Are You Epistemologically Self-Conscious?

Epistemology is the study of knowledge – how we know what we know.  When a person has a belief, it is reasonable to ask the person “how do you know this?”  The way in which a person responds to this kind of question will reveal his or her epistemology.  All people have an epistemology because they have some beliefs, and they have reasons for their beliefs.  But not all reasons are good reasons.  And if the reason isn’t very good, then there is a good chance that the belief is wrong.  So epistemology is very important if we want our beliefs to correspond to reality.

Most people have not consciously reflected on their own epistemology.  They haven’t stopped to ask themselves, “How do I ultimately know anything?  What are the standards by which truth is determined?  And are these standards reasonable?”  It is obvious that all people do have an epistemology because it would be impossible to know anything without some kind of system of knowledge – and people do know things.  But most people are not aware of their own epistemology.  They are not epistemologically self-conscious.

Some might say, “Who cares?  I’m not a philosopher.  So why should I be concerned with epistemology?  It is enough that I do know things.”  But in fact, our epistemology is crucially important because if it is wrong, then many of our beliefs derived from that faulty system will also likely be wrong.  If our epistemology is wrong, then we could be wrong about everything we think we know.

The reason for a belief must itself be believed for a good reason – and so on.  Suppose Jenny says, “I understand they are building a new apartment complex down the street.”  We might ask, “How do you know this?”  Jenny responds, “Bill told me.  He said he talked with the construction crew.”  Is this a reasonable answer?  It depends.  The reason for Jenny’s belief is Bill’s statement.  But is Bill’s statement reliable?  If it is, then Jenny’s belief is reasonable.  If not, then Jenny’s belief is irrational.  So we must know something about Bill in order to know if Jenny is being rational.

For example, it could be the case that Bill is a notorious liar.  If Jenny knows this, then it would be irrational for her to believe his statement without additional reasons.  But let’s suppose that Bill has shown himself to be trustworthy.  Even in this case, Bill could still be mistaken.  Maybe he has a mental disorder that causes him to hallucinate from time to time.  Bill may honestly believe that he talked with a construction crew, when in fact it never happened.  So Jenny’s belief is contingent upon both Bill’s honesty, and the reliability of Bill’s mind and sensory organs.

Jenny’s belief also depends upon the reliability of her own mind and senses.  Perhaps Jenny hallucinates on occasion and only thought that she talked with Bill.  Perhaps Bill does not actually exist, being only a projection of Jenny’s delusion.  How can Jenny know that her own mind and senses are reliable, such that she can know that she really talked with Bill?  Most people just assume that their senses are reliable without thinking about whether or not this belief is reasonable; they are not epistemologically self-conscious.  But these questions must be answered if we are to be confident that we have knowledge of anything at all.  If we are to be considered rational, then we must not continue to act on unsupported assumptions.

Christian epistemology makes knowledge possible.

The Christian worldview alone makes it possible for us to answer these questions and have genuine knowledge.  This is because knowledge stems from the nature of God (Proverbs 1:7, Colossians 2:3).  God has revealed some of His knowledge to us.  Some of this knowledge is hardwired directly into us, and other knowledge is revealed by God through tools that He has given us – like logic and reliable sensory organs.  The Christian worldview gives us rational justification for all the things that we rely upon in order to have knowledge.

For example, consider the rationality of the mind.  If we had no reason to believe that our mind is rational, then we would have no reason to trust any of our own thoughts.  In that case, we couldn’t know anything!  In the Christian worldview, we can have some degree of confidence in our mind’s ability to be rational since human beings are made in the image of God.  God’s mind is perfect by His nature.  And God has given us the ability to pattern our thoughts after His.  In fact, for our benefit, God has commanded us to pattern our thoughts after His, so that our thoughts will be truthful (Isaiah 55:7-8, John 14:6)

As another example, we can trust that our senses are basically reliable because God has created them (Proverbs 20:12).  What our eyes see and what our ears hear do correspond to reality.  Of course, on occasion our senses fail us because we are finite and also because of the curse.  An optical illusion is an example of this, and so is a mirage.  But God has given us several different senses and the rationality to compare data from different senses so that we can discern these rare instances.  So we can be confident that our senses are basically reliable.

As a third example, consider the laws of logic.  We use these laws instinctively to rightly judge certain kinds of truth claims.  We know that the statement, “My car is in the garage and it is not in the garage (at the same time and in the same way)” is false because it violates a law of logic.  But how do we know that laws of logic are reliable?  Even if they work sometimes, can we have any confidence that they work all the time, or in future situations that we have never experienced?  In the Christian worldview laws of logic are a reflection of the way God thinks.  Hence they will necessarily be right because God’s mind defines truth.  Laws of logic will be true everywhere in the universe and at all times because God is omnipresent and does not change.  We can know laws of logic because we are made in God’s image, and can think in a way that is consistent with His nature.

As a fourth example, we can have knowledge of morality – “right” and “wrong.”  God has revealed to us how we should behave according to His will.  And God will hold us accountable for our actions.  Hence, all people have an objective reason to behave according to the standards laid down in God’s Word.  We are morally obligated to our Creator.

The failure of secular epistemologies

Non-Christian worldviews would make knowledge impossible.  By this, I certainly do not mean that non-Christians can’t know anything.  Clearly they can.  But this is despite their worldview and not because of it.  My point is that if reality were the way non-Christians claim it is, then knowledge would be impossible. The reason is that these unbiblical worldviews cannot justify those things necessary for knowledge.  So while a non-believer might offer a reason for a belief, he or she cannot ultimately justify the reason itself from a non-Christian foundation.

For example, “I know Saturn has rings because I have observed them with my eyes through a telescope.”  But this assumes that our eyes are reliable – a Christian concept.  A person might say, “I know two contradictory claims cannot both be true because this violates a law of logic.”  Quite right, but apart from Christianity there is no reason to believe that laws of logic are universally and invariantly reliable.

As a specific example, consider the most common secular worldview – that the universe is the result of a big bang, followed by billions of years of cosmic and then biological evolution.  In this worldview, people are merely the inevitable unplanned result of chemistry acting over time.  There is no grand scheme of things, no ultimate mind upholding the universe, and no ultimate objective meaning.

Can a person holding such a view ever have good reasons for his beliefs?  Evolutionists do rely upon laws of logic, upon their mind and senses, and upon morality.  And these are good reasons – in the Christian worldview.  But in the secular worldview, can these reasons be justified?  If not, then a secularist would be irrational to believe them.

Why in the secular worldview should we suppose that our mind has the capacity to be rational?  Rationality involves choice; we consciously consider the various options and then choose the best.  But in the secular worldview, the brain is simply chemistry – and chemistry has no choice.  Chemicals always react according to prescribed laws of nature.  In the secular worldview, there is no more reason to trust a human brain than there is to trust in reading tea leaves.  Both are just the inevitable result of chemical reactions.

Should we trust that our senses are basically reliable?  Not in the secular worldview.  According to evolution, our sensory organs are merely the result of accidental mutations – those that did not decrease our survival value and were therefore not eliminated.  Some people might suppose that our sensory organs are reliable because they have survival value.  But this does not follow logically.  Chlorophyll has survival value in plants; but this does not imply that chlorophyll reliably informs the plant about the outside world.

Should we trust in laws of logic?  In a chance universe, there is no reason to expect there to be laws at all, nor laws of logic in particular.  Even if we grant their existence, the secular worldview cannot account for their properties.  Given that the universe is in a continual state of change, why should laws of logic be exempt?  We all assume that they will be the same tomorrow, but this belief is unwarranted in the secular worldview.  Why would they be the same everywhere?  How can the human mind know about them?  Why does truth always conform to laws of logic?  The secular worldview just doesn’t have a good reason for such things.  The existence and properties of laws of logic are unjustified in the secular worldview.  And hence, any belief based on them is also unjustified in the secular worldview.

What about knowledge of ethics?  Morality is about what should be, not what is.  In a chance universe, who decides what should be?  One person thinks that a particular behavior is commendable.  But another person disagrees.  Who is right?  Morality can only be subjective in a secular worldview; it is relative to the individual.  And of course, this isn’t truly morality at all – merely personal preferences.  In a secular universe there can be no such thing as an objective “right” and “wrong.”

Rationality

What is the difference between a rational person and an irrational one?  A rational person has a good reason for his or her beliefs.  An irrational person does not.  But what we have seen above is that only the Christian worldview can allow us to have good reasons for our most basic beliefs – our presuppositions.  Apart from the Christian worldview, any reason that we offer for any belief cannot be ultimately justified.  It would appear that there are only two options for a person to hold.  One can either be a consistent Christian, or one can be irrational.

About Dr. Lisle

Dr. Jason Lisle is a Christian astrophysicist who writes and speaks on various topics relating to science and the defense of the Christian faith. He graduated summa cum laude from Ohio Wesleyan University where he double-majored in physics and astronomy and minored in mathematics. He then earned a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in astrophysics at the University of Colorado in Boulder. Dr. Lisle specialized in solar astrophysics and has made a number of scientific discoveries regarding the solar photosphere, including the detection of giant cell boundaries using the SOHO spacecraft. He also does theoretical research and has contributed to the field of general relativity. Since completion of his research at the University of Colorado, Dr. Lisle began working in full-time apologetics ministry, specializing in the defense of Genesis. He has written a number of articles and books on the topic. His most well-known book, The Ultimate Proof of Creation, demonstrates that biblical creation is the only logical possibility for origins. Dr. Lisle wrote and directed the popular planetarium shows at the Creation Museum, including “The Created Cosmos.”
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431 Responses to Are You Epistemologically Self-Conscious?

  1. gimel says:

    Disclaimer. I am not an atheist. I was baptized, I was raised Christian and I do consider myself Catholic. Catholic Church might have a somewhat different opinion, but I haven’t been formally excommunicated or accused of heresy. Yet.

    Thank You for a response to my analysis, Doctor, I read it with utmost pleasure, not only because You have in quite a few places corrected me, but also because it gives me a chance to properly organize my line of reasoning.

    [Dr. Lisle: You are very welcome. Might I suggest also that you read some of Dr. Greg Bahnsen’s writings on epistemology, or listen to some of his presentations on the topic? This would further help you organize your thinking, and I think you would really enjoy it. It would also save me the time of writing what has already been written in further depth elsewhere.]

    Allow me, please, to answer to only some of Your comments directly below them, for clarity’s sake.

    “And we begin with question-begging epithet fallacies and elephant hurling. We’re off to a great start I see.”
    That we are, Doctor, that we are.

    “No contradiction. Just two different ways of saying something. Knowledge is true, justified, belief. The reasons (the justification) that people give for their beliefs reveals their understanding of how we know what we know (epistemology).”
    I hope I understood You correctly this time, Doctor. People have (or don’t have) knowledge and it is their beliefs regarding this knowledge (or lack thereof) that are the scope (one of the scopes) of epistemology – the origin of these beliefs, the consequences of these beliefs etc. Is this closer to Your meaning?

    [Dr. Lisle: People do have some knowledge because God has revealed it to them – even if the people deny that this is the basis for their knowledge. Epistemology is the study of how knowledge is obtained, or one’s theory of knowledge. If I ask a person “how do you know ____” on a variety of topics, his answers will reveal his epistemology. Most people haven’t consciously reflected on their own epistemology, but everyone has one nonetheless.]

    “Dr. Lisle: I thought it was pretty clear. I’m not interested in common opinions or rhetoric. I’m dealing with knowledge – genuine true justified beliefs. How is it that people are able to know things? That is the sort of question that we ask when dealing with epistemology.”
    I’m afraid that I was for a very long time taught by a succession of people who had very (and I mean VERY) strong opinions on the subject of difference between ‘knowledge’ (episteme) and ‘beliefs’ (doxa). Or maybe I should translate this tearm as ‘seemings’? I don’t know, really. Anyway, I consider “genuine true justified beliefs” something of a contradiction in terms. And before we ask ourselves “how can we know that x, y, z?”, we should first establish “whether we can know anything, especially x, y, z?”. I understand that Your text sums up Your answer to both these questions at once, Doctor, but that particular paragraph made it seem as though you forgot abot the latter. In short – it was about style, rather, than content.

    [Dr. Lisle: There is indeed a difference between knowledge and belief. Knowledge is a type of belief. Namely, knowledge is true, justified, belief. This is a pretty standard definition. You mentioned that it seemed contradictory to you, but you didn’t say how or why. There isn’t anything contradictory about knowing something, and believing that it is true with good reasons. I know that Saturn has rings, which is to say I believe it, and it is true that Saturn has rings, and I have good reasons for my belief.]

    [The Christian worldview allows us to know both (1) that we can know some things, and (2) the way in which we can know some things. Those two issues are linked. It is impossible to know some things without having any sense of how you know, because there would be no justification and hence no knowledge.]

    “No. People can possess knowledge since the Christian worldview is true. If it were – hypothetically – the case that Christianity were not true, then people could have beliefs but not knowledge. The reason is that their beliefs could never be ultimately justified.”
    I beg to differ, Doctor.

    [Dr. Lisle: Then please explain how beliefs could be justified apart from the Christian worldview.]

    You seem to think that “how can we know anything?” is the primary concern of epistemology. I have yet to hear an answer to “can we really know anything?”, that would have been impervious to solipsism (no, I’m not a solipsist, I merely want to have an argument even they could not deny…).

    [Dr. Lisle: The issue of whether knowledge is possible is inextricably linked to the issue of how knowledge is possible. In the Christian worldview, God has revealed some knowledge to us by various means. And so, yes, knowledge is possible; and as to the “how,” it is ultimately by revelation from an omniscient God. Of course, a solipsist assumes that only he exists for certain. But what is his reason for believing even that? Perhaps it is because he experiences a sensation of “thinking,” and assumes that he is the one doing the thinking. But this begs the question, for in supposing that he is doing the thinking the solipsist has already presupposed his existence – the very thing he is supposed to be proving. The solipsist cannot really know on his own system that even he exists. So, solipsism logically reduces to skepticism – it has to.]

    [So the skeptic then asserts that we can’t actually know anything at all. And you probably know what question I’m going to ask such a skeptic: “Do you know that? Do you know that we cannot know anything?” Of course, he must answer “no” since a “yes” answer would be self-refuting. But when he says, “no” he has conceded defeat – he admits that his position cannot be rationally defended. He doesn’t really know anything by his worldview. In so doing he has abdicated his seat at the epistemological table – for there is no point in listening to someone who, by his own admission, knows nothing. It won’t do to try and add a probabilistic assessment, because then I will just ask if he is certain about his assessment of the probability of his view. He must again say “no” to avoid contradiction. And since his probability assessment could very well be wrong by his own admission, he cannot claim that his view is even probably true. Apart from Christianity, we could know nothing at all. Proverbs 1:7.]

    And yes, I agree that even Cartesian “cogito, sum” is not 100% proof.

    [Dr. Lisle: It’s not just that it is not 100% proof, rather it is not a proof at all because it arbitrarily begs the question. In assuming that he was the one doing the thinking, Descartes had already assumed his own existence, the very thing he was attempting to prove. His reasoning is totally bankrupt. Imagine person A says, “The sky is blue, cats are furry, therefore Martians exist.” Person B point out, “That does not follow logically.” So person A says, “Okay – then probably Martians exist. I’m not saying it’s certain.” In fact, the argument doesn’t follow at all.]

    Alas, “reality exists” is presupposition. Same as “there is God”, “Jesus was Word of God”, “His teachings live on in the Church” etc.

    [Dr. Lisle: Yes, these are presuppositions. Perhaps it would help if I clarified what a presupposition is, for it is not contrary to proof. Rather, a presupposition is something that is assumed before it is investigated. It does not mean that it will not eventually be proved, only that it was believed before it was proved. Some things must be assumed before they are proved – like laws of logic. They must be used in their own proof. But this isn’t necessarily arbitrary, because anyone wanting to disprove laws of logic would have to use them to construct the proof, thereby defeating his own position. Laws of logic are a presupposition that is proved by the impossibility of the contrary. So it is with God, and the Christian worldview.]

    I BELIEVE all these things, obviously. But I see them just as that – as objects of faith, rather, than philosphical dogmas. Subject to belief – not knowledge! I can never know whether this Mass I just took part in was not only me, smashing in the walls of the local mental ward.

    [Dr. Lisle: I’m glad you believe those things. But I have good news: you can know them as well. Perhaps you are thinking of “belief” as merely the subset of beliefs that are unprovable. But that really isn’t biblical. The Bible indicates that there are some things we can know for certain. Among them is the existence of the biblical God. The Bible teaches that those who reject God are “without excuse” – literally no defense (Romans 1:18-20). If there was merely a 99.99% chance that God exists, then the unbeliever would have some excuse, albeit a small one of 0.01%. But no, God indicates that the unbeliever has no excuse at all. You can know some things with certainty – but only in the Christian worldview. Any alternative to Christianity reduces to skepticism and then absurdity.]

    But I choose to believe it was real. I’m fairly certain it was – some 99.99%.

    [Dr. Lisle: You may have missed something I mentioned previously; a probability assessment is only helpful if you are certain of the probability and the method by which you evaluate such probability (i.e. the 99.99%). Now, if you are not certain of the probability assessment (if you are not 100% certain that your assessment of 99.99% is correct) then logically it could be the case that your assessment is wrong, it could be 15%, or even 0%. And in that case, you don’t really know at all what you think you probably know. On the other hand, if your probability assessment is certain, then there are some things that you can know for certain.]

    “I consider that synonymous.”
    I consider these matters (epistemology etc.) to be very, very subtle, so that a slightest difference in terms at the begining of a discussion can lead to very dramatic consequences; I advise anyone wanting a proof of it to review controversies surrounding christological discussion of Chalcedon and/or the great shouting match we call “filioque” problem. Therefore, since “synonymous”!=”the same”, I would avoid using this term. If You don’t, it’s Your choice, Doctor, but to pedants of this world (unite!), it is a crime on the language.

    [Dr. Lisle: I’m using the terms the same way they are used by logicians and philosophers, as they would be found in a dictionary. Epistemology is the study of or theory of knowledge – how we know what we know. Now, if you want to use a different definition, that’s okay, but it would be incumbent upon you to say so and to clearly indicate your alternate definition. Otherwise the dialogue becomes confusing and full of equivocation.]

    “Interesting. It is only possible to have a rational dialog with a materialist if materialism is false. If all that exists is material, then there could be no laws of logic, since laws of logic are not material. But laws of logic are necessary for rational dialog. Besides, didn’t you claim to be Catholic? I’m not Roman Catholic, but I suspect that a belief in the existence of God is an important part of that faith system. And God is non-material.”
    I think that it may be best if I explain my definition of materialism (and certain consequences thereof) somewhere later. That OK with You?

    [Dr. Lisle: Yes, that would be helpful. It would be even better to use the commonly accepted standard definitions of words so that there is no confusion to begin with.]

    “Epistemology is the study or theory of knowledge. And that is how I have been using the term. In order to acquire knowledge, people must have a theory of knowledge – an epistemology. They may not have consciously reflected on their own epistemology. And that’s the point.”
    Ah, but is it necessarily an internalized theory (ie. one of which our person knows about)?

    [Dr. Lisle: A person’s view of epistemology is not something that most people have consciously reflected upon, nor can most people articulate their view. But they do have one.]

    Let us consider a newborn. It acquires something of a knowledge, certainly (mama = good, food = good, wet nappy = bad = cry, etc.), at least according to You (but not to scepticism), but I’m fairly certain we cannot talk about this infant having any theory of knowledge whatsoever! Do You consider lack of theory some form of theory, Doctor? Good for You. Since it’s Your discussion I will accept this. Thanks for claryfing this issue.

    [Dr. Lisle: I would say that the baby does indeed have a theory of knowledge. It certainly will not be a well-thought-out theory, and is obviously not a theory that the baby can articulate. Nonetheless, even a baby has certain beliefs about how knowledge is acquired that God has hardwired into him or her. One of those beliefs is that the baby’s senses are basically reliable – that we can acquire knowledge through sensory experience. Modus ponens is one way to learn certain types of truth. The interesting thing about modus ponens is that it is impossible to prove without using it. Hence we are all born knowing modus ponens, because if we weren’t, we could never learn modus ponens. So babies do have a (primitive) epistemology, and therefore they do have some knowledge.]

    “Do you know that?”, “Are you certain of that?” “Can you prove that the statement itself is true?”
    I’m tempted to answer “Foucault’s pendulum is a good argument for it”, but that assumes You were asking specifically about “spinning” part.

    [Dr. Lisle: You were taking, at least for argument’s sake, the skeptic’s position: that knowledge is impossible. And I was asking if you know that knowledge is impossible. If you answer “no,” then your point is rationally unjustified because knowledge may indeed be possible by your own admission. And if you answer “yes” then you refute yourself, because you know that nothing can be known. Skepticism is reduced to absurdity by its own terms.]

    [Likewise, you mentioned that “certainty is unachievable,” to which I asked “Are you certain of that?” Again, if you answer “no” then your position is unjustified. But if you answer “yes” then the position is refuted on its own terms. Then finally, you state the skeptic’s claim that “the very existence of reality as such is an assumption that cannot really be proven,” to which I asked, “Can you prove that the statement itself is true?” Again, either a “yes” or “no” answer undermines the very philosophy being advocated. Skepticism is self-refuting.]

    As for “am I certain that Gorgias even existed, much less thought that way?”, no, of course not. For all I KNOW (with 100% credibility) You don’t exist and the entire Universe, created last monday, consists only of me, typing these words. No, scratch that, even that’s too much. So much for existence of Gorgias, Doctor.

    [Dr. Lisle: Yet, you behave as if I do exist, as if the Universe does exist and consists of more than just you. Apparently, you do believe these things, and you act upon those beliefs. Now, the difference between a rational person and an irrational one is whether or not those beliefs are justified. A rational person has a good reason for his or her beliefs. Do you? In fact, you do in the Christian worldview. You can indeed know that the universe does exist, that your senses are basically reliable, and so on because the Bible indicates these things. God gives knowledge to people through various means. But apart from the Christian worldview, you couldn’t know any of these things. Hence, a person can either be a consistent Christian, or be irrational. There simply is no third option, because non-Christian worldview cannot ultimately justify anything.]

    As for his thoughts? Well, I assume that a very long chain of people that passed and copied his teachings, by word or on paper, never lied and never made any significant errors. As for their applicability, a funny observation. Utilitarism is useful, at least according to itself. Marxism is, according to itself, an inevitable consequence of laws Marx described. And most major religions claim that central deity is truthfull mostly on the basis of said deity’s assertions… Can anyone really expect sceptics to proclaim, loudly, “yeah, remember what we just said? well, that’s not provable either!”? Actually, we can. In fact most sceptics clearly warn that they are merely part-sceptics and true sceptics stay silent, for to preach scepticism one has to make numerous unprovable assumptions. Or so I’m led to believe…

    [Dr. Lisle: I think what you are attempting to say is that philosophical systems tend to argue for themselves based on their own terms. If so, you are right, and that is of course logically inescapable. But the really interesting thing is that most philosophies – if applied consistently – are self-refuting. That is, they are either falsified, or unjustified on their own terms. As such, they tend to inconsistently borrow truths from the Christian worldview in order to support themselves. Christianity alone is able to provide a basis for knowledge that is self-consistent. The Bible teaches that a reverential submission to God, and hence His presuppositions, is the necessary foundation to even begin to know anything at all. Proverbs 1:7. The Bible further indicates that if you reject biblical presuppositions, then you are inevitably left in the position of being able to know absolutely nothing (Colossians 2:3,8, Romans 1:18-22). Skepticism is a great example of this. A skeptic (literally) cannot know anything on his own worldview – by definition. It is the most ignorant position possible because it disallows the possibility of knowing anything – even “probably” let alone certainly.]

    [Of course, no one can live that way. The skeptic may vocally deny the Christian worldview but he cannot escape living in God’s universe. And because the skeptic does have genuine knowledge of God in his heart-of-hearts, he relies on biblical presuppositions to get along in this world, all the while verbally denying the biblical God whose presuppositions he is using. He lives as if his senses are basically reliable, as if laws of logic are universal and invariant, because he knows God, though he will not admit it to himself or others. And in his more honest moments, the skeptic will admit, as you say, that he is only a part-skeptic. But a part-skeptic is oxymoron; for skepticism is the belief that nothing can be known. A person who “partially” embraces this, who concedes that some things can be known at least with high probability, is not actually a skeptic at all. For he has conceded that knowledge is possible, and in so doing he has revealed his suppressed knowledge of God.]

    “I’m familiar with what (many) people believe to be the case. But my article is about what actually is the case – not what people believe to be the case. A good logician will point out that Descartes’ famous motto is fallacious because it begs the question.”
    And I’m pointing out that You have, somewhat strangely to me, assumed “yeah, this is the case” despite many arguments, coming from many sides, that this is not the case. Simply put, Doctor, Your essay lacks the part with “OK, here are the basic questions one might have, here are the answers”. To me, at the very least. So I asked them and I’m happy that You provided at least some answers.

    [Dr. Lisle: It’s an essay, not a three-volume epistemological treatise that anticipates and answers every possible objection to the thesis. But I do think it gives the basic argument, and should stimulate people to think about these issues, and – hopefully – to read up on this topic. I am happy to answer your questions, and I hope that you will read some of the literature that I have suggested. My book “The Ultimate Proof of Creation” would be a good starting point, as would the works of Dr. Greg Bahnsen. (In addition, this would save me much time because many of your questions would be answered in such resources.)]

    Unfortunately (or fortunately, who are we to judge?) they sometimes require further clarification, e.g. what question exactly is Cartesian “cogito, sum” begging?

    [Dr. Lisle: Sometimes people quote Matthew 7:1 out-of-context to teach that Christians should never judge. But, actually God instructs us that we are to judge – but judge rightly, according to His standard (Leviticus 19:15, Numbers 35:24, Deuteronomy 1:16). So, you should consider the essay and the answers I’ve given, and search the Scriptures to see if these things are so (Acts 17:11).]

    [The reason that “I think therefore I am” begs the question is that it arbitrarily assumes as a premise what it is trying to prove. When Descartes says “I think” he has tacitly supposed that he is the one doing the thinking. He then proceeds to conclude that he exists, which is hardly surprising since this is presupposed in his first premise. His first premise should have been “Thinking is occurring.” But then there is no way to validly get from that to “I exist.”]

    “Correct. It’s not just that induction lacks certainty. But as Hume pointed out, it lacks rational justification on the secular worldview. Only the Christian worldview can ultimately justify uniformity in nature.”
    I cannot see this, Doctor. The dots are there, I connected them, but it’s still a question mark, rather, than exclamation mark.

    [Dr. Lisle: It might be helpful for you to read some of what Hume wrote about justification of induction. In any case, I will try to add a few more “dots” for you. If you haven’t given much thought to the justification of induction before, the topic may seem difficult at first. But the conclusion is inescapable.]

    [The notion that we can use past experience as an indicator of future success relies on the assumption of temporal uniformity in nature. “That the future will be like the past” is the basic issue under investigation. This does not mean that future conditions will be like past conditions; it might be sunny on Monday, but cloudy on Friday. Rather, it means that if conditions are sufficiently similar, a similar result will occur; e.g. if I do an experiment on Monday under conditions X,Y, and Z, and then do the same experiment on Friday under the same conditions, I will get basically the same result. Uniformity in nature is the reason why we are able to learn from past experience, and apply it to our present and future. Without uniformity, past events would be utterly irrelevant to future events.]

    [So, how then can you justify uniformity? Apart from Christianity, you can’t. It won’t do to claim “well it’s always been that way before, so it probably will be that way in the future too” because this begs the question. That is, it does no good to point out that there has been uniformity in the past, because this will be utterly irrelevant to uniformity in the future unless we already assumed uniformity between past and future. It arbitrarily assumes the very thing we are attempting to prove – the fallacy of begging the question. This was Hume’s point.]

    For one thing, You assume uniformity in nature (in all dimensions spatial and temporal, I infer). This is all well and good, but it’s a (relatively) recent stance. XVIth-century-recent (or maybe we ditched pempton stoikeon earlier?), but still.

    [Dr. Lisle: No, uniformity of nature is something that all human beings have believed since the creation of Adam and Eve. Babies are born believing in uniformity. They burn their hand on the candle, and they will not do it again because they assume that it will hurt again. That’s uniformity. Babies draw the general inference “flame = hot” from a specific instance: a particular flame at a particular time in a particular place was hot. Everyone assumes some degree of uniformity in nature. Yet, it turns out, it is impossible to rationally justify that belief apart from the Christian worldview.]

    Maybe after we have data for some couple milion years and fom different galaxies, we will notice that something is wrong with this assumption?

    [Dr. Lisle: Not so. And here is why: observations of galaxies, recording data, and other things of this nature are part of the methods of science. The methods of science are neither able to discover nor refute the principle of uniformity in nature because the methods of science are predicated on the principle of uniformity in nature. This is an important point, so be sure to think about this carefully. Scientists assume that in basic ways nature is uniform as part of the process by which they investigate the universe. If there were no uniformity in nature, then science would be rationally unjustified – it would not be a reliable way to acquire knowledge. Putting it another way, apart from the uniformity of nature, we would not be able to trust any scientific reasoning. Therefore, it is pointless to use science to test uniformity in nature, because science assumes uniformity in nature and would be worthless and unreliable without it.]

    I don’t know, Doctor, and neither do You, I dare say. Not for certain.

    [Dr. Lisle: Actually, I do know. And I know for certain. So do you, though you may not verbally profess it. We can count on uniformity in nature because God, who cannot lie, does not change, knows everything, and has promised us a certain degree of uniformity in nature so long as the Earth remains. (Genesis 8:22) The basic cycles of nature, the day and night cycle, the seasons, and so on, will be in the future as they have been in the past. Specific circumstances might change of course. There is no guarantee that this summer will be as hot as last summer. But the cycles will continue. God knows this because He knows everything by virtue of His nature. This includes knowledge of the future, for God is beyond time. So God is certainly in a position to know. Furthermore, God cannot lie because He is truth, and to lie would be contrary to His nature. And God has revealed some knowledge to us in His Word. Included in that knowledge is the promise of basic uniformity. So yes, we can know for certain. But those who reject that Christian worldview cannot know on their own professed worldview.]

    Also, how does Christianity prove Hume wrong, ie. proves induction right?

    [Dr. Lisle: Actually, Hume proved Hume wrong. He was honest about his inability to provide a rational foundation for induction within his own worldview. God has hardwired us to know about induction / uniformity in nature. You couldn’t get up in the morning without this crucial presupposition. Yet, apart from the Christian worldview, no one can give a logical reason why we should continue to believe in uniformity in nature. And when most people are asked, they assume uniformity as the basis for uniformity – but this begs the question. For example:

    How do you know that when you press the “s” key, an “s” will appear on the screen? It’s obvious you do believe this because you have acted upon that belief and successfully posted on my blog. But what is the reason that you believe that the next time you press an “s”, an “s” will (very likely) appear? Everyone believes this of course, but how do you justify it? What is the basis for that belief? A rational person has a reason. Hume wanted to know that reason, and was frustrated that he could not find it.

    Of course most people will unthinkingly respond, “well, in the past when I pressed ‘s’ an ‘s’ appear on the screen. So I presume it will happen next time.” But this is not a reason for assuming uniformity; it is merely a statement affirming it. Any time you use past experience as a basis for what is likely to happen in the future, you are assuming uniformity. But what is the reason you assume uniformity? It cannot be past experience, because past experience is only useful as an indicator of future success if we already had a reason to believe in uniformity. So if your reason for believing that uniformity will be in the future as it has been in the past is because “it has always been that way”, then you have tacitly assumed uniformity as the reason for uniformity. You will have begged the question.

