I call upon You, Lord, God of Abraham and God of Isaac and God of Jacob and Israel, You who are the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the God who, through the abundance of your mercy, was well-pleased towards us so that we may know You, who made heaven and earth, who rules over all, You who are the one and the true God, above whom there is no other God; You who, by our Lord Jesus Christ gave us the gift of the Holy Spirit, give to every one who reads this writing to know You, that You alone are God, to be strengthened in You, and to avoid every heretical and godless and impious teaching.

St Irenaeus of Lyons, Against the Heresies 3:6:4

Friday, January 29, 2010

Right Reasoning, pt. I, Modus Ponens: Excursus

One of the points, # 6, in my Ten-plus-One Deadly Sins of Empiricism, I describe how a purely empirical method inescapably commits the formal fallacy of affirming the consequent. It reads,

The argument for empirical verificationism breaks a formal law of logic, and is therefore always fallacious. It goes like this: If hypothesis P, then effect Q will result; Q was the result, therefore P is verified and may be considered ‘theory’ or ‘law.’ As you well know, this is the fallacy of affirming the consequent. And because every line of verification must proceed thus, no method of verification is logically demonstrable.

In stating this inherent flaw in empiricism, I’ve been misunderstood (or accused by antitheists in debates) as being anti-science. I’m not anti-science; science is a very useful, God ordained means for carrying out the dominion mandate (Gen 1:26—28; 2:7—15), thus for reinterpreting and recreating our environment to the glory of God. For God’s glory and mankind’s good, science is a necessary and righteous endeavor.

However, when man seeks to take up science as a weapon against his Creator, and exalt autonomous human reason and logic to a deified position, so assuming that such may be employed to determine the scope of the possible and impossible and judge God and his Word, then a humbling will follow.

For if the material world is “all that was, is, or ever will be,” as the antitheists contend, then empiricism is the only reasonable epistemological method. And if empiricism is the only epistemological method, then that is the only method for a critical examination of the Christian worldview. But, since empiricism is always formally fallacious, all antitheist objections to the Christian worldview rest upon a fallacious line of reasoning. Therefore, antitheist’s objections to Christianity are irrational.

Funny. That’s exactly what the Bible says.

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