The Instigator
samwight
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
zmikecuber
Con (against)
Winning
6 Points

Does logic prove the existence of god?

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
zmikecuber
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/16/2014 Category: Religion
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,322 times Debate No: 52669
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (20)
Votes (2)

 

samwight

Pro

When I talk about logic proving the existence of god, I am referring to the transcendence argument. First round is introduction. Second through fifth is debate.
zmikecuber

Con

Interesting resolution. I assume my opponent means the transcendental argument which argues that since logical axioms are necessary truths, they must exist in a necessary mind.

I don't have an opinion either way on this argument, so I think it will be a fun debate.

Just to clarify, the burden of proof is on my opponent. All I have to do is cast a reasonable amount of doubt upon his arguments.

Go for it, Pro.
Debate Round No. 1
samwight

Pro

So, I suppose let's start with the facts. Even if you know them already, it's always good to restate them. I may have a different idea of this argument from some other people, but I guess it doesn't matter. Here is the overview:

1. The absolute laws of logic exist.
a. The absolute laws of logic are conceptual laws that guide logical thought processes.
b. The absolute laws of logic are transcendent.
c. The absolute laws of logic existed before mankind.
i. The absolute laws of logic were not created by humans
2. All conceptual minds reflect the mind of the lawgiver.
3. The best and most reasonable explanation for the creation of the laws of logic which are transcendent and pre-existed mankind is a god who is transcendent and pre-existed mankind.

This above is the basis for my version of the transcendence argument. Now to explain.

All rational discussion requires that some basic laws of logic exist. These laws are absolute and must be followed in order for rational discussion to occur. We all know the basic laws of logic. The basic laws of logic are transcendent and apply to us all. Three rules that we all know:
1. Law of Identity - a is a. a can be multiple things, but a is a and nothing but a.
2. Law of Non-Contradiction - If a and b are opposites, a cannot be b and b cannot a, at least at the same time.
3. Law of the Excluded Middle - If a is a true or false statement, a can have no "middle". There is no grey, there is only black and white.

So since the above laws are transcendent, this triggers an immediate question: where did these laws come from?

So going back to the first outline above, the absolute laws of logic guide our mental thought processes that we use every day. They also apply to us all. They also pre-existed humans, as even Neanderthals used the Law of Identity. Since they also pre-existed mankind, they could not have been created by any man.

Conceptual laws require law givers, people or beings who created the laws. People who use the laws thus reflect the mind(s) of the law giver(s), as conceptual laws come from the law giver(s)' mind. Thus, I propose that the absolute, transcendent laws of logic that pre-existed mankind came from a transcendent and pre-existing god.
zmikecuber

Con

Thanks for the argument, Pro. I'd like to welcome samwight to DDO, since this is his second debate! :) Let's get to it.

Logical validity
To begin with, it's not even clear how my opponent's argument is a logically valid syllogism. Is it a modus tollens syllogism? Is it one of the categorical syllogisms? I honestly can't tell, because it isn't exactly in proper logical form. Now I think the transendental argument is a very hard argument to put into logical form, but I think it can be done, particularly with modal logic.


Anyways, this is bad for my opponent right off the bat. If we can't tell what the structure of an argument is, how can we be sure it is valid? How do we know that even if the premises are true, that the conclusion follows?

Premise by premise...

Let's see how my opponent's argument hold up to an analysis premise by premise.

"1. The absolute laws of logic exist."

Well yes, they exist in a way, but this doesn't necessarily mean they exist as their own entity.

"a. The absolute laws of logic are conceptual laws that guide logical thought processes."

My opponent is going to have to be more clear what he means by "conceptual laws". Does this mean they're non-physical? Why believe that there's anything non-physical about these laws?

"b. The absolute laws of logic are transcendent."

Once again, this is simply unfounded. This is making it sound like the laws of logic are entities which exist on their own in some third Platonic realm.

"c. The absolute laws of logic existed before mankind."

Did they? If there was absolutely no physical world, and no people around, would there still be "laws of logic"?

"i. The absolute laws of logic were not created by humans"

This rests upon the premises above, which are shaky.

"2. All conceptual minds reflect the mind of the lawgiver."

I'm not sure what my opponent means here. What is a conceptual mind? Does he mean conceptual things, which he claims the laws of logic are? If so, why should we believe the laws of logic are conceptual? Why should we believe that something conceptual needs a mind to exist in?