    Christianity gives us the only way of escape: we have good reason to believe in uniformity due to the revelation of God who is beyond time and all-knowing. How do we know God is beyond time and all-knowing? We also know this by revelation. In an ultimate sense, all knowledge comes from revelation from God.]

    I mean, yeah, we profess faith in ever-existing God, so there is a constant to entirety of time. “See God up there, Junior?” “Um, no, Papa!” “And you never will! But tomorrow He still will be, and the day after tomorrow, and the next day and till the end of time!” And I’m OK with this article of faith! This preconception works well with me. But it’s just that – a preconception and an article of faith. Philosophy can not accept that – not without warning labels or somesuch.

    [Dr. Lisle: The ironic thing is that most philosophers do accept that kind of thinking. That is, their most basic presuppositions are arbitrary, an article of “blind faith.” What’s even more ironic is that you are in that camp and you don’t have to be. Faith in the Christian worldview is rational and objectively provable. Some people have the mistaken impression that faith must be “blindly” accepting something without evidence, or despite evidence to the contrary. But biblical faith is nothing of the sort. Biblical faith is rational – it is in fact the prerequisite for rational reasoning.]

    “Descarte and Hume, and countless others were able to have genuine knowledge. This is not because of their belief system, but in spite of it. Because Christianity is true, there are laws of logic that are universal, invariant, exception-less, etc., there is uniformity in nature such that we can rely upon past experience as an indicator of future success, our senses are basically reliable having been designed by God, etc., etc.”
    This is going to sound rude, but just what do You think You’re doing, Jason? Putting “because” in that particular place makes it seem as if You were ignoring the fact that they argued for impossibility of what You call “genuine knowledge”. Really!

    [Dr. Lisle: It seems that you are still not grasping the basic argument. A person who professes that knowledge is impossible, and then claims that he knows this or that at least probably, may indeed know this or that – but only despite his profession of skepticism. After all, if his profession of skepticism were true, then he couldn’t know anything at all. A materialist (using the standard dictionary definition) might be able to use logic to construct some very good arguments. But he can only do so because materialism (which denies the existence of non-material things like laws of logic) is false. A critic of air can breathe perfectly fine, but only because his profession that “air does not exist” is wrong.]

    That sentence is like: yeah, Renoir did paint photorealistic depictions of reality, not because of his artistic program, but in spite of it”.

    [Dr. Lisle: A correct analogy must be one that captures the essence of the topic. Consider a person who professes “There is no such thing as paint, and paintings therefore do not exist.” Then imagine that the same person is able to paint some beautiful paintings. He is only able to do so because his professed belief (that paint does not exist) is false. His actions are contrary to his professed worldview. Likewise, Descartes, Hume, and countless others were indeed able to have knowledge – despite the fact that their professed worldview collapses to skepticism (i.e. no knowledge).

    Maybe to You impressionist paintings seem “photorealistic”. Most of us think they aren’t. Worse, painters themselves often claimed they did not care for realism. Same here – You claim victory in the battle other side never even tried to have. Worse, they spent years trying to prove that this battle is neither possible nor interesting to them. And this argument can serve no purpose anymore. Insert “Dave” and “goodbye”, if You care for fidelity to sources.

    [Dr. Lisle: Whether people want to consciously consider epistemological questions, whether they profess that knowledge is possible or not, they nonetheless have knowledge. And this is because they are made in God’s image, and God has revealed some things to them. However, it is true that no philosophical system besides Christianity has been able to account for knowledge – to provide rational justification for the preconditions of intelligibility. One of these preconditions is induction – something that David Hume recognized that he could not account for in his secular worldview. No one else has fared any better. Now, if people don’t want to play the game (e.g. “I don’t care if my beliefs are rational”) that’s fine. But then they cannot complain when others point out that they are being irrational.]

    “People may deny these things but they cannot escape them. And so even evolutionists who profess that our senses are just the results of non-designed chemistry acting over time will nonetheless trust that their senses are basically reliable as if such senses were designed by God. Even the atheist who professes that the universe is just chance will nonetheless expect uniformity in nature as if the universe was upheld by the consistent mind of God.”
    I’m sorry, but that’s just contrfactual.

    [Dr. Lisle: Evidence? Can you give me an example of someone who does not believe in induction/uniformity of nature? Not someone who professes that they don’t believe in uniformity; but rather, someone who genuinely does not believe that the future reflects the past? Such a person wouldn’t bother to eat or speak, because these rely upon past experience. Such a person couldn’t walk or do anything really, because this too requires uniformity. About all such a person could do is drool on the floor until death. Now, people just aren’t this way. They do accept Christian presuppositions (albeit inconsistently) such as uniformity, laws of logic, etc. because such things have been hardwired into them by God. We could survive without them.]

    I know atheist sceptics and I know Christian sceptics.

    [Dr. Lisle: A Christian cannot be a skeptic, by definition. A Christian is someone who has a saving knowledge of Christ, and professes that knowledge; whereas a skeptic professes that he does not have any knowledge. You understand of course that a Christian can be skeptical about certain things, but not about the possibility of knowledge.]

    Either of them could go hours at an end, talking about fallibility of senses, insufficiency of reason and invalidity of the concept of knowledge…

    [Dr. Lisle: Yes, all the while relying upon their senses, and laws of logic, and human rationality, as if such things were basically reliable. The person who denies such things must use such things in the process of arguing against such things. His position is self-refuting. It’s like the critic of air giving a long argument that air doesn’t exist, all the while breathing air. If his position were true, he could not make an argument for it.]

    Basically speaking people that are perfectly consequential sceptics (and/or solipsists) tend to die early. Exposure, dehydration, starvation etc. etc. (when one does not believe in the reality of one’s surroundings, why should one believe in existence of elements or basic needs of body?). The rest go on to raise questions You still have not answered, not to my (or theirs) satisfaction.

    [Dr. Lisle: The skeptic who does from exposure because he doesn’t believe in the preconditions of intelligibility is consistent, but wrong. The skeptic who acts as if he has knowledge, as if the preconditions of intelligibility are true, but has no reason for them on his own worldview, is inconsistent and irrational. Such a person is intellectually schizophrenic, living as if the Christian worldview were true while simultaneously professing skepticism. He is able to survive because his worldview is wrong. And then we have the consistent Christian who has a worldview that makes knowledge possible, and also acts on this worldview. His worldview is true, justified, consistent, and rational. The Christian can account for the preconditions of intelligibility in a way that is fully compatible with his worldview. I understand that not everyone will be persuaded by a perfectly rational argument. But I have yet to find anyone to find any problems with the argument, any genuine refutation. This would seem to be even further confirmation of the Christian worldview.]

    “Reliable senses are those which give us a basically correct information about the outside world most of the time. The expectation that senses would be basically reliable is completely lacking in rational justification from the evolutionary perspective. But Christians expect the senses to be basically reliable since they were designed by God.”
    Allow me to deal with this later on, when I discuss materialism, suffice it only to say, that it is a somewhat circular logic. But don’t fret, Doctor, better than us have been there. In fact, all of us have been there. But I digress…

    [Dr. Lisle: When reasoning about an ultimate standard, it is logically inescapable that such a standard must be used as its own justification. Otherwise, it would not be ultimate. There will always be a degree of circularity; but it is not arbitrary – at least not for the Christian system. The Christian worldview will make knowledge possible in a way that is self-consistent, whereas all competing worldviews fail to make knowledge possible and are self-refuting. ]

    [Dr. Lisle: I will try to get back to your other questions and comments later, as time permits. In the meantime, perhaps you would care to read up on this topic.]

    • zilch says:

      Nice work again, gimel. Enviable command of English as a second language. I would be remiss if I didn’t invite you to lunch as well. Maybe we can all sit in some gemütlichen Heuriger and discuss this over a G’spritzten or two. The tab’s on me.

      cheers from sunny Vienna, zilch

  2. gimel says:

    Wall of text en route… If anyone knows any length limitations (I don’t know, sign limit or something) now would be the best time to tell me about this.

  3. Bart says:

    Dr. Lisle, Joseph, or Micah:

    Do you agree with my argument?

    “Laws of logic must be abstract (i.e. not contingent on matter), invariant (i.e. absolute, unchanging), and universal (i.e. apply everywhere) if human reasoning is to be possible. Human reasoning is possible, therefore the laws of logic are abstract, invariant, and universal. This makes sense if laws of logic are a reflection of the way God thinks but do not make sense in an evolutionary worldview or any other worldview for that matter.”

    • Josef says:

      Laws of logic must be abstract (i.e. not contingent on matter), invariant (i.e. absolute, unchanging), and universal (i.e. apply everywhere) if human reasoning is to be possible. Human reasoning is possible, therefore the laws of logic are abstract, invariant, and universal.

      Yes, I’d say this is true.

      First, this is a valid argument because your affirming the antecent (in this case, “if human reasoning is possible” … in arguments, P doesn’t necessarily have to come before Q), i.e., modus ponens. So to put it in a form that is more readily seen:

      1. If human reasoning is to be possible (P), then laws of logic must be abstract, invariant, and universal (Q).
      2. Human reasoning is possible. (P)
      3. Laws of logic are abstract, invariant, and universal. (Q)

      This is logically valid because the conclusion follows the premises (and remember that a valid argument is one in which the conclusion from the premises, not that the premises must be true).

      Furthermore, I would say that it is a logically sound argument. Because the premises are true. It would be impossible to reason if logic were not invariant or not universal. One could attempt to argue that your argument is unsound, but they would have to challenge one of the premises, most likely premise 1. However, the ironic thing is, if someone could disprove premise 1, then they would destroy the very possibility of their own reasoning!

      • zilch says:

        Hey Josef! You say:

        1. If human reasoning is to be possible (P), then laws of logic must be abstract, invariant, and universal (Q).
        2. Human reasoning is possible. (P)
        3. Laws of logic are abstract, invariant, and universal. (Q)

        This is logically valid because the conclusion follows the premises (and remember that a valid argument is one in which the conclusion from the premises, not that the premises must be true).

        Agreed.

        Furthermore, I would say that it is a logically sound argument. Because the premises are true. It would be impossible to reason if logic were not invariant or not universal. One could attempt to argue that your argument is unsound, but they would have to challenge one of the premises, most likely premise 1.

        Agreed again- I would challenge premise 1. This is simply an assertion which can be easily defenestrated: what if logic where invariant and universal, except that it didn’t apply to the core of Jupiter, which is made of cheese. You would still be able to reason, as long as you weren’t in Jupiter’s core. Or, less far afield, perhaps it’s the case that logic is universal and invariant almost all the time, but that there are occasional glitches- the religious might refer to them as “miracles”. You would still be able to reason, and it would still work, most of the time.

        However, the ironic thing is, if someone could disprove premise 1, then they would destroy the very possibility of their own reasoning!

        Again, that’s simply a bald assertion. If logic only works 999,999 times out of a million, you would still be able to reason, almost all of the time. I know that you presup Christians feel that if you don’t have absolute certainty, you don’t have anything at all, but you haven’t shown why this is the case.

        Of course, perhaps the laws of logic really are invariant and universal. They’ve worked well for me so far, in this Universe. But I don’t see any evidence that the laws of logic, in our Universe, exist in any sense other than, say, the law of gravitation “exists”. They are rather, as is the law of gravitation, observations about how things behave in our Universe. Perhaps things are different elsewhere.

        • Josef says:

          Hey Zilch,

          I appreciate the attempt. But the problem is that if logic were not invariant or universal, then you really don’t have any assurance of their reliability from moment to moment. For example, how do you know that logic will still be reliable in the next 10 minutes? Also, how can you have assurance that logic from your location wouldn’t have changed by the time it reached mine so that your post made sense to me here?

          Also, I generally don’t like to get into discussions related to astronomy/astrophysics because I am not knowledgeable in this area. But something tells me that if logic were not invariant or universal, then there would really be no point in studying the universe outside of earth.

          But I don’t see any evidence that the laws of logic, in our Universe, exist in any sense other than, say, the law of gravitation “exists”. They are rather, as is the law of gravitation, observations about how things behave in our Universe. Perhaps things are different elsewhere.

          I think you do see the evidence that laws of logic do exist in a sense different than gravity. Gravity is directly contingent on matter; i.e. if earth were smaller, then the force of attraction would be less, if earth’s mass were greater, then the force of attraction would increase. However, logic remains invariant regardless of any physical changes to the universe.

          • Bart says:

            Well said Josef!

            I would also like to add that laws of logic are a priori not a posteriori. That is, we must assume laws of logic before we can even begin to “conceptualize” them.

            We discover laws of physics by observing and analyzing the behavior of things around us. The laws of logic are not the result of observable behavior of object or actions.

            For example, in nature we do not see something that is both itself and not itself at the same time. Why? Because we can only observe a phenomena that exists, not one that does not exist. If something is not itself, then it doesn’t exist. How then can the property of that non-existent thing be observed? It cannot.

            Therefore, we do not know laws of logic by observation, but by thought.

            • Nadie says:

              Bart,

              You should hang this on your wall, and then think of its implications about presuppositionalism:

              “For example, in nature we do not see something that is both itself and not itself at the same time. Why? Because we can only observe a phenomena that exists, not one that does not exist. If something is not itself, then it doesn’t exist. How then can the property of that non-existent thing be observed? It cannot.”

              Exactly. If your god was not imaginary, it would still “have to assume laws of logic” before it could even begin to claim to be its source. As you said, logic is a priori, not a posteriori.

              As per the relationship between **aspects** of the Universe and logic. Exactly. Existence, as you demonstrated quite eloquently, elegantly, and convincingly, is identity. Identity is the fundamental law of logic. There you go.

          • zilch says:

            Hey Josef! I think we’re getting to the point where we’re just repeating ourselves. I’ll give it one more go, however. You say:

            I appreciate the attempt. But the problem is that if logic were not invariant or universal, then you really don’t have any assurance of their reliability from moment to moment. For example, how do you know that logic will still be reliable in the next 10 minutes? Also, how can you have assurance that logic from your location wouldn’t have changed by the time it reached mine so that your post made sense to me here?

            If logic were not invariant and universal, I wouldn’t have any assurance. But if logic were very nearly invariant and very nearly universal, as in my examples, then it would still be useful, in the same way it’s useful to know that the Sun is “very likely” to rise in the morning.

            Don’t misunderstand me- I don’t maintain that logic is not invariant and universal. It seems to be invariant and universal, so it might well be. But your first premise, which claims that human reasoning can only be possible if logic is invariant and universal, is obviously false, as I pointed out. You can still reason, even if you’re not absolutely sure of something. In fact, we do it all the time.

            Contrary to what you and Dr. Lisle maintain, you don’t need absolute assurance of something in order for the knowledge to still be useful.

            Also, I generally don’t like to get into discussions related to astronomy/astrophysics because I am not knowledgeable in this area. But something tells me that if logic were not invariant or universal, then there would really be no point in studying the universe outside of earth.

            Why not? Do you also think there is no point in studying miracles?

            I think you do see the evidence that laws of logic do exist in a sense different than gravity. Gravity is directly contingent on matter; i.e. if earth were smaller, then the force of attraction would be less, if earth’s mass were greater, then the force of attraction would increase. However, logic remains invariant regardless of any physical changes to the universe.

            The law of gravitation does not change with changing mass; just the answers change. Same thing with logic: using the same logic, you can get an answer, say, of “true” or “false”, depending on what values you put in. And as far as I can see, logic is contingent on matter: no matter, no beings to think, no logic.

  4. Anon-e-moose says:

    ” The fact that Bill Gates is able to have knowledge proves that Christianity is true.”

    Oh no more, please Mr. Wilde, I am bereft of ribs! Oh, please show me in the Bible – verbatim – where the words ‘Windows 8’ appear? Or OSX Snow Leopard? Or Ubuntu?

    [Dr. Lisle: Let’s see, so your argument is that if God doesn’t mention something verbatim, He therefore doesn’t know about it. Is that seriously your argument?]

    And if your supposedly ‘Omniscient’ God knows everything, show me in the Bible where the words ‘Blu-Ray player’ appear.

    [Dr. Lisle: Your argument seems to be that since God didn’t mention ‘Blu-Ray player’ in the Bible, He must not know about it, and therefore He isn’t truly omniscient. Is that about it? Really? The name of the ridiculous (and rather obvious) fallacy you’ve committed is called “denying the antecedent.” But it may be easier to show the absurdity by applying your way of thinking to yourself:

    Your comment didn’t mention that 2+2=4, so by your reasoning I can conclude that you don’t know that 2+2=4. In fact, when I consider all the things you didn’t mention in your comment, and by your reasoning conclude that you therefore don’t know any of those things, you must be horribly uneducated!]

    Or what the next format to replace this will be, seeing as your so-called ‘God knows ‘everything’, even in the future…!

    [Dr. Lisle: Wow. God didn’t tell you something about the future, therefore He doesn’t know about the future? Really? You didn’t tell me your actual name. By your reasoning, you must not know your own name!]

    Why no mention of Digital Computers in the Bible? Therefore Alan Turing knew more than God.

    [Dr. Lisle: You didn’t mention that water is wet in your comment. Therefore, by your reasoning you must not know that water is wet. Forgive me, but why should I even bother responding to someone as completely ignorant as you, since you don’t even know that water is wet?]

    Nope, not seeing any mention in the Bible about HTML – verbatim – therefore (seeing as he is the God of we Geeks) Sir Tim Berners-Lee knows more than (and is therefore superior to) God.

    [Dr. Lisle: You did not mention verbatim the order of the letters of the alphabet in your comment. So, by your reasoning, you must not know them. Wow! You are not even as smart as a kindergartener. How sad. You didn’t mention in your comment that you know how to dress yourself. Therefore, you don’t know how to even dress yourself! I surely feel pity for your mental deficiency.]

    “Christianity is true”

    The Bible. ALL of it is fact, amirite…? Well, in that case, go and find for me a reptile with human speech abilities. Because the ‘fact’ that a talking snake IS mentioned in the Bible – and of course, it is LITERALLY ‘true’

    [Dr. Lisle: That’s also the fallacy of denying the antecedent. E.g. “You believe that George Washington once rode a horse into battle? Then show me an actual George Washington riding a horse into battle.”]

    [The Bible indicates that God allowed Satan to speak using a serpent. God also enabled a donkey to speak on one occasion. There is no logical problem with an all-powerful God giving one or more of His creations the ability to speak. Do you have an actual logical argument that God cannot do this? Hint: an emotional opinion is not a logical argument.]

    (‘It’s only metaphor’ or similar BS not allowed. Either ALL of it is literal fact, ot it’s ALL lies.

    [Dr. Lisle: That’s a bifurcation fallacy. The Bible contains poetic and prophetic literature, and figures of speech which are non-literal. There are rules of hermeneutics. However, the Genesis account is indeed literal. You may not emotionally like the fact that God can enable a creature to talk. But can you logically refute it?]

    No ‘Cherrypicking’ allowed, or your ‘beliefs’* entire argument is invalid)

    [Dr. Lisle: Following the standard rules of literature is not cherry-picking. We are able to recognize non-literal figures of speech when they occur. And you can too. Otherwise, you must think that I’m literally out picking literal cherries. Does your use of the figure of speech “cherry-picking” mean that your entire argument is invalid? If it does, then I guess I’ve already refuted you.]

    – means that ‘Creationism’ is true

    [profanity removed. Profanity is not allowed on this site.]

    that pesky Kitzmiller vs. Dover! [/sarcasm]): all lifeforms were just ‘poofed’ into being,

    [Dr. Lisle: Don’t you believe that organisms with all their complexities are just the result of random chemical reactions happening over time, that gradually turned bacteria into fish, into frogs, and mammals, and finally people? Don’t you believe that your distant cousin is a turnip? If this is your view, then it would be pretty absurd to poke fun at someone who believes that the first organisms were designed and created.]

    therefore these amazing reptiles that can talk like we humans MUST exist to this day.

    [Dr. Lisle: ?????!!!! Your evolutionary “logic” escapes me. So you think that because God allowed Satan to use a serpent to speak once in the past, that God must continue to do that today, even though there is no Scriptural hint of that? Really? By what reasoning do you reach such a strange conclusion? This would seem to be a hasty generalization fallacy.]

    …because you’ll know what you’ll have just proved – and therefore admitted what we Atheists have said all along (a ‘God’ DOESN’T exist) – when you don’t…!

    [Dr. Lisle: ???? This makes even less sense that what came before. Previous to this I could at least understand your arguments, fallacious though they were. This just seems to be incoherent babbling.]

    I guess that’s why you daren’t debate us on FSTDT.

    [Dr. Lisle: I haven’t heard of that. But I do debates quite often actually. I have one coming up in two weeks.]

    I’m not the only Argument Annihilator there…!

    [Dr. Lisle: Well I should hope not. Your arguments here have been, to be polite, less than cogent.]

    ‘What’s true, is true for you’

    [Dr. Lisle: Is that statement objectively true? Or is it just “true for you” in which case I can reject it as false?]

    -L. Ron Hubbard, founder of $cientology

    ‘Truth’ can be Lies. 2+2=5, as per O’Brien, the Inner Party & Big Brother [/”1984″]

    [Dr. Lisle: Is that the truth? If so, is it a lie?]

    Just the facts, ma’am. [/”Dragnet”]

    *- You cannot spell ‘Beliefs’ without the word LIE.

    [Dr. Lisle: What a powerful argument! /sarcasm. You can’t spell “atheist” with “theist!” Boom! 😉 ]

    Thus I only accept FACTS.

    [Dr. Lisle: That’s an interesting belief. Apparently, you believe all sorts of non-factual nonsense. Evolution, atheism, etc. None of these are facts.]

    Nope, not seeing any evidence to prove the existence of your so-called ‘God’ to MY satisfaction.

    [Dr. Lisle: Now this statement is worth a serious response. First, because the evidence of God is overwhelming. You rely upon the truth of the biblical worldview whenever you appeal to any one of your sensory perceptions, or your own thoughts, or laws of logic (granted, you seem not to know these very well, but still…), or uniformity in nature. That’s what this article was about. Did you actually read it? Your denying of God is like a fish denying water. We couldn’t live apart from God’s universe, apart from biblical presuppositions. God has made Himself known to everyone in a way that is absolutely inescapable, as indicated in Romans 1:18-23. (Look it up. Seriously, look it up). So how then could anyone deny God? The answer to this is found in your last three words.

    “to MY satisfaction” indicates an attitude of arrogance – that you think that God must submit to your personal arbitrary opinions of reasonableness – that you think your mind is in a position to judge God’s Word, such that you can lay down tests for Him, and He should be obligated to take your tests and if He passes, then maybe you’ll let Him be God. But if God submitted to your standard, then He really wouldn’t be God. And you seem to partially realize this in your next comment.

    You’ve attempted to engage in a role reversal, in thinking that you are the judge of what is reasonable, that your mind can judge God’s Word and that God must prove Himself to you. In other words, you’ve tried to make yourself into a god. But nothing could be further from the truth. It is God that will judge your mind. You will answer to Him – not the reverse. And when you do, it will not be merely an academic issue or an intellectual word game as you are engaging in here.]

    But then, he wouldn’t limit his ‘omnipotence’ in this way – and thus be able to prove himself to MY satisfaction – if he were ‘God’, hmmmmmm…?!

    [Dr. Lisle: “Hmmm” indeed. Spend some time thinking about that. God can and has proved His existence irrefutably. But He has done it on His own infallible terms – not your fallacious standards.]

    After all, a rainbow doesn’t actually physically exist, but at least it can be SEEN…!

    [Dr. Lisle: I’m not sure what your point is here, if you have one. Some things exist and cannot be directly seen – like sound. The biblical God is an immaterial Being, which means He is not (ordinarily) visible. Though, He can and has made Himself visible at certain times for various reasons.]

    • Bart says:

      “And if your supposedly ‘Omniscient’ God knows everything, show me in the Bible where the words ‘Blu-Ray player’ appear. Or what the next format to replace this will be, seeing as your so-called ‘God knows ‘everything’, even in the future…!”

      You cannot even begin to reason without the preconditions of intelligibility so your argument is both irrelevant and self-refuting.

      “Why no mention of Digital Computers in the Bible? Therefore Alan Turing knew more than God. Nope, not seeing any mention in the Bible about HTML – verbatim – therefore (seeing as he is the God of we Geeks) Sir Tim Berners-Lee knows more than (and is therefore superior to) God.”

      More fallacies of irrelevance. The Bible describes who God is not all that He knows.

      “The Bible. ALL of it is fact, amirite…? Well, in that case, go and find for me a reptile with human speech abilities. Because the ‘fact’ that a talking snake IS mentioned in the Bible – and of course, it is LITERALLY ‘true’ (‘It’s only metaphor’ or similar BS not allowed. Either ALL of it is literal fact, ot it’s ALL lies. No ‘Cherrypicking’ allowed, or your ‘beliefs’* entire argument is invalid) – means that ‘Creationism’ is true (damn that pesky Kitzmiller vs. Dover! [/sarcasm]): all lifeforms were just ‘poofed’ into being, therefore these amazing reptiles that can talk like we humans MUST exist to this day.”

      Evolution. All of it is fact, amirite? Well, in that case go and find me just one observed case of life coming from non-life. Because the fact that life must arise from non-life in the evolutionary worldview is evident – and of course, it is LITERALLY ‘true’. Either ALL of it is literal fact, or it’s ALL lies. No ‘Cherry picking’ allowed, or your ‘beliefs’ and entire argument is invalid – That is, the first life form just ‘poofed’ into being, complete with DNA, RNA, a minimum of 482 genes comprising 580,000 bases etc. Therefore, there MUST be life forms randomly assembling from non-life forms today!

      “…because you’ll know what you’ll have just proved – and therefore admitted what we Atheists have said all along (a ‘God’ DOESN’T exist) – when you don’t…!”

      Huh?

      “I guess that’s why you daren’t debate us on FSTDT. I’m not the only Argument Annihilator there…!”

      You annihilate nothing other than your own worldview and self-refuting arguments.

      “*- You cannot spell ‘Beliefs’ without the word LIE. Thus I only accept FACTS. Nope, not seeing any evidence to prove the existence of your so-called ‘God’ to MY satisfaction. But then, he wouldn’t limit his ‘omnipotence’ in this way – and thus be able to prove himself to MY satisfaction – if he were ‘God’, hmmmmmm…?!”

      Your BELIEF that you only accept facts and not beliefs is a self-refuting belief.

      “After all, a rainbow doesn’t actually physically exist, but at least it can be SEEN…!”

      Just like molecules-to-man evolution? Your beliefs are wildly inconsistent.

  5. daveMc says:

    Presuppositional Logical Fallacy:
    1. If Darwin’s books were not true, logic would not be meaningful. 2. Logic is meaningful. 3. Therefore, Darwin’s books are true.

    [Dr. Lisle: A fallacy is an error in the chain of reasoning. So the argument above is actually valid, but unsound due the first premise being false.]

    HYPOCRITICAL Logical Fallacy:

    [Dr. Lisle: Modus tollens is not a logical fallacy. It is valid. I would encourage you to read a book on logic. You are making very basic mistakes here.]

    1. If the Bible were not true, logic would not be meaningful. 2. Logic is meaningful. 3. Therefore, the Bible is true.
    — Dr. Jason Lisle, AiG–U.S.January 8, 2010
    http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/2010/01/08/feedback-not-sound-logic

    [Dr. Lisle: Since the argument is valid, you must think that you can demonstrate that one or more of premises is wrong. I’d love to read your demonstration of this.]

    Reductio Ad ABSURDum l Fallacy:
    1. If the Moon were NOT made of green cheese, logic would NOT be meaningful. 2. .. 3. ..

    [Dr. Lisle: No, reductio ad absurdum is a legitimate way of exposing a false premise. What you have done is list several arguments that are valid but unsound, and then claim that this proves that a different argument is unsound. But of course, it doesn’t.]

    Ad Hominem Fallacy: Yo’ mama is a Presuppositionalist 😉

    To see Dr. Lisle expose his very own fallacy do Ctrl+F “first premise”

    [Dr. Lisle: It seems that you don’t realize that there is a difference between a logical fallacy and a false premise. This is logic 101. Again, I strongly encourage you to pick up a textbook on logic. It would help you tremendously.]

    • Josef says:

      No Dave, what this shows is that a logical valid argument is not necessarily a true or sound argument (a sound argument is one in which is both valid and true).

      I challenge your first premise because you have not shown that logic is in any way contingent upon Darwin’s books. So while I will concede that your argument is valid (and in logical reasoning a valid argument is simply one where the conclusion follows from the premises regardless of whether or not the premises are true), I do challenge that its soundness.

      And you also misrepresent Dr. Lisle’s argument. His argument isn’t simply this syllogism, but he says, right after the syllogism, that, “The first premise is usually further defended by illustrations of the impossibility of the contrary”. And he has illustrated the first premise many times in his book, articles on this blog, his various feedbacks in his blog, etc. You on the other hand have not demonstrated that your first premise can be illustrated by the impossibility of the contrary.

      • daveMc says:

        GOOD. Challenge away. Congratulations! You are exactly right! That’s the point. I am not arguing whether the Bible is true or false (or Darwin’s theories or green Moon cheese);
        I am pointing out that Lisle’s logic is nonsense — as are all 3 arguments above.

        [Dr. Lisle: Showing that one argument with a valid form has a false premise does not prove that another argument with the same valid form has a false premise. Isn’t that obvious? You’ve listed some arguments that have the valid modus tollens form, but with a false premise making them unsound. For some reason, you seem to think that this makes a sound modus tollens argument become unsound. That just doesn’t make any sense.]

        When I studied logic in college, I learned that besides ‘true’ and ‘false’ there is ‘meaningless’.
        What Lisle (actually Van Till ) does is to take a nonsensical idea,

        [Dr. Lisle: Asserting that an idea is nonsensical or meaningless is not the same as demonstrating it. If you think that is not the case that Christianity provides the only rational justification for the preconditions of intelligibility (such as laws of logic), all you have to do is show why. Is that so hard?]

        reverse cause and effect,

        [Dr. Lisle: With all respect Dave, the fact that you think this has something to do with cause and effect shows that you really don’t know what is going on here. My argument has nothing to do with cause and effect, but rather with rational justification. That’s entirely different.]

        sprinkle in a couple of negatives and fabricate a silly faith-affirming premise that sounds logical to the fundamentalist who is not skilled in abstract critical thinking. Lisle is BRILLIANT!

        [Dr. Lisle: That’s quite a question-begging epithet! A lot of times when people cannot refute an argument (or perhaps even understand the argument), they resort to this. They hope to persuade people by calling the argument “silly” and saying that only people not skilled in abstract thinking would find it logical – the “Emperor’s New Clothes” approach. The irony is that this response itself is deficient in terms of critical thinking skills since it is logically irrelevant to the issue at hand.]

        Please review the entire exchange with Dr.Lisle above. If you can’t see my point, I give up.

        [Dr. Lisle: We all see your point. You think that giving examples of modus tollens with a false premise somehow proves that all modus tollens arguments must have a false premise. But this is a hasty generalization fallacy. So, yes we see your point. But your point is logically fallacious.]

    • daveMc says:

      And you have not demonstrated that
      “If the Bible were not true, logic would not be meaningful. ”

      [Dr. Lisle: {sigh}
      http://www.amazon.com/Ultimate-Proof-Creation-Jason-Lisle/dp/0890515689/
      ]

  6. gimel says:

    “What is the difference between a rational person and an irrational one? A rational person has a good reason for his or her beliefs. An irrational person does not. But what we have seen above is that only the Christian worldview can allow us to have good reasons for our most basic beliefs – our presuppositions.” I’m afraid You fail to show how God’s existence and truth of Christianity is not a presupposition.

