Logic, reason and Christianity (Creation Magazine LIVE! 5-11)
Are logic and faith compatible? Can you be
a Christian and still be logical? Logic, Reason and Christianity, this week
on Creation Magazine LIVE! Welcome to Creation Magazine LIVE! My name
is Richard Fangrad and I’m Calvin Smith Despite what some people believe, logic and
reason are essential to Christianity. Without them it’s impossible to deduce anything
from the true propositions of the 66 books of Scripture, which is the final authority
for a Christian. This applies to Creation, one of the foundational
doctrines of Christianity and in the next half hour we will touch on examples of valid
and fallacious reasoning, showing how logical reasoning can support the truth of biblical
creation, and demonstrate the fallacies in many evolutionary arguments.
To begin, we need to explain the basics: Logic is the science of the relations between propositions
(or statements). Logic can tell us what can be inferred from
a given proposition, but it can’t tell us whether the given proposition is true in the
first place. An axiom is a self-evident truth. It’s a
proposition, or a starting assumption, that is assumed to be true without proof.
All philosophical systems, including atheistic beliefs, rely on logical deductions from starting
assumptions, axioms, which, by definition, cannot be proven from prior assumptions. You’ve got to have a starting place somewhere. The question is, given our axioms, is it rational to accept the propositions, the statements,
made by the infallible God in the 66 books of the Bible? Is it logical and reasonable conclusion
to believe the Bible? Something else that needs to be clarified
is the difference between the magisterial or ministerial use of reason.
The magisterial use of reason occurs when reason stands over Scripture like a magistrate
and judges it. Such ‘reasoning’ is bound to be flawed,
because it starts with axioms invented by fallible humans and not revealed by the infallible God. That’s the chief characteristic of liberal
‘Christianity’, and it’s refuted by Scriptural passages such as Isaiah “‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares
the Lord. ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your
ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.’” Note that this doesn’t say, “My logic
is higher than your logic”. The logic has to be the same.
Otherwise you could have a situation where if we believed 2+2=4, God could believe 2+2=5. Then you’d never know anything, revelation would collapse. What it does mean is that God knows every true proposition, God knows all truth while
we know only a part. That’s what that means. The ministerial use of reason
submits to Scripture. This means that all things necessary for our faith and life are
either in Scripture or may be deduced from it.
Many Scriptural passages show that Christians are not supposed to “check in their brains
at the church door”, but to use their God-given minds in subjection to God’s Word. For example,
in Isaiah 1:18 it says, “‘Come now, let us reason together,’
says the Lord. ‘Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though
they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.’”
In Romans 12:2 it says, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern
of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test
and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
Christians are to think differently. Our reasoning, our thinking is to be based on truth. It starts
with the truth, with axioms, then we’ll be able to know the will of God’s.
And it should be axiomatic that the Bible is true, that Christians should submit to that, unfortunately,
that’s often not the case. The Christian faith is a knowledge-based faith. The prophet
Isaiah asks repeatedly, “Do you not know, have you not heard?” Jesus repeatedly asks: “Have you not read …?” and tells
the Sadducees that they are in error because they, “do not know the Scriptures or the
power of God” (Matt. 22:29). Always referring back to the authority of the Word of God. It’s a knowledge-based religion. In addition to that Paul, in his letters,
constantly shows that true, functional faith is always built on knowledge, and the cause
of deficient faith is deficient knowledge. Paul repeatedly asks the question,
“Do you not know …?’”, “Have you not read?”, “Do you not know …?’” again and again. For example throughout 1 Corinthians and Romans, you see some of the references here. Its all over the place in Paul’s writings. My people perish because of lack of knowledge, because they reject knowledge, they reject God’s word. For more details about this week’s topic you can go to creation.com/logic and see an article there on the subject matter here.
