Saturday, March 13, 2010

Proving God Exists: Logic

In this article, Eric Hovind attempts to prove that only through the existence of God does logic make sense. I feel like it's very amateurish, but some people might actually take him and Sye TenB seriously. So, off we go on another adventure in reason.
Why must we be logical? Where does logic come from? Who defines what is and isn't logical? The properties of logic are an interesting testimony to God, written on the hearts of even the most ardent unbeliever—whether he likes it or not. ... When an unbeliever argues against the Biblical God, ask yourself a very important, but fundamental, question about his logic: Why is it there?
We must be logical because to be illogical results in the inability to process information and filter out fiction from reality. Logic doesn't "come from" anywhere so much as is a framework to process said information. By comparing what we hear and see to what we know about the world, we are able to evaluate and either accept or reject claims based on what we already know to be true or false. This isn't complicated and doesn't require a god at all.
Think about it. The evolutionary unbeliever will have no problem arguing, using his ability to reason. He will debate every piece of evidence you show him, and while his logic is often flawed, he still attempts to use it. But why? After all, it doesn't fit with his worldview. It's not consistent with the way he accounts for the elements of reality.
No, it is the creationist's logic that is often flawed. Or should I say, lack thereof. However, this isn't a mud-flinging contest and I won't make it into one. I'll just say that in my experience, it's impossible to be honest and a creationist at the same time (provided you aren't ignorant about the relevant science). When I reject claims made by people like you, I do so not because it doesn't fit with my worldview but because it doesn't match with reality. My worldview is based on the evidence I see, not the other way around. See, creationists base and filter their evidence on and through their perception of what the bible says. If the bible says that something is true, it is. If it says something is false, it is. Anything that disagrees with it must be wrong. I'm not simply asserting it - you claim it on your own website. You have stated that
"No apparent, perceived or claimed evidence in any field, including history and science, can be valid if it contradicts Scripture."
This is the definition of closed-mindedness. You assume the bible to be true and evaluate reality looking through that lens, and not the other way around. It is YOU who rejects information based on your worldview, not me. If I thought the evidence pointed to a special creation, I would believe it because it would be a more intellectually honest position. But it doesn't and I don't.
For example, the evolutionary unbeliever typically believes that we are here as a result of random processes that took place by unguided chance, and that all things have changed greatly since the Big Bang. Somehow, nothing exploded, and from that, vital elements gave rise to other elements, which eventually gave rise to life, which ultimately gave rise to everything we see around us. Reality, in his worldview, randomly came into being, evolved in different ways in different regions, and finally produced the envy of all the universe—the unbeliever's brain.
It boggles my mind that people like you can continue to spout this time and time again despite your being told this isn't what scientists believe. It must take some real balls to ignore your leader's teachings about honesty and constantly lie about what your opponent's position is. The "evolutionary unbeliever" (whatever that means) doesn't believe that we are here by "random" processes through "unguided chance." This is completely false. All of nature follows laws that cause things to be the way they are today. If you jumped up and fell back to the earth, that wouldn't be "random chance," it would be because of the natural law of gravity. In the same way, chemicals form under certain conditions and account for a lot of what we know about elements giving rise to life. We know that natural selection is anything but random and plays an enormous role in determining which life will stay and which will go. Reality isn't random at all. The fact that you don't know why a certain event happened doesn't mean it was random but rather that you just don't understand all of the causes that went into it.
There is, however, a fundamental problem with this worldview. How does it account for abstract concepts such as the immaterial, unchanging, universal laws of logic? How do energy and matter relate to laws of logic, which cannot be picked up, painted, or squeezed? The fact of the matter is that the unbeliever cannot account for his logic, he just uses it. He just knows things must be logical.
The laws of logic are such things as "a proposition p cannot be both true and false at the same time." These laws are true regardless of whether we understand or realize them or not. This is simply the way things are. The "concept" is a human understanding of something that exists completely independent of us. Something need not be physical to exist - abstract concepts are still a part of this world, they just don't exist in the same way that we say a person exists. My saying that "this game I made has rules X, Y, and Z" don't mean that there must be some game rule-enforcer or that some higher power must exist for the rules to exist. I don't see how God is required to exist for logic to. I'll expand on this after the next quote:
