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Where Does Logic Come From?

Why many Christians are not aware of this, there is actually a god named Syllogism who created the laws of logic. Because there are laws of logic, Syllogism must be a real God. Of course that would be a circular argument, which is a fallacy of logic. Besides, I am obviously joking about the existence of such a deity.

I bring it this up because some Christians have tried to claim that their God, Yahweh, presupposed the laws of logic as well as the laws of physics and even morality. The idea is that these laws exist outside of humanity. The problem is that in a way they do exist outside of humanity, but the leap of logic to claim that because we call them laws must mean that there is a lawgiver is fallacious. There I go again, using that logic stuff.

So if Yahweh or Syllogism didn’t create the laws of logic, who did? We did, of course. People looked at the world and noticed how things seem to work. We noticed that if someone makes two or more statements about the state of affairs (premises) with a positive truth-value, that the concluding statement (conclusion) must also have the same truth-value. This is a logical syllogism (not a god). After years of argument and debate, people began to recognize patterns of reasoning and patterns of fallacy. We then organized those fallacies and called them names such as “The Straw Man Fallacy” and others.

The world exists with or without us, but we have to make sense of the world in order to function in it. As a result, we use our senses and reasoning power to examine the world. While our senses can be fooled and our reasoning can be faulty, it is all we have. Christians claim to have God, but yet how do they “know” God? Only by some sort of unjustified transcendental presupposition can they claim such knowledge and yet such a presupposition can be used to justify anything and so it becomes meaningless. The attempt to sneak behind logic and reason is an admission of the weakness of their argument. Logic isn’t a presupposition; it is a human observation about the world around us. Logic is a tool (much like science) for learning about the world and exploring ideas and thought.

Logic and science are the headlights, which enable us to see the dark street in front of us. If we cannot see beyond the light we simply admit that it is currently out of view until we build a better headlight. We don’t make up stories about how outside the light lie evil monsters waiting to steal out living essence or some such nonsense. And we don’t ask those who refuse to believe in the evil monsters to explain their lack of belief. What does lie beyond the headlight? If you don’t have the answer, than the answer must be evil monsters.

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  • Barry

    You know, you think alot. Notice I didn’t say “too much”, just…”alot”.

  • CW

    You seem to be quite the logician. Funny, then, that you missed logic’s fundamental basis- the law of noncontradiction. You admit that the laws of logic do exist outside of humanity, but in the very next paragraph you make them the product of humanity. Which is it?

    I’d agree that man has systematized and defined logic, but that’s really no different than man naming trees or explaining photosynthesis; our ability to name and explain does not make us the maker.

    Realizing logic transcends mankind does beg the question as to its origin or why it exists, which you claim to be fallacious, but you neglect to mention how or why it’s a fallacy. It’s just a simple question: “Why?”

    “While our senses can be fooled and our reasoning can be faulty, it is all we have.” AMEN, BROTHER! Understanding the origins of logic is important, but there is an even bigger question. Logic, as you say, is nothing more than a tool. For logic to have any value whatsoever, it is dependent upon the existence of truth. What, say you, is the truth? You can have all the valid syllogisms you like, but if they’re based upon faulty premises, you have nothing but words. Unless we have an absolute basis for truth, we can’t be sure of anything (as you admit), stuck in our own little circular world unable to test the objective veracity of any premise. Without an absolute, all we can muster is to say something is true because we say it’s true.

    Obviously I heartily agree with your assessment that our senses and reasoning are fallible, but it’s NOT all that we have. Absolute truth does exist, and we can know this truth not just as a product of our intellect, but because this truth has revealed himself to us.

    Your headlight analogy illustrates your biggest problem. Your epistemological approach is completely backwards. You claim we need brighter lights to understand the darkness. I submit that the reason the darkness is there in the first place is because of man’s tendency to cover up the Light! Acknowledging the light (Truth) doesn’t negate our use of the tools (logic, science, reason, etc) for gaining knowledge, it just makes them more effective.

    • admin

      It is not I who fails to understand the fallacy of non-contradiction, it is you. You might want to read up on said contradiction before claiming that something is such a contradiction. Logic does transcend humanity and yet logic is also a product of humanity. But it is no in the same fashion and so it is not a contradiction. The world exists. We notice things about the world and design rules to explain what we notice. No contradiction there.

      “we can’t be sure of anything (as you admit)” Correct. So why are you 100% certain of your divine being when as you admit, our senses and reasoning can be faulty? Logic dictates that we just admit that nothing we know, we know for certain.

