Friday, August 1, 2008

Logic and God (IV)

Addressing the question:

(1) How is it even possible for there to be objective laws of logic in the absence of the Christian God?

I pointed out that atheists simply deny the existence of God - they are free to be idealists, substance dualists, Platonists, etc. There is no immediate problem for them accommodating laws of logic.

But Sye presses his challenge: what explains and underpins these laws, then, if not the Christian God?

One possible answer: maybe nothing does. Maybe they just obtain, period.

Or maybe they don't need underpinning, because the question "What makes them necessary?" is itself confused (I quite like this answer, actually).

It won't do to say, Sye: "But you are just claiming that the laws of logic may just be true, period, not arguing specifically that they are just true, period" as you do.

After all, it is you that's insisting an atheist cannot accommodate objective laws of logic, not we who are insisting we can (some of us don't, in fact). Hey, perhaps we can't! I am here to be persuaded. But the onus is on you to show we can't. For it is you that's claiming there can be no laws of logic without the Christian God.

I have simply suggested that this may be true - that there are objective laws of logic, period - you have not shown that it can't be true that the laws of logic just are true, period, i.e. are not made true by some yet deeper fact.

The onus is now on you to show that this can't be true. Perhaps you can, but I am interested to see how.

Of course, at this point you'll probably just switch to question (2): but how do you, Stephen, justify your use of the laws of logic? But that's a different question. I am currently addressing question (1). You have yet to show this particular suggestion re. question (1) won't do.

Of course, even if you could show that this particular answer won't do, that would not establish your claim that the laws of logic can't exist without the Christian God.

There are very many other atheist responses available, which you are also going to have to shoot down. One by one.

And even then you are not done - you are also going to have to deal with the serious problem that there are innumerable other dieties who might account for the laws of logic, dieties that have the advantage that there's not overwhelming evidence against their existence (as there is against your God: the problem of evil). Why not a god that is necessary, all-powerful, but morally neutral, say? Rule that god out, please.

46 comments:

Jackie said...

Maybe we should have Sye prove that the laws of logic are universal and unchanging. Given the two-slit experiment in which a single photon manages to interfere with itself, and in which photons act differently depending on whether they are being observed, I'm not sure that logic holds for sub-atomic particles.

Sye TenB said...

Stephen Law said:

“I pointed out that atheists simply deny the existence of God - they are free to be idealists, substance dualists, Platonists, etc. There is no immediate problem for them accommodating laws of logic.”


I guess we’ll see about that, but what are you and how do YOU account for the laws of logic?

”One possible answer: maybe nothing does. Maybe they just obtain, period.”

But that is hardly an argument. If nothing does, on what basis do you proceed with the expectation that they will not change? This also ignores the universal law-like characteristic of logic. How do you know ANYTHING to be universally true, and what makes logic law-like? Why can violations of the laws of logic not be true?

”Or maybe they don't need underpinning, because the question "What makes them necessary?" is itself confused (I quite like this answer, actually).”

Of course, because it is a non-answer. It’s like me asking you what makes logic law-like, and you saying “It’s just that way,” but surely you would not accept that from me: “God exists, it’s just that way.” If that is what this is reduced to, we can just make our respective statements and leave, but I was hoping for debate.

”After all, it is you that's insisting an atheist cannot accommodate objective laws of logic, not we who are insisting we can (some of us don't, in fact). Hey, perhaps we can't! I am here to be persuaded. But the onus is on you to show we can't. For it is you that's claiming there can be no laws of logic without the Christian God.”

I am asking how uiversal, abstract, invariant laws make sense in your worldview, if you have no answer, I’m fine with that, as that is exactly my point.

”There are very many other atheist responses available, which you are also going to have to shoot down. One by one.”

Which I will gladly do, if they are positted by those who actually hold that particular position. I do not have the time to address worldviews that neither of us hold.

”And even then you are not done - you are also going to have to deal with the serious problem that there are innumerable other dieties who might account for the laws of logic,”

Again, if someone here wishes to posit a deity which they believe in, that accounts for the universal, absract, invariant laws of logic, I will be happy to engage them.

Cheers,

Sye

Nick said...

Sye,

"I am asking how uiversal, abstract, invariant laws make sense in your worldview"

And we're asking you to demonstrate by means of a sound logical argument that logic can only be accounted for in your worldview - as you repeatedly assert, but conspicuously fail to prove..