And we’ll get into some examples when we come back. Did you know that animals have genetic switches? These are regulatory regions of DNA that control
the genes. Scientists have noticed that dramatic things
can happen when a genetic switch is mutated. For instance, a mutated genetic switch can
dramatically alter the appearance of stickleback fish, or generate a great variety of coat
colours in animals. Veterinary researcher Dr Jean Lightner has
suggested that God may have created genetic switches to facilitate variation, the switches
having been created with a propensity to mutate without negatively affecting other traits.
Modifications to genetic switches are not examples of ‘evolution in action’, even
though they often are spoken of in that manner. Indeed, these changes don’t involve new
information—new genes—arising, and evolutionists cannot explain the existence of the genetic
switches in the first place! The more we learn about the complexity of
genomes, the more they point to a super-intelligent master programmer.
To find out more from Creation Ministries International visit our website creation.com. If you’ve just tuned in, this week we are talking about logic, reason and Christianity.
This topic was suggested by a viewer who read the article by Dr Jonathan Sarfati and wanted
us to do an episode of Creation Magazine LIVE about it.
And it’s important to be able to recognize poor argumentation against Scripture so here we are doing it.
There’s a lot of it out there! So, we’ve defined some terms and explained some basic
concepts. We’ll do a little more of that and then get into some examples.
In logic, an argument is defined as a sequence of statements made up of premises that are
claimed to support a conclusion and Scripture teaches that Christians are to argue in this
sense. Now, this is not the same as being argumentative, or arguing just for the sake of having an argument. It’s a different type of argumentation. It’s meant to come to truth, to know what truth is. The ‘go to’ verse that commands this kind of argumentation is 1 Peter 3:15 where it says “But in your hearts set apart Christ as
Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason
for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.”
The Greek word translated ‘answer’ in 1 Peter 3:15 is ‘apologia’. This term
comes from the Greek words ‘apo’, which means ‘away from’ and logos which means
‘logic’ or ‘reason’. So apologia means ‘out of logic’ or ‘out
of reason’. It refers to a reasoned defence that would be given, for example, in a court
of law. Christ’s half-brother, Jude, commanded in
verse 3 of his epistle: “… earnestly contend for the faith which
was once delivered unto the saints.” This implies a real intellectual battle to
convince people of truth. Christianity is involved in a Truth War. It’s a battle for
the mind. It’s a battle for truth. Arguments can be either deductive or inductive.
Deductive reasoning is reasoning from the general to the particular.
Inductive arguments reason from a finite set of examples to a general rule. Deductive arguments
are the most important, so we’ll concentrate on those first.
A valid argument is one where the conclusion follows from the premises. However, validity
doesn’t depend on the truth of the premises. Let’s look at some examples. One example
of a valid argument with true premises is: All whales have backbones; Moby Dick is a whale; Therefore, Moby Dick has a backbone.
Now let’s contrast that with an example of a valid argument with a false premise and
a false conclusion. All dogs are reptiles; All reptiles have scales; Therefore, all dogs have scales.
In this case you have one false premise leads to a false conclusion. An example of an invalid argument with a true
premise and true conclusion is: The sun is larger than the earth; Therefore
polytheism contradicts the Bible. This is invalid because the conclusion contains
terms not contained in the premise. It is important to recognise valid forms of argumentation,
and use them obviously as Christians. Moving on, a sound argument is a valid argument with true premises. So
the conclusion of a sound argument must be true. Let’s look at an example: Abortion is intentional killing of a fetus; A fetus is an innocent human being; Intentionally killing an innocent human being is murder; Murder is forbidden by God; Therefore, abortion is forbidden by God.
If we look at the premises, the form of the argument is valid, premises (1) and (3) are
true by the normal definitions of words, (2) can be proven by science and Scripture.
For example, Genesis 25:22 and Luke 1:41 use the same words for unborn and born children,
which means that you were just as human before you were born as you were after you were born, and so this is proven by Genesis 9:6, Exodus 20:13 and Romans 13:9, so the argument is sound.
When we come back we’ll define another important term: contradiction, and look at some more
examples. Creation Ministries International staff, many
from a wide variety of scientific disciplines, have produced thousands of articles now available in a massive online database. Some of the topics covered
include: • The feasibility of Noah’s Ark and evidence
for a global flood • Scientific arguments that explain observations
in astronomy within a ‘young earth’ time frame.
