Standards of Logic
Debate Rounds (3)
It's kind of a low hit and it seems like you're cheating. Because it's like you're fighting with your opponent to see who can build the highest castle of cards and then you pull the table from under your opponents castle. It's really funny and annoying at the same time! :p
In this particular case you wrote:
"IF non-theism is true, THEN we are here by chance and evolution. We would only be further developed animals. We know that we have consciousness, but we do not know that we can trust our minds for rationality and logic. We can observe reality, and we can create things and use things that work, but we cannot trust that our logical systems are correct. There may or may not be objective truth in the world, and we would never be able to know if we could discover it.
This is by far the strongest argument for theism, and one that my opponent should consider and understand quite carefully. He should not merely shrug this off as a small issue, because if he cannot account for trusting is logical analysis, then he shows how absurd atheism is."
So, in order to disprove your claim, I just had to give you a foundation to base my logic upon? Like the simplest cause effect relation, that even animals are able to make?
When, after doing a certain action a certain event happens, your brain creates a correlation between both. So, when you repeat the action your brain is expecting that certain event to happen. This is the basis of reasoning and I don't understand why you need a divine intervention to explain it.
Logic is just the connection of events inside your brain. But while most animals, can do just a very limited association of dots, Humans can create really complex nets of interconnected cause effect events.
But this is something that even machines rely on...
I don't think that I fully grasp the meaning of logic itself, so I would like if you could explain it to me. I didn't really want to start a debate on this... But I don't mind, if it will cease my curiosity :)
No need to apologize; you've discovered my favorite argument for theism. I have to be honest, it's a newer argument that I've been using, so it's not quite perfected yet, but it's getting there :)
This argument is not saying that non-theists cannot be logical. Logic is a system of reasoning to discover truth. Logic is similar to scientific principles- it is a method of falsification. That is, we use logic to show what is an error, so that we can find out what is true.
Now, remember what Rene Descartes said? "I think, therefore I am." So, you know that you exist. But all you have to trust for your existence is your experience. But how can you trust your memories? If there is no God, we are here by random chance and evolution. We are furtherly developed animals. We do know that memories are faulty. We do know that people use incorrect reasoning to come to incorrect conclusions. We can't know that we don't all do that. We can know that we exist, but everything that exists outside of us could be different from the way that we perceive reality. I can't prove you absolutely exist anymore than you can prove I exist.
So, an atheist must say, "I am certain that I exist. I can't absolutely trust my memories, and I can't absolutely trust that my mind perceives the correct reality."
A theist, on the other hand, believes that God created man in the image of God. He created man as a rational being, capable of discovering objective truth.
When two people debate a topic, they are trying to figure out the objective truth of the matter.
Two theists can discuss a matter, debate, and use logic to come to a shared conclusion that will likely be true.
Two non-theists can discuss a topic, but they can't be sure whether the other person really exists, whether their mind is capable of perceiving reality correctly, and whether they have any reason to trust the conclusion.
It's not about proving logic, it's about proving if you can trust logic.
We live our lives based on the presuppostion that we can trust our minds, and that the way we perceive reality is the right way, and that when we discuss topics, there is an objective truth to discover. Everybody does this, no matter what they believe in. The argument is, only the Theists are justified with these presuppositions, because they can trust their mind, whereas the non-theists have no reason to trust their minds (based on their worldview). So, if an atheist claims he can be logical, he is only able to do so while standing on theistic presuppositions.
Rebuttals for Con
Con, you asked how you could explain a trust in logic without the need to invoke a God.
You made a point that we can make machines, that we can then rely upon them for consistency. This is a good point- if humans are designed, then we should be consistent. If humans are not designed, we may not be like machines and may not be consistent.
We know that people exist that have mental disabilities. We know that they are disabled because they are lacking features that we have. But how do we know we aren't disables in some sense, lacking something we don't understand?
These are some ways as to why an atheist should doubt his ability to reason, if there is no god. The way to refute this argument is to come up with reasons why we could trust our minds, if god did not exist.
I hope I explained myself well. Good luck trying to come up with a way to refute this argument :)
If you claimed that humans always need a certain amount of faith to live their lives, I would agree with you and I think it would be a really great argument against skeptics.
But if you're claiming, that believing in God gives you the certainty upon the reality you live in and the power to understand everything, I have to disagree.
The fact that God created man in his/her image, doesn't give us any certainties. It's like a self-portrait. Even if the painter was perfect, he just painted himself... with ink and brushes in a paper screen.
You said it yourself: "If humans are not designed, we may not be like machines and may not be consistent.
We know that people exist that have mental disabilities. We know that they are disabled because they are lacking features that we have. But how do we know we aren't disables in some sense, lacking something we don't understand?"
What were you insinuating by the way? That people with mental disabilities are not humans, as they weren't created in the image of god? ;)
And of course we aren't perfect and we don't understand something? more like lots of stuff!! We're humans, we're not suppose to be perfect. We don't understand God itself! And as a christian believer, I'm pretty sure you don't understand lots of things related to God.
