Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Atheism and Logic - the epistemological question

One question Sye keeps asking (see preceding post) is:

(1) How can you atheists justify the laws of logic? How can you know that the laws of logic hold true?

We saw, in an earlier post, that asking for a justification of logic seems to produce a paradox. If the justification involves an inference, then it will itself use the laws of logic, and so be circular. And thus no justification at all!

I pointed out one possible way round this problem (which I am not necessarily endorsing, BTW) - make the justification non-inferential. Perhaps we can just directly see that certain very basic forms of argument are truth preserving (this is actually quite plausible, isn't it?).

Sye says that God's revelation let's him know logic can be trusted. So he too appeals to a kind of "seeing"-type justification. But the above version is more economical. Here are the competing accounts:

1. The above atheist-friendly suggestion is that we can just "see" certain forms of inference are truth preserving.

2. Sye's suggestion (I think - is this right Sye?) is that he can just "see" that God tells or shows him that certain forms of inference are truth preserving.

One problem with Sye's suggestion is that, armed with the laws of logic and the power of reliable observation, we then very quickly find extremely good evidence that Sye's God does not exist (evidence that Sye studiously refuses to consider, despite my request that he do so - see my "The God of Eth" link on sidebar, Sye).

Another problem is that Sye is aware that other people have a wide variety of religious experiences involving all sorts of incompatible deities (Zeus, Thor, Mithras, etc., plus Buddhists have experiences revealing there's no God), and that such experiences must, then, be largely unreliable. So how can he be confident that any of these experiences are reliable, let alone that his happens to one of the few reliable ones?

The first atheist-friendly suggestion does not run into either of these very serious problems. It may not be correct. But it has great advantages over Sye's account. And Sye certainly has not yet shown it isn't correct.

[[[So, perhaps we should now issue this challenge to Sye: we have provided an account of how we can be justified in believing the laws of logic. He hasn't. Therefore, we're justified in using logic against him. But he's not justified in using logic against us!]]]

67 comments:

Steven Carr said...

Of course Sye is not justified in using logic.

First he has to show that his reasoning is not being attacked by the demons that his Christian world view teaches.

Christianity is self-contradictory, and Sye has no justification for using logic , without denying his own presuppositions that there exist malevolent demons.

Sye cannot answer this point. The people he worships, like Bahnsen, could never answer this point.

Tim said...

It seems to me that this hinges on what is meant by by "justify" and "inference."

For me the process of justification is traced to the fact of self-awareness. I am aware that I am aware and because of this I conceptualize the lower level process and call it logic.

The lower levels of awareness do not use this conceptual process and because the process is "non-conceptual" it is also "non-inferential." Because my higher level of awareness is conceptual I have the ability to codify the lower level non-inferential process.

I don't "justify" it's use with regard to other inferential concepts - I validate it with regard to my lower lower level awareness. All reasoning from there is inferential and goes through the process of justification.

Rayndeon said...

I can't agree with that suggestion, Stephen. I think Kosh3 said this earlier, but that justification *is* inferential - you're just doing it so damn fast and using so basic principles that it seems as if it's not. It's predicated on the assumption that those little symbols exist (i.e. there is an external world), that there is a you to interpret them, that those symbols are not a figment of your imagination, that those symbols mean something, and that you can, from that, conclude that that they are talking about formal logic, and that, from that, you can conclude that they are talking about a truth-preserving argument form. This is inferential - logic is ultimately basic and simply *can't* have epistemic justification, just like induction and the other properly basic beliefs. This is why *presupposition*alism is so wrong-headed - none of these beliefs have to be epistemically justified and they *can't* be; so, it's not as if we have to take the Christian God as basic to justify them or whatever.

This is why, invariably, Sye confuses *ontic* justification with *epistemic* justification. But, *ontic* justification takes the epistemic realm for granted, so His belief in God being the necessary and sufficient condition for the existence of logic and the reliability of induction are epistemically *derivative* NOT basic, defeating the main premise of presuppositionalism, that we have to *presuppose* (take as a properly basic belief) God in order to reason. As it turns out, no, we don't. Sye's argument then dissolves into two standard *non*-presuppositional arguments: theistic activism/conceptualism and a sort of crude Plantingian argument from induction (Plantinga considers this to be an epistemic argument but, as usual, he's wrong - his argument is ontic since it takes the epistemic realm for granted, since he can't noncircularly justify induction).

Sye TenB said...

Stephen said:

”Atheism and Logic - the epistemological question”

Question – yes, Answer – no.

”I pointed out one possible way round this problem (which I am not necessarily endorsing, BTW)”

Hmmm, I ask what YOUR justification for the laws of logic is. I understand why you don’t want to post it though. Wouldn’t look too good having an amateur eviscerate it.

