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Logic and God
Posted: 27 October 2006 10:06 AM   [ Ignore ]
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Philosophy is not my cup of tea…

In a discussion with a creationist he said that…

#Logical laws prove the existence of God

#Logical laws disprove the naturalistic worldview

I’m not a philosopher, so how do I respond to that?

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"A wise man proportions his belief to the evidence." David Hume (1711-1776)
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Posted: 27 October 2006 11:02 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Well, just for starters, he’s wrong. But it’s impossible to respond to the argument without knowing what it is. So you’re going to have to get him to elaborate.

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Posted: 27 October 2006 11:39 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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You could also tell him that “A wise man proportions his belief to the evidence”.  :wink:

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Posted: 27 October 2006 01:24 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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In The God Delusion Dawkins discusses “Arguments for God’s Existence”. This chapter includes:

Thomas Aquinas’ ‘proofs’
The ontological argument and other a priori arguments
The argument from beauty
The argument from personal ‘experience’
The argument from scripture
The argument from admired religious scientists
Pascal’s Wager
Bayesian arguments

Check it out!

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Posted: 28 October 2006 03:16 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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For some of the best counters to these sorts of theistic arguments, I would unreservedly recommend J.L. Mackie’s Miracle of Theism.

NB: He was a professor of philosophy at Oxford, and it is pretty deep and detailed going. However his arguments are extremely clear and quite devastating.

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Posted: 28 October 2006 04:09 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Graham Oppy’s “Arguing about Gods” is another good choice as is Robin Le Poidevin’s “Arguing for Atheism.” Thanks, in part, to Paul Kurtz , there are now so many good books advocating atheism .What atheist books have influenced others here? George Smith and Michael Martin have excellent books , too. :!:  :!:

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Fr. Griggs rests in his Socratic ignorance and humble naturalism.He might be wrong!His cognitive defects might impact his posting. Logic is the bane of theists.‘Religion is mythinformation.“Reason saves, not that fanatic Galilean!
  ’ Life is its own validation and reward and ultimate purpose.”

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Posted: 29 October 2006 06:40 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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As dougsmith said, he’s wrong.  No matter how precise the logic is, it’s only as good as the truth and provabililty of its premises.  You also have to be careful about sneaky logical arguments that commit the critical thinking error of circular reasoning - where one of the premises subtly includes the conclusion the person is trying to prove.

So the first thing you should do is ask the person to do state his premises.  Then ask for proof that the premises are valid.  Quite often they are assumptions that sound innocuous and reasonable enough to not bother arguing about.  However, they are what allows the incorrect conclusion to be reached.

Since there is no way we can observe god or the metaphysical using our senses, we cannot prove or disprove their existence.  According to Karl Popper’s principle of falsifiability, if there are no circumstances where something can be proved false, then it is meaningless Two examples of meaningless premises:  1.  It will either rain or it won’t rain today.  2.  There are exact duplicates of us in adjacent quantum universes.

The other method of examination is by use of Occam’s Razor.  It says, essentially, don’t muck up your conceptual system with any junk that doesn’t affect the system.  Until your friend can show god’s direct involvement in some physical event it’s a waste of time even bothering with adding the concept of god to the equation.

Occam

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Posted: 05 November 2006 05:10 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Re: Logic and God

[quote author=“l_johan_k”]Philosophy is not my cup of tea…

In a discussion with a creationist he said that…

#Logical laws prove the existence of God

#Logical laws disprove the naturalistic worldview

I’m not a philosopher, so how do I respond to that?

You mean, other than falling on the floor because you’re laughing so hard? I’d LOVE to see the purported ‘logic’ here. It’s a little tricky trying to refute an argument you haven’t seen.  But there is no doubt among professional philosophers that there is no sound logical proof of the existence of God, and certainly no disproof of naturalism. I have seen a couple of laughable bad arguments against naturalism. Here’s a refutation of one of them: 
http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/richard_carrier/steiner.html

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FAITH, n. Belief without evidence in what is told by one who speaks without knowledge, of things without parallel. -Ambrose Bierce

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Posted: 05 November 2006 07:55 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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I must have missed some of these answers awhile back ... here goes:

[quote author=“Occam”]According to Karl Popper’s principle of falsifiability, if there are no circumstances where something can be proved false, then it is meaningless Two examples of meaningless premises:  1.  It will either rain or it won’t rain today.  2.  There are exact duplicates of us in adjacent quantum universes.