"3. The best and most reasonable explanation for the creation of the laws of logic which are transcendent and pre-existed mankind is a god who is transcendent and pre-existed mankind."

This is not the best and most reasonable explanation for the laws of logic. I'll get into this later. Furthermore, if the laws of logic exist in all possible worlds, and are necessarily true, how can they be "created"? Creation implies an absence of something before, and then that thing coming to be. However, if the laws of logic are necessary, then they cannot be created.

Logical abstractions
Now if we can explain the presence of laws of logic without appealing to God, then Occam's razor will favor this position (1). This means that I just have to show that it's possible for logic to exist without God. Occam's razor does the rest.


Now isn't it possible that the laws of logic are abstractions of reality? This means that our minds perceive reality, and then abstract the laws of logic from it. In other words, this means that reality has the laws of logic "built into it" so to say.

Why assume God made the laws of logic other than this possibility?

Brute fact
Why can't the laws of logic also just be a brute fact? A brute fact is something which simply is, and cannot be explained why it is. (2) My opponent is making the assumption that the laws of logic are contingent things (possible to be and not be) and thus they need an explanation. But why believe that contingent things need an explanation? Perhaps the laws of logic just are and that's it. We know the laws of logic are out there somewhere, so we can just assume that they exist completely without a mind.


No reason to think that the laws need a mind
My opponent makes the claim that if there are laws of logic which transcend reality, then they need a mind to create them. But there are absolutely no reasons to believe this. In fact, this is a fallacy of hypostatization (3). Is there such a thing as "redness"? No, there's only red things. Is there such a thing as "beauty"? No, there's beautiful things.


Have you ever gone out and just seen "red"? I mean not a red anything, just... red? No, because these are abstractions, and are not things themselves.

The laws of logic could very well be the exact same type of thing. There is absolutely no reasons to assume that the laws of logic are anything other than this.

Conclusion
In conclusion, I've refuted my opponent's argument and have shown how there are other better explanations for the laws of logic which make less assumptions.


==Sources==
(1)http://math.ucr.edu...
(2)John Hospers, An Introduction to Philosophical Analysis (1997) p. 211
(3) S. Morris Engel, With Good Reason 6th Edition (2000), p. 119
Debate Round No. 2
samwight

Pro

Thank you, Con. I may have missed a few things that you went back and reminded me of in your debate.

There are two main questions that I seem to see in your argument. You ask several times if the laws of logic are their own entity or not. Well, they are not necessarily an entity. They are a though process, a way we think, a set of instincts, engraved into us deeply, the very foundation of our brains. But not only are they that, I would also like to say that they are something like our concious. If they were instincts, we would simply have no reason but to follow them. This comes to another aspect of this type of philosophy: free will. I don't want to get into that.

The other thing you seem to imply is the fact that the laws of logic were created. Actually, they were not. Christians believe that God created man in his own image. His own image is not defined as just a physical form, but as the physical and mental aspects, not necessarily memories, but his way of thinking. The absolute laws of logic are a reflection of the logical mind of god. If you look through the Bible, you see all over the three rules mentioned in my first, or second, argument.

This also brings up another point. So far, as we've seen, Christianity has been the only belief system that has been able to account for the creation or explanation of the beginning of logic.. Can you name any other religion, belief, whatever that has been able to account for this?
zmikecuber

Con

Rebuttals
I'm not entirely where my opponent has answered my rebuttals. It seems that he's largely dropped them.


My opponent states, "the other thing you seem to imply is the fact that the laws of logic were created. Actually, they were not." Well this is contradicting what he said earlier.. his conclusion was, "The best and most reasonable explanation for the creation of the laws of logic which are transcendent and pre-existed mankind is a god who is transcendent and pre-existed mankind."

So I'm not sure what my opponent is trying to say. Were the laws of logic created or not? If no, why do we need God?

My opponent also states, "The absolute laws of logic are a reflection of the logical mind of god. If you look through the Bible, you see all over the three rules mentioned in my first, or second, argument."

To which I answer: So? This is assuming that God exists in the first place, which is what my opponent has to do. The remarks about the Bible are completely irrelevant as well.


My opponent also remarks... "This also brings up another point. So far, as we've seen, Christianity has been the only belief system that has been able to account for the creation or explanation of the beginning of logic.. Can you name any other religion, belief, whatever that has been able to account for this?"

