Ok, a proper keyboard!
Perhaps you can sort out where philosphy leaves off and logic starts.
I'll offer some thoughts about Snelling below, but I want to spend most of my time here just because it's the only really
relevant piece of my contribution to the thread. I'd just start by saying that it is a very easy thing to blur the lines between logic and philosophy, so don't feel like I'm accusing you of some terribly fundamental kind of error here. Lots of people miss the distinction (a lot of them being logicians, as a matter of fact). Anyway, the proper subject of the discipline of logic is the rules of human thought whereby one can correctly (or with warrant) deduce or infer truths from a set of propositions. What that means in practice is that logic has absolutely nothing to do whatsoever with the content
of any given argument but always and only with form. So if A is B and B is C then A is C. We have forms like a modus ponens or modus tollens. When we form
our thoughts improperly, (that is, when we relate them to one another improperly), we have fallacies such as affirming the consequent or denying the antecedent, yada, yada.
So something can be logical in the sense that it holds the proper form but still be incorrect in its conclusion. For example;
1. Jac knows all women
2. All the women Jac knows are blonde
3. Therefore, all women are blonde
4. Audie is not blonde
5. Therefore, Audie is not a woman
Silly example, but it shows on several levels that something can be correctly formulated (logical) but still be incorrect. In this example, the problem is that both the first and second premises are just not true
, and therefore, we fail to get a true conclusion. And still further, a conclusion can be true even if the premises are incorrectly related (that is, if the argument is illogical). For instance:
1. Roses are red
2. Jac's youngest daughter is named Charlotte
3. Therefore, Audie is a woman
So the conclusion is true, and, in fact, both are the premises, but the conclusion doesn't follow. The conclusion is an illogical statement. My point then is that something being logical or illogical isn't a statement on its being true. It's a statement about the proper way to think.
Against all that, philosophy has to do with a thing's nature. Ask a logician, "What is that?" and you'll get a logical answer--you'll hear of genus and species and so on. Most generally, a logician will say, "It is a thing" or "it is not a thing," and for the logician, necessarily, that which is not a thing is nothing. But a philosopher will give a different answer (and that answer will depend, of course, on the nature of the thing). If you want to see how that difference works out in reality, I'd invite you to spend about twenty minutes reading a chapter from a great book titled The Unity of Philosophical Experience
. I have linked to it many times on these boards, but it is appropriate again to do so here. Gilson walks through a real historical example of a great logician mistaking philosophy and logic and that sad results that followed.
To make this all apply to the present discussion, my argument with respect to the AiG reference was this:
1. Andrew Snelling believes that a global flood can explain the stratification of the fossil record
2. Jac cannot refute Snelling's argument
3. Therefore, Jac can cannot say that Snelling is wrong that a global flood can explain the stratification of the fossil record
4. Phil says no global flood can explain the stratification of the fossil record
5. Therefore, both Phil and Snelling cannot both be correct
6. Jac cannot refute Phil's arguments that no global flood can explain the stratification of the fossil record
7. Therefore, Jac does not know whether or not no global flood can explain the stratification of the fossil record
Now, I hope it is very clear the difference in my being "illogical" to use your term and ACB's being illogical. (Just like I hope it is clear that I'm not offering an argument from authority--I can't be, as I'm not saying that Snelling's argument is correct or that Phil's argument is wrong. Since arguments from authority draw their conclusions from authority, and since I am drawing no conclusions from authority, I am therefore not offering any arguments from authority.) I made an argument that actually followed the premises. ACB argument did not. Strictly speaking, ACB put forward what logicians call a non-sequitur (the roses are red argument above is an example of a non-sequitur). It simply does not follow that a cold climate could make glaciers "stick" to the rocks. What I was trying to do was uncover a missing minor premise to make his argument coherent. He could not provide that minor premise, and therefore, his argument is illogical in the formal sense of the term.
So there's just no philosophy in any of my posts here at all. I wasn't objecting to ACB's argument because it violates science. I was pretty clear that you were taking it a different way than I was. The essence behind quod gratis asseritur gratis negatur
is that non-sequiturs don't need to be refuted. They can just be dismissed. I was showing ACB's argument was a non-sequitur and therefore it didn't need to be refuted (though you refuted it anyway). From a strictly logical perspective, we could just dismiss it. And that further goes to my motivation to my comments that BW threatened to permaban me for (another non-sequitur in this thread, but, as you say, whatevs). And all that goes to why I was less than impressed with your genetic fallacy. I couldn't care any less than I do about whether or not you think Snelling is an idiot or a genius or wrong or right or anything else. I'm also not terribly concerned if you take the time to rip his article to shreds. None of that will challenge the argument I made to Phil
. What I DO care about is you saying Snelling is wrong because Snelling wrote it
. That's just a genetic fallacy. It's also another logical fallacy called "begging the question" or petitio principii
, in which you assume as your premise the very thing that you are attempting to argue. Still another word for this is "circular reasoning." Here's an example you should immediately be able to spot:
1. The Bible says God exists
2. The Bible, being the Word of God, is never wrong
3. Therefore, God exists
Convinces you, right! Of course not. You would point out that the second premise assumes the very thing you are trying to prove. It begs the question. It is circular reasoning. And so it is with your dismissal of Snelling. If we ought to reject his scientific arguments for a global flood because we reject a global flood
, then we're doing the same thing. He has to be shown why his arguments themselves are wrong.
I have no doubt you think you could do that. And perhaps you could! I have less doubt that I am not fit to adjudicate a debate between you and Snelling. And moreover, I have less doubt than all of THAT that if Snelling himself where here that any and everything you said scientifically against his arguments he would be able to offer more detailed scientific replies, and I strongly suspect that he would be able to do so to a point where his responses would go beyond your ability to refute, not being a PhD in geology. At best, you would have to end up retorting, "Well why don't other geologists agree with you?!?" and then you'd end up having more popular level arguments that are really a waste of time because you're just trying to get in the heads of other people. BORING!!!
Anyway, this has run FAR longer than I intended it to. The bottom line is that my objection to your objection is that you responded with an illogical statement, and illogical statements are no better coming from you than they are from ACB. I did not offer an illogical statement. I offered a true statement. Now, perhaps you are RIGHT about Snelling and the global flood and all the rest, but all of that is completely immaterial to the discussion we are actually having for the simple reason that it isn't enough to believe the correct things: you have to have the right warrant for believing the correct things. And that IS a philosophical point and goes to a field called epistemology. The question the epistemologist asks is, "When does a belief become knowledge?" You may want me to BELIEVE that Snelling is wrong. And suppose I agreed
that he is wrong? Does that mean I KNOW he is wrong? Of course not. And the fact is, I neither believe nor know that Snelling is wrong (or that Phil or you are, for that matter). To steal a play from my atheist friends, I hold no beliefs on the matter.