You can hear the unbeliever demonstrating this in his cries for evidence, proof, and science. But could it be that logic is only consistent with God and His Word? After all, like logic, God is immaterial, unchanging, and universal. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. He cannot be picked up, painted, or squeezed. In fact, Christians are the only ones who have a legitimate reason for using logic. Breaking the laws of logic amounts to bearing false witness, and God expressly forbids this. Christians believe the Bible, which says that God created everything, including abstracts such as laws of nature, morality, and logic.
God cannot be both God and not God at the same time. God cannot make a car be a car and a potato at the same time and in the same sense. If you assert that he could, you're asserting that God defies logic. If he is capable of this, then I have no reason to believe in his existence because of his illogical nature. On the flip-side, if the laws of logic do apply to him, then they exist apart from him and he has no control over them. This is also a problem for the Christian God. But why must it be the Christian God that enforces logic? You've simply asserted that it is God who made and enforces logic, but why couldn't it be Allah, the Flying Spaghetti Monster, or a giant taco in space? Why must there be someone at all?
Obviously, the unbeliever has no explanation for his use of logic that is consistent with his worldview. In fact, he must actually operate within the worldview of Christians in order to debate anything! The analogy has been used of a man trying to argue against the existence of air. He must breathe it to argue against it!
As I've said, I fail to see why logic only makes sense in your worldview. On what basis do you claim a monopoly on this? I'm using logic to argue a point, but so are you. For you to logically assert that logic comes from God, aren't you already assuming the existence of logic as well? How does this place you in a better position than I? I'm asserting that logic works because it is just a method of processing information according to how we see the world works. You're asserting that logic works because of some other unproven assumption. I think Occam's razor favors me here.
Thus the unbeliever is reduced to foolishness, attempting to argue against God, while using God's laws to reason in the first place. He masquerades as an unbeliever, though he does so only by using the tools that can only be accounted for by the existence of an immaterial, unchanging, and universal God. He may attempt to argue past that by claiming that logic is manmade, but this would mean that man could change logic. Man could determine that two plus two equals five. Yet we instinctively know that this is contrary to logic, and would not do.
I do believe that logic is manmade, but I do not believe that logical absolutes are. Absolutes are true regardless of whether we believe them or not. Logic is the process of applying our knowledge to propositions to verify their truth. It's important to note that difference. Someone could try to assert that 2+2=5, but that wouldn't change the mathematical absolutes that we have made. 2+2 could equal 5, but only in a different mathematical universe. The laws of logic don't care if you believe them. They don't even exist in the strictest sense - they're just a conceptual description of the way the universe works.
The Law of God is written on our hearts, bearing witness that there is a God. The debates one might engage in with an unbeliever bring out yet another proof of God's existence. They show that, while he may not admit it, even the unbeliever operates on the knowledge of God, regardless how fervently he may suppress this knowledge. The unbeliever uses reason, which does not change, which transcends matter, and which is the same in all places and times. But he betrays his own professed worldview to do so. And so each time an unbeliever invokes logic, he is testifying to the Great God, who does not change, who transcends matter, and who, likewise, is the same in all places and times. 
What is this "Law of God" and how do you know I have it? And how do you know that God does not change? Have you ever met him? Did you know him one million years ago? Can you compare the difference? I suppose the only way you could think you know is by looking at the bible. Even assuming that it is the perfect word that he himself gave, you have to admit that he has changed. In the OT he was a strict god focusing more on obedience of rules rather than forgiveness. He constantly punished people, often in violent and painful ways, because of their perceived lack of morality or devotion to his commands. In the NT, he's portrayed as a much more loving fellow, extending his hand of love, mercy, and grace to all who would but believe (because it's apparently now through faith and not works as it was thousands of years ago). He changed his mind about penalties for breaking commandments and apparently threw out whole portions of the Law. So yeah, that's change. But even then, that's assuming that the bible explains Yahweh exactly as he is and without error - something I find completely unbelievable.