Why does God send people to hell? Is it for punishing them? But if he's a loving God and he does it for love and righteousness, shouldn't people be able to redeem themselves and move to heaven? Otherwise what's the point of punishing them?
Why does a loving God allows their sons to kill, torture and enslave one another? Just for the sake of their freedom? But by allowing this, isn't he being condescending with the imprisonment of those that are enslaved? And wouldn't all of those people be rather happier with a divine intervention? And doesn't this inertia goes completely against the meaning of love and the teachings on the bible itself? That you should always seek to love and help those in need? Why may God's love be different?
Why are babies born with deficiencies? And if we were suppose to be so perfect, why are we so flawed? I think you don't believe it's thanks to Adam and Eve...
All this to say, that I don't believe that believing in God is suppose to make you complete understand your reality not even being sure about it, but rather give you the answer to believe in it.
All you wrote before, that:
"We are furtherly developed animals. We do know that memories are faulty. We do know that people use incorrect reasoning to come to incorrect conclusions. We can't know that we don't all do that. We can know that we exist, but everything that exists outside of us could be different from the way that we perceive reality. I can't prove you absolutely exist anymore than you can prove I exist.
So, an atheist must say, "I am certain that I exist. I can't absolutely trust my memories, and I can't absolutely trust that my mind perceives the correct reality."
Is very well questioned and stated. And as a skeptical you have to believe in this reality, so you can live your life, even though you don't admit the jump of faith.. Being a theist you just believe in it. You're not sure of what exactly it is, but it's the reality God presented you with. Who cares if it's true or not? It's just a pretty awesome gift! (with some exceptions...)
But it's always a belief... and you can't use it as an argument, because it's kinda fallacious. Petitio principii?
I really enjoy your debates and hope for a reply.
This is a Worldview Issue
Okay, you have a common misconception about this argument, which is completely understandable. This isn't an argument as to why faith in God is better than not believing. This argument isn't about proving God's existence (not necessarily, but it will lead to it, as I'll show), it is about showing the difference between two paradigms (two worldviews).
One worldview says this: God created mankind to be rational beings. We can trust logic completely. Logic is absolute, and morals are objective.
Another worldview says: Logic is a societal construct. Metaphsyics isan illusion, and everyone's reality is their own perception. We cannot trust logic. Logic is subjective and so are morals.
Only one of those worldviews can be true. They cannot both be true. What many people want to do is, they want to assume that there is no God, and take the atheistic paradigm. This is fine. But in this paradigm, there is no reason to trust logic. There is no right and wrong. We simply just "exist". So one cannot say "we ought to not believe in God, because in a universe that has no meaning, one cannot tell another what one ought to do. One may say that we can each create our own meaning, but then this meaning is subjective, that is, we each decide for ourselves what to do, and each person is just as right with their personal life as the next. One cannot criticize another person because this would contradict their belief in moral relativsm. We are all just random collocations of atoms.
As long as the atheist stays in this line of thinking (in line with his/her paradigm, this is fine). But if the atheist then wants to argue the existence of God, he/she must invoke logic, (which is untrustworhty in the atheist paradigm) and is invoking morals (you ought not to believe in God is a contradiction to moral relativsm)
So an atheist may say they believe that God does not exist. But once they ask to use logic and moral objective standards, they have just borrowed from the theistic paradigm. They have stepped onto a worldview that needs God to exist. They are in a contradiction.
Realize this; this is not an argument that God absolutely exists. This argument does acknowlede that it takes faith to believe in God. But these are irrelevant to the argument I am presenting. The argument is showing how an atheist must use principles ONLY FOUND in the theistic paradigm to argue that one ought not to believe in God. In order for an atheist to refute God, he must invoke God.
Refutations and Conclusion
I took the bulk of what you were saying and responded by the above, but I do also want to address some of the specific claims you made.
I am not saying that people with mental disabilities are not human. We are people who were created in the image of God, and in a fallen world, we have become corrupted more and more with each generation of mutations. So yes, people may be born with defficencies, but we are the image of God fallen, so we can still rely on the being created as rational beings, where in an atheist mindset, we were never created to be rational.
I hope I have made it more clear, that this is not an argument on certainties or explaining why faith is important. This argument merely points out how an atheist cannot argue against God without needing to borrow from a theistic paradigm.
1."God created mankind to be rational beings. We can trust logic completely. Logic is absolute, and morals are objective."
Logic falls into two general fields, deductive and inductive logic. Deductive logic is used to discover self-evident truths. For example:
1. All flowers are living beings.
2. The rose is a flower.
3. therefore the rose is a living being.
In deductive logic, syllogisms go from the general to the specific. However, they are all contained systems. For instance, our definition of "flower" is that it is a living being. Therefore it's just taking general truths and applying them to the specific.
The other form of logic is called inductive logic. Inductive logic goes from the specific to general and often contains new information in the conclusion, is predictive, and has a margin for error. An example of inductive logic would be:
1. I've waken up every time after I fell asleep;
2. I'm feeling the same as the other times;
3. I will wake up after this night of sleep;
The scientific method is an example. When we gather evidence we take specific examples of a certain thing. After collecting and interpreting this evidence we can make a general rule about this thing. However, we may still be wrong in our general rule because we're moving from the specific to the general.