• Recent discoveries that support dinosaurs fitting with Biblical history.
• Evidence from biology that shows that the type of change that is observed in living
things has absolutely nothing to do with evolution. Got questions?
Get answers at creation.com On this week’s episode we are talking about logic, reason
and Christianity. This isn’t focussing on specifically on creation , but it has to do with
the truth of all of Christianity. There are often articles covering topics like this,
articles not focussing directly on the creation/evolution debate, on creation.com and in our Creation magazine of course. Part of the reason for today’s topic is that it is increasingly important for Christians
to be able to discern poor arguments against Scripture. And there is a lot of them out there.
Creation Ministries International, CMI, focusses on showing how the latest scientific discoveries
support Genesis, that’s our focus, but we certainly believe that the whole Bible is
infallible, it’s the actual Word of God where He describes to us who He is, so that
we can serve Him effectively. So it’s important to defend all of Scripture.
So, let’s talk about a contradiction. Okay, what is a contradiction? A contradiction consists of a logical incompatibility
between two or more propositions. For any pair of contradictory premises, one must be
true and the other false. The Law of Non-Contradiction prevents both premises being true, while the
Law of Excluded Middle points out that a pair of contradictory premises exhausts all possibilities.
Another way of putting it is: a proposition must be either true or false, not both true
and false, nor in some limbo state in between truth and falsity. This can be useful in listing
all possible alternatives and refuting all of them but the correct one.
C.S. Lewis’s famous Trilemma argument is a good example. It goes like this:
– Jesus Christ is reported to have claimed to be God. The reports are either true or
false. If the reports are false, the reporters
either knew they were false or they did not. So ‘1a’, you can follow this through here; If they knew they were false, they were
liars, but who would die for what they know is a lie? That just doesn’t make sense. Most of Jesus disciples were martyred
for believing that Jesus is God. 1b. If they did not know, then it’s a big
problem to explain how legends could accumulate around a historical figure in such a short
time. If the reports are true, then Jesus was
either speaking falsely or truly. If Jesus spoke falsely He either knew
it or he did not. If He knew, He was a liar. If He knew not, then He was a lunatic, since He claimed to be God, the most absurd
claim anyone can make. If Jesus spoke truly, then He really is
God. Famous argument from CS Lewis. Now in that example can you see how falsehoods
can be weeded out through the use of logic. It’s a very useful tool!
Anti-Christians often charge the Bible with contradicting itself because they realise
that if the charge were proven, it would disprove divine authorship. But most of these sceptics
are ignorant of the definition of a contradiction. For example, Bible skeptics will claim a contradiction
regarding the number of blind men healed. Matthew 20:29 states that Christ healed two
blind men. That doesn’t contradict Mark 10:46, they say it does but it doesn’t, which states that Bartimaeus was healed.
Why? Because it doesn’t say only Bartimaeus was healed, so it’s not a contradiction.
Here’s something to be on the lookout for: many statements by anti-Christians might appear
reasonable on the surface, but actually refute themselves. An important aspect of contradiction
is self-refutation. Some common examples are these: “There is no truth”—this would mean
that this sentence itself is not true. It’s self-refuting.
“We can never know anything for certain”—so how could we know that for certain? Same problem.
“A statement is only meaningful if it is either a necessary truth of logic or can be
tested empirically” —this statement itself is neither a necessary truth of logic nor
can it be tested empirically, so it is meaningless by its own criteria.
“There are no moral absolutes, so we ought to be tolerant of other people’s morals”. But
‘ought’ implies a moral absolute that toleration is good. Something you ought to do.
That’s contradictory, so the statement refutes itself. We’ll continue with more examples
when we get back and we’ll look at this in a little bit more detail… ‘Dropstones’ are rocks that have been
carried and dropped into finely grained sediment. For instance, icebergs can carry and drop
rocks on the ocean floor, to be covered by further sedimentation.