”- make the justification non-inferential. Perhaps we can just directly see that certain very basic forms of argument are truth preserving (this is actually quite plausible, isn't it?).”

Problem is, this makes logic contingent to past observations, and it loses its universality, and if you want to say that this particular form of argument WILL WORK, because it HAS WORKED, you are question begging.

”Sye says that God's revelation let's him know logic can be trusted. So he too appeals to a kind of "seeing"-type justification.”

This begs the question that God cannot reveal that logic can be trusted via, or wholly apart from our senses, in such a way that we can be certain of it.

”see my "The God of Eth" link on sidebar, Sye”

If and when things die down around here, I’d be glad to have a look, but as I said, it is too long for me to do it justice now. I have devoted a lot of time answering the posters here, and I simply do not have the time for that article.

”Another problem is that Sye is aware that other people have a wide variety of religious experiences involving all sorts of incompatible deities (Zeus, Thor, Mithras, etc., plus Buddhists have experiences revealing there's no God), and that such experiences must, then, be largely unreliable. So how can he be confident that any of these experiences are reliable, let alone that his happens to one of the few reliable ones?”

I will be glad to take on anyone who believes that any of those deities, or non-deities revealed anything to them in such a way that they can be certain of it.

”[[[So, perhaps we should now issue this challenge to Sye: we have provided an account of how we can be justified in believing the laws of logic.”

Only if you believe the laws of logic to be contingent, but you do not.

” He hasn't.”

Sure I have. God is the source of logic. Logic holds universally, does not change, and is non-material as God is universal, does not change, and is non-material and logic is a reflection of how He thinks as He has revealed to us.

No doubt when I ask you to account FOR the laws of logic, and tell me how you know that they are reliable, you and your minions (since I gather you didn’t like cohorts :-), will refer to these last 2 posts, but I sure can’t find the answer to my questions, or that challenge, here.

Cheers,

Sye

Rayndeon said...

Hmmm, I ask what YOUR justification for the laws of logic is. I understand why you don’t want to post it though. Wouldn’t look too good having an amateur eviscerate it.

Considering your current track record of non-answers, I doubt that. ._.

This begs the question that God cannot reveal that logic can be trusted via, or wholly apart from our senses, in such a way that we can be certain of it.

Perhaps you can explain how (a) God is more epistemically basic than logic and (b) how theism escapes global skepticism. I spent some time in the "God and logic" thread, the "Sye - let's go round again", and the "Sye - nowhere to run baby" thread why you satisfy neither (a) nor (b).

Sure I have. God is the source of logic. Logic holds universally, does not change, and is non-material as God is universal, does not change, and is non-material and logic is a reflection of how He thinks as He has revealed to us.

Did you skip over Stephen's clarifications in these last two posts? That answer would be directed towards the *ontic* question NOT the epistemic question. The last post concerned answers to the ontic question. This post concerns answers to the epistemic question.

Theistic activism/conceptualism is an answer in the ontic realm and takes logic for granted i.e. it takes the epistemic realm for granted. I have already given you a post of mine detailing the problems with that view along with two philosophical papers on that. Since you seemed to have missed that (again!) here they are:

A post by me under the handle "Dante Alighieri" here.

Davidson, Matthew. "A Demonstration Against Theistic Activism." Religious Studies 35 (1999): 277-290.

Bergmann, Michael and Jeffrey Brower. “A Theistic Argument Against Platonism.” Oxford Studies in Metaphysics 2 (2006), 357-386.

Lemme guess - you're going to ignore this *again*, aren't you? ._.

Anonymous said...

Is that link in place yet Sye?

That aside. As far as I know most of the laws of logic do not relate to space or time or indeed any other dimension like that. If they can be justified once, ever that is sufficient forever and everywhere.
Laws of physics on the other hand often contain reference to time or space (position) or assume things like physical constants.

Sye TenB said...

Rayndeon said: "That answer would be directed towards the *ontic* question NOT the epistemic question. The last post concerned answers to the ontic question. This post concerns answers to the epistemic question."

Simple fact is, I haven't a clue what you are talking about, and I do not intend to take the time to decipher it. I asked 4 questions in plain English, if you can't answer them in the same form, I'm simply not interested in your answer.

"Lemme guess - you're going to ignore this *again*, aren't you?"

Well, at very least you're a good guesser - I'll give you that.

Cheers,

Sye

Anonymous said...

Sye:

Re "The God of Eth" - its worth your time. After all you've said that you haven't seen any responses to your challenge here so its not likely you'll miss anything is it?

To help you out I'll miss out on my next two posts - they weren't going to be that relevant...

Rayndeon said...

Sye: Simple fact is, I haven't a clue what you are talking about, and I do not intend to take the time to decipher it. I asked 4 questions in plain English, if you can't answer them in the same form, I'm simply not interested in your answer.

