This is a very short course in logic for those who like to use the Socratic method in leading believers to see the falsity of theism. Even such a small course as this will prove helpful, for it is the very basis, the foundation of, logical discourse.

In your questioning of theists in order to lead them to the realization that theism has no basis in reality always remember, and when possible, utilize the three laws of logic, in establishing the truth or falsity of a thing.

What are the three laws of logic ? They are as follows.

(1) The Law of Identity, which states that something is itself, and not something else. The term being used corresponds and coincides with the thing being described.

(2) The Law of Non-contradiction. This law develops more fully the first law, in that it teaches that the thing being described in the first law cannot be both itself and not itself at the same time and in the same sense.

(3) The Law of the Excluded Middle. This final law says that a thing must be either true or false, it cannot be both. In other words, there is no middle ground. In other words, as an example, a woman cannot be a little pregnant.

Christians have tried to sneak in a fourth law, called the Law of Sufficient Cause. This is not one of the true laws of logic, there are only three, the three enumerated above. The purpose of this spurious fourth law is meant only to justify the existence of God as the sufficient cause of the universe.

So, there you have it. In using your Socratic questioning it would be only helpful to remember these three laws in establishing the truth or falsity of a thing.

Tags: Laws, Logic, Method, Of, Socratic

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Anthony, thank you for the refresher.  I am not expert at philosophy.

I have a question about (3).  Where does that leave decrees of a trait.  Such as thin - middle - fat, or short - middle - tall.  ?

I have not heard of the law of sufficient cause.  I do wonder why the universe must have a cause.  It exists.  Does that require a cause?

Effects need causes, pretty much without exception.  What the creationists can't deal with is the fact that elements of quantum mechanics allow for the possibility that the Big Bang caused ITSELF, as a product of spontaneous emission or a variation on that principle.

They thought it was the ultimate gap their god could hide in.  They were wrong.

Actually Loren, belief in causation is what is called folk physics, or even Newtonian physics, on the macroscopic scale. But on the quantum level there is no such thing as causation. Quantum mechanics has found that at root, on the quantum microscopic scale, all is randomness. On the quantum level the arrow of time can go in either direction, with effects without causes. In fact, according to quantum physicists, though very highly unlikely, all the sub-atomic particles in a statue's arm could randomly move in the same direction, making the statue actually wave it's arm; air could, though very highly unlikely, in the same way, rush back into a deflated tire and re-inflate it.

Loren, your post above and Anthony's in response may have clarified quantum mechanics for me.

Effects need causes....

My major league dictionary defines each of these words in relation to the other.

It might be that the human mind perceives what exists, considers them effects, and needs causes.

For instance, despite 12 years in Catholic schools, I feel no need to say the universe has a cause.

Big Bang cosmologists do feel a need to say the universe has a cause.

Perhaps their need for a cause is strong enough to "cause" quantum mechanics, which permits them to say the universe is uncaused.

Tom:

According to cosmologists and astronomers, energy/matter, can neither be created nor destroyed (Conservation of energy/mass [or matter]). This is the first law of thermodynamics. Accordingly, physicists do not hold nothingness in the same way as everyday people do (i.e., absolute absence of any and every thing). In reality, nothingness is a roiling, vibrating, endless sea (if you will), of quantum vacuum fluctuations, with virtual particles endlessly popping into and back out of existence. Each virtual particle pops into existence for a mere yoctosecond (one septillionth of a second). The current theory that has passed every test, is that 13.8 billion years ago a bubble nucleation of probably a virtual particle occurred (what we call the Big Bang), and for a mere few seconds it expanded exponentially faster than the speed of light (i.e., what we call inflation). This is how it is understood that the universe came from nothingness. During the yoctosecond that a virtual particle exists it is the same as a real particle. The reason it is called virtual is the fact that it does not stay a real particle. Because virtual particles only last for a yoctosecond the law of the conservation of energy/matter is not violated. And because neither energy and matter can be create nor destroyed, the formation of the universe from the quantum vacuum does not violate the first law either.

When I studied physics, it was physicists, not cosmologists, who said energy or matter is neither created nor destroyed.

Cosmologists long ago quit going to the laboratory. They rely on thought.

The current theory that has passed every test,....

When tests are designed and conducted by people who accept the current theory, confirmation bias might explain conclusions.

Government funding and a desire for its continuation, far more powerfully than confirmation bias, influences the results of many investigations. Especially those investigations conducted in peoples' minds and not subject to falsifiability.

Anthony, you have a lot of faith in BB cosmologists.

Sentient:

These laws only apply to logical discourse, not to physical things like tall-sort of tall-short-or sort of short. I'm not saying they don't apply to all things physical, such as the case of a woman being a little or sort of pregnant. Like, for example, if you are sick you're sick, if you're dead you're dead, not sort of sick, or sort of dead.

Thanks Tony!  I love learning things here. ~ Mindy

Supposedly these three laws of classical logic are due to Aristotle, but in fact he never stated the so-called Law of Identity. And of course Aristotle's logic was what is now called term logic, meaning that it was a logic of attributions or properties and its one method of inference was the syllogism.

Scholastic philosophy made much of the three laws of classical logic, thinking that they come from God himself.

Predicate Calculus as a formal discipline dealing with propositions actually has additional laws, such as the distributive laws. (George Boole made a good start on symbolic logic in 1844 with his Laws of Thought.)

The laws of logic are the forms of compound statements that are tautologies, which is to say, those compound statements which are always true regardless of the truth or falsity of their constituents. For example the Law of the Excluded Middle is the compound statement:

P or not P

which is true independently of whether P is true or false. Similarly The Law of Contradiction is the tautology

not (P and not P).

There is no preferred system of logic that can be claimed as absolute—there are many different logics—but in recent years there has come to be a kind of general agreement using category theory as to what constitutes a logic. (The definition involves topoi and is not easy to state.)

Well said, Tony, my friend.

That there are "three laws of logic" is an institutional fact. I don't think you'll convince many people, atheists or theists alike, by suggesting that if their principles, whatever it is, doesn't fall within your arbitrary categories, then they aren't worth mentioning.

That there are "three laws of logic" is an institutional fact.

What constitutes an 'institutional fact'?

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