Thursday, February 9, 2012

Crash Logic for Test Dummies

Okay, from the first part of this task, we've examined my credentials and reasons for posting this blog. We've also had a good look at defining Atheistic views on "god" and I've asserted my point that there is lack of proof that god does not exist. Now, here's where things get tricky because we now have to take a crash-course on Logic. And for those that are a step ahead of me, I realize the fallacy of saying that there's lack of proof of something being not, so it must be. In fact, that's the perfect statement to examine to explain why that argument does not work. But keep in mind, I suggested there may be "proof" that "god" can exist.

First of all, we have to consider the premises. In Logic, you can only build conclusions by establishing premises.  A premise is simply a statement that is considered true by all involved. A premise must be a non-debatable statement or you have to form further premises to support the original.

Here's an example:

I exist.

This is a premise. We're going to assume it's completely true. We're not validating it, just accepting it as a truth. With this singular premise, we can do nothing but restate the premise. I exist. That's all we know. Without other premises, we can draw no conclusions or inferences at all.

Something made me.

This is a second premise. This is neither a validation or conclusion from the first premise (though we could arrange for that to work out). The simple matter is that this second premise must also simply be accepted as true. On its own, all we can say is that something made me. We can't even really say I exist if we don't have the other premise. We'd have to establish that there is a definition for existence before we can say that. And without the other premise, we lack even the definition of existence. But with the other premise, we accept the definition of existence and we can now say I exist.

So what do we do with this? Simple, we put them together and draw a conclusion.

I exist.
Something made me.

What conclusion can we draw? We could say that I exist because something made me, but we're lacking some other premises to truly validate that conclusion. What we CAN say is that I exist AND something made me. We can also say that something makes things that exist. We have the fact that I do exist. And we have the fact that something made me. So something must be capable of making at least one thing that exists - in this case, me.

Now for an awful argument. We're going to add a premise.

Something more powerful than myself made me.

Now, I really want to use this as a premise, but someone might try to think of a way to say that this isn't necessarily true, so I'm going to use logic to validate this premise. So, this premise is now a conclusion and I have to come up with supporting premises to validate it.

Mothers giving birth is an act of nature.
Nature is more powerful than myself.
My mother gave birth to me.

All three of those are pretty hard to argue with. Unless you just want to be an ass. So, to get to the conclusion I want to use as a premise. Since I was birthed by my mother, an act of nature, and nature is more powerful than myself, something more powerful than myself must have made me. So now we have:

I exist.
Something more powerful than myself made me.

And then we add to this:

God exists.

For the purpose of this point, we're just going to accept that part as a valid and true premise. So now, we're going to draw a conclusion:

I exist.
Something more powerful than myself made me.
God exists.

Conclusion: God is more powerful than myself, so God must have made me. Or furthermore, God exists because God made me.

This conclusion is wrong. You cannot have a conclusion as a premise. Nor is there any premise for linking the existence of God to being the something that made me. Even with all the premises being accepted as true, we know there are forces, such as the afore-mentioned nature, that are more powerful than myself that can also make me.

Why am I talking about this silliness? It seems like common sense. But this is the standard argument people will commonly use to prove the existence of God.

Something awesomely powerful must have made this.
God is something awesomely powerful.

Therefore, God made this.

Now if you read that in the literal sense of A=B and B=C, this is technically true. But, we have to examine the real premises of actual life.

Something awesomely powerful must have made me.
God is something awesomely powerful.
The Sun is something awesomely powerful.
Nature is something awesomely powerful.
Hurricanes are something awesomely powerful.
Trains are something awesomely powerful.

Now, we're placing a lot of truths in there and we can now conclude that either God, the Sun, nature, hurricanes, or a train made me.

You commonly see this argument used in the form of, "Wow, that is so awesome! Only God could make that!" This is completely invalid because we have so many other premises that can account for the making of said awesome thing.

So, we now understand that you need to examine the premises that are held true by everyone, you cannot use your conclusion as a premise, and you can only draw a conclusion from the established premises.

And I'm starting to realize that this blog is going to be an ongoing thing. There's just too much to account for just to begin the argument of theism versus atheism. So, next blog I think will tackle proper debating techniques. Two huge blogs in one day is enough for me for now.

No comments:

Post a Comment