YOUR Curmudgeon once again brings you the view from Answers in Genesis (AIG), one of the major sources of creationist wisdom. They have recently posted a bizarre article at their website: Feedback: Not Sound Logic?
The article is by Jason Lisle, whose creationist writings are familiar to our readers. He’s described at AIG’s website as a Creationist Astrophysicist — whatever that is. As we’ve noted before, AIG has an entire page devoted to information about this amazing man: Dr. Jason Lisle, Ph.D. Note that a reference to his doctorate appears both before and after his name. That is how we shall refer to him.
This latest article by Dr. Lisle, Ph.D. presents us with a challenging task, because it’s the most contorted articles that are the most difficult to write about. It begins with a letter Lisle claims to have received, which seems to us to make a good point. We added the bold font:
I normally enjoy Answers In Genesis, and I definitely appreciate your ministry. However, I do have one pet peeve. From the latest feedback:
“Logic, truth, morality, knowledge, and science all stem from a biblical worldview, and only a biblical worldview. This does not mean that one must believe the Bible in order to believe in these things, but it does mean that the Bible must be true in order for one to use these things.”
This just doesn’t make sense, and frankly, it makes us look bad.
Specifically, I have a problem with saying: “the Bible must be true in order for one to use these things.”
Here are a few excerpts from the answer given by Dr. Lisle, Ph.D., with bold font added by us:
[N]one of these things have rational justification apart from the biblical worldview. God Himself has indicated in His Word that knowledge begins with Him (Proverbs 1:7) [The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, But fools despise wisdom and instruction] and is not possible apart from Him (Colossians 2:3) [in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge].
Okay, that settles it. Right? Regarding the comment that “it makes us look bad,” Dr. Lisle, Ph.D. says:
We shouldn’t really be too concerned about “looking bad” to the world. Rather we should be concerned about teaching what is true, and acting in obedience to the Word of God. Besides, to date, no evolutionist has been able to refute this argument. They can mock all they want. But they cannot argue against the biblical worldview.
Responding to the questioner’s statement that he has a problem with saying: “the Bible must be true in order for one to use these things,” Dr. Lisle, Ph.D. says:
Actually, it is sound. It is valid (the form of the argument is correct — usually phrased as a modus tollens), and the premises are true. 1. If the Bible were not true, logic would not be meaningful. 2. Logic is meaningful. 3. Therefore, the Bible is true. The first premise is usually further defended by illustrations of the impossibility of the contrary.
Whoa! To begin with, that is not the form of a modus tollens argument. Wikipedia gives the proper form:
If P, then Q.
As Wikipedia correctly explains it:
The argument has two premises. The first premise is the conditional “if-then” statement, namely that P implies Q. The second premise is that Q is false. From these two premises, it can be logically concluded that P must be false.
A typical classroom example, fleshing out the Ps and Qs, is this:
If it’s raining, then the streets will be wet. (If P, then Q.)
The streets are not wet. (Not Q)
Therefore, it’s not raining. (Therefore, not P.)
If the premises are true in an argument of this form, then so is the conclusion.
Ignoring the invalid form of Dr. Lisle, Ph.D.’s argument, consider his first premise — which he asserts is true. “If the Bible were not true, logic would not be meaningful.” Putting that in more graceful language, it’s this: “If the Bible were false, logic would not be meaningful.” Is that premise true?
Of course not! Logic functions independently of scripture. Aristotle was the first to describe the laws of logic, and there’s no evidence that he relied on the scriptures of a far-away people in the Persian empire. Even if the form of Lisle’s argument were valid, a false premise makes the conclusion worthless. The conclusion in Lisle’s syllogism is: “Therefore, the Bible is true.”
Further, because Dr. Lisle, Ph.D. blithely asserts the truth of his premise (“If the Bible were not true, logic would not be meaningful.”) why does he even bother to construct his shoddy syllogism? He’s already assumed what he purports to prove.
Finally, Dr. Lisle, Ph.D. claims: “The first premise is usually further defended by illustrations of the impossibility of the contrary.”
But he doesn’t give us any illustrations. We doubt that he has any. Or if he does, they are undoubtedly of the same quality as his syllogism.
Thus, the entire AIG article is pseudo-logical gobbledegook, which is exactly what we expect of creationists.
Update: See Creationism and Logic, Part 2.
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