- After reading through one of your gigantic and completely pointless debates ("Step #1: Atheism 101 Critical Thinking Exercise - Is The Argument Logically Valid?"), I think you are extremely confused about the purpose of and, specifically, how to correctly use Modus Ponens.

You are using completely circular logic in this debate. You are basically saying, if you assume p --> q, then you can conclude p --> q. Think about that for a second...in plain English. If you assume that if p then q is true, then it is definitely the case that if p then q.

I suspect this comes from a lack of understanding of an axiomatic system (i.e. math). Here are two different examples of real-world (cannot refute) proper use of Modus Ponens.

1) Axiom - If a number is smaller (less than) 0, then it is negative. This is an axiom...a definition. We take this to be true without question or proof.

Using this axiom, if you tell me you have a number which is less than 0, then I can safely conclude that it is a negative number.

2) Theorem - Pythagorean theorem is a perfect example. The Pythagorean theorem is NOT an axiom!!! It CANNOT be taken true without proof. Indeed, you MUST construct of proof from axioms to show that the Pythagorean theorem is true. However, once you have proved the Pythagorean theorem to be true from more fundamental axioms, it is NOT necessary to prove it again (because it has already been logically proved to be a tautology, i.e. a theorem). Note that you can use the Pythagorean Theorem to construct OTHER theorems (an axiomatic system builds on itself)...as an example you can use the Pythagorean theorem to derive the distance formula between two points in Euclidean space.

Once the Pythagorean Theorem has been proved to be true, if you then give me me a right triangle, I can safely conclude that a² + b² = c².

An axiom is a fairly trivial example of Modus Ponens, however a theorem is a much more useful example. The entire purpose of Modus Ponens is that once something has been proved, it is not necessary to continually reprove it. I think you do not understand this aspect.

So, in relation to your original debate, "Step #1: Atheism 101 Critical Thinking Exercise - Is The Argument Logically Valid?", your Major Premise is far from proved to be true.

> IF (A) man was able to originate the

First off, this premise, in my opinion is obviously false. It's almost not worth debate, but I will attempt to show it's false (although, one must understand that the closer one gets to an axiom, the harder it is to prove--since axioms, ultimately, cannot be proved).

> idea/concept of God through the power

> of imagination,

>

> THEN (B) man did originate the

> idea/concept of God through the power

> of imagination.

You are trying to prove the following: if A, then B or more concisely: A --> B.

To prove a theorem is wrong (invalid or not true), all that one must do is present a counterexample. This is exceedingly easy to do:

Let's assume the following: 1) Yahweh is real and has revealed himself to Moses through the burning bush and 2) Hindu's have imagined their concept of their gods and thus their belief's are a result of their imagination. The crux of this counterexample relies on the axiom that if one human is capable of imagining a God that all others are thus also capable of imagining a God (which I assert is a reasonable assumption).

While your Major Premise is true for Hindus, it is false for Jews. Since Hindus are capable of imagining a God so too are Jews. Yet, under my assumptions, Jews' do not believe in God because they imagined him rather because of evidence--God showed himself to them.

Therefore, despite the fact that Jews are capable of imagining a God, this is NOT the reason for their belief in God. I have showed that it is not always the case that A --> B because I just gave you a counterexample. Your major premise is not true and therefore, although I agree with your hypothesis (that man CAN imagine God), this does not imply that this is why man believes in God.

Here is the specific argument you presented me with:

> > IF (A); God's word (the text) says

First, I want to say that I agree that this argument is "correct". There are two major problems though with this statement. The first major problem is that you appear to assume the validity of this statement a priori without proof and I would argue that this is obviously unreasonable and thus one must prove this statement to be true before attempting to reach any kind of conclusion. You essentially have the following formula:

> > everything began over a period

> > of six days, and

> >

> > IF (B); God's word (the text) is

> > interpreted by some to mean it

> > was six 24-hour days occurring

> > a few thousand years ago, and

> >

> > IF (C); there is empirical

> > evidence that some thing is

> > actually much older than a

> > few thousand years,

> >

> > THEN (D); the interpretation of

> > the text by some is wrong.

(A ∧ B ∧ C) --> D

This is simple to prove (with one major assumption that I will address in a little bit). You can prove this by contradiction:

Assume D is false: The interpretation of the text by some is correct and assume A, B, and C are true.

Assuming ¬D, one can conclude that B must be true (btw, A is redundant if you accept B). So if the interpretation is correct, then God did create the Earth in six 24 hour days a few thousand years ago. However, this directly contradicts C: that the Earth is much older than a few thousand year old.

Since assuming D is false leads to a contradiction (we assumed C was true but ¬D led to use concluding that C was false), the statement must be true: (A ∧ B ∧ C) --> D.

Now, I hope you caught the major problem. The problem is that I restated C as meaning "the Earth is much older than a few thousand year old." This was not the original proposition, in fact it stated NOT that the Earth definitely WAS more than a few thousand years old, but that there is empirical evidence showing that fact.

To accept that this statement is valid you must accept that empirical evidence proves that the Earth is more than a few thousand years old. If you have studied philosophy (which you seem to have??), then you already know that empiricism is, ultimately, illogical. That is, that from a logical standpoint you cannot use empirical evidence to prove something to be true or false.

