Why I changed my mind

Inserting myself into this conversation … Nabeel Quershi’s book “No God but One” is a description of how he examined the claims of Islam and the claims of Christianity then used logic to decide which was the correct one. A remarkable story. Go read it to see which one he arrived at :).

I don’t think very many of us humans go to that kind of rigor to determine what we choose to believe.

Ahhhhh… the good old days … when I could use any font, use as much capitalization as my subconscious desired…

… and the giant bold phrases…

Those were the glory days…

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Actually, not really. It is to invite the church to see the harmony between science and biblical faith, no matter what perspective one is coming from. If a YEC acknowledges that a fellow Christian could have biblical faith and accept evolution, mission accomplished, even if they never understand evolution, never change their mind about the science, and never move away from their own preferred interpretation of the Bible.

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This should be stated more often - there is an unwarranted emphasis on evolution within the context of an unacceptable invoking of natural theology at times. The faith and Christian beliefs should be shown to be in harmony with science based on the primary belief, that is, “… in the beginning God created the heaven and the earth …”.

@Christy,

I can see that there is a difference between The Ideal and what I am capable of.

I am a Unitarian Universalist, so many YECs are not really going to acknowledge me as a fellow Christian. And they are certainly not going to acknowledge an Atheist as a fellow Christian.

I certainly like your form of The Ideal, and agree that it is superior.

In hindsight, I should have qualified better what it is that I said was my custom:

“When Atheists arrive at this blog, it is my custom to point out that the primary focus of their efforts is to explain Evolution to Young Earth Creationists.”

Christy, if there is an even higher use for Atheist participation, now would be a great time to describe it.

I think there’s more to it than that. If you and I talk, I don’t think either of us gets to be the arbiter of logic. But if we can’t agree on what logic is or how a logical argument is composed, than logic simply isn’t going to be a useful tool for us in dialogue. That doesn’t mean we can’t have a dialogue either.

When Atheists arrive at this blog, it is my custom to point out that the primary focus of our efforts is to explain Evolution to Young Earth Creationists, rather than to willy-nilly explore the logic or justification for a belief in God in general, amongst Creationists as well as Pro-Evolution Theists.

Indeed, I read all the mission statements and guidelines, and I well recall this post from Christy early in my time here: New Atheists, Science, and the Roots of Religious Intolerance. I’ve attempted to abide by those desires and instructions, and certainly welcome it being pointed out to me if I fail to do so.

Obviously, the latter choice means the Atheist is probably spending more time opposing faith in God amongst all Christians than he or she is spending explaining God-Led-Evolution to Creationists.

I don’t think I am. I almost always stay out of the latter discussions as I don’t feel I have any useful input to make there. Also, I don’t want to interfere with Biologos’ important mission, and I make a conscious effort not to. Mostly, I’ve been in discussions like the one with Richard here, but I don’t consider it to be “opposing faith in God amongst all Christians”–and I haven’t gotten the impression that it’s generally considered that way.

Hi Richard,

I haven’t contested that, so we may be all good there!

Yeah, I don’t really understand it either. To me, it seems like an interesting theory, and that’s it.

You seem to be on of the few that doesn’t feel the need for answers for existence. That’s OK for you and this debate.

Kind of. There was a time in my life when that was more accurate. Now, I’d say that I’d like to have answers. I think about this stuff more than most people I’m sure. It just seems to me that the answers aren’t apparent. If they aren’t, they aren’t, and we can’t will them into being so, so I’m not going to get agitated over it. I’m open to hearing alternate ideas about it.

However, the nature of our existence, for the vast majority of humanity, screams that there is an intelligence behind it. That doesn’t, “prove” anything in a debate sense, but for the individual, this faith in God as an explanation is a logical choice based on the evidence.

I get that, and that choice is certainly yours. I’ve made my reasons clear why I don’t find the argument logically compelling I hope! Have a good one.

@John_Dalton,

This discussion originally focused on my observations of @T_aquaticus’ interactions with Theists. I don’t think I’ve noticed you go to the same extremity “of logic”.

I actually appreciated your sentence that you wrote: “… if we can’t agree on what logic is or how a logical argument is composed, then logic simply isn’t going to be a useful tool for us in dialogue.”

Frankly, I think this is the perfect description of the impasse that @T_aquaticus frequently gets himself to. Instead of saying the Theist is “not being logical”, I think it is more fair to say that the Theist is using a logic I’m not comfortable with.

I don’t know. In the end, there’s a single reality. Logic isn’t some kind of independently existing entity–it’s a method of reasoning which attempts to conform with reality. Hence, there ultimately can only be one true conception of logic. If different conceptions of logic conflict, they can’t both be correct, any more than we can be living in different realities. Something has to give.

As an (important) aside, our knowledge of reality has limits. Therefore, our understanding of logic has limits, and logic may not be directly applicable in all situations (for example, what is infinity? Can we assess it to say what really happens to the lines there? Can our existing logical models truly carry us that far?)

