Thursday, June 02, 2011

JP Laughlin and misunderstanding God and logic

JP Laughlin replies to my last post. Many thanks to JP for the interaction.

I referred to TAG as a form of “proof by verbosity.”

I guess I won't surprise anyone when I say I disagree.  :-)
The concept is new to many, but it's not that complicated. Matt Slick lays it out in a fairly full form here, as you mentioned, but the main points are only 10 or so in number.
Besides, I'd be surprised if you reject modern accepted scientific theorems just b/c they're verbose.
If you want to go to a more populist version, check out proofthatgodexists.org.
And I have to admit, I'd like to see your answer to these, not just tendentious labeling.



Overall, I doubt many people are swayed from disbelief to belief by this argument.

As Matt Slick is fond of saying, proof is not the same as persuasion. What we're after is the glorification of the Lord Jesus and the evident refutation of the unbeliever. Until you offer something better than "hey, that argument uses a lot of words; ergo it is false" or "laws of logic are similar to laws of etiquette" in response, we've accomplished both.



"Matt Slick states that a god cannot make ‘A’ into ‘not A’”...admit, state, assert, whatever word works best, the point was about God being subject, or not, to the laws of logic.

Yes, and I explained that already.
It's not that He's subject to them. They are part of His attributes, like love, justice, holiness.  All of His actions are loving, all are just, all are holy, all are logical. It makes no sense to say that God is "subject to holiness". It's just how He is.


I am saying that if God is subject to the laws of logic, then he cannot be their author.

And what I'm reminding you is that we don't claim God is the "author" of laws of logic.


Fall of Man


The point is that this demonstrates that God can create something that is inconsistent with his nature

Yes, He can create things that do not share all of His attributes.  You know, some of His attributes are communicable and others are incommunicable. Still others of the communicable attributes are rejected by some of His creatures.
But the point here is that you're confusing categories, again. I've been telling you that He doesn't act in a way that's not commensurate with His nature, and creating stuff is completely commensurate. But those creations are not identical to God. They're not interchangeable.


This is something that Slick argues God cannot do.

No, he doesn't. I'd appreciate a direct quote from Slick to that effect.


Have I heard of sin? Your responses have been amicable and fair thus far, I’m not sure why you felt the need for condescension at this juncture.

I have to admit, it is difficult to take seriously someone who whiffs on one of the most foundational doctrines of Christianity while critiquing Christianity.


OK, now on to your defense of AthExp's statement that logic doesn't require a mind.

There are facts to be known about the universe. These facts can be described through reason and logic.

This is an assumption, which you have not shown to be true.
It's also quite telling that you yourself are a mind, and are trying to inform this issue through the expressions of a mind.  Part of my refutation of your point is to remind you that you actually have no idea what a mind-less universe is like.  You've never experienced it, never peeked into one.  And of course, if you were to do so, then you'd remove the mind-less part of the equation. In this sense, it reflects Heisenberg's uncertainty principle.
Also, mind-less universes have to deal with the absurdities such as how it got to be there, the impossibility of an eternal universe vis-à-vis the impossibility of spontaneous self-creation.  I don't envy you your task.


The laws of logic are “laws” for us, not for existence.

1) So they are both laws for existence and not laws for existence.  Right?
2) What if I have a different idea of the laws of logic?  Which of our ideas is right, and how can we know, how can we judge between them?


things in existence do not need a prescription to behave...they will behave as they behave whether or not the minds are present to observe them.

1) I'd call the laws of logic normative, actually.
2) Again, you've never observed anything like that. What is your argument for this statement? How do you know?



In this context, while the statement “a is a” is conceptual, what the statement applies to is not conceptual.

It sure sounds conceptual - it's an idea, isn't it?


How a thing behaves, or its features, requires no “other thing” (eg, a mind) for it to behave or to have those features.

How do you know?


The property of “roundness” does not need a mind to conceive it before things can be round, for example.

You just conceived of roundness and then told me that no mind is necessary to conceive of it. Convenient, isn't it?



