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Lord over logic

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Philosophy Teacher's Assistant
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Dordt College

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  1. Introduction
  2. The abstraction forces
  3. The weak form of reductionism
  4. The basic presupposition
  5. The common theistic view of God
  6. Clauser's biggest problem
  7. Conclusion
  8. Sources

The seeming necessity of logical principles, such as the fundamental ?law of non-contradiction?, has led many thinkers to consider these principles primordial, basic, and uncreated. I can sympathize with the attitude that gives rise to this belief. In my own personal history of studying logic, I can remember my initial disbelief that it could be so profoundly ?common sense?, that it was so basic to the perception of reality I already had. Gradually this disbelief segued into a realization that much of my perception was based, for credibility, in an implicit assertion of the ideas that logic was making explicit. If I was experiencing the world as it was, then it seemed that everything in the world must inevitably bow to the ?laws of logic?. For a Christian, however, there seems to be a profound danger in respecting any laws as prior to and necessary for the existence of reality.

In my case, the logic curriculum that first acquainted me with the subject was from Veritas Press, a popular classical educational home schooling publisher?that also happens to be Catholic?suppressed any doubts about the fundamental nature of logic right out the gate. In the first chapter, I can still remember their claim, ?God is logic.? By an apparently simple identification of the ?Logos? in John 1 with the ?laws of logic? they added an exegetically unsound and philosophically troubling conclusion to my intellectual universe. I never bothered to question that conclusion again until I came up against Roy Clauser.

[...] to provide reasons why all theories are religiously regulated, and from these reasons will also demonstrate that both reductionism and also the common Christian cop-out that created whatever aspect(s) the rest of creation reduces are hopeless strategies for explanation, and, finally, he will show for what reasons most theists ?have remained committed to adapting reduction theories? but have failed to ?baptize (or circumcise) reduction theories into theistic acceptability? (185-186). Reductionism, which is the claim that one aspect[1] of reality either comprises the only genuine aspect of reality or that all other aspects of reality are generated from it, inevitably implies a divinity belief because it exalts its favored aspects of reality as ?unconditionally non-dependent? (187).Why are theorists continually bothering to perpetrate reductionisms? [...]

[...] If God's perfections necessarily exist, then they ?make God depend on realities He didn't create, over which He has no control? (205). The mental experiment that demonstrates the foolishness of this idea is the same one that Clauser used earlier to demonstrate the foolishness of isolating aspects of reality?neither those aspects, nor God's attributes can be conceived in isolation. They are defined and conceived in terms of each other?so that none of them could have independent existence, but they in fact depend on their connectedness to exist at all. [...]

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