Anonymous said...

Sye said "Why can violations of the laws of logic not be true?"

What would such a violation look like? That is to say how would we actually recognize one? Indeed an we have any idea of what the effects of such a violation might mean to us?

Anonymous said...

Sye said "Why can violations of the laws of logic not be true?"

What would such a violation look like? That is to say how would we actually recognize one? Indeed an we have any idea of what the effects of such a violation might mean to us?

Anonymous said...

jackie - I don't think single photons pose Sye a problem. As you said it is when a photon is observed it behaves in a way appropriate to the observation. The "behaves as" is the get out.

In any case I didn't think Sye made any claims about physical laws (Did you Sye??)

splittter said...

Sye,

You seem to be possibly in arguing in two ways:

A

1) God could possibly explain the law of logic
2) No-one has ever presented another explanation of the Laws of Logic
3) Therefore God is necessary for the Laws of logic

B

1) God could explain the law of logic
2) There is no other possible explanation of the laws of logic
3) Therefore God is necessary for the Laws of logic

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

I take it you can see that

- A isn't actually a valid argument
- B requires 2) to be itself proven

anticant said...

Sye says: "surely you would not accept that from me: “God exists, it’s just that way.” If that is what this is reduced to, we can just make our respective statements and leave." But that is EXACTLY what Sye has been saying throughout this series of threads!

He adds: "but I was hoping for debate." Really? If he showed the slightest sign of comprehending that debate consists of aomething more than reiterated assertion, I might just possibly believe him....

David B. Ellis said...

Sye's argument proceeds from the premise that it is possible for a circumstance to exist where, for example, 2+2 does not equal 4 (that circumstance being the nonexistence of God).

A premise which is, as Stephen puts it "contentious" (to say the least!) and, so far, unargued for.


If nothing does, on what basis do you proceed with the expectation that they will not change?


How would the correct answer to the question "what does 2+2 equal" ever change? The very idea is an absurdity.



I am asking how uiversal, abstract, invariant laws make sense in your worldview....


And Stephen already answered that. There is nothing about the nonexistence of God which would tend to make the existence of such things implausible.

Its like asking "how does the existence of bagels make sense in a world where children are born with terrible genetic disorders".

There is nothing about the first which makes the second implausible and therefore nothing to account for.


Sye said "Why can violations of the laws of logic not be true?"


Again, I point out that your argument concerning God being necessary for the existence of "laws of logic" involves an implicit internal contradiction:

You contend that God must exist for there to be laws of logic.

But laws of logic are propositions which are necessarily true (they cannot under any circumstance be false). Example: "internally contradictory statements are never true" is a law of logic.

To claim that there is a circumstance (the truth of atheism) where there would be no laws of logic contradicts the definition of "law of logic".

So statements like "God must exist for there to be laws of logic" are internally contradictory and therefore necessarily false.

Stephen Law said...

hey Sye - response to my God of Eth?

David B. Ellis said...

Good luck getting him to respond to such requests, Stephen.

The strategy of presuppositionalism is to always play offense, never defense.

im_michael_young said...

It is painfully apparent that Sye and Prof. Law are talking past each other. Law endeavors to show Sye that his demands are intellectually illegitimate. Sye then repeats his demands. It's all very depressing.

In general, I think Sye is making a classic kind of theistic 'argument':

Theist: "Explain, you atheist, how possibly (morality, the meaning of life, the existence of the universe, the existence of complex life, the laws of the universe)(pick your favorite) on your atheistic viewpoint or else admit that God must exist."

This sort of 'argument' (really, a cheap rhetorical move) happens repeatedly in theist-atheist debates (nearly every one I've ever reviewed, which is a couple dozen anyway). And we're seeing it here.

James F. Elliott said...

This also ignores the universal law-like characteristic of logic.

Wah-hah! "Universal law-like" is quite a concession there. Sye is implicitly conceding that we cannot know if the "laws of logic" are universal, only not-yet inapplicable.

Though I do kind of agree with Sye on one point. I don't feel like Stephen really answered Sye's question. That said...

Again, if someone here wishes to posit a deity which they believe in, that accounts for the universal, absract, invariant laws of logic, I will be happy to engage them.

