that we do not have to reconstitute and reinterpret knowledge each time we contemplate it. As the example of Newton and Einstein shows, they are not ‘absolute’; like all scientific hypotheses [but unlike Sye’s notion of ‘absolute laws’] they are useful – indeed, essential - working tools, testable and falsifiable by observation.

However, although their main function is descriptive and clarifying, they are not merely circular [like Sye’s arguments], so I don’t agree with you that they are “true, but redundant”.

Btw, I’m still waiting for Stephen’s proof that there is such a thing as ‘absolute truth’.

Andrew Louis said...

Sye,
you're doing your bit on ignoring where you can't use the script.

So, I said:

Here is how you lay down the argument on your website:
1.)Absolute truth exists
2.)Laws of Logic
3.)Laws of Math
4.)Laws of Science
5.)Absolute Moral Laws Exist
6.)All these laws are absolute and immaterial
7.)They are universal
8.)They are unchanging
9.)Only a universe Governed by god can 2 – 4 exist. God is universal and unchanging.

So Sye,
It’s clear that you proceed on the assumption that absolute truth exists, and that 2-5 are examples of that. So I’ve been attacking your idea of absolute truth with systemic truth, and you’ve never been able to refute or give an example of an absolute truth and how it is not systemic.

So I refrased the question in the following way:
"Name one THING, LAW, whathaveyou, that exists "INDEPENDENTLY" and NOT in RELATION to other THINGS, is "NOT RELATIVE" and is true for "EVERY POSSIBLE CIRCUMSTANCE".

And finally you responded with this:
“The law of non-contradiction.”

To which I pointed out that:
For things to contradict, there exists things IN RELATION to contradict with, and therefore it is NOT INDEPENDENT. Therefore it's systemic and relative to a system of proof and requires a method of resolution to come to a conclusion.

You responded by saying:
“The law of non-contradiction exists in the absolute, independent mind of God.”

Do you see it?
So in other words, the [laws of logic] are not absolute in the world (they’re systemic), but, it’s absolute in the mind of God. This is shown by the fact that you could not refute what I said and simply retreated to God. Above Sye, you said that the laws of logic were absolute just by themselves. Which is to say we can see and prove it, and that falls into the argument for God.

But now, you can’t do that. I’ve shown that you cannot prove absolute laws of logic exist and as a result you fold up into merely one point. GOD EXISTS, with no proof at all that he does and no claim or proof to absolute laws in the world.

So Sye’s argument now looks like this:
1.) God exists.

Paul P. Mealing said...

I had promised myself to stay out of this, but Stephen's argument reminded me of something.

In one of the comments I made on the original post, I told Sye that I don't know where mathematics and the laws of nature come from. I said there are lots of things I don't know. I've written entire essays on this subject (of our ignorance, historical and current) on my own blog.

Sye is effectively saying: I have an answer, but you don't, so my answer must be right in the absence of any answer you can provide.

This approach has a number of historical precedents, of which, I will describe one. Before Newton discovered that gravity is based on the inverse square law and therefore governs the planets orbiting the sun, people believed they were pushed along by angels. So in the absence of Newton's revelation, using Sye's logic, angels must have been the right answer, as no one could provide an alternative.

There are always things about the natural world that we don't know and explaining them with God is known as 'the God of the gaps' argument. God can always explain the things we don't have any other explanation for. But I think it's more honest and more constructive to say we don't know.

Regards, Paul.

Andrew Louis said...

EXCELLENT POINT PAUL!

Kyle s said...

Andrew:

"So I refrased the question in the following way:
"Name one THING, LAW, whathaveyou, that exists "INDEPENDENTLY" and NOT in RELATION to other THINGS, is "NOT RELATIVE" and is true for "EVERY POSSIBLE CIRCUMSTANCE".

And finally you responded with this:
“The law of non-contradiction.”

To which I pointed out that:
For things to contradict, there exists things IN RELATION to contradict with, and therefore it is NOT INDEPENDENT. Therefore it's systemic and relative to a system of proof and requires a method of resolution to come to a conclusion."

Kyle:

You have not shown that the law of non-contradiction is systemic.

For something to be absolute it need only be the case that it's truth is not relative to the observer.

get_education said...

Isn't it too telling [about Sye's lack of understanding what an atheist worldview is] that Stephen had to repeat that an atheist worldview means only a worldview without a god?

Of course, Sye's answer was to change the "YOUR worldview" to "I'd like to know how they can exist, in ANY, preferably your, atheist wordlview, expecially considering the random, material nature of the universe which most atheists espouse." So, he changed the scope so he can use his script, a script that requires the atheist not to believe in any non-material thing, and also requires the atheist to believe that the universe is random.

I doubt pretty much that most atheist just think that the universe is random, but Sye also asserts that this is what he gets from most of them. However, if you guys search for presuppositionalism you can find "training manuals," such as this one. The random and completely materialistic universe is part of what the manuals state that the atheist believe, not what atheists have said.

The manual is interesting read. It made me sick too, because it is such a black hole, as Stephen aptly described a few posts ago. Once you have a belief in god, it is very easy to think that god is the source of logic, swallow what this manual states (it even has the "if I allow you to use logic I lose at the outset" bit!), then whichever argument we use, it is just part of "what is predicted" in the manual.

Truly sickening guys. It is a very well designed black hole of idiocy.

G.E.

The Barefoot Bum said...

First, a quibble.

An atheist world view, is, as I said, simply a world view that excludes God.

This is not quite precise; it gives the mistaken impression that an atheist worldview is by definition one that excludes God a priori. An atheist worldview is one that ends up excluding God, i.e. that God does not exist is a conclusion drawn from that worldview.

Many atheist worldviews are not deductivist: one cannot reason to any conclusions about the world just from the metaphysical premises. In this sense, reasoning only from the assertions of the world view, neither "God exists" nor "God does not exist" are valid conclusions.

Many atheist worldviews are, rather, evidentialist and methodological, and state various ways of drawing conclusions about the world from the evidence of our experience. In this sense, an atheist worldview per se does not exclude God at all; at least for some conceptions of God, the worldview could possibly include God if the evidence were to support that conclusion.

In these worldviews, God is excluded by the evidence, not by the worldview itself. The worldview "excludes" God only to the extent that it privileges evidence.

The Barefoot Bum said...

Second: There are other ways of approaching Sye's question.

My preference for the positive approach is: Who says the "laws" of logic are really laws? One can say that logic is simply a language game, which we have empirically discovered happens to make our thoughts seem to cohere with reality.

If we were to discover somehow that reality did not actually conform to, say, material implication, then we would simply conclude that material implication was not a good way to manipulate symbols in our mind to talk about reality.

The best negative sense to approach Sye's question is to observe that the existence of the Christian God does not itself actually explain the laws of logic, in precisely the same sense that you mention that the UFO theory does not actually explain the dents in your lawn.

These sorts of psuedo-explanations just move what is unexplained around, while actually increasing that which is unexplained. An "explanation" that raises more questions than it answers is no explanation at all.

The Barefoot Bum said...

Sorry to spam, but I have one more comment.

Sye's question is like a bum asking a lawyer, "If you're so smart, why aren't you rich?"

"Well, I have more money than you do," she might reply, "So what's your point?"

Paul C said...

So, he changed the scope so he can use his script, a script that requires the atheist not to believe in any non-material thing, and also requires the atheist to believe that the universe is random.

Indeed. It should be clear from the responses here that the term "atheist worldview" is largely useless (and I would agree with the Barefoot Bum on his characterisation of that worldview) and that atheists hold a diverse range of views (as of course do Christians, many of whom reject presuppositionalism).

The point about PA is not that it requires atheists to believe these things - then it would fail as soon as one of us pointed out that we didn't - but that it attempts to prohibit atheists from believing anything else. This is what makes it apologetics rather than philosophy - it is a battle against a position rather than a position in itself. Note that Sye expresses no interest in philosophical discussion generally, except insofar as it relates to reinforcing the script he is following.

Paul C said...

Who says the "laws" of logic are really laws? One can say that logic is simply a language game, which we have empirically discovered happens to make our thoughts seem to cohere with reality.

Indeed. As I have said in the other comment threads, logic is just a shorthand description of observed patterns in the visible universe. It doesn't need to be any more than that to be valid or useful.