Slick only “had him” in the sense that he got Dillahunty to accept the category error.

Actually, I don't think Dillahunty did accept it, if I recall correctly (but I might not be recalling it correctly).
My contention was that Dillahunty's "it's abstract, not conceptual" didn't hold water, for reasons I've been laying out here.

8 comments:

reflectionsonirreligion said...

"The concept is new to many, but it's not that complicated. Matt Slick lays it out in a fairly full form here, as you mentioned, but the main points are only 10 or so in number.
Besides, I'd be surprised if you reject modern accepted scientific theorems just b/c they're verbose....

As Matt Slick is fond of saying, proof is not the same as persuasion. What we're after is the glorification of the Lord Jesus and the evident refutation of the unbeliever. Until you offer something better than "hey, that argument uses a lot of words; ergo it is false" or "laws of logic are similar to laws of etiquette" in response, we've accomplished both."

Me: Proof by Verbosity is not a fallacy because something is verbose. It is a fallacy because it makes a number of arguments that at first seem sound or that contain some sound arguments but other arguments either are not sound, or draw conclusions that do not follow. Thereby, the conclusion is unsound. I am familiar with the full layout of Slick's argument and it contains a number of fallacies...any one of which is enough to make the conclusion unsound. I addressed one of them in the way Slick refers to the laws of logic as conceptual in nature but in doing so conflates their meaning. Perhaps you didn't understand that that was what I was arguing which may mean that I wasn't clear. That happens. But I by no means offered "it uses a lot of words, ergo false." Both the nature of "proof by verbosity" and my critique of one of his premises bear this out.

Rhology: "It's not that He's subject to them. They are part of His attributes, like love, justice, holiness.  All of His actions are loving, all are just, all are holy, all are logical. It makes no sense to say that God is "subject to holiness". It's just how He is."

Me: This is a semantic way to take the same conclusion and reword it so that it sounds better. The conclusion is still valid whether we choose, "bound," "nature," or "attribute."

reflectionsonirreligion said...

Rhology: "And what I'm reminding you is that we don't claim God is the "author" of laws of logic."

Me: From Slick's own argument: "But, since logical absolutes are always true everywhere, and not dependent upon human minds, it must be an absolute transcendent mind that is authoring them.  This mind is called God." (emphasis mine).

Rhology: "You know, some of His attributes are communicable and others are incommunicable."

Me: So a case of special pleading. While the laws of logic are part of God's and the universe's nature, the inability to lie is part of God's nature specifically?

Rhology: "But the point here is that you're confusing categories, again. I've been telling you that He doesn't act in a way that's not commensurate with His nature, and creating stuff is completely commensurate. But those creations are not identical to God. They're not interchangeable."

Me: But I was never talking about acting, I was talking about creating and what he cannot create. If we were talking about acting then it would be something similar to: God cannot lie because lying is inconsistent with his nature. God cannot act square-circle because square circles are inconsistent with his nature. Now both of these are matched with the idea of acting but the second idea doesn't make any sense. Instead, I am talking about creation...bringing something into being that is, or is not, consistent with God's nature. If he cannot bring one thing into being because it is inconsistent with his nature, then he should not bring the other for the same reason. Otherwise, this is logically inconsistent and you've already asserted he isn't.

reflectionsonirreligion said...

Rhology: "No, he doesn't. I'd appreciate a direct quote from Slick to that effect."

Me: Ok. Making a circle square is a logical contradiction. Slick says that God cannot do this. From the second part of the debate:

(1:23) Matt D.: Can God make A, not A?

Matt S.: No

Matt D.: Why not?

Matt S.: Because it would be a logical contradiction.

....(later)

(2:17) Matt S.: God did not author the logical absolutes. [emphasis mine. Compare with the quote above from Slick's own description].

....(later)

(2:40) Matt S.: So since certain things are just impossible, like a square circle, God cannot make a square circle because it's a logically impossible thing. [emphasis mine]

reflectionsonirreligion said...

Rhology: "I have to admit, it is difficult to take seriously someone who whiffs on one of the most foundational doctrines of Christianity while critiquing Christianity."

