Accounting for the Laws of Logic

An excerpt from a post entitled, “Overwhelming Proof that Triune God of the Bible Exists: Why It Matters” from now defunct blog, The Lord God Exists.

“The Laws of Logic

“The laws of logic are a reflection of the way God thinks. The Bible say that God cannot deny Himself (2 Timothy 2:13), He cannot contradict Himself. Therefore the world that He created cannot contradict itself or its Creator. We will never find an instance where A is both A and non-A at the same time and in the same way, a man can never be his own father, and we will never find a round triangle or a married bachelor. God does not think in contradictory terms, therefore the world He created, which reflects His thoughts, cannot contain internal contradictions. And since God never changes, (see the list of His attributes above) the way in which he thinks never changes. So the Christian has every good reason to believe that the laws of logic hold in every area of the universe, and that they’ll never change or cease to be. The laws of logic make perfect sense in the Christian worldview.

Far from being the atheist’s best weapon, the laws of logic pose an enormous problem for atheism. In a worldview where nothing beyond the physical world exists (or at least knowledge of anything existing beyond the physical world is denied), the laws of logic become the elephant in the room. Atheists in general insist that eitehr (1) the physical universe is all there is, or (2) man has no reason to believe in the existence of anything beyond the physical world (since that’s where the supernatural derives from). But the laws of logic are immaterial (non-physical) in nature. They cannot be found anywhere in the physical world. They have no size, shape, weight, height, width, depth, color, consistency, or sound. We can’t trip over a law of logic or pluck one off a tree. They are conceptual truths and thus universal in application. Those who hold to the view that only that which is accessible to, and testable by science exists will have a hard time justifying their use of the laws of logic, which are not accessible to, nor testable by the scientific method. If nothing existed beyond the physical world then the laws of logic would be impossible. All reasoning presupposes the laws of logic, yet atheism cannot account for them.

Objections and Replies

Objection 1: “Well, I’m an atheist, and I can think and reason just fine.”
Reply: This objections misses the point. The argument is no that one must profess belief in the Bible in order to use logic. Rather the argument is that the Bible must be true in order for the laws of logic to exist (and thus for reason to be possible in the first place). Non-Christians can use logic very well, but their worldview cannot account for the existence of logic.

Objection 2: “The laws of logic are just a description of the way the brain thinks.”
Reply: If the laws of logic are just a description of the way the brain thinks, then we wouldn’t need to use logic to correct the way the brain thinks. If this objection were true, then each person would have their own laws of logic. If that were the case, no one could ever commit a logical fallacy (or be incorrect in what they say), for what is fallacious to one person’s logic could be absolutely correct according to another person’s laws of logic. I could claim to be a married bachelor and there would be nothing the matter with that statement. Rational debate and science would be absurd if this objection were true, since both presuppose universal and invariant laws of logic.

Objections 3: “The laws of logic are simply conventions created by man.”
Reply: This objection suffers from a similar problem to the above objection. If the laws of logic are conventional, then each person is free to invent his own set of laws. If we are free to stipulate our own laws of logic then I can simply stipulate a brand-new law: only I am write and everyone else is wrong. Again, rational debate would be impossible if this objection were true, because each side could simply pick a different standard for reasoning and argue from that standard. This just doesn’t match reality.

Objection 4: “The laws of logic are chemical reactions in the brain that have been preserved because they have survival value.” 
Reply: First, survival value does not equate to truth. Our hands have survivla value, but we wouldn’t say that our hands are “true.” Second, if the laws of logic are simply chemical reactions in the brain then they wouldn’t be laws and they wouldn’t be universal, because they wouldn’t extend beyond our brains. In that case, we can’t say that a contradiction can’t be true outside of ourselves since our brains are not outside of ourselves. Additionally, if this objection were true then the laws of logic would differ somewhat from person to person, since each person has different chemical reactions in their brains.

Objection 5: “The laws of logic are a description of how the physical universe behaves.”
Reply: First, the laws of logic are conceptual in nature, and do not really describe aspects of the universe. To describe the correct chain of reasoning from premises to conclusions. Second, if the laws of logic were just a description of how the physical universe then we might expect different areas of the universe to have different laws of logic. We also would have no way of knowing the things the laws of logic would be in; that they don’t change over time.

Objection 6: “We simply use the laws of logic because they work.”
Reply: Such a pragmatic rely will not suffice. That is not the question at issue. No doubt the laws of logic work. They work because they’re true. The question is how/why do the laws of logic exist in the first place, and how can the non-Christian, especially the atheist, account for them? In an accidental, evolutionary universe, why should there be unchanging, invariant, universal, standards for reasoning?”

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