Anonymous said...

I could be misunderstanding him, but Sye seems to be providing a causal explanation for the laws of logic: God made them; but is asking everyone else to supply a justification for there being such laws.

One can't justify them because that is circular. And I see no reason for a non-Christian to be required to supply a causal explanation for their existence in order to be entitled to use such laws.

In any case, as Stephen said, explanations have to come to an end somewhere.

Tom

get_education said...

Hi Barefoot.

I would agree that many if not most (I have not counted) atheists come to a conclusion that there is no god (or to be "agnostic," as you seem to suggest). However, to make your "worldview" atheistic, all you need is to exclude god from it. Stephen's statement is not about how each and every atheist becomes, or has always been, atheist. The point is that for a worldview to be atheist all you need is a worldview that excludes god.

G.E.

Anonymous said...

"Indeed. As I have said in the other comment threads, logic is just a shorthand description of observed patterns in the visible universe. It doesn't need to be any more than that to be valid or useful."

Don't think I would agree with that. You seem to be saying that laws of logic are no different than empirical propositions. If the visible patterns in the universe change, that would require a change in the laws of logic. I think the laws of logic are immune to empirical findings.

Tom

Paul C said...

If the visible patterns in the universe change, that would require a change in the laws of logic.

If logic is simply a description of observed patterns, then this would simply be a case of changing the descriptions. You don't have a problem with this in other areas of your life - why would you with logic?

I think the laws of logic are immune to empirical findings.

Interesting enough, but what's your basis for thinking this?

Sye TenB said...

Stephen said:

”So atheism, as such, has no particular problem with making room for the existence of laws of logic. Its tent is easily big enough.”

Well, let’s have it then, how do universal, abstract, invariant laws make sense in ANY atheistic worldview?

”But how can there be both laws of logic and no God? How can your God-free universe contain them? Explain!”…

…If we are simply being asked how this is possible, without being given any reason why it shouldn't be possible, the question is bizarre. There simply is nothing to explain here (perhaps beyond pointing out that one without the other involves no logical contradiction). For we have been given no obstacle to overcome.”


Sure you have. With limited knowledge and experience how can you know whether or not anything is universal? How do you know that the laws of logic apply outside of your limited experience. Sure, you have said that some atheistic worldviews contain abstract entities, but you have not demonstrated how abstract entities make sense in YOUR, or any atheistic worldview. You also have not reconciled variance with invariance. Why do some things change, and yet the laws of logic do not? You have also not answered on what basis you proceed with the assumption that nature is uniform.

”There's the obstacle Sye has set us: we must identify what explains and underpins the laws of logic, without appeal to the Christian God.

Is that right Sye?”


That’s only one of the obstacles. Some others being the existence of universal, abstract invariant entities, and the assumption of uniformity in any atheistic worldview.

”If so, here are two opening observations:

1. We could atheists could just say "We don't know what explains and underpins the laws of logic". This is not a problem, in fact. Just because I cannot explain the mysterious new dents in my lawn, whereas you, with your theory that a flying saucer landed on it last night, can, provides us with very little reason to suppose you are right.”


The difference being that any number of things could account for the dents in your lawn, but I have yet to hear even ONE (preferably your) explanation for the underpinning of logic outside of God (Which as I said, is only one of the obstacles).

”2. We atheists have rich resources at hand, even if we can't now answer the question. We are NOT lumbered with the crude reductive materialism that Sye seems to want to foist on us. Our options include:

(i) the laws of logic exist and are themselves intrinsically necessary, and are not underpinned by anything. They are themselves bedrock (after all, all explanation has to stop somewhere - so why not here?


Problem is, that is not an argument, it is only a statement. I could say the same about God, but surely you would not let me get away with it. Why are there unchanging laws rather than ‘sound and fury signifying nothing?’

”Why add on a further necessary thing: God? I'm thinking Hindus, elephants and turtles.)”

I agree that we should not add entities beyond what's needed, but we also should not subtract entities beyond what's needed, and I have yet to hear how universal, abstract, invariants, and the uniformity of nature can be accounted for outside of God.

”(ii) rejecting the question (e.g. in the style of the later Wittgenstein). There may be something wrong with the question: "What makes the laws of logic necessary?" (as there is with the question "What makes all the vixens female?"). In which case, the question doesn't need an answer.”

Again, saying that the laws of logic, ‘just are’ necessarly is not an argument.

”There are countless other options we might pursue. The one option I am not much tempted to pursue is:
(Sye's answer) The laws of logic are explained and underpinned by the Christian God.”


Of course not, as there are ramifications in persuing that option.

”After all, we possess overwhelming evidence that there is no such being, don't we? See my "God of Eth".

Problem is, ALL evidence is interpreted subject to our presuppositions, and you have no evidence for your presuppostion that there is no God.

”Even if I was to go for a "necessary being" type explanation, it certainly wouldn't be Sye's all-powerful and all-good Christian God. This last answer seems about as plausible as that the laws of logic are underpinned by my evil God (in the "God of Eth"). And how plausible is that?”

Why is the Christian God implausible? You indict the plausibility of the Christian God, with laws of logic that you cannot account for. Seems rather odd to me.

Cheers,

Sye

get_education said...

Hi Paul C,

but that it attempts to prohibit atheists from believing anything else

Well stated, thanks.

G.E.

Paul C said...

Well, let’s have it then, how do universal, abstract, invariant laws make sense in ANY atheistic worldview?

As Stephen has pointed out - why would they not make sense in an atheistic worldview?

Also, you should probably stop using the phrase "universal, abstract, invariant laws", since a number of us don't believe that to be an accurate description of logic.

But I doubt you will. It's in the script.

Sye TenB said...

Paul P. Mealing said: ”Sye is effectively saying: I have an answer, but you don't, so my answer must be right in the absence of any answer you can provide.”

That is not at all what I am saying. My answer is not right BECAUSE you have no answer, my answer is right AND you have no answer.

”There are always things about the natural world that we don't know and explaining them with God is known as 'the God of the gaps' argument.”

What you fail to realize is that you beg the question by assuming that God IS NOT the right answer. When we say that the correct answer to what is 2 +2 is 4, we don’t say “4 of the gaps.” I have the right answer, if you wish to rest on your blind faith that someday you will have an alternate answer, that sir, is totally up to you. I wouldn’t suggest it though.

”God can always explain the things we don't have any other explanation for. But I think it's more honest and more constructive to say we don't know.”

Perhaps if you were consistent with this approach, I would believe you, but it seems all too convenient to limit it to the existence of God.

Watch this: Paul, please tell me ONE THING, ANYTHING, that you know, and how you know it, without appealing to God.

Cheers,

Sye

Sye TenB said...

Paul C. said: ”Also, you should probably stop using the phrase "universal, abstract, invariant laws", since a number of us don't believe that to be an accurate description of logic.”

Well, if they aren’t universal, they don’t necessarily apply to my argument, if they aren’t abstract, please show me where they are, and if they aren’t invariant, please show me one that has changed, or tell me on what basis you proceed with the assumption that they will not change.

Cheers,

Sye

Anonymous said...

Why is the Christian God plausible? You indict the implausibility of the Christian God, with laws of logic that you cannot account for. Seems rather odd to me.

Bizarro-Sye

Anonymous said...

Well, if they are universal and invariant, then they cannot emanate from god. If they are universal and invariant they do not need justification.

Andrew Louis said...

Barefootbum (another wonderfull point):
"An atheist worldview is one that ends up excluding God"

Kyle:
the proof is copied right above what your refute.

Here it is again:
For things to contradict, there exists things IN RELATION to contradict with, and therefore it is NOT INDEPENDENT. Therefore it's systemic and relative to a system of proof and requires a method of resolution to come to a conclusion."

See this:
"Name one THING, LAW, whathaveyou, that exists "INDEPENDENTLY" and NOT in RELATION to other THINGS, is "NOT RELATIVE" and is true for "EVERY POSSIBLE CIRCUMSTANCE".

All your refering to is the observer (which is part of the system of resolution). But this isn't then, absolute, now is it. The law of contradiction, to be absolute, must therefore exist INDEPENDENT of the OBJECT and INDEPENDENT of the SUBJECT by the above definition. It is systemic for reasons I've already stated above.