Criticism of logical positivism: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Logical_positivism#Criticisms

I would hope that I do not need to actually convince you that empirical evidence does not prove that a theory (or proposition if you will) is correct, but I can indeed present examples where empiricism has been shown to be incorrect.

The history of science is a shining testament to the fact that empiricism is a flawed logic. My favorite example is that of the Ancient Greeks' view of the universe.

The Ancient Greeks believed that the Earth was the center of the universe. Their view was that there was The Earth, The sun (which orbited the Earth--ruled the day), the Moon (which also orbited the Earth--ruled the night), and the heavens which were "perfect" and static (never changed). Now, unfortunately, they were able to see Venus and Jupiter which they believed to be stars...however, these stars were NOT like all other stars--they moved! Hence the name planet which means "wandering star". These "stars" would wander around, sometimes they would orbit in one direction, then sometimes they would change direction and go backwards (retrograde orbits).

Ahh, but the Greeks were really good at math and geometry. Eventually they developed a theory of epicycles which thoroughly explained the orbits of the known planets.

Epicycles: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deferent_and_epicycle

The theory of these epicycles was consistent with their idea that the Earth was the center of the universe. It showed that planets orbit on circles within circles (look at the pictures on Wikipedia to get a better understanding). So here is empiricism at work:

If epicycles correctly predict the motion of the planets, then it is true that Earth is the center of the universe and planets orbit the Earth along the path defined by these epicycles.

So here is an example where empirical evidence supports a theory and yet, we know now that this theory is definitely false (in hindsight). OK, so now fast forward past Copernicus and Galileo to Newton. We know that the planets orbit the Sun in ellipses (governed by Kepler's laws). Furthermore, Newton explained these orbits using forces and showed that gravity exerts a force proportional to the two masses divided by the distance squared (between the two objects).

Again, empirical evidence agreed (mostly) with his theory and thus, this was taken to be true. Along comes Einstein who says that gravity is actually caused by the curvature of space-time. He showed that this theory reduces to Newton's theory if you have large distances or small masses. However, it deviated from Newton's theory if you were very close to a massive object. Again, empirical evidence of Mercury's orbit agreed with Einstein's prediction and thus we now accept General Relativity as the correct theory of gravity rather than Newton and certainly rather than epicycles.

These are wonderful examples of a two of things: 1) empiricism is logically flawed and 2) that science is capable of correcting its false claims (a quite wonderful aspect that religion does not share).

The whole point of this aside is that empirical evidence that shows the Earth is more than a few thousand years old cannot prove, beyond a shadow of a doubt (or logically), that the Earth is indeed more than a few thousand years old. So while you could possibly dismiss Creationists' non-understanding of the empirical evidence (i.e. they do not accept C as being true, thus cannot conclude D), you cannot conclude, logically, that empirical evidence proves the true premise of C which is necessary to prove your major premise.

Without showing that C proves that the Earth is more than a few thousand years old, the proof by contradiction that I went through WAY above, doesn't work. Without it, there is no contradiction and thus one cannot conclude that your major premise is indeed true (i.e. a theorem).

Since your theorem is not true, you cannot conclude D, even though there is no doubt that A, B, and C are definitely true. - Will you blundering never end, Jared!

See http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Maury_and_Baty/message/30857 for your homework assignment and get back to me tomorrow, after you have seriously thought through your next move.

As to what you just posted:

--- In Maury_and_Baty@yahoogroups.com,

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Maury_and_Baty/message/30856

"tunombreaqui" wrote, in part:

> First way (original):

That's why I have been trying to describe the argument instead of label it. In this exercise, validity has to do with form and is not contingent upon content.

> your argument is invalid.

>

> The major premise is not showed to be true

> and thus this argument is invalid.

In other words, the issue is whether or not, for purposes of validity as I define that term, the argument is so constructed that IF, IF, IF the premises are true the conclusion will follow.

In any case, as I explained in giving you that homework assignment, the original major premise is, given the stipulations, true; but that issue is secondary to the validity issue.

Jared, again, if you do your homework assignment properly, we just might get to dealing with your soundness problem.

A sound argument is a valid argument with true premises for purposes of this exercise.

--- In Maury_and_Baty@yahoogroups.com,

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Maury_and_Baty/message/30856

"tunombreaqui" wrote, in part:

> I have to say, that the way you have written

Not really.

> this "argument", in my opinion is very strange.

You are just having trouble with the fundamentals and are having trouble being open and honest in dealing with your problems.

--- In Maury_and_Baty@yahoogroups.com,

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Maury_and_Baty/message/30856

"tunombreaqui" wrote, in part:

> If you instead are actually making the

Ah, there is still a glimmer of hope!

> following claim:

>

> If you accept the major premise and the minor

> premise, then the conclusion is true.

>

> Then, in either case, I agree that this argument

> is valid. But in neither case is it sound.

Do your homework tonight, Jared, and get back tomorrow if you can figure it all out.

Maybe then we'll take up the minor premise and soundness issues.

Sincerely,

Robert Baty