Of course, rather than take the time to educate yourself and learn the philosophy, you just dismiss the answers and proudly declare that no one has answered your questions.

What a wonderful tactic - the actual answers delve into issues too deep for you to understand, so you declare you don't understand it, shift the blame to the answerer, and declare victory. A win-win situation.

Anyway,

The ontic question is the same thing that Stephen calls "metaphysical" as in it concerns logic holding (or existing, if you prefer that semantics) and *why* it exists.

The epistemic question is how we *know* that logic holds.

What exactly is difficult to understand here?

Geert Arys said...

@Stephen,

I don't fully agree with you.

If logic is proven within the laws of logic, it is valid within its own rules - consistent.

However, we want to prove it is consistent with reality too. If you can do that without ever consulting reality, I'm going to eye you as suspicously as I do Sye.

There is, however a reason why we can 'see' the validity of our arguments. Simply, if our brain was configured otherwise, we would not be able to predict future events, drastically limiting our chances of survival.

But that's no proof they actually hold mathematically, at best that logic is practical.

Now, my question is: if math needs axioms, why not logic?

I'm not very impressed by predictive models who attempt to prove themselves by themselves, anyways. They all turn out to be smug and of little practical value. They are mostly called 'religion' or 'superstition'.

@Sye,

OK, let me treat first your questions.

You repeatedly asked a question of the type “What do you use to intepret your observations if not presupposed valid laws of logic?”
My first answer is: you don't need logic for that. Observing needs pattern matching, not inference. Logic is only used in inference.
I still think that is true, but on closer observation, I don't see how I can demonstrate that last statement indeed.
But then I realized, I don't need to bootstrap with any other principle. Validation of facts can use the very same logic I'm using to validate, as both must be correct.
In other words, I only have to make sure logic remains consistent when applied to reality. If it is not, I either have made an error in my 'inference' logic, or in my 'observation/validation' logic, or in my premises.
Yet in other words, falsification is still possible, as it encompasses both 'inference' logic (f.i. modus ponens) and 'observation/validation' logic.

And yes, its predicts only well as long as reality does not change.

The second type of questions you ask make little sense to me, when applied to "logic". Like if it's 'universal' or 'invariant'.
I asked what is your definition of "logic", then. But you avoided my question using: Naturally, you avoided the question.
So, let me ask again, before I answer any of these questions, again: how do you define logic? I'll check if we talk about the same thing, and then I'll answer your questions.

A third kind of question is "How can I trust my eyes?" Well, I suppose logic applies to observed reality, as we're talking about a mental model.
Our brains could be connected to a Matrix made by evil machines or aliens, in which case logic applies only to the principles in the Matrix.
On the other hand, how do YOU trust your eyes when you read the bible in that case?

You said,
Um, his problem with induction being that it begs the question. Sheesh.Um, his problem with induction being that it begs the question. Sheesh.
Are you sure? I might look into it, it's the first time I hear that. I always thought the problem with induction is that it's a 'post hoc' reasoning.

BUT, Sye, it is YOU who makes the initial hard statement, remember, I'm just pointing out YOU inverted the burden of proof. Which is a fallacy.
So let's talk about that... because in all the smoke you create around my arguments, you completely ignored my observation that:

You make a reasoning fallacy, Sye, it is not because it is not proven, that it is impossible. I did admit that 'logic cannot prove logic'.
I may be even begging the question and still be absolutely right in my conclusion:
- All shiny objects in the sky are stars
- the sun is a shiny object in the sky
therefore - the sun is a star.
As you can see, I've been begging the question, but still, my conclusion is right.
You need to do more than that to prove impossibility. As, remember YOU said it [another source for logic than God] was IMPOSSIBLE. So YOU need to prove that.


I gave you another source, all you did is that I have an axiomatic base (equivalent to an argument begging the question). Yes, my axiom is "what I can observe in reality". I've never denied that. In order to prove that it is impossible, however, it is not enough to point out it uses an axiom.
Remember, you have an axiomic base also, it's called "the bible". Just stating that the bible is an axiom, and can not prove itself, does not make the things we learn from it impossible, but merely unproven.

Now, a last question:
”- An almighty God can break the laws of logic at any time;”
Um no, since the laws of logic are a reflection of His nature, and the way He thinks. God cannot be ‘not-God.’


I concur that 'almightyness' does not necessarily apply to God himself. It should, however, apply to the universe He supposedly created by His will.
So even if I buy your unproven argument that 'laws of logic are a reflection of His nature, and the way He thinks' (whatever that means) it should still be possible for Him to change the universe so that it does NOT reflect 'His nature' or else be unworthy of the label 'almighty' as he must admit constraints in creating nature.
In other words, prove me the almighty God cannot create things against His nature. Like, for instance, also the Devil or Evil.

Geert Arys said...

@Sye

God is the source of logic.