Sye understands this quite well (I believ that he's no dummy) which is why he avoids answering the question, and simply says it's aboslute in the mind of God.

Sye TenB said...

The barefoot bum said: "In these worldviews, God is excluded by the evidence, not by the worldview itself."

Then why is it that when we look at the same evidence we come to opposite conclusions? It is simply because of our respective a priori positions, yours being atheistic, mine being Christian theistic.

Cheers,

Sye

Paul C said...

Well, if they aren’t universal, they don’t necessarily apply to my argument

Precisely.

if they aren’t abstract, please show me where they are,

They are abstract; they're in your head, just like the concept of dinner time. And just like the concept of dinner time, they don't emanate from God.

and if they aren’t invariant, please show me one that has changed, or tell me on what basis you proceed with the assumption that they will not change.

I proceed on the basis that they may change depending on conditions in the visible universe, but that it is exceedingly improbable.

Paul C said...

Then why is it that when we look at the same evidence we come to opposite conclusions?

Because people frequently make mistakes in their reasoning, particularly when we are following a purely scripted response that doesn't allow for flexibility in our thinking.

Andrew Louis said...

Sye,
you said:

"Well, if they aren’t universal, they don’t necessarily apply to my argument, if they aren’t abstract, please show me where they are, and if they aren’t invariant, please show me one that has changed, or tell me on what basis you proceed with the assumption that they will not change."

As you can see from my post above (#4 down) YOU HAVE YET TO PROVE THAT THE LAWS OF LOGIC ARE ABSOLUTE. So your argument doesn't even get off the ground.

Anonymous said...

What you fail to realize is that you beg the question by assuming that God IS the right answer. You also beg the question that god exists.

2+2=4 is knowledge, no need for a god of the gaps. (Where did you get the idea that anybody here expects 2+2 to get a different answer next time?)

Lack of knowledge = god: this is god of the gaps.

Clearly different. Stop mixing oil with water Sye. This makes it too obvious that you are dumb.

Another anti-Sye

Anonymous said...

Then why is it that when we look at the same evidence we come to opposite conclusions? It is simply because of our respective a priori positions, yours being atheistic, mine being Christian theistic.

Yours is not a conclusion, yours is a presupposition. If your a priori position was that you do not know, then god would be excluded by the evidence.

get_education said...

Sye,

I am not about to start arguing with you again, just give you a bit of information. When I had to conclude that there is no god, or at least not the christian god, I started with a priori position that there IS a GOD.

The evidence lead me to conclude that there is no such thing. I played a lot to convince myself that I was deluded, but in the end I had to accept what I was concluding. It was a slow process, first convinced that the one of the bible could not possibly be the true God, still convinced that there HAD to be a god.

All I am saying is that I came to the conclusion without the a priori position that there is no god.

Just a bit of information. I do not need your answer (though I think I know it).

G.E.

Sye TenB said...

@ Paul C.

I said: ”Well, if they aren’t universal, they don’t necessarily apply to my argument.”

You answered: ”Precisely.”

So then, you cannot justify that my argument (or anything for that matter) is illogical.

I asked: “if they aren’t abstract, please show me where they are,”

You answered: ”They are abstract; they're in your head, just like the concept of dinner time.”

So, before there were heads to contain the laws of logic, the sun could have been both the sun, and not the sun at the same time and in the same way???

”And just like the concept of dinner time, they don't emanate from God.”

Prove this please.

I asked: “and if they aren’t invariant, please show me one that has changed, or tell me on what basis you proceed with the assumption that they will not change.”

You answered: ”I proceed on the basis that they may change depending on conditions in the visible universe, but that it is exceedingly improbable.”

1. Why is it improbable?
2. Since you neglected to answer this in other posts, do the laws of logic apply to that which is not observed? Do the laws of logic apply to macro evolution? Do the laws of logic apply to the origins of the universe? Do the laws of logic apply to mathematics?
3. How do you differentiate between valid and invalid laws? For all you know, the laws of logic could just have changed. How would you know if they had changed, rather than than the law being invalid?

Cheers,

Sye

get_education said...

I am saying that my a priori position was Christian Theistic

Anonymous said...

So, before there were heads to contain the laws of logic, the sun could have been both the sun, and not the sun at the same time and in the same way???

The sun being the sun and not the sun at the same time is a physical impossibility. The abstraction of the observation that the sun cannot be the sun and not the sun at the same time is a "law of no contradiction."

Without a head there is no abstraction into a law. But the physical world continues to be what it is. The physical world does not need abstractions to continue its course.

Another anti-Sye

Sye TenB said...

GE said:

”Sye,
I am not about to start arguing with you again, just give you a bit of information. When I had to conclude that there is no god, or at least not the christian god, I started with a priori position that there IS a GOD.”


Well no, you started with the a priori position that your ability to reason was autonomous, hence, no God. If one reasons out of belief than one’s ability to reason is placed above God, and if that is the case, then I don’t believe in the god that you don’t believe in either.

”The evidence lead me to conclude that there is no such thing.”

And again I ask, why do you and I look at the same ‘evidence,’ and come to different conclusions?

Cheers,

Sye

Sye TenB said...

anonymous said: "The abstraction of the observation that the sun cannot be the sun and not the sun at the same time is a "law of no contradiction."

Where did you observe that the sun cannot both be the sun, and not the sun, at the same time and in the same way, I'd like to have a look meself.

Cheers,

Sye

Bill Snedden said...

It seems to me that Sye, and people like him, make a habit of confusing truth-bearers with truth-makers. A doesn't equal A because some proposition rules it to be so, A equals A because it is the nature of reality (what the law of identity describes) that it be so. And the nature of reality isn't contingent upon anything else, so asking one to justify it is nonsense. Reality isn't true or false, it just *is*.

Sye's insistence that non-theists justify the foundation of logic is exactly comparable to a non-theists insistence that a theist justify the nature of her alleged "god", yet I've never seen any attempts to do so...

God, if He exists, is the ultimate reality and His nature would be the foundation of all else that exists. But while creation may be an act of will, existence simply cannot be. God couldn't have willed himself into existence for that would lead to a logical contradiction. Additionally, God couldn't have willed the law of non-contradiction (LoNC) into existence because that would require that it would *not* have existed prior to His creation of it which would lead to numerous logical contradictions (God would both have existed and not existed, the LoNC would have been both true and not true, etc). So while the LoNC may be grounded in God's nature, it cannot be grounded in His will or intent.

If no act of will or intent is needed (or possible) to ground the LoNC, why cannot the non-theist simply ground it in the nature of existence sans God? It is no more and no less of a "brute fact" than God's nature.

get_education said...

Yep, I knew what your answer would be. It is in the script.

Your black hole sure has an amazing gravity pull. Keep enjoying it.

G.E.

Sye TenB said...

GE said: "Yep, I knew what your answer would be. It is in the script."

Well, I don't have a script, but I do appreciate that link you posted.

How do you suppose it looks to me though, you tell me that you had an a priori postion that the God of Christianity exists, I say that cannot be the case, since the God of Christianity is the foundation of all reasoning. If one reasons away from the God of Christianity, then one's ability to reason was above God all along, and hence, the autonomy of one's own reasoning was the a priori position and NOT the God of Christianity.

Your answer to this is 'it's in the script.' I understand that you may feel that I am deluded, but if you avoid my points with those type of comebacks, surely, at least, it looks like you are the one avoiding the truth.

Cheers,

Sye

Kyle s said...

Hi Andrew,

I'm obviously struggling to understand what you are saying.

Can you please explain to me again, slowly and clearly, why you think that the following law cannot be absolute?

Something cannot be A and not-A at the same time in the same place in the same sense.

Sye TenB said...

@ Paul C,

I asked: "Then why is it that when we look at the same evidence we come to opposite conclusions?"

You answered: "Because people frequently make mistakes in their reasoning, particularly when we are following a purely scripted response that doesn't allow for flexibility in our thinking."

1. How do you know that this is happening to me, and not you?
2. How can there be 'mistakes in reasoning,' if, as you posit, logic is not universal?

Cheers,

Sye

Anonymous said...

Where did you observe that the sun cannot both be the sun, and not the sun, at the same time and in the same way

It does not matter, what matters is that abstractions can be used to describe how to make sense of the workings of the universe, but such abstractions do not MAKE the universe be what it is. This distinction is your problem.