    [Dr. Lisle: It is a presupposition. It just happens to be an objectively provable presupposition. It is proved by the impossibility of the contrary.]

    And arguments that boil down to “God Is because God Is” not only are circular, they verge on breaking the third commandment.

    [Dr. Lisle: Misrepresenting my argument does break the ninth commandment.]

    “Apart from the Christian worldview, any reason that we offer for any belief cannot be ultimately justified. It would appear that there are only two options for a person to hold. One can either be a consistent Christian, or one can be irrational.” Why Sheffer disjunction, Doctor?

    [Dr. Lisle: The qualifier “consistent” disallows both conditions. A consistent Christian is one that obeys God’s command to think in a way consistent with God’s nature – to think rationally. Thus, you cannot have an irrational consistent Christian. ]

    And, if You are sure of Your knowledge, You “epistemologically self-conscious” rascal, You (sorry, it’s really early here, 0445, actually!), why ‘appear’?

    [Dr. Lisle: Sometimes stating things in a softer way prompts people to give them more thought. E.g. “Sure it seems that these are the only two possibilities. But perhaps I can come up with a third.” I want readers to attempt to construct a non-Christian worldview that can rationally justify the preconditions of intelligibility. This forces them to think through the issues, and see why it cannot be done. It is more persuasive when people think through the issue for themselves.]

    All in all, good show. I would be glad to here Your answers to my questions. Have a pleasant day, forgive any spelling errors (especially any stray lower-case ‘You’) and, of course the wall-of-text. Deepest regards from fstdt board, that’s all folks.

    [Dr. Lisle: I may not have the time to answer future inquiries in as much depth as I have with this one. But I encourage you to think through these issues, and read up on them. Dr. Greg Bahnsen specialized in epistemology, and you would find His writings and lectures very helpful.]

  7. gimel says:

    Disclaimer. I am not an atheist. I was baptized, I was raised Christian and I do consider myself Catholic. Catholic Church might have a somewhat different opinion, but I haven’t been formally excommunicated or accused of heresy. Yet.

    Oh, my, Doctor. I’m afraid I can’t believe that You minored in mathematics – Your metamathematical (and philosophical) understanding of logic is, alas, flawed. I’m tempted to use the term ‘worse than wrong’, even! And Your understanding of biology? Information theory? Basic philosophy? Oh, dear. OK, here we go.

    [Dr. Lisle: And we begin with question-begging epithet fallacies and elephant hurling. We’re off to a great start I see. ;-)]

    “All people have an epistemology because they have some beliefs, and they have reasons for their beliefs.” An extremely simplistic statement – and a direct contradiction of previous sentence (“[e]pistemology is the study of knowledge”)!

    [Dr. Lisle: No contradiction. Just two different ways of saying something. Knowledge is true, justified, belief. The reasons (the justification) that people give for their beliefs reveals their understanding of how we know what we know (epistemology).]

    If You were to introduce, at the very beginning, Your understanding (note the term, please!) of the difference between episteme and doxa, it would have been more palpable.

    [Dr. Lisle: I thought it was pretty clear. I’m not interested in common opinions or rhetoric. I’m dealing with knowledge – genuine true justified beliefs. How is it that people are able to know things? That is the sort of question that we ask when dealing with epistemology.]

    As it is, You seem to imply, in this sentence, that at least some people do not possess any ‘knowledge’, merely ‘beliefs’. Are we to assume that you take the sceptical stance of “no perfect knowledge can be achieved, our mind can only believe something about reality”? That would seem to be in contradiction with the overall tone of Your text…

    [Dr. Lisle: No. People can possess knowledge since the Christian worldview is true. If it were – hypothetically – the case that Christianity were not true, then people could have beliefs but not knowledge. The reason is that their beliefs could never be ultimately justified.]

    “So epistemology is very important if we want our beliefs to correspond to reality.” Again, not “want to possess knowledge about reality”, not “know reality”, merely ‘correspondence’.

    [Dr. Lisle: I consider that synonymous.]

    Not that I mind, I have a great respect for sceptical thought, being a materialist, positivist and empiricist myself, but is this really Your line of thought?

    [Dr. Lisle: Interesting. It is only possible to have a rational dialog with a materialist if materialism is false. If all that exists is material, then there could be no laws of logic, since laws of logic are not material. But laws of logic are necessary for rational dialog. Besides, didn’t you claim to be Catholic? I’m not Roman Catholic, but I suspect that a belief in the existence of God is an important part of that faith system. And God is non-material.]

    “It is obvious that all people do have an epistemology”. You keep using this term. I don’t think it means what You think it means. Since English is my second language the problem might be on my side, but isn’t epistemology in the proper sense (or, more correctly, one of the scopes of epistemology) rather the process of analyzing what You call epistemology (and I would call, I don’t know, cognitive mechanism?)? Not the process of aquiring knowledge itself, but rather the theory of that process?

    [Dr. Lisle: Epistemology is the study or theory of knowledge. And that is how I have been using the term. In order to acquire knowledge, people must have a theory of knowledge – an epistemology. They may not have consciously reflected on their own epistemology. And that’s the point.]

    But I’m willing to concede this particular point. Do note, however, that from that point forward I will be assuming that it’s a mistake on Your part, Doctor. Carry on!

    “Is this a reasonable answer? It depends.” Oh, yes, Doctor it very much does. On Your definitions of reason and rationality, mostly.

    “If we are to be considered rational, then we must not continue to act on unsupported assumptions.” Oh, my. Pascal is spinning in his grave. In fact a great many philosophers do. Where do we begin? According to, say, sceptics (Gorgias of Leontinoi and his merry crew), any knowledge (episteme) is impossible.

    [Dr. Lisle: Do you know that?]

    Certainty is unachieveable

    [Dr. Lisle: Are you certain of that?]

    and the very existence of reality as such is an assumption that cannot really be proven.

    [Dr. Lisle: Can you prove that the statement itself is true?]

    Descartes (You know, Doctor, Descartes, the capital ‘R’ Rationalist) concurrs and adds that for every thesis (save one, obviously) antithesis is conceivable, and therefore, equally valid.

    [Dr. Lisle: I’m familiar with what (many) people believe to be the case. But my article is about what actually is the case – not what people believe to be the case. A good logician will point out that Descartes’ famous motto is fallacious because it begs the question.]

    And Hume adds that induction in real world (as opposed to, say, mathematics) is impossible and no one can prove that since 999 people died after taking a bath in this here acid vat, the thousandth one will die as well.

    [Dr. Lisle: Correct. It’s not just that induction lacks certainty. But as Hume pointed out, it lacks rational justification on the secular worldview. Only the Christian worldview can ultimately justify uniformity in nature.]

    They might very well die eaten by a grue, after all. Wanna take a swim, Doctor? Is your refusal rational? Are your assumptions 100%-proven? Do note however, that neither of these thinkers starved themselves to death, so apparently they had some understanding (doxa) of basic biology. Or they lacked consequence.

    [Dr. Lisle: Descarte and Hume, and countless others were able to have genuine knowledge. This is not because of their belief system, but in spite of it. Because Christianity is true, there are laws of logic that are universal, invariant, exception-less, etc., there is uniformity in nature such that we can rely upon past experience as an indicator of future success, our senses are basically reliable having been designed by God, etc., etc. People may deny these things but they cannot escape them. And so even evolutionists who profess that our senses are just the results of non-designed chemistry acting over time will nonetheless trust that their senses are basically reliable as if such senses were designed by God. Even the atheist who professes that the universe is just chance will nonetheless expect uniformity in nature as if the universe was upheld by the consistent mind of God.]

    “[O]ther knowledge is revealed by God through tools that He has given us – like logic and reliable sensory organs.” Define reliable, Doctor.

    [Dr. Lisle: Reliable senses are those which give us a basically correct information about the outside world most of the time. The expectation that senses would be basically reliable is completely lacking in rational justification from the evolutionary perspective. But Christians expect the senses to be basically reliable since they were designed by God.]

    Or else google ‘illusions’.

    [Dr. Lisle: These are also possible because our senses are finite and ultimately fallible, and also because of the curse. But in the Christian worldview we can have confidence that our senses are basically reliable. In the secular worldview, there is no reason to think that any of our thoughts or sensory perceptions have any correlation whatsoever with an external universe.]

    Also, I don’t know how you define ‘logic’,

    [Dr. Lisle: Logic is the study of the principles of correct reasoning or reliable inference. Laws of logic are universal, invariant exception-less conceptual entities that describe the correct chain of reasoning from premises to conclusions.]

    Doctor, but I assume You agree that mathematical logic is logic (for those who see this assumption as nonsensical and/or superfluous, Marxism-Leninism had some very peculiar ideas about the relation of the so called ‘dialectic logic’ and formal logic; quite a few people were given ten or more years to ponder this relation in Gulag Archipelago). I assume also that you know that the branch of logic that is the foundation of set theory, and, consequently, analysis, algebra, number theory, probability, the whole ‘middle mathematics’ (higher than basic arithmetics but still having fairly obvious real-life-analogues) is derived (note the word!, not ‘God-given’, ‘derived’!) by humans (again, not Holy Ghost, not Wisdom, but humans!) from some five or six basic concepts (to wit: ‘set’, ‘element’, ‘for every’, ‘for some’ and ‘not’; the sixth one being, according to some: ‘yes’)?

    [Dr. Lisle: A derivation is a process of discovery, not creation. Human beings are not responsible for mathematical truths that they discover in various derivations. I can derive E=mc^2 just as Einstein did. But Einstein did not create the relationship between energy and mass. He discovered it. He was able to discover this by correctly reasoning from true premises using laws of logic and laws of mathematics. But how would laws of logic and laws of mathematics make sense in a secular worldview? (They can’t exist in your professed materialistic worldview because laws are non-material.) How can there be universal, invariant, unchanging, exception-less conceptual entities? How can people know about them? Why is the physical universe constrained by them? The Christian worldview can answer this rationally. But I have yet to find any other worldview that can.]

    Basic building blocks of mathematics, atoms truly indivisible (especially since they’re immaterial).

    [Dr. Lisle: But wait. Didn’t you state earlier that you are a materialist? This is the philosophy that everything that exists is material – matter in motion. But now you are claiming that the building blocks of mathematics are immaterial. How does that work? By the way, I agree that mathematical laws are non-material. But my worldview allows for non-material things to exist.]

    You may see them as God-given, Doctor. I beg to disagree, but I can understand that position. Still, no one who has the basic idea of mathematics can fail to notice that what follows is not the product of enlightment from above! Middle Ages sometimes depicted Prophets and Disciples with doves on their shoulders – Holy Ghost dictating the Scripture verbatim. No such thing with logic. Definitions, perfectly arbitrary definitions, and long, long chains of tautologies.

    [Dr. Lisle: I understand that some issues in mathematics are definitional, and there is some variation in how we might define certain terms, and variation in notation – how we choose to represent mathematical concepts. But is all of math a creation of mankind, and just an enormous tautology? If it is, then why is it so useful in terms of the physical universe? If human beings created math, then they could have created it differently, yes? Why not just create a version that is very easy. That would certainly save us a lot of time in school!]

    [Most aspects of math are not definitions. There is a fundamental conceptual underlying truth in most mathematical laws. Human beings did not create laws of mathematics, we discovered them and formulated them (put them into words or symbols). We have some degree of choice in how we represent mathematical truths, but we have no choice in the truths themselves. You can’t truthfully make 2+2 equal anything but 4 no matter how hard you try. You can change the symbols, and certain definitional starting points, and from that we can discover additional mathematical truths using laws of logic and laws of mathematics. Only the Christian worldview can make sense of laws of mathematics (and laws of logic) and their properties. I have yet to see any alternative worldview that comes even close.]

    And on the other end of these chains? That’s where the fun begins. Mathematics (or, rather, mathematical objects), as such, is not real, material, no (if anyone wants to argue, let them point me to the nearest perfectly round circle; better yet, let them tell me what’s the density and colour of an isomorphism of rings), but our world is.

    [Dr. Lisle: Here is where materialism confuses the issue. Laws of mathematics are real – but they are non-material. If they were not real, we couldn’t use them. (It is very hard to use something that does not exist). But we can use them. Hence, they are real. A circle does exist – but it is a conceptual entity, not a physical one. So of course you won’t find a (perfect) circle in the physical world. The impossible question for your worldview to answer is why the physical universe obeys immaterial laws. The way the planets orbit the sun – highly mathematical. The laws of physics – exceptionally mathematical. Of course, this is exactly what the Christian expects. The same mind responsible for laws of mathematics also upholds the physical universe by His power. So naturally, the physical universe will behave in a mathematical fashion. The human mind is able to ascertain mathematical laws because we are made in the image of God.]

    That’s why there is this intermediate layer we call ‘science’ which tries to describe material reality in the language developed to describe something that never exists anywhere.

    [Dr. Lisle: Lots of problems here. First, science is a tool we use to answer certain kinds of truth claims. Science is predicated upon uniformity in nature – the notion that although things change there is an underlying orderliness that extends from past to future and from near to far. One problem is that such uniformity cannot be accounted for in the secular worldview, as David Hume showed much to his frustration.]

    [Second, you need to come to realize that laws of mathematics do exist even though they are not physical. We can use laws of mathematics and logic to compute the 6-dimensional volume of the 6-dimensional equivalent of a sphere and it is perfectly meaningful even though the physical universe has only three extended spatial dimensions.]

    [Third, it is not that scientists are on a mission to describe the physical universe according to mathematics. Rather, we want to describe the universe in a way that makes successful predictions about future states. It so happens that these descriptions often turn out to be highly mathematical. Even more amazing is that the equations are often very simple – in many cases using integers! F=ma (isn’t that convenient!) E=mc^2 (why ^2, and not ^2.892362718377283)? and so on. The secularist position simply cannot make sense of these things which make perfect sense on the Christian worldview. How is it that a chance universe, not upheld by any mind at all, happens to obey laws at all, conceptual laws (laws that people created on your view) that are often simple mathematical relationships? It strains credulity. Physicist Dr. Eugene Wigner wrote an interesting article on this topic from his (apparently) secular perspective. It’s short and worth a read: “The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences.”]

    And that’s one way (let us call it ‘positivist’, although I don’t really care for the word) to deal with the difference between ‘perfect knowledge’ (episteme) and ‘real knowledge’ (doxa). We accept Humean impossibility of induction,

    [Dr. Lisle: You accept induction despite your worldview. I accept it because of my worldview. You and I are both able to get along in the world pretty well because the universe is the way the Bible says it is. The main difference between us is that my (professed) worldview is consistent with my being able to get along in the world and have knowledge. And yours isn’t.]

    we accept that past can not be the perfect indicator of future. But we don’t care. We don’t aim for 100% certainty, we aim for 99.99%. ‘Beyond reasonable doubt’ is the term, I’m led to believe.

    [Dr. Lisle: I understand that some things are only known with probability rather than certainty. That’s okay. But in the secular worldview, you can’t even have probability because this is based on induction, which presupposes uniformity. Induction/uniformity/probability are all unjustified apart from the Christian system.]

    There may be this malign genie of Descartes that illudes us. But I’m willing to bet there isn’t. I don’t know and never will know, whether this truck is real. But I’m reasonably certain that it’s a bloody stupid idea to jump in front of it.

    [Dr. Lisle: Yes, you do know with high probability that it would be a bad idea to jump in front of a truck. This is because God has promised to uphold the universe in a consistent way, such that past experience can be relied upon to predict future situations with high probability. BUT, on the secular worldview, your expectation that jumping in front of a truck would be bad would make absolutely no sense whatsoever! After all, in a chance universe literally anything can happen. Perhaps jumping in front of a truck will be the most pleasurable experience of your life! (Don’t try it. The real universe is the biblical one, therefore you will get hurt).]

    In short? I don’t care about knowledge, even if God-given. (I find the idea silly, by the way – how can You or anyone, really, know for certain that this Bible You hold in Your hand is not an illusion, worse, Satan’s deception?) I deal in probabilities.

    [Dr. Lisle: Are you certain that you deal in probabilities? Are you certain that your assessment of the probability of a particular item is correct? In other words, you say “I’m 90% sure I’m right that p is the case” But unless you are 100% certain about the 90% probability of p, then it may not really be 90%. It could be 50% or even 0% in which case you don’t know p at all. But you seem to believe that we can’t know anything for certain – including the certainty of your probability assessment.]

    [Now you might say, “But there is a high probability that my 90% figure is right” then I will ask, “how probable?” Suppose you are 95% certain that your assessment is correct of 90% probability for p. In that case the combined probability that you actually know p is only 85.5%. Probabilities add in quadrature. And you know where this is headed, now I’m going to ask about the probability of the 95% number being correct, ad infinitum. At some point the chain will either end in something you claim to know for certain (but you seem to think that nothing is known for certain), or it will go on forever. Do you know what is the combined probability of an infinite number of less-than-certain probabilities? It is exactly zero. Unless you know some things with certainty, you can’t know anything at all with any probability.]

    And now for poor theology…

    [Dr. Lisle: Your theology would improve by leaps and bounds if you actually believed the Bible. Just sayin’….]

    “God’s mind is perfect by His nature.” And therefore immutable.

    [Dr. Lisle: correct. Malachi 3:6]

    I mean, come on, primus motor, time being the creation of His and so on.

    [Dr. Lisle: Point? I can’t think of any logical problem with an eternal Being creating time. The reverse would be the problem, don’t you think? God can create things that are different from Him.]

    But that also means (negative theology ahoy!) that God has no thoughts as we could recognize them. Thought as we know it is, inevitably, a process that requires time.

    [Dr. Lisle: God does have thoughts. But you are correct that God’s thoughts are not within time as ours are. Our conclusions follow temporally from premises. God’s conclusions follow logically from premises but not chronologically. God never learns anything new either – because He already knows everything. Yet God’s thinking is perfectly rational and self-consistent (2 Timothy 2:13). We have the ability to be rational, but don’t always do it perfectly. So there is a resemblance between our thinking and God’s thinking, and also differences not the least of which is that His knowledge is infinite. This makes sense since we are made in God’s image. Isaiah 55:7-9 beautifully characterizes the similarity and differences between God’s thoughts and man’s.]

    We think – we change the state of our minds over time. Unless You have a better definition, Doctor.

    [Dr. Lisle: “Changing the state of mind” is not an essential aspect of thinking. I can think about something, reason it through, and conclude that I was right all along. No change of state, yet I did lots of thinking. Thinking does have to do with having ideas, considering something with the mind, etc. While all of our thinking does take place within time, there is nothing essential in the definition that requires this. Yes, God thinks. And no, God is not “within” time.]

    And God’s mind doesn’t change over time – how could it, even? So He in His divinity does not think. qed.

    [Dr. Lisle: You are correct that God doesn’t change over time. But incorrect that God does not think. The Bible states that God does have thoughts, e.g. Isaiah 55:8.]

    Or not, seing as Jesus was the same as us in every respect save for our sinful nature. Therefore it stands to reason that He commited one or more error of thought “in the days of His flesh” (You know, He was, quite simply, wrong about something). A most interesting aspect of hypostathic union I dare say.

    [Dr. Lisle: I don’t think it follows that Jesus committed one or more error of thought. He did limit Himself, including His knowledge. But I tend to think that what Jesus learned, He learned correctly. I’m inclined to think that since Jesus is fully God, His reasoning would have always been correct, even though His reasoning as a human would have been within time as ours is.]

    “And God has given us the ability to pattern our thoughts after His. In fact, for our benefit, God has commanded us to pattern our thoughts after His, so that our thoughts will be truthful (Isaiah 55:7-8, John 14:6).” Are we reading the same Bible, Doctor? Because I read in my trusty LXX:
    55:8 ?? ?a? e?s?? a? ß???a? µ?? ?spe? a? ß???a? ?µ?? ??de ?spe? a? ?d?? ?µ?? a? ?d?? µ?? ?e?e? ??????
    55:9 a??’ ?? ape?e? ? ???a??? ap? t?? ??? ??t?? ape?e? ? ?d?? µ?? ap? t?? ?d?? ?µ?? ?a? ta d?a???µata ?µ?? ap? t?? d?a???a? µ??
    And in NIV:
    55:8“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord.
    55:9“As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.
    And in KJV:
    55:8For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.
    55:9For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.
    And in Vulgata:
    55:8 Non enim cogitationes meae cogitationes vestrae neque viae vestrae viae meae dicit Dominus
    55:9 quia sicut exaltantur caeli a terra sic exaltatae sunt viae meae a viis vestris et cogitationes meae a cogitationibus vestris

    Did You notice all them ‘Non’ and ‘Ou’ and ‘Oude’ and ‘Not’, Doctor? Please share Your way of interpreting this passage. Really.

    [Dr. Lisle: I notice that you didn’t quote the passage that I cited. I cited Isaiah 55:7-8. Verse seven is crucial and you seem to have overlooked that. Verse seven provides the context in explaining the person under consideration: it is the unrepentant, wicked person. In verse 7 God commands the wicked man to turn from his ways and from His thoughts, and verse 8 is the explanation. It is because the wicked person’s way’s are not God’s ways, and the wicked person’s thoughts are not God’s thoughts that God is commanding the person to repent. Although we cannot think infinitely, and timelessly like God can, we are supposed to think on a creaturely level in a way that is consistent with the nature of God. We are to think rationally as God does, being consistent with His laws of logic, and the premises He gives in His Word. When we fail to do this, it is sin.]

    [Lest a person fallaciously think that God should be the one to change and bring His thoughts in line with the wicked man, verse 9 further explains that God’s thoughts and ways are infinitely superior to our own. And so we should be the ones to change. We must correct our thinking to be consistent with God’s perfect thinking. As an analogy, you can imagine a spotlight – a bright beam of light coming down from heaven. We can never ascend to the source of that light, but we can stand under the beam and be illuminated. The unbeliever stands away from the beam, and that’s his problem. Is this now clear?]

    “As another example, we can trust that our senses are basically reliable because God has created them (Proverbs 20:12).” God created Satan, also. Can you trust Satan, Doctor (according to many a tale, yes, surprisingly!; devils and demons do wicked things but according to many peoples they tell the truth and nothing but the truth, the whole truth, however…)? Ah, and Ecclesiastes 2:14.

    [Dr. Lisle: God gave Satan (and humans) the power of contrary choice – we are not compelled to obey God, and hence we are not compelled to be truthful. But God never gave our sensory organs the power of contrary choice. If our senses are designed by God to probe the world, then aside from a detrimental effect of the curse, we can trust that they will be basically reliable. If on the other hand our sensory organs are not designed at all, but just chemical accidents, then it makes no sense to trust that they would ever be reliable. It would make no more sense than trusting in a magic 8-ball.]

    “What our eyes see and what our ears hear do correspond to reality.” And yet again this accursed ‘correspondence’. We neither see nor hear reality, is that what You are trying to say? Than You are quite correct. Carry on.

    [Dr. Lisle: The mental picture I have in my mind of my computer which my eyes are currently observing resembles / corresponds to / closely “matches” the actual computer in the external world. I think we agree, yes?]

    “Of course, on occasion our senses fail us because we are finite and also because of the curse.” In other words illusions (or maybe even blind spot, who knows?) were not possible before the Fall, is that what You are trying to say? I certainly hope not, otherwise we end up in the position described in ‘Canticle for Leibovitz’, that laws of optics changed over time so as to make rainbows possible…

    [Dr. Lisle: No. Not what I’m saying. There are two ways in which one or more of our senses might occasionally fail to provide a reliable picture of the external world. (1) We are finite. (2) The curse. The curse would account for things like blindness, or faulty blurred vision. Those would not have occurred before the curse. But our senses are finite, and that would have been the case even before the curse. So yes, optical illusions were possible at creation. They are intriguing, and God gave us different senses and the capacity to reason when one or two are brought into conflict.]

    [Our eyes are amazingly well designed – I got to study eye design in a physiology class in college and it’s just astonishing what the eyes can do. But God didn’t design them to do everything. And there are instances where what we perceive is not an accurate picture of the world. These are not common, but they are possible because we are the creation, not the Creator. In the evolutionary worldview, there would be no reason to believe that our senses have any relation to the outside world at all. That’s the point that you seem to be missing.]

    “But God has given us several different senses and the rationality to compare data from different senses so that we can discern these rare instances. So we can be confident that our senses are basically reliable.” Yep, basic confidence is OK. Only, you see, these rare circumstances? They happen pretty much everyday. Go ahead and try to sense radiation, Doctor. And if Your senses ARE tingling – there is a great and amazing future ahead of You.

    [Dr. Lisle: Either I have not understood your point, or you have not understood mine, because this doesn’t make any sense to me. Optical illusions that have not been specifically designed by people to be illusions I really don’t think are very common at all. I do some work with 3D imaging. I know ways to “trick” the eyes to make them perceive a 3D image on a flat screen. But it isn’t easy to do. It requires special glasses or specific patters or combinations of mirrors in a rather contrived setup, otherwise the brain correctly perceives the flat screen. It would be absurd to claim that because my senses do not sense what they are not designed to sense (ultraviolet rays for example) that this makes them unreliable in what they do sense. Clear?]

    “As a third example, consider the laws of logic.” Alas, no. Common understanding of logic differs from formal logic,

    [Dr. Lisle: My argument deals with laws of logic (or “rules of inference”) as you would find in any logic textbook. If you are unwilling to consider this, then you will not be able to understand my argument, and therefore will be unable to refute it.]

    as much as heaven differs from earth (fun fact: in Biblical Hebrew ‘heaven and earth’ means cosmos, the entirety of the world an these parts have nothing in common, at least that’s what I’m being told, anyone who speaks Hebrew is welcome to correct me on this issue).

    [Dr. Lisle: That’s correct. It’s a merism.]

    “We use these laws instinctively” And naively. Most people wouldn’t know the square of opposition if it hit them on the head. Neither could they deny a material implication if their lives depended on it. But please, do go on.

    [Dr. Lisle: I agree. I encourage everyone to take a class or at least read a book on logic. It’s very helpful.]

    “But how do we know that laws of logic are reliable? Even if they work sometimes, can we have any confidence that they work all the time, or in future situations that we have never experienced?” Yes. How can we know that? Because we constructed them this way, Doctor.

    [Dr. Lisle: Let us consider the implications of your claim. If we constructed laws of logic, then we could have constructed them differently. They would be a matter of convention. Different cultures could have different laws of logic, just as they have various differences in civil laws: drive on the left side of the road vs. the right side; two contradictory statements cannot both be true vs. two contradictory statements must both be true. So perhaps contradictions are acceptable in Europe, and required in Australia, even though U.S. laws of logic demand that two contradictory statements cannot both be true. If laws of logic are constructed by men, then why does the universe never violate one?]

    Mathematics is not real, Doctor,

    [Dr. Lisle: I wish I had known that before taking all those math classes! To think that I minored in something that does not exist! 😉 I think many mathematicians would disagree with you. Perhaps you meant to say that mathematics is not physical. But it is real. If mathematics is not real (does not exist), the we could not use mathematics. It is impossible to use something that does not exist. (Try using a non-existent airplane to fly from Australia to the U.S.) Astronauts use mathematics to get into space – are they using something that doesn’t exist? Computer programs work based on mathematical laws. And they work very well since mathematical laws do exist. If laws of mathematics did not exist, then anything based on them would be impossible. But many things we depend on are based on mathematics. So your claim just isn’t rationally supportable.]

    it is not part of the Creation, its existence and relevance does not depend on God.

    [Dr. Lisle: That is a bold assertion. Evidence? I agree in a sense that laws of mathematics are not part of Creation. Rather they are a reflection of God’s thinking about numbers. So they do depend upon God.]

    Blasphemous? Hardly. One of the Greek hymns puts it perfectly (although my memory probably is less than perfect): “you will be like gods”, whispered the tempter, “just fall down on your knees and bow before me.” (…) “Get behind me, liar and father of lies! (…) through Christ we shall become like children unto God. That was His promise and verily we are!”. We were created ‘ad imaginem et similitudinem Dei’, ‘?at’ e????a ?a? ?a?’ ?µ???s?? ?e??’, and one of the signs of it is that we have the power to create as well. Something that is immutable over time, not existing in the same way we do, that works equally well (ie. perfectly!) in every place at every time. Something that does not belong to God’s creation, but ours, rather. Even if nominalists were right and God is perfectly sovereign, meaning He is not bound by His own promises and conventions, even if He decides to erase humanity ab aeterno, what we created stays created. Mathematics. Poetry. Music. Art. Knowledge. There may be no one left to appreciate this, but then again “there will be no application” never stopped any mathematician worth his salt.

    [Dr. Lisle: Hopefully it is now clear why mathematics cannot be a human creation, like art or poetry. If it were a human creation then different cultures would have different laws of mathematics just as different cultures have different art and different poetry. But mathematics is universal, because it reflects the thinking of the sovereign God. Even secularist, in their more honest moments, acknowledge the universal nature of mathematics. For example, most secularists believe that if we ever discover extra-terrestrial life, our only hope of communicating with them would be through the universal language of mathematics. But if mathematics were just a human convention, then that would make no sense.]

    “In the Christian worldview laws of logic are a reflection of the way God thinks.” Meanwhile, in the real world they remain fruit of human thought and labour.

    [Dr. Lisle: No, they aren’t. Laws of logic worked perfectly well long before human beings discovered them. Before humans existed, it was still the case that the law of non-contradiction was true. There were no “true contradictions” anywhere in the universe before people existed. So clearly, laws of logic cannot be a creation of people. We discovered them, and formulated them (put them into words), but the actual truths existed before and apart from people.]

    “God’s mind defines truth.” Arguably, yes.

    [Dr. Lisle: I’m glad to see that agreement. If God’s mind defines truth, and laws of logic are true, then God’s mind defines them. They reflect His thinking, and are not a human creation.]

    “We can know laws of logic because we are made in God’s image, and can think in a way that is consistent with His nature.” Marxism 101: since thought is self-realized practice, there is no discernible difference between practical and theoretical knowledge (“Manuscripts of 1844”, look it up, people, Gramsci wrote a bit about it as well, along with Lukacs). One of the consequences of this is the fact that omnipotence and omniscience necessarily go hand in hand. If You can think like a timeless being that is perfectly aware of a single sparrow, lily and hair in the entire world, Doctor, You are one. Or, if you prefer a much older way to say it (negative theology, ahoy!), mortals cannot hope to comprehend God.

    [Dr. Lisle: You seem to have misunderstood my point, and rather severely. I never said we can think exactly like God. We are finite and He is infinite. But we can think in a way that is consistent with His nature; that is: we can be rational. We can think in a way that is self-consistent, consistent with God’s Word, and non-arbitrary. God thinks this way too, although His thoughts go infinitely beyond human experience. Again, Isaiah 55:7-9 summarizes this beautifully.]

    “As a fourth example, we can have knowledge of morality – “right” and “wrong.” God has revealed to us how we should behave according to His will. And God will hold us accountable for our actions. Hence, all people have an objective reason to behave according to the standards laid down in God’s Word. We are morally obligated to our Creator.” If You mean the line of thought that (somewhat primitively, I concede) can be boiled down to “Jesus preached understanding and died for you, so don’t be a douche, man!”, than I concur. This is quite an obligation (although that argument can be quite easily applied to a great many good people who preached and died for a good cause). But not necessarily objective (assymmetry of duties and claims makes ‘objective system of morality’ contradiction in terms, see L. Kolakowski “Culture and Fetishes” aka “Toward a Marxist Humanism”, or maybe it was “My Correct Views on Everything”, I’m afraid I can’t remember, sorry). And if You claim, Doctor, that “God will hold us accountable for our actions” somehow implies “We are morally obligated to our Creator”, then I’m afraid I simply cannot make that connection. Would You care to elaborate?