Now I'm not sure why he's bringing Christianity into the mix... but I have named other explanation for the laws of logic. I've shown that they can be viewed as abstractions of reality. This means that their existence is grounded in the world, not in the mind of God.


So my opponent's arguments stand refuted, and he's dropped nearly all my arguments.
Debate Round No. 3
samwight

Pro

First of all, the laws of logic were both created and not created. They are a paradox. They are a reflection of god's mind, and were instilled into our minds. In a weird obscure way, the laws of logic were created, and as my previous argument said, were also not created. A parodox, if you will.

Going back to your brute fact explanation, which makes more sense my full explanation that god instilled the laws of logic in us, or your idea that we should just "leave it alone" and that it "is what it is"? And your other explanation, that the laws of logic are "built in" to our reality. Where did the laws of logic come from? You still have not explained that. Neither of those are full explanations, but mine is. Who seems to have the favor now?

Occam's razor will favor your position only if there is an explanation. You have not provided a full explanation. What we are looking for is this: where did the laws of logic come from? You have just explained where they are. I have done both that and also explained where they could possibly have come from. Thus, Occam's razor favors my position as I provide the first full explanation. Once you provide a full explanation, then Occam's razor might favor your position, but I seriously doubt it.

Your turn, con.
zmikecuber

Con

First off, I'd like to note that if I have come off as overly harsh at all, I appologize. I'm really agnostic when it comes to the transcendental argument, so if my opponent can convince me that it is a sound argument, he will be able to change my mind.

But, of course, this is a debate website, so let's get on to the debating.

To begin with, I'd like to point out that in debating a "paradox" means a "contradiction." In other words, there is an inconsistency. Calling it a paradox doesn't make it not a contradiction. Bertrand Russell noted, "I am firm; you are obstinate; he is a pig-headed fool." [1] Likewise, we could say... "You call it a paradox; I call it a contradiction; the readers call it crazy."

Brute facts
My opponent seems to be making a special pleading fallacy here. All he is doing is trading one brute fact for another. What about God? Why does God exist? Is he just a brute fact? Well, if God can be a brute fact, why can't the logical truths be brute facts?

To quote Bertrand Russell again, "If everything must have a cause, then God must have a cause. If there can be anything without a cause, it may just as well be the world as God, so that there cannot be any validity in that argument" [2]

So why can my opponent posit God as a brute fact, but I can't say that the laws of logic are brute facts?

Occam's razor
My opponent still doesn't understand what I am saying. I am saying that it is perfectly possible for the laws of logic to be either brute facts, or to be abstractions from the way reality behaves. He asks a loaded question, saying "where did the laws of logic come from?" But why assume they "came from" anywhere? Why do they need a cause? Let me summarize my argument...


P1: Either the laws of logic "came from" somewhere, or they did not.
P2: If they "came from" somewhere, then are probably abstractions, and didn't come from God
P3: If they didn't "come from" somewhere, then they are brute facts, and didn't come from God.
C: Therefore, in either case, the laws of logic didn't come from God.

Now my opponent needs to show that the laws of logic have to "come from" somewhere, and that the only place they can come from is God.

Saying that the laws of logic are abstractions from nature explains their presence perfectly. They're abstractions we draw from reality, just like we draw "red" from reality. The opposing view is that there is a mind which grounds them. As long as these are both possibilities, then the argument is refuted. However, Occam's razor does favor the view that they are abstractions, because it explains their presence perfectly, and makes less assumptions.

Now of course, if the laws of logic came from reality, where did reality come from? Once again, reality may be a brute fact. But this is far beyond the scope of this debate.

Conclusion
So my opponent needs to do a few things to make the argument successful.


1. Show that the laws of logic need to "come from" somewhere.
2. Show that where they "came from" is God.

Thank you

[1]http://grammar.about.com...
[2]http://www.users.drew.edu...
Debate Round No. 4
samwight

Pro

It's quite alright, Con.

I've noticed a few flaws in your argument. You state in P3 that "If the laws of logic came from somewhere, then they are probably abstractions, an didn't come from god." You still have not stated where they came from. Therefore, since that argument is still faulty, it is still reasonable to assume that my argument is still valid. You could also assume that if the laws of logic are built into our reality, our reality has to have come from somewhere. If you assume that out reality, or our earth, whatever, came from the Big Bang, how does that explain the laws of logic? They are so complex to just have come from an explosion. So reasonably, that still leaves my argument.