Another anti-Sye

larryniven said...

"When we say that the correct answer to what is 2 +2 is 4, we don’t say “4 of the gaps.”"

ell oh ell

Let me give this a try. Sye, you do not know what you mean by "absolute," and so your argument is incoherent. Let me show you why. Either (1) God is responsible in some sense for the laws of logic etc. or (2) not (i.e., the laws of logic etc. exist independently of God). Leaving aside for the moment the third possibility that the laws of logic don't really exist at all, this dilemma holds true just as much on your view as on atheism. On (1), though, the laws of logic are not absolute: they're subject to some fact(s) about God. Worse yet, without logic to guide you, you have no story about how these facts about God explain logic.* So this first possibility doesn't give you anything you want. On (2), God does nothing to explain logic, so you now are faced with your own argument: how can you claim that absolute logical rules exist without basing these rules in God? As you can see, the way you've chosen to construct the problem, not even you can solve it. And all of this is before we take into account the very many arguments against your particular God existing in the first place.

*For instance, you cannot say, "God is omnipotent and desires for there to be logic, therefore there is logic" because that chain of events relies on the logic it's supposed to establish. Logic, in other words, has primacy over every conceivable explanatory story you can tell, even ones that include God.

get_education said...

Sye,

I say that cannot be the case, since the God of Christianity is the foundation of all reasoning.

Well, I started that way, I thought, since God is the foundation for everything, even reasoning, then he would not mind if I ask this question ... the problem Sye, is that you want us to embrace that God is the foundation for logic, because once we do there is no point in using logic to deny God, because we would be denying logic at the same time, and because we would be using logic outside of God. In my case, I concluded that there is no god, and that killed the premise (God as source of everything, even logic), at the same time. To you this is impossible. To me it was possible to conclude that my concept and premise of God as the very foundation was wrong.

I know what you mean, and I know these explanations will not change your interpretation, but that is what happened. In your mind it is impossible to think or make sense outside God. Well, that was my case, but I was able to break out of the pull of this intellectual black hole. I guess I was lucky.

Anyway, I stop here.

G.E.

Paul C said...

So then, you cannot justify that my argument (or anything for that matter) is illogical.

Ah, in my haste I misunderstood. What I assumed you meant is that if the laws of logic aren't universal, your argument doesn't apply to them.

Of course, given that I believe that the laws of logic currently hold in the visible universe, they do apply to your argument.

You have also failed to take on board that an argument can be logical and still not be correct, depending on the premises.

So, before there were heads to contain the laws of logic, the sun could have been both the sun, and not the sun at the same time and in the same way???

Logic is just a description of observed patterns, so this question is meaningless if there was nobody around to describe them.

Prove this please.

No. You prove that the concept of dinner time emanates from the mind of God.

1. Why is it improbable?

Prior experience informs this statement.

2. Since you neglected to answer this in other posts, do the laws of logic apply to that which is not observed? Do the laws of logic apply to macro evolution? Do the laws of logic apply to the origins of the universe? Do the laws of logic apply to mathematics?

We can use them to describe things that we have not directly observed through extrapolation, although it seems that there are likely to be necessary limits to this.

3. How do you differentiate between valid and invalid laws? For all you know, the laws of logic could just have changed. How would you know if they had changed, rather than than the law being invalid?

A law is valid if it's coherent with my observations. If it wasn't coherent with my observations after repeated experience, I could then begin to conclude that it had changed.

This is really boring. I'm more interested in discussing whether logic is absolute, etc, with real people rather than script puppets.

Paul C said...

1. How do you know that this is happening to me, and not you?

I don't. The difference is that I acknowledge that I might be wrong, whereas you do not; and my way of thinking can correct its course, whereas yours cannot.

2. How can there be 'mistakes in reasoning,' if, as you posit, logic is not universal?

Because not all reasoning is logic; because using logic does not guarantee infallibility; because you may be starting from false premises (cough cough); because you have misunderstood what I mean when I say logic is not universal.

Anonymous said...

1. How do you know that this is happening to me, and not you?

Because by definition, if you cannot "thing outside of God" you lack flexibility to think.

Anonymous said...

3. How do you differentiate between valid and invalid laws? For all you know, the laws of logic could just have changed. How would you know if they had changed, rather than than the law being invalid?

Differentiating valid and invalid laws does not require us to know whether they changed or they are just invalid. If they changed they are invalid automatically. All we have to do is observe if the laws keep accommodating reality or fail. They fail, they need fixing.

Another anti-Sye

Sye TenB said...

Anonymous said: "Because by definition, if you cannot "thing outside of God" you lack flexibility to think."

But this is easily reversible. "By definition, you cannot "think outside of not God" you lack the flexibility to think."

Cheers,

Sye

Andrew Louis said...

You know what Kyle,
I’ve figured it out, you’re Sye’s sock puppet! He’s asking questions through a bogus name so he can continue his script and not answer to my questions.

YOU / Kyle / Sye / SAID:
”Can you please explain to me again, slowly and clearly, why you think that the following law cannot be absolute?
Something cannot be A and not-A at the same time in the same place in the same sense.”


I’m not going to keep on typing this over and over again, so here you go: (this is why the law of non-contradiction is not absolute)

http://idiotphilosophy.blogspot.com/2008/07/sytemic-truth-vs-absolute-truth.html

Sye TenB said...

anonymous said:

"Differentiating valid and invalid laws does not require us to know whether they changed or they are just invalid. If they changed they are invalid automatically."

Based on what though? Not the unchanging laws of logic perchance?

"All we have to do is observe if the laws keep accommodating reality or fail. They fail, they need fixing."

But, by what do you measure if they are accomodating reality or not? Why, for that matter, must logical laws accomodate reality?

Cheers,

Sye

Anonymous said...

But this is easily reversible. "By definition, you cannot "think outside of not God" you lack the flexibility to think."

Thinking exclusively within god is restrictive to such god. "No-god" is not something we accept before starting to think. We have the freedom to compare with and without god and conclude, you are not allowed such flexibility by your own presupposition.

Andrew Louis said...

"KYLE S" is Sye's sock puppet. There was a Kyle P. but he was arguing against Sye. Then suddenly KYLE S shows up, and this is the first thing he says:

"I've been reading some of the posts on this debate (not all of them) and i think you're giving Sye a very hard time..."

Sye has never agknowledged KYLE S, because he is his sock puppet. Not only that, they have similar writing styles. He has been using KYLE S to engage me without having to take the burden of being called wrong.

SYE,
YOU'RE ARGUMENT IS A FRAUD AND SO NOW ARE YOU.

Anonymous said...

Sye,

Do you have some problem following a complete argument?

Based on what though?

"All we have to do is observe if the laws keep accommodating reality or fail. They fail, they need fixing."

But, by what do you measure if they are accomodating reality or not?

Observation, they fail, they do not serve their purpose.

Why, for that matter, must logical laws accomodate reality?

Otherwise they would not be useful.

Another anti-Sye

Sye TenB said...

Paul C. said:

“I don't. The difference is that I acknowledge that I might be wrong, whereas you do not; and my way of thinking can correct its course, whereas yours cannot.”


That would be like you saying that if I say that 2 + 2 = 4, and you say that it equals 19 but your answer can be corrected, then you somehow hold an intellectually superior position. Against what do you correct the course of your way of thinking, and how do you know that my way of thinking needs correction?

I asked: ”How can there be 'mistakes in reasoning,' if, as you posit, logic is not universal?”

You answered: ”Because not all reasoning is logic; because using logic does not guarantee infallibility; because you may be starting from false premises (cough cough); because you have misunderstood what I mean when I say logic is not universal.”

Alright then, on what basis would you call any reasoning ‘mistaken?’

Cheers,

Sye

Anonymous said...

Someone in a prior session mentioned a paper by Quine which (allegedly) argued against logic by definition. I can't seem to find a copy of it - just pointers to sites like Springer-Verlag who want me to pay them lots of money. Any free URL's anyone?

get_education said...

Andy,

I do not think KYLE S is the same as Sye. There are parts of what Kyle writes that are too smart for Sye. I might be wrong, but those are very telling (I prefer not to point these out now).