      “Absolute truth does exist” are you 100% certain of that? How can you be? And even if it were the case, how can you know with absolute certainty what that absolute truth is? Even if this “Truth” were to “reveal itself” to you, how can you be certain that it is true? Please keep in mind that you have already admitted that your senses and your reasoning may be faulty.

      And I think you missed the analogy completely. Instead you just made up shit which you cannot prove and called that an analogy. We are reasonably certain that we have a car and a headlight and that when the sun is not facing this side of the planet there is darkness. But to claim that it is always daylight and we just seem to through a hood over our eyes for half time, simply doesn’t fit with what we have observed. If you really believe that is the case, than you are crazier than I thought.
      -Staks

      • CW

        I think we’re talking past each other on the nature of logic. Do we both agree that the laws of logic exist independently but our understanding of them is a product of human reasoning? I’ll address A-Dizzle’s prescriptive / descriptive distinction later.

        “So why are you 100% certain of your divine being when as you admit, our senses and reasoning can be faulty?” Excellent question. Obviously I think Christian Theism is reasonable based on the numerous evidences (notice I did not say proofs) that have been given over the centuries. Ultimately though, my faith is not a product of my own faulty senses and reasoning, it is a gift of God, and as such I can be totally certain of it. I don’t expect you to like or understand this answer. You’ll call me crazy (as you already have), but isn’t it crazier to be completely reliant upon our own intellect when we realize it’s unreliable?

        ““Absolute truth does exist” are you 100% certain of that?” Yes. I’m certain because of the impossibility of the contrary. The preceding paragraph answers why I can be 100% certain.

        I did not miss the point of your analogy. As I said earlier, this analogy is very representative of atheistic thought and in my opinion this is a totally misguided approach. “But to claim that it is always daylight and we just seem to through a hood over our eyes for half time, simply doesn’t fit with what we have observed.” Seriously??? Man has been philosophizing since the ancient Greeks and has yet to develop an explanation for the meaning of life that sticks around for more than a couple of generations. That seems like ample evidence of hood-induced ignorance to me!

        For what it’s worth, you never answered my question regarding how you define what truth is.

        • http://myspace.com/this_is_ajs_space AJ, That Damn Atheist!

          CW, though I agree that absolute truth does exist, I’m still curious as to know how YOU are totally certain of your “gift of God”. Though I DO think you are most definitely crazy, I don’t hate you. Stop pretending like you are some kind of victim, and please explain to us ignorant atheist your position so that we may understand your “gift”. I’m also wondering what “numerous evidences” your speaking of that would validate your belief in a god. By the way, I’m of the set that we SHOULDN’T always rely on our conscious intellect.

    • existential blues

      How do you know that “absolute truth” exists? Are you omniscient? We have nothing but our senses to go by, be we have an amazing ability to construct a reality out of nothing, and beleive it’s true.

      CW, your “absoute truth” is nonsense. There is no way for the “truth” to have revealed itself except through our senses. You are trying to make something out of nothing. It doesn’t fly.

      Go back to church, and you can tell each other how amazing you all are.

      • http://myspace.com/blackhawk089 Matt

        Dude, grow up. Man, I used to say stuff like this sometimes…and I can see how freaking immature and useless it is. It takes all the attention off of what your saying, and screams immature jerk.

        I seriously think you are here to grow your e-penis. We are here to question each other, and share ideas…in an intelligent and respectful manner. I think Staks would agree….if not…well….go at me, haha.

        He answered your question to…”The impossibility of the contrary”….

        • existential blues

          I seriously don’t know why you’re here or on MySpace. You don’t know a lot about the bible, you don’t know anything about science, know precious little about formal or informal logic, yet your words are smeared all over a bunch of blogs. Why? Is your team emptying its bench?

          He who has answered? God?

          You think you know truth. Your belief is based on faith. No evidence. Your subjective perceptions. If you thought more deeply you would realize that it is an illusion. But you don’t think. You don’t need to. You have faith, and you can be as cocksure as you want.

          Enjoy your delusion.

          • Matt

            lol….what are you even talking about now?! Ahhh, I’ve really got to get better on my formate…and stick to one thing, or at least stick to the blogs topic, because stuff always gets way out of hand and way to much is braught into the argument.

            You make alot of assersions about me….you could idk quote me and explain WHY i don’t know anything about the Bible….that usually works, provide evidence, and then commentary to back it up….something I need to work on as well.

    • A-Dizzle

      > Obviously I heartily agree with your assessment that our senses and reasoning are
      > fallible, but it’s NOT all that we have.