    [Dr. Lisle: Moral laws are different from physical laws. Physical laws we have no choice but to obey. (E.g. we cannot truly defy gravity no matter how much we may want to.) Moral laws are something that we should obey, but we have the power to disobey. I contend that only the Christian worldview can account for this. No other worldview can account for why we “should” behave in a particular way – a way that is the same for all people at all times – a way that does not depend on whether or not another person is watching. In the Christian worldview, what “should be” is defined as what God has prescribed in His Word (also written on our hearts – Romans 2:14-15). This is necessarily objective – the same for all people since God is the Creator and sovereign over all. It is absolute and invariant since God is beyond time. And there are consequences for our actions, regardless of whether or not another human is watching, because God sees all and rewards obedience and punishes disobedience. So we have a rational reason to obey God’s laws. Unbelievers know that they should behave in a particular way (since they too have God’s law written on their hearts) but they cannot make sense of this in their own worldview.]

    “Non-Christian worldviews would make knowledge impossible.” And quite a few of them acknowledge this. Or so I’m being told. Go on.

    “By this, I certainly do not mean that non-Christians can’t know anything. Clearly they can. But this is despite their worldview and not because of it.” Yet again. I know that the way real numbers are constructed implies that 1>0. I should know, I came up with a proof on my own before checking the one in the textbook. Pray tell, Doctor, how does it stem from my Christian worldview?

    [Dr. Lisle: Real numbers were not constructed by people. There are an infinite number of real numbers, and we don’t have time to construct an infinite number of things. In fact the so-called irrational numbers were discovered by people, somewhat to their surprise. Mathematical principles are often discovered much to the surprise of the discoverer. This is clearly not something that people have created. Laws of mathematics reflect the thinking of God. They are universal, invariant, exception-less, conceptual rules that describe the relationship between numbers. This is what Christians would expect since God is omni-present, unchanging, sovereign, and a thinking Being.]

    “My point is that if reality were the way non-Christians claim it is, then knowledge would be impossible.” And if you’re dealing with material world, it is impossible. Ask Gorgias (and his merry crew).

    [Dr. Lisle: Clearly not. If knowledge were impossible, you couldn’t post on my blog. Indeed, you know how to type, and you know how to read, and you know language. Knowledge is possible and we use it every day. But non-Christian worldview would make knowledge impossible. Therefore, non-Christian worldviews are necessarily false.]

    “For example, “I know Saturn has rings because I have observed them with my eyes through a telescope.” But this assumes that our eyes are reliable – a Christian concept. A person might say, “I know two contradictory claims cannot both be true because this violates a law of logic.” Quite right, but apart from Christianity there is no reason to believe that laws of logic are universally and invariantly reliable.” Argh. Allow me to correct this for You, Doctor. Anyone epistemologically self conscious would say “I know that Saturn seems to have rings”.

    [Dr. Lisle: First, most people are not epistemologically self-conscious. That was the point of my article. Second, people do not behave as if their perceptions of the world are merely perceptions with no correspondence to the world. E.g. people don’t say, “I perceive a tree in front of me. But there is no reason to think that there really is a tree. So I’m just going to keep walking.” No, they assume a correspondence between perception and reality. But only the Christian worldview can rationally justify that belief.]

    Qualia, being immaterial are subject to episteme, not doxa, Doctor, you cannot throw me in the bathtub full of ice and tell me that what I feel isn’t cold but heat, rather. I know what I feel. What I feel may very well be wrong because, say, I’m on PCP and the bathtub is, in fact, full of pleasantly hot water, but if I feel ice – I know that I feel ice.

    [Dr. Lisle: Actually, you couldn’t even know that you feel something apart from Christian presuppositions. When you say I feel, you have already presupposed your own existence. Now on the Christian worldview, yes, people do exist and have feelings. And God has given people a mind and the ability to think and feel. But only the Christian worldview can justify the belief (that everyone acts upon whether they verbalize it or not) that our perceptions do correspond to the real world.]

    On a semi-related note, how do You define ‘Christian concept’? A concept every Christian comes up with, sooner or later? A concept no non-Christian can come up with? A mix of both (statistical analysis FTW!)? Or a concept that can be somehow derived from ‘Christian basis’, some sort of ‘Christian core’? If the last, what is this ‘core Christianity’? And if there is such thing as ‘Christian LCD’, why didn’t all denominations agree upon it and end this petty squabling?

    [Dr. Lisle: A “Christian concept” is a concept that the Bible teaches. It is not relevant to whether a professing Christian accepts the teaching or not. The reason that not all denominations agree is because they all made up of fallible sinners. Christians are merely forgiven, not perfect. And they make mistakes in reasoning. They don’t study their Bibles as the should. Etc., etc. My point is that the blame lies with us, not the text.]

    “As a specific example, consider the most common secular worldview – that the universe is the result of a big bang, followed by billions of years of cosmic and then biological evolution.” Alas, Doctor, the most common secular worldview seems to be “money is the root of all evil, therefore grabbing as much of it as I can protects others from it and is, therefore, morally positive”. As one man put it “Christianity cannot win with capitalism the same way it won with hellenic paganism, because back then Christians could destroy temples of Zeus, and where will you today find a man willing to raise his hand against temples of Mammon?”.

    [Dr. Lisle: This really isn’t relevant to the point I was making. So, moving on…]

    “In this worldview, people are merely the inevitable unplanned result of chemistry acting over time. There is no grand scheme of things, no ultimate mind upholding the universe, and no ultimate objective meaning.” Someone conveniently forgets about theistic evolutionism.

    [Dr. Lisle: You seem to have conveniently forgot the context of my quote. I said, “consider the most common secular worldview.” I’ve dealt with theistic evolution in other articles.]

    I mean, come on, Doctor, Catholic Church seems to be on board with this idea, and if a religious institution par excellence internalizes a worldview (the part with a couple billion years and random chemistry over time, mind You, not the part with “no plan, no purpose, no Creator”!), it kind of stops being inherently secular, doesn’t it?

    [Dr. Lisle: I never claimed that theistic evolution was secular. But it is illogical. The notion that the biblical God created using the most horrific and inefficient process imaginable, by trial-and-error using billions of years of death and suffering until He eventually got things more or less the way He wanted, just doesn’t match the Scriptures, nor the omnipotence and omni-benevolence of God. Not at all. If you’re going to believe in evolution, okay. But don’t blame God for it!]

    “Can a person holding such a view ever have good reasons for his beliefs? Evolutionists do rely upon laws of logic, upon their mind and senses, and upon morality.” I am fairly certain a couple of people from the “Darwinism is inherently evil” crowd would want to have a word with You, Doctor, but I, personally, do appreciate the sentiment.

    “Why in the secular worldview should we suppose that our mind has the capacity to be rational?” A (terryfyingly) simple trick, really. We define ‘rational’ as “the way my mind usually works”. Of course when we do that in groups we can end up with somewhat unpleasant results, like twoplusgoodgroupdoublethink. Hence ‘terryfying’ part. Cheap sophistry? Of course! But point me to someone who doesn’t dabble in it… And yes a couple of people on Your side, Doctor, have been proven to do so, I can supply names and circumstances at Your pleasure.

    [Dr. Lisle: Redefining ‘rational’ as how the mind usually works will lead to absurd results. Most people find logical fallacies convincing. With such a definition logical fallacies would therefore actually be considered rational! So we can pretty well eliminate that option. In the evolutionary view, there is no reason to suppose that our mind has the capacity to be genuinely rational – to consider the various options and choose the best in a way consistent with laws of logic.]

    “But in the secular worldview, the brain is simply chemistry – and chemistry has no choice.” Ah, but materialist viewpoint is not necessarily secular! Indeed since materialism is a somewhat ill-defined concept, it can include the belief that angels do exist (Lenin… again…)!

    [Dr. Lisle: Materialism is the belief that everything that exists is material – extended in space. Since God is non-material, and so are angels, they cannot exist in a materialistic worldview. Materialism is necessarily atheistic in the sense that it disallows the possibility of a transcendent God. You could still have a “god” that is material – made up of atoms. But that really wouldn’t be God. More importantly, this dodges the question. A materialistic worldview disallows the possibility of freedom of choice and thus rationality.]

    “Chemicals always react according to prescribed laws of nature. In the secular worldview, there is no more reason to trust a human brain than there is to trust in reading tea leaves. Both are just the inevitable result of chemical reactions.” Not quite, because it’s physics rather,

    [Dr. Lisle: Actually, chemical reactions are based on physics.]

    but I do get the gist of it, Doctor. Sadly, unless You can point out to me a better explanation (a better model) of human thought, I’m going to stay true to Occam’s Razor and say that human mind (or soul, semantics, really) is an epiphenomenon of electrical currents.

    [Dr. Lisle: Actually, Occam’s Razor disallows the view that the human mind is an epiphenomenon of electrical currents. Occam’s Razor is the principle that among competing models that are able to account for the observations under consideration, the simplest is preferred. But the view that the mind is an amalgamation of electrical currents cannot account for rationality and freedom of choice. The reason is simple: Electrical currents have no freedom of choice. Adding many of them together will not change that. They continue to behave completely according to the laws of physics as predetermined from their initial conditions. Since physics and chemistry is deterministic, and since rational thought is not completely deterministic, Occam’s Razor would imply that there is some element of rational thought that is not due to physics and chemistry. People may not emotionally prefer that conclusion. But it is definitely the simplest that explains the data.]

    The biblical “breath of life” manifests itself as brainwaves. And I dare anyone to prove the contrary (i.e. give me a man that has a soul and a flat EEG, and no, fictional cyborgs will not be accepted as evidence, not even Robocop).

    [Dr. Lisle: One problem here is that you have no way of measuring the “soul” or the “breath of life” to confirm or falsify your hypothesis.]

    “Should we trust that our senses are basically reliable? Not in the secular worldview.” Depends, really. I mean, sure there were atheist solipsists, but they always were something of a fringe, really. Also, Doctor, You wouldn’t call Buddhism with it’s concept of ‘maya’ ‘secular’ worldview, would You?

    [Dr. Lisle: It doesn’t “depend.” No secular worldview has been able to justify the reliability of sensory experience. Maya is actually a Hindu concept. And, no, I would not call Hinduism secular. But Hinduism cannot account for reliable senses either. In fact they profess that the senses are not reliable. But they still look both ways before the cross the street. You see, these non-Christian worldviews just cannot make sense of human experience and reasoning.]

    “According to evolution” Theory, Doctor. Please, try not to omit this word in this context. A little personal indulgence on my part, I admit. Go on!

    [Dr. Lisle: No. Evolution is not a “theory” in the scientific sense of the word. People sometimes use the word “theory” informally to mean “something unproven,” and certainly evolution is unproven. But in science the word “theory” is something positive, something that has made testable predictions that have been confirmed by observation and evidence. Evolution doesn’t fit under this definition of “theory.”]

    “[O]ur sensory organs are merely the result of accidental mutations – those that did not decrease our survival value and were therefore not eliminated.” Alas, no. Please, Doctor, look up Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium with codominance. I’ll wait. Done already? Fine. Sorry to put You through this, but this is something of a horse of mine. You see, the first (and last!) exam I failed included this subject. Carry on.

    [Dr. Lisle: I’m sorry to say that you still haven’t understood the concept. (So at least we know why you failed your last exam!) The Hardy-Weinberg model is used to compute gene frequencies in a population based on allele frequencies. It is not at all relevant to the fact that evolution requires all genetic instructions to be ultimately the result of accidental (un-planned) mutations. Being completely unplanned, non-designed, there is no rational reason to assume that such accidents of nature would necessarily be reliable. So your comment here was really just a red-herring fallacy.]

    “Some people might suppose that our sensory organs are reliable because they have survival value. But this does not follow logically.” True to that!

    [Dr. Lisle: 🙂 Yay!]

    “Chlorophyll has survival value in plants; but this does not imply that chlorophyll reliably informs the plant about the outside world.” Alas, that does not follow logically either.

    [Dr. Lisle: Your comment is ambiguous. I was pointing out that it does not follow logically that simply because chlorophyll has survival value in plants that it must also reliably inform the plant about the outside world. Are you agreeing with me that this does not follow logically? Or are you disagreeing and claiming that my comment (about it not following logically) is itself something that does not follow logically? If the latter, this would seem to contradict the fact that you agreed with me about this in your previous comment.]

    First of all, information is such an ill-defined concept, Doctor, pretty much everything can be connected to it.

    [Dr. Lisle: I always use the same definition in order to avoid this problem. Information is an encoded symbolic message containing an expected action and intended purpose. But this isn’t necessary for my point. My point is that there is no reason to assume that photosynthesis allows a plant to have a reliable mental picture of the external world, simply because photosynthesis has survival value.]

    I seem to remember Stanislas Lem (one of the greatest minds of XX century; yes, I AM Polish, how did You guess?) half joking that even urine can be used as information medium. You see, if You are a diabetic and have access to high quantities of sugar, you can pretty much telegraph someone using the results of analysis. Low bitrate, addmitedly…

    [Dr. Lisle: Yes, almost any medium can be used to transmit information. But the medium is not information. Information is an immaterial quantity. It is often transmitted or stored on material. But information is not material.]

    OK, I admit that wasn’t very funny. But mind this. Suppose we have an Ent (You know, Doctor, from Tolkien), blinded. Somehow. Chlorophyll could become that hypothetical being’s primary sensorium! How? We simply cut out messages in some kind of cloth and cover our plant with it! Or we use morse code! Or we simply train our plant that “more photosyntesis means sun is visible!”. Also, no one in heir right mind would imply that chlorophylls primary function is to gather information about outside world. Try to find a function of human eye that is more important than seeing, and You shall have everlasting fame. Jason Lisle University has a nice ring to it, I dare say.

    [Dr. Lisle: This is the fallacy of irrelevant thesis. That is, it is not remotely relevant to the point under consideration. The point under consideration is the evolutionist claim that a trait or organ having survival value is a necessary and sufficient condition to justify the belief that the trait or organ reliably informs the organism’s mind about the external world. Giving an example of something that does (or potentially could) reliably inform an organism about the outside world, and showing that it has survival value, does not prove the evolutionist’s claim. That would be the fallacy of affirming the consequent. On the other hand, showing one counterexample – one example of something that currently has survival value and does not currently reliably inform the organism of the outside world – is sufficient to disprove the evolutionist’s claim.]

    “Should we trust in laws of logic? In a chance universe, there is no reason to expect there to be laws at all, nor laws of logic in particular.” Unless we, like some (cough, cough, Ecclesiastes 1:13!, cough), believe that humans are partly characterized by their ability to find laws and connections where there were none before.

    [Dr. Lisle: You cannot find a law or connection where none exist. You cannot discover a law, if the law doesn’t exist. Isn’t that obvious?]

    “Even if we grant their existence, the secular worldview cannot account for their properties. Given that the universe is in a continual state of change, why should laws of logic be exempt?” Because mathematics are not material and, therefore, not real, not in the same sense You are, Doctor?

    [Dr. Lisle: Laws of mathematics are real. I think you meant to say that they are non-physical. If they were not real, if they did not actually exist, then we couldn’t use them. And so your answer does not explain the universal, invariant, exception-less nature of laws of logic or laws of mathematics.]

    I hate to ask You this, but have You ever just sat down and thought deeply about the nature of Your craft? About science? Understanding? Mathematics? Knowledge? Because, forgive me, but You don’t seem that “epistemologically self-conscious” person to me.

    [Dr. Lisle: I hate to embarrass you. But I have actually written a book on these very issues. It’s called “The Ultimate Proof of Creation.” With respect, I’m going to suggest that, perhaps, you have not really consciously reflected on your own worldview, to see if it can consistently account for human reasoning and experience. You seem to have some whopping big inconsistencies: You claim to be a materialist, and yet you seem to believe in God (Who is non-material). You claim laws of mathematics aren’t real, and then you go on to talk about them as if they were. You agree that God’s mind determines truth, but then you deny that God’s mind is responsible for determining the (true) laws of logic and laws of mathematics. It seems that you’re just a walking bundle of epistemological inconsistencies.]

    “We all assume that they will be the same tomorrow, but this belief is unwarranted in the secular worldview. Why would they be the same everywhere? How can the human mind know about them? Why does truth always conform to laws of logic? The secular worldview just doesn’t have a good reason for such things. The existence and properties of laws of logic are unjustified in the secular worldview. And hence, any belief based on them is also unjustified in the secular worldview.” Ad nauseam begets ad nauseam, Doctor. Because. We. Created. Them. We. Thought. Of. Them. They will stand till the end of time itself, Doctor, and one more day!

    [Dr. Lisle: You clearly have not thought this through. If we create a car, we can later destroy it. If we created laws of logic, we might destroy them later. Or we might change them. You don’t know what people will do one thousand years from now, do you? How can you possibly know about a future you’ve never experienced? Since you claim to be a materialist, tell me, where in the physical universe can I find the laws of logic? What color are they? What do they smell like? If I find them and burn them, how could they continue to exist until the end of time? Human beings are not universal, nor eternal. If we created laws of logic, then there is absolutely no reason to think that such laws would apply everywhere in the universe, and never change with time. After all, we create civil laws (speed limits, etc.) and they DO change with time. And they are different for different cultures on Earth. If laws of logic were created by people, then they did not exist before people. So could two contradictory propositions both be true at the same time before people (since there was no law of non-contradiction)? Could Earth be orbiting the sun and also not orbiting the sun at the same time in the same way before people came along and decreed that contradictions are not true? so your view that laws of logic are created by people reduces to utter absurdity.]

    This I swear. If I’m not right, first round in Heaven on Saint Peter, second one on me.

    [Dr. Lisle: The problem is, you are not in a position to make such a promise on your own view of things. You do not know the future. You don’t know that the law governing the maximum speed limit on a particular road will be the same next decade as it is today. And, on your own authority, you don’t know that the law of non-contradiction will work tomorrow as it does today.]

    [Of course, I do know that the law of non-contradiction will exist until the end of time, and so do you, but not on our own authority. It is because laws of logic are a reflection of God’s thoughts, and God is beyond time, that it is impossible for laws of logic to change with time. And since God has revealed these facts to us, we can know that this is the case. That’s the point of my article. You seem to have missed it. I hope this helps.]

    “What about knowledge of ethics? Morality is about what should be, not what is.” Actually, I very much agree, Doctor. Truly. Not the least because of my hassliebe with Marxism… Carry on!

    “In a chance universe, who decides what should be? One person thinks that a particular behavior is commendable. But another person disagrees. Who is right? Morality can only be subjective in a secular worldview; it is relative to the individual.” Whereas in Abrahamic religions we have objective morality. And it is objective, because it’s relative to a very powerfull individual, God Himself. I’m sorry, but I fail to see any particular difference, Doctor, many in quantity, of course, but none in quality. Also subjective becomes objective? I call Buddhism on that!

    [Dr. Lisle: “Subjective” means it depends on the individual person, and so is different for different people. In contrast, “Objective” means independent of the individual person, and so it’s the same for all people. When a person comes up with opinions of how things “should be” there is no reason for it to be morally binding on others. After all, other people can come up with different systems. It’s subjective. If God were merely a very powerful individual as you’ve suggested, the situation wouldn’t change much. But God is actually the Creator of all that is. He is sovereign. And He is the Judge. All people will answer ultimately to God, and hence His rules are necessarily objective. They are the same for everyone, and binding on everyone because we all owe our existence to God and will answer to Him. Clear?]

    “And of course, this isn’t truly morality at all – merely personal preferences.” Yet again, if we define ‘moral’ as “stemming form the will of God” there is no discernible difference. And fresh-shaved Occam tells us there is none, Doctor.

    [Dr. Lisle: Are you claiming there is no morality? I would guess you don’t live that way – I hope not anyway. People are finite, and so our personal preferences are limited to our own mind. But God is infinite, omnipresent, omniscient, omnipotent, and sovereign. So His thoughts determine reality, and His preferences determine morality. In order for morality to be objective, it must stem from God. No other system can make sense of that.]

    continued…

    • zilch says:

      Nice work, gimel, and welcome to the fray. There’s some good work here on both sides, and snarkiness is almost entirely absent.

    • daveMc says:

      AMEN (so to speak) !
      Your reply is a refreshing relief from Lisle’s soporific, sophomoric sophistry
      and has the eloquence of Andrei Codrescu. Unfortunately, it is to erudite for Lisle’s ‘disciples’; but now that’s the problem, isn’t it?

      • daveMc says:

        Check out this back-room ICR holy-smoke filled meeting, in which Lisle teaches Eric Hovind the effectiveness of the presuppositional approach for appologetics.
        Effectiveness — not for at doing science, of course — but for shepherding the sheep.
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AGWszaXmrCw

        The telling observation here is that CreationToday actually put this up on their website knowing that the sheep won’t ‘get it’.

  8. Anon-e-moose says:

    “We know God is honest from the impossibility of the contrary. If God were not honest, we couldn’t know anything at all. Thus, you would not even be able to post on my blog.”

    Au contraire:

    http://www.fstdt.net/QuoteComment.aspx?QID=96723

    It is precisely because of the knowledge of the likes of Atheists Alan Turing (Digital Computers), Arthur C. Clarke (Telecommunications Satellites), Bill Gates, Steve Jobs & Linus Torvalds )OSs), and the Unitarian Universalist Sir Tim Berners-Lee, that we CAN post on your ‘blog’.

    [Dr. Lisle: Apart from God, none of the people on your list could have knowledge because there would be no justification for induction, reliability of senses, or laws of logic. The fact that Bill Gates is able to have knowledge proves that Christianity is true. Whether Gates professes Christianity or not is utterly irrelevant.]

    And because we can.

    [Dr. Lisle: You couldn’t even know that apart from the biblical worldview. (There would be no reason to trust that your senses are reliable.)]

    Therefore God is a liar. (Abraham & Isaac. QED).

    [Dr. Lisle: Romans 3:4. (Abraham and Isaac are not God.)]

    Your call, Jase.

    [Dr. Lisle: Let me know if you are able to come up with a worldview apart from Christianity that makes knowledge possible (by justifying uniformity/induction, reliability of senses, laws of logic). So far, no one has been able to do so. Hence, you can either be a consistent Christian, or you can be irrational.]

    • Skyknight says:

      I think a better way of putting this is, how was any knowledge possible in areas that had never heard of the God of the Jews and Christians (say, 2nd century B.C.E. China and Korea, or 11th century A.D. Peru)?

      [Dr. Lisle: The Bible teaches that God has made Himself known to everyone – even those who have not read the Bible. Romans 1:18-20 indicates this. Everyone has some knowledge of God, and hence we are all able to have some knowledge of other things as well. Perhaps I haven’t made the point sufficiently clear: I am not suggesting that a profession of faith in God is necessary for knowledge – only that God is necessary for knowledge. A person does not need to profess a belief in air to breathe, but he or she does need air to breathe.]

      “The law of God is written in the hearts of men” sounds more like a reference to conscience than anything further.

      [Dr. Lisle: It is indeed a reference to the conscience. And it is God’s law that is written on our conscience. Apart from God, the conscience could be nothing more than subjective feelings produced by accidental chemistry, and hence there would be no logical justification for our moral obligation to follow what we perceive to be laws.]

      Then again, I do remember hearing that van Til thought God’s existence was obvious through the very substance of reality.

      [Dr. Lisle: Yes, that’s also true. Romans 1:20]

      Only problem being that “obvious” is an innately subjective term.

      [Dr. Lisle: It can be at times. But in this case, God has “made it evident to them” (Romans 1:19) in such an inescapable way that God says there is actually “no excuse” for denying this (Romans 1:20). So it is obvious to everyone.]

      Although…you make it sound like part of the reason WHY the Christian God is necessary for knowledge is the whole “already knows the future” aspect.

      [Dr. Lisle: Correct. Apart from God’s omniscience we could never justify the universality of laws of logic, or uniformity in nature. God has promised us (in Genesis 8:22) that the basic cycles of nature will be in the future as they have been in the past. We rely upon this principle when we do science. For that matter, we couldn’t even brush our teeth without this crucial precondition. A god who is not beyond time and doesn’t know the future could never be in a position to make such a promise, and we would have no reason to trust that such a god would be right.]

      Unless I missed something, presuppositionalism looks to be specifically Calvinist–which ropes it in with the whole absolute predestination and fate quality. So there already seems to be a matter of whether a world without predestination could have any capacity of knowledge (if van Til explored that facet, anyway); I don’t see how “reliability” auto-implies “fated”. In short, what precludes a third alternative between “everything pre-determined/fixed in advance” (which makes me wonder whether even God could be said to have free will, truth be told) and “absolute amorphousness and randomness”?

      [Dr. Lisle: I appreciate the question. I don’t think there is any logical dilemma with God knowing the future without fatalistically causing the future. Of course God could both know and cause the future. But knowledge of something can be independent of causation. E.g., I know that the sun shines, but I’m not causing it to shine.]

      [My argument is that the biblical God is necessary for the justification of the preconditions of intelligibility. And I have shown how many of God’s characteristics are needed for certain types of knowledge claims to be justified. I haven’t tied this to any specific view such as Calvinism. I’m not going to get into issues of Calvinism vs. Arminianism or predestination on this site at this time. These are interesting issues, but not my focus at present.]

  9. the_ignored says:

    Dr. Lisle quoting daveMC on September 11, 2013 at 10:43 pm:

    If you had been born in Yemen, would you be preaching Islamic presuppositionalism?
    Dr. Lisle: No such thing. Nor is there atheistic presuppositionalism, or any other except Christianity. The presuppositional argument can only prove Christianity, because it works by the impossibility of the contrary, showing how non-Christian worldview would make knowledge impossible.
    Let’s just see how useless Lisle’s circular reasoning logic is:

    1) Meanwhile in Yemen:

    Dawid MC: If you had been born in America, would you be preaching Christian presuppositionalism?

    Yusuf Alisle: No such thing. Nor is there infidel presuppositionalism, or any other except Islam. The presuppositional argument can only prove Islam, because it works by the impossibility of the contrary, showing how the non-Muslim worldview would make knowledge impossible.

    [Dr. Lisle: You are very welcome to attempt to argue that Islam can justify the preconditions of intelligibility. But it won’t work. Allah does not have the characteristics necessary to justify the preconditions of intelligibility. For example, Allah cannot justify the law of non-contradiction because Allah both endorses the Gospel of Jesus (Sura 5:46) and contracts the Gospel of Jesus (Sura 4:157). It is the biblical God who alone can be the foundation for the law of non-contradiction since God does not deny Himself (2 Timothy 2:13), and all knowledge is in Him (Colossians 2:3). And is because we are made in God’s image that we are able to think in a way that is consistent with His nature. Islam also has problems with morality; Allah sometimes forgives sin, but the penalty for sin is never paid and hence there is no ultimate justice in that system.]

    2) Yes Jason, I’m sure that the Greeks where able to build complex structures completely by accident as they had no knowledge without the existence of the Christian worldview.
    Pythagorus probably just got lucky.

    [Dr. Lisle: What makes you think the Greeks had no knowledge of the biblical worldview? According to the Bible, all people have some knowledge of God (Romans 1:18-20). So you have committed the straw-man fallacy; that is, you have misrepresented my position. That the Greeks did know God (and so do you) is evidenced by the fact that they did have knowledge; they were able to use induction and laws of logic to achieve some remarkable things. But laws of logic and induction cannot be justified apart from the Christian worldview as I have repeatedly demonstrated.]

    Jason, you later accuse daveMc of just making assertions and not backing up his case. Pot, kettle, black, Jason. This circular reasoning you use? It’s just assertions.

    [Dr. Lisle: I have demonstrated (repeatedly) that only the Christian God can justify the existence and properties of laws of logic, uniformity in nature, absolute morality, basic reliability of sensory experience, etc. Have you not read any of my articles? I have even written a book on this topic called “The Ultimate Proof of Creation.” If you think there is a flaw in my reasons, then please state it. But it is dishonest to say I haven’t backed up my case, when clearly I have.]

    Assertions that can be easily used against you as in example 1, and can be easily shot down as in example 2,

    [Dr. Lisle: Here, you have committed the straw-man fallacy in claiming that I have merely asserted that the Christian worldview accounts for the preconditions of intelligibility whereas the secular worldview does not. But in fact, I have demonstrated this on multiple occasions. I have written a book on it. And I have demonstrated it more briefly on this very blog:
    http://www.jasonlisle.com/2013/09/06/are-you-epistemologically-self-conscious/
    Did you somehow miss this?]

    provided by more intellectually honest people than you from the fstdt board. Just go the the “fstdt” site and type your name in the search function there.

    [Dr. Lisle: I’m very glad to hear you use the phrase “intellectually honest” because it is only the Christian worldview that can make sense of moral truths – like “lying is wrong.” If we are just chemical accidents, then morality cannot be rationally justified. What one chemical accident does to another is morally irrelevant. You wouldn’t get angry at baking soda for reacting with vinegar, as if it had done something morally wrong. That’s just what chemicals do. In the secular worldview, people are just complex chemical accidents. And by the way, chemistry is deterministic – it has no free will. So if people are just chemistry, then they have no choice in what they do. Hence to say that it is morally wrong makes no sense. So when you use moral words like “honesty,” this shows that in your heart-of-hearts you really do know God.]

    “The impossibility of the contrary” is just a fancy way of refusing to accept that one is wrong.

    [Dr. Lisle: With respect, this shows that you haven’t understood the argument. The impossibility of the contrary means that a claim must be true because the contrary position would lead to something that is impossible. This is called a “transcendental argument.” I encourage you to read up on this a bit.]

    • the_ignored says:

      Jason
      For example, Allah cannot justify the law of non-contradiction because Allah both endorses the Gospel of Jesus (Sura 5:46) and contracts the Gospel of Jesus (Sura 4:157). It is the biblical God who alone can be the foundation for the law of non-contradiction since God does not deny Himself (2 Timothy 2:13), and all knowledge is in Him (Colossians 2:3).
      Mark 10:18
      And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God.
      So, unless Jesus is not god, there’s a problem here. Thing is, he’s proclaimed himself to BE god elsewhere.

      [Dr. Lisle: Nor does Christ deny being God here. He is asking a rhetorical question. You are not familiar with rhetorical questions?]

      Besides, what should it matter whether he contradicted himself or not…how would that effect whether the law of contradiction exists? It’s just an observation of reality.

      [Dr. Lisle: Laws of logic reflect God’s thinking. If God contradicted Himself, then there could be no basis for the law of non-contradiction.]

      Jason
      [Dr. Lisle: I have demonstrated (repeatedly) that only the Christian God can justify the existence and properties of laws of logic, uniformity in nature, absolute morality,…
      Wrong: if “absolute morality” existed, then if baby-killing was wrong, it would always be wrong regardless of whether your god commanded it or not.

      [Dr. Lisle: That’s not correct. As our Creator, God has the right to set rules for us, and He specifies the conditions under which it is permissible to take a human life – in self defense as one example. Absolute morality means that the basic underlying principles do not change with time or space or from person to person. Murder has always been wrong and will always be wrong. But that doesn’t mean that there are not circumstances, specified by God, under which it would be morally acceptable to take a life, such as in self defense. If someone is trying to murder you, God has authorized you to use lethal force to prevent it. That was always the case and will always be the case. Hence, morality is unchanging, universal, absolute, and objective. This really isn’t that hard.]