Another way to look at it: Kyle starts less secure of his own argumentative repertoire, and he plainly accepts his limitations. Something Sye would never do, or could never do. He is able to see his limitations, Sye is not. The reason Kyle can see his limitations is precisely that he can detect some inconsistencies that Sye plainly misses. This might also be why Kyle S said that Sye has not done a very good job. Kyle still thinks Sye is right in his basis, but not in his arguing.

Now, Sye might be a true willing troll (instead of a troll for Jesus) and pretend to be Kyle S for the fun of it. Thus playing using two different characters convinced of the same basic idea (god as foundation for reason), but one (Kyle S) been able to use arguments other than the presup script, and thus able to see the problems with Sye arguing.

G.E.

Anonymous said...

Where did you observe that the sun cannot both be the sun, and not the sun, at the same time and in the same way

It does not matter, what matters is that abstractions can be used to describe how to make sense of the workings of the universe, but such abstractions do not MAKE the universe be what it is. This distinction is your problem.

Another anti-Sye

get_education said...

Ups, sorry Andy,

Kyle could be different people at times. I had not noticed that his name is not linked to anything. (I wanted to follow to confirm if it was one Kyle S, or more.)

Sorry, my mistake, Kyle could be Sye at times, and not Sye at other times.

G.E.

anticant said...

Maybe Sye will tell us – with absolute God-given truth, of course – whether or not he and Kyle S ARE the same person?

Just to pick up on a few earlier points:

Sye: “With limited knowledge and experience how can you know whether or not anything is universal?” Presumably Sye will admit that this applies to himself as well as to everybody else – but he is the one who keeps on insisting that he “knows” truth is universal, because God has told him so.

Sye: “Problem is, ALL evidence is interpreted subject to our presuppositions, and you have no evidence for your presupposition that there is no God.” Sye has no evidence for his presupposition that there is a God – at least he hasn’t produced any yet, apart from mere assertion.

Sye: “Please tell me ONE THING, ANYTHING, that you know, and how you know it, without appealing to God.” Easy! I am sitting at my computer screen writing this post without appealing to God.

Sye: “Why is it that when we look at the same evidence we come to opposite conclusions? It is simply because of our respective a priori positions, yours being atheistic, mine being Christian theistic?” So Sye admits at last that HIS position is nothing more than an a priori one, contrary to his usual bluster about being God’s confidante.

Sye: “I say that cannot be the case, since the God of Christianity is the foundation of all reasoning.” Prove it!.

Bill Snedden: “If no act of will or intent is needed (or possible) to ground the Law of Non-Contradiction, why cannot the non-theist simply ground it in the nature of existence sans God? It is no more and no less of a "brute fact" than God's nature.” Oh yes, it is! God’s nature is not a “brute fact”. It is either non-existent or totally hypothetical.

Andrew Louis said...

GE, (IT'S SYE)
there is a:
KYLE P
and a
KYLE S

Kyle P I believe is a regular visitor to Stephen and acknowledges him.

On the other hand Kyle S just shows up, I've never seed the name here before. I don't regularly post here, but I've read Stephen for quite some time.

It's deffinately Sye. Read through....

Sye TenB said...

@ Anonymous,

You said: ”The abstraction of the observation that the sun cannot be the sun and not the sun at the same time is a "law of no contradiction."

I asked: ”Where did you observe that the sun cannot both be the sun, and not the sun, at the same time and in the same way?

Now you answer: ”It does not matter, what matters is that abstractions can be used to describe how to make sense of the workings of the universe, but such abstractions do not MAKE the universe be what it is.”

So what is the abstraction that the sun cannot be both the sun, and not the sun at the same time, and in the same way based upon if not observation (as you claimed)???

Cheers,

Sye

Sye TenB said...

Andrew said: "GE, (IT'S SYE)"

Andrew, I already admitted that I am, at least trying to, ignore you. Why in the world would I create another persona to ask you questions???

Kyle S has made some great points, that I admit, I have not made. If he chooses to reveal more about himself, great, but to assume that he is me, is ridiculous.

Perhaps some people who profess Christianity feel it is necessary to play the tricks of fake personas, (as some of the professed atheists here are doing), but I am certainly not one of them.

Cheers,

Sye

Nick said...

Sye,

"Well, let’s have it then, how do universal, abstract, invariant laws make sense in ANY atheistic worldview?"

Try reading this:

http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/michael_martin/logic.html

and this:

http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/michael_martin/induction.html

If you've got some more time on your hands, I would also recommend that you read this, as it fills in many of the background details:

http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/richard_carrier/reppert.html

For anyone who is interested, my comments are here:

http://freethinkingblog.blogspot.com/2008/07/does-logic-require-existence-of.html

Nick said...

Sye,

Also, for a more general critique of the Christian worldview (not about logic in particular), I would urge you to read the following:

http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/richard_carrier/whynotchristian.html

Anonymous said...

re Becoming an atheist.

One of the big clinchers for rejecting (the Christian) God is that the claims made for His nature (and the Universe he is claimed to create) are mutually contradictory. For example

a) Omnipotent & omniscient but humans get free will.

b) Omni-benevolent as well but plenty of evil around.

c) The Trinity.

Andrew Louis said...

Sye,
that's exactly what I'd expect you to say. And next time Kyle S (Sye) posts, you'll have made up some fake facts about him.

So I'll be ignoring Kyle S, since Sye, I've already answered all your questions.

So Sye,
post #4 from the top, lets here it. You have nothing if you can't

Anonymous said...

So what is the abstraction that the sun cannot be both the sun, and not the sun at the same time, and in the same way based upon if not observation (as you claimed)???

The abstraction of this AND many other observations is a law of no contradiction.

Another anti-Sye

Sye TenB said...

@ Anticant,

I said: “With limited knowledge and experience how can you know whether or not anything is universal?”

You answered: ” Presumably Sye will admit that this applies to himself as well as to everybody else – but he is the one who keeps on insisting that he “knows” truth is universal, because God has told him so.”

The only way that anyone can know ANYTHING is by or through divine revelation, else it becomes an infinite regress of “and how do you know THAT?” Indeed, I can know that truth is universal, only by God’s revelation.

I said: ” Problem is, ALL evidence is interpreted subject to our presuppositions, and you have no evidence for your presupposition that there is no God.”

You said: ” Sye has no evidence for his presupposition that there is a God – at least he hasn’t produced any yet, apart from mere assertion.”

So, does this mean that you are admitting that you have no evidence for YOUR a priori assumption? The difference is, that my a priori assumption accounts for the very laws of logic you are trying to evaluate my argument, but yours does not.

I asked: “Please tell me ONE THING, ANYTHING, that you know, and how you know it, without appealing to God.” Easy! I am sitting at my computer screen writing this post without appealing to God.”

Um, you forgot the last part – how do you this (or anything for that matter)?

”So Sye admits at last that HIS position is nothing more than an a priori one, contrary to his usual bluster about being God’s confidante.”

Sure, it is a priori, but it is consistent with logic, science, morality, and proof itself, whereas yours is not.

I said: “I say that cannot be the case, since the God of Christianity is the foundation of all reasoning.”

You said: ”Prove it!”

It is proven by the impossibility of the contrary. No other worldview can offer us the preconditions of intelligibility and reasoning.

”God’s nature is not a “brute fact”. It is either non-existent or totally hypothetical.”

Um, Prove it!

Cheers,

Sye

Sye TenB said...

Anonymous said: "The abstraction of this AND many other observations is a law of no contradiction."

But how is it that you know that the sun cannot both be the sun, and not the sun, at the same time and in the same way???

Anonymous said...

I did not claim no observations, I claimed that it does not matter when I observed them. I claimed that it does not matter where I did this observation, what matters is that abstractions can be used to describe how to make sense of the workings of the universe, but such abstractions do not MAKE the universe be what it is.

Nice dodging though.

Another anti-Sye

Anonymous said...

It does not matter how I know, what matters is that abstractions can be used to describe how to make sense of the workings of the universe, but such abstractions do not MAKE the universe be what it is.

Another anti-Sye

Anonymous said...

Your original dispute/inference, in case you forgot, was that if minds are necessary for the law of no-contradiction then, without minds, the sun could have been the sun and not the sun before man abstracted logic. My answer is that abstractions can be used to describe how to make sense of the workings of the universe, but such abstractions do not MAKE the universe be what it is.

