Friday, May 11, 2007

Logic: An Atheist's Nightmare

I've been having a discussion with a naturalistic atheist over how they account for logic and the meaninglessness of the discussion if their worldview is true. Here is the lastest video on the topic. It exposes some of the major problems with the naturalistic worldview and then it argues that if logic does exist and is eternal, then God must exist. My main purpose in using the argument from logic is to show the logical consistency of the Christian worldveiw. I realize that most non-Christians would not be convinced by this argument.








You can see his video at the link below. It is the video I am responding to.

Logic is not an Atheist's Nightmare

God bless,

Doug

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4 Comments:

At Sunday, May 13, 2007 12:44:00 AM, Anonymous bobby grow said...

Doug good points. You presented a clear coherent "logical" theistic perspective, contra naturalism.

I watched "nothingman's" response to you, but I'm afraid much of his "response" was his "grasping" for a response rather than providing a coherent defense for his worldview. I think his argument on the ongoing existence of logic (dare I say eternality) actually "defeated" his case before he got started. You're response to him on that point was excellent, i.e. w/o brains, in a naturalist worldview, logic would no longer exist given the "physicalist" anthropology.

One other point that would be interesting to take to task was his assertion that "evolution has pretty much been proven". I would like to hear his thought on how he thinks it has been proven in response to intelligent design critique (irreducible complexity, specified complexity, and the problem that natural selection provides for the evolutionary position).

If in fact his position is true, which really I'm not sure ultimately what his position is, it would be impossible for you guys, or anybody for that matter to communicate, since logic is local to an individual, and not "universal". Which you did good in pointing out as well, btw. This is another point where his position really flounders, it is circular--he assumes what he denies in order to "prove" his point (i.e. that logic is external, thus your ability to communicate, in order to assert, as he does, that logic is particularized to an individual's chemical interactions in the "brain").

I'll quit rambling, good points Doug.

 
At Tuesday, May 15, 2007 1:31:00 AM, Blogger Mitch said...

Another well-put argument/video. I'm not sure if it's been mentioned before by someone else but the videos themselves are an awesome outreach medium. Metacafe-like internet video junkies are sure to stumble upon the clips. Perhaps publishing to more prominent vodcast locations such as google videos (if they're not already, I haven't looked) to more quickly expand to the growing crowds will make a nice awareness of the stances.

 
At Friday, June 08, 2007 10:11:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Doug. I'm an atheist. I saw your videos on godtube though, and they really forced me to stop and think, unlike those banana videos. You have very interesting arguments, and I was almost shocked by them until I had time to let them sink in. Here are the answers I came up with, after some thought:

Logic is true because I can observe it. I see that there are rules like 'if I do A, then B happens', or 'either B or C happens'. The rules of logic are part of the rules of the universe and so are necessary for us to explain our experience and are necessary for math and physics to work. Any species will understand the same rules of logic (if it gets smart enough) because it observes the same universe as us. If it didn't come to the same understanding, it would make wrong predictions. Animals have understood some of these rules, as can seen by the fact that they can be trained using them ('if you do this trick, then I'll give you a snack').

You have two other questions: Don't we have free will?, and What the meaning of life? These are tough questions that people have tried to answer for millennia, so let me point out that even if I cannot answer them I would still believe in some kind of naturalism on faith, because it matches up with many more of my personal observations than religion. I think the strong evidence for evolution, modern cosmology, for the physical impossibility of miracles, etc, make religions that deny these surely false. So, here are my personal answers:

Free Will: I don't know if it exists, but I don't think we are as simple as 'molecules bumping into each other in our brain'. I think that consciousness cannot be explained by physics, though it can be approached scientifically. One can try to explain thought by electric signals or molecules as much as one wants, but that will never explain why I have an inner voice and a sense of self. If the physical interpretation were true, then I would be a walking automaton and wouldn't feel as if I had a mind. The existence of consciousness must be taken as a basic assumption of the universe, just as we must assume that space exists. The problem is, we don't understand much about consciousness. It is affected by matter (our brain), at least. Maybe in the future we will know more about it, so that we will know for sure whether free will exists, or maybe we will no longer need to take consciousness as an assumption. The science allowing us insight into the working of the brain is only just starting to be available (MRI, computer simulation etc). For now, it seems to me free will might exist because I feel as if I have it. While coming up with this answer, I found this which gives a more in depth explanation and from which I got some ideas. My belief here is sort of equivalent to believing in a soul, like many religions predict, but I don't believe it was created by a sentient god.

Meaning of life: I suppose I believe that there isn't one except one we make for ourselves. I feel emotions such as empathy and I like music, puzzles and many other things. These emotions and desires are what direct me in my life, so for example I might want to help others because of empathy, or I might want to run a successful business because of pride, or because I enjoy the challenge, etc. I respond to you because I want to have have an understanding of the universe, and because these kinds of arguments are kind of fun. It's the way we evolved, and the way our consciousness seems to work. If I was a ravenous bug-alien, eating people would be the point of my life. I don't have anything deeper than that. Just because it would be nice to think that a god has a plan for us, doesn't make it true.

