Monday, July 12, 2010

Logic and the Atheists' Dilemma

The atheist uses logic to eliminate God. But, how does he account for logic itself?   E.g., the law of identity (A=A), the law of non-contradiction (A is not = to not A),  the law of the excluded middle (A or B), etc.?

If the atheist says he doesn't need to give an account,  he's ducking the question.

If he says, they "just are", he is still failing to give an account for their existence.

If the atheist says it's a dumb question, why?  The atheist must use logic to answer, and still would not be accounting for it.

Faced with these difficulties atheists say --

1. Logic is a product of human minds. But, human minds differ, and, at any rate, according to darwinism, they emerged and are the product of a mindless, arational process and nothing more -- hardly a coherent or rational foundation for actual, absolute logic.  Did logic emerge, or evolve, along with the human mind -- or is the human mind designed to recognize and acknowledge logical absolutes which pre-date man?

2. Logical absolutes are conventions or principles that humans agree are valid. But, agreeing they are valid does not account for them. This is the descriptive fallacy that is at the base of much of atheism. Description is not explanation.

3. Logical absolutes are the result of biochemical reactions in the brain. But, biochemical reactions differ. A mind on LSD thinks differently than a mind on Raisin Bran. (A mind on LSD and Raisin Bran is something else again). A mind that is depressed thinks differently than a mind that is optimistic. And, don't forget our minds are the product of a mindless, arational process. By what objective criteria could we conclude that the functions of the human brain cohere with absolute reality?

4. Logical absolutes are a function of language. Language structures produce logical structures. But, languages differ; they have different syntactical structures.  Do logical absolutes differ from language to language? Is English logic better than Russian logic?  Would the laws of logic not exist if there were no thinking, speaking humans?

5. The best answer that atheists offer is that logical absolutes are intrinsic properties of the universe, like the laws of physics. But, how do you measure or weigh logical constructs, and where in the universe do they reside?  They may be part of the fabric of the universe, but, if they are, then the universe cannot properly be viewed as material -- one of the very foundations of most, and, especially, darwinian/materialistic atheism.

What can we conclude about logic and logical absolutes?

1. The laws of logic are mental concepts. You think them. Logic is a process of  mind; unlike running water, you cannot observe them occurring in nature. They are conceptual in nature.

2. The laws of logic are absolute. They don't change or stop being true if you disagree with them. When you go to sleep, they do not cease to exist nor are they rendered inoperative. If all humans decided to take a nap at the same time, they would neither cease to exist nor be rendered inoperative.

3. The laws of logic are transcendent -- they are true throughout all time and throughout all space; they did not evolve into being; they are true not just in this universe, but, "in all possible worlds".

Logic, as conceptual thought, is associated with Mind.

A being's thoughts are reflective of a being's mind; a murderer thinks murderous thoughts, a saint thinks saintly thoughts, a rational being thinks rational thoughts.  An entity with a local frame of reference thinks local thoughts. An entity whose conceptual domain encompasses the universe, thinks universal thoughts.

From this it is reasonable to conclude that the source of the laws of logic which encompass and transcend the universe is a Mind which is itself rational, absolute, and transcendent.

* * *

The atheist may conclude that the laws of logic both a) exist in the human mind, and b) happily cohere with the fabric of reality. What the atheist does not have is a good and sufficient explanation for why either of these observations should be true. Darwinian explanations cannot provide sufficient reason for the second, and materialistic explanations cannot provide sufficient reason for the first.

The theist faces no such dilemma.

Rationality is one of the divine imprints on the human species. It is more than just lucky that we are the way we are and that the way our minds work coheres with the very fabric of reality.

Regain your humanity. Rebel against the atheist machine.™

This post is based on a short audio version of this argument by Matt Slick. Via Apologetics 315.

4 comments:

RkBall said...

One-trick Pony Response™: Darwinian processes wired our brains this way, because logical thinking has survival value.

RkBall said...

There are at least two problems with the above response. To detect them, re-read the post.

P@J said...

so now that everyone seems to be ignoring you again, you are using the comment thread to set up your own strawman to flog?

And as for the post: you are starting to sound a little more like Bill Clinton all the time. First extolling the virtues of a UN declaration, now debating the meaning of the word “is”.

Keep it up, I like your drift to the left from your previous conservative certainty…

As an aside, I’m not sure how you draw a line between humans inventing “logic” and some magical sky-friend inventing “logic”. It still needed to be invented. You haven’t really solved any problem there by changing the entity in the problem.

Maybe you should stop worshipping at the altar of the straw man.

Ezequiel the NON-Prophet said...

P@J

I think that the unspoken assumption comes from Gottfried Leibniz understanding of contingent and in-contingent beings.

You cannot invent a concept like mathematics you must discover it. Just like the scientific method and science. New laws are not invented they are discovered.

The question is why does logic exist in the first place (or all abstract objections) is taking the philosophy of Leibniz and taking a step further then just state brute facts.

I think your bias is making you miss the point P@J he I would not say that RkBall provided a airtight case but at least he provided something that is meaningful and non-contradictory within his world view.

The atheist could only criticize belief in God from his world view but that is the point. The atheist cannot conjure up an adequate answer for logic besides it being just because, conventional knowledge, or giving a promissory note of a future answer.

If a theist were to answer in similar way he would be dismissed out of hand. God did it because God did it! Seems to the the answer given but how is that different from it just exist! How bout its conventional knowledge because it works for humans and good thing someone invented it! What if I invented a line of logic that would make it impossible for God to exist and I had everyone who believes in a spiritual world agree with me? Conventionally that would make us right and atheist the sub-class. What if we decided to wipe out all skeptics would that make our logic right? I dont think so.

Finally the third one is 'I will get back to you on that' which is the most promising but it wont make a theist into an atheist nor will it disconfirm his understanding of the roots of logic.

Mocking a worldview without stepping out of yours is like disliking the color someones shirt by closing your eyes. It does not reveal academic honesty.

"... nothing intellectually compelling or challenging.. bald assertions coupled to superstition... woefully pathetic"