Another anti-Sye

Kyle s said...

Hi Andrew,

I'm not sure where you have got this idea from.

I've been posting on Stephen's blog for maybe about 6 months now. I was initially just calling myself Kyle, but then Kyle P showed up, so I changed to Kyle S. I'm sure one of the other regulars can confirm that I've been around for a while.

In the meantime, can we get back to the conservation we were having?

Sye TenB said...

Paul C said:

”Of course, given that I believe that the laws of logic currently hold in the visible universe, they do apply to your argument.”

How did you make this determination, and how do you know that the laws of logic have not changed such that my argument is valid?

”Logic is just a description of observed patterns”

Well, it looks like you are in a disagreement with some of your professed athesit friends here, like Stephen Law, still though, prove your assertion please.

”No. You prove that the concept of dinner time emanates from the mind of God.”

Look, you made the assertion that the laws of logic do not emanate from the mind of God, either prove it, or retract it please.

Alright you said: ”I proceed on the basis that they may change depending on conditions in the visible universe, but that it is exceedingly improbable.”

And I asked: “ Why is it improbable?”

You answered: ”Prior experience informs this statement.”

Please tell me which prior experience tells you that the future will probably be like the past?

”We can use them to describe things that we have not directly observed through extrapolation,”

Why? What bearing does a law of logic in one domain, have on another domain? Also, just out of curiosity, why are the laws of logic so consistent in producing results that ‘work?’

I asked: ” How do you differentiate between valid and invalid laws? For all you know, the laws of logic could just have changed. How would you know if they had changed, rather than than the law being invalid?

You answered: ”A law is valid if it's coherent with my observations. If it wasn't coherent with my observations after repeated experience, I could then begin to conclude that it had changed.”

Hmmm, but if the laws of logic are based upon experience, then how could they not cohere with your experience??? What would be invalid then, your experience or the law?

”This is really boring. I'm more interested in discussing whether logic is absolute, etc, with real people rather than script puppets.”

Looks like you are queueing up your exit – I don’t blame you :-)

Cheers,

Sye

Anonymous said...

Kyle S, Andrew - I was about to point this out but considering my nom-de-plume thought better of it!

Of course Sye could have been softening us up by playing Kyle S for nearly a year...he was probably on the grassy knoll too.

Sye TenB said...

@Andrew Louis

You said: "Sye, that's exactly what I'd expect you to say. And next time Kyle S (Sye) posts, you'll have made up some fake facts about him."

This is actually kinda funny considering Kyle's last post. I google 'Kyle S' and found a thread from June 18 where Kyle S. had posted. Here it is: http://stephenlaw.blogspot.com/2008/06/meaning-of-life.html

Now seeing as you are the one who invited me here just last week, how do you suppose I knew you would do that, and post as Kyle S beforehand??? God is the one who is omniscient, not me :-D

Now, you can continue in your error so you can duck Kyle, or admit that you were wrong, and address him.

Cheers,

Sye

Sye TenB said...

Anonymous said: "Of course Sye could have been softening us up by playing Kyle S for nearly a year...he was probably on the grassy knoll too."

Bastard! You blew my cover :-D

Stephen Law said...

New post is up....

Sye TenB said...

Anonymous said:

”re Becoming an atheist.
One of the big clinchers for rejecting (the Christian) God is that the claims made for His nature (and the Universe he is claimed to create) are mutually contradictory. “


I do not deny that there are some difficult doctrines within Christianity, but my point all along is that you cannot justify the laws of logic, by which you claim that contradcitions are absolutely not allowed, without God.

For example
a) Omnipotent & omniscient but humans get free will.”


Show me one place where the Bible says that our will is wholly free?

”b) Omni-benevolent as well but plenty of evil around.”

What is ‘evil’ if there is no God? How do you know that God could not be all good, AND have a morally sufficient reason for evil?

”c) The Trinity.”

There is nothing illogical about having 3 distinct properties in 1. Look at H2O for example, at zero degrees celcius it can be vapour, water, AND ice, yet it is still H2O.

And again, even if there were logical difficulties that we cannot yet explain, one must assume the universal, abstract, invariant laws of logic to do this, which, as has been clearly demonstrated over the past few days, cannot be accounted for WITHOUT God.

Cheers,

Sye

Sye TenB said...

GE said: ”To me it was possible to conclude that my concept and premise of God as the very foundation was wrong.”

Perhaps you could tell me how this is possible with God as the foundation of all reasoning?

”Well, that was my case, but I was able to break out of the pull of this intellectual black hole. I guess I was lucky.”

I hope (and yes pray) that you do not take that attitude to your grave (or to tommorow for that matter).

”Anyway, I stop here.”

Look, I don’t want to sound sappy, but of all the people here, and at the other blog, I feel a particular soft spot for you. I do not doubt, or even mind, if that is met with ridicule, but I sense the frustration that you must be going through, and I feel bad about it. (Feel free to deny that to save face if you must).

Sye

James F. Elliott said...

It seems to me that analogizing to the law of gravity with "laws" of logic is actually kind of accurate. Gravity exists due to the interaction of bodies of mass and the interrelationships developed by that interaction. So, too, the laws of logic. They are simply impositions of order based on the interaction of premises, facts, whatnot.

Is not logic, then, simply the order that comes of interactions? This is why you can create an internally valid, logical (i.e. flows from its premises) argument that doesn't necessarily conform to observed reality.

Wow. I probably don't make any sense here. Stupid brain. Work!

Anonymous said...

And again, even if there were logical difficulties that we cannot yet explain, one must assume the universal, abstract, invariant laws of logic to do this, which, as has been clearly demonstrated over the past few days, cannot be accounted for WITHOUT God.

Where is that demonstration? I never saw such thing. I saw a mindless guy babbling about the impossibility of the contrary, but no proof whatsoever.

Lots of proof of the impossibility of helping you into reason Sye. You cannot even distinguish between abstractions and the properties of reality. Let alone provide any proof that logic is impossible without some god, least of all your particular definition of your god.

Another anti-Sye

James F. Elliott said...

Sye,

Please logically prove that the existence of God ergo confirms the existence of the Christian God.

How does one arrive from Deism to theism to Christianity?

Thanks,

James

Andrew Louis said...

NO,
IT CAN'T BEEEEEEEEEE

New post

Andrew Louis said...

Kyle S then,
so that I can "slowly" explain this. What exactly is it that you don't understand about my proof?

The question, how can something be "A" and "-A" I've already answered on several occasions. I don't understand what your hang up is. Perhpas if I did, that would explain Sye's hang up as well.

get_education said...

Look, I don’t want to sound sappy, but of all the people here, and at the other blog, I feel a particular soft spot for you. I do not doubt, or even mind, if that is met with ridicule, but I sense the frustration that you must be going through, and I feel bad about it. (Feel free to deny that to save face if you must).

Oh but the reason could well be that I am sappy Sye. Ridiculously so. That might be the reason you sense frustration, but the frustration is of a very different nature than you MIGHT be implying. Part of my frustration is this feeling that your mind might be unreachable, combined with how easily you "cheat." I cannot reconcile what I used to think of what a christian is (an image that I truly respected), and what you do. Another part of my frustration is that I still think people are entitled to their beliefs [whether they include a god or not]. I think a belief in a god can be useful for them. That does not make me any more inclined to accept such fantasies as true. I did not want to discuss or fight against any belief in god (for the reason above), but I was pulled into that by the intolerance and prejudices that exudate from such beliefs (at least among christian fundamentalists). So, of course I feel frustration. Yet another source of frustration is that it seems impossible to expose the dishonesty used by the likes of Ray C. (or discovery institute, or you name it) to abuse other people's beliefs (I do not know what for, but selling books and videos of recycled lies might explain it).

So, thanks for the feelings Sye. As of your prayers, I understand what they mean to you, so I can only feel grateful. (As I said I am sappy.)

And again, I will not entangle any more into your debate. So please save that repetition.

G.E.

anticant said...

Sye responds to my previous comments by asserting: “The only way that anyone can know ANYTHING is by or through divine revelation, else it becomes an infinite regress of ‘and how do you know THAT?’ Indeed, I can know that truth is universal, only by God’s revelation.” This is nothing more than yet another of Sye’s endless assertions, which are never backed up by any supporting evidence, let alone proof. There is indeed a problem of infinite regression, but it concerns the nature of God. If God created the universe, who or what created God? And who or what created pre-God? And so on, ad infinitum. Why assume that the universe was created, or required a creator? Sye will be telling us next that unless we accept his version of events, we have no warrant for believing that the universe exists, or that we do, despite the evidence of our senses.