By the way, I think the most troubling question science can never answer is Why does anything exist? The existences of the universe and of my mind have to be simply assumed. Religion has no better answer, though. The religious answer is 'because God made it', but that just moves the question to Why does God exist?, and anyway that answer isn't provable in any way.

I'm curious, what are your answers to the two questions (free will,meaning of life)?
I vaguely remember that early Quakers or similar groups didn't believe in free will since God had already decided their future. I would guess that like me you believe that free will comes from a soul, but which was created by God. And for the meaning of life, is it to serve God?

I hope this post doesn't get lost in the history of your blog. I'm posting here rather than godtube because my post is pretty long.

Allan

 
At Friday, June 08, 2007 2:55:00 PM, Blogger Doug E. said...

Hey Allan,

I must admit, I like you already. Your humility and sincerity (not to mention your lack of hostility) is extremely refreshing, and these are good questions to ponder and important ones too. If your worldview is true, it makes for a good discussion, which can add to our self-created meaning in life, but if my worldview is correct, the implications are eternal, which makes it wise for even an atheist to look into. As Socrates said, “the unexamined life is not worth living.” As far as your comments, you were interested in hearing my thoughts on them, so here are a few.

First, your statements on logic said that you can observe it, and you then went further to discuss cause and effect, but there is a difference between the two. In fact, logic is deeper than cause and effect because, we as humans cannot observe cause and effect without logic. The primary rule of logic is that of non-contradiction. Something cannot be both A and Non- A in the same sense at the same time. This is needed to understand cause and effect, for to say that you observe a cause, demands that you are using the law of non-contradiction, because you are not saying that you are observing a non-cause. Now ultimately there is nothing you can point to and say that is the law of non-contradiction. It can’t ultimately be observed, because it is what your mind uses to observe. Now my ultimate question on this was, is logic eternal or is it changeable. The naturalistic worldview can only see logic is a phenomena of the brain which is evolving, so how do we know the phenomena of the brain is not evolving? So when a naturalist uses logic to attempt to defeat the Christian worldview they should be able to account for what they are using. And if it is not accounted for eternally, then how can they say that someone who attempts to be illogical is not actually evolving. This is a complicated argument and actually raises more questions, but I will forego further analysis at this point to move on to your other points.

As to your question on free will vs. determinism. I actually agree with you when you said, “If the physical interpretation were true, then I would be a walking automaton and would not feel as if I had a mind.” What you are ultimately arguing for is that the naturalist interpretation cannot ultimately be true. And this is my argument also. In fact, I believe all people know this to be true, but they suppress this truth as Romans, chapter 1 verses 18-21 says. Your statement, about us having some kind of soul seems to clearly put you outside the naturalist worldview, even if you do not believe there was a sentient being that created us. What you are subscribing to, is that there is something outside the material order of the world, which naturalists deny.

Regarding the meaning in life, or our purpose, you stated that we create our own meaning in life, but this causes many problems because morality is based upon purpose. If we create our own purpose then we create our own morality. I explain this further in a video on Godtube called, “the new atheism.” My ultimate argument is that because we know right and wrong we also know what our purpose or meaning is life is ane vice versa. Scripture implies this because we are made in the image of God. It is not something we learn by observation, though observation aids our understanding, but it is innate. Naturalist believe morality like other existential feelings of meaning are simply evolved phenomena of the brain, and neither belief can be proven scientifically. So what we do is abductive reasoning, we look at the most “meaningful” things in life and work to the best explanation. This is also called inference to the best explanation. Since you have already made statements that seem to show that you don’t really believe that the naturalistic worldview is the best explanation we must continue further to see what is.

I will end with this. You mentioned that even if the naturalist worldview cannot answer these questions of meaning purpose and logic we should still take it on faith because of the evidence for evolution, modern cosmology, and the physical impossibility of miracles.

First, modern cosmology argues that the universe had a beginning which is what the theist argues, so this can also be evidence for the theist, and is usually used quite forcefully by them. Second, you mentioned evidence for evolution, but there is evidence for micro evolution and only a theory of macro evolution, which is based on the evidence for micro evolution. And third you mentioned the impossibility of miracles, but this, I would argue, is based on the unproven naturalistic worldview, and if naturalism is not true then miracles are certainly possible. In the end, all three of these, evidences are only evidences if one already believes naturalism and seeks to find it in what they see, which is the very argument with which the naturalist charges the theist. The problem arises though in the fact that naturalism then refutes the most meaningful things we experience in life instead of answering them.

Thanks for taking the time to stop by my blog and discuss this with me. If you would like to discuss this further, feel free to email me at dougeaton@gmail.com. I’m not expert and do not have all the answers but I would be glad to continue to show you why I am not an atheist and why I am a Christian.

Take care my friend,

Doug

 

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