      Instead, you and Josef say that if god ordered it, then it would be immoral NOT to kill babies. That is subjective morality: based on the whim of some being…just one that you people genuflect to.

      [Dr. Lisle: What God does cannot be “subjective” because it applies to all people. God is omni-present and sovereign over the entire universe. Thus, what He says is morality will apply to all people, everywhere, at all times. This is not subjective. I appreciate your comment about “the whim of some being” and I think that would be a good argument against morality being dependent on any changeable creature or creatures. But God is unchanging (Malachi 3:6) and indeed is beyond time (2 Peter 3:8). Hence, He has no whims. This is one reason why only God can be responsible for absolute objective morality.]

      … basic reliability of sensory experience, etc.
      What about optical illusions? How do you square those with your assumption?

      [Dr. Lisle: It “squares” perfectly with my worldview. We are finite and fallible creatures, and hence our perceptions of the world will at times be inaccurate. But God gave us five senses and the mental ability to deduce when one sensory observation does not comport with another. Our senses are basically reliable. But in the evolutionary worldview, there is no reason to think that our senses would be reliable even one percent of the time.]

      Have you not read any of my articles? I have even written a book on this topic called “The Ultimate Proof of Creation.” If you think there is a flaw in my reasons, then please state it. But it is dishonest to say I haven’t backed up my case, when clearly I have.]
      No, Jason. You have not. You just make assertions, that’s it.

      [Dr. Lisle: Ironically, you are the one just making the assertion. And your assertion is easily falsified by reading the book I wrote on this topic. For that matter, I provided the reasons to you directly in our last exchange. So it is really very dishonest for you to make this claim at this point. Of course, from an evolutionary perspective, there is no rational reason for you to be honest anyway since there is no basis for morality.]

      You have yet to show that the laws of logic, our senses etc. can only make sense within a xian worldview. You just keep asserting it, over and over!

      [Dr. Lisle: Read some of my articles on this, or my book – especially chapter three – where I explain this in detail. I’m not going to rewrite my book on this blog just because you are too intellectually lazy to look it up.]

      Ex) in Anon-e-moose’s comment on Sept 25 8:39PM you say: …because there would be no justification for induction, reliability of senses, or laws of logic.
      You have not shown that any of that is true.

      [Dr. Lisle: Already done, many, many times.]

      Some people like Dawson Bethrick have shown that logic does not presuppose your god:
      Just google Does Logic Presuppose the Christian God? by Dawson Bethrick

      [Dr. Lisle: It won’t work. None of these alternatives are able to account for the universal, invariant, exception-less nature of laws of logic, nor how the human mind is able to know them, nor why they are never violated in the physical universe. Only the Christian worldview can as I have repeatedly demonstrated.]

      And your book? I’ve already linked to a site that is in the process of refuting it:
      ultimateproof dom wordpress dot com slash about slash

      [Dr. Lisle: Why don’t you read it yourself and actually think about it? Why do you let other people do all your “thinking” for you?]

      If you truly have backed up your case, with things (other than just plain assertions like “the impossiblity of the contrary”, etc.) then make a post and LIST them.

      [Dr. Lisle: I briefly explained this in my previous response to you. Did you read it? Was there something you did not understand? Please ask if you did not understand, and I will attempt to clarify.]

      Lisle
      [Dr. Lisle: With respect, this shows that you haven’t understood the argument. The impossibility of the contrary means that a claim must be true because the contrary position would lead to something that is impossible. This is called a “transcendental argument.”
      That’s not the evidence, Lisle: That’s the assertion you keep repeating

      [Dr. Lisle: You may not emotionally like the evidence that I have presented (since you cannot refute it). But that doesn’t make it rational for you to dismiss it as “not evidence.” No other worldview can make it possible to justify the properties of laws of logic, uniformity in nature, objective morality, reliability of senses, and so on. That is powerful evidence indeed! I think it is irrefutable. But if you disagree, all you have to do is provide a worldview that can rationally justify these things.]

      All you did…what re-state the same assertion. Non-christians have gotten along just fine in the millenia before your faith came along and asserted that IT was the only justification for knowledge, senses, etc.

      [Dr. Lisle: That’s like the critic of air saying, “You think I need air to breathe? That’s absurd! I don’t even believe in air, and I can breathe just fine!” The critic of air need not profess a belief in air to breathe, but he nonetheless needs air to breathe. Likewise, non-Christians need not profess a belief in God to “get along” in the world. Nonetheless, the Christian worldview would have to be true in order for them to get along in the world. Remember, God has made Himself known to ALL people (Romans 1:18-20), and hence all people are able to have knowledge. Non-Christians are able to know things because the Christian worldview is true.]

      I encourage you to read up on this a bit.]
      Right back at you.

      [Dr. Lisle: That’s a tu quoque fallacy. I have read secular attempts to justify things like uniformity in nature. It may interest you to know that the secular philosopher David Hume was reduced to utter skepticism in his failed attempt to justify uniformity within his worldview.]

      1) The Incinerating Presuppositionalism blog, post titled TAG: Precariously Straddling the Horns of a Nasty Dilemma

      [Dr. Lisle: I have read many articles by people who think they can refute the presuppositional argument. I have yet to read one that was logically sound. Have you?]

      2) Same blog, post called My Suppressed Comment Regarding TAG on Choosing Hats

      [Dr. Lisle: Do you ever think for yourself?]

      3) the Stephen Law blog, any post with the tag (irony unintended): sinner ministries’ “proof of the existence of god”

      [Dr. Lisle: Again, do you just believe whatever you read on a website? Do you ever try to actually think about things logically? It would be very helpful to you.]

      I keep being reminded that you are not driven by evidence, but rather by what you have already chosen to believe:

      [Dr. Lisle: Wow! There’s an ironic comment! I give you powerful evidence for the Christian worldview, showing how any conceivable alternative would make knowledge impossible. You choose to dismiss this evidence because you don’t emotionally like it. Now it is your God-given right to ignore the evidence and believe what you want. But don’t project that on me.]

      From the csharp dot com site with the heading titled: Jason Lisle’s Visit to Tucson
      My final question as I was leaving was to ask him what scientific evidence would make him change his mind, to which he replied that none would. I replied that that is dogma, which is OK in religion, but not science, therefore he is not doing science if he cannot accept any contrary evidence, even in principle, to which he tried to redefine what science is.

      [Dr. Lisle: I remember this little exchange, and the dishonest way that Sharp has reported it. His question was about Scriptural interpretation. Namely, Sharp was asking me what scientific evidence would make me change my interpretation of Scripture. But the correct interpretation of Scripture (or any document) is that which gets at the author’s intention – and this has nothing to do with modern views of science. If an ancient document clearly claimed that the moon is made of cheese, the scientific observation that the moon is made of rock would not be a good reason to re-interpret the document. It might be a good reason to reject what the document says, but not to re-interpret it. This is one reason why you need to be more careful in just believing what you read on websites. There are some good websites of course, but I encourage you to be discerning and to start to actually think rather than just accepting what evolutionists teach.]

      • the_ignored says:

        Lisle
        [Dr. Lisle: Nor does Christ deny being God here. He is asking a rhetorical question. You are not familiar with rhetorical questions?]
        Yes, too bad he didn’t stop at the actual question though. His answer to it made it worse.

        [Dr. Lisle: Laws of logic reflect God’s thinking.
        How do you know that? Did you “presuppose” it? How can such a claim be tested?

        If God contradicted Himself, then there could be no basis for the law of non-contradiction.]
        Why? Just because one person contradicts oneself doesn’t mean that the law is invalid…it just means that the individual didn’t follow the law. It isn’t like it’s a physical thing that has to be “created” per se, is it?

        Anyway: god never contradicts himself?
        1) Then is he the “author of confusion” or not?
        Yes:
        Genesis 11:7-9 and 1 Corinthians 1:27

        No:
        1 Corinthians 14:33

        2) Does he lie (or allow/make other to lie)?
        No and in fact it’s not in his nature:
        Titus 1:2 and Hebrews 6:18

        Yes. He not only uses people who lie, but sometimes tells them or compels them to.
        1 Kings 22:23, 2 Thessalonians 2:11 and 1 Samuel 16:2

        3) Does he want everyone to go to heaven or not?
        Yes
        2 Peter 3:9

        No
        Romans 9:18, Proverbs 16:4

        Too bad those who try to excuse things like god’s lying (ex. Tekton’s article Why did God use lying spirits?) ignore the fact that, according to your worldview, lying is not even supposed to be in god’s nature, otherwise how could we trust in our senses and all that!

        So, now that I’ve used the bible as a source, are you going to accuse me of letting the bible “do my thinking for me”? 😉

        Lisle
        [Dr. Lisle: That’s not correct. As our Creator, God has the right to set rules for us, …
        Just as parents have the right to set up rules for their kids eh? And of course you’d also agree that god has the right to kill us, yes? But all of a sudden, you’d say that parents would NOT have the right to kill their kids eh?

        …and He specifies the conditions under which it is permissible to take a human life – in self defense as one example. Absolute morality means that the basic underlying principles do not change with time or space or from person to person. Murder has always been wrong and will always be wrong. But that doesn’t mean that there are not circumstances, specified by God, under which it would be morally acceptable to take a life, such as in self defense.
        Too bad that those weren’t the circumstances from the OT I was thinking about…

        If someone is trying to murder you, God has authorized you to use lethal force to prevent it.
        Ah, so those babies and pregnant women were about to kill the ancient Hebrews then? Not the the men and adults?? Wow. Those must have been some babies!

        That was always the case and will always be the case. Hence, morality is unchanging, universal, absolute, and objective. This really isn’t that hard.]
        Maybe you should have used a better example than “self defense” if you’re trying to defend the killing of babies in the OT…if “absolute morality” isn’t such a hard concept one would think you’d have been able to come up with a scenario that actually would apply.

        What you describe is not “absolute morality” but situational ethics which is no different than what secularists or anyone else uses!

        Lisle
        [Dr. Lisle: It “squares” perfectly with my worldview. We are finite and fallible creatures, and hence our perceptions of the world will at times be inaccurate. But God gave us five senses and the mental ability to deduce when one sensory observation does not comport with another. Our senses are basically reliable. But in the evolutionary worldview, there is no reason to think that our senses would be reliable even one percent of the time.]
        Idiotic strawman. Does survival of those with more accurate senses and intelligence mean nothing? If you weren’t so “intellectually lazy” you could go to a biologist and get straightened out. But, of course, you won’t accept anything that “an evolutionist would teach” eh?

        Lisle
        [Dr. Lisle: Read some of my articles on this, or my book – especially chapter three – where I explain this in detail. I’m not going to rewrite my book on this blog just because you are too intellectually lazy to look it up.]
        Ironic and funny: considering you won’t bother looking at any of the sources I gave, and instead just declaring, without showing that you have, that you have refuted them.

        What do you say when I bring up other references?
        [Dr. Lisle: Do you ever think for yourself?]
        Coming from someone who had to agree to the ICR and/or AIG statement of faith before one could work there, that’s hypocritical:
        AIG’s
        By definition, no apparent, perceived or claimed evidence in any field, including history and chronology, can be valid if it contradicts the scriptural record. Of primary importance is the fact that evidence is always subject to interpretation by fallible people who do not possess all information.
        If one if fallible, that is all the more reason to GO BY THE EVIDENCE, instead of dismissing things outright!

        ICR’s tenets
        The creation record is factual, historical, and perspicuous; thus all theories of origins or development that involve evolution in any form are false.

        Here’s some more examples of your intellectual laziness from Jason Lisle’s Visit to Tucson again:
        1) Knowing that he has a Ph.D. in solar physics, I asked him that if the Sun were only about 6000 years old, how could he explain the fact that the abundance of helium in the center is consistent with about 4.5 billion years of nuclear burning. Many creationists duck these types of arguments by stating that they are full of assumptions, but I knew that he knew that that argument would not work, so he basically said that God created the Sun to appear that way.

        2) …I asked him about various orbital resonances in the Solar System, and in particular the Kirkwood gaps in the asteroid belt, showing irrefutably that the Solar System is much more than 6000 years old. The Kirkwood gaps can be directly tested by placing test particles in a computational model of the Solar System, and just calculating the equations of motions, there are no assumptions other than the orbit of Jupiter has not changed, and the law of gravity has not changed. I pointed out to him that after a few hundred thousand or million years of simulated time on a computer, asteroids in certain orbits are ejected, which confirms the Kirkwood gaps, to which he replied that God created the Solar System to appear that way.

        In you next reply to me you ask:
        What question do you believe that I answered with “God made it that way?”
        Answers are right above.

        [Dr. Lisle: I have read many articles by people who think they can refute the presuppositional argument. I have yet to read one that was logically sound. Have you?]
        I have yet to read of any presuppositional argument that was not outright circular reasoning in the first place. Have you?

        [Dr. Lisle: Wow! There’s an ironic comment!
        No it isn’t. I gave in this current reply, the oaths that you ICR and AIG people must take as a condition of employment where you promise to never change your mind about creation, no matter what.

        I give you powerful evidence for the Christian worldview, showing how any conceivable alternative would make knowledge impossible.
        Again: Bald assertions are not proof. You would have to go through every “conceivable alternative” and refute it in order for that claim of yours to be true.

        You only tried for the Muslim view since that was the example I gave.

        You assume that it’s only your worldview that makes sense of logic, senses, etc. when in reality people have been getting along just fine thousands of years before that middle eastern cult got to them.

        Lisle
        You choose to dismiss this evidence because you don’t emotionally like it.
        Evidence?

        Lisle
        Now it is your God-given right to ignore the evidence and believe what you want. But don’t project that on me.]
        I project nothing. I gave sites that explain in way more detail than I could, just how presuppositional thought and the assertion that xianity is the basis for logic is complete baloney. You didn’t even bother to look at them but instead used ridicule; accusing me of letting others do my “thinking for me”.

        Lisle
        [Dr. Lisle: I remember this little exchange, and the dishonest way that Sharp has reported it. His question was about Scriptural interpretation. Namely, Sharp was asking me what scientific evidence would make me change my interpretation of Scripture.
        Uh, that’s what I thought he was talking about in the first place.

        But the correct interpretation of Scripture (or any document) is that which gets at the author’s intention – and this has nothing to do with modern views of science.
        Uh, how do you know what the bible author’s intention was?

        If an ancient document clearly claimed that the moon is made of cheese, the scientific observation that the moon is made of rock would not be a good reason to re-interpret the document. It might be a good reason to reject what the document says, but not to re-interpret it. This is one reason why you need to be more careful in just believing what you read on websites.
        Yeah…the Answers in Genesis one is kind of dodgy…

        There are some good websites of course, but I encourage you to be discerning and to start to actually think rather than just accepting what evolutionists teach.]
        What makes you think”just accept” what they say? Because I find it more believable then what you say?

        I spent years going over this kind of stuff. You may want to read about Libby Ann in her Love, Joy, Feminism blog in her blog entry titled Rebutting Ken Ham’s Response where she details how Ken Ham and “Dr.” Purdom made the same kind of mistake you just did.

    • the_ignored says:

      Lisle
      [Dr. Lisle: I’m very glad to hear you use the phrase “intellectually honest” because it is only the Christian worldview that can make sense of moral truths – like “lying is wrong.”
      I am so glad you said that. Why?

      [Dr. Lisle: When you rely upon principles as if they are morally binding on people, it shows that you really do know God. So it proves my point. Speaking of honesty….]

      From that csharp website’s article Jason Lisle’s Visit to Tucson:

      My coup de grace was to produce some papers he published and reviewed when he was a research student in Colorado. At http://www.boulder.swri.edu/~joel/seminar98.html under the entries for February 18 and April 22, he reviewed a couple of papers on luminous blue variables, where timescales of millions of years are mentioned. I asked him how he could square that with his belief in a 6000 year old universe. He looked rather surprised when I produced these papers, and could only say that he had to keep his beliefs under wraps when he was studying for his Ph.D.

      [Dr. Lisle: That’s not quite how the conversation went. In fact, luminous blue stars are powerful evidence against the secular time frame because the rate at which they expend energy would cause them to be totally depleted in less than a few million years. Thus, the few million years is an upper limit – not the true age. So, luminous blue stars are compatible with the biblical timescale, but not compatible with the secular timescale. It was THIS issue that Sharp asked why I didn’t bring this up in grad school. He was under the misguided impression that secular schools allow open and honest discussion of creation – which of course most don’t. And it was for this reason that I didn’t really bring up the topic in school.]

      [That’s one of the problems with relying on websites and not bothering to check if the information is accurate. Often you end up perpetuating something that is false or distorted.]

      A colleague of mine at work had contacted his old thesis advisor in Colorado, and his advisor was most surprised to hear of Jason Lisle’s beliefs, because he was a good student. Note that it is a matter with his creationist beliefs that is an issue, not his Christian beliefs.

      With answers like “god made it that way” that you gave in your talks at Tucson, it’s no wonder you felt you had to lay low.

      [Dr. Lisle: ???? Did you attend my talks in Tucson? Or were you simply relying upon the account of a critic? What question do you believe that I answered with “God made it that way?” Of course, God did create the universe in a particular configuration, just as people make cars with a particular configuration. Do you think there is something fallacious about that? If so, what?]

      That’s Blue Ridge Christian Academy 4th grade school thinking there!

      [Dr. Lisle: That’s a question-begging epithet fallacy there!]

      Still…what’s that you people say about absolute morality again? Just like when Samuael had to lie to king saul about the reason for his going to David’s family (he was to anoint david as kind, but god told him to say that he was just going to make a sacrifice or something)…

      [Dr. Lisle: What lie? Samuel did sacrifice the heifer. (1 Samuel 16:3-5).]

      your “absolute morality” seems to break down when it serves your interests!

      [Dr. Lisle: How about actually reading the text next time, instead of just repeating what you’ve read on an evolutionist blog.]

      What was the excuse given by Micah (I think?) when this was brought up before? Even though god doesn’t lie and he himself hates liars, that doesn’t preclude him from telling others to lie.

      [Dr. Lisle: With respect, your ideas on morality seem very naive and inconsistent. First, it makes no sense on your worldview to have any sort of moral laws in the first place since you have rejected the biblical God who provides the rational justification for morality. Why would what one chemical deposit does to another be “wrong?” Second, you distort God’s laws as if God failed to specify the circumstances under which certain laws apply. God has built into His laws the situations under which a given law does or does not apply. (E.g., in general it is wrong to kill a person, but in self-defense is a morally acceptable exception.) This really isn’t that difficult. Even civil laws often have built in clauses about when and for whom the apply. A police officer is not breaking the law when he exceeds the speed limit to catch a criminal.]

      [Do you really not understand that God has detailed in His Word the circumstances under which a given law does or does not apply? But then below, you hypocritically criticize others for allegedly not understanding that certain laws may have built-in exception clauses.]

      On the other hand, when it’s someone else’s life on the line then well…you have to follow god’s laws then eh?

      [Dr. Lisle: Eleven of the twelve apostles were martyred because they refused to lie even to save their own life.]

      Ex) Answers in Genesis’s Bodie Hodge in his article Feedback: A Righteous Lie? on November 13, 2009 he says that it would be immoral to lie to the nazi about whether you were hiding a Jew!

      [Dr. Lisle: Ah, so now you seem to think that some moral principles may have an exception when they are brought into conflict with another moral principle. (Tell the truth vs. protect human life.) This is inconsistent with what you wrote previously. Make up your mind.]

      Jason
      If we are just chemical accidents, then morality cannot be rationally justified. What one chemical accident does to another is morally irrelevant. You wouldn’t get angry at baking soda for reacting with vinegar, as if it had done something morally wrong.
      So a big scientist like you has just confused the biochemistry and neurology of human beings with vinegar and baking soda??

      [Dr. Lisle: Both are just chemistry in your view. So how can you say that one chemical accident is morally obligated while another is not? How do you decide which chemical reactions have morality?]

      That’s just what chemicals do. In the secular worldview, people are just complex chemical accidents.
      No, that’s your strawman view of the secular view.

      [Dr. Lisle: In what way do you think I have misrepresented your position? Do you deny that people are (A) complex, (B) made of chemicals, or (C) accidents? Of course the alternative to (C) is that people are designed – which is my position. But that would make you a creationist, and that is unthinkable! So, presumably, you think that people are not complex – in which case a class on human anatomy and physiology is in order. Or you think that people are not made of chemicals, in which case a class on chemistry and cell biology is in order. Bottom line, I think I have represented your view very fairly. You just don’t like the implications of your own position.]

      The secular view has us being evolved creatures, among the traits that we have developed is the neurology

      [Dr. Lisle: Sure. In the secular view, chemical reactions have led to other chemical reactions. Your point?]

      And by the way, chemistry is deterministic – it has no free will. So if people are just chemistry, then they have no choice in what they do.
      Learn some neurology…at least enough to realize that when a person’s brain is damaged that their emotional and cognitive abilities are hampered.

      [Dr. Lisle: I know that. But it is irrelevant to the point I made. If people are chemistry, then they have no choice. Neurology is just complex chemistry in your view. Hence, it is impossible for people to have any choice in your view. Correct? If people have no choice, then how can they be morally obligated in any way? Does it make sense to hold a person responsible for things over which he or she has no choice?]

      If our bodies made up of “just chemicals” isn’t what makes us what we are but rather some “spiritual essence” then you have to explain how damage to the body messes up the mind like that.

      [Dr. Lisle: Easy: Neurology is part of our thinking process. My question for you is: how can people make any genuine choices if we are merely complex chemistry? And if people are just complex chemistry, how can they be morally obligated to do anything? Bacteria are complex chemistry. Should we put them in prison when they do something wrong? You see, the secular worldview just cannot make sense of these sorts of issues.]

      Hence to say that it is morally wrong makes no sense.
      You don’t know anything of the evolution of social animals, do you?

      [Dr. Lisle: You don’t know what the fallacy of a question-begging epithet is, do you? Let’s talk about social animals: lions. They have a sophisticated social network. Sometimes, a lion kills another lion. Now, is this morally wrong? Should we put the lion in prison? If people are merely evolved animals, then how can they have genuine morality?]

      So when you use moral words like “honesty,” this shows that in your heart-of-hearts you really do know God.]
      So what are we to make of people like you who use deception to get through school (aren’t you xians supposed to be brave?) or deception to get people to agree with you?

      [Dr. Lisle: As far as I know, I never deliberately deceived anyone in school. I choose not to volunteer information at times, but there is nothing wrong with that. But hypothetically, if I lied, falsified data, cheated, and so on to get through school or to persuade people, and if I were successful, why on your worldview would that be wrong? I’m glad you think lying is wrong. But that is a Christian principle. It makes no sense in an evolutionary worldview. You continue to rely upon Christian principles, all the while being critical of Christianity. Inconsistent.]

      From the same website as before:

      [Dr. Lisle: Ah good. More highly reliable information. /sarcasm]

      He conveniently omitted passages which appear to contradict modern science if taken literally, and even those he quoted could have a number of interpretations. This is a good example of Henry Ford theology1. Creationists always like to quote Isa: 40:22 “He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth, and its people are like grasshoppers….” to point out that the earth is a globe, but the Hebrew word here for circle is “hug”. If Isaiah really wanted to emphasize the earth is a globe rather than perhaps a circular disk, he could have used the Hebrew word for ball, which is “dur”, as in Isa. 22:18 “He will roll you up tightly like a ball and throw you into a large country…”
      Sorry: “conveniently omitting” stuff to make your point? Dishonesty.

      [Dr. Lisle: Sharp conveniently omitted that I also cited Job 26:10 which cannot mean a flat circle but is definitely referring to a sphere. Yes, I agree, this was very dishonest of him. Of course, Sharp is an evolutionist. So there is no reason for him to be honest according to his own worldview.]

      • the_ignored says:

        Another example from that same site Jason Lisle’s Visit to Tucson

        If I remember correctly, the generally accepted scientific age of the Earth and the Universe were mentioned, namely 4.5 and 13.7 billion years respectively, then he went on to explain why these were all wrong, and the whole universe is only about 6000 years, citing a number of problems, many of which do not exist or are seriously misrepresented. Here are some of them which I noted down, followed by my replies:…
        He goes on to describe them.

        Problems that are “seriously misrepresented” or “do not exist”?

        [Dr. Lisle: Do you have any evidence to support Sharp’s claims? Or are you accepting them without thought?]

        Yeah..and it’s your worldview that provides the only justification for morality and truth?

        [Dr. Lisle: It continues to amaze me how irrational and absurd evolutionary thinking can me. If, hypothetically, I were dishonest, this would have no logical bearing whatsoever on whether Christianity provides the only justification for morality. People sometimes do not act consistently with their worldview. In fact, when evolutionists are moral, they are acting inconsistently with their worldview since morality makes no sense at all if we are just chemical accidents.]

      • the_ignored says:

        Jason
        And by the way, chemistry is deterministic – it has no free will. So if people are just chemistry, then they have no choice in what they do.

        I should have mentioned the story of Pharoah then eh?
        God hardened the heart of that Pharaoh, thus disarming him from the possibility of seeing better and avoid the killing of the Egyptian first-borns.

        So: god hardened pharoah’s heart just to make a point about his power and as a result, all those kids died…died because Pharoah didn’t release the hebrews, but he didn’t release the hebrews because god hardened his heart in the first place!

        [Dr. Lisle: The text also says that Pharaoh hardened his own heart (Exodus 8:32). (This is one reason why it would be good for you to actually read the text for yourself and think about it, rather than letting other people think for you and just repeating their arguments.) So God helped Pharaoh do what Pharaoh wanted to do.]

        [But let’s put that aside for the moment and consider a (non-biblical) scenario in which God alone hardened Pharaoh’s heart. Suppose that God in this instance chose to override Pharaoh’s freedom of choice. Would that prove that people in general have no freedom of choice? Of course not. You have committed the hasty generalization fallacy. If God wants to override the freedom of choice that He gave people in the first place, He can do that. (I’m not suggesting that He does, only that He can.) But how does that in any way suggest that people don’t have freedom of choice at other times? So your argument just doesn’t make any sense. In the Christian worldview, people have some degree of freedom of choice. In the secular worldview, what one chemical accident does to another is predetermined by the laws of physics.]

        So…it’s without god that we don’t have free will? That is an example of “absolute morality”? That is an example of logic from your god?

        [Dr. Lisle: It is not clear to me why you think this somehow disproves the biblical basis for morality, or free will for that matter. Neither follows logically from your example.]

        Thanks, Photosynthesis from the wearesmrt board for that point about Pharoah.

        • the_ignored says:

          Lisle
          [Dr. Lisle: The text also says that Pharaoh hardened his own heart (Exodus 8:32). (This is one reason why it would be good for you to actually read the text for yourself and think about it, rather than letting other people think for you and just repeating their arguments.) So God helped Pharaoh do what Pharaoh wanted to do.]
          Ah, you think that Photosynthesis gave me the idea of Pharoah and I didn’t read what the bible said?

          [Dr. Lisle: Apparently. You seemed to think that God hardened Pharaoh’s heart contrary to Pharaoh’s will. But the text contradicts this. The hardening of Pharaoh’s heart was consistent with his own free will and also with God’s choice. You may not emotionally like it. But there is no logical problem.]

          Let’s look at more of your holy book, shall we?
          God did it
          Exodus 4:21
          Exodus 7:3-13
          Exodus 10:1-27 God even admits the motive for his doing it here: He wants to show the signs of what he can do.

          And again here:
          Exodus 14:4-17 God admits to hardening Pharoah’s heart so that god can “honour himself”!

          Pharoah did it
          1 Samuel 6:6
          Exodus 9:34

          There is nothing about “god helping pharoah do what pharoah wanted to do” or some such nonsense. That’s just made up to explain away the contradiction.

          [Dr. Lisle: What contradiction? Do you know what a contradiction is? A contradiction is “A and not A at the same time in the same sense.” Example: “A car is red and not red at the same time in the same way.” or “God hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and He did not harden Pharaoh’s heart at the same time in the same way.” But of course we don’t read that in Scripture. Now it is not a contradiction to say “A car is red and also fast at the same time” or “Tim got his Mom a birthday present and John did too” or “God hardened Pharaoh’s heart and Pharaoh hardened his own heart.” Where is the contradiction?]

          Isn’t there a penalty described in the bible for those who add to it??

          [Dr. Lisle: Isn’t that what you’ve done in claiming a contradiction in Scripture where none exists? You seem to have forgotten your original point. I had pointed out that the secular worldview would make free will impossible since the mind would be merely deterministic chemistry. But the Christian worldview allows people to make genuine choices. Now for some reason, you thought that the account with Pharaoh would refute my claim that people have some degree of genuine freedom of choice. In doing so, you made two errors:

          First, in order for your comment to be even remotely relevant to my claim about free will, you must have assumed that God forced Pharaoh to do something contrary to what Pharaoh wanted to do – contrary to his will. But there is no hint of that in the text. And in fact the text expressly states the opposite. God hardened Pharaoh’s heart but Pharaoh hardened his own heart – so it is obviously what he (Pharaoh) wanted and chose to do.

          Second, your entire point is a red herring fallacy, because even if God were to take away Pharaoh’s free will, or suspend it or override it, this would not in anyway prove that in general all people lack a free will. It would be like trying to prove that no one can walk by showing several examples of people in wheelchairs. It’s a hasty generalization fallacy.

          So my original point remains. The Christian worldview can account for our ability to make genuine choices, and thus rationality which involves choosing the best option. Your worldview cannot make sense of this. Frankly, you seem to be trying to convince me or others of your position by your comments – but if your worldview is true you and I have no choice but to believe what we believe. It was all determined by the chemistry in our brains, which is merely the outworking of billions of years of mindless, non-rational matter. And so your worldview cannot even make sense of this very exchange.]

          As for this:
          [But let’s put that aside for the moment and consider a (non-biblical) scenario in which God alone hardened Pharaoh’s heart. Suppose that God in this instance chose to override Pharaoh’s freedom of choice. Would that prove that people in general have no freedom of choice? Of course not. You have committed the hasty generalization fallacy. If God wants to override the freedom of choice that He gave people in the first place, He can do that. (I’m not suggesting that He does, only that He can.) But how does that in any way suggest that people don’t have freedom of choice at other times? So your argument just doesn’t make any sense. In the Christian worldview, people have some degree of freedom of choice. In the secular worldview, what one chemical accident does to another is predetermined by the laws of physics.]
          How do you know that you have free will if god can override it anytime? How do you know that you are not being forced by god to type what you type?

          If free will can be overriden, how can one tell?

          [Dr. Lisle: That’s pretty easy to answer. If I suddenly found myself typing that which is contrary to what I wanted to type, that would be a pretty clear indication wouldn’t it? To a certain extent, can’t you act on your own choices? Do you go to a restaurant wanting to order a cheeseburger, but every time you try you accidentally order chicken instead, even though you hate chicken? For the most part, God works through our free choices, rather than overriding them.]

          [I do wholeheartedly acknowledge that God can override our free will if He so chooses. But in the Christian worldview, we do have some degree of genuine freedom. But this would be impossible in the secular worldview. Yet secularists nonetheless behave as if they (and others) do have freedom of choice. This shows that they are not epistemologically self-conscious. It shows that in their heart-of-hearts, they really do know God.]

      • Micah says:

        ‘What was the excuse given by Micah (I think?) when this was brought up before? Even though god doesn’t lie and he himself hates liars, that doesn’t preclude him from telling others to lie.’

        I am fairly certain i never said anything like that. Could have been someone else though.

