Friday, April 26, 2013

Could God Have Created The Laws Of Logic?

Where do the laws of logic come from? If god cannot violate logic, if god cannot create a square circle, or a married bachelor, then he cannot be the author of logic. For if he was, he would be able to violate logic at will. So if logic is not created by god, then it could be said that logic exists necessarily in some sense. Was logic created at the beginning of space and time and did not exist prior? If there was no “prior” to an absolute beginning of time, then is logic timeless? Is it possible for logic to have not existed and then exist at some point? Before space and time existed and all matter and energy, did logic exist? If so, then we can never say that absolute nothing ever existed; there were always the laws of logic, even if there was no time for them to exist before time. And if it’s possible that the laws of logic exist necessarily, and in some sense, timelessly, then it is not a stretch to say that the fundamental laws of physics exist necessarily and timelessly.

Of course, it is possible to believe that the laws of logic begin to exist at the moment of the origin of space and time, and that they govern all activity in every universe created thereafter. But why these laws and not other laws of logic? Was it impossible for there to have been other laws? Is there a necessity to why there must be these laws of logic? Perhaps these laws of logic are indeed necessary because there must exist rules preventing contradiction and other paradoxes. But when it comes to the hotly debated existence of “nothing”, and by nothing I mean absolute nothing - not anything or the complete absence of anything – the necessary existence of logic puzzles me because in some sense, logic exists prior to anything. So it does not seem likely that absolute nothing ever really existed. 


  1. Michael,

    You have not considered the possibility that God might embody logic is His very Being as He does Justice, Righteousness, and Love.

    1. I've considered that in the same way theists argue that goodness is founded in god. Although I have trouble reconciling the idea that god himself embodies logic, and yet contradicts himself dozens and dozens of times in every religious texts ever written. Checkout this link:

      Now you could argue that the bible, the koran and all other holy texts are not inerrant, and contain some of man's flaws, but you'd still have to demonstrate that logic cannot exist necessarily the way abstract objects like numbers can.

    2. That or you could argue that God is the paradigm of all logics (including paraconsistent logics) and that he is the paradigm of arithmetic. I would say that numbers do not exist as 'necessary beings', but that mathematical propositions represent necessary truths about mathematics. Theists who agree don't need to go on to say that numbers exist as platonic forms or abstract objects. I don't see why we would have to demonstrate that platonism about the laws of logic, which are necessary propositions, is false in order to say that logic possibly has laws which do not exist as platonists imagine numbers to exist.

      Moreover, as a Theologian, I find the so called 'contradictions' advanced on websites like 'evilbible' definitively unimpressive. They didn't even impress me when I was 18. There may be some impressive examples out there of apparent contradictions in the Bible, but they don't appear on that website. Finally, obviously, one could simply affirm Theism without affirming any religion at all, since Theism, like Atheism, isn't a worldview, and merely says that the proposition 'God exists' has a truth value (for Theism, it has the truth value 'true').

    3. I personally find your unimpressiveness unimpressive. And until you can explain or refute every one of those contradictions, I will remain so.

      I agree with your last part. If I were somehow a theist, I would still reject all the religions that exist on account of their failure to portray god as anything closely resembling a greatest conceivable being.

  2. What would it even mean for God to embody the laws of logic?
    To make that claim would seem to drain all content from "Logic", since any of the laws, etc, would no longer be required (in the same way the claim that God embodies goodness drain content from the term "good").

    1. Personally I find the concept of god to be logically incoherent and so I find it really hard for god to embody logic itself. I think theists just want to claim another area for god just as they do with creation and morality.

    2. I find Igtheism appealing as well.

      However, as Greg Dawes points out in Theism and Explanation
      "We could legitimately adopt a theistic hypothesis, in some provisional, heuristic way, even if there were some prima facie evidence that it was internally incoherent. We could do so if it possessed other explanatory virtues."
      Dawes, Gregory W. (2009-04-04). Theism and Explanation (Routledge Studies in the Philosophy of Religion) (p. 51). Taylor & Francis. Kindle Edition.

      I find, however, that theists tend to favour the hypothesis, and assume that "God did it" is the default position which needs no further justification.

      I know that's the sort of position held by Daniel Mann above.

    3. I love the "God did it" hypothesis. It can be used to explain everything, while at the same time it explains nothing.

      Personally, I'm a "moderate atheist" when it comes to a 9 point scale i created on approaches to theism. Ignosticism would I guess fall under "strong atheism" on my scale or somewhere in the agnostic levels.

    4. I highly recommend the Dawes book above - it argues quite comprehensively, that current Theistic hypothesis fail as even potential explanation, let alone being successful explanation.
      He takes Swinburne's arguments as being the best, most developed theistic explanations, and proceeds to show how they fail to stand up to his reasonable criteria for assessing explanations generally.

    5. Thanks - I'll keep it on my list. Methodological naturalism is absolutely justified in so many ways. This became even more apparent to me when researching into a counter argument for Alvin Plantinga's Evolutionary Argument Against Naturalism, when he says "Satan and his minions, for example—may have been permitted to play a role in the evolution of life on earth, steering it in the direction of predation, waste and pain."

      I wrote "It's ideas like this that make me have to sigh in dismay at what happens when one rejects methodological naturalism in favor of supernatural conjecture. This is exactly why naturalism has been the preferred methodology of science since Darwin."

  3. Methodological naturalism is absolutely justified in so many ways.
    And the success of methodological naturalism (and the abject failure of supernaturalism) justifies a (provisional) acceptance of Philosophical Naturalism.

    There are no rigorous methodological approaches to supernaturalism - I ask theists who object to science supposedly ruling out supernaturalism to provide or link to one, and haven't received response.

    If there were a methodology, it would be incorporated into science - science, as an endeavour doesn't care about naturalism/supernaturalism. It cares about what can be shown.

    Science isn't about investigating the natural, it's about investigating what is real.

  4. I view logic as a tool. A tool that has real advantages
    for survival. The ability to weigh thoughts and come to a valuable choice.

    god seems to defy logic in both his lack of competent communication to us
    and his penchant on "faith" being the ultimate good attribute. (summary of the bibles main tenant)

    By remaining invisible to us and then demanding we accept him or suffer un-rivaled
    torture endlessly and say he is doing it all out of "perfect love" is so far away from logic it is comical.

    if a: god exists and b. he wanted us to know him, then it would seem
    illogical for god to allow his existence to be so easily shrouded in uncertainty and mystery. yet he remains invisible to all observation thus far.

    To give us an intellect that is curious by nature but to tell us we must discard
    the most valuable tool we have for survival in favor of belief without evidence - "Faith"; I don't know, maybe it's me but that seems to be the most illogical course of action.

    Faith is the only thing holding religion together. Belief without evidence. and it seems diametrically opposed to Logic and reason which demand
    something to evaluate. With Faith, everything becomes personal experience.
    I know many Christians who are convinced that every coincidence they encounter is god working - they don't even stop to consider if it was a coincidence or not.

    Without god revealing himself - we are left to evaluate the "concept of god" which is but our own construct.

    as Thinker points out in many of his blogs here, evaluating the concept itself leads to contradiction by the very attributes we assign 'god' and we arrive at
    a logical conclusion that the concept itself is but "wishful thinking".

    Theists like to argue that god is beyond our understanding but that is a catch 22
    because then they go on to tell you everything about god and his plan and what god wants..etc...if we can't understand god with our petite little minds then how can we EVER go around describing god thoughts and intentions like so many believers do?



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