Noah’s flood was a worldwide catastrophe that deposited much of earth’s fossil-bearing
rocks. However, within these rocks, we find what appear to be dropstones.
This is often interpreted as evidence of previous ice ages. And since you can’t have ice ages
occurring during the flood, this has prompted some to claim that dropstones disprove Noah’s
flood. However, dropstones can be formed by mechanisms
that don’t involve icebergs. For example, floating tree stumps can have rocks entangled
within them, which are then dropped on the ocean floor.
Moreover, recent research in the journal Marine Geology has shown that a large seaweed known
as kelp has a surprising ability to carry and drop sizeable rocks. So dropstones don’t
disprove Noah’s flood. To find out more from Creation Ministries
International visit our website creation.com. This week we are talking about various forms
or arguments. As Christians we need to be able to spot faulty argumentation in our own
thinking and in the attacks that come from skeptics. So we can have clear thinking and so we can detect when somebody doesn’t. So here is a final question, why should logic work at all? Not only can unbelievers not make
a sound case against Christianity, but an atheistic worldview attacks the very basis
of reasoning itself. They always want to be reasonable and logical. That’s what you hear all of the time. This was realised by the famous Communist evolutionary biologist,
J.B.S. Haldane. When he said this, “If my mental processes are determined wholly
by the motions of atoms in my brain, I have no reason to suppose my beliefs are true … and
hence I have no reason for supposing my brain to be composed of atoms.” Again it’s self-refuting. It’s amazing, why say anything at all. Everything becomes meaningless. In a debate between the Christian, William Lane Craig and the atheist, Frank Zindler,
Zindler claimed that our logical processes evolved for survival value. And then Craig, who is a great debater in many cases, pointed out that this provides no reason for us to trust their validity, only their value in
survival. See Craig was able to see the flaw in Zindler’s argumentation. Isaac Newton, is still hailed today as the
greatest scientist who ever lived, and a young earth creationist by the way, recognized the anti-intellectual nature of atheism that dominates so much of academia today. When he said this;
“Opposition to godliness is atheism in profession and idolatry in practice. Atheism is so senseless
and odious to mankind that it never had many professors.” I love the word ‘odious’ it just sounds so British somehow…Charles Darwin wrote in an early private notebook, he said this, “Why is thought, being a secretion of the brain, more wonderful than gravity as a property of matter?”
But this argument is self-defeating because it applies to that thought of Darwin’s too,
and to every thought about evolution, hence we have no reason to trust them by his own statement. And the famous Marxist paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould claimed that the mind was an illusion
produced by the brain. So why should we trust anything Gould said then, if his thoughts are illusions? Isn’t the fact that someone even said that an illusion? Hopefully you can see the breakdown in these statements that we are putting up here. You can see the flaws in these arguments.
This only shows that many atheistic theories actually refute themselves. On the other hand,
the Christian doctrine that we are created in the image of a logical God is an excellent
explanation for our logical faculties. The things that we have. There’s a great video by Dr Jonathan Sarfati—it’s
actually like a course on logic and spotting bad arguments. A brilliant video. It’s called, ‘Leaving your brains at the church door’ and you can get it, if you are a viewer of Creation Magazine LIVE! you can get the DVD or digital download, whichever one, at 50% off. What you want to do is use the coupon code CMLLBCD, leaving your brains at the church door, and you use that when you check out at Creation.com. It’s a great video. I think it’s a ‘must watch’ video for junior highers and high schoolers, Christians in your youth group at church that kind of thing. Yes really get them to start thinking about logic and how to pick out things because we live in a society today that is absolutely overloaded with information. Nobody has a problem with a lack of information. We are inundated with it. So what people need are filters and ways to determine what is useful, good…Discernment… That would be the word isn’t it? It’s discernment, that’s what people need. Discern what is correct and what is incorrect and so training the mind in discernment is of the utmost importance. I love what Joe Boot, he’s a pastor here in Canada, a debater, he debates atheists all of the time. Just a brilliant guy, and in his debates with atheists one of the things that he will say often is things like this; I want to thank my opponent for showing up here today because in doing so he has proven my worldview right. Well what’s he talking about? Well the fact is he’s a Christian, he’s debating them on the existence of God, whether God exists or not. And in a debate situation what 2 people have done is set themselves up. One is saying I’m right”, the other is saying “No I’m right”. But the only way to have an absolute right or wrong is if there is an absolute moral ‘law maker’ that you can then determine what right and wrong is based on. And so what he is saying there is showing the illogicality of saying you’re wrong because then God would have to exist for them to be wrong. And we’ll be back in just a moment… Richard Fangrad and Calvin Smith also host
a fast-paced and informal internet based video program called Genesis Unleashed.