      • the_ignored says:

        Lisle
        [Dr. Lisle: When you rely upon principles as if they are morally binding on people, it shows that you really do know God. So it proves my point. Speaking of honesty….]
        No. Lisle…as was shown in my reply September 26, 2013 at 7:56 pm there are many examples of god being dishonest. You just excuse them as you do for example the lie that Samuel told Saul about what he was doing:
        [Dr. Lisle: What lie? Samuel did sacrifice the heifer. (1 Samuel 16:3-5).]
        Just left out the part of the true purpose of the visit: to anoint david as the next king.

        No wonder the court has as their oath “to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth” when they say that “so help you god” thing. The originators must have known that you xian people were ok with telling half-truths or lies of omission!

        Lisle
        Dr. Lisle: That’s not quite how the conversation went. In fact, luminous blue stars are powerful evidence against the secular time frame because the rate at which they expend energy would cause them to be totally depleted in less than a few million years. Thus, the few million years is an upper limit – not the true age.
        So? It’s not like anyone is saying that those stars are the same age as the universe itself, is it? Is there any evidence that they could be no older than the 6000 years that the bible and the AIG statement of faith requires? I believe I discussed that before, though it seems my remark was in moderation at the time…no matter.

        Screenshots!
        tinyurl dot com slash mh256r9

        Lisle
        So, luminous blue stars are compatible with the biblical timescale, but not compatible with the secular timescale. It was THIS issue that Sharp asked why I didn’t bring this up in grad school. He was under the misguided impression that secular schools allow open and honest discussion of creation – which of course most don’t.
        Uh huh….do any of them require students and profs to agree to any “statement of faith” before one can join as the creationist institutions do? I hope you’re not trying to imply that your groups have “open and honest” discussion of creation-evolution issues”, because they don’t. Anything that goes against the bible is dismissed out of hand.

        Lisle
        And it was for this reason that I didn’t really bring up the topic in school.]
        So you are a coward then? Too bad. You could have either learned something or helped change the paradigm.

        Lisle
        [Dr. Lisle: Eleven of the twelve apostles were martyred because they refused to lie even to save their own life.]
        Citations?

        [Dr. Lisle: ???? Did you attend my talks in Tucson? Or were you simply relying upon the account of a critic? What question do you believe that I answered with “God made it that way?” Of course, God did create the universe in a particular configuration, just as people make cars with a particular configuration. Do you think there is something fallacious about that? If so, what?]
        Cop-out answers that dismiss implications of physical evidence.

        Examples mentioned in a previous reply:
        1)the amount of helium in the sun’s center being consistent with about 4.5 billion years of nuclear burning

        2)the “kirkwood gaps” (gaps in the orbital periods in the asteroid belt corresponding to simple ratios with Jupiter’s orbital period, and are caused by the gravitational effects of that planet) in the asteroid belt.

        To both problems you said that god made them that way.

        Lisle
        [Dr. Lisle: Do you have any evidence to support Sharp’s claims? Or are you accepting them without thought?]
        The fact that you dodged those questions by saying that god made them that way shows that he, unlike you, had the evidence to back up his claims.

        To accept something without though would imply that I took an oath or something before being allowed to do research, wouldn’t it?

        Lisle
        [Dr. Lisle: Ah, so now you seem to think that some moral principles may have an exception when they are brought into conflict with another moral principle. (Tell the truth vs. protect human life.) This is inconsistent with what you wrote previously. Make up your mind.]
        Allowing someone to die is worse than lying to save their life. Priorities. What’s the contradiction?

        Are you saying that, like AIG’s Bodie Hodge, that you would not lie to the Nazi about your hiding a Jew? You would let the jewish person die?

        Lisle
        [Dr. Lisle: How about actually reading the text next time, instead of just repeating what you’ve read on an evolutionist blog.]
        Huh?…neither the Bodie Hodge article nor the story of Samuel lying to Saul are from an “evolutionist blog”! By the way, CSharp is a CHRISTIAN evolutionist. He worships the same god you do!

        Lisle
        [Dr. Lisle: With respect, your ideas on morality seem very naive and inconsistent. First, it makes no sense on your worldview to have any sort of moral laws in the first place since you have rejected the biblical God who provides the rational justification for morality.
        Huh? You have yet to prove that it’s your god who provides the “rational justification for morality”. Why can’t non-believers have reasons to be moral? You do realize you’re committing the fallacy of consequences of belief again, right?

        Why would what one chemical deposit does to another be “wrong?”
        And again…the strawman. “Chemical deposit”? Humans and animals are more than just chemicals. They have formed organs with which we both think and feel. The processes involved are slightly different than just say, vinegar and baking soda (your previous example).

        Why is this so hard for you to understand?

        Second, you distort God’s laws as if God failed to specify the circumstances under which certain laws apply. God has built into His laws the situations under which a given law does or does not apply. (E.g., in general it is wrong to kill a person, but in self-defense is a morally acceptable exception.)
        This again? So, when god had the Isrealites kill babies in the OT it was self-defense??

        This really isn’t that difficult. Even civil laws often have built in clauses about when and for whom the apply. A police officer is not breaking the law when he exceeds the speed limit to catch a criminal.]
        If this is not difficult, then explain why you’re having such a rough time with it.

        Lisle

        [Do you really not understand that God has detailed in His Word the circumstances under which a given law does or does not apply? But then below, you hypocritically criticize others for allegedly not understanding that certain laws may have built-in exception clauses.]

        At this point, it seems that it’s you who doesn’t understand this.

        [Dr. Lisle: In what way do you think I have misrepresented your position? Do you deny that people are (A) complex,…
        Nope. We are. It’s that complexity that makes all the difference. It is a far cry from the distorted examples you use. Like bacteria later on? Yeesh. At least it’s closer than baking soda and vinegar.

        …(B) made of chemicals, or (C) accidents? Of course the alternative to (C) is that people are designed – which is my position.
        How does that change the fact that: either way that we are just made up of chemicals? What difference does it make how it got done…either way, it’s the physical attributes of our bodies that determine our ability to think. Remember what I had said about aging and brain damage before.

        But that would make you a creationist, and that is unthinkable!
        Without any evidence, it is.

        That must be why AIG and ICR need prospective employees to sign onto a statement of faith.
        Oops. You were trying to pretend that it is YOUR side who is open to the evidence?

        So, presumably, you think that people are not complex…
        You presume wrong. For someone who likes to lecture others on how to read, you have nerve.

        …- in which case a class on human anatomy and physiology is in order. Or you think that people are not made of chemicals, in which case a class on chemistry and cell biology is in order. Bottom line, I think I have represented your view very fairly. You just don’t like the implications of your own position.]
        I just don’t like how you distort it.

        Maybe these other resources will help with the problems you keep bringing up about how chemicals can have morality or how can chemicals have choice problems you have.

        From the nature dot com site: Evolutionary instability of zero-determinant strategies demonstrates that winning is not everything or the book The Evolution of Morality By Richard Joyce to explain how just “chemicals” can come up with morality.

        I mean, really?
        Bacteria are complex chemistry. Should we put them in prison when they do something wrong? You see, the secular worldview just cannot make sense of these sorts of issues.]
        Really? Bacteria aren’t able to either think, feel pain, have emotions, etc. Is this that hard for you? Really?

        Lisle
        [Dr. Lisle: As far as I know, I never deliberately deceived anyone in school. I choose not to volunteer information at times, but there is nothing wrong with that.
        Well, that’s at least a small step up from outright lying by omission that you advocated with Samuel but: every time you spoke about the universe as if it was old in front of your fellow students and professors, you were lying, not just “withholding information”!

        But hypothetically, if I lied, falsified data, cheated, and so on to get through school or to persuade people, and if I were successful, why on your worldview would that be wrong?
        Presenting inaccurate information especially when falsifying scientific data can lead to actual harm for others? I’m glad you are religious, because it seems that it’s your god belief that is the only thing keeping you from becoming an outright dishonest criminal.

        Of course, that reflects more on you than on the secularists you’re trying to demonize.

        Lisle
        I’m glad you think lying is wrong. But that is a Christian principle. It makes no sense in an evolutionary worldview.
        If our ancestors all lied to each other about everything we likely wouldn’t be here now.

        You continue to rely upon Christian principles, all the while being critical of Christianity. Inconsistent.]
        And again…that old saw about how honesty is a xian principle. And again you have yet to show it.

        Especially since it seems that you have no problem telling lies of omission!

        You do realize that other societies also value honesty right?

        Lisle
        [Dr. Lisle: Sharp conveniently omitted that I also cited Job 26:10 which cannot mean a flat circle but is definitely referring to a sphere.
        That’s just before talking about the “pillars of heaven”, right? Only that is supposed to be metaphorical, I suppose…Sorry, your assertion and your accusation don’t fly. I could refer you to a xian site: Institute for Biblical & Scientific Studies article Do the Bible and Science Agree? for more relevant talk about this.

        Lisle, lying about who I said was being dishonest:
        Yes, I agree, this was very dishonest of him. Of course, Sharp is an evolutionist. So there is no reason for him to be honest according to his own worldview.]
        Oh boy.
        Here is a part of his worldview that you conveniently omitted (it’s on his site, after all!)

        Chris Sharp
        We should celebrate the brains God gave us and use them to understand the universe, rather than throwing them away and falling into the pit of creationist ignorance. Christianity is about a relationship with God through Jesus, it is not a cheap and quick cop-out used to explain the physical nature of the universe. Not only do creationists sell God short, they have hijacked Christianity by implying that they are the only “correct” Christians.

        So…he “conveniently omits” something in your point of view, and that’s dishonest. You conveniently omitted what your true opinions of astronomy in university were, and that’s ok?

        Let’s not forget the lie of omission of Samuel in the OT that you endorsed: His leaving unsaid the fact that he was going to anoint david as king as opposed to just preparing a sacrifice.

  10. Sam says:

    Did the concept of mathematics exist before humans could conceptualize them?

  11. Tony says:

    Dr. Lisle,

    Even if you ‘believe’ in the bible, how do you know that all the things you remember aren’t part of your imagination? How do you know that your experiences aren’t part of a consistent illusion? Perhaps the illusion is that God and creation are true.

    [Dr. Lisle: In the Christian worldview, God is not the author of confusion (1 Corinthians 14:33) and therefore will not construct a mind that produces a consistent illusion. God has directly hardwired some knowledge into us, including the knowledge that our senses are basically reliable, because He knew we would need this. In the Christian worldview, God can certainly give us direct knowledge. Later, when we read His Word, we find the objective justification for the reliability of our senses. So if Christianity is true, we can have knowledge. If Christianity is not true, we couldn’t know anything at all.]

  12. zilch says:

    This is my reply to Virgil, Steve, Micah, and Milton, from the previous page, so it will be more legible.

    First off: I’m glad to hear no one here believes evolution cannot be true if it leads to bad stuff, like Hitler. Some fundamentalists do. Likewise, as Virgil also pointed out here, I would be illogical to not believe in God if the only reason were that I didn’t like what He did- that doesn’t prove He doesn’t exist. Whatever else is the case, it doesn’t seem likely that either God’s or evolution’s existence depends upon pleasing me or anyone else. I’m glad we’re all on the same page here.

    The only reason for me to point out what I think is bad behavior on the part of God is that it doesn’t seem to fit with most theists’ claim that God is Good. But all that means is that my idea of good- say, that it’s not good to order soldiers to kill children- is not the same as God’s idea of good.

    Virgil: I must admit I’ve never eaten at Figlmüller’s. But it sounds good to me. Just drop me a line when you’re going to be in town. I have it on good authority that I’m actually pretty nice in person, despite being a hellbound atheist.

    You list several Scriptural injunctions which you say were part of God’s “unfolding plan” and are thus not to be obeyed today, and conclude

    Reading one economy’s marching orders into another has caused much theological confusion over the centuries.

    I’ll agree with you there. Three things- one: as I’m sure you’re aware, there is not a great deal of unity within Christianity even today about which “marching orders” are still in force, and which are not. That’s not surprising, because the Bible is anything but clear about it. My personal opinion- and while I’ve read the Bible closely, with concordances, I’m no scholar- is that the authors themselves were not too clear on it either. But that’s for you Christians to settle amongst yourselves- I don’t have a dog in that fight. I’m just saying that it’s natural to quarrel about something you believe to be the absolute truth when it’s full of ambiguities.

    Two: Christians often claim that morality is absolute. You yourself said, in the previous comment:

    If something is wrong, it wasn’t ‘right’ prior to societal-evolution. Things don’t cease to be ‘right’ because of a conditioned response by society. It did not become wrong to kidnap Africans after the 13th amendment was adopted into the U.S. Constitution, nor did it become wrong when enough of American society evolved or decided it was wrong.

    But according to your apology for slavery as being part of “God’s plan” of “progressive revelation”, that’s exactly what you are saying: that slavery was morally right (under the conditions defined by Scripture) for a certain people in a certain time. Or was it always wrong, and God just let it slip? Was it just too much to expect for the Israelites to give up their slaves? You can’t have it both ways.

    Third problem: still, I have no answer for why you should be against chattel slavery, based on the Bible. As I’ve said, there’s not one word against it, so how do you know it’s wrong?

    You say:

    Now, for those who are really bothered by God’s activity long ago with slavery, what should bother them even more is God’s killing of every human being on the face of the planet, save eight, during the worldwide flood.

    Actually, slavery bothers me even more, because it’s still an issue: there are still slaves. As far as I can see, the only problem with the Flood is that it casts doubt on the veracity of the Bible, because it obviously didn’t happen. But that’s not my problem.

    You say:

    Just because God commanded Israel to cleanse the promised land by exterminating the Canaanites does not mean, for example, some Americans should have used that as justification for the extermination of Native Americans. God has not called believers in this age to engage in that kind of activity.

    Can you prove that God did not call for the extermination of the Native Americans? I’m sure there were Amalekites who doubted that God called upon Israel to exterminate them and their children. How is that any different?

    – How can one prove evolution hasn’t stopped? In the evolutionist’s view, man comes from primordial slime. Today, we do not observe this. We observe the replication of life after its own kind. In fact, the evolutionist cannot provide any observable evidence, from the past or in the present, to show life changing from anything outside of its own kind.

    You can prove evolution hasn’t stopped because it’s observable today, in the lab and the field. We don’t observe man appearing from primordial slime today for several reasons, the simplest being the same reason we don’t observe mountains appearing or disappearing today: it happens too slowly. What you call “kinds”, which most creationists say are more or less comparable to families, are the tips of branches that have long since evolved apart. A new family starts as a very small change, which you would not consider to be a change of “kind”.

    But many small changes over long periods of time make big changes, and there’s lots of evidence for that having happened. I’m sure you’ve been pointed to the appropriate sites before, but if you want, I can give you some urls. One favorite example: the gradual transition from reptiles to mammals (I suppose they are different “kinds”, right?) is so well documented in the fossil record that it is not possible to draw a reasonable line between them. Either mammals evolved from reptiles, or God (or maybe Satan?) was very busy setting “snares to trip the proud”.

    I said:

    “Evolution in some organisms has changed to favor the survival of larger and larger groups.”

    You replied:

    – A very large and unprovable assumption.

    Again, there’s lots of evidence for it. Just look at which insects are the most successful, for instance: the ants, with their huge societies. Or humans, for that matter. We stopped being tiger food and started taking over the Earth, for good and ill, when we started forming larger and larger societies, with their greater technological and military strength.

    Steve- thanks for jumping in. Again, I’m glad you don’t subscribe to the notion “evolution is not nice, therefore it’s false”.

    Micah- thanks to you too. But you say:

    At least not here on this blog, one of the main claims here has always been that evolution is false because it fails to provide any rational basis for the things necessary for science […]

    I must admit, I simply don’t understand what you mean here. Evolution is a field of study; why should it be required to provide a “rational basis for the things necessary for science”?

    Milton- you say:

    It is not a rational argument to say that since Hitler attempted to use evolution for evil purposes, that evolution is therefore evil.

    So far so good.

    But this does beg the question of how the evolutionists’ world view can account for ultimate morality and account for ultimate standards of right and wrong.

    I don’t know anyone, including “evolutionists” (whatever they are), who claims that evolution can account for “ultimate morality” or “ultimate standards of right and wrong”. Can you give me some examples?

    Why is what Hitler did to ostensibly help the survival of what he viewed as the fittest gene pool, wrong from the evolutionist’s perspective?

    Depends on which “evolutionist” you ask, probably. Some would quote the Bible (yes, there are Christians who believe in evolution), some would refer to humanistic values, such as love or empathy (which are of course common Christian values too), and still others would cheer Hitler on, as many Christians did as well.

    Again: no one expects survival of the fittest to be nice or to provide all we need in the way of moral instruction. That’s where other, more highly evolved systems come in: religion, culture, reason.

    cheers from autumny Vienna, zilch

    • Steve says:

      I did not see all the slavery talk but I would revisit the Bible for that. I’m pretty sure it was not a command from God to have slaves. The Bible is a history book. Just because there were slaves doesn’t mean they were condoned by God.

      As far as I can see, the only problem with the Flood is that it casts doubt on the veracity of the Bible, because it obviously didn’t happen. But that’s not my problem.

      How is it obvious that it didn’t happen? I can arbitrarily say that it is obvious that it DID happen. I do have good reasons why however. The billions of dead things buried in rock layers laid down by water all over the earth is one fact I’d point out. There are more but I’d like to hear why it’s obvious to you that there was not a worldwide flood.

      What you call “kinds”, which most creationists say are more or less comparable to families, are the tips of branches that have long since evolved apart. A new family starts as a very small change, which you would not consider to be a change of “kind”.

      Because there is not proof of that happening. That is simply the story we’ve been told in schools.

      One favorite example: the gradual transition from reptiles to mammals (I suppose they are different “kinds”, right?) is so well documented in the fossil record that it is not possible to draw a reasonable line between them.

      It is a story that has been forced on the fossil “record”. The fossils prove that an animal died by being buried quickly. It does not prove that one fossil gave rise to another fossil.

      Either mammals evolved from reptiles, or God (or maybe Satan?) was very busy setting “snares to trip the proud”.

      Again, this assumes that the event took place. Either a robot killed my mom or the mailman did it and framed the robot. Well… my mom is alive. Neither accusation is true. 😛
      This is along the lines of the fallacy of the complex question.

      I’m curious what your example of ants with huge societies proves.

      I don’t know anyone, including “evolutionists” (whatever they are), who claims that evolution can account for “ultimate morality” or “ultimate standards of right and wrong”. Can you give me some examples?

      I know I’m answering for some who you are addressing but I think your question was the point the person was trying to make. There aren’t examples of evolutionists who can account for ultimate morality.

      …and I’m getting jealous of this lunch requests. 😛

      • zilch says:

        Sure, Steve, you’re invited to lunch too. Just drop me a line and let me know when. I think I’ve already mentioned that I’m in the SF Bay Area most summers.

        About slavery: yes, read the Bible again. There are rules regulating slavery, but not one word against it. That fits my definition of “condoning” a practice.

        About evolution and the Flood: sorry, I’ve spent many hours over the past ten years trying to convince theists that the Flood didn’t happen, and that evolution did happen, and I’m giving it up. All you need to do is really look at the evidence. If you still disagree, then there’s nothing I can do about it. Just keep your views out of public school science classes, and that’s okay with me.

        cheers from overcast Vienna, zilch

        • Steve says:

          I think there was more to learn about slavery in the Bible from both points of view. I found these articles (and there are more that I didn’t read yet) But they both indicate that slavery back then was different than in recent times. Slavery was a social status where they sold themselves into slavery because they couldn’t afford to live on their own.

          http://www.godandscience.org/apologetics/slavery_bible.html

          http://www.gotquestions.org/Bible-slavery.html

          Your response about giving up doesn’t refute any points I made.
          You end with a statement about keeping our views out of public school science classes. Evolution (molecules to man) can not be proved by the scientific method so that shouldn’t be in science classes, right?
          I’ll give you a more direct one. Do you believe we have fish gills in the womb? That’s still being taught in science books and it was proven wrong many years ago. Take it out of the science books.
          Perhaps another. The coccyx. It is referred to as the tail bone because of an erroneous belief in evolution. It is considered as a vestigial (leftover and useless) part of the body. The coccyx is actually an important connection point for tendons and muscles. Take that faulty vestigial information out of the science classes!

          • zilch says:

            Steve- as has been pointed out many places, including on this very thread (please read the whole thing), there are different kinds of slavery in the Bible, depending on whether the slave was Hebrew or from a foreign tribe. Hebrew slaves were something like manumitted servants, but foreign slaves were owned for life (unless you injured them) and their children were your slaves too. That’s what’s called chattel slavery, and there’s no way you can make it nice, and the Bible condones it.

            I didn’t learn that humans have gill slits in the womb- did you study with Haeckel? As far as I know, that hasn’t been in science books for a long time.

            And about vestigial organs: whether or not the coccyx counts depends on how you define “vestigial”. The idea that a “vestigial” organ is a remnant of an older structure that had a different purpose, and that has no current purpose, is another oldie. That the human coccyx is an important connection point for tendons and muscles is not debated, and I doubt you’ll find any science book that claims such. But that’s not surprising: the tail is also an important connection point for tendons and muscles, after all. What might reasonably be called “vestigial” in your narrow sense are the tails occasionally found in human babies, which (strangely enough) always proceed from the tailbone.

            How do you explain human tails? Or birds with teeth? Or snakes with legs? On evolution, no problem.

            • Steve says:

              Can you please direct me to where the Bible describes chattel slavery and condones it? I thought we were talking about the rules for slavery which include Exodus 21:2 If thou buy an Hebrew servant, six years he shall serve: and in the seventh he shall go out free for nothing.

              I’m not sure what you define as a long time but people have still learned this false science regarding gill slits and I’ve heard of science books that still had it after the year 2000.

              Are you saying that the coccyx did have another purpose? What purpose?… and how do you know?

              Human tails? Are you referring to the 23 cases of congenital defects recorded since 1884? or the tail that is prominent during the period of about four weeks of human embryogenesis? I haven’t studied these thoroughly but I don’t see why it should make us assume we used to have tails.

              I don’t have a problem with birds with teeth. I’ve seen that used as an evolutionists excuse as to why the archaeopteryx shouldn’t be labeled as a bird.

              Snakes with legs? That’s a new one on me. The information I found says they don’t but “according to historians and researchers, they used to have legs.”

              • zilch says:

                Steve: Leviticus 25:44-46.

                Gill slits: can you give me the titles of some of these books? I’ll gladly complain to the publishers.

                Human tails: both. Why do human embryos have tails, on Christianity?

                Birds with teeth: why are birds occasionally born with teeth on Christianity? And archaeopteryx didn’t just have teeth; it had many other reptilian features, such as a shallow breastbone. Why did God create so many animals that look just as you would expect transitional animals to look?

                Snake legs: not only do many larger snakes still have bits of legs, but sometimes snakes are born with atavistic legs. Check out this: 29+ Evidences for Macroevolution

                • Steve says:

                  Steve: Leviticus 25:44-46.

                  Read all of that chapter. In KJV specifically, it mentions servants in some verses and bondsmen in others. Why? Bondsmen had a bond they owed. A debt. Their type of slavery was to pay off a debt. There are lots of discussions that can be found quite quickly.

                  Gill slits: can you give me the titles of some of these books? I’ll gladly complain to the publishers.

                  I heard of these in various video clips I’ve seen. I’m not interested in finding that detail among the many hundreds of clips I’ve watched in recent years. I’m glad you agree that the gill slits theory was faulty science. We can move on.

                  Human tails: both. Why do human embryos have tails, on Christianity?

                  Both? The 23 cases of congenital defects that have been recorded were simply that, defects. (In your link you provided, there might be as many as 100) We all have various defects. Crooked teeth, crooked hair, etc. We live in a sin-cursed world and our perfect creation has diminished and is continuing to diminish. I would argue that in the beginning, humans were much “better” physically and mentally and over the millenia, DNA defects and mutations continue to diminish our quality resulting in visible defects such as what I’ve described.

                  Birds with teeth: why are birds occasionally born with teeth on Christianity? And archaeopteryx didn’t just have teeth; it had many other reptilian features, such as a shallow breastbone. Why did God create so many animals that look just as you would expect transitional animals to look?

                  What occurrences of birds occasionally being born with teeth are you referring to? I don’t have a problem with it. Why would it be a problem “in Christianity”?
                  What you consider to “look transitional” simply looks similar. There is not a problem with God using the same building blocks to create all things. That would explain similarities in DNA.

                  Snake legs: not only do many larger snakes still have bits of legs, but sometimes snakes are born with atavistic legs. Check out this: 29+ Evidences for Macroevolution

                  So if a snake did used to have legs, it is now losing a function. That’s a loss of information in the DNA which is the opposite of evolution.

                • Bart says:

                  To briefly elaborate:

                  Gill slits:

                  These are actually skin folds (similar to a double chin) and having nothing to do with “gills”.

                  Chicken with teeth:

                  This is a loss of feature. You cannot use devolution to prove evolution.

                  Snakes with legs:

                  Again, this is a loss of feature.

                  Human tails:

                  The “tail” is actually just the vertebrae because it developed early. Can you provide just one case when someone has ever been born with this tail? I think not.

                  • zilch says:

                    I apologize, folks, but I’m not going to debate evolution here. That’s been done by people with more education than I have- I did minor in Paleontology at UC Berkeley a long time ago, but I’m no biologist- and if you want to see life through Bible-colored glasses, there’s nothing I can do about it. I do wonder, however, if any of you get any of your information about evolution from other sources than AiG and their ilk. I do read both sides- I hope you do too.

                    cheers from cool Vienna, zilch

                    • Josef says:

                      Zilch,

                      I can’t speak about your experience with creationists. However, in my experience in the creation/evolution debates is that the creationists generally know more about evolution than the evolutionists know about creation.

                      This is largely due to the fact that most creationists go to secular institutions for their education.

                      But take myself for example, I was raised in an unbelieving household, and went through public school and got my education in chemistry at a secular university. Unfortunately, 99% of the “evidence” my professors used against creation were straw-men. E.g. I remember once my biology 102 professor said Genesis is trash because we can see the different varieties of cows… in other words, he set up a straw-man argument that creationists believe in the fixity of species.

                      Also on these boards, DaveMC made the claim that he has studied the creationist model off and on for 2 years. He also then claimed that Dr. Lisle supports the light in-transit model for the starlight distance, which was false, Dr. Lisle does not and in fact Dr. Lisle speaks against that. Also, Dave then made the claim that the flood would be impossible because it would have to cover Mt. Everest. However, I can’t even find ONE creationist ministry that teaches this. In fact, if you just search “Mt. Everest” on any major creationist site, you’ll find articles that explain how Mt. Everest would be formed DURING the flood, not that the flood had to cover it. To top it off, some of these articles are nearly 20 years old!

                      So what’s my point of this? My point being that unfortunately, my typical experience with evolutionists are a lot like encounters with my biology professor or DaveMC.

  13. Rebekah says:

    Hello Dr. Lisle,

    Just writing to say our family attended the Your Origins Matter Conference at Calvary Chapel last weekend, and we really enjoyed it! We’re a family of 9, and we drove up from San Diego to attend the conference. We also invited some relatives, and promoted the conference online through email and blogging. It was a treat to be able to listen to so many gifted ICR researchers in person. We praise the Lord for the work He does through ICR, and we pray for this wonderful ministry.

    We were barely able to buy a copy of your book “Discerning Truth” before everything sold out. 🙂 It’s a great resource! We hope to hear you speaking again, maybe next time in San Diego?

    [Dr. Lisle: Thank you Rebekah.]

  14. Jacob Howard says:

    Hi Dr. Lisle,

    Once again, great article. You really hit the nail on the head by pointing out that you can’t have logic without God. Good job and keep it up!

    In Christ Jesus alone,

    Jacob Howard

    http://www.uslds.org

  15. daveMc says:

    (…continued from thinned reply area high above)
    If Noah’s Flood had raised sea-level to the top of Chomolungma (Everest), Noah’s family and all the animals would have frozen at that altitude”. I have heard this fallacy in 2 different anti-creationist videos, and each time I replied that if the (imaginary) extra water had raised sea level, it would have raised the atmosphere as well, leaving sea-level pressure about the same — this in spite of agreeing with their conclusions.
    Anyone who knows me well would howl at the idea that I would believe something just because someone told me.
    I agree with almost everything I have heard and read from Richard Dawkins (because it explains what I have been figuring out since decades before I ever heard of him) ; yet I disagree with his general focus on religion instead of on dogmatic fundamentalism overall, be it social, political or religious. Much as I agree with most of what Aron Ra says, I find too many errors in his presentations to recommend him to others. On the other hand, I find Potholer54, Thunderf00t, Daniel Dennet, Jerry Coin to be very convincing. I don’t believe them just because I want to but because their logic and presentation is very convincing and comports with knowledge I have gained.

    It seems your obsession with finding logical fallacies often leads you to jump to conclusions. Moreover, it is amazing how you can construe my comment about sharing my perspective with others to be an appeal to self-authority. I never claimed to be any authority; I was just pointing out I that my ideas are not mere whims.
    In fact, it is religious fundamentalists who fallaciously appeal to authority — the authority of the anonymous guys who wrote the ‘scriptures’ (which don’t even claim to be the word OF God written BY God).

    Look, this is not a scientific journal and I am not a scientist. I am not presenting any thesis for peer review.
    I simply congratulated Joyce on her germane question (and I do concede the thread evolved into an informal non-structured debate). We non-PhDs depend on those who are PhDs to help us draw our conclusions. So it is quite valid to note that not even 0.1% of astrophysics PhDs take YECism seriously. So I basically just congratulated Joice on here relevant question.
    Then your ‘disciples’ used my comment to practice their new fallacy-hunting semantic shell game on me.

    Also, an ad hominem comment is only a logical fallacy when it claims to be (part of) a proof. Your fallacy hunting obsession really reminds me of J. Edgar’s communist phobia (and that [my being reminded] is a fact, not any argument).

    As for extensive rebuttals to your presuppositionalist ‘shell game’, I recommend anyone reading this to check out any of the 1-star reviews at amazon

    http://www.amazon.com/The-Ultimate-Proof-Creation-ebook/product-reviews/B002A9JOTM/ref=cm_cr_pr_hist_1?ie=UTF8&filterBy=addOneStar&showViewpoints=0&sortBy=bySubmissionDateDescending

    Thanks for responding; I have concluded that you are definitely not wacko

    • Steve says:

      I’ve been away for a couple weeks. The conversations have been interesting. “Fallacy-hunting” isn’t exactly how I would describe what’s happening but are you suggesting that it’s ok to argue or debate fallaciously(or illogically)? You’ve consistently been referencing a total number of scientists or astrophysicists in your responses. For instance, you reference “not even 0.1% of astrophysics PhDs take YECism seriously”. There is a problem with that statement. Back when the popular idea of a flat earth was around, it could be easily said that “most experts do not take the idea of a round earth seriously”. Most experts, and most people in general, turned out to be wrong.

      So from that point, just because the majority of scientists do not agree with YEC, does not make it false.

      It is interesting to see your comments on Noah’s ark and I’d be interested to have seen that entire discussion. I take it that the bottom line is that although you rebutted the notion of the animals being “frozen at that altitude”, you still have a problem with the notion of a world wide flood. Am I correct in that assumption?

      • daveMc says:

        Correct — multiple problems. I could write 1000s of words on it if I had time.
        I can recommend many books ( e.g. Jerry Coin’s Why Evolution is True) and videos; here is a good start:

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_sD_7rxYoZY

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A8SizmM-_5M

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=McgGP32fvwU

        And those are just a few of the more entertaining videos that deal specifically with “The Flood”.
        I can give you hundreds of more references to help debunk the pseudo-science of creationism in general.
        This is classic: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x2xyrel-2vI
        And Eugenie Scott’s Why Teaching Creationism is a Bad Idea is a good book.