Really? Were we to concede your "proof," for the sake of argument, all you have done is offer "proof" for the monotheistic conception of an omnipotent god. At best, you've provided a "proof" for the god of the Old Testament.

Please explain how your proof obtains to the Christian iteration. What, in your proof, accounts for the New Testament?

Anonymous said...

anticant - it does rather put me in mind of that Python sketch where the man says
"Is this a five minute argument or the full half hour?"

micheal_young - I think it s not quite true to say they are "talking past each other"; that seems to imply a degree of symmetry which does not exist. It looks as if Dr. Law has made several serious attempts to understand Sye's position and to get Sye to clarify it whereas in the other direction...

James F. Elliott - Indeed it needn't get as far as the Old Testament. Deism is quite as plausible by Sye's account. Even to the extent that God only existed up to the moment of Creation of a self sustaining Universe and then ceased to exist or simply went away.

im_michael_young said...

Anonymous - fairly put.

Steelman said...

Sye said to SL, regarding the laws of logic and the accounting for thereof: "If nothing does, on what basis do you proceed with the expectation that they will not change?"

Sye, I don't see how believing logic proceeds from the Christian God helps your side either. I'll explain why below.

I think you stated earlier (somewhere) we know about Him because he has revealed Himself to us. By "revealed" I trust you mean, at least in part, the Bible? If so, Yahweh changed his mind a number of times about various things: whether or not people should live in a paradise (Garden of Eden), and if creation was good or bad (pleased with himself in Genesis 1, lamenting his act of creation in Genesis 6:6-7), for example.

He's even changed the way the physical universe operates, by reversing the rotation of the Earth (Isaiah 38:8 ). Although, the audience Isaiah was originally written for probably took that supposed phenomenon to be pushing the sun backward.

There are further examples in the Bible of God changing his mind about how things are done.

Sye, do you believe the laws of physics, like the laws of logic, come from God and would not exist without Him? If so, then I need to ask: if God can defy the laws of physics, as he did in Isaiah, can he not also defy the laws of logic?

And wouldn't that also leave those who hold your worldview in the same situation you believe atheists to be: without justification for the expectation that the laws of logic will always hold?

Sye TenB said...

Splitter said:

“I take it you can see that
- A isn't actually a valid argument
- B requires 2) to be itself proven


Neither are my argument. It is not that God could explain the laws of logic, it is that God is the necessary precondition of the laws of logic.

Cheers,

Sye

anticant said...

"God is the necessary precondition of the laws of logic."

Another repetitive assertion - as usual, with no supporting proof.

anticant said...

On another of these proliferating threads, Steven Carr logically points out that "as Sye believes in the supernatural, he is automatically disqualified from taking part in rational debate."

I look forward eagerly to Sye's rational proof [as distinct from mere assertion] of the existence and nature of the supernatural.

Sye TenB said...

David B. Ellis said:

“Again, I point out that your argument concerning God being necessary for the existence of "laws of logic" involves an implicit internal contradiction:”


Naturally I disagree, but why are contradictions not allowed according to your worldview?

”You contend that God must exist for there to be laws of logic.
But laws of logic are propositions which are necessarily true (they cannot under any circumstance be false). Example: "internally contradictory statements are never true" is a law of logic. To claim that there is a circumstance (the truth of atheism) where there would be no laws of logic contradicts the definition of "law of logic".


That is not my claim. It is my claim that the laws of logic do exist, and that God is the necessary precondition for their existence.

”So statements like "God must exist for there to be laws of logic" are internally contradictory and therefore necessarily false.”

Again, the statement is "God is the necessary precondition of the laws of logic." If you wish to demonstrate how the laws of logic can exist without God, that is up to you, and would be your claim, not mine.

Cheers,

Sye

Sye TenB said...

@ anticant,

I said: ”God is the necessary precondition of the laws of logic."

You said: ”Another repetitive assertion - as usual, with no supporting proof.”

It is proven by the impossibility of the contrary. No other worldview can account for the universal, abstract, invariant laws of logic.

”I look forward eagerly to Sye's rational proof [as distinct from mere assertion] of the existence and nature of the supernatural”

You don’t believe in the supernatural??? Alright then, please show me where in nature I can find the laws of logic?

Cheers,

Sye

James F. Elliott said...

It is proven by the impossibility of the contrary.

Prove it.