Surely, that's what basically unprovable. You have to prove the source of logic by using logic. You're always 'begging the question'...

Steven Carr said...

SYE
Logic holds universally, does not change, and is non-material as God is universal, does not change, and is non-material and logic is a reflection of how He thinks as He has revealed to us.

CARR
This is as gibberish as claiming that we can account for red things because they reflect this alleged god's red skin.

Sye doesn't realise that providing an explanation of something involves more than talking nonsense.

get_education said...

Sye claims that we are "begging the question that god cannot reveal the laws of logic to us in a way that we can be certain of it". But that is far from true. We are not convinced that there is any god.

Then he could claim that we are "begging the question that there is no god", but he is the one "begging the question that there is a god."

So, his "justification" relies on several things: "law","absolute", "abstract" (he need abstract to claim "immaterial"), and "universal." That in and of itself is called a charged argument (like the classic example of "have you stop beating your wife?").

So, he is "begging the question" that logis is "law", that it is "universal", that it is "immaterial", and that it is "absolute".

Many here have argued these points, but have not done so until Sye concedes.

Thus, Sye looks for an atheistic justification that makes all of those things true. Not only a justification as in "the origin of logic," but one that obviates logic as laws, absolute, universal, and abstract.

Now, we do not think we need all that, so, Sye can go to his "script" very easily, because when we answer we are "accepting" that logic is all of those things. But we do not actually think so. To this Sye responds: "then we cannot use it because then we can do whatever we want."

That is the whole thing. If we argue to experience and observation we cannot say with 100 certainty that the rules are all of that, and Sye jumps to "then they are useless and you can prove nothing, which makes my worldview the right one, because I can claim logic to be absolute ..."

So, his extremist view of what logic is, and that you cannot use it unless it is all of that is what the whole things rests upon.

I do not find any problem with an atheistic worldview. We might not be sure about the universal, invariant, absolute parts (we can be sure about the rules being abstractions). But that just means we have to rely on their consistency. Our standard is exactly that, they work, they have been sound so far, they are reliable. That is all we have. That is all Sye has too, but his appeal to god convinces him that he does not have this problem.

In summary, Sye's crap is a combination/simil of the "ultimate causation" (we do not think everything has a cause ...), and the "god of the gaps": If we do not know, god did it, which, with Sye, translates into: "since someone cannot be sure of anything about these rules with 100% certanity, god is the only possible standard." Then he says that only the christian god, just because he says so.

All of his crap relies on his very charged question/premises, plus his demand that if logic is not universal, invariant, and absolute, then he assumes we can make our own, and it cannot possibly work. He will never understand that it is not a question of making your own, but of whether making your own works.

G.E.

David B. Ellis said...

I just realized something. In all this lengthy discussion I haven't seen a single fellow christian defending Sye's position. They seem to be strangely silent.

Almost as if embarrassed for/by him (I would be too, back when I was a christian).

What is it? Is Sye all alone out there---believing that if God didn't exist that 2+2 wouldn't equal 4 (and what WOULD it equal, Sye?).

-------------------

1. Without laws of logic there are no logical impossibilities.

2. Laws of logic require the existence of God.

3. Therefore, if there is no God the logically impossible is possible.

4. But logical impossibilities cannot, by their nature, be possible under any circumstances (including the circumstance of there being no God).

5. Therefore premise 2 must be false (by the impossibility of the contrary).

The Celtic Chimp said...

Sye,

Can you justify why darkness is not bright green?

Can you justify why grass is not orange?

Can you justify why people can't read other peoples minds.

Logic is our description of the world as we find it, much like "Grass is green". We makes these laws in accordence with what we find to be true. The laws of logic are the foramilation of these findings. We have seen over and over again that the laws of logic are a useful tool in descerning truth.
If we lived in a different sort of universe, the laws of logic would be different.

The question could be rephrased as
"justify why the universe is the way it is."

There seems to be an idea in Sye's head that logic has some kind of substance or independant existence.
Being asked to prove logic is something like being asked to prove the gravity always makes things fall down to the ground instead of up into the sky. The answer is essentially "becasue it has always done that"

David B. Ellis said...

Another point:

I do not need a basis for the existence of abstract entities because there are no abstract entities.

By which I mean that I consider laws of logic/logical truths to be, not abstact entities which either exist or don't exist, but propositions which are either true or not true (in the case of laws of logic, necessarily true---that is, incapable of being false).

Propositions don't have the property of existing or not existing. They have the property of being true or false (and more specifically of being necessarily true, necessarily false, contingently true or contingently false).

Sye's whole challenge to provide a metaphysical "basis" for laws of logic is based on his misunderstanding of what laws of logic are.

Tim said...

There has been some interesting comments on this - since some are turning to what objects exist or not I thought I drop my thoughts into the pot.