And now back to your brute fact theory. It is perfectly possible, but which makes more sense? The fact that I have a perfectly logical explanation, or the fact that you would just rather be lazy and not bother to explain where the laws of logic came from? I would think the former, or would you object? Of course you would. I think thus that Occam's razor would favor me n this particular explanation as you do not even provide an explanation. You only seem to provide one logical explanation that does not fully explain the matter.

So, my final argument:
1. In this debate, the most reasonable explanation for the creation/implementation of the laws of logic is a transcendent god that pre-existed mankind. Since you have been unable to provide a reasonable explanation that has been able to stand.

That's all, I guess.
zmikecuber

Con

Well here we are at the end. I don't think I have too much to say, so this won't take long.

Logical laws as abstractions
All I'm saying is that logical laws could be viewed as stemming from reality. Just like we have concepts of "redness" and "humanity" even though there really is no such thing, the laws of logic could be the same. Why couldn't they? It seems highly plausible that this is the case, since we have other concepts that are actually abstractions, which we treat as "things". Is there a "humanity" out there? No. It's just a concept we abstract from humans. We take the properties that humans have and make up "humanity". Likewise, we take the properties reality has, and make "logical laws".


The Big bang
Now my opponent says that even if the laws of logic are abstractions from reality, where did reality come from? Like I said above, this is beyond the scope of the debate. The debate is whether or not the laws of logic prove God's existence, not whether or not the beginning of the universe, or reality in general proves God's existence. So this is simply irrelevant to this debate.


Brute facts
My opponent doesn't like the idea that the laws of logic could be brute facts. But for some reason, he's ok with God being a brute fact. This is called the fallacy of special pleading. Whether or not he realizes it, he's setting up two different standards. One for himself, and one for me. It's ok for him to say that God is a brute fact, but it's not ok for me to say the laws of logic are a brute fact. Well you can't have it both ways. Since it's perfectly ok to say that God might be a brute fact, then it's perfectly ok to say that the laws of logic are a brute fact.


Conclusion
My opponent has not shown that the laws of logic prove the existence of a God. I've shown that the existence of the laws of logic could either be an abstraction from reality, just as the concept "humanity" is, or they could just be a brute fact.


Thanks to my opponent for this debate. I hope that he enjoys DDO and keeps debating! :)
Debate Round No. 5
20 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by MyDinosaurHands 3 years ago
MyDinosaurHands
But it used to be just all faith. Way back in the day. This shows that religions and their followers are becoming more secularized.
Posted by samwight 3 years ago
samwight
Sorry, DinasourHands, but its not just entirely faith.
Posted by kingcloud999 3 years ago
kingcloud999
Your second comment on this debate is completely illogical
Posted by MyDinosaurHands 3 years ago
MyDinosaurHands
Correct me if I'm wrong but isn't religion supposed to be dependent on faith, not logic? Doesn't trying to use logic to justify something that is supposed to be faith based show that thing as dying, or at least changing in the eyes of its followers?
Posted by samwight 3 years ago
samwight
so this is debate....
Posted by samwight 3 years ago
samwight
It's fine. :)
Posted by zmikecuber 3 years ago
zmikecuber
Yeah I guess I might have come off a little harsh in that one round... :P My bad.
Posted by samwight 3 years ago
samwight
Logic was not made by man. It was discovered, not made
Posted by MasterDebated 3 years ago
MasterDebated
Absolute truths can be reached by following laws of logic.. Logic is a man-made process to reach absolute truths that are transcendental.
Posted by Sojourner 3 years ago
Sojourner
Be nice Mike!
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by tylergraham95 3 years ago
tylergraham95
samwightzmikecuberTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Args go to con, as Con rebutted the Pros arguments without much compelling challenge being made against these rebuttals. This was an interesting topic, and a fun read, but the debate became very-much so focused on pro mitigating the attacks made by Con, without making much impact. Cons points regarding "Brute Fact" was only weakly attacked by the Pro, and this gave Con an argument that, to me, satisfied Occams Razor more effectively. I hope, though, that Pro sticks around on DDO. He looks like a very promising member.
Vote Placed by Sswdwm 3 years ago
Sswdwm
samwightzmikecuberTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Rather unfortunate Pro ran into zmike... Pro didn't put up much argumentation against 'brute facts' except that they were too complex. .... And there wasn't much else there. Anyway, welcome to DDO Pro, good luck in future.