You have stated here that "God is the necessary precondition for the laws of logic," which you claim are absolute, invariable, and abstract. However, you have also claimed in other threads that the laws of logic are a part of god, parcel to its nature. God, in the Christian conception (the God you insist is the precondition for the laws of logic), is predicated upon the concept of idolatry, which includes "God is a member of no set, including the set of those beings which are not parts of sets." This is a contradiction.

Elsewhere, you asked "Why are contradictions not allowed?" An argument whose premise is a contradiction cannot be true -- this is one of your absolute laws of logic. God, your precondition for the absolute (your word!) laws of logic violates a law of logic.

Sye TenB said...

Steelman said:

”I think you stated earlier (somewhere) we know about Him because he has revealed Himself to us. By "revealed" I trust you mean, at least in part, the Bible? If so, Yahweh changed his mind a number of times about various things: whether or not people should live in a paradise (Garden of Eden), and if creation was good or bad (pleased with himself in Genesis 1, lamenting his act of creation in Genesis 6:6-7), for example.”

Again, I do not take my Biblical exegesis from those who deny the Bible’s authority. But, just so you don’t think I am ducking your claim, God did not change His mind about whether people should live in the Garden of Eden. Only people without sin were to live there. God did not change His mind about His creation, it was good, and was made bad by sin, and God’s lamenting creation was merely an anthropomorphosis.

”He's even changed the way the physical universe operates, by reversing the rotation of the Earth (Isaiah 38:8 ). Although, the audience Isaiah was originally written for probably took that supposed phenomenon to be pushing the sun backward.”

Miracles, when they occurred, were extremely rare, so people were, and are, justified in proceeding on the assumption that nature will most likely be uniform based on the governing hand of God. You, on the other hand, have zero basis for proceeding on the assumption that nature is uniform.

”There are further examples in the Bible of God changing his mind about how things are done.”

Which will be interpreted subject to our respective presuppositions. The difference being, that my presupposition is consistent with the universal, abstract, invariant laws of logic that you are trying to employ against my worldview, while yours is not.

”Sye, do you believe the laws of physics, like the laws of logic, come from God and would not exist without Him? If so, then I need to ask: if God can defy the laws of physics, as he did in Isaiah, can he not also defy the laws of logic?”

No. The laws of logic are a part of God’s nature, and a reflection of the way He thinks, the laws of physics are created by God.

Cheers,

Sye

Nutcasenightmare said...

Stephen Law said: “I pointed out that atheists simply deny the existence of God - they are free to be idealists, substance dualists, Platonists, etc. There is no immediate problem for them accommodating laws of logic.”

Sye: "I guess we’ll see about that, but what are you and how do YOU account for the laws of logic?"

Ah, Sye, never considering viewpoints outside of the members of the debate.

===================

Anyway, in addition to all other religious gods that reveal themselves and come down in mortal form, (like Vishnu) idealism, substance dualism, and Platonism are all non-Christian alternatives to account for logic.

..So Sye, please show that all these alternatives are wrong, and please tell us what is SO special about your God that he has to be the only thing that can account for logic.

If you can't, then these alternatives would work as well as the Christian God. (We can show why some of them are wrong, but apparently you can't.)

im_michael_young said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sye TenB said...

Im_Michael_Young said:

"God cannot be the precondition of logic if 'logic is "part of" God's nature."'

God is the necessary precondition of logic BECAUSE logic is a part of His nature.

Cheers,

Sye

anticant said...

No, Sye, I DON’T believe in the supernatural. There is no convincing evidence for its existence, except for the unsupported assertions of illogical, irrational persons such as yourself who keep on parroting meaningless phrases such as “the impossibility of the contrary”.

Nor do I believe that the mis-named “laws” of logic are universal, abstract, or invariant. They are simply linguistic verbal tools historically evolved by deeper thinkers than you or I to ensure that discussion is fruitful by avoiding inconsistency. There is nothing “sacred” or unchangeable about them. Like any other working tools, they are subject to modification when found to be fallacious and unfit for purpose. You do not seem to understand the distinction between abstract concepts and verbal conventions.

As your arguments are completely circular, boringly repetitive, and unscientific in Popperian terms because they are merely unfalsifiable assertions and not testable hypotheses, I can only assume that your intention is not to convince anyone of their truth, but simply to bore the pants off your critics so that they give up in sheer exasperation and you can claim to have “won’ the argument.