The base of reality for me isn't "objects" but boundaries. They are the intrinsic. Boundaries are not things as such and are as indefinable as existence but I know they exist because I bump into them constantly.

Lower forms of awareness accept these boundaries implicitly. This awareness, by the virtue of boundaries, will construct edges on the basis of its scale. It is a process that is automatic - so to speak.

From my level of awareness I tend to view these given edges as "objects" and treat them as such. Higher consciousness adds to the process by allowing me to draw edges where none exist - I call these edges the abstract and the process "conceptual."

A necessary condition for objects to exist is boundaries. Awareness, by virtue of the process, is a sufficient condition for an object to exist. On the level of conceptual awareness, logic, due to its abstract nature, is called an immaterial object.

Whenever I think about the laws of logic they are contingent on the process of being aware. However, because of the nature of existence the moment I think of the laws of logic the boundaries intrinsic to reality makes logic a "real object" because they necessarily exist.

Billy said...

Almost as if embarrassed for/by him (I would be too, back when I was a christian).

I pointed out to him that even my christian friends say he has no argument - he asked me to prove he had a bad argument - that made me laugh!

Sye said "Simple fact is, I haven't a clue what you are talking about, and I do not intend to take the time to decipher it."

Way to go! Here how this sounds to me "I dont understand it, but I'm going to ignore it, cos I'm right despite you lot shooting my arguement down! - So there!"

Any time you want to demonstrate moral absolutes exists Sye, just say.......

Anytime you want to prove I am not god, just say.....

Anytime you want to show "the imposibility of the contrary", just wake me up.

Rayndeon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rayndeon said...

Stephen: So, perhaps we should now issue this challenge to Sye: we have provided an account of how we can be justified in believing the laws of logic. He hasn't. Therefore, we're justified in using logic against him. But he's not justified in using logic against us!

Exactly. I wonder how thin his patience would quickly run out if we used the same cop-outs on him too.

"Please prove to me that arguments have premises and conclusions..."

._.

James F. Elliott said...

Wouldn’t look too good having an amateur eviscerate it.

Sye is now committing the sin of Pride.

Fall on your knees and repent, knave!

James F. Elliott said...

Problem is, this makes logic contingent to past observations, and it loses its universality, and if you want to say that this particular form of argument WILL WORK, because it HAS WORKED, you are question begging.

Sye makes a point. But I have realized something: Sye never proved one of his basic premises -- are the laws of logic in truth universal, abstract, and invariate?

James F. Elliott said...

This begs the question...

I do not think this means what you think it means.

Nick said...

Sye said: "This begs the question that God cannot reveal that logic can be trusted via, or wholly apart from our senses, in such a way that we can be certain of it."

Prove it.

Nick said...

Sye said: "Sure I have. God is the source of logic. Logic holds universally, does not change, and is non-material as God is universal, does not change, and is non-material and logic is a reflection of how He thinks as He has revealed to us."

Prove it.

Rayndeon said...

Sye honestly thinks theism answers global skepticism. It can't get much worse than that. ._.

Nick said...

Sye said: "I will be glad to take on anyone who believes that any of those deities, or non-deities revealed anything to them in such a way that they can be certain of it."

Prove it.

Rayndeon said...

Never mind. I just forgot that Sye also thinks that it's a contentious premise that "arguments contain premises and a conclusion" (which is true by definition for crying out loud) and also doesn't appear to believe in fallacies. Anytime we call him out on a logical fallacy, he responds by saying "Please justify the standard of logic that says it's a fallacy."

._.

... ignoring of course that we already have...

Andrew Louis said...

Sye,
lets cover this again on this thread as James just touched upon it again as well.

You agreed that truth's do not exists void of a proposition. This shows that truth is systemic. When asked to name a truth that does exist void of one, you stated God and have been unable to come up with anything else.

Now, if you posit that Logic, Math and Morality are absolute and that as a result this is proof that God exists; then state for us an absolute truth that exists void of a proposition.

If you cannot do that, then as I've maintained all along, truth is systemic and your argument is simply:

1.) God exists.

And of course that's not a proof at all, it's just an assertion.

To state this another way, you're using something you have no proof for (absolute laws), to prove something that is supposed to have the characteristics you attribute to that which you don't have proof for.

SO WHERE IS YOUR PROOF SYE? You cannot say that the contrary is impossible because you haven't even established the validity of your original claim.

Sye TenB said...

Andrew said: You agreed that truth's do not exists void of a proposition.

Where?

Sye TenB said...

Rayndeon said:

’Never mind. I just forgot that Sye also thinks that it's a contentious premise that "arguments contain premises and a conclusion"

Actually, it’s unargued for. Now you propose this argument: “(which is true by definition for crying out loud)” and I say that my premise is “true by the impossibility of the contrary for crying out loud!” How do you like your argument now?