      Unless you possess some kind of super power I don’t have, our senses and reasoning ARE all we have at our disposal to learn about our universe and our place in it. I can’t say for 100% certainty that there is an objective reality. However, based on my life experiences thus far, I am fairly certain that there is an objective reality. Then again, this life could be an illusion. Maybe I am a computer simulation and I only think I am a human being. I can only make judgements about reality based on what I perceive with my senses, and how my brain interprets that data. That’s all we have. To go any further is wishful thinking and self deception.

      • existential blues

        There might be an objective reality, but your senses may give you a very distorted idea of what it is.

        • A-Dizzle

          It’s possible my senses give me a distorted idea of reality. But I can only go by what I perceive and how my brain interprets that data. From what *I* perceive currently, and what my reason tells me, there is probably an objective reality. I have no reason to believe otherwise at this time.

    • just some guy

      CW writes: <>

      followed later with this: <>

      wait a minute, did you just write: “our senses and reasoning are fallible” followed by: “Absolute truth does exist, and we can know this truth …”? I’m sure you have very good reasons for this seeming contradiction, but I wanted to take this moment to thank you for one of the best laughs I’ve had in the last couple of months, and for reminding me that the world is a very funny place, if you pay close enough attention.

  • A-Dizzle

    The fundamental flaw in the creationist argument is that they do not seem to understand the difference between descriptive and prescriptive laws. The laws of logic and science are descriptive laws, they describe how things are. These kinds of laws do not require a law giver. A prescriptive law describes how things should be, and those kinds of laws do require a law giver.

    Now onto the transcendence of logic. There is a great discussion about this on The Atheist Experience podcast episode #593. I highly suggest you check it out.

    • admin

      That is a good point A-Dizzle. This is the classic “Is-Ought Problem.”

      Also, could you provide a link to that podcast? Thanx,
      -Staks

  • http://www.myspace.com/atheistteam The A-Team

    This reminds me of my favorite video by TheoreticalBullshit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T4-oq6u56rs

  • http://myspace.com/this_is_ajs_space AJ, That Damn Atheist!

    CW said: “…this truth has revealed himself to us.”

    So CW, this truth you speak of is masculine huh? Now how the hell would you know that? Does it have a penis? Would this truth happen to be a cosmic Zombie Jew, or possibly named Krishna or Zeus perhaps??? Which IS it? Just how has this truth revealed himself to us anyway? Please do tell!

    What Barry said, is that humans compartmentalize truths. An object (such as a tree) may exist independent of our perception of it. We as observers of the object, define it’s dimensions or make “laws” to describe it if you will. Because our senses and reasoning are fallible, we also rely on the SCIENTIFIC PROCESS. A “tool for gaining knowledge” of which I’m pretty sure you completely throw out the window because you uh, BELIEVE “truth has revealed himself to us.”

    I’m guessing (an educated guess here), CW, that you KNOW that this truth talks to you, and that you feel HIS presence in your life. I would really like to recommend that you get on some medication as soon as possible, and maybe look into seeing a good psychiatrist!

    • CW

      God has revealed HIMself as masculine in His word, the Bible. Sorry if that bothers you.

      No, I don’t throw the scientific process out the window any more than you do. I’ll take that back if you can produce hard scientific proof for such claims as macro-evolution and other atheist strongholds as to the origin of life. Besides, science is just as subject to cultural and ontological paradigms as any other discipline. Read Thomas Kuhn.

      I’m sure you could make some good recommendations for which medicine I should take.

      • just some guy

        As you appear to be confident that the divine exists and has gender, inquiring minds want to know, is the divine circumcised?

        • A-Dizzle

          I also want to know if Adam and Eve had belly buttons.

  • existential blues

    He is one of hundreds of millions who thinks he owns the truth. The funny thing is that most of those “truths” are contradictory.

    People are so ridiculously easy to fool, especially when they want to be fooled. There’s not a lot of difference between CW-style fundamentalists and Bernie Madoff’s victims.

  • just some guy

    logic was ‘created’ by clever and vain hominids. It allows us to make better use of our ability to discern paterns and causal associations, and to enhance our self image by being able to more cleverly rationalize, or logically justify ourselves and our actions in our social environment. “Logic” is a tool, used by all hominids, and in virtually all cases, it is used to rationalize ideas, beliefs and actions that originated in the less than totally logical portions of our brains.

    • http://myspace.com/this_is_ajs_space AJ, That Damn Atheist!

      If logic is vain, and my desire to seek a better understanding of the universe through reason is vanity, then just call me Paris Hilton.

      • just some guy

        logic is a tool we use less to create our ideas, ideals and beliefs, and more to rationalize them, to serve our self image. 95% pure vanity.

        I would never insult you by calling you Paris Hilton.

        • A-Dizzle

          Logic as a model (and it’s applications) are man made, however the laws of logic are transcendent in the sense that they exist and apply whether or not there is a human to ponder it.