If that makes you feel good, you are welcome to your hollow victory!

Sye TenB said...

anticant said:

No, Sye, I DON’T believe in the supernatural. There is no convincing evidence for its existence,”

So, you feel comfortable in asserting a universal negative eh?

”except for the unsupported assertions of illogical, irrational persons such as yourself “

By what standard of logic am I illogical, or irrational, how do you account for that standard, and why does that standard necessarily apply to me?

”Nor do I believe that the mis-named “laws” of logic are universal, abstract, or invariant. They are simply linguistic verbal tools historically evolved by deeper thinkers than you or I to ensure that discussion is fruitful by avoiding inconsistency.”

So, why aren’t there many confliciting laws of logic developed by different cultures and their own ‘deep thinkers.’ If there were, would those laws be deemed equally valid? If not, why not? What did these deep thinkers base the laws of logic upon, and how are they not contingent only to those things? Why do laws of logic ‘evolved by deep thinkers’ in the past, apply so consistently, and why do they apply today, or do they?

”There is nothing “sacred” or unchangeable about them. Like any other working tools, they are subject to modification when found to be fallacious and unfit for purpose.”

Um by what standard would one deem a law of logic to be fallacious if not by an overriding logical standard???

”You do not seem to understand the distinction between abstract concepts and verbal conventions.”

If the laws of logic are but a verbal convention, I make a new law of logic which states that anyone who argues as you do is arguing fallaciously! Hey, making laws of logic is fun!

”As your arguments are completely circular, boringly repetitive, and unscientific in Popperian terms because they are merely unfalsifiable assertions and not testable hypotheses,”

Um, is that absolutely fallacious, or only fallacious according to your convention, or is that fallacious at all?

”I can only assume that your intention is not to convince anyone of their truth, but simply to bore the pants off your critics so that they give up in sheer exasperation and you can claim to have “won’ the argument.”

Nope, it is usually those who are losing that claim victory :-D

Cheers,

Sye

Steelman said...

Sye said: "Again, I do not take my Biblical exegesis from those who deny the Bible’s authority."

I appreciate you not ducking this question. However, I don't think you have a rational basis for this rule, which is similar to the statements you've made about not discussing world views that neither party holds. I could could give a lecture at a bar on the importance of proper nutrition and sobriety, while admitting to that fun loving crowd that I down a bottle of whiskey and smoke two packs of cigarettes on a daily basis, yet my unhealthy actions would have no bearing on the truth or falsity of the words in my lecture notes.

So, please, lets cut out the not so subtle ad hominem nonsense, eh? Arguments stand or fall on their own merits, regardless of the source. Do you agree?

Sye said: "But, just so you don’t think I am ducking your claim, God did not change His mind about whether people should live in the Garden of Eden."

You may be right, Sye. Personally, I think he had it in for them from the beginning the way he set things up. Nonetheless, surely though there was a change of mind in Exodus 32:9-14? There's Moses talking Him out of one decision and into another. Although, something you said below gives me an idea how you might answer this...

"God did not change His mind about His creation, it was good, and was made bad by sin, and God’s lamenting creation was merely an anthropomorphosis."

So, that part of the Bible (regarding Noah and the flood), which directly quotes God as lamenting his creation, is merely an anthropomorphic bit of literary license? So, I guess the Bible isn't a good guide for learning about the nature of God after all? If this is the case, is there some independent source that reveals God's nature, other than your words here or on your site, where we can find the proper facts?

Regarding the earth/sun standing still, Sye said: "Miracles, when they occurred, were extremely rare, so people were, and are, justified in proceeding on the assumption that nature will most likely be uniform based on the governing hand of God. You, on the other hand, have zero basis for proceeding on the assumption that nature is uniform."

I don't see how this follows, Sye. If God can abridge the laws of physics any time he wants, then what assurance does anyone have that they will continue to be reliable? God could be breaking the laws of physics somewhere right now, yes? And why isn't this miracle just literary license, like God's pre-flood lament over his creation?

As for my basis for proceeding on the assumption that the laws of physics are uniform, it's based on observation. I could be wrong about this uniformity. It may not exist in other parts of the universe, or could change in this locale tomorrow, but so far I have no evidence for either one of those speculations.