”and also doesn't appear to believe in fallacies.”

Sure I do, but I can account for the standard of logic by which we can call anything fallacious, you cannot. (This is where you refer to all your posts where you did not).

Cheers,

Sye

Sye TenB said...

Rayndeon said:

"Sye honestly thinks theism answers global skepticism. It can't get much worse than that."

Um, is it absolutely true that theism doesn't answer global skepticism?

Cheers,

Sye

Sye TenB said...

The Celtic Chimp said:

"The question could be rephrased as
"justify why the universe is the way it is."


So, if your argument is "It's just that way," then I counter with "God exists, it's just that way!"

How do you like your argument now?

Cheers,

Sye

Rayndeon said...

Sye:

Actually, it’s unargued for.

Because it's a definition.

._.

Do we have to argue as to why bachelors are unmarried?

How do you like your argument now?

The same since the two are dissimilar. The premise "an argument contains premises and conclusions" is a definition. The premise "No non-Christian worldview can account for logic and induction" is not.

Sure I do, but I can account for the standard of logic by which we can call anything fallacious, you cannot.

Where have you done this? Where have you shown that the contrary is impossible? You've certainly asserted the contrary is impossible and questioned us as to our worldviews - but nowhere have you provide a deductive argument that it is impossible for any non-Christian view to account for logic and induction or be compatible with logic and induction.

(This is where you refer to all your posts where you did not).

Did you miss this post? Or how about this post? Or what about this post? Are you sure you haven't seen this one? Not even this one? Or this?

Perhaps you should read before responding?

Um, is it absolutely true that theism doesn't answer global skepticism?

Yup.

Andrew Louis said...

Sye,
you said:
"Andrew said: You agreed that truth's do not exists void of a proposition.

Where?"

I asked you to name something that was true void of a proposition, you stated God.

So if you can think of anything else, please enlighten us.

Andrew Louis said...

Sye,
point being, prove that logic, math and morality is absolute. God is not a sufficient answer consider the above three you use as proof. See my previous post again.

Paul Power said...

A question:

Sye argued thus:

"1. God is the necessary precondition for logic (by the impossiblity of the contrary).
2. Logic exists
3. Therefore God exists."

Sye asks:
"How can you atheists justify the laws of logic? How can you know that the laws of logic hold true?"

Surely Sye has the same problem? He requires the validity of logic to prove the existence of God (point 2 above must be true) and so cannot use the existence of God (point 3 above) to prove it.

James F. Elliott said...

All Sye has is semantics and the glory of his own ignorance. There are compelling, fascinating, and challenging arguments for theism. Sye has not presented one. He is a fool, full of hubris and guilty of every fallacy and sin he accuses us of.

He is a waste of limited resources and as such, were he truly a selfless Christian interested in the well-being of his fellow man, he would kill himself today.

anticant said...

For “semantics” read casuistry, sophistry, quibbling, equivocation.

“Who’s there, i’th’other devil’s name? Faith, here’s an equivocator, that could swear in both the scales against either scale; who committed treason enough for God’s sake, yet could not equivocate to heaven. O, come in, equivocator.”

- Shakespeare, “Macbeth”, II.iii.

Anonymous said...

Well I've skipped a couple of posts like I said to give Sye time to read "The God of Eth".
Plenty of time for me to cut the lawn and replenish the anti-tove pellets round the sundial.


Geert Arys said

"Now, my question is: if math needs axioms, why not logic?"

and the challenge as in maths and other disciplines is to find the
simplest and most universal set which can be used in any interesting way.

I gather it is possible to get from the concept of matching things up in pairs to at least integers and hence a good deal of maths.

For logic, the most primitive I've seen is that based on Spencer-Browns treatise which starts off with an
abstract space containing nothing then assumes you can draw a boundary in it,
distinguish one side of the boundary from the other and cross the boundary.
From that he manages to get our familiar Boolean algebra. (Neat tie in with Tims comment here )

Cant see why the ability to distinguish and cross isn't in the definition of boundary,
thereby making it a system with one axiom.

Another point on the maths front is that it is often justifiable to define things recursively and indeed to prove things by (mathematical) induction. This is not the same as Hume's famous problem of course.


Sye: What did you think of "the God of Eth"?

Anonymous said...

james f elliot:

He is probably in dread of what awaits him on the other side. ....a seat in the 8th circle I guess.

Anonymous said...

Re : Support from other Christians?

I believe that there have been at least two here - one of the kyle's (who pointed out flaws in the "Proof") and Rev Sam who expressed agreement with Stephen and promptly excused himself.

Any other theists?

Samuel Skinner said...

This is known as the transendential argument. Having not gone through the entire list of comments, I don't know is my points have been raised yet, still...