        ALSO
        You claim there was a time when “… it could be easily said that ‘most experts do not take the idea of a round earth seriously’ ”.
        When would that be?
        What scientist (natural philosopher) in history ever claimed that the Earth was flat?
        Do you really know what you are talking about? Do you even know who Pythagoras or Eratosthenes were?

        I infer you might be suggesting that Lisle is an earnest maverick, unjustly scorned by “evil secular scientists” and are thinking about making an analogy with the continental drift theory

        At first, geologists did not accept Alfred Wegener’s continental drift theory. BUT they DID take it seriously, and now it has been proven.
        Dr Lisle’s ASC idea, on the other hand, is not taken seriously; it is just an obfuscation of the long rejected 19th century Omphalos hypothesis. ( Google it )

        Thank you for a very thoughtful response and especially for not trying to practice Dr Jason’s presuppositional shell game on me (as others have done).

    • Josef says:

      If Noah’s Flood had raised sea-level to the top of Chomolungma (Everest), Noah’s family and all the animals would have frozen at that altitude”. I have heard this fallacy in 2 different anti-creationist videos, and each time I replied that if the (imaginary) extra water had raised sea level, it would have raised the atmosphere as well, leaving sea-level pressure about the same — this in spite of agreeing with their conclusions.

      This shows extreme ignorance of the creationist’s flood model and has resulted in a straw-man. Everest was formed during the flood, not the water had to be raised above Everest as it stands now.

      Anyone who knows me well would howl at the idea that I would believe something just because someone told me.

      I hope that is true, but based on how you’ve represented yourself here, what else are we to conclude when your main argument against Dr. Lisle (as evidenced by reading your debates with him) are appeals to majority/authority?

      As for “fallacy hunting,” showing the weaknesses in arguments is a central tenant of debate.

      • daveMc says:

        >This shows extreme ignorance of the creationist’s flood model and has resulted in a straw-man. Everest was formed during the flood, not the water had to be raised above Everest as it st now.

        THE creationist’s flood model? WHICH creationist’s flood model? I’ve been researching creationism on & off for 2 years, and this it the first time I’ve heard this particular (sub)model.
        So, yes, I AM ignorant of this esoteric sub-hypothesis, though not extremely ignorant of creationism in general.
        Anyway, thank you for bringing it to my attention. However, googling the idea did not bring up any evidence for it — only this page http://www.kjvbible.org/geysers.html , which pretty well debunks it. The focus on the aforementioned model comes in at the 6th paragraph, but I suspect that you might have trouble following the argument without a basic understanding of tectonic and volcanic geology.

        If you have any actual evidence, please let me know. Indeed, I would even be interested to know of any bible references to such tectonic/volcanic activity DURING “The Flood”.

        Also, I am not clear about your supposed timeline. If Chomolungma et al rose to their present heights DURING the flood, and the waters of the Earth covered everything DURING the flood, what difference would that make? Wouldn’t you have to argue that it all those mountains rose AFTER the FLOOD? In either case, that would be what is apparently tens of millions of years worth of geologic activity withing the last 5000 — an extraordinary claim requiring extraordinary evidence, to quote Saint Carl ( Sagan 😉 ).

        Even, in the extremely unlikely event that Noah’s Flood did all that, you still have all that messy business of sedimentary rock formation to explain, not to mention distant starlight,
        fossil evidence, radio-metric dating, embryology etc etc etc.

        Any way I see creation presented, I have to conclude that a supernatural God would just have to have done it with MAGIC in such a way that the universe just APPEARS to be billions of years old. I concede that it is POSSIBLE that such a deceptive god did that. But I find natural explanations to be far more probable — more probable by overwhelmingly many orders of magnitude. As I see it, you really are fighting a battle which has already been lost .

        Be well !

        • Aaron says:

          DaveMc,
          The “fountains of the great deep” being broken up may suggest tectonic activity.
          The Flood did cover the whole earth, but not the whole earth for the whole Flood year. It has been estimated that the longest possible amount of time the whole earth would have been covered was 278 days. That is the generous estimate, but the more assumed estimate is that the tops of the mountains were seen around day 224. So mountains could be formed during the Flood and rise out of the water during the Flood.
          I don’t know what you Googled, but many of your questions/suggestions could be answered if you researched “catastrophic plate tectonics”. AiG and ICR are great sites for articles explaining and defending the topic. These two organizations also extensively cover your non-geology related objections above.
          I can’t make any definite claims about how much you know about creation, but it seems to me that “on and off” for you means very rarely. I only began to seriously keep up with creation science about 3 years ago, and I found answers to your above objections pretty quickly.

        • daveMc says:

          >Aaron: The “fountains of the great deep” being broken up may suggest tectonic activity.

          “MAY SUGGEST”? If there had been more than ten-million years worth of geological activity in less than a year, I would think that whoever wrote Genesis would have done more than just SUGGEST it. Is that your best shot?

          I am not an expert on the religious pseudo-sciences of creationism, but I know and understand orders of magnitude more about science than almost any creationist I have encountered in person or online. Enough to recognize the major fallacies of creationism.

          AiG and ICR are not scientific institutes, but religious MINISTRIES. For one thing, they deny the infallibility of Darwin’s Origin of Species and Descent of Man — I am sure you would agree. So they are not credible sources.

          But thanks for your attempt to inform me — especially to make me aware of the “fountains of the great deep” concept.

          • Steve says:

            I see two major assumptions in your last post.

            If there had been more than ten-million years worth of geological activity in less than a year, I would think that whoever wrote Genesis would have done more than just SUGGEST it.

            You’re assuming there is ten-million years worth of geological activity.

            For one thing, they deny the infallibility of Darwin’s Origin of Species and Descent of Man — I am sure you would agree. So they are not credible sources.

            This is the No True Scotsman Fallacy. “If you don’t believe Darwin’s Origin of Species and Descent of Man is infallible, then you are wrong.”

          • daveMc says:

            1. If the Darwin’s books were not true, logic would not be meaningful. 2. Logic is meaningful. 3. Therefore, Darwin’s books are true.

            [Dr. Lisle: The first premise is false; so the argument is unsound. Laws of logic are meaningful – universal, invariant, exception-less precisely because they stem from the mind of God who is omni-present, unchanging, and sovereign. No other worldview can account for them.]

          • daveMc says:

            THANK YOU for exposing your very own fallacy:

            [Dr. Lisle: There is no fallacy. The argument is valid. The straw-man version you produced had a false premise making it unsound.]

            1. If the Bible were not true, logic would not be meaningful. 2. Logic is meaningful. 3. Therefore, the Bible is true.
            — Dr. Jason Lisle, AiG–U.S.January 8, 2010
            http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/2010/01/08/feedback-not-sound-logic

            [Dr. Lisle: Since the argument is valid, in order to argue that it is unsound you will have to argue that one of the premises is false. Can you?]

            IT’S LIKE:
            1. If the Moon were NOT made of green cheese, logic would NOT be meaningful. 2. Logic IS meaningful. 3. Therefore, the Moon IS made of green cheese.

            [Dr. Lisle: Since the biblical God can justify the existence and properties of laws of logic (thereby making them meaningful) as I have demonstrated in my book “Ultimate Proof” and also on this very blog, apart from any facts about the composition of the moon, your first premise is refuted. Therefore your argument is unsound.]

            I am eager to see your pretzel-mental-digitation response

            [Dr. Lisle: That’s a question-begging epithet fallacy. All you have to do to refute my argument is show that the first premise is false by coming up with some other worldview that can justify the existence and properties of laws of logic. Can you?]

            • daveMc says:

              >Dr Lisle: Therefore your argument is unsound.

              IT CERTAINLY IS UNSOUND. But it is not MY logic.
              All I did was take YOUR argument and change the word “Bible” to “Darwin’s books”

              [Dr. Lisle: Then it isn’t the same argument, is it?]

              [Changing one word can transform a sound argument into an unsound one.
              Example: (1) All dogs are mammals (2) all mammals have hair (3) Therefore all dogs have hair.
              change: (1) All fish are mammals (2) all mammals have hair (3) Therefore all fish have hair.

              The first argument is sound. The second one is not. Only one word was changed. Now, it would be absurd to argue that since the second argument is unsound that the first one must also be unsound. And yet, this is what you have argued. You may want to read up on the difference between “sound” and “valid.” Any introductory textbook on logic would be very helpful to you.]

              Then you refuted it (your logic) by YOURSELF, and in so doing exposed the cornerstone of Van Tillian Presupposionalism.

              [Dr. Lisle: I refuted your unsound argument – not my sound argument. I hope that is now clear.]

              Your logic (actually Van Till’s logic) is: 1 If X were not true, Y would not be true. 2 Y is true. 3 Therefore X is true.
              (1. If the Bible were not true, logic would not be meaningful. 2. Logic is meaningful. 3. Therefore, the Bible is true. )
              I could have a field day with this:
              1. If the Quran were not the only valid word of God, logic would not be meaningful. 2 …
              1. If Jason Lisle were not a tool of the devil, .. 😉

              [Dr. Lisle: I too could give many examples of a valid argument where the first premise is false, and hence argument is unsound. But this will not refute the soundness of a valid argument where the premises are true.]

              [Dave, in order for you to actually refute my argument (since it is valid), you will have to show that one of the premises is false. I recommend that you try to show the first premise is false by coming up with some non-Christian worldview that can justify the existence and properties of laws of logic. E.g. laws of logic are universal, invariant, exception-less, conceptual, knowable, etc. The Christian worldview can make sense of this. No one has been able to come up with another worldview that can do so.]

              I am not proving the Bible false (or the consistency of the Moon).
              I was simply letting you expose the fallacy of your own logic.

              [Dr. Lisle: There wasn’t any fallacy. Producing examples of unsound arguments that have the same form but different premises as a sound argument does not refute the sound argument. Do you understand this now?]

              You are so eager to find fallacies (even where they do not exist) but won’t admit your own.

              [Dr. Lisle: Hopefully, you now see that there was no fallacy in my argument – it is a modus tollens which is always valid. Its soundness therefore depends solely on the truth value of the premises. Your goal now will be to disprove one of the premises. If you can’t do that, then you haven’t refuted the argument since it is valid.]

              Anyone who is not wearing Ken Ham’s bible blinkers can see the hypocrisy.

              [Dr. Lisle: I’m not affiliated with Ken Ham. But I am convinced that the biblical worldview alone makes it possible to justify the preconditions of intelligibility.]

              As for your books, their logic is presupositional, therefore they prove nothing to me.

              [Dr. Lisle: Several problems here. First, it is unclear what you mean by “their logic is presuppositional.” Either they are logical or they aren’t. If you think they are not logical, then please indicate where you think the errors in reasoning occur. If you can’t do that, then we can pretty well conclude that your assertion is unfounded.]

              [Second, your conclusion “therefore they prove nothing” does not follow from the premise. It’s a non-sequitur. Third, the addendum “to me” suggests that you do not understand the difference between proof and persuasion. Proof is objective – independent of the person. If something is proved, then it’s proved whether people accept the proof or not. Persuasion is subjective – it has to do with whether the person is convinced. People sometimes say, “prove to me” when the really mean “persuade me.” But I can’t ultimately persuade you. I can give a proof that you cannot rationally refute (and I have done so), but whether you accept a rational argument or choose to be irrational is entirely up to you.]

              Please do not interupt the flow of my presentation, as you did before.

              [Dr. Lisle: My blog. My rules. I have allowed you to post your position here, and have even taken the time to respond. These are courtesies that not many bloggers will extend.]

              Respond to my comments below here. Thanks

              [Dr. Lisle: I hope this clarifies. All the best.]

              • daveMc says:

                I said: “Please do not interrupt the flow of my presentation, as you did before”. But you RUDELY interrupted me again, all over the place, so that your followers can not follow my argument. But what else should I expect from a snake-oil-salesman who has painted himself into a corner?

                • Josef says:

                  Dave, as he said, this is his blog, and he can decide how he wants to respond. If you don’t like it, then get your own blog.

                  Also, that Dr. Lisle inserts his comments your post does not prevent one from being able to read your “flow”. All I would have to do is read your writing as if his isn’t there. That’s not difficult.

                  And speaking of rude, I would call constantly calling people names (which you’ve admitted that you purposely do at times) and calling their arguments silly without any justification, is pretty rude. But then again, I guess you’re simply being consistent with your atheistic presuppositions.

            • daveMc says:

              Erratum: Presupposionalism → Presuppositionalism

          • Aaron says:

            Other problems with this post have already been pointed out, so I will just make a few comments.

            You assume that an organization cannot be both a scientific institute and a religious ministry. Care to substantiate that claim? Could not an organization develop and administer vaccines for example (scientific institute) and give Christian counseling (religious ministry)? Besides this, whether AiG and ICR are scientific organizations or not is really irrelevant to the model they explain in articles. If you would read the articles (written by scientists with Ph. D’s in geology), then you would find the evidence and information you asked for. If you want to dispute the evidence, fine; but refrain from making unsubstantiated claims.

            I really don’t see any substantiated claims in your post, and I sincerely hope you were being satirical about Origin of Species and infallibility.

            ” If there had been more than ten-million years worth of geological activity in less than a year, ….” Yes, great geologic activity is part of the catastrophic plate tectonics model. “Catastrophic” even implies that in the name. How would you explain an absence of ten million years of erosion in geologic strata over a period of ten million years?

            • daveMc says:

              Good response; I will concede any of those little details. My focus was simply to set up a situation where someone would expose the absurdity of Lisle’s (actually Van Till’s) Presuppositionalism. And happily Dr Lisle himself obliged. See above.

              I have really enjoyed this encounter. It has even compensated for the money and time I wasted on the Creationist Theme Park in KY

              Thank you

              • Josef says:

                If presuppositionalism were so absurd, then you should have no problems with refuting it and so far you haven’t. In fact, you’ve done quite the opposite, Dave. Your posts are largely full of fallacious arguments, and even when repeatedly pointed out to you, you press on with them.

                Also, I’m glad that you’ve conceded to Aaron’s points. But you’ve also claimed that you’ve been studying the creationist model roughly for 2 years. However, I really have to question how much honest research you’ve been doing.

                Because if you would have even searched for “Mt. Everest” on just about any major creationist site, you would’ve found articles that explain that Mt. Everest was formed during the flood, not that the flood had to cover Everest as it stands today.

                This bothers me because I honestly can’t even find one creationist ministry that teaches what you’ve claimed. In fact, even more “fringe” theories like Walt Brown’s “Hydroplate Theory” claims that Everest was formed during the flood. And Kent Hovind (when the ministry was called Creation Science Evangelism) endorsed Brown’s Hydroplate Theory, and so he also believed that Everest was formed during the flood. And then the current ministry (Creation Today) run by Eric Hovind & Paul Taylor also teach Everest was formed in the flood, and in fact, they now favor “catastrophic plate tectonics” (I know this for sure because I asked Paul Taylor, who now works for CT and used to manage AiG-UK).

                So as far as I can tell, ICR, CMI, AiG, Walt Brown, CSE/CT, and the CRS all believe Everest was formed during the flood.

                Most of all, many of these resources have articles that date back almost 20 years that support this idea! So all I can really conclude is that you either misunderstood what the creationist claim was, or your “research” was really more that you took the word of skeptics and assumed that they were accurately portraying the creationist’s model of the flood (and yes there are competing models, which is fine because science thrives on competing models. But even so, I can’t think of even one that endorses the idea that the flood covered Everest as it stands today).

                Either way though, it shows intellectual laziness on your part and makes me wonder about any other “research” you claim to do.

        • Josef says:

          Don’t have much time here, but if you would have even done a cursory search, Dave, on any major creationist site, you’d get your answer. Just searching for “Mt. Everest” on CMI’s site yields this article, Did Noah need oxygen above the mountains? by Dr. Don Batten (written in 1996 btw!). Or if you didn’t think of CMI and wanted to search ICR instead, you would by doing the same search, you would have found this article: Did Noah’s Flood Cover the Himalayan Mountains? by Dr. John Morris, or perhaps you’d rather try AiG and again, doing the same search you would have found this article by Bodie Hodge, Did Noah Need Oxygen on the Ark?. All of these creation institutions claim that Mt. Everest was formed during the flood, not that the flood covered Mt. Everest as it stands today! Or perhaps you were looking into a more “fringe” model of the flood such as Walt Brown’s “Hydroplate Theory” which also says that the mountain ranges were created during the flood, I believe during what he calls the “recovery stage”.

          Basically, I honestly don’t know of any major or minor creationist organizations that make the claim that Mt. Everest at its current height had to be covered by the flood. So I ask, where did you get this idea from? Which flood model makes this claim and which creationist ministry endorses it?

          Like the rest of your questions, do a real search and you’ll find that there are many answers!

  16. Bart says:

    Dr. Jason Lisle,

    The other day a critic said, “Logic is a linguistic reflection or description of the universe’s nature. The laws of logic are concepts and descriptions of actually entities, not actual entities themselves.”

    I could not find a response in your book the Ultimate Proof of Creation to such an argument (maybe I missed it). How would you answer this objection or were would I find your answer in the Ultimate Proof of Creation?

    Any help is tremendously appreciated and you have already been very helpful with your book and personal responses.

    • Josef says:

      Bart,

      The answer to this is found on p. 53 of Dr. Lisle’s book. In it he says, “Perhaps someone would argue, ‘Laws of logic are a description of how the physical universe behaves.’ This response also fails for a number of reasons. First, laws of logic are conceptual in nature. They do not really describe aspects of the universe. … Second, if laws of logic were descriptions of the physical universe, then we might expect different regions of the universe to have different laws of logic, since different regions of the universe are described differently; but laws of logic apply everywhere.”

      Also, on a personal note: your critic is right that logic is conceptual, but does this mean that logic didn’t exist before man? Of course, this would be an absurd conclusion. But in the Christian worldview logic necessarily existed before man even though logic is conceptual. Because God has always existed, and God has thoughts and since logic is a reflection of how God thinks, logic has always existed before man existed to “conceptualize” logic.

      • Bart says:

        Joseph,

        Jason Lisle refers to laws of logic as abstract entities in his book.

        • Josef says:

          Bart,

          I’m not sure if your comment was a question or perhaps you thought I have a different understanding of laws of logic than Dr. Lisle does.

          First, Dr. Lisle does recognize that laws of logic are conceptual in nature, as can be demonstrated from that quote I gave from p. 53, “First, laws of logic are conceptual in nature.”

          Also, according to Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary, “abstract” is synonymous with “conceptual”. And concepts exist in a mind, therefore, only the Christian worldview can justify why logic exist because God, Who is a thinking being, has always existed… that was the point I was trying to make in my previous post.

          Also, by “entity” I think what Dr. Lisle is trying to say is that laws of logic are real, even though they don’t have a physical existence. Hence, real incorporeal laws that exist conceptually/abstractly.

      • Bart says:

        Actually I think the critic may have committed a straw man fallacy claiming Lisle said the laws of logic are entities instead of abstract entities. The definition of an abstract entity:

        abstract entity – a general concept formed by extracting common features from specific examples

      • Nadie says:

        That laws of logic are conceptual in nature does not mean that they don’t describe aspects of the physical universe. How are concepts formed if not by awareness of objects in the universe?

        “if laws of logic were descriptions of the physical universe, then we might expect different regions of the universe to have different laws of logic”

        This fails by making an improper generalization and equivocation. The claim is not that the laws of logic are any descriptions of the physical universe, but descriptions about how it behaves. While the claim might be incomplete, as in not explaining this idea clearly enough, it is still a non-sequitur to conclude that if laws of logic describe aspects of the universe then the laws should be different in different parts of the universe (the proper question should be which aspects, rather than jumping into this improper generalization in order to jump to this non-sequitur).

        In your personal note Josef, you’re wrong. You are mistaking conceptual logic with the reality is relies on. Concepts cannot exist without beings who can conceptualize. That means that conceptual logic would not exist without those beings. But the logic as in how the universe behaves is not conceptual, but physical. That “logic” of course is independent of whether anybody can conceptualize about it or not. Yes, I am saying tat you are engaging into an equivocation fallacy. You started with “the laws of logic,” which are conceptual, and changed into making them the way the universe behaves.

        The concept we have about gravitation is not gravitation, it describes it. The concepts we call logic are not the logic in how the universe behaves, they describe it.

        Sayonara guys

        • Sam says:

          I would like to see what Jason Lisle has to say about this equivocation claim. I’ve heard it a few times but I’ve never seen an answer from the creationists camp.

        • Sam says:

          I don’t think the equivocation/generalization accusation was addressed in Lisles book. But I may be mistaken. Joseph or Jason should provide a rebuttal to Nadies claims.

          • Micah says:

            Ill get to it tomorrow if i have some spare time. Unless of course someone beats me to it.

          • Josef says:

            The answer is that it is a false charge. Equivocating means that I would be changing the definition of a word (in this case “logic”) part way through my argumentation, which I have not done. Nadie incorrectly thinks I am because he/she thinks logic exists as concepts and as the physical behavior of the universe. However, that the universe behaves logically, does not mean that logic is the physical behavior of the universe. Otherwise, as the universe changes physically, this by definition would mean that logic would change as well, but logic remains invariant regardless of any physical changes to the universe.

            • Nadie says:

              Are you saying, Josef, that the universe changes illogically? Wow. Your god needs a few lesson in logic (after all, “you think his thoughts after Him”).

              Of course you’re changing definitions midway. You start with conceptual logic (“the laws of logic are conceptual in nature”) only to mistake it later for what it tries and represents about the universe (“logic continues to exist regardless of our presence”). Granted, “behaviour” is not that clear a word, but it is a fact that you guys change meanings midway. The laws of logic are conceptual, that the sun is the sun it’s existents having an identity. Such identity is not “conceptual” for the sun. The sun is not being the sun “conceptually.” The sun is being the sun. Period. So yes, you are doing the equivalent to mistaking the law of gravity with gravity itself. The law is conceptual, gravitation itself is not conceptual. The law tries and described gravitation, but it’s not gravitation.

              It’s so sad that presuppositionalism is just about rhetorics and never about understanding each other …

            • Nadie says:

              (I have to apologize if you did not change definitions midway. My previous conversations with presuppositionalists show them equivocating physical and conceptual logics. That’s how they attempt to establish that logic can exists without minds.)

        • Josef says:

          Nadie: That laws of logic are conceptual in nature does not mean that they don’t describe aspects of the physical universe.

          Actually it does mean that; because things that are conceptual in nature exist in a mind. That’s the definition of “conceptual”. Furthermore, logic isn’t just any concept, but rather it is the correct way of reasoning or arguing. I.e. logic is a tool that we can use to study the universe, and people can make observations about the universe to see that no matter how the universe changes, logic remains invariant, because logic is not contingent on the universe.

          Nadie: How are concepts formed if not by awareness of objects in the universe?

          No, concepts are formed by thinking beings. “Objects” don’t have awareness. Rocks, planets, comets, water, etc don’t have “awareness”. Like I said, logic is conceptual in nature and concepts exist in a mind.

          Dr. Lisle (from TUPC): “if laws of logic were descriptions of the physical universe, then we might expect different regions of the universe to have different laws of logic

          Nadie: “This fails by making an improper generalization and equivocation.

          Wrong on both accounts. First, the equivocation charge would mean that Dr. Lisle changed the meaning of logic part way through his argument, which you provided no evidence for. Also, I have three textbooks on logic, all of which describe logic as the “correct way of thinking” or “the science of evaluating arguments” or something of that nature. Not one defines logic as, “descriptions of how the universe behaves”. So where is this definition of logic that you’re using? Are you just making it up? If so, then I suppose if you want to play that game, we could always just make up our own definitions of words and accuse each other of equivocating. But that would make debate impossible.

          Nadie: “The claim is not that the laws of logic are any descriptions of the physical universe, but descriptions about how it behaves.

          But why does the universe behaves logically regardless of the fact that it is constantly undergoing change? And like Dr. Lisle says, different regions of the universe are described differently, so if logic really were descriptions of the universe, then they would necessarily change. The fact that logic remains invariant demonstrates that logic is not contingent on the universe, thus cannot be mere descriptions of the universe or its behavior.

          Nadie: While the claim might be incomplete, as in not explaining this idea clearly enough, it is still a non-sequitur to conclude that if laws of logic describe aspects of the universe then the laws should be different in different parts of the universe (the proper question should be which aspects, rather than jumping into this improper generalization in order to jump to this non-sequitur).

          By definition if different regions of the universe are described differently, and if logic is just a description of the universe, then logic itself should change.

          Nadie: “In your personal note Josef, you’re wrong. You are mistaking conceptual logic with the reality is relies on.

          You can assert that I’m mistaken, but unfortunately you haven’t provided any evidence for this.

          Nadie: “Concepts cannot exist without beings who can conceptualize. That means that conceptual logic would not exist without those beings.

          Yep, I agree! And since logic is conceptual in nature, and since both creationists and evolutionists acknowledge that humans, let alone life in general, has not always existed, how do you explain the existence of logic before thinking beings in your worldview? In my Christian worldview, logic has always existed, because God has always existed and God is a thinking being. However, in the atheist’s worldview, there is no basis for believing logic existed before man.

          Nadie: “But the logic as in how the universe behaves is not conceptual, but physical.

          If logic is physical, then show me where this “physical logic” is. What are it’s properties, how much does it weigh, what does it feel like, etc? I’d really like to know what the law of non-contradiction looks like!

          Nadie: “That “logic” of course is independent of whether anybody can conceptualize about it or not.

          Actually that logic (physical) doesn’t exist. I do agree that logic exists whether anyone can conceptualize it, but that’s because in my Christian worldview, logic is contingent on God, not man.

          Nadie: “Yes, I am saying tat you are engaging into an equivocation fallacy. You started with “the laws of logic,” which are conceptual, and changed into making them the way the universe behaves.

          Actually I didn’t change logic into the way the universe behaves, that is your claim! I said logic is not contingent on the universe, nor are they descriptions of the universe’s behavior. As the universe changes, it’s described differently, and if logic were simply descriptions of the universe, then logic would necessarily change. But that the universe’s behavior doesn’t change regardless of the fact that the universe undergoes constant changes demonstrates that logic in not contingent on the universe. So you claiming I am equivocating is a false charge.

          Nadie: The concept we have about gravitation is not gravitation, it describes it. The concepts we call logic are not the logic in how the universe behaves, they describe it.

          False analogy: gravity is contingent on matter and is directly measurable and it changes with matter. Logic is not contingent on the physical universe at all. And again, logic is “the correct way of thinking” it is a tool used by man and man uses that tool to study and describe the univers. And once again, as Dr. Lisle pointed out, different regions of the universe are described differently. If logic is just descriptions of the universe, then it would necessarily have to change which would mean the universe’s behavior would have to change.

          • Micah says:

            Oh, hah. I wouldn’t have bothered with a reply if i had seen this Josef.

            Well said!

            Micah

          • Nadie says:

            Hi again Josef,

            Actually it does mean that; because things that are conceptual in nature exist in a mind.

            That conceptual things exist in a mind does not mean that they don’t describe something that exists outside of a mind. See the “laws of gravity to actual gravity” example. The laws are conceptual (are you going to argue that the law of gravity is not conceptual? Seriously?), gravitation itself is not conceptual, but a physical phenomenon. Our concept ceases to exist if there’s nobody to conceptualize about gravitation, gravitation stands. Simple. No false analogy here. Try harder in terms of understanding. Remember that you are supposed to think your god’s thoughts after him. Therefore be more careful about it. Have you no respect for those divine revelations?

            That’s the definition of “conceptual”.

            Sure. Show me the place where conceptual necessarily means: not describing anything outside of a mind.

            Furthermore, logic isn’t just any concept, but rather it is the correct way of reasoning or arguing.

            Are you really saying here that logic has no connection to anything “outside” of minds? Seriously? Because your next phrases contradicts this notion.

            I.e. logic is a tool that we can use to study the universe, and people can make observations about the universe to see that no matter how the universe changes, logic remains invariant, because logic is not contingent on the universe.

            But if observing the universe we can check that logic remains invariant, it necessarily means that the way the universe changes (or “behaves”) shows logic. How would you know that such is not the reason why we can establish a logic useful to distinguish proper thinking? My worldview does not have any problem with this. Why does yours? It’s directly and unambiguously obvious. What happened with that revelation from that omnipotent god? Not enough to figure this out? Not enough for you to understand your contradictions?

            No, concepts are formed by thinking beings. “Objects” don’t have awareness. Rocks, planets, comets, water, etc don’t have “awareness”. Like I said, logic is conceptual in nature and concepts exist in a mind.

            I know that. Let me rephrase: how else would a thinking mind form concepts if not by exposure to objects of awareness? (to objects this thinking mind is being aware of)

            But why does the universe behaves logically regardless of the fact that it is constantly undergoing change?

            Do you truly have a problem understanding this? If you can witness yourself that those changes do not involve behaving illogically, why would you have to ask this question?

            And like Dr. Lisle says, different regions of the universe are described differently, so if logic really were descriptions of the universe, then they would necessarily change.

            But you’re missing the part that says “certain aspect of the behaviour of the universe.” The claim is not about any kinds of behaviour, but certain (actually basic) aspects of it. As I said, you jump into a false generalization regardless of the wording I might use. What about trying to understand what I say rather than make those false generalizations?

            The fact that logic remains invariant demonstrates that logic is not contingent on the universe, thus cannot be mere descriptions of the universe or its behavior.

            Just imagining that the universe were illogical leads to absurdity. Therefore there’s no other way to exist but logically. that’s an aspect of the universe. As I said above, unless you could show how our changing universe should preclude logic (which would be a contradiction, therefore absurd) you are not making a lot of sense. Obviously those changes don’t preclude logic. Otherwise how would proper thinking apply to the study of the universe? Better, if logic was conceptual, and conceptual only, on what basis could you claim that it exists when there’s nobody to conceptualize about it? After putting this Christian barrier (not mine, yours) between what’s outside of the mind and inside of the mind you renounce to any way of showing that logic exists regardless of minds. Where would conceptual logic be without beings who can conceptualize?

            Yep, I agree! And since logic is conceptual in nature, and since both creationists and evolutionists acknowledge that humans, let alone life in general, has not always existed, how do you explain the existence of logic before thinking beings in your worldview?

            Easy, if there’s nobody to conceptualize, conceptual logic does not exist. It’s that simple, and my worldview has no problem with that.

            In my Christian worldview, logic has always existed, because God has always existed and God is a thinking being.

            But this has no connection to my worldview, therefore I have no need to acknowledge such a ridiculous claim as conceptual logic being eternal. Even better, you have thus renounced the idea that logic is absolute. It would be dependent on existing beings who can conceptualize. No such beings, no logic (as you describe it). The standard answer by presupps involves the physical, but you would have to contradict yourself in order to give me that answer.

            However, in the atheist’s worldview, there is no basis for believing logic existed before man.

            Conceptual logic? Of course not. Therefore there’s no other problem but that Christians might not like it.

            If logic is physical, then show me where this “physical logic” is.

            I truly think that you are the one with the problem(s) here.

            What are it’s properties, how much does it weigh, what does it feel like, etc? I’d really like to know what the law of non-contradiction looks like!

            Easy, it looks like the Sun not being the Moon at the same time and in the same way.

            Actually that logic (physical) doesn’t exist.

            Again, you said above that we can use logic to learn things about the universe. If physical logic does not exist, then how could we apply the logic of thinking to the physical?

