Resolving the Debate: Consistency

“So far, we have shown that scientific evidence by itself will not settle the debate since we all interpret our observations of the universe to match with our worldview. We have also shown that we cannot settle the debate by attempting to be neutral; such a position cannot possibly exist. How then can the debate over origins (which is really a debate over worldviews) be rationally resolved? The solution is to realize that worldviews have consequences. Whatever a person chooses as his or her ultimate standard will lead to other beliefs, which will lead to others, and so on.

However, some beliefs do not comport with each other – they don’t “go well together.” This provides us with one criterion by which we can distinguish a good worldview from a bad one: a good worldview must be logically consistent. If a worldview has internal contradictions, then it cannot be correct since contradictions cannot be true. Moreover, some worldviews lead to the strange consequence that it is impossible to actually know anything. Such a worldview is rationally defective since it would be impossible to know that it is true. So although everyone has an ultimate standard, not all ultimate standards will provide a self-consistent worldview in which knowledge is possible. If a worldview is self-contradictory, or has absurd consequences, then it cannot be correct.

As an example, consider the philosophy of relativism. Relativists believe that truth is “relative” – that it varies from person to person. Relativism includes the idea that there are no absolutes. But the proposition that “there are no absolutes” is itself an absolute proposition. Relativists assert that it is absolutely true that truth is not absolute.

This is a self-defeating philosophy. If relativism were absolutely true, it would lead to the consequence that it cannot be absolutely true. So, if it were true, it would be false; therefore it is false.

As another example, consider the philosophy of empiricism. This is the idea that all knowledge is gained through observation. Now of course I do believe that some knowledge is gained through observation – this is perfectly consistent with Scripture. God made our senses to reliably probe the universe, and so there is nothing wrong with empirical methods. But the philosophy of empiricism goes much further than this. Empiricists believe that all knowledge is acquired by observation. Or to put it another way, observation is the ultimate standard by which all truth claims are tested. And that I do not believe. I have found, however, that many evolutionists are empiricists.

We must eventually ask the empiricist how he knows that “all knowledge is gained through observation.” Clearly this is not something that the empiricist has observed (since knowledge cannot be “seen.”) So then how could anyone possibly know that empiricism itself is true, if all things are indeed known by observation? If empiricism is proved in some way other than through observation, then it refutes itself. If the empiricist’s ultimate standard did happen to be true, the empiricist could never actually know that it is true; he could never prove it. And if a person’s ultimate standard is uncertain, then all his other beliefs (which are based on that standard) are called into question. Empiricism destroys the possibility of actually knowing anything.”

(Lisle, Ultimate Proof of Creation, 37-38)

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