Apologetic Dialogue on Laws of Logic

Apologetic dialogue on laws of logic here 

A:What I fail to see is if laws of logic are “universal, unchanging, and necessary,” how do you get to those laws by saying “God did it”? If these laws are such, then God cannot create them. God can only conform to them himself, just like everybody else, if they are actually “unchanging and necessary,” so hypothesizing a God doesn’t help. No entity can create something that is necessary—that’s what makes it necessary. The premise that logic must be “universal, unchanging, and necessary” might be a correct premise, but you can’t get to any God from that. Or at least, I don’t see how you could.

B:Your evaluation and question is really good! I have wondered about the exact same thing. I think there are two possibilities: 1. God CAN only conform to universal laws of logic. The fact that these laws exist does not prove a God, but it does force us to consider and respect their authority which far exceeds human limitations. The fact that God exists, under this scenario, grant confidence that we can rely on truth and comfort to us as humans. 2. Clearly humans have limitations in both physical ability and mental comprehension. The second possibility is that a universal, unchanging, and necessary God who has a defined character of being consistent and rational created and set forth the laws of logic which humans recognize and respect. The laws of logic we know about may even be secondary to higher, more advanced laws of logic which are beyond our comprehensive faculty. Whichever way it is, the fact that God exists, creates a guarantee that we can rely on the authority of truth and logic.

A: I’m not sure I understand what “relying on the authority of truth and logic” means. Nor do I understand what you mean when you say “it does force us to consider and respect their authority which far exceeds human limitations.”

Why is trust in an authority even relevant? “2+2=4” doesn’t require trust or faith or authority to be consistent. Mathematically, we can prove that it is consistent—no trust is needed.

And your second point is just a restatement of what my original comment doubted. I don’t see it as a candidate possibility, for the reasons I’ve already described. You are just supposing a need for a god, when you describe logic and conform to it just fine without ever appealing to the notion of a deity. In the question of whether 1=1, I don’t see any need to insert God into that question—and moreover, saying “well, because God said so” doesn’t make sense of why 1=1. In the pursuit of logic, I see little practical value in bringing up God at all.

B: When we prove 2+2=4 mathematically, we are relying on the authority of mathematics. We are saying it has the capacity to prove a numerical equality. That is what I am saying about logic. We can only expect another individual to honor our appeal to logic, if logic is something that is outside us. Otherwise, the other person can simply dismiss it as our individual subjective preference. For example, we can only legitimately hold someone accountable for a crime if the “wrongness” of that crime is something that we are both subject to. Otherwise, the other person can say “I believe I had the right to break into Walt’s house so how dare you arrest me.” and the police should just let him go on stealing because they have no reliable basis to stop him.

I will try to clarify what I am saying in the second scenario: On a basic level, it is at least a theoretical possibility that God established laws of logic to allow for civil society among humanity to be possible. In our frame of reference – which I think everyone would admit is limited – we do not definitively know how God could establish truth and logic as universal and unchanging, but it is at least an internally consistent, plausible answer.

A scientific example which I think is helpful (it is for me at least) is Einstein and his research in quantum physics. Originally he hypothesized that all light behaved as a wave, but could not reconcile that with the discrete, packets of light discovered during his famous experiments. Therefore, he was lead to change his views and say that light can behaves both as a wave and a particle. Humanity has still not acquired a full understanding of the nature of light. Going back to truth and logic, we do not have a mechanism to prove the origin of a non-material concept like logic. We can not prove with absolutely deductive certainty that a God beyond human comprehension was the originator of logic apart from any previously excepted premises and have everyone accept our proof. It is a comprehensive, internally consistent answer though and if you do not accept it, what equally probable theory for the origin of logic exists?

A: “When we prove 2+2=4 mathematically, we are relying on the authority of mathematics.”

I don’t know why “authority” is the right word here. I think you may be confused about what a “law of logic” entails…

You then bring up laws of the state, as though they are analogous to logical laws. The two senses “law” are distinct. Laws of your state or province are indeed granted by an authority, by the legislature to make the laws and police to enforce them. But laws of logic are different, because you can’t actually disobey them, like you can disobey a state law. For instance you can believe that one apple and another apple makes five apples, but you won’t actually have 5 apples if you wish to disobey the laws of math. Whereas you could actually break into my home, logically speaking. You can violate state laws, and thereby commit crimes, but mathematical laws are inviolable, so you can only pretend to violate them.

“that God established laws of logic to allow for civil society among humanity to be possible”

I think you are conflating “laws of logic” with “moral laws.” The two aren’t the same. It is not logically impossible to murder someone, but it is logically impossible for 2+2 to equal 5. Again, you can violate one kind of law, but not the other.

“we do not definitively know how God could establish truth and logic as universal and unchanging, but it is at least an internally consistent, plausible answer.”

No. That’s the point of my original post. It ISN”T internally consistent. One can pretend that it somehow makes sense internally that God can create logic, but practically speaking, we can’t even imagine how it could make internal sense. You are just claiming that that is one of God’s abilities, even though we can’t imagine any way that an entity could create binding laws of logic.

As such, I don’t think I have any burden to explain an “equally probable theory for the origin of logic,” because as far as anyone has demonstrated thus far, God cannot plausibly create logic. I described why this is so in my original comment.

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