I asked: ”Sye, do you believe the laws of physics, like the laws of logic, come from God and would not exist without Him? If so, then I need to ask: if God can defy the laws of physics, as he did in Isaiah, can he not also defy the laws of logic?”

And Sye replied: "No. The laws of logic are a part of God’s nature, and a reflection of the way He thinks, the laws of physics are created by God."

On what do you base this assertion? Why can't both sets of laws be created?

Sye TenB said...

Steelman said:

”I appreciate you not ducking this question. However, I don't think you have a rational basis for this rule, which is similar to the statements you've made about not discussing world views that neither party holds. I could could give a lecture at a bar on the importance of proper nutrition and sobriety, while admitting to that fun loving crowd that I down a bottle of whiskey and smoke two packs of cigarettes on a daily basis, yet my unhealthy actions would have no bearing on the truth or falsity of the words in my lecture notes.”

It’s not that I cannot answer conflicting claims, it’s just that I don’t see the point of refuting something neither of us believe. You see, if I do that, then the person could easily say: “Well, I didn’t believe that anyways, but what about this?” ad infinitum. I simply do not have the time for that. I will be happy to engage the conflicting claims that people hold, but, again, I don’t see the point in refuting positions neither of us hold. I am quite busy just answering the people that are already posting, (and unfortunately having to skip some), imagine that each of them posits ten claims that they do not hold, that, for me anyway, would be simply unmanageable.

”So, please, lets cut out the not so subtle ad hominem nonsense, eh? Arguments stand or fall on their own merits, regardless of the source. Do you agree?”

Yip, and I wish I had the time to refute positions that neither of us hold, but I simply do not, and also do not see the point.

”So, that part of the Bible (regarding Noah and the flood), which directly quotes God as lamenting his creation, is merely an anthropomorphic bit of literary license? So, I guess the Bible isn't a good guide for learning about the nature of God after all? If this is the case, is there some independent source that reveals God's nature, other than your words here or on your site, where we can find the proper facts?”

The best source for interpreting the Bible, is the Bible. Any interpretation, however, will be done subject to our respective presuppositions. Where you will look for discrepency, I will look for harmony. The question remains though, whose presuppositions can account for the laws of logic necessary for any interpretation?

I said: "Miracles, when they occurred, were extremely rare, so people were, and are, justified in proceeding on the assumption that nature will most likely be uniform based on the governing hand of God. You, on the other hand, have zero basis for proceeding on the assumption that nature is uniform."

You answered: ”I don't see how this follows, Sye. If God can abridge the laws of physics any time he wants, then what assurance does anyone have that they will continue to be reliable?”

God does not act capriciously, and controls the world in such a way that we can ‘subdue’ it, and expect uniformity, based on His commands and promises.

” God could be breaking the laws of physics somewhere right now, yes?”

I would argue that miracles are not of this age, but that is a whole other topic. There is also the argument that God does not break any natural law, but, when performing miracles, supercedes them.

” And why isn't this miracle just literary license, like God's pre-flood lament over his creation?”

Proper Biblical exegesis confirms that this is not the case.

”As for my basis for proceeding on the assumption that the laws of physics are uniform, it's based on observation.”

What observation tells you that the future will be (or even probably be) like the past?

”I could be wrong about this uniformity. It may not exist in other parts of the universe, or could change in this locale tomorrow, but so far I have no evidence for either one of those speculations.”

What is your evidence that nature IS uniform?

I said: "No. The laws of logic are a part of God’s nature, and a reflection of the way He thinks, the laws of physics are created by God."

You said: On what do you base this assertion?

On God’s revelation.

Cheers,

Sye

Rayndeon said...

Sye, I would really appreciate it if you addressed the points I made in the first "God and logic" thread. There are a number of points you keep continuing to make that I took the time to dissect a little while back, on both logic and induction.

anticant said...

I said: “No, Sye, I DON’T believe in the supernatural. There is no convincing evidence for its existence,”

Sye responds: “So, you feel comfortable in asserting a universal negative eh?”

What I am asserting is that there is no convincing evidence for [the] existence [of the supernatural] apart from unsupported assertions, and yes – I feel quite comfortable in asserting that! Of course, Sye is welcome to produce evidence that would convince not just himself, but me, if he has any.

Sye asks: “By what standard of logic am I illogical, or irrational, how do you account for that standard, and why does that standard necessarily apply to me?” The first two points have been answered by many others on these threads many times. They necessarily apply to Sye because he chooses to be illogical and irrational.