1) Logic is based on evidence.
2) Logic is NOT universal (see quantum mechanics)

I'm prettty sure the cat paradox violates A cannot be A and not A at the same time.

As for using logic it comes from evidence. The rules of logic had to be invented and codified- and they were justified that something that wasn't logic is internally inconsistant.

It is an assumption about our universe that it is internally consistant... if it was false... unimaginable.

Sye is assuming everyone views logic like a platonic construct, but it isn't- it is like the scientific method. It has been developed and made so that it fits reality.

Anonymous said...

samuel skinner said "I'm prettty sure the cat paradox violates A cannot be A and not A at the same time."

I take it you mean Shrodingers cat.
It is theoretically in neither the alive state or the dead state until you open the box. It exists (if that is the right word) in a superposition of the two states. < alive | dead >

I think it is true to say that it cannot be both < alive | dead > and < dead | alive > at the same time.

scott gray said...

is it just me, or does the final link to disney.com at the end of sye's website questionaire make hin nothing more than a really clever spammer? sye, how much do you make every time that disney site comes up?

JG said...

Sye:

Are you stating that it is impossible for logic to exist without the Christian God?

Sye TenB said...

JG said: "Are you stating that it is impossible for logic to exist without the Christian God?"

Actually, what I am stating is that God is the necessary precondition for logic, and that logic exists.

Cheers,

Sye

Sye TenB said...

Scott Gray said:”is it just me, or does the final link to disney.com at the end of sye's website questionaire make hin nothing more than a really clever spammer? sye, how much do you make every time that disney site comes up?”

Not a penny. It’s a joke man.

Cheers,

Sye

Sye TenB said...

David B. Ellis said: "Propositions don't have the property of existing or not existing. They have the property of being true or false"

So, if propostions do not exist, what are they then?

Cheers,

Sye

Stephen Law said...

There's a new post on this topic.

Sye TenB said...

James F. Elliot said: "He is a waste of limited resources and as such, were he truly a selfless Christian interested in the well-being of his fellow man, he would kill himself today."

I'm going to post that one, and this one: "I wish I could hate you to death." in my 'negative feedback' section.

Thanks,

Sye

P.S. Just so that my response on the site is accurate, my response to both of those comments is:

Methinks thou dost protest too much

JG said...

@Sye

"Actually, what I am stating is that God is the necessary precondition for logic, and that logic exists."

Why is God the necessary precondition for logic?

Sye TenB said...

GE said: ”Sye claims that we are "begging the question that god cannot reveal the laws of logic to us in a way that we can be certain of it". But that is far from true. We are not convinced that there is any god.”

So then you could not know that God could not reveal things to us in such a way that we can know them for certain. Um, that’s exactly what I’m saying.

”So, his "justification" relies on several things: "law","absolute", "abstract" (he need abstract to claim "immaterial"), and "universal." That in and of itself is called a charged argument (like the classic example of "have you stop beating your wife?").”

Which characteristic of the laws of logic do you deny? Do you deny that they are universal, absract, or invariant?

”Now, we do not think we need all that, so, Sye can go to his "script" very easily, because when we answer we are "accepting" that logic is all of those things. But we do not actually think so. To this Sye responds: "then we cannot use it because then we can do whatever we want."

Nope, to this I respond, “Thanks man, for admitting that you do not live consistently with what you believe – which is my point.”

”That is the whole thing. If we argue to experience and observation we cannot say with 100 certainty that the rules are all of that, and Sye jumps to "then they are useless and you can prove nothing, which makes my worldview the right one, because I can claim logic to be absolute ..."

Um no, then I say that the laws become contingent, and lose their universality.

”I do not find any problem with an atheistic worldview.”

You will.

”We might not be sure about the universal, invariant, absolute parts (we can be sure about the rules being abstractions).”

Please tell me how you can be sure about this.

”But that just means we have to rely on their consistency. Our standard is exactly that, they work, they have been sound so far, they are reliable.”

Um, how did you determine that ‘they have been sound so far,’ and that ‘they are reliable’ without logic???

”That is all we have.”

Yip, a hopelessly circular argument.

”That is all Sye has too”

I still find it hard to believe that you people say stuff like this, basically “I can’t know anything, but I know that you can’t know anything either.”

”In summary, Sye's crap is a combination/simil of the "ultimate causation" (we do not think everything has a cause ...), and the "god of the gaps": If we do not know, god did it,”

Um, no, it’s “We do know – God did it :-) Big difference. That would be like me saying that your answer to what is 2 + 2, is ‘4 of the gaps’. You beg the question by assuming that God is not the right answer.

”He will never understand that it is not a question of making your own, but of whether making your own works.”

And how is it that you determine if anything ‘works’ without FIRST assuming the validity of the laws of logic?

Cheers,

Sye

(This is where you say that you are not arguing with me, so you don’t have to answer me).

get_education said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
get_education said...