            I do agree that logic exists whether anyone can conceptualize it, but that’s because in my Christian worldview, logic is contingent on God, not man.

            This is a contradiction of terms. You first say that logic (conceptual) exists without any being who can conceptualize, then that it is contingent on “God.” Are you saying that your god would not be able to conceptualize? (Contradicting what you said a few paragraphs above.) If not, how could logic remain conceptual if your god does not conceptualize? If logic is contingent on your god, how could it be absolute? If it’s conceptual and conceptual only, how could it be absolute given that your definition necessarily makes it relative (contingent) to the ability to conceptualize?

            Actually I didn’t change logic into the way the universe behaves, that is your claim!

            Well, no. The claim was not mine, and it is not that it is the way the universe behaves, but aspects about how the universe behaves. I add: basic aspects about how the universe behaves. Why, again, your false generalization?

            I said logic is not contingent on the universe, nor are they descriptions of the universe’s behavior. As the universe changes, it’s described differently, and if logic were simply descriptions of the universe, then logic would necessarily change.

            Only if the way the universe changes was illogical. yet you said yourself …

            But that the universe’s behavior doesn’t change regardless of the fact that the universe undergoes constant changes demonstrates that logic in not contingent on the universe.

            Actually this contradicts your claim. If the universe’s behaviour doesn’t change, then those changes are logical, and therefore logic can easily be that aspect about how the universe behaves.

            So you claiming I am equivocating is a false charge.

            Could be, and if so I apologize about that bit, but the false generalization stays. If you are constantly talking about conceptual logic, however, then you abandon any way of demonstrating that such logic, conceptual, is both absolute and independent of minds that can conceptualize. It could not be absolute by definition. It could not exist without beings that can conceptualize.

            The problems are all yours.

        • Micah says:

          Hi Nadie,

          >That laws of logic are conceptual in nature does not mean that they don’t describe aspects of the physical universe. How are concepts formed if not by awareness of objects in the universe?

          No, laws of logic don’t really describe the universe. They describe more the correct form for reasoning. As Dr. Lisle says ‘they describe the correct chain of reasoning from premises to conclusions.
          The law of non-contradiction doesn’t really describe the physical universe, it shows that two contradictory propositions (A and not-A) cant both be true at the same time and in the same sense. We can then apply this logic to the universe, but it doesn’t really describe the universe in and of itself.

          >“if laws of logic were descriptions of the physical universe, then we might expect different regions of the universe to have different laws of logic”
          >This fails by making an improper generalization and equivocation. The claim is not that the laws of logic are any descriptions of the physical universe, but descriptions about how it behaves.

          First: I think you are confusing laws of nature with laws of logic. The laws of nature describe how the universe behaves. Second: Even if the laws of logic did describe how the universe behaves I don’t see how this solves anything for the evolutionist, how does the evolutionist know that all parts of the universe behave the same way?

          >While the claim might be incomplete, as in not explaining this idea clearly enough, it is still a non-sequitur to conclude that if laws of logic describe aspects of the universe then the laws should be different in different parts of the universe (the proper question should be which aspects, rather than jumping into this improper generalization in order to jump to this non-sequitur).

          I’m not so sure that it is a non-sequitur. The conclusion that laws of logic should be different in different parts of the universe does follow from the premises that laws of logic are descriptions of the universe and different parts of the universe are described differently. And this conclusion would still stand if laws of logic were descriptions of how the universe behaves as you have claimed. Evolutionists have not observed the entire universe so they could not make the claim that the entire universe behaves the same way. Therefore laws of logic could be different in those regions if they described the behavior of the universe.

          Also, the evolutionists still cannot explain why laws of logic don’t change with time. The law of non-contradiction might be true today, but how can the evolutionist know that it will stay true through tomorrow?

          >In your personal note Josef, you’re wrong. You are mistaking conceptual logic with the reality is relies on. Concepts cannot exist without beings who can conceptualize. That means that conceptual logic would not exist without those beings. But the logic as in how the universe behaves is not conceptual, but physical.

          Logic is conceptual, your assertion that logic describes the behavior of the physical universe is wrong. As I have shown, you would still be in the same problem, because the universe can behave differently in different parts. So if logic described the behavior of the universe then logic would be different in the places that the behavior was different. And logic could still change with time, since the behavior of the universe could change with time as well. Therefore you would be unable to know that the law of non-contradiction would stay true through tomorrow.

          >That “logic” of course is independent of whether anybody can conceptualize about it or not. Yes, I am saying [sic] tat you are engaging into an equivocation fallacy. You started with “the laws of logic,” which are conceptual, and changed into making them the way the universe behaves.

          Its only an equivocation fallacy if your assertion that the laws of logic described the behavior of the physical universe was true. It’s not. If they did describe behavior as you claim, then they could still be different in places where the behavior is different, and since behavior can change with time then that means the laws of logic could change with time too.

          >The concept we have about gravitation is not gravitation, it describes it. The concepts we call logic are not the logic in how the universe behaves, they describe it.

          This isn’t the same, the concept of gravitation deals directly with the physical reality of gravity. But the concept of logic doesn’t deal directly with any physical reality. It deals itself with concepts and the relationships between them.
          And again, if they described the behavior of the physical universe then you could not claim that the entire universe behaves logically and you could not say that logic doesn’t change with time, as I have previously explained.

          Thanks for the comment though,

          Micah

          • Nadie says:

            Hi Micah,

            I will only answer those parts that don;t overlap with my answer to Josef. I hope we can learn something from this exchange. My previous experience with pressups makes this possibility slim, but we will see.

            First: I think you are confusing laws of nature with laws of logic.

            No. I’m not.

            The laws of nature describe how the universe behaves.

            Agreed, but then again, to make “aspects about how the universe behaves” into “anything about how the universe behaves” requires a false generalization. (This answers the other parts where you attempt to establish the changing universe into “therefore logic would be changing.”)

            Second: Even if the laws of logic did describe how the universe behaves I don’t see how this solves anything for the evolutionist, how does the evolutionist know that all parts of the universe behave the same way?

            I don’t know. You should ask an evolutionist. If you want to know what I would answer instead see my answers to Josef.

  17. zilch says:

    Thanks for answering, Dr. Lisle. If you’re ever in Vienna, or the SF Bay Area most summers, drop me a line, and lunch is on me.

    [Dr. Lisle: Thank you. That’s very kind.]

    Basically, your reply to me is “If you don’t have God telling you it’s real, you can’t claim it’s real”. Can you show me why I should believe this? I can cross the street, and perform concerts, and debate online, without having God tell me it’s real. You simply draw the line for reality elsewhere. That’s your prerogative, but it doesn’t affect my getting on with my life.

    [Dr. Lisle: That’s not really my argument. My point is that your ability to cross the street, perform concerts, debate, etc. would not make sense if you were a chemical accident. And you would have no rational reason to think that any of these things are actually true. On the other hand, the Christian worldview can make sense of your abilities. God has designed you with a plan and with forethought. So it makes sense that your thoughts can be rational, that your senses are basically reliable, and that you are able to interact with the world. The Christian worldview makes sense of what we all presuppose. The secular worldview is inconsistent with what we all presuppose.]

    cheers from rainy Vienna, zilch

    • Nadie says:

      Lisle is basically saying that by presupposing that this imaginary being is there he can “justify” the reliability of his senses, but all he did was use those same senses he is challenging to imagine that this imaginary being is real and telling him. So instead of solving a problem of his own making, a problem I have no reason to accept as a real problem to begin with, he makes it worse by using something farther removed from “justifiable” as a basis to trust the same senses he has to use to challenge those very senses and then to imagine that this character solves them. If something this nonsensical passes as reason for a Christian I doubt that solutions to any problems can come from a Christian worldview.

      • zilch says:

        Nadie (do you mean “no one” in Spanish?)- I wouldn’t go so far as to say that the Christian worldview has no solutions to any problems. After all, many people find it an inspiration that helps them to live better lives. I don’t happen to find it necessary for myself, but I understand and happily accept that others do.

        Aside from that, I agree. As you say, any possible revelation from God can also only be perceived by our senses and/or reasoning, and is thus liable to exactly the same uncertainty we must accept about our picture of the real world. And yes- it’s an uncertainty we can live with.

        • Josef says:

          Zilch,

          As others have pointed out, I also appreciate your civility. It makes discussions like these easier to understand each other.

          As for the last part of your comment, it might seem like Christians are in the same boat as atheists in regard to how we know our senses are reliable. Like the atheists, we (Christians) have to assume our senses are reliable, at least initially. However, unlike atheists, Christians have a God who can reveal things to us who is trustworthy.

          Basically while I might have to initially assume my ability to perceive and reason are reliable, upon reading from the Bible that God says I can do these things, I then know my initial assumptions about myself are justified.

          Unfortunately atheists are stuck in a vicious cycle of reasoning because the only thing they have to verify their own senses and abilities to reason are their own senses and abilities to reason. But these are the very things being asked.

          • zilch says:

            Josef- you’re invited to lunch too, if you ever make it out this way, or are near SF in the summer.

            You say:

            As for the last part of your comment, it might seem like Christians are in the same boat as atheists in regard to how we know our senses are reliable. Like the atheists, we (Christians) have to assume our senses are reliable, at least initially. However, unlike atheists, Christians have a God who can reveal things to us who is trustworthy.

            And you know that this God, whom you perceive through your admittedly unreliable senses, is trustworthy- how? Because He says so? The mad scientist who has your brain in a vat could say the same thing. Or maybe what you perceive as God is just a side effect of photosynthesis. People make up stuff about gods all the time, do they not?

            Unfortunately atheists are stuck in a vicious cycle of reasoning because the only thing they have to verify their own senses and abilities to reason are their own senses and abilities to reason. But these are the very things being asked.

            Sure, if we want, we can be trapped in a vicious cycle of reasoning. Hume apparently was. But we can also choose to simply go with the way things seem to be and not worry about not having a “logical justification” for our belief in uniformity, or the basic reliability of our senses. It doesn’t hurt at all- actually, it works just fine. You might try it sometime.

            Josef, you are making the unspoken assumption, and perhaps you are not even aware that it is an assumption, that there is an absolute truth that is accessible to us. I don’t see any a priori</i reason to believe that, as obviously limited as we are. The world is vast and complex beyond our comprehension, even without God.

            But that's fine with me. My limited perceptions, and limited truths, are still pretty wonderful.

            cheers from overcast Vienna, zilch

            • zilch says:

              oops, sorry about the missing >. You should add a preview function.

            • Nadie says:

              Hi Zilch (And Josef),

              Adding to what you said, the only way we atheists could be trapped in a “vicious circle” is if we accepted that the senses have to be justified. Here’s the problem: to challenge the “reliability” of our senses, we would have to rely on our senses to make/understand the challenge. Therefore the question questions its own basis and is thus incoherent. Therefore the Christians are not even in the boat with the atheists, at least not with this atheist. They rather are in the water, drowning while thinking that some imaginary being actually has them safely on land. Why? Because in order to argue for their belief they rely on “answering” an incoherent question using a being whose existence is far from probable (given the logical inconsistency of the character and its stories), and easily challengeable.

              So, no. I’m in no vicious circle because it’s nonsensical to challenge the very thing you need before you can challenge anything. If you look closely, this is the very same claim the Christians make about their god. That denying this god is to deny “The Foundation” and that therefore their god is undeniable. Except that their god is something they have to believe, while denying the senses is self-refuting.

          • Nadie says:

            Josef,

            While your narrative sounds nice, a close examination would show that you did not escape that “vicious circle” of your own making. Since you relied in those very senses that you are challenging to reach the idea that such imaginary being justifies your initial trust in those senses, you are still relying on them to think that you read that Bible, that it says what you found it to say, and then that this god of yours does the job. So, it does not solve anything. It just disguises the very “vicious circle” that you claim atheists to be immersed in.

            If you see my comment to Zilch, you will find that questioning the senses incoherent. The very question relies on the senses to be asked/understood, and therefore it is challenging its very foundations. Then the Christian “answer” to this incoherent question does not escape that “circle” that Christians complain about.

            Josef, by the way, you gained enormous amounts of respect from me by admitting using your senses to go to the Bible. Most Christians are incredibly dishonest about how they reached this “justification.” They invoke magic instead of admitting that they learned this line of rhetoric from somebody else.

            It would be great if they were also able to admit that somebody taught them to interpret a few biblical passages as if they were explaining logic, knowledge, senses and such, rather than being evident in the passages themselves. I’m yet to see a biblical passage saying “Before you can trust your senses, I, your very God, have to tell you so.” I mean really say so, rather than the usual eisegesis.

            But thanks for that initial honesty.

            I would stay to chat, but I have too many things to attend to. You might have some answer filled with that beautiful rhetoric of yours. I just warn readers who might care to look more closely and wonder if the Christian “answers” answer anything, and if the “questions” are coherent.

    • zilch says:

      Dr. Lisle, you say:

      My point is that your ability to cross the street, perform concerts, debate, etc. would not make sense if you were a chemical accident.

      And my point, which has also been made here by others, is that you have a funny idea of what “accident” means. Order can increase in open systems under some circumstances, can it not? Mutations are accidents; natural selection is no accident. You must know this, so why do you compare evolution to “chemical accidents”?

      And you would have no rational reason to think that any of these things are actually true.

      Sure I do, as I’ve said. Yes, my reasons are not 100% certain. But they work. I can multiply and get the same answers you or my computer get. How is it “irrational” to think that my math works?

      On the other hand, the Christian worldview can make sense of your abilities. God has designed you with a plan and with forethought. So it makes sense that your thoughts can be rational, that your senses are basically reliable, and that you are able to interact with the world.

      Sure, I’ll agree with that: the Christian worldview can make sense of my abilities. But so can the Muslim worldview, or the atheistic worldview, or many others as well. Merely having some sort of explanation for my abilities doesn’t prove that a worldview is the truth.

      The Christian worldview makes sense of what we all presuppose.

      Okay, I’ll grant you that, if by “what we all presuppose” you simply mean “trusting the basic reliability of our senses”.

      The secular worldview is inconsistent with what we all presuppose.

      Not really, unless by “inconsistent” you mean “not able to deliver absolute certainty”. But, as I and others have already pointed out, you’ve yet to show the utility of possessing this “genuine knowledge”, as you call it, much less prove that such a beast exists. As far as I can see, absolute certainty about, say, morals, only exists in the form of words chasing their own tails: in a construction that looks like it’s coherent, but is not based on real-world referents. Again, I’ll take the World over the Word: it’s the real thing.

      cheers from cool Vienna, zilch

  18. zilch says:

    Here’s another way of looking at it. Sure, you could look at a trait, such as vision or possession of chlorophyll, as a black box, and still assess its survival value, assuming you can isolate it from other factors. For instance, not knowing what eyes are for, you could put out the eyes of an animal and see how that affects its survival value- but the animal might die of infected eyes, so you have to control for such things.

    [Dr. Lisle: Such an experiment presupposes the reliability of senses – the very thing that is unjustified apart from the Christian worldview. When you observe the results of an experiment, you are assuming that your observations are accurate because your senses are reliable. Science can never prove the reliability of sensory experience because science is based on that very assumption.]

    Dr. Lisle’s argumentum ad absurdum assumes exactly such a state of affairs- we know that some feature or trait has survival value, but we don’t know what it does.

    [Dr. Lisle: To be more precise, I claim you couldn’t know anything at all if the Christian worldview were not true. I will grant for the sake of argument that traits that increase survivability in a particular environment tend to be preserved. But I don’t see how it is possible to conclude from that premise “Therefore, what we perceive to be experiences of the world are in fact basically reliable.” How does an evolutionist know that his thoughts and observations of the world are not merely the side-effect of photosynthesis? How does he know that he’s not actually a tree?]

    In that case Dr. Lisle is correct- we would indeed be speculating, possibly in error, if we were to say that because eyes have survival value, they must be providing us with a reliable picture of the world.

    But of course science doesn’t work that way. The only valid conclusion from Dr. Lisle’s premises would be “whatever it is that vision (or photosynthesis, etc.) does, it does it well enough to increase survival value.”

    [Dr. Lisle: Actually, you could not even (rationally) conclude that. The scientific method presupposes that our senses are reliable enough to observe the results of an experiment. But unless that presupposition is justified (and not arbitrarily assumed), then there would be no logical reason to conclude that we are correctly observing the results of any experiment. So the situation for the evolutionist is far worse than it may seem at first.]

    The next step, which Dr. Lisle leaves out, is to do research on what it is that the trait in question does.

    [Dr. Lisle: How can we “do research” without reliable senses?]

    And in the case of vision (and photosynthesis for that matter) we know a great deal about what it does.

    [Dr. Lisle: How do you know what vision does? Do you think you know what vision does because of what you have seen with your eyes? Perhaps you observed the result of some experiment that indicates that eyes accurately inform an organism of the outside world. But you would have no reason to believe that your own observation of this experiment is true unless you already knew that your own eyes reliably inform you about the outside world. And this is the very thing you don’t know (on your own worldview).]

    That being the case, it’s a natural conclusion that vision improves our survival value because it improves our picture of the world.

    [Dr. Lisle: How do you know that vision “improves our picture of the world?” Is it because this is what you have observed with your vision? Do you see the problem here? Let me put it a slightly different way. How do you know that your eyes are not “lying” to you? If you say, “because my eyes have told me that they are not lying” does this really resolve the problem? If you eyes are not reliable, then their is no reason to trust their “claim” that they are reliable.]

    This of course does not tell us how accurate a picture of the world vision gives us. But there are lots of ways of checking this, which I’m sure all of you know about.

    [Dr. Lisle: In the Christian worldview there are lots of ways indeed. But apart from the Christian worldview, I don’t understand how it would be possible to know that any sensory experience is even remotely reliable ever. For all you know, all your sensory “experiences” might just be the side effects of chemistry taking place in a mud puddle.]

    So it’s not the case that, on naturalism, we might say that photosynthesis gives us a reliable picture of the world.

    [Dr. Lisle: No, you couldn’t argue that either. From the assumption of naturalism, it is not possible to conclude that sensory experience is reliable. I will grant that survival value of a trait increases the likelihood of surviving (by definition). But there is no way to know that your senses are reliable apart from Christianity.]

    We know better than that, and without God.

    [Dr. Lisle: So apart from God, it turns out that you cannot know that your senses are reliable. You can assume it arbitrarily and go about your life. But it is not rational to assume things without a good reason. And the evolutionist can never have a good reason for believing in the reliability of sensory experience. Hence, an evolutionist can never be (entirely) rational.]

    • zilch says:

      I’ll try again. Dr. Lisle, you say:

      So apart from God, it turns out that you cannot know that your senses are reliable. You can assume it arbitrarily and go about your life. But it is not rational to assume things without a good reason. And the evolutionist can never have a good reason for believing in the reliability of sensory experience. Hence, an evolutionist can never be (entirely) rational.

      I guess I should be thankful that we evolutionists are not entirely irrational.

      [Dr. Lisle: Yes, you should. 🙂 God has hardwired you to know that your senses are basically reliable, laws of logic are universal, etc. Since you are made in God’s image, and God is fully rational, you can’t help but be rational at times. And so you can have pockets of rationality – not because of your worldview, but in spite of it. If you were consistent, you would not be inclined to assume that your senses (which in your view are a non-designed chemical accidents) are reliable, or that nature is uniform, or that laws of logic are universal and unchanging. These make no sense in a secular universe. A person arguing against the existence of air might make some very good logical points, all the while breathing air. He is able to make rational statements (sometimes) only because his belief system is wrong.]

      I’ll try to summon up what little rationality I may possess to answer this. Perhaps our disagreement here is merely a matter of how we define certain words. You say that “the evolutionist can never have a good reason for believing in the reliability of sensory experience.” The salient word here is “good”.

      [Dr. Lisle: Yes, it’s always a good idea to define terms. In this context, a “good reason” is one that is objective, supports the conclusion, and does not violate any laws of logic. This is a bit different from the definition you are using.]

      For me, as for most people, “good” has many meanings, but I could say that a “good” reason for me to believe in the (basic with the usual provisos) reliability of sensory experience is that it works:

      [Dr. Lisle: There are two problems with using this definition of a “good reason” as “what works.” First, some things “work” that are not true. The Ptolemaic model of the solar system works about as well as the Copernican system in terms of making successful predictions of the positions of planets. But it is not true. That latter is a much closer approximation of reality.]

      [Second, how to you actually know that sensory experience “works?” I’ll explain more below.]

      I manage to get up in the morning, breathe, feed myself, do music and math, and it all fits together in a unified picture of the world, which while far from complete, continues to behave more or less predictably.

      [Dr. Lisle: Several problems here. The first is what I mentioned previously: how do you know that you are able to get up in the morning, and breathe, and feed yourself, etc.? If you say, “my senses tell me this,” then you are begging the question. Sensory experience is the very thing I am asking you to justify on your own worldview. And therefore it does no good to assume it arbitrarily as its own reason.]

      [Perhaps an analogy will help. If you ask me how I know that the party at Bill’s place has been cancelled, suppose I respond, “Bill told me.” Is that a rational reason? It is, if Bill is basically reliable and honest. Now suppose you asked how I know that Bill is honest, and I respond, “Because Bill told me he is honest.” Now this would not be a good reason because it commits the logical fallacy of begging the question. It presupposes that Bill is honest in his answer and then concludes that Bill is honest. The conclusion is merely a restatement of the premise. And so the argument doesn’t prove anything at all beyond what it assumes. Likewise, trusting that your senses are reliable solely on the basis that your senses tell you this is not rational.]

      [A second problem that you introduced concerns uniformity. You state that the world, or at least your picture of it “continues to behave more or less predictably.” But how can you possibly know on your worldview that it will continue to behave that way in the future? This is not a trivial matter; if nature should behave differently tomorrow (such as gravity reversing direction) and you are unprepared, it could mean your death. So there is a very pragmatic reason to find out whether your belief in uniformity is justified.]

      [On the Christian worldview, it is. God is beyond time, and knows everything and that includes the future. So He is in a position to tell us what the future holds. And He has promised that the basic cycles of nature will continue in the future as they have in the past (Genesis 8:22). And so we can have confidence that gravity will work tomorrow as it did today. This is called “uniformity.” Uniformity allows us to make reasonable predictions about future states based on past experience. Apart from the Christian worldview, there is no basis for uniformity, and hence there would be no reason to trust that past experience is a useful indicator of future success. Nor will it do to argue that since there was uniformity in the past, there likely will be in the future, since this presupposes uniformity between past and future. It begs the question. Apart from the Christian worldview, you could never rationally argue that something will likely work in the future on the basis that it has worked in the past.]

      For you, Dr. Lisle, that’s not enough:

      [Dr. Lisle: Correct. If a person saying, “I always tell the truth” does not establish the truth of said individual, then neither does relying on your observations that your senses work as the justification for the reliability of those very observations.]

      you say that since I’m not absolutely certain that my picture is correct, I might be a dreaming tree.

      [Dr. Lisle: I really wasn’t asking for absolute certainty. But I don’t see how (on your worldview) you could even know that probably your senses are basically reliable. How do you know with any degree of probability at all that you are not a dreaming tree?]

      But even if that were the case, my whole world is the dream of the tree, and I can only live on the terms of that dream, since I have no picture of, or evidence for, my “real” life as a photosynthesizer. My perceived reality, whether it is the dream of a tree, or the induced fantasy of a brain in a vat, or as a love letter from an angel to a devil, is my whole world, which I cannot transcend (as far as I know). I can only deal with what I perceive to be. And dealing with what I perceive to be is the only possible good for me.

      [Dr. Lisle: This still presupposes uniformity. Whether your perceptions are real or not, you suppose that interacting with them in the future will have a similar result as in the past – that what has “worked” for you before will continue to work in the future. But this presupposes uniformity, which is only justified in the Christian worldview. This shows that you really do know God, and you rely upon presuppositions that only make sense in the Christian worldview.]

      You claim to have knowledge of the way things really are: there’s a God, He’s the God of the Bible, and He told you that the world you perceive is real. That’s okay, but it’s just one of an infinite number of variations for justification.

      [Dr. Lisle: Actually, no one has been able to come up with justification for the properties of laws of logic, the reliability of senses, or for uniformity apart from the Christian worldview. So I don’t accept that there are other variations that provide such justification. But if you think you have one, I’d be happy to discuss it.]

      I’ll just go with the natural world without gods. Works for me.

      [Dr. Lisle: It really doesn’t. You are tacitly assuming biblical principles (uniformity) when you believe that what has worked for you in the past will continue to work in the future. So, you are able to get along in this world because you really do know God and are relying on principles that only make sense in the Christian worldview. Everyone knows God, but not all submit to Him as God. Romans 1:18-23 describes this. People work very hard to convince themselves and others that they actually do not know God. God will allow you to continue to exist forever apart from Him if that’s really what you want. But that is a sad thing because we were created to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. Perhaps God will help you to think through these issues. I wish you the very best.]

      cheers from overcast Vienna, zilch

      [Dr. Lisle: Take care.]

    • the_ignored says:

      Sorry Lisle, but you made a mistake right here:
      So apart from God, it turns out that you cannot know that your senses are reliable.
      We know that our senses are NOT always reliable whether god exists or not.

      I’ve said it before: Optical illusons, different foods that alter how later foods taste, etc.

      • Micah says:

        Dr. Lisle’s claim is not that the senses are always reliable. You are adding to what he said when you put ‘always’ in there. He said [it turns out that you cannot know that your senses are reliable]. Reliability does not equate perfection. There are not many cases i can think of where the term ‘reliable’ is used meaning perfectly reliable, except in cases where the person explicitly says ‘always reliable’.

        So yes, you have set up a straw man argument by stating that Jason was referring to the senses being always reliable when in fact he was meaning it in a general sense.

        Micah

  19. zilch says:

    Dr. Lisle- you say:

    Some people might suppose that our sensory organs are reliable because they have survival value. But this does not follow logically. Chlorophyll has survival value in plants; but this does not imply that chlorophyll reliably informs the plant about the outside world.

    I don’t know anyone, naturalist or theist, who supposes that our sensory organs have survival value because they provide us with energy from sunlight- do you?

    [Dr. Lisle: You seem to have misunderstood. The question is: “How do we know that our senses are basically reliable.” There are indeed evolutionists who answer this with “because they have survival value.” My chlorophyll example was intended to demonstrate that survival value does not equate to “reliable senses,” thereby refuting the answer of the evolutionists.]

    Your argument is lacking a crucial point: naturalists, and theists too, suppose that our sensory organs have survival value because they (more or less) reliably inform us about the outside world.

    [Dr. Lisle: Yes, but this doesn’t answer my original question: “How do you know that your sensory organs reliably inform you about the outside world.” I agree that naturalists and theists too suppose this. My point is that only in the Christian worldview can we have rational justification for this belief.]

    If you know someone who is blind or deaf, you can corroborate this for yourself: they don’t have a harder time crossing the street than we do because they can’t convert sunlight into energy with their missing senses; they have a harder time because they don’t have as complete a picture of the world as we do.

    [Dr. Lisle: The only way I can “corroborate” that is with my own senses. But the reliability of my own senses is the very thing I am asking you to justify. If you are assuming the reliability of your senses as the basis for knowing that your senses are reliable, this is a logical fallacy called “begging the question.” It really doesn’t prove anything beyond what it assumes.]

    As I said before, with no answer so far, naturalism has no problem accounting for more or less reliable senses.

    [Dr. Lisle: How could naturalism justify the belief that our senses are basically reliable? I have yet to read a cogent answer to this question.]

    • Josef says:

      Dr. Lisle: “Some people might suppose that our sensory organs are reliable because they have survival value. But this does not follow logically. Chlorophyll has survival value in plants; but this does not imply that chlorophyll reliably informs the plant about the outside world.

      Zilch: “I don’t know anyone, naturalist or theist, who supposes that our sensory organs have survival value because they provide us with energy from sunlight- do you?

      Zilch, you misunderstood. Dr. Lisle wasn’t saying our sensory organs provide us energy from the sunlight. He was saying that survival value doesn’t equate to our sensory organs being able to reliably interpret reality. His example was a reductio ad absurdum; i.e. he was showing that the premise that survival value means we can interpret reality correctly is faulty because we can use an example (chlorophyll in this case) to show that this would lead to an absurd conclusion.

      • zilch says:

        Josef, I did not misunderstand. As I pointed out, Dr. Lisle’s argument is not an argument anyone would use: no naturalist (or theist for that matter) claims that because some random trait, say having eyes or legs or chlorophyll, has survival value, therefore it must provide us with a reliable picture of the world.

        [Dr. Lisle: Actually, some evolutionists have claimed exactly that in their comments on this website. Namely, they claim that we can know that our senses are basically reliable because reliable senses would have survival value. But survival value is not a sufficient condition to warrant belief in reliability. How can an evolutionist actually know that what he perceives as sensory organs are actually sensory organs at all?]

        But we know, independently of survival value, what eyes do and what chlorophyll does not do: provide us with a (more or less) reliable picture of the world.

        [Dr. Lisle: How do you know what chlorophyll and eyes do? Surely you won’t argue that you know this based on your observations of the world, for this presupposes the reliability of your senses – the very thing I am asking you to justify.]

        You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to know this. Therefore, Dr. Lisle’s claim argument falls flat.

        [Dr. Lisle: I appreciate that attempt. But you still haven’t explained how a non-Christian can know that his or her senses are basically reliable. I recognize that everyone assumes this. But an assumption is not evidence.]

  20. Josef says:

    DaveMC: “I am not debating you. The OVERWHELMING wealth of books and documentaries out there are more than sufficient for that. I am just sharing my 60 year perspective and giving you a chance to further demonstrate that you are just an apologist for a silly idea rather that a real scientist with real scientific research to do — research which might persuade a those 6,994 PhDs who just role their eyes at your ideas.

    It never ceases to surprise me how atheists constantly act as if they care so much about rationality, but then seldom attempt to back up their positions with rational arguments. But then again, they are “walking contradictions” in virtually everything else, so I suppose this shouldn’t come as a surprise.

    What Dave has demonstrated is that he doesn’t do any thinking for himself. His main arguments for why Dr. Lisle is wrong are faulty appeals to majority or authority… in other words, he’s taking everybody else’s word for it.

    Most of all, DaveMC has clearly shown that he cannot logically defend his position, thus he has no logical basis for denying the Creator that he knows exists.

    • DaveMc says:

      Since you appearantly are incapable of discerning the hypocritical irrationality of presuppositionalism,

      [Dr. Lisle: Nice question-begging epithet fallacy! Instead of dealing with the actual argument, simply assert that it is hypocritical and irrational. That’s one approach I guess.]

      I am making no attempt to reason with you.

      [Dr. Lisle: Yes, that is very clear.]

      But I invite anyone else reading this to scroll down to my “…continued from” comments below and decide for themselves whether I can think for myself.

      [Dr. Lisle: It seems you let others do your “thinking” for you. Didn’t you previously provide me with a list of people that you follow? People that you believe what they believe?]

      Of all the people who have known me, most of whom are religious, no one has ever even suggested that I was not an independent thinker.

      [Dr. Lisle: With respect, most of what you’ve posted has either been a question-begging epithet or an appeal to authority. These are not the trademarks of an independent thinker. From your posts, it seems that most of what you “know” you learned on the internet, and especially youtube. Although it is perfectly commendable to learn from others, I would encourage you to think through what they teach rather than blindly accepting it. In particular, see if the worldview that your teachers espouse is compatible with knowledge. If it isn’t, then it would irrational to accept such a worldview. In short, I am encouraging you to become epistemologically self-conscious.]

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