This isn’t quite right. Popper’s principle of falsifiability doesn’t have anything to do with meaning, but rather with something’s being science or not. The idea is that if it isn’t fasifiable it isn’t science. Of course, there are some true things that aren’t falsifiable: mathematics, for instance. But Popper would then have to say that math wasn’t part of science. (This is a problematic result, although if we restrict it to potentially empirical claims it isn’t so bad).

The people who tried to argue that unverifiable statements were meaningless were the positivists or so-called “verificationists”. But this proved to be a bankrupt enterprise and we’ve gone quite a bit beyond it by now. The problem is that they tried to prove too much. “God” is a meaningful term; it just lacks a referent.

[quote author=“Powerglide”]I have seen a couple of laughable bad arguments against naturalism. Here’s a refutation of one of them:
http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/richard_carrier/steiner.html

Firstly, welcome to the forum Powerglide.

I’ve glanced a bit at this article and find it a bit odd. I never would have believed mathematics to be anathema to naturalism. Indeed, mathematics is necessary to the naturalist program, as it is an essential part of all the physical sciences.

The apparent problem in the claim Carrier is attacking isn’t the reification of mathematics, it’s the specious claim that mathematics depends on god for its existence. To say that god created mathematics is just to say that god is irrational. It is to say that god had a choice in the matter to create some other form of math or logic ... and there is no other form except self-contradiction.

But it doesn’t make any sense to say that god could have created self-contradictory math. There couldn’t be such a thing. So even if we assume that god existed, he would have had no choice but to assent to the only form of logic and math that can exist.

Put another way: if god existed, he would be just as bound by laws of logic and math as we are. There’s a similar argument for ethics that comes from Plato’s Euthyphro.

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Posted: 20 November 2006 03:12 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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LOGIC IS THE BANE OF THEISTS!

It is the argument that how can we trust our minds to find the truth if they are just the products of mindless nature.Theists want to find God fixing it that our minds can find the truth . Michael Scriven states that natural selection selected our minds such that only minds like ours could do so. Fr.Ewing states that we beg the question in stating that argument, but someone pointed out to me on another site that Ewing begs the question himself in assuming God wanted us to know the truth. Ewing does that alright ,but does Scriven beg the question? C. S.Lewis commits the fallacy of compostion when he states that if atoms cannot know the truth , then we cannot according to Austin Cline @about atheism. This could be in its own thread. :wink:  :idea:

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Fr. Griggs rests in his Socratic ignorance and humble naturalism.He might be wrong!His cognitive defects might impact his posting. Logic is the bane of theists.‘Religion is mythinformation.“Reason saves, not that fanatic Galilean!
  ’ Life is its own validation and reward and ultimate purpose.”

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Posted: 20 November 2006 08:35 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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hi guys.

i am a philosophy major, and i focus on logic and comparative religions.  :D so im delighted that someone has brought this up, because most of the time people get bored with it…

anyway,
it is possible to prove that something doesnt exist. i see all over tv and the net, people on both sides say that it isnt possible to prove a negative.
well it is. and its quite easy.
first you have to prove that its a contradiction. any contradiction, by definition, is illogical, thus impossible.

one of my favorite phrases is,
“if something is logical, no matter how unbelievable it is, its possible. if something is illogical, it cannot be possible.”

squarecircle.  if something is a square, it cannot be a circle. its illogical, therefore impossible. if it has 4 sides, it cant be round.

so for someone to prove there is no god, all he would have to do is prove a god is illogical.

as for logical laws proving god, well im sure that he means ‘logical’ in the common sense, the ‘my way of thinking’ definition. because if he meant in a philosophical logic sense, there arent any.

one logical law that would be broken is the 3-in-1 claim.
can one being be three? i.e. god, jesus, holy ghost?
thats a squarecircle. something cannot be one thing and three at the same time (figurative meanings dont count, i mean one being also being three beings at the same time). there are more laws that the god claim breaks, but i wont go into them.

hope this helps! lemme know if you want some cool things to read up on…

as far as the arguments that Dawkins mentions,

Thomas Aquinas’ ‘proofs’
The ontological argument and other a priori arguments
The argument from beauty
The argument from personal ‘experience’
The argument from scripture
The argument from admired religious scientists
Pascal’s Wager
Bayesian arguments

im quite familiar with these, and theyre all based on subjectivity. thats not logic. if a theist tells you that any of these are foundations for proof, simply tell them that they crumble when tested logically, (you must read up on your logical fallacies   to do this properly and to prevent him from making any other claim).

read your fallacies and you will be able to find where all the holes are in these arguments.  raspberry happy reading!

