Frank and Dave on Laws of Logic

A discussion between Frank Turek and Dave on a comment section of post here

Dave
FRANK:
If atheistic materialism is true, it seems to me that reason itself is impossible. For if mental processes are nothing but chemical reactions in the brain, then there is no reason to believe that anything is true (including the theory of materialism).

DAVE:
Note the key words there: IT SEEMS TO ME. You haven’t made an argument, you’ve just said that it SEEMS to you that materialistic consciousness cannot exist. Your own incredulity is not a sufficient argument against materialism.

FRANK:
Reason itself presupposes faith. Why? Because a defense of reason by reason is circular, therefore worthless.

DAVE:
Is that a reasoned argument on your part? If not, we have no reason to listen to it. If so, then you’re presupposing reason, and thus have falsified your own argument.

FRANK:
Our only guarantee that human reason works is God who made it.

DAVE:
And what is your basis for saying that God is reliable on such matters? You can’t say God, because the reliability of God is precisely what is at issue, and you can’t say your own reason, because until we’ve established God as reliable we have no reason to trust reason. Unless, of course, you’re completely wrong.

There’s more I feel like saying but I’m out of time.

Frank
“It seems to me” was my way of saying “perhaps I’m missing something.” So what am I missing? How can an immaterial reality such as the laws of logic exist in a world that is only material?

And yes, I have faith in reason. And apparently so do you.

Evidence for the existence of God is not limited to the laws of logic. The laws of logic are but one line of evidence (others we have discussed are in the post “Darwinists Have a Lot of Explaining to Do” as well as several others). I’m saying that a theistic universe can account for the laws of logic, but an atheistic universe cannot. If I am wrong, please tell me how an atheistic universe can account for the laws of logic.

Dave
By your statements, it is clear that you take logic to be in some way contingent upon God. If logic is contingent upon God, then God can change logic — arrange for violations of, for instance, the law of identity. Obviously that is not the case — not even God can make A not be A, or make both A and ~A obtain. One is forced, even by the act of arguing the contrary, to concede that the laws of logic are necessary truths. Therefore, just by arguing for God’s existence, you have conceded his nonexistence.

Frank
I don’t think God can change logic any more than he can change morality. Those immaterial attributes flow from his unchanging nature. It is possible that God could have created, say, the physical constants of the universe differently because physicality is not part of his unchanging nature. But not logic.

So you are correct that God cannot make A = non A. But I don’t see how that argues for his nonexistence. To the contrary, logic argues FOR his existence because his unchanging nature is the source of unchanging logic. What is the source from an atheistic perspective?

Dave
FRANK:
I don’t think God can change logic any more than he can change morality. Those immaterial attributes flow from his unchanging nature. It is possible that God could have created, say, the physical constants of the universe differently because physicality is not part of his unchanging nature. But not logic. So you are correct that God cannot make A = non A. But I don’t see how that argues for his nonexistence. To the contrary, logic argues FOR his existence because his unchanging nature is the source of unchanging logic.

DAVE:
So you’re saying that logic is contingent upon God’s nature, not upon his volition.

But then logic is still contingent.

So, once again, you’ve conceded God’s nonexistence.

FRANK:
What is the source from an atheistic perspective?

DAVE:
North of the north pole. If you understand that answer, then you’ll understand why your argument from logic (and abstract objects in general) fails. If not, then I don’t know what to tell you, other than that you need a remedial course in basic philosophy.

Frank
Maybe all those courses in philosophy didn’t sink in. I apologize. But please save the snide putdowns Dave. It only makes you look petty and does nothing to advance the discussion. If you have no cause for an immaterial logic in your materialistic universe, then say so. If you have a cause, then I’d like to hear what it is.

BTW, God’s will is an attribute of his nature.

Dave
FRANK:
Maybe all those courses in philosophy didn’t sink in. I apologize.

DAVE:
You mean you actually took courses? Man, I’d ask for your money back.

FRANK:
But please save the snide putdowns Dave. It only makes you look petty and does nothing to advance the discussion.

DAVE:
What discussion? You have no idea what you’re talking about. As for snide putdowns, from what I’ve seen in my browsings through your website, it consists of little else.

FRANK:
If you have no cause for an immaterial logic in your materialistic universe, then say so. If you have a cause, then I’d like to hear what it is.

DAVE:
Suggesting that the laws of logic might have a cause is tantamount to suggesting that they are contingent. So, for the third time this evening, you’ve conceded God’s nonexistence.

