Need Help With Debate: Transcendental argument

Hi, I am having a debate with a friend at school, and I stuck on an argument I am having with him. I first responded to him saying the transcendental argument is not valid. He then responded to me, and Im not sure how exactly to respond. I was wondering if you could help me form my response. thank you

My argument:

However, I really do not think that TAG is a sufficient argument. This is what it concludes: “Since the Logical Absolutes are transcendent, absolute, are perfectly consistent, and are independent of the universe, then it seems proper to say that they reflect a transcendent, absolute, perfect, and independent mind. We call this mind God.” Carm.org This is why this conclusion is self-evidently not true.

Logical absolutes, as defined in TAG, are indeed transcendent and independent of the universe, in that they hold true even if the universe did not exist, or ceased to exist.

Unfortunately for Matt Slick, Logical absolutes, as defined in TAG, are also transcendent and independent of God, in that they hold true even if God did not exist, or ceased to exist.

For example: If God didn’t exist, then it would be true that he didn’t exist and not-true that he exists.

If God used to exist but then disappeared, then it would be true that he disappeared and not-true that he still exists.

Therefore logical absolutes hold true and exist even in the absence of God.

Therefore, of necessity, God is not the author of logical absolutes, but is SUBJECT to them.

Therefore while the fact that logical absolutes are transcendent and independent of everything including God does not disprove the existence of Fairies, Leprechauns, Demigods and other supernatural but non transcendent entities, it necessarily proves that an entity which created the logical absolutes cannot exist, because one cannot create that which it is subject to, and that which of necessity existed before one attempted to create it.

Therefore “God”, as defined in TAG, of necessity does not exist.

Here is how he responded:

“Hey Sean, Sorry for the late response. First off Jason’s argument is that Logic cannot exist apart from the Christian God, so unless you can prove that logic makes sense in another world view, you can’t make the argument that He is subject to logic, because, technically if logic doesn’t fit with your worldview, then your world view doesn’t allow you to make an argument based on logic. “in that they hold TRUE even if the universe did not exist or CEASED TO EXIST.” Similar to the first paragraph of this reply, how does the word ‘true’ fit with your worldview? I don’t even know what position you are arguing from. Evolution? Polytheistic? Relativism? Because if you’re using an evolutionary argument while you believe in something else, this conversation is pointless, similar to how someone using morals to attack the Christian foundation is borrowing from that foundation. That only supports one thing, that the foundation from which it is borrowed is true, in no way would that prove your worldview is true. The fact that your using words like true, imply morals and conistency, which means they exist, according to you, but if they don’t fit with your worldview, then you’re contradicting yourself. Even saying ‘ceased to exist’implies something is holding it together, and in a random chance universe, that also doesn’t fit, why should something be held together consistently when everything is random? What in your worldview allows for consistency. It makes sense in the Christian world view, the Bible says God holds all things together, but if we are a random combination of chemicals based on probabilities, what kind of probability is it to have a probability of 1, all the time. That doesn’t make sense. Your example of logic is exactly that, an example of logic. It may be valid, but that doesn’t mean it’s true. This example only proves that logic currently exists. It doesn’t prove how logic can exist before God. Explain how, if logic was pre-existent, that logic created the Universe, logically. Christians believe God was pre-existent to creation, and other worldviews still had to chose something to be pre-existent, in this case, logic. Logic is a formula, information begets information, what begot logic? Logic is based on order, creation is evidence for intelligent design. If someone finds tools in an abandoned cave, it’s evidence that someone else designed those tools and left them there. No one would think, “oh look at how these tools magically appeared here.” A rock doesn’t tie itself to a piece of wood. Also your second premise to your conclusion isn’t sound. I’m assuming you’re talking about the Christian God. If you say “God used to exist but then disappeared” you cannot be speaking of the Christian God, because the Christian God always was and always will be. In that case, sure logical absolutes do exist apart from god, because you’re not talking about the God who created it.”

Posted: January 22nd 2013

George Locke

...so unless you can prove that logic makes sense in another worldview…

It is impossible to prove that logic makes sense at all, let alone in one worldview as opposed to another. The notion of proof is part of logic, and any sort of proof must invoke logic. The thing is, you can’t use logic to prove that logic can prove things: that’s circular reasoning. Whenever you make an argument, whenever you say anything at all, you assume the efficacy of logic from the outset.

In the same way, it is meaningless for your friend to assert that logic only makes sense under these conditions (theism) and not those (atheism). Logic “makes sense” by construction. Imagining that logic might not make sense is like imagining a language that doesn’t communicate anything or a triangle with four points. Logic is defined by “making sense”; if you have some system of axioms that doesn’t make sense, then that system is not logic.

Logic is not transcendent. Your “logical absolutes” are contingent on a system created by humans, subject to historical accident etc. Given that system, with its axioms and definitions, we can make statements that don’t appear to depend on anything outside the system, but the system depends on us creating it. “Triangles have three points” is absolutely true, but until you define “triangle” it has no meaning, so the statement is true but contingent on human-made ideas like “point”, “line”, “polygon” etc.

Logic, like math or language, is a human construct that we use to understand the world. It’s a tool that describes relationships between ideas. As with language, we basically can’t think without logic, but that doesn’t mean logic is a fundamental fact about the world. This false apprehension is an example of mistaking the map for the territory. Logic is indispensable to us, but when you imagine that logic is part of the fabric of reality, you’re confusing the tools we use to understand the world with the world itself.

See also this related question.

Posted: February 20th 2013

See all questions answered by George Locke


Is your atheism a problem in your religious family or school?
Talk about it at the atheist nexus forum