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Posted: 20 November 2006 08:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Very good, sotoman, you are entirely correct: if one could demonstrate that god’s existence was somehow self-contradictory, one would thereby have proven that god can’t exist.

But most standard definitions for god aren’t obviously self-contradictory. (I am inclined to think they aren’t self-contradictory at all).

The standard trinitarian claim is a separate matter, since clearly one can believe in god without believing in the trinity. So even were the trinity to be self-contradictory, this would not prove that god didn’t exist, only that the trinitarian god didn’t exist.

But it seems pretty clear to me that there are interpretations in which the trinitarian claim can be made sense of; i.e. if the three different parts of the trinity are really different aspects, manifestations or qualities of the same being; rather as the same person can be a father and a son, or a doctor and a poet, or twelve years old one year and twenty five later on.

So at any rate if you are going to argue that god (or even the trinitarian god) is self-contradictory, you’ll have to give the actual argument.

Re. general arguments for and against god’s existence (ontological, cosmological, design, argument from evil, etc.), the source that Dawkins cites in his book, and the best single philosophical book on the matter that I know, is J.L. Mackie’s Miracle of Theism, which I have mentioned elsewhere. It is a very thorough argument for atheism, but Mackie does not believe the notion of god is self-contradictory.

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Posted: 20 November 2006 10:08 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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thanks for the support, dougsmith! glad you like.
er, i have been giving the actual arguments.

the trinitarian god is contradictary, since three things cant be one thing at the same time. a cup cant be a cup, a spoon and a fork at the same time.

other ideas of god may not be contradictary, but any idea of a god is illogical.

heres a few arguments that god is illogical.
the empirical argument. my old geology professor put it best:
‘there are 2 things in the universe- matter, and energy. which one is god?’
i love this one because it goes back to Lockes claim that if something isnt percieved by the senses, it cannot exist.
there are no such things as metaphysical beings. its illogical.

heres another.
the burden of proof, logically, is on the claimant. he/she must prove theres a god, its not up to us to disprove it. science works the same way, and so does math. the default position, is that god doesnt exist.
it isnt for me to prove anything. its for someone to prove that god is logical. so if one wants to prove god is logical, he must show the actual argument.
anyway, once the claim (that theres a god) has been made, will their evidence prove or not prove a god?

i tend to think that the evidence wont prove a god. there isnt one shred of evidence, or logcal law that proves a god.
in fact, heres a short list of the rules of inference (laws of logic)
 

its easy to misuse the rules of inference simply by adding god somewhere, where he shouldnt be. this is what the xtian is doing when he says that god is logical. thats putting subjectivity where there should be none. logic is inflexible and not subject to opinion. just like math.

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Posted: 20 November 2006 10:28 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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[quote author=“sotoman”]for god to be contradictary, one needs to claim he is three seperate beings, not three different aspects, as you mentioned that thesits claim.
i guess it all depends on the theist making the claim.

Right—if the theist says that god is three separate beings and one unified being in the same way at the same time, it seems that there may be a contradiction there. Theists who hold to this sort of extreme trinitarianism usually also go in for obfuscation or obscurantism. Basically they want to get you confused so you don’t pay attention to the problem.

But I expect there are more sophisticated ways to construct a notion of trinitarianism.

[quote author=“sotoman”]heres a few arguments that god is illogical.
the empirical argument. my old geology professor put it best:
‘there are 2 things in the universe- matter, and energy. which one is god?’
i love this one because it goes back to Lockes claim that if something isnt percieved by the senses, it cannot exist.
there are no such things as metaphysical beings. its illogical.

You are definitely onto something here, but let’s be a little careful with the terminology. In what sense are electrons or quarks “perceived by the senses”? In what sense do you perceive the process of evolution “by the senses”? In what sense do you perceive the history of ancient Greece, or the first stirrings of life on earth “by the senses”?

You don’t. A lot of inference is necessary as well. So Locke’s criterion is way too restrictive.