It makes sense to you that logic proves God, because everything to you proves God. From water to animals to humans to stars to happiness to science - everything is a testament to God's existence. It's tough to debate someone like this because there's nothing that would be an example of God's nonexistence. There's nothing that I could show you that would be evidence against God because of the way you view things. You can't accept that some things are what they are because they're just the way things work. In all of your words, you've failed to show that logic requires a god except for "you can't explain it without him!" But I can. As I have explained multiple times, logic is just applying reality to propositions of truth. If a proposition doesn't align with reality, we toss it out. If it does, we consider it and weigh it with what we know and believe to be true.

I could probably go on for some time, but suffice to say that this is one of the weakest arguments I've ever heard and I hope nobody falls for this sophomoric attempt to once again project a god onto something that needs no projection.


Parabola said...

Good dissection. You really show grit (and a bit of a masochistic nature) by taking on some dribble like this.

Hovind really does make this too easy. He claims that logic is a product of his God, but does he not realize that logic can show his god to not exist? (see: Vic Stenger)

He argues that A comes from B, while tacitly ignoring the fact that B can show A to be impossible via non-contradiction. But, if he really cared about logic, and truth, he wouldn't be a christian in the first place.

Anonymous said...

There are other ways to prove that supernatural beings exist in our universe. This method is, simply put, quicker and proves its claims unlike debating logically.
I used to be an AETHIEST, thinking to myself, a god? Really? What are these Christins on? A belief that goes against evolution and many scientific claims that were PROVEN? Bullsh*t... No way.
My parents are Christians but I couldn't come to believe what they wanted me to believe. Many year passed and an idea occurred to me: god is supernatural right? An so are spirits and Satan? Hmmm. And there are satanists in this world? see Where I am going with this right? Hopefully.
I thought to myself, these satanists are just as foolish as the Christians, believing in their stupid supernatural leaders/ gods.. Whatever you call them. But unlike Christians, satanists took place in divination, they saw things, they CONTROLLED people, they cast spells and had results. Hmmm.. Let's see if this rubbish was real? Because if it proved to be real, then by all means supernatural magic, witchcraft and anything supernatural must be possible. MUST.
It proved to be real. I took part in witchcraft for 8 years, after and watching my friends suffer from spells cast on them in the night in rooms with lit candles, and seeing the power of Satan levitate my friends and seeing flames instantaneously appear, I knew this was no rubbish.
It all started with a punk kid in my high school who I knew, and he was one of those quiet ones but was kinda cool with some girls in the school, yes he was a trouble maker. His name was Kevin. I met him in 9thh grade and we became friends because he would always doodle in class, drawing cool demon and angel pictures. Long story short, after 2 weeks of explaining and annoying him in school about my interests and question on whether divination was real, he introduced me to his outside- school friends; his cult. I was in. I was extremely nervous because I didn't know any of them at all and they always smoked and especially because my parents didn't know I was trying to see if Satan was real.
Oh my god! I am truly sorry with all my heart that I have done the forbidden: divination. But I needed to know if supernatural beings where real. They are!!! Spirits are reall, as I have communicated with one via a wooden board. And demons are too. Believe me they are real. They invoke terror in you so frightening you wish yourself dead.
If all the evil is real, why not god? I turned my life around to believe In him, and have left behind my dark past, only leaving memories. Although because I chose the easy way to investigate the wonders of this universe through witchcraft, I have paid severe consequences.
If you read this, please remember that if you do not believe in god, it is better to not believe than to go an try to figure out if the supernaturals exist. God has other plans to those who need to SEE WITH THEIR EYS AND CANNOT SEE WITH THEIR HEARTS. He will provide evidence near the end times, and YOU will be the one at the time to believe or not to.

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