I said: ” Sye has no evidence for his presupposition that there is a God – at least he hasn’t produced any yet, apart from mere assertion.” Sye responded: “So, does this mean that you are admitting that you have no evidence for YOUR a priori assumption? The difference is, that my a priori assumption accounts for the very laws of logic you are trying to evaluate my argument, but yours does not.” With respect to his first sentence, I do not need to produce any evidence for my a priori assumption that there is no God apart from the fact that all the available evidence [and lack of evidence] overwhelmingly demonstrates that the existence of Sye’s God, or any other, is highly improbable.

Sye’s remaining points in answer to mine are either reiterations of his previous assertions unsupported by evidence, or demands that I should prove a negative – which is impossible. This is getting tedious.

Incidentally, I don’t agree with James F. Elliott that the laws of logic “are simply impositions of order based on the interaction of premises, facts, whatnot”. They are a set of verbal conventions designed to facilitate fruitful discussion, and can be changed if they are found to be erroneous or fallacious.

James F. Elliott said...

Incidentally, I don’t agree with James F. Elliott

Yeah, I think we covered that when I stated I wasn't making any sense. I think I'm on to something, but it's a very vague something at the moment.

Andrew Louis said...

GE,
you made the comment that Sye was unreachable. I think I know what you meant by that, but I'd like to be clear in personally stating that it's not my intention to prove Sye wrong and rape him of his Christianity. This, if it were possible, would be an awfull thing to do in my mind; I have all the respect in the world for Christianity.

My issue is simply with Sye's arguement and absolute idealogy - it's that simple. And, more importantly, I love this debate; even though Sye tries to dodge me and I accused him of sock-puppeting. Which is simply a reflection of this debate waring on me, which it is.

I'd really love for Sye to honestly answer my questions, and I'd really love for Sye to say that he has faith. I've asked him before about faith, and he simply respnded that you didn't need it, because he had proof. Even though Biblically, that's all Paul talks about.

So a win for me in this debate would be for Sye to say he has "FAITH" that what he says is true - I respect that. But as it stands, he says he has PROOF.

And, as I said way back, I AM NOT an athesit myself.

- theres my sap

Andrew Louis said...

Kyle S,
my response will be long. So I'll post a link to my blog. I don't want to crunch it in this little space we have here. And you can respond here or there......

get_education said...

Hey Andy,

I know you are not an atheist, and I understand it is his absolutism that you are kinda afraid of (??).

When I said he is unreachable, well, I think you know what I meant.

I respect you view on theology, of religions being fingers pointing to the important thing out there. That is nice and unifying, and poetic, and respectable.

I do not think I was trying to convince Sye that there is not a god at the beginning of my arguing with him. I was more worried to know what the heck this guy was all about. Then he irritated me with his treachery, until I got tired. After that I would engage the guy just to understand him better. Knowing already that he is unreachable.

He will never snap off his intellectual black hole, and he will never say he just has faith but proof. What worries me is this feeling that people should not be entrapped into such things. Not that way, not so bad. Fanaticism is among my top worries about the world.

So, my friend, do you think there is a way of snapping fundies out of their extremism and helping them accept that they should let other people be happy? I mean, for instance like stop giving homosexuals a hard time because they want to be able to marry? I also mean without attacking their belief in God? If so what would be your strategy?

G.E.

get_education said...

Ups, i think one part did notcome out as a complete thought:

When I fist time I argued with Sye I was more worried about what he was about, and was trying to show him that his idea was bogus. Not necessarily that his god did not exist.

G.E.

Andrew Louis said...

GE,
you said:
"So, my friend, do you think there is a way of snapping fundies out of their extremism"


By attacking absolutism, NOT GOD. But of course my strategy hasn't been working to well with Sye. And it' not going to.

I deleted my comment on the top thread. My vote is lets let Stephen do his thing and not clutter it up with comments Sye is going to ignor anyway. At least for now.

Finally,
this is my first introduction to this type of extreem thinking. It's deffinately been a learning experience for me, and dubious from the start.

Sye TenB said...

GE said:

”He will never snap off his intellectual black hole, and he will never say he just has faith but proof. What worries me is this feeling that people should not be entrapped into such things. Not that way, not so bad. Fanaticism is among my top worries about the world.”

Well then, how does this post sound?

”But why Sye, even if I were convinced that you need a god to have logic (I will never be)…” (emphasis mine)

That’s right, that was you at the Raytractor’s blog in the “Hijacked” thread. You will never be convinced eh? How is that not a fanatical fundamentalist position?

Cheers,

Sye

Sye TenB said...

Andrew Louis said: ” And, as I said way back, I AM NOT an athesit myself.”

And as I said way back, you may claim to not profess atheism, but you are not a theist, you are an idolator, with an idol of your own making, not God.

Andrew Louis said...

Sye,
and I am a sinner of the worst kind, this is the way it is.

I will say this, you have no claim to profess what I am. Who are you to place judgement on me?

Are you now saying that since you think you have some great proof, that you're now the great judge as well? Shame on you Sye.

Here is a judgement of my own:
Once again, you have no proof of what you say, and evidently no faith either. Your idol, Sye, is the proof you've built up which is completely empty. You've made an idol out of God in your false logic; you mistake the finger for the moon.

I pray,
for you.

Andrew Louis said...

Futhermore Sye, as long as I'm now ranting since you won't reveal your proof of absolutes; let me say this:

Your statment here:
"And as I said way back, you may claim to not profess atheism, but you are not a theist, you are an idolator, with an idol of your own making, not God."

Is a clear cut example of the sort of fundamentalist attitudes which states that if you don't think like me, then you're going to the stake. As if you know the mind of God.

In my daly life I'm not one to pass judgement, but you seem to be rather good at it. Your whole website is ONE, GREAT, IDOL. (unless of course you can offer that proof)

I think your real problem is, that your lost in solipsism.

Paul C said...

That would be like you saying that if I say that 2 + 2 = 4, and you say that it equals 19 but your answer can be corrected, then you somehow hold an intellectually superior position.

No. That would be like me saying that 2+2=3 and you saying 2+2=5. Stephen Law comes along and demonstrates that 2+2=4. I realise that he is right and change my position; you sit in the corner protesting that 2+2=5 because God told you.

I have never pretended to be intellectually superior to you. I have only pointed out that my position is more honest and more flexible. If you think those attributes make my position intellectually superior, that's your interpretation not mine.

Against what do you correct the course of your way of thinking, and how do you know that my way of thinking needs correction?

I correct the course of my thinking through experience. Only you can say if the course of your thinking needs correction based on your experience.

Alright then, on what basis would you call any reasoning ‘mistaken?’

a. Because the arguments you present do not match with my experience or understanding of the world.
b. Because I don't think that you have successfully defined the premises of your argument, so I feel no need to follow the conclusion.
c. Because a number of people on this thread have successfully countered (if not completely destroyed) your arguments.
d. Because you are clearly arguing in bad faith, without any interest in interaction with other people.

Speaking of bad faith, I also notice that you have singularly failed to address the challenges to your position laid out by the host of this blog. Personally I think that's because those challenges literally cut the legs out from under your argument, but if you believe otherwise perhaps you should address them.

get_education said...

Oh Sye!

I knew you would bring this one up sooner or later.

That was a statement of certainty out of my reasoning on the subject, not of fanaticism. I cannot think of any way in which anybody can convince me that god is necessary for logic. And believe me, I have listened to most of what you said (I cannot say with certainty that I listened to everything you said, because, for instance, I did not read all of your posts around this blog). Since I do not see your stuff making any sense, I can safely conclude that I will never be convinced that a god is necessary for logic. When something is convincing enough I find it awkward to say "the probability that I will be convinced is infinitesimally small," when it is quite safe to say I will never be convinced. After all, these are conversations or debates, not scientific journals.

My choice of words might make it look fanatical. But it is not, it is a reasoned conclusion.

Clear enough?

Please, again, save the "script." I will not engage into that useless debate with you again.