In conclusion, logic is very far from being absolute, because it doesn't give you access to absolute knowledge or whatsoever.
And human reasoning is very far from being perfect too. You have your life experiences, emotions, genetics... lots of factors that influence your way of thinking. It just can't be perfect. And what you're claiming is not even logically correct, according to our own standards of logic.
I will try to put it through syllogisms to explain myself:
1. God exists and made humans perfect, in his image.
2. Humans are perfect and their reasoning is perfect.
3. Humans can claim that God exists through their reasoning.
Unfortunately, humans' reasoning is not perfect according to their own reasoning. Which I believe that immediately disproves your claims.
Regarding to morals being objective, this is not true either, at least at an human level. Moral standards change from culture to culture, and from people to people. Even between people with the same religion beliefs, you find significant levels of discrepancy between their morals and their beliefs of right and wrong.
I believe that morals stand mainly on "treat others as you would want them to treat you", that's why they are so subjective.
In conclusion. Atheists are just trying to have some sense in their own relativism and subjective reality, they are not trying to claim the absolute nonexistence of God, they just believe in it for the lack of evidences to prove them the opposite in their reality, but they won't never be able to be completely sure of it.
While theists can be sure that God exists, not because they can prove it through reasoning and logic, but because they can feel it, in a way that completely transcends any kind of thinking or logic.
I really appreciate your availability to try to explain your point. I'm sorry that we didn't manage to reach an agreement on this, but thank you!
Con displays the two methods of logic: inductive and deductive.
I agree with how Con displayed them, but I disagree with Con's conclusion.
Con: In conclusion, logic is very far from being absolute, because it doesn't give you access to absolute knowledge or whatsoever.
Deductive logic leads to an absolute answer, so long as the premises are true and the argument is valid. This would be the description of a sound argument. My argument is saying, in an atheistic paradigm, absolutes cannot exist (see next paragraph). You have conceded to this, but you are assuming that atheists don't consider anything to be absolutely true. If an atheist concedes to this as you have, then deductive logic cannot be trusted, as it leads to absolute conclusions, so long as it is sound. Therefore, my point is made that atheists cannot even debate a theist if they concede that they cannot trust deductive arguments, which is the bulk of debates.
Here is an example of why atheists cannot trust absolutes. In an atheistic paradigm, we are here by random chance and evolution. So, one of the laws of logic is the law of noncontradiction. A statement cannot be true and false at the same time. However, we believe this to be true because we have never seen a contradiction in this universe. But, absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. In an atheistic paradigm, they are making a quantum leap of faith to say that the law of non contradiction is true. Humans have an ability to see order in chaos, so it is possible we are misled to believing that logic is trustworhty, if atheism is true.
In a theistic paradigm, we can trust that the universe is ordered, because it was created to be ordered.
In an atheistic paradigm, the universe is technically not ordered. We may describe something as an orderly fashion, but it is all chance. It is what it is- not ordered. How can something that is a result of chaos trust that anything is orderly? This is a quantum leap of faith.
There is no quantum leap of faith in a theistic paradigm. God exists, and created man to be rational. Yes, we may make mistakes at times, but this does not change that there is objective truth that can be known, versus an theistic paradigm were objective truth might not even exist.
My opponent countered by moral argument by appealing to society and culture to determine ethics. My point went against this, though, as this reasoning would not allow us to argue that another society is committing error. No one can say that Nazi Germany was being morally wrong by murdering millions. That society determined that killing innocents was okay. But, if there is an objective moral standard that goes above society, then we can appeal to that and determine that certain societies and cultures are morally wrong. So, if there is no higher standard, a person cannot tell another person that it is wrong to believe God exists. There is no higher moral standard, so his opinion is irrelevant to the other person who resides in a theistic society.
An atheist cannot trust deductive logic, nor can they tell someone else what they ought to believe. So if an atheist decides to debate a theist, to argue that the theist should not believe in God, he is using presuppositions only found in the theistic paradigm.
Some of the things my opponent stated may be true. We cannot ultimately trust reason, and society determines morality. An atheist can accept these, and there is no inconsistency there. It is only when an atheist desires to debate a theist is when they commit inconsistencies. That is why I use this argument in a debate. So, this argument cannot be used if the atheist allows that it is possible God exists and is fine with people believing in whatever they want.
If objective morals and deductive logic is trustworthy, then it is more than likely that God exists (this is inductive logic).
If an atheist begins to debate a theist, he has conceded that it is more likely than not that God exists, which undermines his/her entire argument.
I hope that, in my final round, I have shown why this argument is a successful one for debating atheists. It is not an argument that absolutely proves God exists, it is not an argument that says the theistic paradigm is more likely true than the atheistic paradigm, or that one is more true than the other. The entire point is that, only when an atheist desires to debate a theist, they have stepped onto presuppositions that only exist in a theistic paradigm.
Thank you for the debate, Con, and I appreciate your objections so that I was able to critique my argument
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