In a case like the one implied in your quote above, I would simply say that we disagree about what is logical. I might say that a given argument doesn’t conform with logical principles, or even that someone is “not being logical”. I should explain my reasons for saying so, as may you, and we may or may not reach agreement. On the other hand, if we all get to use different “logics” at will, logic loses all meaning and function–and we lose any hope that it correctly reflects reality. I think a better term to use in such situations is “opinions”, which my spell-checker is not seeking to correct the plural of :slight_smile: There’s a lot of other language we could use as well. We certainly can have different opinions about things, even logic. I hope that’s all logical :slight_smile:

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@John_Dalton,

Really? So tell me… which is ultimately true:

[i] Two Parallel Lines remain parallel infinitely? (Euclidean Geometry)
or
[ii] Two Parallel Lines intersect at Infinity? (One of the Non-Euclidean Geometries)?

If the latter choice is false, then the electronic technologies based on this “false” logic shouldn’t be able to work, right?

It seems to me that–as I said–this is the kind of point where rules of logic have limited applicability. I’m not surprised that different systems could have different results at such a point. Ordinarily, lines can’t be intersecting and parallel at the same time and it would be illogical to say they could. We don’t have an “infinity” to assess in reality–it’s a mathematical concept–and we’ll never be able to tell what would truly happen there in reality, if infinity could even be said to exist in reality. So, there’s no way to say which is definitively true, or if both or neither are true. That statement has its own truth value.

@John_Dalton

I reject your concluding phrase: “… it would be illogical to say they could.”

You are trying to trump all other ‘logics’ with just the logic you approve of.

So ordinarily you think lines can be intersecting and parallel at the same time? There are some basic accepted principles of logic after all. We can’t just go making them up willy nilly, can we?

I reject your concluding phrase. Have a good one

How would you phrase it if someone claims to have reached a conclusion by using logic but is incapable of showing you the logical argument? If someone uses multiple logical fallacies in order to reach a conclusion, how would you describe that argument?

@T_aquaticus,

I would understand the human limits to understand the vagaries of competing forms of logic… and give them the benefit of the doubt.

They think you are not being logical; and you the same as them. Someone has to be the grown-up here.
Arguing that millions of Theists are “not logical”, but that you are, doesn’t seem to fit the actual situation… on either side!

You are making the false assumption that all logical arguments must agree with one another. It is important to remember that logic is a method, and much like the scientific method it can often produce multiple conclusions.

Just one comment on your parallel lines, lines of longitude leave the equator at right angles and parallel to each other yet they meet at the poles. Lines on a flat plane stay parallel and do not intersect over the same distance as that seen on Earth. One observation does not negate the other.

I fully agree that I could be using illogical arguments. If someone can show my arguments to be illogical or based on logical fallacies, then I will tip my cap and agree with them. If I claim that a conclusion is based on logic and I am not able to provide them with a logical argument then I will admit that I was wrong for claiming my conclusion was logical.

For example, when someone says that it is logical that God exists because billions of people can’t be wrong, is it wrong to point out that an appeal to popularity is a logical fallacy? If someone claims that it is logical that God exists because no one can prove that God does not exist, is it wrong to point out that it is an argument from ignorance which is a logical fallacy?

If I am presented with either a lack of a logical argument or logical fallacies, what am I to do with that?

Sorry for the double dip on this reply, but I thought it was important to add a few thoughts after some further reading.

The difference between Euclidean and non-Euclidean geometry is Euclid’s Fifth Postulate, which reads:

“If two lines are drawn which intersect a third in such a way that the sum of the inner angles on one side is less than two right angles, then the two lines inevitably must intersect each other on that side if extended far enough. This postulate is equivalent to what is known as the parallel postulate.”

It is important to note that this is a postulate, not a conclusion produced by logic. Postulates are also called axioms, and they are the starting point for logical reasoning, but are not themselves the product of logical reasoning. As mentioned earlier, there are systems where Euclid’s fifth postulate is holds and systems where Euclid’s fifth postulate does not hold (e.g. curved space).

Hello again T,

I fully understand the concept of personal logic. My point is that logical people believe in God based on a logical conclusion from the evidence, even if you may not find the conclusion logical. One reason for that is that you seem to constrain the debate as being of pure intellects in space-time, “logically” pondering the evidence for a creator by the rules of logic. That just isn’t the reality. You ponder through your conscious mind, that comes from a brain that exists in a protected enclave in your body, an intelligent being that evolved in a world that exists in a universe that seems to have physical laws and constants that are, “fine-tuned” to allow life to occur.

So let’s look at evidences that humans ponder:

  • There exists a physical paradigm that evolved conscious, intelligent beings.

  • The study of this paradigm shows us that nothing can come from ontological nothingness.

  • Humans also have nervous and hormonal systems that cause them to love, desire sacrifice, seek answers and recognize purpose, beauty, order and complexity. .

  • Babies we know can recognize agents and a 2 year-old can easily understand the concept of God.

  • The vast majority in history have felt something beyond the physical and/or recognize its existence.

  • Most conscious beings have an inbred desire to be connected with their, “creator”.

These evidences, at least to most people, point to the existence of God. It doesn’t, “prove” anything, but to most people, God is so obviously the answer for existence that to them it is true. And logical.

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@T_aquaticus

Well, I think you are helping to make my point.

What if neither observer knows whether they are in a spherical plane or a flat plane?
And what the reality is neither spherical or flat?

Telling a Theist on this list that they aren’t being logical is pretty “provocative” … and I don’t
mean that in the “sensual” way …

I would hazard the guess that most of the staff at BioLogos qualifies as Theist.

“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” -Colossians 4:6

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