Sye asks “Why do laws of logic ‘evolved by deep thinkers’ in the past, apply so consistently, and why do they apply today, or do they?” Since the subject of logic is consistency, inconsistent arguments are by definition illogical. Logic only applies when it is consistent. The only consistency Sye shows is stubborn illogicality.

I said: ”As your arguments are completely circular, boringly repetitive, and unscientific in Popperian terms because they are merely unfalsifiable assertions and not testable hypotheses,” Sye responded: “Um, is that absolutely fallacious, or only fallacious according to your convention, or is that fallacious at all?”

Presumably by “that” Sye means Popper’s principle that assertions which cannot be tested for validity are not scientific hypotheses. No – it is not fallacious. Sye’s contention that the universe, physical existence and mental activity emanate from God is an untestable hypothesis, and therefore unscientific.

Sye’s closed thought loop is unbreachable, and in his eyes invincible. No use saying to him, as Oliver Cromwell did to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, “I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible you may be mistaken.”

David B. Ellis said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
David B. Ellis said...

Sye, if God did not exist would it be possible for internally contradictory statements to be true?

If yes, why do you think so?

And, if not, why are we having this discussion?

Nick said...

"It is not that God could explain the laws of logic, it is that God is the necessary precondition of the laws of logic."

So you keep saying, like a stuck record, but we're still waiting for the proof of this assertion. If you have such a proof, let's see it!

Sye TenB said...

David B. Ellis said:

"Sye, if God did not exist would it be possible for internally contradictory statements to be true?"

If God did not exist, YOU could not make sense of that question.

Cheers,

Sye

anticant said...

You, Sye, evidently don't make sense of that question, because you don't answer it. Proof that God does not exist?

David B. Ellis said...


If God did not exist, YOU could not make sense of that question.


I could not make sense of statements like 2+2 doesnt equal 5 if God didn't exist?

Again, why do you think this (I asked for more than for you to state your opinion--I asked WHY you think this is the case)?

anticant said...

Sye will say: "It is proven by the impossibility of the contrary" - as all flat-earthers do!

[Thought I'd get it in first....]

Andrew Louis said...

Anticant,
quit borrowing from my worldview.

anticant said...

Andrew, why is it YOUR world view? It's open to all, like the Ritz and the internet.

Andrew Louis said...

Anticant,

kidding of course.

Steelman said...

Sye said: "It's not that I cannot answer conflicting claims, it's just that I don't see the point of refuting something neither of us believe. You see, if I do that, then the person could easily say: 'Well, I didn't believe that anyways, but what about this?' ad infinitum."

I see your point, Sye, and it would be very tedious indeed if that tactic were over used. However, the point of discussing a belief that neither party holds, yet is analogous to a belief that at least one party does hold, is that it provides a way to address the critical points from another perspective. This can often help us discover flaws in our reasoning, by showing how problematic aspects of analogous beliefs and situations are similarly, or even identically, problematic in the beliefs we actually do hold. I think it can be a very effective tool for teasing out the finer points of concepts and beliefs, and determining whether or not the beliefs we profess are based on sound thinking.

Sye said: "The best source for interpreting the Bible, is the Bible. Any interpretation, however, will be done subject to our respective presuppositions. Where you will look for discrepency, I will look for harmony.

Not sure what you mean by your first sentence. I look for both harmony and contradiction when I read the Bible. There are reasons why Christians believe the NT fits with the OT, and reasons why Jews don't, for example. I think it's an interesting group of documents, on various levels, but I don't think it has anything to say about logic. Logic, science, democratic government, to name a few important tools that have advanced human understanding and civilization, don't seem to be part of the Bible at all.

Sye said: "The question remains though, whose presuppositions can account for the laws of logic necessary for any interpretation?"

So far, "It's the Christian God, because Sye says so," doesn't appear to be any more of a knock down argument than "Vishnu did it!" I think Anticant gave one good answer, regarding the difference between abstract concepts and verbal conventions. I find that similar to those who marvel at how well mathematics reflect the way the universe is and functions, while forgetting that mathematics is a language invented by humans to describe the world around them. So, no doubt it's well suited to the job!