These faith-building teaching videos feature responses to news articles, summaries of articles
on creation.com, interviews and answers to some of the most-asked questions about the
creation/evolution issue and the most attacked book of the Bible: Genesis.
Visit creation.com’s media centre to view or subscribe to the latest video content. Well welcome back this is the ‘In The News’ section, there is always something about the creation/evolution debate in the news so let’s dig into this… Here is a recent news article. Breathtaking fossil of tiny mammal preserves fur and internal organs. Here we go with some of the highlights from the article. “…the exquisitely preserved fossil of a tiny mammal from the time of the dinosaurs reveals a variety of soft tissues, including skin, fur, and spines; even remnants of its external ear were fossilized. The find pushes back the earliest record of mammalian internal organs and well-preserved fur by more than 60 million years…” Continuing; “’Finding complete fossils like this raises the bar for the rest of us’, says Richard Cifelli, a vertebrate paleontologist at the University of Oklahoma, Norman, who was not involved with the new study. ‘My breath is taken away’.” That’s amazing, so quite a fossil find, people are excited about it. The article says that it is 125 million years old or it’s found in 125 million year old rock in Spain. The creature creature likely measured about 24 centimeters, we can put a picture of it up here, about 9.4 inches or so in length and weighed between 50 and 70 grams—about the size and proportions of a juvenile rat. That’s the way it was described there. It was found in finely layered limestones that entombed the fossil and it was deposited in a freshwater wetland. Then the article said; “Rapid burial of the ancient carcass in sediment, as well as low concentrations of oxygen in the ancient marsh, likely contributed to its exceptional preservation”. OK so it’s a watery type of rapid burial. It’s ringing a bell! These things are always delivered to us in this nice little evolutionary packaging. Right? You read news article like this on some new fossil find or whatever and it’s here you go and here is how it fits in this evolutionary box. Well they are calling this a fossil but so well preserved is the animal we read the following, they said, “The fossil also includes internal organs. Within the ribcage, there are patches of soft tissue that contain tubular structures in a branching pattern, which the team interprets as preserved lung tissue. Farther down in the abdomen is a large oval region of reddish brown material—likely the remnants of the creature’s liver…” They have even found pigment preserved in here, so this isn’t just well preserved, we’ve got soft tissues here. 125 million years old? Right. But they have found soft tissues in dinosaur era or way older creatures now over 30 times and you can see this on our website, go to creation.com put in ‘soft tissues’ and you are going to get article after article after article referencing secular articles like this one… They make the discoveries. We’re reporting on it and yet somehow we are supposed to believe that these soft tissues could be preserved for 70, 125 million years? And they say here rapid burial and low concentrations of oxygen like in a marsh. You could put that thing in a glass of formaldehyde and it’s not going to last for 125 million years! Simply depriving it of oxygen is not going to preserve it for 125 million years. Aren’t you also assuming the environment it was in stayed the same for 125 million years? Where they are always telling us that over millions of years there would be all of these environmental changes and of course things were evolving and the landscape was shifting. The dinosaurs went extinct during that time. So again, how did it stay the same when everything was changing? The Bible just makes so much more sense. There was a big flood that buried things recently. But that’s what this show is about that’s what CMI is all about. Next week on the show: The probability of evolution. We’ll see you next week.