FRANK:
BTW, God’s will is an attribute of his nature.

DAVE:
What God? You’ve tacitly admitted that God doesn’t exist. And even if not, I have no idea what you were trying to accomplish with that statement.

Frank
Most of your comments are very good, so I take issue with you saying this site is all about snide putdowns. It has been rare from you and others.

I’m trying to understand your argument about why you think I’ve conceded God’s nonexistence. If you want to call me stupid and tell me to take more philosophy classes, that will not help matters. Please explain your argument another way.

Dave
FRANK:

Most of your comments are very good, so I take issue with you saying this site is all about snide putdowns. It has been rare from you and others.

DAVE:
Guess I’m one of the first, then.

FRANK:
I’m trying to understand your argument about why you think I’ve conceded God’s nonexistence. If you want to call me stupid and tell me to take more philosophy classes, that will not help matters. Please explain your argument another way.

DAVE:
I’ll try. If logic depends upon something else for its existence — whether it be God’s nature or God’s will or a human’s will or key lime pie, anything at all — then logic is contingent. However, all human discourse, including making the assertion that logic is contingent, presupposes not only that logic is true but that logic is necessarily true. Therefore, human discourse presupposes the nonexistence of any entity which is defined in such a way that logic is contingent upon it — and since you have defined God in such a way, you presuppose God’s existence even by arguing for it.

Frank
Dave,
Here is your last point:
If logic depends upon something else for its existence — whether it be God’s nature or God’s will or a human’s will or key lime pie, anything at all — then logic is contingent. However, all human discourse, including making the assertion that logic is contingent, presupposes not only that logic is true but that logic is necessarily true. Therefore, human discourse presupposes the nonexistence of any entity which is defined in such a way that logic is contingent upon it — and since you have defined God in such a way, you presuppose God’s existence even by arguing for it.

Here is my response:
Logic is necessary and not contingent precisely because it is an attribute of God’s unchanging nature. So God doesn’t create logic, He IS logic. It flows from his rational nature. Likewise, God doesn’t create justice, He IS justice. You can say that about all of His attributes. He is the source and ultimate standard of these immaterial realities.

Now you have said that I am presupposing God with this argument. No, I’m positing God because of the effect I detect known as logic. That’s reasoning from effect to cause. Before I saw your post, I didn’t presuppose you existed either. In fact, I didn’t know you, Dave, existed until I saw an effect, from you, namely your post. This is how we know God– by His effects. And it is how I know you as well. Your posts reflect attributes about you.

What I’m asking you, and atheists in general, is how do you account for an immaterial reality such as logic—which we all agree exists– in an atheistic universe where only material things exist?

Dave
FRANK:

Logic is necessary and not contingent precisely because it is an attribute of God’s unchanging nature. So God doesn’t create logic, He IS logic. It flows from his rational nature. Likewise, God doesn’t create justice, He IS justice. You can say that about all of His attributes. He is the source and ultimate standard of these immaterial realities.

DAVE:
I repeat: Logic that is contingent upon God’s nature is still logic that is contingent. Look at it this way: Could God’s nature be such that A sometimes equals ~A? If not, then God would be contingent upon logic, not the other way around. If so, then just by speaking about the God you define you (yet again) concede his nonexistence.

As for saying that God IS logic, that is not the case — the propositions “A is necessarily A” and “God does not exist” are not logically contradictory.

FRANK:
What I’m asking you, and atheists in general, is how do you account for an immaterial reality such as logic—which we all agree exists– in an atheistic universe where only material things exist?

DAVE:
Atheism doesn’t entail materialism, so strictly speaking, I don’t have to answer that question, since I do not consider myself a materialist. As for how materialists account for logic, I am hesitant to answer since I don’t want to risk misconstruing their view, but my understanding is that abstract objects such as logic and mathematical truths are emergent properties of systems within the physical universe.

Frank
Saying that God’s nature and logic are unchangable, congruent and simultaneous does not mean that God is ontologically dependent on logic. I suppose you could say that if God did not exist than neither would logic because his nature is the grounding of logic. You could say the same about justice. But that is exactly the point I’m making. Logic or Justice (morality) does not exist unless God exists.

So you are not a materialist atheist. What kind of atheist are you then? How do you account for immaterial realities?

 

Advertisements

One thought on “Frank and Dave on Laws of Logic

  1. Pingback: Late November 2015 Presuppositional Apologetics’ Links | The Domain for Truth

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s