BTW, I'm perfectly willing to put presuppositions aside, as much as humanly possible, when discussing differing views. I have a greater chance of learning something that way. It's not that your presupposition of the Christian God somehow disqualifies your arguments, it's just that your arguments largely consist of daring others to prove a negative. And when others ask you to do the same (e.g. Vishnu, Cosmic Wombat, et al), in an effort to point out that this tactic lacks force, you sidestep by claiming that there's no point in discussing beliefs that neither party holds. This makes your position appear very weak.

I asked: "If God can abridge the laws of physics any time he wants, then what assurance does anyone have that they will continue to be reliable?"

Sye replied: "God does not act capriciously, and controls the world in such a way that we can 'subdue' it, and expect uniformity, based on His commands and promises."

Um, you have read the OT, right? God creates and destroys at will, tells people it's good to love your neighbor in one place, and then condones the killing of one's neighbors (Exodus: golden calf and the butchering of thousands of their own people by the Levites). He also allows and abridges free will whenever it suits him (the hardening of Pharaoh's heart, also in Exodus). I don't see the consistency you keep talking about. It only takes one counterexample to invalidate a claim of uniformity, and there are many.

BTW, God's obvious capriciousness depicted in the Bible doesn't necessarily invalidate a concept of the Christian God; you just have to be a Calvinist or a gnostic to make it fit.

Sye said, "I would argue that miracles are not of this age, but that is a whole other topic. There is also the argument that God does not break any natural law, but, when performing miracles, supercedes them."

Well, the Catholics and the Charismatics would say Satan has you fooled. Such differences in doctrine brings me back to interpretation below...

I asked, "And why isn't this miracle [of the sun standing still] just literary license, like God's pre-flood lament over his creation?"

Sye replied, "Proper Biblical exegesis confirms that this is not the case."

So you've discovered the one true method of interpreting the Bible, and you're absolutely certain you've got it 100% right? This is why there are literally thousands of Christian denominations in the world, including many that are exclusive of one another. Everyone is quite sure that they have the correct interpretation of the Bible, and therefore the correct doctrine. If Christians can't even convince each other of which interpretations are "proper Biblical exegesis", how can they convince non-believers of anything?

I said, "As for my basis for proceeding on the assumption that the laws of physics are uniform, it's based on observation."

Sye replied, "What observation tells you that the future will be (or even probably be) like the past?"

The observation of that self-same past (I'm pretty sure I was there): persistence of memory, physical evidence, lack of evidence to the contrary, and the fact that others share that list of experiences. These things tell me that to infer that the future will probably be like the past is a reasonable belief. Yes, we could all be living in the Matrix and have it lose power tomorrow, or the Christian God might pull the rug out from under us on a bet (like poor Job), but so far that doesn't seem to be happening.

I'm pretty sure that list of reasons is the same for everyone, whether or not they believe there is also a supernatural element to the universe.

Sye said, "What is your evidence that nature IS uniform?"

Answered above. Also, you even quoted me (in your reply, but I redacted) humbly saying that nature may NOT be uniform, because I didn't know for certain, due to lack of complete evidence about other regions of space. I made no absolute, universal claim about uniformity.

Sye said: "The laws of logic are a part of God's nature, and a reflection of the way He thinks, the laws of physics are created by God."

I asked: "On what do you base this assertion?" And why couldn't it be otherwise (e.g. both created).

Sye answered: "On God's revelation."

Is there a chapter(s) and verse(s) in the Bible containing this exact information, or was this revelation a mystical experience, or...?

Madalch said...

Sye Said: "If the laws of logic are but a verbal convention, I make a new law of logic which states that anyone who argues as you do is arguing fallaciously! Hey, making laws of logic is fun!"

The laws of logic, like the laws of physics, chemistry, etc. are simply descriptions of how the universe seems to work. You don't get to invent your own universe that works differently.

We know the universe exists- we can observe it, if not explain it. Trying to explain it by postulating a God which can neither be observed by the sane) nor explained is not useful.

Anonymous said...

Please forgive the observations of a layman, but is this not simply the design argument switched from clocks, eyes, and 747's to the realm of logic and language?

That is, we've posited some rules that are universally agreed-upon, therefore there must be a designer behind their substance?

Martin said...

The real problem here is that Sye has to prove the impossibility of something in order for his premise 1 to be true. I don't see how that's possible. And if he can't prove the impossibility of the contrary, then God is not necessary, and his argument is not a proof of God.