Um, no, it’s “We do know – God did it :-) Big difference. That would be like me saying that your answer to what is 2 + 2, is ‘4 of the gaps’. You beg the question by assuming that God is not the right answer.

You beg the thousand questions by assuming that god is the right answer.

It is the "we do not know, thus god did it." Whether you like it or not. Look at your argument: "Atheists cannot account for logic, I can." But your account is god did it. Thus, Atheists can't" = god did it. GOD OF THE GAPS. Argue as much as you want a god of the gaps it stays. My whole description is also correct, no matter how much you deny it.

Again: You are as limited by your experience as ourselves. You just assume that there is a god who makes you certain beyond your limited experience, but a fantasy does not make you certainty better than ours. It is better only in your imagination: GODOFTHEGAPS.

Your 2+2= "4 of the gaps." Come on Sye! This does not work. It shows me nothing, except that you have no idea of what you are saying. You already used this and you were answered. You think I forgot?

Your whole post just confirms my descriptions Sye.

So,

1. You do not have to like my answer, but I did answer.

2. Your argument begs lots of questions, is "hopelessly circular," and it is a GOD OF THE GAPS worldview.

This is where you say something else out of your script, assume too much, mock, and THEN I say I am not arguing with you.

G.E.

David B. Ellis said...


So, if propostions do not exist, what are they then?


I concede that you have a valid objection and so I modify my position in the following way:

I should have said that they do not have, nor need, an INDEPENDENT existence (and therefore no metaphysical "basis" other than that which we already know exists---our minds, the ones that are thinking them).

Propositions exist as thoughts in people's minds.

The particular nature of the sorts of propositions called logical truths is that they cannot, under any circumstance, be false.

As in, 2+2=4 can never be false.

If you claim there are no laws of logic if there is no God then you are claiming 2+2 doesn't necessarily equal 4 if there is no God.

You are claiming that atheism accomplishes what even God can't:

making the logically impossible possible.

Nick said...

Sye said: "...God is the necessary precondition for logic"

Prove it

Nick said...

Sye said: "So then you could not know that God could not reveal things to us in such a way that we can know them for certain. Um, that’s exactly what I’m saying."

Prove that God really exists and actually does this.

Nick said...

Sye Said: "Um, no, it’s “We do know – God did it"

Prove it

Sye TenB said...

Nick said: "Prove it"

Interestingly Nick, your very demand for proof shows a precommittment to the concept of proof, which cannot be accounted for outside of God.

I'd ask how you account for the foundations of proof itself, logic, knowledge, and truth, but I know you'd dodge the question.

Cheers,

Sye

Nick said...

Sye Said: "Interestingly Nick, your very demand for proof shows a precommittment to the concept of proof, which cannot be accounted for outside of God."

prove it!

"I'd ask how you account for the foundations of proof itself, logic, knowledge, and truth, but I know you'd dodge the question"

I'd ask you too, but I know you'd just repeat the same old assertions...

Sye TenB said...

David B. Ellis said: "Propositions exist as thoughts in people's minds."

So, are the laws of logic only thoughts in people's minds?

"If you claim there are no laws of logic if there is no God then you are claiming 2+2 doesn't necessarily equal 4 if there is no God."

No, I am claiming that it necessarily equals 4 (in base ten mathematics), BECAUSE God exists. But, are you saying that 2 + 2 does not necessarily equal 4 if there are no human minds to contain that 'truth?'

Cheers,

Sye

Nick said...

Sye said: "I'd ask how you account for the foundations of proof itself, logic, knowledge, and truth, but I know you'd dodge the question."

Furthermore, I have posted the following link several times, but heard not a peep from you about it. So, who's dodging the question here? Certainly not I. By the way, if you think that Martin's argument is wrong, then let's see your rebuttal [oh wait, don't tell me, let me guess, it's wrong because of 'the impossibility of the contrary']

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

Sye TenB said...

GE said: "My whole description is also correct, no matter how much you deny it."

You remind me of the kid who is mad at his father, pulls the sheets up over his head and screams: "You don't exists Dad, no matter how much you deny it."

I'd ask if your 'whole descritption' is absolutely true, but we know what you'd do then.

Cheers,

Sye

James F. Elliott said...

"Methinks thou dost protest too much"

Which makes no sense. Much like all else you say.

Geert Arys said...

But, are you saying that 2 + 2 does not necessarily equal 4 if there are no human minds to contain that 'truth?'

In the same way the French language will be gone.

Sye TenB said...

@James F. Elliot,

I said: "Methinks thou dost protest too much"

You said: "Which makes no sense. Much like all else you say."

Perhaps you should take that up with Mr. Shakespeare. (He's a 16th century playwright)(He wrote a similar line in a little play he did called "Hamlet" act 3 scene 2)

Cheers,

Sye