G.E.

Paul C said...

How did you make this determination, and how do you know that the laws of logic have not changed such that my argument is valid?

a. I made this determination by observing that the laws of logic are coherent with my experience of the visible universe.
b. I don't, but I have no indication that they have changed and your argument appears to be invalid.

Well, it looks like you are in a disagreement with some of your professed athesit friends here, like Stephen Law,

Yes. That's because there's no such thing as an atheist worldview.

still though, prove your assertion please.

It's not an assertion so I don't have to prove it.

Look, you made the assertion that the laws of logic do not emanate from the mind of God, either prove it, or retract it please.

Look, you made the assertion that concept of dinner time does not emanate from the mind of God, either prove it, or retract it please.

Yeah, I know. It doesn't make any sort of sense, does it?

Please tell me which prior experience tells you that the future will probably be like the past?

Pretty much all of it.

Why? What bearing does a law of logic in one domain, have on another domain?

It has no bearing. It's just a description.

Also, just out of curiosity, why are the laws of logic so consistent in producing results that ‘work?’

Because logic is a description of observed patterns in the visible universe. If it wasn't an accurate description, it wouldn't produce results that work.

I'm done, I think.

Sye TenB said...

Andrew Louis said: ” Your statment here:
"And as I said way back, you may claim to not profess atheism, but you are not a theist, you are an idolator, with an idol of your own making, not God."
Is a clear cut example of the sort of fundamentalist attitudes which states that if you don't think like me, then you're going to the stake. As if you know the mind of God.”


Only that which He has revealed to us, part of which is His absolute nature. If your ‘god’ is anything other than that, it is simply one that you made up. If you care to dispute this, please tell me about your ‘god,’ what you know about it, and how you know this?

Cheers,

Sye

Sye TenB said...

Andrew Louis said: "Sye,
and I am a sinner of the worst kind, this is the way it is."


What is 'sin' Andrew, and how do you know this?

Cheers,

Sye

Andrew Louis said...

Sye, (nice to see you ignored everything save what you can apply your script to)
I will gladly tell you what a sinner is, Sye, if you do me the honors of proving to me, "that absolute truth exists" is a valid proposition; then state an absolute truth and how it is not systemic.

And furthermore you acknowledge post #4 on this thread where I completely debased your argument and left you with nothing but:
1.) God exists.

But you won't do that, so why should I continue answer to you?

And, just because. I'd like to restate what Paul C wrote:

Alright then, on what basis would you call any reasoning ‘mistaken?’

a. Because the arguments you present do not match with my experience or understanding of the world.
b. Because I don't think that you have successfully defined the premises of your argument, so I feel no need to follow the conclusion.
c. Because a number of people on this thread have successfully countered (if not completely destroyed) your arguments.
d. Because you are clearly arguing in bad faith, without any interest in interaction with other people.

Sye TenB said...

Paul C. said: No. That would be like me saying that 2+2=3 and you saying 2+2=5. Stephen Law comes along and demonstrates that 2+2=4. I realise that he is right and change my position”

So, then would you ‘acknowledge that you might be wrong???’ If not, how is that any different from my position? How, in fact, do you know that my position is wrong?

”I have never pretended to be intellectually superior to you. I have only pointed out that my position is more honest and more flexible.”

I guess we can determine that once, you answer the above question.

”If you think those attributes make my position intellectually superior, that's your interpretation not mine.”

Um, so you do not think that you are right, and I am wrong??? You do not think that being right, is intellectually superior to being wrong? Riiiiiiight.

I asked: ”Against what do you correct the course of your way of thinking, and how do you know that my way of thinking needs correction?”

You answered: ”I correct the course of my thinking through experience. Only you can say if the course of your thinking needs correction based on your experience.”

So, if someone says that 2 + 2 = penguin, you can’t say that their course of thinking needs correction??? How do you know that your experiences, and the reasoning with which you interpret them are themselves valid?

I asked: ”Alright then, on what basis would you call any reasoning ‘mistaken?’”

”You answered:

a. Because the arguments you present do not match with my experience or understanding of the world.”


What exactly do your expereince have to do with anyone else’s reasoning?

”b. Because I don't think that you have successfully defined the premises of your argument, so I feel no need to follow the conclusion.”

Hmmm, but you say that the laws of logic are based on expereince, what does that have to do with my defining premises?

”c. Because a number of people on this thread have successfully countered (if not completely destroyed) your arguments.”

But, you could be wrong about that right?

”d. Because you are clearly arguing in bad faith, without any interest in interaction with other people.”

Well, naturally I disagree, but would it be absolutely wrong to do so?

Cheers,

Sye

Andrew Louis said...

Sye,
I'll comment on one thing here, you said:
"So, if someone says that 2 + 2 = penguin, you can’t say that their course of thinking needs correction??? How do you know that your experiences, and the reasoning with which you interpret them are themselves valid?"

2+2=4 is meaningless until applied to "SOMETHING". There is nothing valid or invalid about this, and also nothing absolute about it, it's jsut scribles. However when we understand these signs to represent quantities relative to the world (notice I said RELATIVE), we see that penguin is absurde, because we know penguine not to correspond to quantity. But perhaps there is a language where "penguine" is "4". However we wouldn't know such things unless you ask what a person means by that.

Whatever language and sybolism someone uses to communicate the idea of quantity is arbitrary. I could just as easily say, C&t#L. Now clearly you can see this statement is nonesense. But if I said to you that the symbol "C" represented a quantity 2 of something, "t" likewise 3, L was 5, and that the & sign represented the idea that we were summing these two quantities, and # equals the final answer 5. We now know that penguine, doesn't fit here, because of course a penguine is not an idea of quantity, it's word that correspnds to an object / mamal, that lives in the south pole.

Andrew Louis said...

Furthermore our idea of quantity is directly taken (systemicaly) from the world. From here the language and symbolism we use and assent to (relative to our community), is judged right or wrong based on how we use it relative to our current situation.

To put it another way:
What we sense with our senses is not what's in the wrong; what ends up being in the wrong is the way we communicate what we're sensing relative to the language we speak, and the meanings of the words we're using in context. In other words it's not nature that's right or wrong (nature holds no property of truth), it's the way we're communicating it relative to our communal language that's wrong.

Which gets me back to SYSTEMIC TRUTH where it is only propositions which are true or false. And we (mind) are the method of resolution to get to that.

Paul C said...

So, then would you ‘acknowledge that you might be wrong???’

Yes.

How, in fact, do you know that my position is wrong?

I have given you a four-point list of reasons why I think your arguments are not valid, and hence your position wrong.

Um, so you do not think that you are right, and I am wrong???

We are not talking about 2+2=4 but a self-evidently more complex question. The more complex a question, the more I bear in mind that it is possible that I am wrong - indeed that the basic terms of the question may be open to question themselves. I think I am more likely to be right and you are more likely to be wrong. These probabilities may shift.

You do not think that being right, is intellectually superior to being wrong?

No. Being right is often a matter of luck and timing, especially when it comes to complex questions. The important thing is how you approach the truth - whether you are humble and aware of your own limits, or whether you are brimming with hubris and concerned only with demonstrating your superiority.

So, if someone says that 2 + 2 = penguin, you can’t say that their course of thinking needs correction???

Yes, but that is based on my experience. My only means of persuasion is to share that experience, but if they do not recognise that their thinking needs correcting, then that's as far as it goes. Black swans, mate.

How do you know that your experiences, and the reasoning with which you interpret them are themselves valid?

What do you mean by experiences being valid?

What exactly do your expereince have to do with anyone else’s reasoning?

My experience and the conclusions drawn from it is the only measure I have to judge their reasoning.

Hmmm, but you say that the laws of logic are based on expereince, what does that have to do with my defining premises?

If your premises are ill-defined and contentious, this means they are not a useful description of observed patterns.

But, you could be wrong about that right?

I could be.

Well, naturally I disagree, but would it be absolutely wrong to do so?

Whether it's "absolutely wrong" or not has nothing to do with whether you are in fact arguing in bad faith, and everything to do with getting back to your script. QED.

James F. Elliott said...

Sye,

Only that which He has revealed to us, part of which is His absolute nature.

Again, please offer the extension of your proof that goes from "God" to "Christian God." What, in your proof, pertains to the veracity of the Bible?