Me: Two things. First, in this case, many of those doctrines are logically problematic (eg.sin). They do not solve the problem but are called into question. Moreover, you haven't even gotten me to agree that the conclusion is sound, much less that Christian doctrine - whether about sin, the fall, the hypostases and ouisia (I don't envy you that one), etc. - can follow from that conclusion.

Second, regardless of my perceived whiffing of Christian doctrines, I have been respectful of your arguments and would hope that the courtesy was reciprocated.  Condescension and dismissal are neither respectful nor counter-arguments. But when I mention it your response is to rub it in? Seriously? Your statement implies that when you perceive me to be missing (or whiffing at) the point that I am, therefore, worthy of outright dismissal and disrespect. I'm sorry but the conclusion does not follow. (Where is that darned book of laws of etiquette when I need it?)

I could reply in kind to you for: 1) missing the point (not understanding "proof by verbosity"), 2) not knowing what your own position is (is God the author or is he not), 3) for not understanding the argument of the person you're defending (Slick didn't say that...Yes, he did), and 4) for "whiffing" at the foundational principles of logical argumentation. But I see these issues as vectors for continued discussion and clarification, not cause for exasperation because I believe you "just don't get it."

But, Ok, if that's your game...I have little patience for it, though, and have now lost interest.

Rhology said...

draw conclusions that do not follow

Yes, I know.
I'm just challenging you to show how they don't follow from each other. Challenging the tendentious label.


Slick's argument...contains a number of fallacies

I guess we'll be discussing those.


I addressed one of them in the way Slick refers to the laws of logic as conceptual in nature but in doing so conflates their meaning

And I've replied.


This is a semantic way to take the same conclusion and reword it so that it sounds better. The conclusion is still valid whether we choose, "bound," "nature," or "attribute."

I'm sorry, but I don't see how.
Using "in submission to" is not the same thing as I'm saying. Semantics are sometimes quite important.



So a case of special pleading. While the laws of logic are part of God's and the universe's nature, the inability to lie is part of God's nature specifically?

Special pleading, when I'm educating you about my position? Yes, the inability to lie is part of God's nature specifically.


God cannot act square-circle because square circles are inconsistent with his nature

Square circles are actually illogical, logically impossible.
Free agents who sin are not logically impossible. You need to show they are.



Matt S.: God did not author the logical absolutes. [emphasis mine. Compare with the quote above from Slick's own description].

I don't see any change in Slick's position from one to the other. Please elucidate.


many of those doctrines are logically problematic (eg.sin).

Which law of logic does sin violate?


outright dismissal and disrespect.

The non-point was eminently worthy of it.
But I'm still talking to you, aren't I? I should think a reasonable observer would conclude that I'm not outright dismissing you.



1) missing the point (not understanding "proof by verbosity")

Hardly the same thing. It's not that I didn't understand it. It's that I thought it was silly.


2) not knowing what your own position is (is God the author or is he not)

3) for not understanding the argument of the person you're defending (Slick didn't say that...Yes, he did)


You haven't shown how my position has shifted or differs with Slick's. I suggest you do so.


4) for "whiffing" at the foundational principles of logical argumentation

Anytime you feel like actually demonstrating that, be my guest.

Rhology said...

Me from this original post:
And what I'm reminding you is that we don't claim God is the "author" of laws of logic.

You, quoting Slick:
Matt S.: God did not author the logical absolutes.


Help me out here.

reflectionsonirreligion said...

Again

Me: From Slick's own argument: "But, since logical absolutes are always true everywhere, and not dependent upon human minds, it must be an absolute transcendent mind that is authoring them.  This mind is called God." (emphasis mine).

This absolute transcendent mind (God)is authoring them.

Rhology said...

OK, good deal, thank you for finding that.

It would appear that Slick let that slip, b/c as you also quoted him from the AthExp call, he denies that is true. It seems to me a slip of the pen in that article.

Either way, it's not my position and never has been, and you're not talking to Matt Slick; you're talking to me.