Secondly, I am not sure what you mean by “metaphysical beings”. We are all metaphysical beings: we all have an ontology , and ontology is part of metaphysics. Indeed, some would say that the whole point of science is to determine the metaphysical makeup of our universe.

I would also be a bit careful about your use of the word “logically”, as here:

[quote author=“sotoman”]the burden of proof, logically, is on the claimant. he/she must prove theres a god, its not up to us to disprove it. science works the same way, and so does math. the default position, is that god doesnt exist.

What you mean to say is, “The burden of proof, reasonably, is on the claimant.” That’s how we reason.

But logic is a bit more rigorous; it is the use of certain laws like the ones you linked to in the URL. If you are going to say that so-and-so is “logical”, it is really incumbent upon you to give the logical proof. If you say that so-and-so is “logical” you are really saying that you have found a logical proof for it.

(So you will see I am against Spock’s “logic” talk. Spock should have said he was being “reasonable” not “logical”).

:wink:

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Posted: 20 November 2006 11:38 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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i agree. i also find spock not so logical. i guess whoever wrote his lines hadnt studied it so much.
ooh this conversation is getting interesting! i love it!

ok:

You are definitely onto something here, but let’s be a little careful with the terminology. In what sense are electrons or quarks “perceived by the senses”? In what sense do you perceive the process of evolution “by the senses”? In what sense do you perceive the history of ancient Greece, or the first stirrings of life on earth “by the senses”?

these are all perceived by the senses through secientific instruments and bones.
you can see quarks with instruments, you can see fossils that show evolution, and the history of ancient greece has written records and artifacts. the first stirrings of life on earth has some empirical evidence that leads scientists to this conclusion. none of these are made up out of the imagination.
these are all percieved by the senses of the people who study them, etc. very clearly, all these examples exist, since someone, somewhere has seen them.

You don’t. A lot of inference is necessary as well. So Locke’s criterion is way too restrictive.

inference is what your brain does millions of times a day without even realizing it. if i were to hit the ‘H’ key on my keypad and the letter ‘h’ showed up on screen, i would infer that hitting the key had something to do with it. you say this as if its a bad thing. inference is a normal function of your brain. when bad inferences take over is when youre in trouble. thats why theres the rules of inference to guide us.  :wink:

Locke’s criterion is not too restrictive at all! all he is saying is that if something doesnt have a physical body, and cannot be measured by any instrument, then it does not exist. i challenge anyone to prove that something exists which cant be observed or measured in any way. this is precisely what theists are claiming, and what Locke was trying to abolish.
if something cant be measured or observed, Locke said, then there is no reason at all to believe it is real!

Secondly, I am not sure what you mean by “metaphysical beings”. We are all metaphysical beings: we all have an ontology, and ontology is part of metaphysics. Indeed, some would say that the whole point of science is to determine the metaphysical makeup of our universe.

this is getting kinda shady, so lemme get it back on track. we are not metaphysical beings, we are physical beings. we have bodies.
Metaphysics refers to the studies of what cannot be reached through objective studies of material reality.
this means that any metaphysical argument is based on subjectivity- opinion, feelings, etc- and not logical. and Locke would say, that since nothing metapyisical can be observed thru objective studies, then nothing metaphysical is real.
Ontology studies conceptions of reality, which can be different for everyone. how can this be logical if it can mean anything?

the purpose of science is to find the physical makeup of our universe. metaphysics is pseudoscience.
 

the burden of proof is logically on the claimant. reasonably, too, but logically first.
in order to construct a valid and sound argument, one must obey the rules of inference. the rules of logic, so to speak.
if one cannont even construct a sound and valid argument, then that claim will not be proved, no matter how hard he tries.
when someone says that something is logical, it means that he has proved it to be sound and valid. wether it exists or not is a completely different topic!  :D dont fall into that trap!
it is logical that i could be a girl, but i am not. one little chromosome was the difference.
logical proof is also different than valid and sound arguments.

the term ‘reasonable’ is one that i wouldnt use in a logical discussion, its way too flexible and can mean almost anything.
also, metaphysics and ontology are philosophical, but their logic is debatable.

youre really interesting to talk to! have you had much schooling in philosophy?

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Posted: 20 November 2006 12:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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[quote author=“sotoman”]youre really interesting to talk to! have you had much schooling in philosophy?

I believe dougsmith mentioned in some post a few weeks ago that he had a PhD in Philosophy.


Occam

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