          For instance, the Law of Identity. A is A and cannot be B. i.e. An apple is an apple and an orange is an orange whether or not there are human beings around.

          • just some guy

            I understand how a hammer works, thanks.

          • just some guy

            oh, and by the way …
            “the laws of logic are transcendent in the sense that they exist and apply whether or not there is a human to ponder it.”

            an unprovable assumption, an item of ‘faith’, no more.

            “For instance, the Law of Identity …”

            except when an apple is not existant, or when it is a seed. admittedly it is an apple when it is hanging on the tree, and when it is lying on thre ground, but is it an apple when half of it is rotting away and the other half is being turned into feces in a passing strangers guts?

            An apple “is” an apple only for a limited period of time. It is a material reality, constantly in flux, changing, and not subject to the ‘law of identity’. Sometimes, a hammer is not the propper tool for the job, but people will rely on the tools they are most comfortable with.

            • A-Dizzle

              > an unprovable assumption, an item of ‘faith’, no more

              Unprovable, but probable based on our current understanding of the material universe. Nothing is provable, there is only varying degrees of probability, some closer to the degree of certainty than others.

              > except when an apple is not existant, or when it is a seed.

              An apple changes form, but in whatever form it is at a particular time, that’s what it is and it cannot be something else.

              • just some guy

                the hammer you are trying to use is best suited to mathematics, and not to material reality, because in the material universe everything is change and flux. It might seem like the “Law of Identity” might apply to an elemental particle, and so I would be wrong, but the quantum nature of our material reality indicates otherwise.

                logic provides us with tools to create a mental model of the universe to use as a simulation to test ideas under consideration. the law of identity is indispensible to mathematics, and mathematics can be used describe the material universe. we err when we confuse the model for the reality, or the map for the terrain.

                no worries, i’m still an atheist, just one who has found a good deal of feel good smugness in himself that was never justified and one who is learning more about himself by studying his mistakes than by studying the mistakes of others.

                “if i has a hammer, i’d hammer in the morning,
                i’d hammer in the evening,
                all over this land …”

  • http://myspace.com/blackhawk089 Matt

    No no no Staks….you got it all backwards! This is a horrible representation of Christian presupositionalism.

    “I bring it this up because some Christians have tried to claim that their God, Yahweh, presupposed the laws of logic as well as the laws of physics and even morality.”

    Yikes. Backwards. God did not presuppose….it’s that all these things presuppose the existence of God. For without God as the absolute standard, these things could not exist universally. I’m not sure if you just messed up, or if you really don’t understand this study. I wish I had more time…I love this topic. Sigh. Missed my blog didn’t I?

  • The Philosopher

    Aha again I am amazed at the arguments you impose. For we on this site are not atheiest for atheisist symbolizes the ignorance of human disbelief. I prefer the term Logicist.
    -The Philosopher

    • admin

      First, you should learn how to spell “atheist” (and I am not one to normally criticize spelling). Second, you should learn what atheism means. As a fellow philosopher, I shouldn’t have to tell you that we are all just playing language games.
      -Staks

    • http://myspace.com/this_is_ajs_space AJ, That Damn Atheist!

      “Atheist symbolizes the ignorance of human disbelief.” What?

      The word atheism, comes from the Greek “a-theos”. The “A” meaning without. In other words, an atheist is one without a theistic claim (i.e., some sort of positive claim that god or gods exist). This does not symbolize ignorance my friend. Though it may be true that many atheist do openly reject a theistic claim, it is more appropriate to say that atheism refers to the absence or lack of theistic belief -and NOTHING more! No active denial, rejection, or criticism of god(s) is EVER required of an atheist. Furthermore, the burden of proof rest solely upon the theist.

      You can make all of the assumptions you want (as most theist do) but, if someone were to tell you that they are an atheist, in the truest sense of the word, it would tell you very little about what that person believes. On the other hand, making a positive claim of the existence of god(s) says enough about a person to surmise that they are at the least somewhat delusional. I’m not saying that all religious people are completely devoid of sense here either. There are plenty of intelligent theist, though they often want to throw that intelligence out in favor of wishful thinking.

      More often than not, THEIST are the epitome of human ignorance!

  • The Philosopher

    I expected to be criticized for the misspelling of a word. Why when you understand the message you still attack ignorantly? If you understand the core message. The term for your atheist meaning is not of modern day. If you were to tell someone you are atheist the first thing they would think of is disbelief right or wrong? So by me stating that it is the core center of disbelief is not ignorant.

    -The Philosopher [Loic Phoenix]

  • Ryan

    The senses are never wrong, its the mind that mucks things up.